EDUCATION AND EQUITY NEWS

Below are links to recent news articles and special reports on education and equity issues at the national level and for the District of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. (Note: Links are often rendered inactive some time after the article's publication date. If you are unable to locate an article by clicking on the title, please search the website of the publisher.) To search the archives for older articles, please click here


NATIONAL

Looking at the Best Teachers and Who They Teach (Center for American Progress, April 11, 2014)
We want to get the best teachers to the students who need them most, but a review of data from the newest teacher evaluation systems show that that is not always what happens. In an analysis of the newest data, we find that in some areas, poor students and students of color are far less likely than others to have expert teachers.

Students who have teachers who make them “feel excited about the future” and who attend schools that they see as committed to building their individual strengths are 30 times more likely than other students to show other signs of engagement in the classroom—a key predictor of academic success, according to a report released Wednesday by Gallup Education.

Every three years, 15 year-olds from around the world take a test to measure proficiency in reading, math and science, and every three years, the results for American students disappoint. Here are the latest: 36th place in math (behind Slovakia but just ahead of Lithuania), 28th in science, and 24th in reading (5 notches below Vietnam). Disappointing, but not the whole story.

When President Obama launched My Brother’s Keeper last month to help young men and boys of color reach their full potential, he shared what had made the difference in his own life: “I had people who encouraged me — not just my mom and grandparents, but wonderful teachers and community leaders — and they’d push me to work hard and study hard and make the most of myself…They never gave up on me,” he recounted, “and so I didn’t give up on myself.”

As public schools move headlong into teaching new, more rigorous standards in reading, math, and science, English-as-a-second-language teachers must become more involved in the central enterprise of teaching and supporting academic content for ELL students than has traditionally been the case, a new paper argues.

Poverty-related challenges steal time from high school class periods, leading students at low-income schools to receive an average of half an hour less instruction per day than their higher-income peers.

The STEM Enrollment Boom (Inside Higher Ed, April 7, 2014)
Policy makers regularly talk about the need to encourage more undergraduates to pursue science and technology fields. New data suggest that undergraduates at four-year institutions in fact have become much more likely to study those fields, especially engineering and biology.

Robotics Day targets minority students for careers (The News Journal, April 7, 2014)
When Derrick Hunter was in sixth grade, a teacher recognized his interest in math and suggested he go to a program on the weekend to enrich what he was learning at school.

Despite entering high school at the tops of their classes, many high-performing minority and disadvantaged students finish with lower grades, lower AP exam passage rates and lower SAT and ACT scores than their high-achieving white and more advantaged peers, according to a report released Wednesday by The Education Trust.

Teaching Argument Writing to ELLs (ASCD, April 1, 2014)
How in the world are we supposed to apply the Common Core writing standards to teaching English language learners? We've been asking that question of ourselves and others over the past two years, and we suspect we're not the only educators doing so. After reviewing the many resources available that attempt to provide guidance to teachers of English language learners (see "Resources of Note") and combining what we've learned through our daily classroom experience, we've developed a tentative answer to that question.

African-American children's poverty, poor housing and lack of access to education pose a national crisis, said a report released Tuesday that found a wide gap in well-being among U.S. children of different races.

An Illinois woman has turned the lessons she learned in her recovery from her own childhood sexual abuse into a nationwide push to pass state laws that require student lessons and teacher training about the issue in public schools.

As children from minority populations gradually become the majority in the United States, the country must address unequal outcomes and opportunities between racial and ethnic groups to ensure a prosperous future, a report released April 1 said.

Pre-K Suspension Data Prompt Focus on Intervention (Education Week, March 31, 2014)
New data showing that thousands of children—including a disproportionate number of boys and black children—are suspended from school before reaching kindergarten have researchers and policymakers asking tough questions about pre-K discipline, and highlighting programs that help keep challenging children in preschool.

There is a lot of talk out there about ways to raise the graduation rate. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan proudly wore #80 in the NBA All-Star celebrity game to tout the highest graduation rate the country has seen since 1974. Educators are collectively working harder to help students make it to the high school finish line and get prepared for college and the workforce. There is a lot of credit to be handed out for the successful graduation rates around the country (of course, there are still plenty of areas for improvement), but I think one shining area deserves a lot of the praise: technology.

The just released UCLA Civil Rights Project report on increasing racial segregation in American schools identified schools in New York City and State as the most racially segregated in the United States. The report highlights the numbers, but unfortunately the Civil Rights Project shies away from drawing the hard and I think obvious conclusions.

50 Years Later, Housing Programs' Reach Is Limited (Education Week, March 25, 2014)
Fifty years after President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a War on Poverty, the U.S. rental-assistance programs expanded through that initiative—public housing and rental vouchers—have provided a measure of stability for participating families and their children.

Segregated Housing, Segregated Schools (Education Week, March 25, 2014)
School reform alone cannot substantially raise performance of the poorest African-American students unless we also improve the conditions that leave too many children unprepared to take advantage of what schools have to offer.

Questioning Parental Involvement (Education Week, March 24, 2014)
Healthy parenting is more art than science. What works well with one child does not work for another, even in the same family. Moreover, there are racial and cultural differences that play a powerful role. For example, the study found that white parents are at least twice as likely as black and Hispanic parents to request a specific teacher. Since the single most important in-school factor in learning is the teacher, this difference is significant.

Racial minorities are more likely than white students to be suspended from school, to have less access to rigorous math and science classes, and to be taught by lower-paid teachers with less experience, according to comprehensive data released Friday by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

Study Finds No Upswing in Racially Isolated Schools (Education Week, March 13, 2014)
Using one type of school segregation measurement, Arace could be considered racially segregated because black students there share the school with relatively few students of other races. This type of indicator is known as an “exposure” or “isolation” index because it indicates whether the school’s demographics promote isolation or exposure among students of different races.

New data from the National Center for Education Statistics forecast a decline in the number of high school graduates over the next decade and college enrollment rising, but at a much slower pace than in recent years.

The American Association of University Women came out in support of the Common Core State Standards yesterday. And while education groups have been announcing their common-core allegiances left and right, what's interesting in this case is that the organization cites the need to close the STEM gender gap as a major reason for its support.

Common Core and Parent Engagement (Education Week, February 18, 2014)
School leaders can leverage parent engagement by explaining to parents that the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are part of a larger effort aimed at ensuring all students graduate from high school ready for college and career. The Standards promote three important goals: addressing a smaller number of learning objectives but in greater depth; providing challenges so that all students have access to rigorous coursework; and assuring quality of curriculum and assessments across states. Paired with effective and engaging instruction, the CCSS hold promise for reducing learning gaps and increasing opportunities for students

Harm can continue even after bullying stops (USA Today, February 17, 2014)
Intervening early to stop bullying is important because the health effects – including anxiety, depression and impaired self-worth – can persist even after bullying stops, a study shows.

Getting Low-Income Students on the College-Degree Path (Education Week, February 12, 2014)
In January, the White House hosted more than 100 college, philanthropic, and nonprofit leaders at the College Opportunity Summit, where first lady Michelle Obama announced: “It is our mission … to take real, meaningful action that will help our young people get into college and, more importantly, actually get their degree.”

Testing To, and Beyond, the Common Core (NAESP, February 1, 2014)
After more than a decade of test-driven, high-stakes accountability in the No Child Left Behind era, many educators and policymakers in the United States are looking to move toward a more thoughtful approach. Rather than maintaining a system that uses narrow measures of student achievement to sanction poorly performing schools, the push is now to implement next-generation learning goals that encourage higher-order thinking skills.

The Children’s Defense Fund’s recent report on The State of America’s Children 2014 shows children of color are already a majority of all children under two, and in five years children of color will be the majority of all children in America. All of our children -- including all of our Black children -- truly must be ready in critical mass to take their place among the workers, educators, members of the military and political leaders of tomorrow. America is going to be left behind if our children are not enabled to get ahead and prepared, in Dr. Woodson’s words, to “answer the present call of duty.” Yet CDF found the state of Black children in America today is grim.

Although the Common Core standards contain significant shifts for teaching and learning, decades of research highlight successful programs and curricula that demonstrate educational rigor and equity is possible for students who live in poverty.

SIG Program Gets Makeover in Newly Passed Budget (Education Week, January 28, 2014)
After more than three years of a strong federal footprint when it comes to turning around the lowest-performing schools, states and districts may get a lot more say over how they spend millions in school improvement dollars—a consequence of the $1.1 trillion spending bill that rocketed through Congress this month.

Young Americans from low-income families are as likely to move into the ranks of the affluent today as those born in the 1970s, according to a report by several top academic experts on inequality.

Newer Advocacy Groups Find Foot Soldiers in Parents (Education Week, January 15, 2014)
Jose A. Herrera, the father of two school-age children in New York City, said he used to be completely disengaged from politics—he didn’t even vote. But that all changed after he successfully teamed up with other parents to push to move his elder son’s charter school from a community center into a real school building, where students would have access to a cafeteria, a library, and a gym.

Two Courts Aim to Move Education Beyond Race (Education Week, January 14, 2014)
Two federal courts issued important rulings affecting race and education over the past week, serving reminders that those two issues remain inexorably entwined. But both decisions, in their respective ways, aim to move parts of the country beyond race.

A new analysis of test-taking data finds that in Mississippi and Montana, no female, African American, or Hispanic students took the Advanced Placement exam in computer science.

The Common Core State Standards can be intimidating for those of us who teach students who are English-language learners or have special needs. How can we get a jump-start on preparing our students to succeed?

The first intensive federal monitoring of No Child Left Behind Act waivers shows states struggling to intervene in schools with the biggest achievement gaps, to ensure that the worst schools implement the right improvement strategies, and to help English-learners adjust to new standards.

50 Years Later, War on Poverty Is a Mixed Bag (The New York Times, January 4, 2014)
To many Americans, the war on poverty declared 50 years ago by President Lyndon B. Johnson has largely failed. The poverty rate has fallen only to 15 percent from 19 percent in two generations, and 46 million Americans live in households where the government considers their income scarcely adequate.

In 1997, Education Week first published Quality Counts as a report card assessing state progress in adopting policy measures in several key areas. The annual report offered a way for policymakers to track central tenets of standards-based reform, a movement continuing to come into its own as a major force in K-12 education.

In order to achieve success in the classroom with African American and Latino students, the educator must understand the population that he/she teaches, as well as consistently analyze if his/her teaching practices are effective. If you do not understand the population of students you teach, your success in the classroom can be greatly minimized.

What Can U.S. Schools Learn From Other Nations? (Education Week, December 19, 2013)
At least two factors—the evolution of the global economy and ongoing concerns about the quality of American education—are fueling interest in how other nations approach teaching and learning.

Reading and mathematics achievement on national tests stagnated in many big-city districts since 2011, but rose notably in a few, especially in the historically low-performing school systems in the District of Columbia and Los Angeles, where students demonstrated progress in both subjects.

A coalition of nearly 100 groups is turning up the heat on the U.S. Department of Education over its decision to roll back a requirement pertaining to "teacher equity," or ensuring that poor and minority students have access to the most capable teachers.

In Nevada during the 2011-12 school year, 86 schools were in "restructuring" under the No Child Left Behind Act—the most aggressive sanction under the federal school accountability law.

There's still a mountain of PISA data to dig into (with caveats in mind, of course). But one piece I've found particularly compelling is that, in the United States, there was no statistical difference between boys' and girls' scores in either math or science. In many other countries, the 2012 OECD report notes, "marked gender differences in mathematics performance—in favour of boys—are observed." Three years ago, American boys outperformed girls in math on PISA; their science scores were similar.

One in four K-12 public school parents believe their child's school isn't placing enough emphasis on physical education, according to a new survey from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Harvard School of Public Health, and National Public Radio.

A new survey of students and teachers involved in tablet programs implemented in schools in two of the nation's largest school districts looks to get to the bottom of the efficacy of 1-to-1 tablet initiatives in classrooms.

Students who entered first grade with limited reading skills made substantial progress in both reading words and comprehension through the Reading Recovery intervention, according to first-year results of the program's massive expansion under the federal Investing in Innovation grant.

The U.S. Department of Education has chosen Leed Management Consulting, a small Silver Spring, Md., company, to become the new manager of its $2 million contract for the clearinghouse better known as NCELA. Leed was the Education Department's first choice a year ago. But the contract was withdrawn after formal protests with the federal Small Business Administration and the Government Accountability Office prompted the department to take "corrective action" and review the procurement process that led up to the award being issued to Leed.

Duncan tries to quell uproar over Common Core comments (Washington Post, November 19, 2013)
Education Secretary Arne Duncan tried Monday to quell the outrage sparked by his comments that injected race and class into the debate about the Common Core academic standards taking root in classrooms across the country.

Want to Close the Achievement Gap? Require Pre-K (Education Week, November 14, 2013)
We are a nation convinced our schools need to be different, our students more successful, and our graduates more ready. In our quest to achieve this, opposing camps have formed regarding standards and assessment. It seems common sense and common ground are receding to the background. Let's bring them forward and start at the beginning. There are some fundamentals that could help.

Students who qualify for federal lunch subsidies receive less effective instruction in school, on average. And that disparity appears to be a function of the schools those students attend, rather than the classes they're assigned, concludes a federally financed study released last week.

The reading and math achievement of the nation's English-language learners in 4th and 8th grades shows few signs of budging, according to national test data results released last week. Results from the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress, better known as NAEP, or the nation's report card, show that 8th grade English-language learners posted an average score in math that rose by two points since 2011, the last time the test was given, and one point in reading on the exam's 500-point scale, though neither is a statistically significant gain. For 4th grade ELLs, the average math score was exactly the same as two years ago and for reading, it dropped by one point, which was not a statistically significant change.

While minorities worry more than whites about paying for higher education, a new survey finds that Latinos, Asian-Americans and African-Americans are more likely to see value in the investment for themselves and for the country overall.

The reading and mathematics achievement of the country’s 8th grade students improved in the last two years, but the performance of 4th graders remains stubbornly mixed, with progress in math, but not in reading, according to national test data released Thursday.

Facing Racism (Education Week, November 7, 2013)
Adding the element of race to a discussion makes people uncomfortable. It is as if some illusive, powerful force has entered and takes up all the air. For all the hope we hold as our national image, we can be a hard place. In fact, we have a horrible and unhealed history. It becomes difficult to move forward because we are not expanding our understanding. It is a rare moment....and one of true opportunity...when someone opens a door to welcome a different perspective and a dialogue is entered that can hold multiple truths of those whose life experiences are vastly different. Yet, educators cannot avoid these face to face encounters...in fact, we must seek them out... if we aspire to create environments safe for all students and produce a generation of young adults who will lead well in a multi-cultural, multi racial world.

High School Dropout Rate: Causes and Costs (Education Week, November 6, 2013)
On Monday I dug into the current state of high school dropouts and where American students today stand in historic statistics. In my research, I discovered that while dropout percentages are much lower today than they were a few decades ago, there is still a lot of room for improvement.

Schools Still See Surges in Homeless Students (Education Week, November 5, 2013)
In the year after Hurricane Katrina buffeted the Gulf Coast, Denise Riemer and Larissa Dickinson, both homeless education liaisons for their school district, saw more than 2,000 homeless students and their families in the public schools in Mobile, Ala.

Rethinking Parent Engagement (Education Week, October 30, 2013)
It's that time of the school year, where droves of parents descend upon their children's schools for parent-teacher conferences. Unfortunately, for many, this will be the first and last time parents and teachers see each other this year. We might see them at the book fair or the field trip to the museum, but the challenge for schools is to engage parents in more meaningful ways.

Most States Surpass Global Average in Math, Science (Education Week, October 24, 2013)
A new analysis of how all U.S. states stack up against countries around the world shows that 8th grade students in 35 states outperformed the international average in math and those in 46 did so in science.

Why We Don’t Use the Word “Bully” to Label Kids (StopBullying.gov, October 23, 2013)
The labels bully, victim, and target are used often by media, researchers and others to refer to children who bully others and children who are bullied. Yet, you won’t find these terms used in this way on StopBullying.gov. For example, rather than calling a child a "bully," our website refers to "the child who bullied."

