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Updated: 1 hour 53 min ago

Strauss: Afghan attack took young American ‘destined for greatness,’ teacher says

Tue, 01/21/2014 - 5:00pm

Last Friday night in Afghanistan, the Taliban attacked a popular restaurant in Kabul frequented by Westerners, killing two Americans. One was Alexandros Petersen, a brilliant young man who was an expert on grand strategy and energy politics and who had graduated from Georgetown Day School, a private school in the District, in 2003. (His younger sister, Lydia, graduated from GDS last spring). Petersen had arrived in Kabul just a week earlier to teach political science at the American University of Afghanistan.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Reaction to Ravitch: A different view of Common Core

Tue, 01/21/2014 - 2:15pm

I published the text of a speech that education historian and activist Diane Ravitch gave this month about the past, present and future of the Common Core State Standards to the Modern Language Association. (You can read it here.) Here’s a response from Professor Gerald Graff, a former president of the Modern Language Association who teaches English and education at the University of Illinois at Chicago and who heard Ravitch give her speech.

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Categories: Education News

D.C. schools change IMPACT evaluations for principals

Tue, 01/21/2014 - 1:27pm

D.C. Public Schools officials have changed how they evaluate principals in response to complaints that the previous system — which rated more than half of the city’s principals below “effective” — was unfair and too tightly hitched to student test scores.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Why teachers can’t reach every child: a case study

Tue, 01/21/2014 - 12:30pm

Larry Cuban, a former high school teacher and superintendent who now teaches at Stanford University, posted two pieces on his School Reform and Classroom Practice blog that are unusual because they are about students whom he tried to reach but could not. The posts are poignant and speak broadly to the extraordinary problems that some students bring to school and that teachers are expected to somehow handle. I am publishing the second of Cuban’s pieces below, and you can find the first part of “Harold, William, Victor, and Me,” here.

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Categories: Education News

100 Va. school boards oppose state takeover board

Tue, 01/21/2014 - 12:22pm

One hundred school boards across Virginia — more than 75 percent of the total — have passed resolutions in support of a lawsuit challenging a state board approved by the General Assembly last year to take over the most chronically struggling schools in the state.

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Categories: Education News

Montgomery moves forward on plan to remedy mismanagement at special education school

Tue, 01/21/2014 - 12:14pm

Montgomery school leaders are moving forward with a plan to make payments to students at a special education school for withdrawals from their school-arranged bank accounts, in spite of strong criticism that the proposal is inadequate.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Dogs vs. cats: Their oh-so-different teaching styles

Tue, 01/21/2014 - 5:00am

For a laugh, watch this to the very end. And for all you cat lovers, it’s just a joke!

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Categories: Education News

Maryland lacrosse players’ case moves into court

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 7:12pm

Families of two former Maryland high school lacrosse players have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against school officials alleging that the teens were suspended for having dangerous weapons after an unconstitutional search of their equipment bags turned up two small knives and a lighter.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: The Education Department’s strange new report on teaching

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 1:31pm

One of the most controversial issues in public education today is the use of “value-added measures” to evaluate teachers and principals. What these measures, known as VAM, purportedly do is to calculate the “value” of a teacher in student achievement through complicated formulas that use student standardized test scores as a base. Assessment experts have repeatedly warned that VAM should not be used for any high-stakes decisions because the results are unreliable but that hasn’t stopped school reformers from VAM anyway in systems across the country, with support from the Obama administration.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: MLK: ‘Intelligence plus character -- that is the goal of true education’

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 12:00pm

I published this last year, and I’m doing it again:

Martin Luther King Jr., was prescient on a lot of things, including education. Here are some things he wrote decades ago that sound contemporary.

--
Here’s an excerpt from “The Purpose of Education,” a piece he wrote in the February 1947 edition of the Morehouse College student newspaper, the Maroon Tiger:

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Why Christie’s school ‘fix’ is misguided

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 10:30am

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie recently proposed extending the school year and school day in State of the State speech as reforms intended to improve student achievement, though he didn’t provide details or make any mention of how he would fund it. Here’s a piece questioning the notion that simply adding seat time works. This was written by Vicki Abeles, a filmmaker, attorney and mother of three. She is the co-director and producer of the education documentary “Race to Nowhere.”

