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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: 52 min 58 sec ago

U-Md.’s unusual admissions approach: One out of every five freshmen start in spring term

Sun, 02/02/2014 - 6:32pm

About 1,100 students are making their debut as freshmen at the University of Maryland in the new spring term under an unusual arrangement that delayed their admission until space opened up at College Park.

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Mathews: Getting past rumors to see KIPP DC in motion

Sun, 02/02/2014 - 5:56pm

Look for references to KIPP charter schools on the Internet, and you will find critics saying they are akin to military schools or concentration camps. That is far from the truth. The schools have rules but are full of games, songs, choices and critical thinking. Some of those most hostile to KIPP have never been inside a KIPP school, but that doesn’t stop them.

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Strauss: Report: Majority of U.S. kids under age 2 are now children of color -- and one-third are poor

Sun, 02/02/2014 - 3:15pm

For the first time, a majority of American children under age 2 are now children of color -- and 1 in 3 of them is poor, according to a disturbing new report. “The State of America’s Children 2014.” that cites the neglect of children as the top national security threat.

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Strauss: Each day in the lives of American children

Sun, 02/02/2014 - 2:55pm



The following statistics come from the new report “The State of America’s Children 2014.” The report paints a disturbing picture about the way a big percentage of American children are forced to live today, 50 years after President Lyndon B. Johnson began the nation’s “War on Poverty.”

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Strauss: How we teach kids to cheat on tests

Sun, 02/02/2014 - 11:01am

Here is a piece about a cheating scandal in Wisconsin that speaks to a much larger problem about how and why kids cheat on tests. It was written by Vicki Abeles, a filmmaker, attorney and advocate for students and education. She is the co-director and producer of the education documentary “Race to Nowhere” and founder of the non-profit End the Race, an organization established to inspire individual and community action to reclaim healthy childhood and transform our education system.

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Strauss: Justifying Richard Sherman by his GPA at Stanford

Sat, 02/01/2014 - 5:30pm

With the Super Bowl nearly upon us, here’s an interesting take on the recent media spectacle surrounding Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks, his behavior and his excellent record at Stanford University. It was written by P.L. Thomas, an associate professor of education at Furman University in South Carolina, writes in this post about the plight of teachers. Thomas edited the book “Becoming and Being a Teacher,” and wrote the book “Ignoring Poverty in the U.S.: The Corporate Takeover of Public Education.” This was published on his blog, the becoming radical.

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Strauss: Harvard business dean apologizes for sexism on campus

Sat, 02/01/2014 - 4:25pm

In a rather remarkable admission, the dean of the Harvard Business School apologized for the way the school has treated female students and teachers over its 50-year-old history and promised to remedy the problem.

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Strauss: The trouble with calls for universal ‘high-quality’ pre-K

Sat, 02/01/2014 - 6:00am

Whenever policymakers talk about universal preschool -- and that is happening more frequently these days -- they always say that it must be “high quality,” but they never explain what that actually means. Here author Alfie Kohn explains why the absence of definition may be troubling. Kohn is the author of 13 books about education and human behavior, including “The Schools Our Children Deserve,” “The Homework Myth,” and, due out later this spring, “The Myth of the Spoiled Child: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom About Children and Parenting.” He lives (actually) in the Boston area and (virtually) at www.alfiekohn.org.

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Fairfax schools system destroyed sensitive worker files, could face fine of up to $6 million

Fri, 01/31/2014 - 7:28pm

Fairfax County public schools could owe more than $6 million to the federal government after mistakenly destroying several thousand employee files that noted citizenship status.

School officials said that about 5,600 employees’ files were shredded in 2006 but that the discovery was made only last year, after the administration audited hiring records.

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Proposed D.C. Promise scholarship program could threaten D.C. TAG, Norton warns

Fri, 01/31/2014 - 4:03pm

Ahead of a vote Tuesday to give District residents one of the nation’s few publicly financed college scholarship programs, the city’s delegate to Congress is sounding alarms.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) says the plan proposed by council member David A. Catania (I-At Large) could upend a long-standing federal scholarship program that’s unique to the city and has become key to how thousands of families budget for college.

