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The Washington Post Local Education section provides coverage and analysis of schools, home school and education policy for DC, Maryland and Virginia. With in-depth coverage and analysis of Washington, DC education and schools, including DC charter schools, DC Schools Chancellor, DC teacher contract news and map of DC schools.
Updated: 1 hour 30 min ago

Strauss: Is this the beginning of the end of teacher tenure?

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 2:45am

Teachers’ unions just got whacked by a California judge who bought the specious argument offered in the “Vergara trial” that state laws giving tenure, seniority and other job protections to public school teachers deprive students of their constitutional right to an adequate education.  Though he stayed his Tuesday decision striking down five state statutes on teacher employment until an appeal could be made, more such lawsuits will now be filed in other states.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: One sweet video: Soldier back from Afghanistan surprises son at school

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 8:02pm

My Post colleague Ovetta Wiggins wrote this story about an Army  soldier who returned from Afghanistan to surprise his son at a school Career Day at a school in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Watch Dellion Sitladin, Sr., who hadn’t seen his son for almost a year, walk in on Career Day event at Langley Park-McCormick Elementary.

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Categories: Education News

Gates Foundation urges delay in using tests for teacher evaluation

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 6:36pm

The Obama administration is resisting mounting calls for a moratorium on using student test scores to evaluate teachers, students and schools.

On Tuesday, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has invested more than $200 million to create, support and implement the Common Core State Standards, said states should hold off from using new standardized tests aligned to the Common Core to evaluate teacher performance.

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Categories: Education News

Howard U.’s board leaders change, among other shifts at schools in the D.C. region

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 6:08pm

With the approach of summer, leadership shifts are in motion at colleges and universities in the Washington region, including a switch atop the Howard University Board of Trustees.

Here are some of the notable developments:

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Categories: Education News

Virginia statewide school takeover board ruled unconstitutional by Norfolk judge

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 5:34pm

A Norfolk Circuit Court ruled Tuesday that a statewide school takeover board created by the Virginia General Assembly to manage struggling schools is not constitutional.

Judge Charles E. Poston said that Virginia’s constitution vests the authority to establish school divisions in the Board of Education, not the General Assembly, and gives local school boards the authority to supervise the schools.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Gates Foundation backs two-year delay in linking Common Core test scores to teacher evaluation, student promotion

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 4:53pm

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation issued an interesting letter (see below) on Tuesday saying that it now supported delaying by two years using student standardized test scores in high-stakes consequences on teacher evaluation and student promotion while schools are learning how to implement the Common Core State Standards and new Core-aligned standardized tests.

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Categories: Education News

‘Best Career Day Ever’ turns into the best Father’s Day gift ever

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 2:04pm

The Prince George’s County School System dubbed it the “Best Career Day Ever.”

For Dellion Sitladin Jr., a fifth grader at Langley Park-McCormick Elementary School, it was more like the best Father’s Day gift ever.

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Categories: Education News

California court rules teacher tenure creates impermissible unequal conditions

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 1:35pm

A Los Angeles judge Tuesday struck down teacher tenure and other California laws that offer job security to educators, a decision that is expected to trigger widespread challenges of teacher job protections nationwide.

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Categories: Education News

Montgomery meetings on credit card practices now open

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 1:14pm

Montgomery County school board committee meetings that are expected to focus on the board’s credit-card practices and expense-reporting procedures will now be mostly open to the public.

Phil Kauffman, president of the Board of Education, said in an interview that a meeting scheduled for Thursday will include a 30-minute closed session for legal advice and then become an open meeting at 11:30 a.m.

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Categories: Education News

Montgomery schools chief reverses course on proposal to change high school start times

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 11:58am

Schools Superintendent Joshua P. Starr withdrew his support Tuesday from a long-discussed proposal to reset the opening bells of Montgomery County high schools nearly an hour later and allow bleary-eyed teenagers more time to sleep.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Why math fills so many of us with dread

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 7:02am

If you are someone who suffered from math anxiety, you may not believe that it does not have to be a permanent condition. That’s what author  Annie Murphy Paul, who concentrates on how we learn and how we can do it better, explains in the following post. Paul is a contributing writer  for Time magazine, writes a weekly column about learning for Time.com, blogs about learning for a number of websites and contributes to various publications.  She is the author of “The Cult of Personality,” a cultural history and scientific critique of personality tests, and of “Origins,” a book about the science of prenatal influences. Her latest book is “Brilliant: The New Science of Smart.” This post appeared Paul’s Brilliant Blog.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: There are no miracle schools, but there are a lot of really good ones

