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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 57 min ago

Straight A’s = dancing: Grade celebration questioned by some

Tue, 02/04/2014 - 12:15am

Students who earned straight A’s at Eastern Middle School in Silver Spring have been invited to a school dance Tuesday, a celebration that starts during the final period of the school day and includes a DJ, free pizza and a game room.

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Strauss: NCLB crashed and burned. When will we ever learn?

Mon, 02/03/2014 - 6:30pm

It’s the year that all U.S. public schools were supposed to reach 100% student proficiency. It didn’t happen, of course. The law under which that was mandated, No Child Left Behind, has crashed and burned, but, unfortunately, its worst ideas haven’t. Writing about this is Lisa Guisbond of The National Center for Fair & Open Testing, known as FairTest, a non-profit dedicated to ending the misuse of standardized tests.

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Categories: Education News

Pr. George’s schools to hold public hearing Feb. 18 on school boundary, program changes

Mon, 02/03/2014 - 4:19pm

Boundary changes often evoke strong emotions, with parents worrying that their child could be forced to attend schools with lower test scores or fewer programs.

That was the case at a recent meeting of the Prince George’s County school board, where two young students who currently attend Hyattsville Middle School, which has a creative and performing arts program, made impassioned pleas to be able to attend Northwestern High School next year. Their problem: They live outside the boundaries of the high school.

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Categories: Education News

Data for 685 Fairfax students mistakenly posted online

Mon, 02/03/2014 - 3:33pm

Personal information of hundreds of Fairfax County public school students was mistakenly posted on the school system’s Web site, exposing their student identification numbers, birth dates, home addresses and phone numbers in what parents described as a breach of privacy.

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Strauss: The things teachers do that can’t be evaluted

Mon, 02/03/2014 - 1:18pm

Teachers and parents are taking to Twitter, at #evaluatethat, to point out the countless ways in which teachers help their students that cannot be assessed by student standardized test scores or other traditional methods of evaluation.

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Strauss: Philip Seymour Hoffman’s high school district honors him

Mon, 02/03/2014 - 11:44am

Here’s a young Philip Seymour Hoffman, who graduated from Fairport High School in upstate NY. #RIP pic.twitter.com/9spwLgUxKr

— The Film Stage (@TheFilmStage) February 2, 2014

The death of the great actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has prompted a mountain of remembrances and condolences to his family, including this from the superintendent of Fairport Central School District in New York, where he attended Fairport High School outside Rochester and would return periodically to talk with students and faculty.

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PTA leader announces bid for Montgomery school board

Mon, 02/03/2014 - 11:01am

A PTA activist from Silver Spring has announced a bid for Montgomery County’s school board.

In the primary set for June, Shebra Evans, 42, is seeking an at-large seat on the Montgomery County Board of Education. The position is now held by Shirley Brandman, who said in December that she would not be seeking a third term, as her youngest child graduates from high school, and her family moves into a new phase.

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Strauss: Superintendent on school reform: ‘It is not working’

Mon, 02/03/2014 - 6:00am

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy has just asked for a “pause” in implementation of a controversial new teacher evaluation system that uses student standardized test scores to assess teachers as well creation of a task force to study the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. Is “a pause” the answer?

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Strauss: Public education failing? Not in this school

Mon, 02/03/2014 - 5:00am

The “public schools are failing” narrative is pervasive, even though the facts aren’t there to support the systemic failure that many school reformers insist there are. Here a parent paints a different story. Lynn Michie is a chaplain at the Swannanoa Correctional Center for Women in Black Mountain, North Carolina. She and her husband, David McNair, have two children in the Buncombe County school system.

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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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Categories: Education News

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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Categories: Education News

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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