Who Is an 'English-Language Learner'? (Pew Charitable Trusts, October 22, 2013)
If a U.S. student learning English were to drive across the country, he would find that in some states he would be classified an “English-language learner,” eligible to receive extra support. In other states, the same student would not qualify for the special designation—or the additional help.

Common Core and Disadvantaged Students (Education Week, October 22, 2013)
It's no secret that there has been plenty of heated debate about the Common Core State Standards. Supporters say we need the standards to strengthen our workforce. Opponents contend that control over educational expectations should rest with local school boards and teachers, causing some lawmakers to back away from the standards. In May, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed legislation delaying common-core implementation in his state; funding for the standards has stalled in Michigan; and bills scrapping the common core are pending in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

Language-Gap Study Bolsters a Push for Pre-K (New York Times, October 21, 2013)
Nearly two decades ago, a landmark study found that by age 3, the children of wealthier professionals have heard words millions more times than those of less educated parents, giving them a distinct advantage in school and suggesting the need for increased investment in prekindergarten programs.

Students in poverty have been repeatedly shown to have poorer working memory than higher income students, but those working memory problems seem to differ between students in rural and urban poverty.

Most school districts are trying to come to terms with disappointing results on the new, harder state tests for grades 3 to 8. But districts with large numbers of Spanish-speaking students got absolutely blasted on the new tests and now have to figure out how to move forward.

A collection of big-name state and local government groups really, really wants U.S. Senate leaders to bring a bill to the floor to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and soon.

Expecting the Best Yields Results in Massachusetts (The New York Times, September 12, 2013)
Conventional wisdom and popular perception hold that American students are falling further and further behind in science and math achievement. The statistics from this state tell a different story.

The widespread adoption of the common-core standards and the imminent rollout of shared content assessments is pushing states to find common ground in yet another dimension of schooling: how best to serve the growing population of English-language learners.

Calling Black Men To The Blackboard (Shanker Blog, September 4, 2013)
The parallels between prisons and schools are well-documented. The term “school-to-prison pipeline” refers to the fact that many school systems are unable to provide struggling students with enough skills and support, thereby increasing their likelihood of entering correctional facilities. Those students most trapped in this pipeline are Black males. Given this reality, like Attorney General Holder, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan described a policy initiative aimed at improving the in- and out-of-school outcomes for Black boys: increase the number Black male teachers in U.S. public schools.

Federal Survey Examines Parent Engagement in Education (Education Week, September 3, 2013)
A new national survey finds that most parents are attending their schools' parent-teacher conferences, receiving school notes and e-mails, and helping their children with homework.

Recently, New York City mayoral potential Christine Quinn announced a plan to open five all-girls tech-based middle schools. She addressed the gender gap in areas like engineering and computer science when explaining her reasoning on Women's Equality Day. Under her plan, each of the five New York City boroughs would open a STEM-based school designed to influence girls at a key point in their development.

On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called on educators and students to advance a civil rights agenda that presses for equal opportunities—and not just equal rights.

Education and Civil Rights, 50 Years After the March on Washington (US Department of Education Blog, August 27, 2013)
Civil rights means having the same opportunities that other people do –regardless of what you look like, where you come from, or whom you love.

Study: Waivers Leave Behind At-Risk Students (Education Week, August 27, 2013)
Millions of at-risk students could fall through the cracks as the Education Department gives states permission to ignore parts of No Child Left Behind, according to a study education advocates released Tuesday.

Bullying's Long Shadow (Education Week, August 23, 2013)
According to a new study published in the August edition of Psychological Science, victims of bullying, including those who go on to bully others, are at increased risk of bad health, poor finances, and unstable relationships, years after bullying occurs.

Turnarounds Take Leadership, Humility  (Education Week, August 21, 2013)
There is a connotation of simplicity that comes with the phrase "school turnaround," as if it involved a business merely in need of better management and modern marketing. There is also at least a hint of arrogance.

Most students are not adequately prepared to face the rigor of college, according to the latest ACT scores , which also show that the average composite score on the college-entrance exam fell from last year.

Closing the Achievement Gap: What Lies Ahead (Education Week, August 21, 2013)
A University of Chicago report found that closing the achievement gap between students of color, or with documented economic disadvantages, was completely stagnant from 1990 to 2000. A 2007 report by the National Assessment of Educational Progress found that white students scored an average of 26 points higher on reading and math standardized tests for 4th and 8th grade (on a scale of 0 to 500). A recognition of the fact that the achievement gap exists - and that it is in everyone's best interest to close it - has become a standard of the K-12 education conversation.

Instruction in English and in a child's home language in the preschool and early elementary years leads to the best outcomes for the youngest dual-language learners, both in terms of academic-content achievement and as English-language proficiency, a new research review and policy brief concludes.

Minority and low-income parents are more likely to see serious problems in their schools—from low expectations to bullying to out-of-date technology and textbooks—than those who are affluent or white, according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research Poll.

Often criticized as too prescriptive and all-consuming, standardized tests have support among parents, who view them as a useful way to measure both students’ and schools’ performances, according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll.

That's because recently, under a legal challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union and its local affiliates, the Wood County Board of Education agreed to abandon for two school years its program of separating boys and girls into single-sex classes. The ACLU had filed a lawsuit on behalf of a mother and her daughters who claimed the sex segregation was a form of sex discrimination against girls.

Obama Says Income Gap Is Fraying U.S. Social Fabric (The New York Times, July 27, 2013)
In a week when he tried to focus attention on the struggles of the middle class, President Obama said in an interview that he was worried that years of widening income inequality and the lingering effects of the financial crisis had frayed the country’s social fabric and undermined Americans’ belief in opportunity.

The expansion is the result of an unusual tactic that the network once known as the Knowledge Is Power Program has developed to help its students get into and through college. Starting in October 2011, KIPP and college leaders signed pledges to create recruiting pipelines and campus support systems for students who often lack the higher-education connections routinely found in affluent communities.

Achievement Gap Narrows on Long-Term NAEP (Education Week, June 27, 2013)
Achievement gaps for black and Hispanic youths have declined by substantial margins in reading and math since the early 1970s, according to new federal data issued recently. The gaps with their white peers, while still in evidence, have narrowed across all three age levels tested as part of a national assessment of long-term trends that offers a look at test data spanning some 40 years.

Thornton, 45, the first African-American man to head the National PTA, said in an interview that the organization's membership must become more diverse as it advocates on behalf of the nation's children.

Breaking the Gender-Labeling Habit Early  (Education Week, June 14, 2013)
In February of this year, the department of elementary and secondary education for my state of Massachusetts issued guidelines that grant transgender students Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader the right to access school bathrooms, use locker rooms, and play on athletic teams for their preferred, self-identified gender. The document also directs schools to honor student preferences for name and gender-specific pronoun usage. It is relatively easy to see how these newly protected rights relate to the high school setting, but it is less clear what the appropriate translation should be for our younger students who are more likely to be perplexed by their feelings and unclear regarding their choices.

The pamphlet provides background on school retention problems associated with young parents and the requirements related to these issues contained in the Department’s regulation implementing Title IX, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq. As the pamphlet explains, it is illegal under Title IX for schools to exclude pregnant students (or students who have been pregnant) from participating in any part of an educational program, including extracurricular activities. Schools may implement special instructional programs or classes for pregnant students, but participation must be completely voluntary on the part of the student. Also, the programs and classes must be comparable to those offered to other students with regard to the range of academic, extracurricular and enrichment opportunities.

Record numbers of Hispanic students are staying in high school, graduating and enrolling in college, but they lag behind other groups in preschool attendance, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Wednesday morning.

High school students are being told to take more rigorous math and science courses if they want to be prepared for college and get lucrative jobs in STEM careers.

Schools are flooded with data these days, but students, parents, teachers, and administrators often lack the ability to make use of it because the systems for collecting, storing, and analyzing that information don't mesh with each other, many officials who work with, or in, K-12 education say.

Disputes over Arizona's approach to educating English-language learners show few signs of abating as the plaintiffs in a 2-decade-old lawsuit continue to challenge the state's requirement that such students spend more than half their school day learning English, with little access to other academic content.

I remember a conversation that I had with my dad. It was short, mostly one-sided, and incredibly memorable. With a thick Spanish accent, and a somewhat intimidating look, my dad asked, "Pérsida, to what college you go?"

We Must Create Opportunities for STEM Learning (Education Week, May 14, 2013)
Our country is in trouble. That's the key takeaway from my experience as the undersecretary in the U.S. Department of Education. We have been inching along in math and science while other countries are speeding forward. The United States ranked 25th in math and 17th in science in the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment.

On the first day of school, Juyeon sat in my second grade classroom crying. Her arms were locked around the back of her chair. I tried to comfort her but it didn't work. She looked at me but didn't understand a word I was saying. As the rest of my class met on the rug for the first time so we could go over the calendar, rules, and read a book, she sat sobbing because she was scared. How couldn't she be? Two weeks before the beginning of school she moved to the U.S. from Seoul, Korea.

Analyzing survey responses from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Andrew Adesman of Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York found that about 16 percent of high school students reported being electronically bullied within 12 months of the survey. And girls were more than twice as likely to report being a cyberbullying victim.

A parent is a child’s first and most important teacher, but our approaches to family engagement often fall short of recognizing the full potential of partnerships between schools and families. The challenges we face in education require that we go beyond these basic messages on family engagement – moving from communication to collaboration among schools and families.

Latino students have reached a new milestone in the United States: A higher percentage who graduate from high school are enrolling in college than white students.

School Climate Matters (Education Week, May 8, 2013)
Distilling more than 200 studies and literature reviews, they concluded that "sustained positive school climate is associated with positive child and youth development, effective risk-prevention and health-promotion efforts, student learning and academic achievement, increased student graduation rates, and teacher retention."

How far has the women's movement moved in the last 40 years? (ACLU Women's Rights Project, April 25, 2013)
Forty years ago, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) board of directors determined that women's rights should be the organisation's highest priority. Then executive director Aryeh Neier, created the ACLU Women's Rights Project and named Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the first director. Since then, Ginsburg has become a justice on the United States Supreme Court, and the Women's Rights Project (WRP) has won many landmark court decisions, achieved significant legislative successes, and shifted public awareness and understanding of women's equality.

Investments in Education May Be Misdirected (New York Times, April 2, 2013)
Children of mothers who had graduated from college scored much higher at age 3 than those whose mothers had dropped out of high school, proof of the advantage for young children of living in rich, stimulating environments.

Honors Classes: A Need for More Diversity  (Edutopia, March 28, 2013)
I work in a middle school that many would call diverse, if you were looking at nationalities rather than race. The student body is 49 percent Latino and 49 percent Asian. The Asian demographic is, however, divided into many different countries, from China to Vietnam. So it should go without saying that our honors classes, those classes helping to move students beyond simply meeting the standards and into more rigorous, pre-AP level discussions and material, should reflect that same break down, right? Wrong.

Partners Are Essential (Education Week, March 26, 2013)
Leaders and their schools need partners in this business of educating society's youth and creating responsible, productive, creative and active citizens. Hopefully, these young people will possess values, conscience and courage as well. If we truly care about that whole description, we need partners.

The experiences of English-language learners in some of the nation's largest school systems vary widely when it comes to who teaches them, what types of language instruction programs are available to them, and how well schools do in supporting their progress toward becoming proficient in English.

All the bleak statistics about Minnesota's achievement gap became personal to fifth-grade teacher Jen Engel, when she realized that gap was playing out in her own classroom.

Better Colleges Failing to Lure Talented Poor (The New York Times, March 16, 2013)
Most low-income students who have top test scores and grades do not even apply to the nation’s best colleges, according to a new analysis of every high school student who took the SAT in a recent year.

The fragmented nature of data systems in school districts, a lack of common data standards across states, and the financial challenges of providing professional development to data users in schools combine to leave many districts and states struggling to provide meaningful, real-time data about student performance to educators.

Survey Suggests Hurdles for Math, Science Teaching (Education Week, March 12, 2013)
A rich new set of survey data on math and science teachers highlights some big challenges the nation faces if it hopes to significantly increase student achievement in those disciplines. It also drives home, experts say, the huge need to support teachers as districts begin implementing the common-core math standards, and as an effort to develop common standards for science nears completion.

The U.S. Department of Education released provisional school-level graduation rates for 2010-11 – the first school year for which all states used a common, rigorous measure for reporting high school graduates. The data release furthers the Department's efforts to provide transparent information to parents and students about their schools and ensure all schools are preparing students for college and careers.

Improving a struggling school's climate can be both the foundation of long-term school improvement and a source of immediate, visible progress for a new principal. The tricky part for many principals, experts say, is translating an idyllic vision into classroom reality.

Biggest study ever says KIPP gains substantial (Washington Post, March 4, 2013)
KIPP, previously known as the Knowledge Is Power Program, has had more success than any other large educational organization in raising the achievement of low-income students, both nationally and in the District. But many good educators, burned by similarly hopeful stories in the past, have wondered whether KIPP were for real.

Technology has become essential to middle school and high school learning, but a gap in access to the Internet between the rich and poor is leading to troubling disparities in education, according to a survey of teachers.

The U.S. Department of Education today issued a Dear Colleague letter to state school chiefs requesting immediate action to reduce gender-based violence in schools and to help ensure all students are safe. The letter and additional materials were released during a White House event on teen dating violence prevention, which was part of National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, and the Obama Administration’s efforts to raise awareness of gender-based violence.

Ensuring Safe Schools for LGBT Youth (U.S Department of Education, February 20, 2013)
This past weekend in San Diego, I had the opportunity to participate in the 4th Annual National Educator Conference focused on creating safe, supportive, and inclusive schools for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth. A goal of the conference, presented by the Center for Excellence in School Counseling and Leadership (CESCaL), was to bring together education leaders and LGBT experts to empower and provide educators and school personnel with the knowledge and skills necessary to create safe, welcoming and inclusive school environments for all youth, regardless of their sexual orientation.

Why Gender Equality Stalled (The New Yorok Times, February 16, 2013)
THIS week is the 50th anniversary of the publication of Betty Friedan’s international best seller, “The Feminine Mystique,” which has been widely credited with igniting the women’s movement of the 1960s. Readers who return to this feminist classic today are often puzzled by the absence of concrete political proposals to change the status of women. But “The Feminine Mystique” had the impact it did because it focused on transforming women’s personal consciousness.

The Boys at the Back (The New York Times, February 2, 2013)
Boys score as well as or better than girls on most standardized tests, yet they are far less likely to get good grades, take advanced classes or attend college. Why? A study coming out this week in The Journal of Human Resources gives an important answer. Teachers of classes as early as kindergarten factor good behavior into grades — and girls, as a rule, comport themselves far better than boys.

High school students are increasingly interested in pursuing STEM majors and careers, a new report finds, with about 1 in 4 now stating such an inclination. But a longstanding gender gap is widening, the data show, with fewer females than males signaling STEM interest.

Internships Help Students Prepare for Workplace (Education Week, January 29, 2013)
Internships and job shadowing offer a close-up look at life in the workplace, yet some high school students are so focused on academics that they pass up the opportunity, or they are uncertain about their interests and don't know where to start.

Selling a New Generation on Guns (New York Times, January 26, 2013)
Threatened by long-term declining participation in shooting sports, the firearms industry has poured millions of dollars into a broad campaign to ensure its future by getting guns into the hands of more, and younger, children.

Mexican-American preschoolers start school way behind their white counterparts. Their poor language and pre-literacy skills put them at a huge disadvantage academically. But new research is showing that their social skills are fully developed and robust by the time they start school and are indistinguishable from their white peers. Experts believe the new findings have promising implications.

National High School Graduation Rate Climbs (Education Week, January 22, 2013)
The national high school graduation rate has improved notably, with 78.2 percent of public school students receiving a diploma in 2009-10, up from 75.5 percent the year before, according to the newest figures released from the National Center for Education Statistics Tuesday.

