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Updated: 3 hours 52 min ago

Strauss: J.K. Rowling, please keep Harry Potter revisionist history to yourself

Tue, 02/04/2014 - 9:49am

Shortly after the last Harry Potter novel -- “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” -- was published in 2007, author J.K. Rowling revealed that one of the main characters, Hogwarts headmaster and master wizard Albus Dumbledore, was gay. There was no indication in the books that this was the case, so her disclosure left one wondering why she hadn’t let her readers know that when they were actually reading the books. She had seven novels in which she could have let her readers know her full vision for Dumbledore.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: One thing Bill Gates could do that would actually help kids in school

Tue, 02/04/2014 - 8:00am

Bill Gates has spent billions of dollars on education reform efforts, such as evaluating teachers with student standardized test scores and the Common Core State Standards, with not much to show for it. Here’s an idea for how he could spend money in a way that would actually help kids do better in school. This was written by Debby Mayer, founder of Great Schools for America, an organization that advocates for quality public schools free from corporate control. A version of this appeared on the website Great Schools for America.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: A teacher exposes ‘value-added’ idiocy

Tue, 02/04/2014 - 5:00am

VAMboozled is a blog about teacher evaluation, accountability and value-added models written by Audrey Amrein-Beardsley, associate professor at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. The following post was on her blog, from a teacher in Arizona who is not identified. The teacher reveals the idiocy of the “value-added” method of evaluation teachers, involving the use of student standardized test scores as a key measure. This teacher raises a question that teachers in other states have also confronted: She will be graded on test scores of students she didn’t teach. As Amrein-Beardsley notes the story told by the teacher “is becoming a too familiar story.”

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Categories: Education News

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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Categories: Education News

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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Categories: Education News

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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Categories: Education News

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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Categories: Education News

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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Categories: Education News

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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Categories: Education News

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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Categories: Education News

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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Categories: Education News

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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Categories: Education News

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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Categories: Education News

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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Categories: Education News

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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Categories: Education News

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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Categories: Education News

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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Categories: Education News
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