Education News from Washington Post

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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 45 min ago

Langley High junior elected as Fairfax school board representative

Fri, 02/07/2014 - 1:00pm

Langley High school junior Harris LaTeef was elected as the 44th student representative to the Fairfax County school board Wednesday.

He will succeed Will Ashe, a senior at the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.

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U.S. News college ranker poses questions about federal college ratings

Fri, 02/07/2014 - 11:28am

The guru of college rankings stood up one afternoon this week in Washington to ask a few questions about President Obama’s college rating plan.

Robert Morse, director of data research for U.S. News & World Report and leader of its famous annual college rankings, wondered exactly how the government planned to meet what appears to be a September 2015 launch date for a new federal system to rate colleges on measures of value and access.

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Strauss: How to mine Sochi Olympics for teaching and learning

Fri, 02/07/2014 - 11:00am


View Photo Gallery —The start of Olympic competition kicked off with snowboarding, freestyle skiing and figure skating.

This is an updated version of a piece that Jeffrey S. Hacker, a teacher at Beall Elementary School in Rockville, wrote years ago for The Washington Post about the possibilities that the Olympic Games provide for teaching.

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Strauss: Wife of teacher to Obama: ‘please stop this runaway reform now’

Fri, 02/07/2014 - 9:45am

Here’s an open letter that the wife of a public school teacher in Georgia wrote to President Obama about the reality in her husband’s school. She sent a more detailed version of this letter to the president. The author is Dana Bultman, an associate professor of Spanish at the University of Georgia.

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Strauss: School apologizes for Black History Month lunch of watermelon, fried chicken

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 10:55pm

Put this in the you-can’t-make-up-this-stuff category: A Catholic high school for girls in California thought it would be a good idea to mark Black History Month with a special lunch menu of fried chicken, watermelon and cornbread. Many students and parents were not amused.

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Former Md. teacher pleads guilty to having child porn

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 7:21pm

A former Maryland music teacher pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography in a Baltimore County courtroom Thursday, clearing the way for his transfer to Montgomery County, where he is accused of sexually abusing 14 elementary school students and raping a middle school girl.

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How much time do D.C. Public Schools spend testing?

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 2:43pm

D.C. Public Schools do not spend as much time on testing as some other urban school districts, according to a new report from the national nonprofit Teach Plus.

Teach Plus examined school system assessment calendars in 12 large cities and found that kids spend an average of 1.7 percent of their time testing each year. But there is huge variation, with kids in high-testing districts spending five times as many hours on testing as kids in low-testing districts.

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Fairfax schools’ strategic plan diagram evokes another complex PowerPoint slide

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 2:39pm

Slide presentations largely aim to provide audiences with visual aids to help in understanding complex ideas. But sometimes, the images can just add to the complexity.

At a meeting scheduled for Monday, the Fairfax County School Board plans to discuss Superintendent Karen Garza’s top initiative for this year: A new strategic plan for the school system. Garza has said that a concrete strategy will help her administration work more efficiently and make decisions with a specific goal in mind.

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Paul VI’s planned move to Loudoun generates online opposition from those in Fairfax

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 12:35pm

A petition is circulating online calling for Fairfax’s Paul VI Catholic High School to refrain from a planned move to a new Loudoun County campus by 2020.

In December the Catholic Diocese of Arlington announced the plan to move Paul VI west to a property in South Riding. Established in 1983, Paul VI, with more than 1,000 students, has been situated on an 18-acre campus in Fairfax City that the diocese said it wants to sell. The site, occupying a stretch along Fairfax Boulevard near Route 123, is considered prime real estate.

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Montgomery teacher survey: more views from the classroom on exam failure

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 10:07am

Nearly half of Montgomery County teachers who were surveyed on the causes of widespread exam failure in the high-performing school system cited student studying as a problem, according to a 38-page summary of the results.

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Prince George’s Gray Elementary wins national distinction

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 10:04am

Robert R. Gray Elementary School in Prince George’s County, which has had success in narrowing the achievement gap between student groups, was named a National Title I Distinguished School for the 2013-2014 school year.

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Strauss: A very scary headline about kindergarteners

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 9:00am

Rob Saxton is Oregon’s deputy superintendent of public instruction. Jada Rupley is the early learning system director within the state Department of Education. Together they wrote an op-ed in The Oregonian that was published online with this headline:

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Strauss: The misguided effort to teach ‘character’

Thu, 02/06/2014 - 5:00am

In 2009, Mike Rose, a research professor at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and an author, published “Why School? Reclaiming Education for All of Us,” a well-received book that asked big questions about what it means to be educated and the nature of learning. A significantly revised and expanded edition of the book, in which Rose draws on 40 years of research and teaching experience to present a humanistic view of education, was just published. Following is an excerpt, a version of which appeared in Kappan magazine.

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Strauss: Virginia Senate votes to cut number of SOLs, delay A-F school grading

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:00pm

The Virginia legislature is on its way to delaying some school reforms pushed by the former governor, Bob McDonnell, and reducing the number of Standards of Learning tests students are required to take.

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Langley High School students in Fairfax County mourn two student deaths

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 8:31pm

Two students with connections to Langley High School died a day apart this week, shocking the Fairfax County school community and sending many of their peers into mourning.

Police released few details about the deaths, on Monday and Tuesday, saying only that both students were 17-year-old males and that one was found in a wooded area of a McLean public park and the other in a home in Great Falls. Police said that they do not suspect foul play and that drugs were not the cause of death in either case.

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Child-care delay in Montgomery tough on working parents

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 7:48pm

Wednesday was a doubly tough morning for many parents in Montgomery County: Not only was school unexpectedly closed because of the icy weather, but some school-based child-care operations did not open their doors as usual.

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Many teachers blame students’ study habits for Montgomery County math exam failures

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 6:09pm

Many Montgomery County teachers blame student study habits for the high failure rates on math exams, according to a survey that also revealed educators’ concerns about grading policies that make it possible to fail a final exam but still pass a course.

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DCPS seeks early input to improve budget process

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 6:01pm

D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson and her top deputies are holding a series of earlier-than-usual budget meetings with principals, teachers and parents, the beginning of what Henderson says is an effort to improve what has often been a contentious and frustrating budget-planning process.

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Strauss: America’s school funding problems, state by state

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 5:17pm

A new report on school funding reveals how uneven and unfair public school funding is in states across the country. The report, titled “Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card,” looks at funding data from 2007 through 2011, analyzing the condition of state school finance systems with a focus on the fair distribution of resources to the neediest students. It covers the period before the big 2008 recession and through the start of the recovery. (See chart below)

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