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: 3 hours 6 min ago

Strauss: Obama on education: Rhetoric vs. reality

Thu, 01/30/2014 - 1:01am

There’s nothing new about President Obama giving speeches in which he talks about school reform in ways that have little to do with reality (see, for example, here and here), but there was something especially disconnected about the education rhetoric in his 2014 State of the Union speech.

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Teachers oppose Va. bill challenging mainstream science

Wed, 01/29/2014 - 9:10pm

Virginia science teachers are opposing a bill in the General Assembly they say would open classroom doors to lessons challenging evolution, global warming and other mainstream scientific views.

The bill, sponsored by Del. Richard P. Bell (R-Staunton), would direct school systems to encourage students “to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, develop critical thinking skills and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about scientific controversies in science classes.”

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A push for D.C. Public Schools to share space with charter schools, nonprofits

Wed, 01/29/2014 - 6:45pm

Many of the District’s traditional schools have fewer children than they were originally designed to hold, driving up the cost of maintenance. Meanwhile, the city’s fast-growing charter schools often struggle to find suitable real estate.

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Fairfax TV program to investigate teen sex trafficking in Northern Virginia

Wed, 01/29/2014 - 6:25pm

A television program made by Fairfax County public schools in cooperation with local police authorities airing Wednesday night will highlight the dangers of sex trafficking, a crime spreading in Northern Virginia.

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Baker seeks County Council input on school board vacancies under proposed bill

Wed, 01/29/2014 - 4:48pm

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D), who filled two seats on the Board of Education last year when two elected members resigned, is asking the General Assembly to change the way selections are made to the county school board when an elected member vacates their seat.

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Strauss: Education Department changes charter school lottery rules

Wed, 01/29/2014 - 4:30pm

The Education Department on Wednesday released new guidance that allows charter schools receiving federal funds to change their student admissions lotteries so that low-income and educationally disadvantaged students can have more weight in an effort to create more integrated schools. Explaining the changes in this post are Richard D. Kahlenberg and Halley Potter, both of The Century Foundation and co-authors of “A Better Direction for Charter Schools: Restoring the Original Vision of Charter Schools by Empowering Teachers and Integrating Students,” due out later this year from Teachers College Press.

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Strauss: Civil rights hero launches ‘American Child’s Education Bill of Rights’

Wed, 01/29/2014 - 4:20pm

Calling modern school reform “catastrophically misguided and ineffective,” civil rights icon James Meredith is launching what he calls the American Child’s Education Bill of Rights, a 12-point declaration of obligations that he says the nation owes every public school child.

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Snowfall does not stop grades from arriving in Montgomery County

Wed, 01/29/2014 - 3:39pm

The snow may have closed schools and turned schedules upside down, but Montgomery County says report cards will be issued as planned Thursday.

The grade reports — showing marks for the school year’s first semester — have already been sent to the district’s 202 schools and are expected to go home with students Thursday according to schedule.

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Strauss: Why snow days matter: Kids slept in schools because of late cancellation call

Wed, 01/29/2014 - 2:36pm

Next time you think a school district is being overly cautious about cancelling school because of bad weather, remember this: Thousands of students in Georgia and Alabama were forced to spend the night Tuesday in their schools — and some on buses — while their parents got stuck in traffic jams for more than 12 hours because a rare snowstorm dumped a few inches of snow.

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Fairfax supervisor to tour schools as budget talks on education funding heat up

Wed, 01/29/2014 - 2:21pm

Fairfax County supervisor Jeff McKay said he will visit more than 25 schools in upcoming weeks to get a classroom view of the fiscal challenges facing the school system.

With budget talks with the school board underway, McKay said he will visit all of the schools in his magisterial district to talk face-to-face with principals, teachers and students.

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Children learn much from field trips that they can’t get from lectures or textbooks

Wed, 01/29/2014 - 12:12pm

The field trip, once woven into the American school experience, is in decline. More than half of schools eliminated at least some planned field trips in 2010-2011, according to the American Association of School Administrators. The practice might diminish even further if we don’t do something about it.

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Fairfax educator among finalists for National Teacher of the Year honors

Wed, 01/29/2014 - 11:14am

Fairfax County schools educator Melissa Porfirio is among four finalists for the 2014 National Teacher of the Year honors.

Porfirio, 39, who was earlier named the Virginia teacher of the year, has taught since 2005 at Crestwood Elementary in Springfield, where she currently serves as first grade teacher.

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Fairfax school system offers solutions for TJ testing problems

Wed, 01/29/2014 - 11:06am

This article has been updated.

Fairfax schools superintendent Karen Garza said Monday no student will be penalized for the widespread computer glitches that stalled the application process Saturday for those taking the entrance exam for the elite Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.