As I read M. Kristiina Montero's article "Literary Artistic Spaces Engage Middle Grades Teachers and Students in Critical-Multicultural Dialogue" (Middle School Journal, November 2012, pp. 30-38), I thought about student voices and how critical they are to school safety and climate. Our journey to better school safety involves tentative steps and uncertain landscapes. We have safety plans, crisis teams, and protocol notebooks--and thank goodness we do. Maybe our next steps to improve school safety and climate should include other items on this new path; items that connect to the middle grades student.

When it comes to helping students make the jump from high school to college, every little bit helps. New research presented at the American Economic Association conference suggests mentoring, even in the closing months of high school, can push students to continue their academic careers.

Anti-Poverty Program Found to Yield Few Academic Gains (Education Week, January 15, 2013)
Ten to 15 years after leaving neighborhoods of concentrated poverty, children of the Moving to Opportunity program are in most ways no better off than their peers who stayed put. But new findings from the ongoing study of their urban communities suggest more comprehensive school-neighborhood improvement initiatives stand a better chance of breaking the cycle of poverty.

For Girls, Teachers' Gender Matters, Study Says (Education Week, January 15, 2013)
Girls taught by a female teacher got a learning boost if that teacher had a strong math background, but had consistently lower math performance by the end of the school year if she didn't, according to a study presented at the American Economic Association's annual conference here.

A new survey tool that school districts and parent-teacher organizations can use to measure the quality of parent-school relationships has been created by the Harvard Graduate School of Education and released by SurveyMonkey, a Palo Alto, Calif., company, for widespread use by schools, districts, and parent groups.

A new report projects that, by the 2019-20 school year, 45 percent of public high school graduates in the United States will be nonwhite, up by more than 7 percent over the class of 2009 and driven by a rapid increase in the number of Hispanics completing high school.

How to Create a Boy-Friendly School (Education Week, January 7, 2013)
He is sitting in your classroom, in your school, in your district. As every day goes by, more boys are disengaging, becoming apathetic. Boys are at risk. The statistics bear it out and, despite a decade of talking about it, the trend continues downward. Parents are wringing their hands and teachers are frustrated. It's time we ask the question: Why isn't school a better fit for so many of our boys?

Whether you teacher teenagers or five-year-olds, keeping in touch with students and/or their parents is often on a teacher’s to-do list. Gone are the days of sending home hand-written and photocopied notes to parents, this is 2013. So how do important messages get passed along these days? In “real” life (read: non-school life), most people are sending text messages to pass along their most important (and unimportant!) messages to those who need to know.

U.S. Math, Science Achievement Exceeds World Average (Education Week, December 11, 2012)
The math and science achievement of U.S. students continues to surpass the global average for nations taking part in a prominent assessment, results issued Tuesday show, but several East Asian countries and jurisdictions far outpace the United States, especially in mathematics.

As 34 states move ahead with the plans that granted them U.S. Department of Education waivers from parts of the No Child Left Behind law, a team of researchers at the American Institutes for Research have been developing guides to help states and districts keep the promises they made to win the flexibility.

For many, it’s just common sense. The more a student’s family is engaged in their child’s learning and in the improvement of their child’s school, the better off the student and the school. On Wednesday, Secretary Duncan joined more than 80 family engagement thought leaders at DC’s Scholars Stanton Elementary School to discuss the strong correlation between family engagement and academic outcomes, and how the Department of Education can provide more support.

NAEP Data on Vocabulary Achievement Show Same Gaps (Education Week, December 6, 2012)
A new analysis of federal data that provide a deeper and more systematic look into students’ ability to understand the meaning of words in context than was previously available from “the nation’s report card” finds stark achievement gaps in vocabulary across racial and ethnic groups, as well as income levels.

'Soft Skills' Pushed as Part of College Readiness  (Education Week, November 13, 2012)
To make it in college, students need to be up for the academic rigor. But that's not all. They also must be able to manage their own time, get along with roommates, and deal with setbacks. Resiliency and grit, along with the ability to communicate and advocate, are all crucial life skills. Yet, experts say, many teenagers lack them, and that's hurting college-completion rates.

Research Traces Impacts of Childhood Adversity (Education Week, November 6, 2012)
While educators and psychologists have said for decades that the effects of poverty interfere with students' academic achievement, new evidence from cognitive and neuroscience is showing exactly how adversity in childhood damages students' long-term learning and health.

Funders Set New Round of Support for STEM Teachers (Education Week, November 2, 2012)
A national network is launching a second “innovation fund” with a goal of raising $20 million to support what it calls entrepreneurial approaches to bringing more high-quality teachers into the STEM disciplines.

At S.C. School, Behavior Is One of the Basics (Education Week, October 25, 2012)
Along with reading, science, and mathematics classes, every student here at Haut Gap Middle School takes a course in how to be a Haut Gap student.

From STEM to ST2REAM (Education Week, October 24, 2012)
Countless millennia before the acronym STEM—for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—entered our modern lexicon, early man was already engaged in STEM endeavors. Our ancestors spent significant portions of their days experimenting, tinkering, and thinking their way through myriad problems and challenges. During those prehistoric periods, the dreamers, the designers, and the builders identified the urgent problems, and subsequently crafted tools, crude instruments, and strategies to resolve them, working collaboratively for both survival and human progress.

First Focus releases America’s Report Card on child well-being (America's Promise Alliance, October 18, 2012)
America earned a lackluster C- grade on child well-being, according to a national report card released by First Focus and Save the Children. Artist Ambassador for Save the Children Jennifer Garner joined Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn., retired) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) to announce the findings of America’s Report Card 2012: Children in the U.S.. Commissioned by Sen. Dodd and Sen. Casey, the report card provides a holistic picture of unmet needs in five areas of a child’s life: economic security, early childhood education, K-12 education, permanence and stability, and health and safety.

In 31 / 2 years in office, President Obama has set in motion a broad overhaul of public education from kindergarten through high school, largely bypassing Congress and inducing states to adopt landmark changes that none of his predecessors attempted.

Low Proficiency Seen on Computer-Based NAEP Writing Exam (Education Week, September 19, 2012)
After decades of paper-and-pencil tests, the new results from the "nation's report card" in writing come from a computer-based assessment for the first time, but only about one-quarter of the 8th and 12th graders performed at the proficient level or higher. And the proficiency rates were far lower for black and Hispanic students.

The United States lags behind most of the world's leading economies when it comes to providing early-childhood-education opportunities, despite improvements in recent years, a study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development shows.

New Studies Dissect School Turnarounds (Education Week, September 19, 2012)
What makes one low-performing school turn around and build momentum over time, while another, seemingly similar school tries the same strategies but continues to struggle? It's not just particular programs or practices, but the interplay of school implementation with district policies and support, according to the Institute of Education Sciences' Turning Around Low-Performing Schools project —the most comprehensive federal research on such schools to date.

NSF Awards Grants for Climate-Change Education (Education Week, August 28, 2012)
Efforts to advance climate-change education in schools and communities are getting a boost from a new set of six grants awarded by the National Science Foundation, totaling more than $33 million over five years. The federal aid will support a number of initiatives, including a joint project in Delaware and Maryland to help schools deliver effective and regionally relevant instruction in grades 8-12, and work led by the New England Aquarium to enhance opportunities for climate-change education in zoos, aquariums, and other out-of-school settings.

Starving the Future (The New York Times, August 25, 2012)
America is in trouble. Emerging economic powers China and India are heavily investing in educating the world’s future workers while we squabble about punishing teachers and coddling children

AP Interview: Duncan on reform and back to school (AP Education Writers, August 6, 2012)
A more well-rounded curriculum with less focus on a single test. Higher academic standards and more difficult classwork. Continued cuts to extracurricular and other activities because of the tough economy. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says those are some of the changes and challenges that children could notice as they start the new school year.

Ensuring your students' academic success depends a lot on how organized and ready they are. To help your child this school year, make sure you work together to become organized. With school just around the corner, this is a great time to develop a plan.

In 1988 West Virginia passed a law aimed at keeping high school students in school by tying their driving privileges to attendance. The following year the state reported that its high school dropout rate decreased by one-third. After the new policy’s success, others states followed suit with their own sanctions: Tennessee in 1990, Kentucky in 1991, Alabama in 1993.

Engaging Families: Supporting Students From Cradle to Career (U.S. Department of Education, August 1, 2012)
The Office of Communications and Outreach family engagement specialists work with state and local education agencies to empower parents with the information and training they need to be full partners in the education and the academic progress of their children. Serving as an information conduit, the team recognizes that parents need to be equipped with the tools necessary to make them informed partners and equal stakeholders.

Jennifer Garner: 'Kids are hungry to learn' (Charleston Daily Mail, July 31, 2012)
Jennifer Garner, an award-winning actress and mother of three small children, does not have much extra time. So, the fact that she chooses to serve as an advocate for Save the Children speaks volumes about what the organization means to her. "I travel to D.C. a lot to do advocate work," said Garner, who for three years has held the position of artist ambassador with Save the Children's U.S. programs.

Education secretary urges balanced budget cuts (Associated Press, July 26, 2012)
Services would have to be slashed for more than 1.8 million disadvantaged students and thousands of teachers and aides would lose their jobs when automatic budget cuts kick in, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Wednesday. He urged Congress to find an alternative deficit-reduction plan that won't undermine the department's ability to serve students in high-poverty schools and improve schools with high dropout rates.

The White House announced on Thursday that it would grant seven additional waivers from restrictive provisions of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina, and Washington, D.C. will receive the newest flexibility waivers, according to a U.S. Department of Education press release. To date, 32 states and D.C. have received waivers.

Enrollment Off in Big Districts, Forcing Layoffs (New York Times, July 23, 2012)
Enrollment in nearly half of the nation’s largest school districts has dropped steadily over the last five years, triggering school closings that have destabilized neighborhoods, caused layoffs of essential staff and concerns in many cities that the students who remain are some of the neediest and most difficult to educate.

Evidence abounds that women have made huge inroads in the academic and professional spheres since the federal Title IX law on gender equity in education was enacted 40 years ago. More than half those graduating from college each year are women. The percentage of law degrees earned by females climbed from 7 percent in 1972 to about 47 percent in 2011. Likewise, far more women are earning advanced degrees in business and medicine.

Becoming a 21st-century elementary principal (SmartBlog on Education, June 27, 2012)
It seems as though being a principal has really changed. I don’t have much experience in the role compared with others — I have been an elementary principal for six years. However, day by day, it seems to be evolving into something different, which is good, because principals lead buildings that have a reputation for being caught up in the past.

Report Released on Single-Sex Education (Feminist Majority Foundation, June 26, 2012)
The Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) announced the release of a multi-year study (2007-10) of single-sex education in U.S. K-12 public schools today. This study reveals that after the Bush Department of Education weakened previous Title IX restrictions on sex segregated education in K-12 public schools in 2006, over 1,000 public schools sex segregated at least some of their classes.

The national education reform group StudentsFirst, which has set out to transform U.S. schools by introducing more free-market principles to public education, raised $7.6 million in its first nine months - and spent nearly a quarter of it on advertising - according to partial tax records released on Monday.

The unprecedented work to design assessment systems for the Common Core State Standards is bringing together K-12 and higher education in new ways. But it is also forcing new and sometimes uncomfortable discussions about the heart and soul of the enterprise: the meaning of college readiness.

You've heard tons about the common standards in mathematics and English/language arts that have been adopted by all but four states. You've heard, also, about the science frameworks that are intended to support shared standards in that subject. Now there are common standards in career and technical education.

New venture connects US teachers online (Associated Press, June 19, 2012)
Discussing education reform at Stanford University last year, the leader of one of the nation's largest teacher unions decided to turn the tables and ask a question of the audience. "You're all technology people," said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. "Could you actually help us?" Weingarten said she received one call -- from Louise Rogers, chief executive of TSL Education, a United Kingdom-based company that operates an online network that lets teachers around the globe access, review and discuss lesson plans and other learning materials.

With the 40th anniversary of Title IX just days away, one key area where questions about gender equity persist is STEM education and the under-representation of women in those professions.

Last week, 20 African-American women with various connections to athletics met in Harlem at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. This was a private event — no stage, no audience — but a gathering of accomplished, like-minded women who had come to tackle the vexing issues of gender and race. The topic was “What’s Not Being Said About the Title IX Anniversary.”

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students and the Safe and Supportive Schools Technical Assistance Center partnered with the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) to coordinate a special event on Creating a Safe and Respectful Environment on Our Nation’s School Buses. The purpose of the event was to bring together national and state leaders, representatives of key education organizations, and other federal agencies who want to improve working conditions for our nation’s school bus drivers, create a safe a respectful environment on our schools buses, and create confidence and partnerships in school with administrators, teachers, parents, students and community members.

Reviving Teaching With 'Professional Capital' (Education Week, June 6, 2012)
The results of the latest MetLife Survey of the American Teacher confirm what many of us are experiencing and seeing in the depressing descent of the teaching profession. In the past two years, the percentage of teachers surveyed who reported being very satisfied in their jobs has declined sharply, from 59 percent to 44 percent. The number who indicated they were thinking of leaving the profession has jumped from 17 percent to 29 percent. Imagine being a student knowing that every other teacher you encounter is becoming less and less satisfied, and close to one in three would rather be somewhere else.

How summer increases the achievement gap (Hechinger Ed, May 24, 2012)
As I was visiting a school in Delaware last month, an elementary school principal ushered me over to his computer to show me a graph that distressed him. It traced how one of his students, who came from a poor family, had progressed over the course of two years.

Dear Data, Please Make Yourself More Useful (Education Week, May 22, 2012)
As surely as the trees bud in spring, night turns to day, and the Kardashians provide grist for the tabloids, another education practice—the use of education data—is turning ugly. Factions are setting up camp at two extremes: one for those who believe data is the Holy Grail, and the other for those who shun it.

Making Schools Work (New York Times, May 19, 2012)
A generation later, public schools that had been ordered to integrate in the 1960s and 1970s became segregated once again, this time with the blessing of a new generation of justices. And five years ago, a splintered court delivered the coup de grâce when it decreed that a school district couldn’t voluntarily opt for the most modest kind of integration — giving parents a choice of which school their children would attend and treating race as a tiebreaker in deciding which children would go to the most popular schools. In the perverse logic of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., this amounted to “discriminating among individual students based on race.” That’s bad history, which, as Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote in an impassioned dissent, “threaten[s] the promise of Brown.”

For the first time in U.S. history, most of the nation’s babies are members of minority groups, according to new census figures that signal the dawn of an era in which whites no longer will be in the majority.

Fewer than one-third of American 8th graders are proficient in science, but most students are improving, and achievement gaps are closing between students who are black or Hispanic and their white peers, a special administration of the test known as "the nation's report card" shows.

 (Education Week, May 15, 2012)
Fewer than one-third of American 8th graders are proficient in science, but most students are improving, and achievement gaps are closing between students who are black or Hispanic and their white peers, a special administration of the test known as "the nation's report card" shows.

Many mathematics teachers are teaching topics at higher or lower grade levels—and for more years—than the Common Core State Standards recommend, according to preliminary results from new research.

Preschool teacher Jacque Radke started the school year at Kenilworth Elementary in Phoenix with a pretty typical bunch of 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds. Some of the girls had started to form cliques and “no boys allowed” lunch tables, while Ms. Radke and her instructional assistant worried that one quiet little girl was getting shunted to the sidelines by the boys.

In late March, a panel of 10 education experts gathered in Washington to nominate four most-improved urban school districts for a national education prize. What should have been a routine review of student data, however, suddenly took a new direction.

A 2010 study examining school improvement work in Chicago's lowest performing public schools found that success depends on five necessary ingredients. Not surprisingly, family engagement is one of them. Like baking a cake, researchers found that if even one ingredient was not in place, there was no recipe for success. We know this to be true, yet we fail to see family engagement made a priority in many reform movements.

No Child Left Behind and parental engagement (Education Week, April 13, 2012)
Few would quarrel with the goal of increasing parents' and families' engagement in education in the name of school improvement. But there's far less consensus on what that engagement should look like—and on how educators and policymakers should be promoting it.