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Categories: Education News

More than a quarter of state-funded preschool seats went unfilled this year

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 10:04pm

Prince William County qualified for enough state funding this year to provide pre-kindergarten classes to more than 1,600 children from low-income families. But the county turned down nearly all of that money and instead serves just 72 children in four classrooms.

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Categories: Education News

Mathews: Beware Chinese data: Its schools might not be so great

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 5:39pm

For much of my life, I have been obsessed with China. A TV documentary about the Great Leap Forward caught my eye when I was 16. I studied Chinese language, government and history in college and graduate school, then spent five years as The Washington Post’s bureau chief in Hong Kong and Beijing. My wife, who was my Los Angeles Times competitor, and I wrote a book about the country.

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Categories: Education News

Dunbar High autonomy proposal stirs debate in D.C.

Sat, 01/18/2014 - 5:19pm

A proposal to improve Dunbar High School by converting it to an autonomous and selective school has generated widespread debate among teachers, students, alumni and community members. It’s a debate not only about the future of Dunbar, one of the District’s most storied public schools, but also about the city’s ability to serve all students.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Arne Duncan: Why can’t we be more like South Korea?

Sat, 01/18/2014 - 11:01am

For years, Education Secretary Arne Duncan has lamented that the United States isn’t anywhere near as serious about educating its young people as the South Koreans. He did it in 2010, for example, in a speech in which he told the story about how South Korea’s then-president, Lee Myung-bak, once told President Obama that his country’s biggest educational challenge was that “parents are too demanding.” And he just did it again, in a Jan. 13 speech to a parents summit sponsored by the National Assessment Governing Board, in which he told the story about how South Korea’s then-president, Lee Myung-bak, once told President Obama that his country’s biggest educational challenge was that “parents are too demanding.”

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Everything you need to know about Common Core -- Ravitch

Sat, 01/18/2014 - 9:45am

Diane Ravitch, the education historian who has become the leader of the movement against corporate-influenced school reform, gave this speech to the Modern Language Association on Jan. 11 about the past, present and future of the Common Core State Standards.

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Categories: Education News

Johns Hopkins U. gives its president, Ronald J. Daniels, a 5-year contract extension

Fri, 01/17/2014 - 5:23pm

Johns Hopkins University said Friday its board of trustees has approved a five-year contract extension for university President Ronald J. Daniels.

Daniels took the helm of the 21,000-student research university in March 2009. Among his priorities have been redeveloping a downtrodden east Baltimore neighborhood next to the university’s medical complex, increasing undergraduate financial aid and promoting interdisciplinary scholarship.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: How’s this for cynical?

Fri, 01/17/2014 - 2:15pm

How’s this for cynical? The Illinois State Board of Education wants to remove class size protections for students with disabilities. If the proposal (officially known as changes to state administrative rule Part 226) is approved, there would be no statewide limits on the size of special education classes, or the percentage of students with disabilities who can be placed in a general education class. Furthermore, there would be no requirement that a paraprofessional be assigned to a special education class of any particular size.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Maryland schools need $100 million for online Common Core tests, says report

Fri, 01/17/2014 - 10:33am

A new report from Maryland’s Education Department to the legislature says that the vast majority of schools in many of the state’s counties are not technologically prepared to give new online Common Core-aligned standardized tests and that at least $100 million will have to be spent by 2015 to get ready.

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Categories: Education News

Strauss: Bad news for teachers comes in an automated phone call

Fri, 01/17/2014 - 5:00am

Despite decades of failure, merit-pay schemes for teachers continue to be pushed in states and school districts around the country. In this post, Chris Gilbert, who teaches English at a high school and community college in North Carolina, explains a new scheme in North Carolina that involves merit pay for teachers and a loss of tenure rights. Gilbert’s work has appeared on this blog and in the National Council of Teachers of English’s (NCTE) publication called English Journal. He is a 2013 recipient of NCTE’s Paul and Kate Farmer Writing Award.

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Categories: Education News
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