Tue, 06/10/2014 - 4:01am

For two decades,  Ellie Herman was a writer/producer for television shows including “The Riches,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Chicago Hope” and “Newhart.” Her fiction has appeared in literary journals, among them The Massachusetts Review, The Missouri Review and the O.Henry Awards Collection. In 2007, she decided “on an impulse” to become an English teacher. She got a job at a South Los Angeles charter school that was 97 percent Latino and where 96 percent of the students lived below the poverty line. She taught drama, creative writing, English 11 and 9th grade Composition at a charter high school in South Los Angeles until 2013. That’s when she decided to stop teaching and spend a year visiting classrooms and learning from other teachers. She is chronicling the lessons she is learning on her blog, Gatsby in L.A., where the following post appeared. Here’s an earlier post of hers, titled “Seven things kids need to read better (and raising standards isn’t one of them)”.

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Categories: Education News

Student counterprotesters at Wilson High far outnumber anti-gay Westboro protesters

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 3:46pm

Members of the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church picketed the District’s Wilson High School on Monday morning, railing against the school’s gay Pride Day and its principal, who came out as gay to his school community during last week’s pride rally.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Blue-collar and service work takes more smarts than you may think — author

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 3:02pm

Mike Rose is a respected education scholar on the faculty of the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and author of a number of books, including “Back to School: Why Everyone Deserves a Second Chance at Education,” “ Possible Lives: The Promise of Public Education in America,” and Why School? Reclaiming Education for All of Us”.

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Categories: Education News

Montgomery schools to receive new report on start times

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 2:20pm

It’s a question that has been discussed and debated for more than 18 months: Should high school schedules in Montgomery County be shifted so that sleep-deprived teenagers can get more rest in the mornings?

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: How much Bill Gates’s disappointing small-schools effort really cost

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 2:03pm

For five years  it has been said that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation spent more than $2 billion to fund an initiative to create small high schools in an effort to increase student achievement and graduation rates, all based on the premise that smaller schools were more conducive to learning and retention than larger ones. The reason the $2 billion has been cited is that it was mentioned in the January 2009 annual letter (see below) issued by the foundation and signed by Bill Gates as the co-chair of his foundation. It said in part:

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Categories: Education News

Maya Angelou inspired students at D.C. schools that bear her name

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 1:46pm

Poet and memoirist Maya Angelou’s death late last month triggered a torrent of appreciations for her life from public figures, including President Obama, Oprah Winfrey and the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

But Angelou touched plenty of people whose names are not widely known, including hundreds of students at a D.C. charter school that bears her name.

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Categories: Education News

U-Penn. president Gutmann remains bullish on free online courses

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 11:55am

Two years ago prestigious universities banded together to launch a wave of free online courses that seemed a harbinger of a new era in higher education.

The hype about massive open online courses, or MOOCs, has faded somewhat. The revolution, in some ways, is becoming more of an evolution. The notion sometimes bandied about that the emergence of these free online courses will break the business model of higher ed remains wholly unproven.

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Categories: Education News

Common standards for nation’s schools a longtime goal

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 11:36am

The notion that U.S. students should share core knowledge is not new.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower suggested national academic standards were needed as early as 1959. Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton both proposed that states voluntarily adopt national standards, efforts that crumbled under charges of federal overreach.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Ravitch: Time for Congress to investigate Bill Gates’ role in Common Core

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 8:01am

The critical role that Bill Gates played in the creation and implementation of the Common Core State Standards initiative is the subject of this story by my Post colleague Lyndsey Layton. She explains how Gates was persuaded  in 2008 by  Gene Wilhoit, then-director of the Council for Chief State School Officers, and David Coleman, at the time an educational consultant  and now president of the College Board,  to use his foundation’s vast fortune to  fund the creation and marketing of what became the Common Core. The story also shows how Gates money was spread around to help the marketing of the initiative to states and other education constituencies. As a result of the article, Diane Ravitch, an education historian who has become the unofficial leader of the movement fighting corporate school reform, called Gates’ involvement in the Core as something of an education “coup” by a private philanthropist. In this post, she urges Congress to hold hearings about the Gates role and the connection between his foundation and the Education Department.

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Categories: Education News
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