Parental Engagement Proves No Easy Goal (Education Week, April 4, 2012)
Few would quarrel with the goal of increasing parents' and families' engagement in education in the name of school improvement. But there's far less consensus on what that engagement should look like—and on how educators and policymakers should be promoting it.

Over the past decade, the availability of music and visual arts instruction has changed little, and remains high, according to a comprehensive new federal report. (Dance and theater, however, are fast becoming endangered species at the elementary level.) At the same time, disparities persist in access to arts instruction for high-poverty schools, though in a number of specific categories, those schools have seen some improvements over time. For example, a greater share of high-poverty schools now employ visual arts specialists than a decade ago.

College Degree Gap Widens (Daily Yonder, March 27, 2012)
In many ways, rural America has caught up with the rest of the United States in terms of educational achievement. But over the past 40 years, the gap in the percentage of adults with college degrees has increased between urban and rural counties.

In states and school districts still struggling to recover from recession-induced funding cuts, parent and community groups are feeling the pressure to raise money for instructional staff, academic programs, and other services that districts once fully paid for but can no longer afford.

Book Argues for Economically Diverse Schools (Education Week, March 14, 2012)
At a time when research is highlighting growing achievement gaps between rich and poor students, one group of researchers, educators, and advocates met here last week to present evidence for a strategy they hope will ultimately narrow such gaps: socioeconomic integration.

Policymakers Weigh Gathering More Data for NAEP (Education Week, March 13, 2012)
As many experts raise questions about the future of "the nation's report card," the governing board for the assessment program is exploring changes aimed at leveraging the achievement data to better inform education policy and practice.

According to new research, both males and females do worse on a spatial reasoning task when they’re told that intrinsic aptitude accounts for the gender gap in the test’s results—even though the gap favors men.

Federal data show racial gaps in school arrests (Washington Post, March 6, 2012)
African American students in large school systems are arrested far more often on campus than their white peers, new federal data show. The data, from an Education Department civil rights survey to be released Tuesday, provide the government’s most extensive examination yet of how public schools across the country bring police into the handling of student offenses.

Civil Rights Data Show Retention Disparities (Education Week, March 6, 2012)
New nationwide data collected by the U.S. Department of Education's civil rights office reveal stark racial and ethnic disparities in student retentions, with black and Hispanic students far more likely than white students to repeat a grade, especially in elementary and middle school.

An Open Letter From Undocumented Students (Education Week, March 6, 2012)
In this election year, the dysfunctional immigration system in the United States is back in the spotlight. While presidential candidates debate how to solve its problems, and state and local governments pass reactionary legislation, it is estimated that more than 1 million undocumented-immigrant children attend our schools every day. Yet we are failing these vulnerable children. Their achievement levels and school success are among the lowest of any demographic group, and their high school dropout rate among the highest. Regardless of the political wrangling on this issue, or anyone's personal politics, it's time that we acknowledge these young people, their needs, and their potential.

Value-Added Evaluation Hurts Teaching  (Education Week, March 5, 2012)
Here’s the hype: New York City’s “worst teacher” was recently singled out and so labeled by the New York Post after the city’s education department released value-added test-score ratings to the media for thousands of city teachers, identifying each by name.

Improving a struggling school's climate can be both the foundation of long-term school improvement and a source of immediate, visible progress for a new principal. The tricky part for many principals, experts say, is translating an idyllic vision into classroom reality.

Students Learn Better with Engaged Parents (US News, February 20, 2012)
As kids get older and advance to high school, talking to them about their school life can become more difficult for parents. With younger children, parents may have been required to sign off on report cards and progress reports, attend more parent-teacher conferences, or simply drive their kids to school. But when students reach high school, connecting with children over school can become challenging.

We all have our stereotypes about which subjects appeal more to girls or boys. Well, in perusing a new report on the Advanced Placement program, I was intrigued to discover some hard data to help shed light on the matter. In addition to reporting participation on AP exams by racial and ethnic groups, the College Board includes the gender breakdown for all subjects tested.

Broad Changes Ahead as NCLB Waivers Roll Out (Education Week, February 9, 2012)
The waivers being granted to 10 of 11 states that applied for flexibility under the No Child Left Behind Act would allow them to make potentially broad changes in how school performance and the performance of student subgroups are judged under the decade-old law.

Education Gap Grows Between Rich and Poor, Studies Say (New York Times, February 9, 2012)
Education was historically considered a great equalizer in American society, capable of lifting less advantaged children and improving their chances for success as adults. But a body of recently published scholarship suggests that the achievement gap between rich and poor children is widening, a development that threatens to dilute education’s leveling effects.

Data Tools Aim to Predict Student Performance  (Education Week, February 8, 2012)
Education leaders in North Carolina's Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district are scrutinizing the habits and grades of elementary school students to determine who may fall off track and fail to graduate from high school a decade or more from now.

Bringing STEM Into Focus  (Education Week, February 1, 2012)
What do we intend when using the acronym STEM? It literally stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, but what does it mean? Arguably, attempts to provide a meaningful response to these questions have not stuck. It is not for lack of trying, however. State education agencies, national membership organizations, advocacy groups, and state policymakers have been seeking definitions for STEM for quite some time, and with good reason. Today, not only do we have numerous definitions of STEM, but we also have branded numerous entities to be STEM councils, STEM schools, STEM networks, and STEM curricular outcomes. Despite the well-intended branding, understanding of the brand itself remains elusive. It is a conundrum.

A new report offers a "bleak picture" of the state of state science standards across the nation, with just over half earning a grade of D or F. Among the 10 states to receive a failing grade were Idaho, Oregon, and Wisconsin. (See the full list below.) Only California and the District of Columbia were given a solid A, while four states were handed an A-minus, according to the review by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a Washington-based think tank.

The White House recently received the latest class of National Board Certified teachers, and asked those who were from some of America’s most remote and distant rural communities about the realities of what it is like to teach in rural America.

Reform for English Language Learners (Education Week, January 19, 2012)
In my first post, I addressed educational drawbacks that English language learners may encounter in schools. In today's post I would like to address how schools and districts can be more resourceful in closing the achievement gap. Experts believe the way schools support, assess, and track could be pivotal in meeting the needs of this diverse group of students.

A study on publicly run schools in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago has found that, while single-sex schools may benefit female students who prefer a single-sex environment, they are not inherently beneficial for boys or most girls.

What Works in School Turnarounds?  (Education Week, January 18, 2012)
There is, in fact, a knowledge base about how to transform struggling schools, and it is drawn from the small but significant number of failing schools that have been transformed into models of success.

Few States Cite Full Plans for Carrying Out Standards (Education Week, January 12, 2012)
Forty-six states and the District of Columbia have adopted a common set of academic standards, but only seven have fully developed plans to put the standards into practice in three key areas, according to a studyRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader released last week.

The 16th edition of Quality Counts continues the report's tradition of tracking key education indicators and grading the states on their policy efforts and outcomes. Each year, Quality Counts provides new results for a portion of the policy and performance categories that constitute the framework for the report's State of the States analysis. The 2012 edition presents updated scores and letter grades, for the states and the nation as a whole, in five of six areas perennially tracked by the report.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear appeals in cases involving special education and Title IX.

Out-of-School Time Drawing Girls Into STEM (Education Week, January 5, 2012)
A group of high school girls listen eagerly for their mission: Use the tools on hand to design a self-propelled boat that can cross water with 50 passengers on board. The passengers: pennies. The tools: pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, and balloons. The water: an inflatable kiddie pool.

According to a report released Friday by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, victims of bullying are often, as a result of social and emotional hurdles, distanced from learning, disadvantaged academically and more likely to fall behind in school attendance. Although the researchers did not find a strong direct correlation between victimization and truancy, the study is limited in its quantitative analysis of just 6th graders within a single suburban Denver school district.

Civil Rights Office Expands Its Reach Into Schools (Education Week, December 14, 2011)
In the 21 months since U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stood on an iconic bridge in Selma, Ala., and pledged to aggressively combat discrimination in the nation's schools, federal education officials have launched dozens of new probes in school districts and states that reach into civil rights issues that previously received little, if any, scrutiny.

Middle Schoolers Getting Prepped for Higher Education  (Education Week, December 7, 2011)
A rise in college- and career-readiness programs targeted at middle schoolers, particularly disadvantaged ones, has been spurred by mounting research that shows middle school is a key time to improve the academics and attitudes needed to succeed in high school, college, and beyond.

The Teaching Evaluation Gap (Education Week, December 7, 2011)
Teacher evaluation has, until recently, been a symbolic act largely without meaning or consequence. No longer. Race to the Top requirements call for performance-based pay. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's multi-million-dollar investment to define effective teaching will produce highly specified systems of teacher evaluation. Other reforms tie tenure and leadership roles to measures of teacher effectiveness.

The Delaware Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators will host Financial Aid Nights, a statewide program designed to provide collegebound students and their families with valuable information and free assistance in applying for financial aid.

City schools launching Saturday School initiative (Baltimore Sun, November 22, 2011)
The Baltimore school system will launch its first districtwide Saturday School initiative in December, a program promised by city schools CEO Andrés Alonso to help remedy declining scores on state tests. The $3 million Saturday School program will run for 10 weeks, primarily targeting students who scored basic in math on the 2011 Maryland School Assessments. Students in grades four through eight are eligible for the program, which will offer between 20 and 30 hours of additional math instruction for up to 7,000 students before the 2012 assessments in March.

How education fares if debt supercommittee fails (Washington Post, November 21, 2011)
Failure of the congressional supercommittee tasked with reducing the federal deficit by at least $1.2 trillion could lead to across-the-board budget cuts, which would have a serious impact on already-distressed public education funding.

"Cultural competency" training is designed to give teachers techniques and strategies that can help them not only reach minority students but also capitalize on cultural diversity in the classroom. At its core, cultural competency is about understanding differences and the role those differences play in how best to teach children.

Pittsburgh Public Schools still has a significant achievement gap between black and white students, but the gap is closing at a faster pace and some schools have little or no gap at all.

For States, Collaboration Key to NCLB Waivers (Education Week, November 8, 2011)
States that want newly offered relief from certain provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act are scrambling to satisfy an easily overlooked requirement that they "meaningfully" engage with teachers, unions, parents, and community organizations, and even modify their waiver proposals based on that input.

Swift Growth Found for 'Early Warning' Data Systems (Education Week, November 8, 2011)
While more states and districts are developing "early warning systems" to target students most at risk of dropping out, many of them may still not be reaching students early enough, according to the first national study to look at the data-based identification-and-intervention practice.

Many Teens Endure Sexual Harassment (Education Week, November 7, 2011)
As students navigate changing sexual and social norms in middle and high school, many of them confuse the line between joking and sexual harassment, according to a new report.

Half of U.S. foster kids don't graduate by 18 (Des Moines Register, November 3, 2011)
Half of the nation’s 500,000 foster children have not graduated from high school by the time they turn 18 — when they are no longer eligible for foster care in most states, according to a study by Chapin Hall, a University of Chicago research institution.

NAEP Results Show Long-Term Gains, Persistent Gaps  (The Education Trust, November 1, 2011)
Recently released results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress showed best-ever results for U.S. students overall, yet gaps between groups persist. The Education Trust has prepared a state-by-state look at the fourth-grade results for math and reading, along with those for eighth-grade math and eighth-grade reading. These new data are reminders that much hard work remains to ensure high-caliber schools for all of our country’s children.

Asian Americans endure far more bullying at US schools than members of other ethnic groups, with teenagers of the community three times as likely to face taunts on the Internet, new data shows.

Parents and educators have debated single-sex education for years, and the number of schools offering single gender classes has grown. But some researchers argue there is no evidence that boys and girls learn differently — and that gender separation can perpetuate sexist stereotypes.

From homeless child to star student (Washington Post, April 1, 2011)
Michael Robinson is a straight-A student, three-sport athlete, student government president and musician at Springbrook High School in Silver Spring. Once homeless, he is now pondering which Ivy League university to attend.

A girl's nude photo, and altered lives (New York Times, March 27, 2011)
Around the country, law enforcement officials and educators are struggling with how to confront minors who "sext," an imprecise term that refers to sending sexual photos, videos or texts from one cellphone to another.

Full Standards System in States Several Years Away (Education Week, January 6, 2011)
Most states plan to revise professional development for teachers by next year to help them teach to the new common standards, but it will take two or more years to complete anticipated changes in curriculum, assessment, and other elements of the K-12 system to adapt to the new learning goals

The Council of Great City Schools reports that 11% of African American fourth grade males are proficient in reading, while the same can be said for 38% of their white counterparts.

NEA Asks Education Department for Regulatory Relief (Education Week, November 16, 2010)
The Obama administration has said it wants lawmakers to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education next year, but with a new Congress coming in, it's tough to tell whether or not that will actually happen.

Court: Illegal Immigrants Can Get In-State Tuition (Education Week, November 15, 2010)
The California Supreme Court weighed in Monday on the politically charged immigration fray when it ruled that illegal immigrants are entitled to the same tuition breaks offered to in-state high school students to attend public colleges and universities.

Americans like where they live for a number of reasons, including their local schools, even though this doesn't necessarily translate into either high regard for the schools or a proclivity to become involved in public education.

Dealing With Bullying Incidents (Education World, November 10, 2010)
No matter how diligent teachers are in trying to prevent bullying, incidents are likely to occur. If they do, you can take various steps to deal with those incidents and avoid their spinning out of control. Some of those strategies are discussed below.

Ideas to Increase Parent Communication in Schools (Educator's Royal Treatment, November 10, 2010)
On a Tuesday night in March I participated in #edchat on Twitter and the topic of discussion focused on techniques teachers could use to improve communication with parents. I added my ideas on the topic and attempted to link techniques and strategies I utilize to both teachers and administrators. Educators must be experts in effective communication techniques, especially when it comes to parents.

Educators long have believed that the top predictor of whether a child attained a high level of education was highly-educated parents. A 20-year international study, however, has revealed an even bigger predictor of a child’s academic success: the presence of books in the home. Regardless of nationality, level of education, or their parents’ economic status, children who grew up with books in their homes reached a higher level of education than those who did not, according to the study, Family Scholarly Culture and Educational Success: Books and Schooling in 27 Nations published in Research in Social Stratification and Mobility.

Archaeologist, dental hygienist, lawyer — these are the dream jobs of students on the verge of adulthood. But without immigration papers that say they are in the country legally, their futures are more about how to navigate a system that doesn't acknowledge them than about what they want to be when they grow up.

It's like a miniature town, with little people earning a salary as they serve in a myriad of different jobs with the common goal of maintaining a successful, fully functioning community. But it's actually Cristy Pollak's sixth-grade class at Corona Creek Elementary School, in which students serving in these roles learn about economics and tackle work that otherwise might not get done, due to recent statewide budget cuts. And Pollak is one of many local teachers who have developed innovative ways as they have attempted to cope with the unprecedented wave of cuts, which have resulted in a loss of instructional and professional development days, as well as teacher's aide hours, among other things.

Housing Policy Is School Policy (Education Week, October 20, 2010)
In recent weeks, the nation’s education reform community has been enthralled by Davis Guggenheim’s film “Waiting For ‘Superman,’” which disparages teachers’ unions and celebrates the lotteries used to get into high-poverty charter schools. ("'Superman' and Solidarity," this issue.) The empirically dubious message is that the nonunion character of charter schools will save low-income students, even though only 17 percent of charter schools outperform regular public schools.

U.S. Found to Recruit Fewer Teachers From Top Ranks (Education Week, October 20, 2010)
Countries with the best-performing school systems largely recruit teachers from the top third of high school and college graduates, while the United States has difficulty attracting its top students to the profession, a new report finds.

 (, October 16, 2010)
Thousands of struggling elementary students in Maryland remain all but immune to massive and costly efforts to improve public education. The reason is they miss at least a month of class every school year.