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Categories: Education News

Report: Va., Md., D.C. have some of the nation’s highest gaps by income level in reading proficiency

Wed, 01/29/2014 - 1:01am

Fourth-grade students in Virginia, Maryland and the District have among the largest gaps in reading proficiency in the country when broken down by income level, according to a report released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

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Strauss: Obama on education in SOTU -- text

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 10:30pm

Here’s the part of President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union address that deals with education, from prepared remarks provided by the White House:

Today in America, a teacher spent extra time with a student who needed it, and did her part to lift America’s graduation rate to its highest level in more than three decades

As usual, our First Lady sets a good example. Michelle’s Let’s Move partnership with schools, businesses, and local leaders has helped bring down childhood obesity rates for the first time in thirty years an achievement that will improve lives and reduce health care costs for decades to come. The Joining Forces alliance that Michelle and Jill Biden launched has already encouraged employers to hire or train nearly 400,000 veterans and military spouses. Taking a page from that playbook, the White House just organized a College Opportunity Summit where already, 150 universities, businesses, and nonprofits have made concrete commitments to reduce inequality in access to higher education and help every hardworking kid go to college and succeed when they get to campus .

Of course, it’s not enough to train today’s workforce. We also have to prepare tomorrow’s workforce, by guaranteeing every child access to a world-class education.

Estiven Rodriguez couldn’t speak a word of English when he moved to New York City at age nine. But last month, thanks to the support of great teachers and an innovative tutoring program, he led a march of his classmates through a crowd of cheering parents and neighbors from their high school to the post office, where they mailed off their college applications. And this son of a factory worker just found out he’s going to college this fall.

Five years ago, we set out to change the odds for all our kids. We worked with lenders to reform student loans, and today, more young people are earning college degrees than ever before. Race to the Top, with the help of governors from both parties, has helped states raise expectations and performance. Teachers and principals in schools from Tennessee to Washington, D.C. are making big strides in preparing students with skills for the new economy problem solving, critical thinking, science, technology, engineering, and math. Some of this change is hard. It requires everything from more challenging curriculums and more demanding parents to better support for teachers and new ways to measure how well our kids think, not how well they can fill in a bubble on a test. But it’s worth it and it’s working.

The problem is we’re still not reaching enough kids, and we’re not reaching them in time. That has to change.

Research shows that one of the best investments we can make in a child’s life is high-quality early education. Last year, I asked this Congress to help states make high-quality pre-K available to every four year-old. As a parent as well as a President, I repeat that request tonight. But in the meantime, thirty states have raised pre-k funding on their own. They know we can’t wait. So just as we worked with states to reform our schools, this year, we’ll invest in new partnerships with states and communities across the country in a race to the top for our youngest children. And as Congress decides what it’s going to do, I’m going to pull together a coalition of elected officials, business leaders, and philanthropists willing to help more kids access the high-quality pre-K they need.

Last year, I also pledged to connect 99 percent of our students to high-speed broadband over the next four years. Tonight, I can announce that with the support of the FCC and companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sprint, and Verizon, we’ve got a down payment to start connecting more than 15,000 schools and twenty million students over the next two years, without adding a dime to the deficit.

We’re working to redesign high schools and partner them with colleges and employers that offer the real-world education and hands-on training that can lead directly to a job and career. We’re shaking up our system of higher education to give parents more information, and colleges more incentives to offer better value, so that no middle-class kid is priced out of a college education. We’re offering millions the opportunity to cap their monthly student loan payments to ten percent of their income, and I want to work with Congress to see how we can help even more Americans who feel trapped by student loan debt. And I’m reaching out to some of America’s leading foundations and corporations on a new initiative to help more young men of color facing tough odds stay on track and reach their full potential

The bottom line is, Michelle and I want every child to have the same chance this country gave us. But we know our opportunity agenda won’t be complete and too many young people entering the workforce today will see the American Dream as an empty promise unless we do more to make sure our economy honors the dignity of work, and hard work pays off for every single American.

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Categories: Education News

Study recommends big increase in D.C. schools funding

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 8:35pm

The District should boost funding for public education by more than 15 percent — or at least $180 million a year — to ensure that schools have the resources they need to improve student achievement, according to a study commissioned by the D.C. government.

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Strauss: Pete Seeger: ‘Do you know the difference between education and experience?’

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 6:36pm

The great Pete Seeger has passed away at the age of 94. Here are some of the things he said and/or wrote in relation to education and the human condition:

“Do you know the difference between education and experience? Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don’t. ”

“Singing with children in the schools has been the most rewarding experience of my life.”

“Any darn fool can make something complex; it takes a genius to make something simple.”

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Categories: Education News

Loudoun considers musical theater magnet

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 3:54pm

The Loudoun County School Board is considering a musical theater magnet program that could start as soon as next school year.

The proposal, which will be presented to the board Tuesday night, was developed by a Leesburg mother who was frustrated that the county has advanced programs for budding chemists, builders or mathematicians, but not for aspiring actors and dancers, like her high-school aged daughter.

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Maryland approves new school discipline regulations

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 1:35pm

Maryland education leaders on Tuesday approved the most sweeping changes in decades to state discipline policies, culminating a four-year effort to find a more constructive approach to student punishment, end racial disparities in suspensions and keep students who are punished in school.

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Top college endowments per student in 2013

Tue, 01/28/2014 - 1:13pm

There is a certain predictability to the annual story about college endowments. Harvard University has the biggest in the country, $32.33 billion. The University of Texas system has the biggest among public systems, $20.45 billion. The University of Virginia has the biggest among schools in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia — $5.17 billion.

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Categories: Education News
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