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Virginia Intermont College, with dwindling enrollment, intends to merge with Fla. school

Fri, 01/31/2014 - 2:48pm

A private liberal arts college in southwestern Virginia with dwindling enrollment announced Friday it intends to merge with a larger university in Florida.

Virginia Intermont College, in Bristol near the Tennessee border, reported to state authorities that it had 378 students in the fall term — an enrollment decline of 35 percent since 2010. It is one of many small private colleges that have struggled with recruiting in recent years amid upheaval in the market nationwide.

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Strauss: For school choice-loving Democrats to consider

Fri, 01/31/2014 - 1:22pm

This has been National School Choice Week, complete with thousands of events around the country to promote school choice. It was quite an organizational feat: The Education Department released new guidance on charter school lotteries, legislation was introduced in Congress to expand choice, papers were released, rallies were held, and much, much more took place.

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Strauss: Why Common Core isn’t the answer

Fri, 01/31/2014 - 12:30pm

The Common Core State Standards have become targets for criticism from all corners of the political spectrum for various reasons. Here’s a different take, from Marion Brady, a veteran classroom teacher, who has written history and world culture textbooks (Prentice-Hall), professional books, numerous nationally distributed columns (many are available here), and courses of study. His 2011 book, “What’s Worth Learning,” asks and answers this question: What knowledge is absolutely essential for every learner? His course of study for secondary-level students, called “Connections: Investigating Reality,” is free for downloading here. Brady’s website is www.marionbrady.com.

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Fairfax schools chief preparing for worst as budget battle begins with supervisors

Fri, 01/31/2014 - 12:08pm

Fairfax schools superintendent Karen Garza said she is preparing several contingency plans in the event her entire funding request is not met by the county supervisors.

At a budget work session Thursday night, Garza said that her proposed $2.5 billion budget is in line with previous requests made to the supervisors. Overall, her proposal is 2.4 percent larger than last year’s approved budget and calls for $96 million in cuts, including eliminating 731 staff positions and increasing class sizes.

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Virginia science bill sent to courts subcommittee

Fri, 01/31/2014 - 10:57am

A bill that would encourage Virginia students to explore controversial scientific topics was referred Thursday to a House committee for Courts and Justice, where any constitutional concerns can be analyzed.

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How did early education weather the Great Recession?

Fri, 01/31/2014 - 6:00am

Barack Obama campaigned in 2008 on expanding early childhood education with an infusion of new funding, a vision he championed over the past year with a plan for universal preschool. But throughout his administration, the country has been grappling with economic turmoil.

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Strauss: Text of Maryland superintendents’ document on school reform

Fri, 01/31/2014 - 12:28am



Here is the text of a document approved by 22 of Maryland’s 24 local schools superintendents expressing concern about how federal and state officials are forcing school districts to implement specific school reforms. You can read more about the document and why the superintendents, through the Public School Superintendents Association of Maryland, decided to make public their concerns in this post .

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Some states rebrand controversial Common Core education standards

Thu, 01/30/2014 - 10:24pm

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) used an executive order to strip the name “Common Core” from the state’s new math and reading standards for public schools. In the Hawkeye State, the same standards are now called “The Iowa Core.” And in Florida, lawmakers want to delete “Common Core” from official documents and replace it with the cheerier-sounding “Next Generation Sunshine State Standards.”

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After computer portal problems, students can retake TJ High’s essay tests — at home

Thu, 01/30/2014 - 8:31pm

About 1,500 students applying to the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology must retake their written entrance exams because of widespread computer glitches Saturday.

The students are semifinalists seeking entry to TJ, as the Northern Virginia magnet school is known. Computer problems at all 15 testing centers caused some students to lose their work or made it impossible for them to submit their essays, which were administered online in an effort to limit adult assistance.

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E-mails show D.C. schools officials were alerted to cheating at Noyes in 2010

Thu, 01/30/2014 - 7:29pm

Teachers’ union officials in 2010 directly e-mailed D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson telling her that the principal of a D.C. elementary school had reported seeing employees cheating on a city-issued test, according to e-mails obtained by the Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request.

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