Low-income students in Montgomery County performed better when they attended affluent elementary schools instead of ones with higher concentrations of poverty, according to a new study that suggests economic integration is a powerful but neglected school-reform tool.

Thousands of struggling elementary students in Maryland remain all but immune to massive and costly efforts to improve public education. The reason is they miss at least a month of class every school year.

Racial Disparity in School Suspensions (New York Times, September 15, 2010)
In many of the nation’s middle schools, black boys were nearly three times as likely to be suspended as white boys, according to a new study, which also found that black girls were suspended at four times the rate of white girls.

Cyber-bullying defies traditional school bully stereotype (Washington Post, September 2, 2010)
Research suggests that girls are more likely than boys to engage in cyber-bullying but that both can be perpetrators and victims. "Without question, the nature of adolescent peer aggression has evolved due to the proliferation of information and communications technology," said Sameer Hinduja of the Cyber-bullying Research Center at Florida Atlantic University. "There have been several high-profile cases involving teens taking their own lives in part because of being harassed and mistreated over the Internet."

Better Training on Early Years Urged for Principals (Education Week, August 9, 2010)
The nation’s elementary school principals lack access to the focused professional development to help them meet the higher expectations of modern early-childhood education, experts and advocates say. In a bid to stamp out the achievement gaps that often plague poor and minority children before they start school, groups in early-childhood education and school leadership are emphasizing the need for principals to be poised to lead good practices for pupils in prekindergarten to grade 3.

Senate Puts Federal Afterschool Funding at Risk (Afterschool Alliance, August 3, 2010)
Afterschool providers, supporters and working families across the nation were disappointed last week when the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to allow 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) afterschool funds to be diverted to programs that would extend the school day.

Why fun is important in learning -- Part 2 (Washington Post, June 15, 2010)
Why do we assume that learning only occurs when kids are serious and quiet? This anti-fun vein evident in education editorials and discussion boards highlights a fundamental issue in education today and, in fact, has been with us for centuries.

Must-read new report on high school dropouts (Washington Post, June 10, 2010)
I have long considered high school drop-outs not only the least soluble of our education problems but the least clear. School districts have traditionally fudged the numbers, reporting their drop-out rates as only 5 or 6 percent, a grossly deceptive one-year rate.

Why fun is important in learning (Washington Post, June 4, 2010)
Why do we assume that learning only occurs when kids are serious and quiet? This anti-fun vein evident in education editorials and discussion boards highlights a fundamental issue in education today and, in fact, has been with us for centuries.

The Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color is a group formed in 2007 dedicated to ensuring that boys and young men of color have full opportunities for in-school success. Recently, the COSEBOC released a document entitled "Standards and Promising Practices for Schools Educating Boys of Color," as a blueprint for how to better serve students with an African-American or Latino background.

Understanding School Bullying (Education World, June 1, 2010)
Bullying is a problem that has been with us since the advent of schools. Yet in recent years, it seems to have become even more serious and more pervasive, exacting a terrible toll on many students. Research indicates that 15 to 20 percent of all students are victimized by bullies at some point in their school career. Nationwide, almost one in three children is involved in bullying, either as a bully or as a victim. Clearly, bullying is a problem that schools must recognize and address. After all, the first and foremost obligation of any school is to provide a safe and secure environment where teachers can teach and students can learn.

Though home visits are widely used in early childhood education and social service agencies for assessments and connection to corresponding community services, K–12 home visits usually are triggered by problematic student behavior (e.g., attendance). These outreach efforts, even though well-intended, may reflect the 14th-century definition of the French word visit, which means "to come upon, afflict."

Urban 8th Graders Make Reading Gains on NAEP (Education Week, May 25, 2010)
Eighth graders in large cities posted small gains in reading over the past two years, though urban 4th graders failed to show any improvement deemed statistically significant, according to national test data released today.

A Closer Look at Charter Schools and Segregation (Education World, May 20, 2010)
In January 2010, the UCLA-based Civil Rights Project (CRP) released "Choice without Equity: Charter School Segregation and the Need for Civil Rights Standards." The study intended to report on, among other things, levels of racial segregation in charter schools.

A new study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Research and Reform in Education could change the way schools in the United States teach non-native speakers to read and speak in English.

Educational Attainment Rises Among All Americans (Education Week, May 19, 2010)
Americans across major racial and ethnic groups became better educated over the past decade, though significant gaps remain in the rates at which blacks and Hispanics earn a high school diploma or college degree, a new analysis of U.S. census data finds.

Eighty-five percent of poor 4th graders in predominantly low-income schools are failing to reach “proficient” levels in reading on federal tests, according to a new study by a national foundation that is gearing up to lead a 10-year effort to raise 3rd graders’ reading proficiency.

States need to give test developers explicit instructions on how to avoid unnecessary linguistic complexity when designing content tests. They need to provide detailed guidelines to school districts on how to select and use testing accommodations for students. Those are two of the recommendations in a new research brief on how to include ELLs appropriately in academic content assessments.

A Closer Look at Charter Schools and Segregation (Education World, March 20, 2010)
In January 2010, the UCLA-based Civil Rights Project (CRP) released "Choice without Equity: Charter School Segregation and the Need for Civil Rights Standards." The study intended to report on, among other things, levels of racial segregation in charter schools.

Eighty-five percent of poor 4th graders in predominantly low-income schools are failing to reach “proficient” levels in reading on federal tests, according to a new study by a national foundation that is gearing up to lead a 10-year effort to raise 3rd graders’ reading proficiency.

Obama Calls for Major Change in Education Law (New York Times, March 13, 2010)
The Obama administration on Saturday called for a broad overhaul of President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind law, proposing to reshape divisive provisions that encouraged instructors to teach to tests, narrowed the curriculum, and labeled one in three American schools as failing.

Growing minority enrollment forces schools to adapt (Baltimore Sun, February 22, 2010)
By the start of classes in August 2011, white students in Howard County are expected to be a minority, joining those in Baltimore County. The two school systems are riding a demographic wave that carries broad implications for how students are taught.

Obama announces teacher training initiative (USA Today, January 6, 2010)
President Barack Obama announced a $250 million initiative Wednesday to train math and science teachers and help meet his goal of pushing America's students from the middle to the top of the pack in those subjects in the next decade.

Many teachers, parents, and students are confused about gender equity in schools. They are not alone. We recently received a call from a young reporter who wanted to speak about our work "in making women superior to men." The reporter viewed gender bias in school as males versus females. We do not. Gender bias short-circuits both boys and girls, and both move forward when gender restrictions are removed.

A new partnership led by NASA will pilot a series of multi-week math and science education programs this summer, the space agency announced on Wednesday. The goal of the new NASA initiative, called Summer of Innovation, will be to encourage low-income, minority students to pursue careers in engineering, math or science. NASA will competitively select school districts in up to seven states to pilot the program this summer.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids under age 2 have no screen time, and that kids older than 2 watch no more than 1 to 2 hours a day of quality programming.

Mission: Educational Engagement (Journal Sentinel, November 29, 2009)
For decades, national studies have linked high parental engagement with higher rates of student achievement and interest in school. Yet attention on home life issues and parental involvement have languished in the field of American education reform. Efforts to improve educational outcomes long have centered on what happens in school - not what happens after the last bell of the day.

ELL Graduation Rates Often a Mystery (Education Week, September 8, 2009)
Across the country, high school graduation rates are bemoaned with regularity. But many states and districts aren’t even tracking the rate for the fastest-growing population of students, or if they are, they aren’t telling the public how many English-language learners are leaving school with a diploma.

How Parents Can Support Kids (Parade Magazine, September 6, 2009)
No day of the year held more anticipation for my sister, brother, and me than the first day of school—and our mom and dad made sure we never took it for granted. Every year, we had to neatly lay out our new pencils and notebooks the day before school. On my first day of kindergarten, my dad strapped me into a child seat on the back of his bicycle and pedaled to the schoolhouse door to guide my first step into the brave new world of teachers, principals, and classmates.

A Surge in Homeless Pupils Strains Schools  (New York Times, September 5, 2009)
In the small trailer her family rented over the summer, 9-year-old Charity Crowell picked out the green and purple outfit she would wear on the first day of school. She vowed to try harder and bring her grades back up from the C’s she got last spring — a dismal semester when her parents lost their jobs and car and the family was evicted and migrated through friends’ houses and a motel.

The New School Year, By the Numbers (Education Week, September 1, 2009)
As the 2009-10 school year opens, the U.S. Census Bureau offers statistical snapshots of the nation’s school population, based on projections from several data bases.

Average national SAT scores for the high school class of 2009 dropped two points compared with last year, a report out today says. And while the population of test takers was the most diverse ever, average scores vary widely by race and ethnicity.

Black-White Achievement Gap Narrows on NAEP (Education Week, July 16, 2009)
American schools have made modest progress in closing the achievement gap between black and white students in math and reading, though that narrowing varies by grade and subject and from state to state, a study shows.

Sketching a path to better education (MEDILL, July 16, 2009)
A recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education found that art instruction in American classrooms has stagnated, prompting one official involved in the survey to remark that student achievement in those areas was “mediocre.” The ramifications of those findings could be significant.

STEM-Up is a multi-faceted program that includes instructional materials that are being added to the curriculum at 16 participating elementary schools and two middle schools that feed into Roosevelt High and the soon-to-open Mendez High School. The program also includes interactive community and parent workshops to provide information and tools that can used at home to encourage children to explore and develop skills needed in STEM fields.

The shortage of black male teachers compounds the difficulties that many African American boys face in school. About half of black male students do not complete high school in four years, statistics show. Black males also tend to score lower on standardized tests, take fewer Advanced Placement courses and are suspended and expelled at higher rates than other groups, officials said.

Talk With Kids, Not At Them (HealthDay, June 29, 2009)
If you want to help children develop language and speech skills, UCLA researchers say, listening to what they have to say is just as important as talking to them. The effect of a conversation between a child and an adult is about six times as great as the effect of adult speech input alone, the researchers found. The results of their study appear in the July issue of Pediatrics.

My top priority as U.S. secretary of education is to make sure our K-12 students are prepared to succeed in college and the workforce. If we can do this, we’ll be able to meet President Barack Obama’s ambitious but reachable goal that by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world...

It's graduation time, but not for everyone. One out of every four students fails to graduate from high school in four years, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Risk factors for dropping out include low academic achievement, mental health problems, truancy, poverty and teen pregnancy.

MD Signs Education Standards Initiative (Baltimore Sun, June 2, 2009)
Maryland and 45 other states have agreed to develop a common set of academic standards for students in kindergarten through 12th grade, a national shift away from local control over schools that seemed unlikely even a few years ago.

U.S. Effort to Reshape Schools Faces Challenges  (New York Times, June 1, 2009)
As chief executive of the Chicago public schools, Arne Duncan closed more than a dozen of the city’s worst schools, reopening them with new principals and teachers. People who worked with him, and some who fought him, say those school turnarounds were worth the effort, but all aroused intense opposition.

Public school enrollment across the country is hitting a record this year with just less than 50 million students, and classrooms are becoming more diverse, largely because of growth in the Latino population, according to a new federal report.

Forty-six states and the District of Columbia today will announce an effort to craft a single vision for what children should learn each year from kindergarten through high school graduation, an unprecedented step toward a uniform definition of success in American schools.

In these tough times, it is absolutely vital that we raise our voices for afterschool programs, many of which are threatened by budget cuts and shrinking revenues. I've had the chance to hear from so many of our Afterschool for All program partners who are dealing with the impact of the recession. Just a few weeks ago, a program director in Mississippi called to let me know that her town's only afterschool program is in danger of shutting its doors this summer. Sadly, more than 150 kids will be affected.

Programs Report More Hungry, Homeless Students  (Afterschool Alliance, June 1, 2009)
Just as children in their communities need more help, afterschool program leaders across the country say they are being forced to increase fees and reduce staffing, activities and hours to cope with budget cuts and rising costs.

Large Districts to Use Stimulus for ELL Support (Education Week, May 20, 2009)
At least four large urban school districts plan to spend a significant amount of their federal economic-stimulus money to support or improve programs for English-language learners, a fast-growing group in U.S. schools. The districts—Boston, New York City, St. Paul, Minn., and Seattle—have had varying degrees of success serving such students.

In Search of a Better Teaching Formula (Washington Post, May 16, 2009)
To counter the notion that mathematics ability is inscribed in DNA, school officials and corporate executives are waging a public relations campaign for the hearts and minds of the average math student. Their goal is to immerse more middle school students in algebra and toughen high school math requirements so graduates can compete for increasingly technical jobs. Their message: Advanced math is not only for rocket scientists.

Inequalities are rooted in many areas of the U.S. education system, and the current system's relationship with poverty has not improved, according to a Kansas State University researcher.

Math Instruction for English Language Learners  (Colorín Colorado , May 1, 2009)



Advocates for early-childhood education are taking President Obama at his word that the billions of dollars for programs like Head Start included in the recent economic-stimulus package are merely a “down payment” on future expansion.

Multiracial Pupils to Be Counted in A New Way (Washington Post , March 23, 2009)
Public schools in the Washington region and elsewhere are abandoning their check-one-box approach to gathering information about race and ethnicity in an effort to develop a more accurate portrait of classrooms transformed by immigration and interracial marriage. Next year, they will begin a separate count of students who are of more than one race.

Charting a Course After High School (Education Week, March 13, 2009)
The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act calls for schools to help students develop a plan that will carry them to college or the workplace, but the requirement remains a challenge for families and educators alike.

Turning On to Reading, High School (Washington Post, March 12, 2009)
Surrounded by low chalkboards and tiny desks, 6-foot-6-inch, 300-pound Kelson Patterson probably couldn't help appearing larger than life. But from the perspective of fifth-graders at Highland Elementary School in Silver Spring, the Albert Einstein High School varsity football captain didn't need furniture to accomplish that.

Obama Says Public Schools Must Improve (Washington Post , March 11, 2009)
President Obama sharply criticized the nation's public schools yesterday, calling for changes that would reward good teachers and replace bad ones, increase spending, and establish uniform academic achievement standards in American education.

Parents Schooled in Learning How to Help With Math  (Education Week (Subscription), February 23, 2009)
The adults from the Prince William County, Va., district, located in the suburbs of Washington, were taking part in a school-sponsored math workshop for parents—the sort of forum that has become a fixture in districts across the country

A Report's Forgotten Message: Mobilize (Education Week, February 20, 2009)
America is once again in crisis mode. We feel the effects of an economy that seems not just in recession, but disintegrating. Settled certainties, assumptions, and expectations are crumbling—causing anxiety, yes, but also opening up opportunities for new directions that were unachievable in more-normal times.

Schools Face Sharp Rise In Homeless Students (Washington Post, February 8, 2009)
The economic plunge has generated a growing wave of children nationwide who are sleeping in shelters, motels, spare bedrooms or even the family van as their parents seek to keep them in school. Educators are scrambling to help, with extra tutoring, clothes, food and cab fare.

Improve Education From Day One: Leverage Parents  (Education Week (Subscription), January 22, 2009)
Barack Obama, who becomes the nation's 44th president this week, is getting plenty of advice on which goals to tackle first in this ugly economy. Most ideas call for urgent action and carry a big price tag.

Screening Students Proves to Be Crucial  (Education Week, January 8, 2009)
Determining where an English-language learner should be placed at the time of enrollment—and when the student should be moved—is a key part of assuring student success.

Fixing the Freshman Factor (Washington Post, November 4, 2008)
As schools push to raise graduation rates, many educators are homing in on ninth grade as a moment of high academic risk. Call it the freshman factor.

Healthier lifestyles lead to better grades (Baltimore Sun, November 3, 2008)
Quit smoking. Turn off the computer. Go to bed. It could improve your grades. In the first study of its kind, researchers at the University of Minnesota found a clear connection between student health and academic success.

Poll Finds H.S. Parents Want Involvement (Education Week, October 23, 2008)
The vast majority of parents believe it is important for them to be involved in their teenagers’ high school educations, a study shows, but parents whose children attend low-performing schools say their schools do little to involve them.

Report: Kids less likely to graduate than parents (Washington Post, October 23, 2008)
Your child is less likely to graduate from high school than you were, and most states are doing little to hold schools accountable, according to a study by a children's advocacy group.

Candidates View Parental Role Differently (Education Week, October 14, 2008)
Parents play vital roles in their children’s education, John McCain and Barack Obama agree. But the presidential candidates disagree on what a president should do to encourage parents to choose and participate in the educational experiences of their children.

The achievement gap separating black and Hispanic students from whites and Asians in performance on statewide tests has narrowed in reading and math at every grade level tested, according to an analysis of results released this week by Montgomery County school officials.

Teachers Become Nurses as Schools Get Squeezed (Washington Post, July 16, 2008)
During the past two school years, teacher Julia Keyse had to enforce an unusual rule in her kindergarten and first-grade classroom: No interrupting while she pricked Caylee's finger to check her blood sugar and adjusted her insulin pump.

Jobless Rate for Youths Is Increasing (Washington Post, July 15, 2008)
Since Eddie Macias graduated from high school in Chicago on June 17, his summer has stretched in front of him. But he has no job. Macias, 19, has been looking for work on and off for four years, starting after an aneurysm disabled his father. This spring he looked for jobs at malls and banks on foot and via the Internet but had no luck.

Owning His Gay Identity -- at 15 Years Old (Washington Post, July 14, 2008)
School's out, and Saro Harvey and his best friend, Samantha Sachs, are hanging out in his Arlington County bedroom. She is slouched across his bed, and he is poised on a chair, posture-perfect, wearing dark, skinny jeans and a ruffled shirt meant for a girl. A rust-orange purse he sometimes carries hangs behind the door.

Pulling the Plug on Reading First (EDNews, July 11, 2008)
I wonder if you have seen the various editorials that have been appearing about Reading First recent weeks? These are reactions to the Reading First impact study and Congressional efforts to defund Reading First that I wrote about in this space recently. The Boston Globe came out for reauthorization of Reading First http://www.boston.com/news/education/k_12/articles/2008/06/16/reading_by_the_numbers/, and today so did USA Today http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/

Teacher's 'extra push' helps troubled teens (Courier-Journal, July 11, 2008)
Claude Spillman had graduated from Central High School, despite living apart from his parents, but he was struggling to get into college. Advertisement Then he got help from Louisville educator Margaret Dunbar-Demaree. "Ms. Demaree played the role of a mom away from home," said Spillman, a senior at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va. "She was the extra push that helped me."

High Cost of Driving Ignites Online Classes Boom  (New York Times, July 11, 2008)
First, Ryan Gibbons bought a Hyundai so he would not have to drive his gas-guzzling Chevy Blazer to college classes here. When fuel prices kept rising, he cut expenses again, eliminating two campus visits a week by enrolling in an online version of one of his courses.

Online 'open textbooks' save students cash (USA Today, July 11, 2008)
As textbook prices skyrocket, college students and faculty seeking more affordable options increasingly are turning to "open textbooks" as an alternative. Open textbooks are free textbooks available online that are licensed to allow users to download, customize and print any part of the text. Professors can change content to fit their teaching styles. Some authors offer a print-on-demand service that produces professionally bound copies for $10 to $20.

Calif. Mandates Algebra for All 8th Graders (Education Week, July 10, 2008)
California's Board of Education voted Wednesday to require all eighth-graders to be tested in algebra, acting upon a forceful, last-minute recommendation by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Leaving their textbooks to gather dust, Houston middle school teacher Ardith A. Stewart and her students studied science this spring by assembling much of their curriculum on a class “wiki.” The materials included students’ written postings on class topics and projects, grading rubrics, and discussion questions that Ms. Stewart prepared or obtained from teachers in other parts of Texas and the United States.

Watts: Education Effort Relies on McCain, Obama (Education Week, July 10, 2008)
Presidential rivals Barack Obama and John McCain must be willing to challenge their political bases if real change is to come to the nation's schools, a leading advocate for education change said Thursday.

Kindergartners Urged to Learn Key Languages (Education Week, July 9, 2008)
The first-graders in Grace Yuan's class are playing "Jeopardy," eagerly responding to clues about animals and their habitats, diet and movements. Sound routine for a group of 7-year-olds? Well, look again. These clues are in Chinese. One girl, a bit uncertain, pondered the Chinese characters and pictures of animals. "Believe in yourself, Rachel," a classmate yelled. Applause rang out when she gave the correct response.

An overhauled set of standards for how teachers should boost learning through the use of technology was released here yesterday at the nation’s largest K-12 educational technology conference.

Students are performing better on state reading and math tests since enactment of the landmark No Child Left Behind law six years ago, according to an independent study released yesterday.

Since NCLB Law, Test Scores on Rise (Education Week, June 24, 2008)
Student achievement in mathematics and reading has risen on state tests, and the gap between white and minority children has narrowed since the passage of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, though gains were stronger in elementary and middle schools than at the high school level, according to a new study.

N. M. School Reaches Students Via Podcast (Washington Post, June 21, 2008)
This past semester, nearly every one of the roughly 100 students at Fort Sumner High School was outfitted with the Microsoft media player, similar to Apple's iPod, enabling them to watch videos and listen to recorded lectures created or recommended by teachers and fellow students. It was one of two schools nationwide taking part in the project.

Domestic Spending Intact as House Passes War Bill (Washington Post, June 20, 2008)
In a pair of bipartisan votes, the House yesterday approved $162 billion to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan well into 2009 and a separate measure that would allow veterans returning from those battlefields to receive increased education benefits.

SAT writing test called little help (Baltimore Sun, June 20, 2008)
The writing section added to the SAT has done very little to improve the exam's overall ability to predict how students will do in college, according to research released yesterday by the test's owner. Critics of the SAT seized on the College Board's findings, which came three years after the revamped, nearly four-hour exam made its debut.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Raymond Simon announced last week the award of a $33.6 million grant to Florida to help create more quality public charter schools and increase school choice opportunities. State educational agencies with a specific statue authorizing public charter schools may apply for funding. They then make competitive sub-grants to public charter schools developers. "As laboratories of innovation for the best practices, high quality charter schools are proving that all children - regardless of their socioeconomic status, family background, or where they live - can learn and achieve, said U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Raymond Simon. "We must now replicate the most effective models. This is why I'm happy that Florida will use its grant to help create high-quality charter high schools which will assist students in meeting the state's academic standards." More than 350 public charter schools serve more than 100,000 students across the state, and education leaders believe Florida is poised to focus on scaling up high-performing models.

At least 17 girls at the public high school in the seaside town of Gloucester, Mass., are expecting babies, and a Time magazine report says nearly half became pregnant after making a pact to do so and raise the children together.

As the founder of Teach for America, a nonprofit program that recruits elite college graduates to teach in low-income schools, Wendy Kopp has presided over many triumphs, and the group’s annual dinner last month was another. It raised $5.5 million in one night and brought so many corporate executives to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York that stretch limousines jammed Park Avenue for blocks.

States eye uniform graduation rate reporting (Baltimore Sun, June 18, 2008)
Comparing graduation rates from state to state, or even school to school, can be difficult because all kinds of methods are used to determine them. Federal officials have a solution that could make that process easier -- and more accurate -- within the next five years.

Although the nation's lowest-performing students have made great progress in the No Child Left Behind era of testing, the top students are not making similar strides, according to a report by the Fordham Institute. The trend in Maryland mirrors the nation, said Tom Loveless, a Brookings Institution researcher who helped write the report for Fordham.

Report Finds Little Gain From Vouchers (Washington Post, June 17, 2008)
Students in the D.C. school voucher program, the first federal initiative to spend taxpayer dollars on private school tuition, generally did no better on reading and math tests after two years than public school peers, a U.S. Education Department report said yesterday.

Obama promises tuition tax credit (Washington Post, June 17, 2008)
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama recalled paying off his own mountain of student loan debt and promised struggling college students Tuesday he would help them pay for school.

Graduates Honored For Drive, Degrees (Washington Post, June 17, 2008)
About 100 recent college graduates who attended District public schools were honored last night in a ceremony hosted by D.C. College Access Program, a nonprofit group that supported the students through high school and college. Former secretary of state Colin L. Powell gave the featured address.

School grows before it opens (AJC.com, June 16, 2008)
The first state charter school to operate in Gwinnett County is growing before classes begin. The State Board of Education on Thursday approved an amendment to increase the enrollment at Ivy Preparatory Academy, an all-girls school opening in Norcross that will eventually educate students from grades 6 to 12.

More Schools Trying Separation of the Sexes (Washington Post, June 15, 2008)
With encouragement from the federal government, single-sex classes that have long been a hallmark of private schools are multiplying in public schools in the Washington area and elsewhere. By next fall, about 500 public schools nationwide will offer single-sex classes, according to the National Association for Single Sex Public Education, based in Montgomery County. That's up from a handful a decade ago. The approach is especially attractive to some struggling schools in the market for low-cost reform



SPECIAL ARTICLES & REPORTS

Discovery Education and Pearson Education, 2006

The Education Trust, 2008

US Department of Education, 2008

US Department of Education, 2008

Annual Conference of the National Council on Family Relations, 2008

Nonpartisan Education Review, 2007

FPG Child Development Institute, 2009

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, 2008

Pew Hispanic Center, 2008




DELAWARE

Del. officials eye science, technology and math (Education Week, April 15, 2014)
State officials are joining with the Dow chemical company and Junior Achievement to strengthen science, technology, engineering and math instruction in Delaware's middle schools.

Companies sign on to career training push (The News Journal, April 14, 2014)
A planned hub for Delaware students to prepare and get experience for their careers before graduating high school has gotten a boost from 10 companies that have signed on to provide money and opportunities.

The idea with the "exploding thing" was to teach children about gasses and projectiles. Put water in the empty film canister, add a piece of the fizzing tablet, quickly replace the lid and turn it upside down on the floor. In seconds, it launches off the floor as the cap pops off.

Early-Years Data Push a Touchy Topic in Delaware (Education Week, March 10, 2014)
Delaware is launching a plan this month to collect data on 8,500 babies, toddlers, and preschoolers and post the information on its existing Web-based databank. The project is part of an ambitious—and, to some observers, troubling—effort to link individuals' educational information from birth through graduate school.

Delaware dropout rate hits 30 year low (WDDE, February 20, 2014)
Delaware student dropout rate fell to a 30-year low during the 2012-13 academic year, according to a Delaware Department of Education report released Thursday. - See more at: http://www.wdde.org/57609-delaware-dropout-rate#sthash.Jg4DXauj.dpuf

A report released by Lt. Governor Matt Denn (D) and Attorney General Beau Biden (D) assess how well Delaware’s public schools are implementing laws passed in 2012 seeking to lessen the serious impact of bullying on students.

Delaware moving toward Common Core testing  (Delaware State News, February 8, 2014)
Schools across the state are starting to implement the Common Core State Standards this year. As teachers take a look at the new targets and rework their curricula, though, the state also needs a new way to measure students’ growth.

Delaware is moving away from the Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System, a state-created test, to the Smarter Balanced Assessment, a test created to fit the Common Core State Standards.

When it comes to bringing space and planet Earth into school, most of the time a teacher has to rely on maps and photos.

When I interviewed New Mexico K-12 chief Hanna Skandera for my story about the group she leads, Chiefs for Change, she mentioned, without being asked, that the group expected one or two new members to be joining in the near future. She was coy when I asked her to name names, but the organization's website has provided at least one answer—Mark Murphy, education secretary in Delaware, is now listed as the seventh member. When I wrote the story for the last print edition of Education Week, Chiefs for Change could claim six members, down from the high of nine in early 2012.

The new Juvenile Education Multi-Purpose building, located on DSCYF’s campus outside of Wilmington, has state-of-the art teaching technology, like electronic white boards, ample classroom space, and rooms for books, art and computers.

When eighth-grader Lauren Miller arrives at the Laurel Intermediate School each morning, her school bus pulls up to the door and everyone goes into the building together.

State gets high grades for education data  (Delaware State News, November 19, 2013)
An analysis released Tuesday looking at how states collect and work with education data gave Delaware top marks.In the report released by the Data Quality Campaign, only Delaware and Arkansas achieved all 10 of the recommended actions for effective data use.

Delaware education officials say a predominantly black, all-girls charter school with a history of financial and academic struggles will close at the end of the school year. Secretary of Education Mark Murphy said Wednesday that he would not recommend renewal of the charter for Reach Academy for Girls in New Castle, citing the school as the worst-performing academically in Delaware.

Book highlights desegregation battle in Delaware (Delaware NewsZap, November 9, 2013)
A higher education professor who grew up in Wilmington has written a book that chronicles the struggles between the proponents and the opponents of desegregation in education in Delaware and the important legal role that cases in the First State played nationally.

Delaware’s scores on a major national test show big gains over the past 10 years and some modest advances in the past two. State education officials hope implementation of Race to the Top programs will fuel a bigger boost, saying there are still areas of serious concern.

Only 1 percent of Delaware teachers were rated ineffective during the first full year of the state’s evaluation system, according to new Department of Education figures. State officials say that shows school leaders aren’t making the tough evaluations needed to give honest feedback and weed out low-performing teachers.

A collaboration between educators and community members to improve early childhood education in Delaware is getting off the ground. The Delaware Office of Early Learning hosted 19 Delaware Readiness Teams from across the state in Dover Tuesday to offer a progress report.

Education was the focus of Governor Jack Markell’s weekly message as he discussed the state’s transition to the new common core standards.

Mental health professionals recruited for middle schools  (Delaware State News, August 27, 2013)
Per Gov. Jack A. Markell’s budgetary request, the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families is recruiting 34 mental health professionals for the state’s middle schools in order to address the lack of mental health services for adolescents.

Doors open at Delaware schools (The News Journal, August 26, 2013)
The buses are back on the roads and classrooms are full of kids as students throughout Delaware return to school this week.

Starting next Monday, Delaware schools will follow a new cyberbullying policy. The law, championed by Attorney General Beau Biden and Lt. Governor Matt Denn, aims to better protect kids from online threats.

Though Delaware parents have school choice within traditional public, charter and vocational and technical schools, Jones believes the children of low-income families are often not able to attend private schools, even if the parents think that’s where their children can best be served.

Preschool reading must be an education priority (Delaware Online, June 24, 2013)
In reference to the letter “Reading Value” by Marilyn Monahan, executive director, Reading Assist Institute, Wilmington: A large piece of that puzzle is missing. I am not a “school” teacher but I did teach many years in long-term care. I was a nurse educator, so I feel I have some background in the principles of education and learning.

New teachers not prepared, report says (Delaware Online, June 19, 2013)
Three of the state’s teacher education programs are rated in the “Teacher Prep Review” report. None fared better than two-and-a-half stars. The state’s two private institutions refused to take part in the report, and some programs at UD were not included in the rankings.

In his latest weekly address, Governor Markell stresses the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in today's education system.

Delaware's early childhood education program comes under the federal microscope, and the U.S. Secretary of Education reveals what areas could use improvement as the state unveils a new strategic plan.

Pressure of PSSAs failing students (Daily Times, April 15, 2013)
If you’re a teacher, student or parent, you’re probably sick of hearing about the state assessment tests, what with all the pep rallies, study sessions and such.

The majority of Delaware's teachers say they feel safe in the classroom, even after Sandy Hook. But more than 10-percent of teachers aren't meeting state requirements because they don't have a mentor.

New standards, state test for students (Cape Gazette, April 9, 2013)
The state's top educator attended Cape Henlopen School District's recent board of education meeting to talk about a new statewide test for students and aligning Delaware's curriculum with other states.

Statewide cyberbullying policy takes effect (Cape Gazette, March 20, 2013)
“Along with the dramatic increase in electronic messaging and social networking among kids, there has been an explosion of cyberbullying in schools across our state,” Biden said. “This new statewide cyberbullying policy is a common-sense tool to help schools and law enforcement better protect kids by recognizing the prevalence of online communication, the damaging effect it has on students who are victimized, and the significant disruption it causes to our schools.”

Delaware's progress on Race to the Top  (The News Journal, February 1, 2013)
Delaware is making “encouraging progress” on its Race to the Top education reform, according to a US Department of Education. In 2010, Delaware won the Race to the Top competitive grant which entitled the state to more than $119 million in funding from the federal stimulus package. The DOE report examines Delaware’s progress in the second year of implementing RTTT in the 2011-2012 school year.

Families, children benefit from school choice (The News Journal, January 30, 2013)
Jacob floundered in his first year of high school. The 2000 student building seemed to swallow him whole – he did not feel any connection to his teachers, administrators or fellow students. He struggled to find his niche and soon lost interest in school altogether. Then he heard about a new charter school that was small and focused on careers in public safety and security, which interested him. He told his parents that he wanted to apply. They agreed, and one year later he was admitted to the Delaware Academy of Public Safety and Security, despite having to repeat the ninth grade. This is school choice at work.

Effort to reduce school dropout rate paying off (The Exponent Telegram, January 28, 2013)
The effort to reduce the public school dropout rate has achieved a surprising level of success. Once considered a lost cause, the focus on keeping kids in school and completing all of the necessary requirements to graduate is finally paying off.

MLK quilt draws on young hopes (The News Journal, January 22, 2013)
With colorful fabric markers, students all across Delaware began to create a piece of heartfelt history Monday in tribute to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

State on right road to beat its dropout record (The News Journal, January 22, 2013)
Within four years of entering high school, 78 percent of students in the Class of 2010 nationwide earned a diploma. That ends a 40-year dependable increase in dropout rates for which education leaders have grappled with as the academic performance of students in other countries soared.

Stars in early education (University of Delaware, December 11, 2012)
Study after study shows that quality early learning opportunities are vital to a child’s success. The earliest years in children’s lives shape their future performance in school and in the workforce, making it vital that policies makers and community leaders support early childhood development.

What makes someone successful when they pursue education and training beyond high school? Many people would point to their parents or other family role models. However, if parents don’t necessarily have that experience, it can be hard for them to guide their son or daughter.

Elementary Pupils Immersed in Foreign Language  (Education Week, November 30, 2012)
This school year, the district introduced a more novel and potentially more effective foreign-language initiative to talk up: a new Chinese-immersion program for 101 kindergartners, which the district plans to offer those children and successive kindergartners through 8th grade.

Science and social studies may be taught as separate subjects in school, but for geographers, the two overlap. The Delaware Geographic Alliance (DGA) will soon demonstrate how using fifth, sixth, seventh and ninth grade students in a newly created program.

Del. education data gets high marks (WDEL, November 15, 2012)
A new report says Delaware is among the best in the U.S. when it comes to building a database that can make education better.

Officials unveil new Del. charter school framework (Associated Press, September 20, 2012)
Delaware education officials have unveiled a new accountability system aimed at strengthening oversight and performance of the state's charter schools.

Delaware eyes comprehensive school safety plans (Associated Press, September 10, 2012)
Gov. Jack Markell is signing legislation aimed at making Delaware's schools safer. A bill to be signed into law on Monday creates a statewide framework for comprehensive school safety plans known as the Omnibus School Safety Act.

NSF Awards Grants for Climate-Change Education (Education Week, August 28, 2012)
Efforts to advance climate-change education in schools and communities are getting a boost from a new set of six grants awarded by the National Science Foundation, totaling more than $33 million over five years. The federal aid will support a number of initiatives, including a joint project in Delaware and Maryland to help schools deliver effective and regionally relevant instruction in grades 8-12, and work led by the New England Aquarium to enhance opportunities for climate-change education in zoos, aquariums, and other out-of-school settings.

World language immersion program prepares to launch (Delaware Department of Education, August 1, 2012)
More than 340 Delaware kindergartners this fall will begin their study of either Mandarin Chinese or Spanish in an elementary immersion program and be able to continue that study into middle school, thanks to the launch of the Governor’s World Language Expansion Initiative. Youth in Asia and Europe typically begin learning additional languages as early as 5 years old.

New Delaware laws target bullying (Education Week, July 27, 2012)
State officials are strengthening efforts to crack down on bullying and cyberbullying of Delaware school students. Gov. Jack Markell is signing a law that expands reporting requirements for incidents of school bullying.

The 2012 Delaware student assessment results released today show an increase in the number of students proficient in reading and mathematics this year compared to a year ago. Statewide, more than 10,000 additional children are proficient in reading this year as compared to last year, and more than 9,000 additional students reached proficiency in math. Student increases in proficiency occurred across all grades, subjects and among major subgroups, in some cases resulting in a narrowing of achievement gaps.

DCAS score release shows progress in Partnership Zone schools (Delaware Department of Education, July 19, 2012)
The four first-round schools in the state’s Partnership Zone all showed progress following their first year of school transformation plan implementation. The Delaware Department of Education today released the 2012 Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System (DCAS) test results for public schools across the state. Glasgow High School, Howard High School of Technology, Positive Outcomes Charter School and Stubbs Elementary all showed significant improvement in reading and math scores in Spring 2012 as compared to Spring 2011.

Economic and racial segregation in the Red Clay Consolidated School District is a reality. A related reality is that the Red Clay administration and the Delaware Department of Education refuse to confront the quagmire of segregation in our schools.

In the Early College High School model, high school and college curricula combine to form a coherent educational program in which students work toward a high school diploma and up to two years of college credits in four years of high school, DSU spokesman Carlos Holmes said. Located on a college campus, the model directly challenges the belief system of under-prepared poor and minority students about their ability to do college level work and get a postsecondary degree.

The science scores of Delaware eighth grade students was about the same as the national average and has not improved significantly since 2009, the last year the test was given.

Girl Power: Delaware Promotes STEM Careers  (Government Technology, May 2, 2012)
The Delaware Education Department and Department of Technology and Information are hoping that events such as DigiGirlz will help spark a turnaround. The two state agencies, the Delaware Center of Educational Technology and Microsoft co-sponsored the event for 150 eighth- and ninth-grade girls on Tuesday, May 1 on the Wilmington University-Dover campus.

During a roundtable discussion with school administrators, union leaders and legislators Friday, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said officials are taking the right steps to improve public schools in the First State.

Two Wilmington schools open student-parent centers (The News Journal, March 26, 2012)
Two student-parent community centers have opened in the Red Clay Consolidated School District, as a growing number of schools add services to help families.

Delaware is one of four state education agencies, four Chinese Flagship Centers and numerous school districts from across 10 states that are working collaboratively to implement K-12 Chinese education pathways over the next three years.

A bill that would offer in-state tuition rates to children of undocumented aliens has been introduced for action in the Delaware General Assembly.

Del. limits link of test scores to teacher pay (Delaware Online, January 31, 2012)
For this year, the only teacher evaluations that will have a tie to student test scores are certain grade levels in math and reading -- areas that are tested on the state's Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System. Previously, the state had floated ideas that included asking teachers of untested subjects and grade levels to be evaluated using scores from other subjects.

Dropouts bill put on hold (Delaware Online, January 26, 2012)
A day after President Barack Obama called on states to increase the compulsory age for public education to 18, lawmakers in the Delaware House raised questions about the cost and implications of such a move.

State of the state: Markell’s remarks on education (Delaware Online, January 19, 2012)
The biggest driver for a business when deciding where to locate and expand is the quality of the workforce. That talent will determine whether the business becomes an innovation leader or gets left behind in the creative dust of its competitors. The late Steve Jobs put it bluntly: “Apple employs seven hundred thousand factory workers in China because it can’t find the thirty thousand engineers in the U.S. that it needs on site at its plants.” We need to do something about that. This is why, when the history of our time here is written, the determined push we are making to raise student achievement will prove to be the biggest game-changer of all.

The Delaware Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators will host Financial Aid Nights, a statewide program designed to provide collegebound students and their families with valuable information and free assistance in applying for financial aid.

Red Clay building Chinese program (Delaware Online, November 27, 2011)
The teachers are from China, and they are staying with two Red Clay volunteer host families as they work to build a Chinese language program in Delaware and a model for other districts to follow if they want to teach the language. With the program, China hopes to build a cultural and linguistic understanding, and Delaware hopes to broaden the academic experience of its youth.

Delaware Tech students celebrate heritage (Dover Post, November 19, 2011)
English as a second language students at Delaware Techs Terry Campus celebrated International Students Day, an annual event that celebrates the multiculturalism of colleges and universities throughout the world.

Parents hope bishop can save schools (Delaware Online, July 10, 2008)
"I'm hoping the new bishop has an open mind to everything," said Steve Burg, former president of the St. Hedwig's Parish Council. "I hope he is willing to sit down with parents and teachers of a school in danger of closing and figure out a way to fix it instead of pulling the plug too quickly and not giving these schools a chance."

Learning a silent language (Delaware Online, July 10, 2008)
The silence in Mary Beth Tkach's classroom might stand out among the 50-plus education camps hosted by Delaware Technical & Community College in Stanton this summer. Although there was no noise, there was communication. The 9- to 12-year-olds in this classroom were members of the weeklong American Sign Language camp, and Tkach was sharing her 35-plus years of sign language experience.

Appoquinimink stresses summer reading (Delaware Online, July 10, 2008)
The reading list itself is rather broad: three categories, three awards whose recipients are recommended, eight authors whose entire output is suggested and 28 specific titles. Rashbaum said the list reflects well-known books and authors and multiple reading levels. Parents can also choose books that are not on the list.

Teachers try out other careers (Delaware Online, June 21, 2008)
Sponsored by the state Department of Education, the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce and the Delaware Business, Industry, Education Alliance, the externship program placed 53 teachers and four guidance counselors in 31 businesses last week. The objective was to research how well Delaware academic standards and classroom lessons reflect the needs of employers and in many cases alter curriculum to better prepare students for the work force.

Price of School Lunches on Rise (Delaware Online, June 21, 2008)
Parents in many school districts statewide can expect to shell out more money next year for their children's lunches, as administrators react to the rising cost of food and related expenses taking a big bite out of cafeteria revenues.

Charter schools: Union on the attack (Delaware Online, June 20, 2008)
The state's largest school employee union hired a Washington, D.C., consulting firm to craft a public relations strategy for limiting the expansion of charter schools in Delaware.

Wilmington School Closes (Delaware Online, June 14, 2008)
Marianne Fisher fought back tears when she described how she felt about Friday's closing of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School.

Former Professor Tutors Math at Newark High (Delaware Online, June 12, 2008)
Willard Baxter has been all over the United States for the sake of education. After retiring from teaching, he has filled his desire to volunteer by offering one-on-one math help at Newark High School.



DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Yesterday's Democratic primary for mayor in Washington not only denies a second term to Mayor Vincent Gray, it also raises major questions about what will become of the city's school system.

D.C. education officials have failed to ensure that the city’s lowest-performing schools are implementing federally mandated changes meant to spur improvement and narrow achievement gaps, according to a new report from the U.S. Education Department .

School choice—exemplified by charter schools—has changed the relationship between parents, neighborhoods, communities, and schools. And D.C.'s experiment with choice is as fully developed as almost any other public school district in the United States. That day, I stood there primarily as a parent and (to a lesser degree) as a former first-grade teacher, not as someone who writes about public education for a living. But on Monday, that moment spilled into my day job. It’s been on my mind ever since.

The District’s traditional public and public charter schools would receive a major infusion of more than $100 million next year, including tens of millions to improve services for at-risk students, under a budget proposal announced Tuesday evening by Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D).

“What I hear is this constant cheerleading . . . about this fantastic trajectory we’re on” without a straightforward accounting of how disadvantaged students are faring, said Catania (I-At Large), who is chairman of the council’s Education Committee and is contemplating a run for mayor.

But as much as parents love Ross, a brick building tucked amid some of the District’s priciest real estate, many choose to pull their children out of the school before they graduate. Ross’s fifth-grade class last year had just eight students. Of last year’s 19 Ross fourth-graders, just nine stuck around to finish there.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan paid a visit Monday to Southeast Washington’s D.C. Scholars Stanton Elementary to recognize the role that young City Year volunteers have played in helping spur the school’s transformation in recent years.

Eliza Dahlkemper is 11 years old. Like many of her classmates at Alice Deal Middle School, she doesn’t see homeless people in the District’s leafy and well-heeled Chevy Chase neighborhood.

Maryland and Virginia are two of eight states, along with the District, where there are gaps of 34 percentage points or more in reading test scores between children from low income and higher income families. That's according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

District lawmakers poised to pass Title IX legislation (Washington Post, January 22, 2014)
District lawmakers appear poised to pass legislation meant to address large and enduring discrepancies between boys’ and girls’ sports opportunities in the city’s public schools, disparities that triggered two recent civil rights complaints and years of frustration among parents, athletes and activists.

D.C. schools change IMPACT evaluations for principals (Washington Post, January 20, 2014)
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.

D.C. Public Schools posted larger gains on 2013 national math and reading tests than any other major urban school system, but the District’s performance continues to trail the large-city average, according to a federal study released Wednesday.

The District’s Anacostia High School saw an enormous fluctuation in its student population in the 2012-13 school year, losing more than one in five students after the first month of school while gaining nearly twice as many during the school year. The enrollment swings left the school with a net student increase of 16 percent.

‘Promise’ would give D.C. students money for college (Washington Post, December 10, 2013)
Supporters have billed it as the most important piece of legislation to emerge this year from the D.C. Council — bigger than raising the minimum wage to $11.50 and decriminalizing marijuana, and far more significant than voting to rename the Redskins.

D.C. Council Member Muriel Bowser introduced a resolution Tuesday calling on the city to improve its struggling traditional middle schools, which have long driven families into charter schools, private schools and the suburbs.

Arlington public schools are kicking off a competition Monday that invites data analysts from around the country to help solve one of the most vexing problems in public education: how to keep kids from dropping out.

Students in the District’s public schools made significant gains in math and reading achievement during the past two years, including progress among black, white, Hispanic and low-income students, according to national exam results released this week.

The District’s fourth- and eighth-graders made significant gains on national math and reading tests this year, posting increases that were among the city’s largest in the history of the exam.

De’Andre Anderson and his wife don’t have children yet. But when the couple bought a home in Southeast Washington after years of renting on Capitol Hill, Anderson, 43, began mulling what they could do to help the neighborhood schools. Now Anderson is leading a campaign to persuade Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson to establish the first application-only secondary school east of the Anacostia River.

The District’s charter schools expelled far fewer students in the 2012-13 school year than the school year before, but individual charters’ expulsion rates continued to vary widely, according to D.C. Public Charter School Board data released Tuesday.

New Research Consortium Targets D.C. Schools (Education Week, September 25, 2013)
Schools in the nation's capital end up the guinea pigs for many new education programs and policies, but now they will get a stronger say in research to figure out which of...

District officials turn to home visits to boost schools (Washington Post, September 6, 2013)
After years of focusing their attention on the quality of teaching inside city classrooms, District public schools officials are turning to a new front in their efforts to improve the schools: family living rooms.

When D.C. students discovered last week that recess had been cut to a minimum of 15 minutes per day, many parents launched an immediate protest. Others merely shrugged.

Students in the District’s traditional public schools scored higher than ever on the city’s math and reading tests this year, also posting the largest single-year gain since 2008, according to test results released Tuesday.

When the District’s newly constructed Dunbar High opens next month, Principal Stephen Jackson will use the same hard-line student segregation policy that worked for him at the old school building. Ninth-graders can mix only with ninth-graders. They will eat together and attend class on their own floor. Same for 10th-graders. Only juniors and seniors can fraternize together.

She dedicated herself to opening the kind of school she thought could changes kids’ lives — and she named it after her mother, Elsie Whitlow Stokes, who had been a first-grade teacher in Arkansas.

D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson plans to overhaul the city’s approach to ninth-grade education, separating out students who have already failed the first year of high school from impressionable incoming freshmen.

D.C. school system reduces truancy rate (Washington Post, June 24, 2013)
Fewer students were chronically truant this year from the District’s traditional public schools, but absenteeism is still a rampant problem at many high schools, Chancellor Kaya Henderson told the D.C. Council Monday.

Frumin is seeking to organize a new advocacy group devoted to unifying and amplifying the voice of parents in shaping D.C. schools policy. It’s a voice that’s too often been missing in debates about the future of public education in the city, he said.

D.C. Bets Big on Common Core (Education Week, May 21, 2013)
The big clock in Dowan McNair-Lee's 8th grade classroom is silent, but she can hear the minutes ticking away nonetheless. On this day, like any other, the clock is a constant reminder of how little time she has to prepare her students—for spring tests, and for high school and all that lies beyond it.

The school improvement strategies highly touted by leaders such as U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and former District of Columbia schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, have produced overwhelmingly disappointing results for the poor and minority children in Chicago, New York, and the District of Columbia, a forthcoming report written by a national group that favors a more holistic approach to improving public schooling, contends.

Neighborhoods in Southeast Washington, on Capitol Hill and along the eastern border of Rock Creek Park are among those most in need of school renovations, according to a school facilities plan the Gray administration released Wednesday.

Provide equal educational opportunities across a city that is divided by one of the largest income gaps in the country — that’s the plan, according to D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson.“We are now able to say, for the first time, that all elementary schools will get art, music, foreign languages and libraries — not just the ones with PTAs that can pay for those things,” Henderson said in a recent interview. “The goal is to get kids who are below grade level up while at the same doubling the number of kids who are advanced. I’m not going to sacrifice the advanced kids for the ones who are behind, nor vice versa.”

Illiteracy is D.C.’s biggest challenge (Washington Post, March 8, 2013)
Only four in 10 D.C. third-graders are proficient readers. Put another way, the majority of D.C. third-graders are not developing the essential foundation for success in life: reading skills.

Black men in schools lead by example (Washington Post, February 19, 2013)
Where are the African American male schoolteachers and administrators? It has been pretty obvious for years that if you really want to do something about high rates of truancy and suspensions among black students — to cap that “school-to-prison pipeline” — put more black men in classrooms and principals’ offices.

Today the U.S. Department of Education released state-specific reports for 12 Race to the Top grantees, detailing their progress on transforming education at the local level. The reports highlight the second-year work and accomplishments of states awarded funding through the first two phases of Race to the Top: Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Tennessee.

“I want to engender an outrage in the city about the level of truancy and educational failure. We’ve lost that,” Catania said. “We’ve all become accustomed to it.”

Parents and D.C. public schools (The Examiner, January 24, 2013)
D.C. Councilman David Catania is right: More parents should be pushed to get their children to school. It's hard to dispute the fact that a child who is not in the classroom can't receive any academic benefits. Still, his recently introduced legislative proposal, which would impose a series of sanctions -- from written warnings to jail time or a $100 fine -- on parents whose children have 10 or more unexcused absences, is no panacea for poor test scores and low graduation rates. In fact, his approach appears to ignore the reality of life in some low-income communities where truancy is highest.

D.C. considers new graduation requirements (Washington Post, January 22, 2013)
D.C. high school students would have to study more art and music, get more physical exercise and complete a thesis project under proposed changes to city graduation requirements.

The District’s public charter schools have expelled students at a far higher rate than the city’s traditional public schools in recent years, according to school data, highlighting a key difference between two sectors that compete for the District’s students and taxpayer dollars.

The morning after virtuoso cellist Yo-Yo Ma performed for well-heeled Washingtonians last week at the Kennedy Center, he traveled across the Anacostia River to play for a different audience: students at Savoy Elementary, a long-struggling school in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.

Hundreds of District parents, teachers and activists showed up at three community meetings this week to challenge and critique Chancellor Kaya Henderson’s plan to close 20 under-enrolled schools.

D.C. last in nation in rate of high school graduation (Washington Times, November 29, 2012)
The nation’s capital had the worst four-year high school graduation rate in the country in 2010-2011, a finding that suggests the city has more work to do to reform its historically troubled school system.

Of the two rivers that cup our nation's capital -- the Potomac and the Anacostia -- the latter of the two is, perhaps, the most apt reflection of where America is at socio-economically. The Anacostia River, the Anglicized namesake of which was first officially recorded by Thomas Jefferson and referred to the Nacochtank Native American tribe dwelling east of the river, is just down the hill from my Anacostia house and reflects well what divides our nation's capital and ultimately, America.

D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson said Thursday that the school system’s high truancy rates amount to an educational “crisis,” as D.C. officials disclosed that more than 40 percent of the students at Ballou, Anacostia, Spingarn and Roosevelt high schools missed at least a month of school last year because of unexcused absences.

D.C. schools’ test-score fantasyland (Washington Post, September 23, 2012)
D.C. schools' new five-year plan says the 40 lowest-performing schools need to increase their collective math and reading proficiency rate from 23 percent in 2011 to 63 percent by 2017. It is hard to understand how intelligent adults could believe that that target has any connection to reality.

DC sets bar for firing teachers over performance (Associated Press, September 21, 2012)
Nearly 400 teachers have been fired in the District of Columbia since 2009 because a rigorous evaluation system found they weren't up to the job. More comprehensive evaluations are an important part of the national school reform movement. They also were a major point of contention in the seven-day long Chicago teachers' strike, which ended Tuesday.

High-performing DC teachers to get faster raises (Associated Press, September 5, 2012)
D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson says high-performing teachers in low-income schools will be able to accelerate through the pay scale faster under a new initiative.

D.C. charter schools fight second-class status (Washington Post, August 21, 2012)
This spring, for the third year in a row, more than 1,000 families sought fewer than 50 available spaces at the Two Rivers charter school in Northeast Washington, which has produced some of the city’s best reading scores.

D.C. Investigators Find No Widespread Test Cheating (Associated Press, August 9, 2012)
The District of Columbia's inspector general has found that cheating on standardized tests occurred at one school in 2010 but has found no evidence of widespread cheating across the school system.

Federal Special Ed. Ratings Fault D.C.—Again (Education Week, August 3, 2012)
For the sixth consecutive year, the District of Columbia has fallen short of meeting federal special education goals, the worst record of any state in the country, according to the latest annual state ratings from the U.S. Department of Education.

Nearly 100 DC teachers fired for poor performance (Education Week, August 2, 2012)
District of Columbia school officials say 98 teachers have been fired after receiving low scores on a key evaluation instrument.

District of Columbia school officials plan to give significant pay bonuses to hundreds of teachers—and to dismiss more than 200 others—based on their performance as measured by the city’s teacher-evaluation system, officials announced Friday.

NCLB waiver bid stalled by Ed Dept. concerns (Washington Post, May 18, 2012)
It turns out that the U.S. Department of Education has quite a few issues with the District’s application for relief from No Child Left Behind. The problems start with two chronic concerns: The city’s poor record of handling and accounting for federal grants, and its difficulties staying in compliance with special education laws. Both were inherited by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education when it was formed in 2007, but they remain obstacles.

D.C. Vouchers, Once Again, Subject of Federal Fight (Education Week, April 13, 2012)
If judged merely by the attention it receives from the upper reaches of government, the District of Columbia's Opportunity Scholarship Program is probably the most closely scrutinized private school voucher enterprise in the country.

Figures released by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education show that 58.6 percent of students in the Class of 2011 obtained high school diplomas within four years. That’s a nearly 20 percent decline over the 73 percent rate reported for 2010.

After years of shrinking budgets, Washington area school districts are increasingly turning to moms and dads to pay for core classroom costs, raising questions about whether tapping family pocketbooks is a sustainable or fair way to fill a public funding gap.

Math assessments for Virginia students will be harder under revisions adopted by the state Board of Education. Media outlets report that the board unanimously adopted more rigorous Standards of Learning math tests for grades three through eight on Thursday.

D.C. Council approves education bills (Washington Post, March 20, 2012)
The D.C. Council approved a package of education bills Tuesday intended to address some of the city’s most vexing issues, including students at risk of dropping out and schools with a shortage of exceptional teachers.

For the past decade, public schools nationwide have aimed for a target fixed in federal law: that 100 percent of students should pass reading and math tests by 2014. Now Virginia wants to lower the goal to 75 percent for reading and 70 percent for math.

District seeks return of chartering authority (Washington Post, February 23, 2012)
D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Chancellor Kaya Henderson are discussing a plan to restore the District’s power to create public charter schools as part of an effort to raise the quality of education in low-income communities.

Obama’s Ed Budget Has No Room For DC Voucher Program (Education News, February 15, 2012)
The Department of Education’s 2013 budget will not provide funding for the D.C. voucher program despite a promise Obama made last April in a budget agreement he signed that helped avert a government shutdown, says the American Federation for Children (AFC).

The Voices of Young Black Males (Education Week, February 3, 2012)
What do young black males say about what stands in the way of their academic success? Rather than rely on scholarly researchers to answer this question, we talked with a number of black males between ages 13 and 22 in Washington D.C., and Milwaukee, Wis., to learn what they had to say. We did not approach this as a rigorous academic study but as a series of conversations to learn more about the perspective of this important group of learners.

A new report offers a "bleak picture" of the state of state science standards across the nation, with just over half earning a grade of D or F. Among the 10 states to receive a failing grade were Idaho, Oregon, and Wisconsin. (See the full list below.) Only California and the District of Columbia were given a solid A, while four states were handed an A-minus, according to the review by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a Washington-based think tank.

Ask a random sampling of D.C. residents about the dropout rate of District public school students, and their guesses actually aren’t that far off. Many of them guess that 70-80 percent of students graduate; the actual official graduation rate hovers around 76 percent.

A new study commissioned by D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray recommends that the city turn around or close more than three dozen traditional public schools in its poorest neighborhoods and expand the number of high-performing charter schools.

The subsequent ‘Levy Report’ revealed that DCPS received operating funds of between $72 million and $127 million a year that weren’t available to charter schools.

New initiatives making schools data readily availabe (Washington Post, November 26, 2011)
Parents across the Washington region will soon have more readily available — and useful— information about how their public schools are doing, the result of new initiatives underway at the local and state level for reporting and displaying education data.

Should value-added models account for poverty? (Washington Post, November 25, 2011)
In Washington, D.C., one of the first places in the country to use value-added teacher ratings to fire teachers, teacher union President Nathan Saunders likes to point to the following statistic as proof that the ratings are flawed: Ward 8, one of the poorest areas of the city, has only five percent of the teachers defined as effective under the new evaluation system known as IMPACT, but more than a quarter of the ineffective ones. Ward 3, encompassing some of the city's more affluent neighborhoods, has nearly a quarter of the best teachers, but only 8 percent of the worst.

With research showing that teacher quality is the dominant in-school factor driving performance on standardized tests, the District is joining a national movement to push cameras into the classroom. The objective is to capture the elusive recipe for teaching’s “secret sauce” — the attributes and practices that make educators effective.

First Day of School Abuzz With Change (Washington Post, August 25, 2009)
Schools in Prince George's County opened for the first time under the leadership of Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. Charles and Frederick counties also began classes, along with some schools in Anne Arundel County. By week's end, classes will resume throughout Anne Arundel and in Calvert and St. Mary's counties. Schools in Montgomery and Howard counties reopen Aug. 31, and most Northern Virginia schools begin Sept. 8.

Forty-six states and the District of Columbia today will announce an effort to craft a single vision for what children should learn each year from kindergarten through high school graduation, an unprecedented step toward a uniform definition of success in American schools.

Multiracial Pupils to Be Counted in A New Way (Washington Post , March 23, 2009)
Public schools in the Washington region and elsewhere are abandoning their check-one-box approach to gathering information about race and ethnicity in an effort to develop a more accurate portrait of classrooms transformed by immigration and interracial marriage. Next year, they will begin a separate count of students who are of more than one race.

Needy Students Closing Test Gap Under 'No Child' (Washington Post , October 2, 2008)
Since enactment of the No Child Left Behind law, students from poor families in the Washington area have made major gains on reading and math tests and are starting to catch up with those from middle-class and affluent backgrounds, a Washington Post analysis shows.

In Closed Schools, History Lessons (Washington Post, July 17, 2008)
For Nancye Suggs, the call from D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's office about nearly two dozen schools she planned to close was bittersweet: Suggs said that she was heartbroken about the loss, in one fell swoop, of so much history but that she was ecstatic Rhee was offering her a chance to retrieve some of it.

A School Where One Size Doesn't Fit All (Washington Post, July 17, 2008)
Growing up in Montgomery County, graduating summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania and getting a law degree from Harvard, Alan M. Shusterman had been called brilliant but didn't feel that great. He got a job in corporate law with a large Boston firm, but that didn't work for him, either.

D.C. Gun Ban Is Out, But Regulations Stay (Washington Post, July 16, 2008)
The D.C. Council unanimously approved emergency legislation last night that ends the strictest handgun ban in the country and voted 12 to 1 to approve the transfer of almost $125 million to renovate schools by fall -- two major issues that showed the council's complex relationship with Mayor Adrian M. Fenty.

Principals at some D.C. schools that demonstrated a dramatic increase on this year's student achievement test credit the gains to programs they implemented after a push from Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee.

The city has picked a developer for a site that includes Janney Elementary School and the former Tenley-Friendship Library, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty announced yesterday.

D. C. Students See Big Academic Gains (Washington Post, July 10, 2008)
D.C. public school students made significant achievement gains during the past academic year, according to preliminary test data released yesterday.

D.C. Libraries Mired in Political Dithering (Washington Post, July 10, 2008)
What's happened in the four years since the District shuttered four of its neighborhood libraries, lost another one to a fire and launched an endless debate over whether to renovate or get rid of its main branch downtown?

Erica Williams worries about the wave of political involvement among young people this election season. She knows, for example, that college students' participation in Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign -- whether it's knocking on doors or raising money on the Internet -- has been unprecedented.

Board Members Resign to Protest Chair's Ousting (Washington Post, July 5, 2008)
The issue that has roiled U.S.-Turkish relations in recent months -- how to characterize the mass killing of Armenians in 1915 -- has set off a dispute over politics and academic freedom at an institute housed at Georgetown University. Several board members of the Institute of Turkish Studies have resigned this summer, protesting the ouster of a board chairman who wrote that scholars should research, rather than avoid, what he characterized as an Armenian genocide.

Rhee Deploys 'Army of Believers' (Washington Post, July 5, 2008)
Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's quest to transform D.C. schools will likely rise or fall largely on the shoulders of the Rikki Hunt Taylors she is putting in place. Rhee has just finished filling 45 vacancies in her principal corps, the first full cohort of school leaders

D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee announced yesterday that she plans to fire 250 teachers and 500 teacher's aides who were unable to meet a June 30 deadline to obtain certification.

Rhee Seeks Tenure-Pay Swap for Teachers (Washington Post, July 3, 2008)
D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee is proposing a contract that would give mid-level teachers who are paid $62,000 yearly the opportunity to earn more than $100,000 -- but they would have to give up seniority and tenure rights, two union members familiar with the negotiations said yesterday.

Lack of Funds Cited For Halting Renovations (Washington Post, July 3, 2008)
City officials said yesterday that they will halt renovations of 14 schools slated to receive students from schools that have been closed because the D.C. Council has not approved funds to continue the work.

School officials have warned the D.C. Council that failure to approve $83 million in building repair contracts at its meeting today could leave thousands of children in severely under-equipped schools or stranded altogether when classes begin Aug. 25.

Robert C. Rice, 69, an interim superintendent of D.C. public schools, past superintendent of Anne Arundel County schools and an executive in the Maryland State Department of Education, died June 21 of complications of lung transplant surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center's intensive care unit in Baltimore. He lived in Arnold.

Council Questions Repair Contracts (Washington Post, June 26, 2008)
School construction officials faced sharp questions from D.C. Council members yesterday about their request to issue $83 million in contracts to repair numerous schools, including 13 slated to become pre-K-8 campuses.

Teacher On Leave After Photos Found (Washington Post, June 25, 2008)
A third-grade teacher at prestigious Beauvoir elementary school, located on the grounds of Washington National Cathedral, was placed on administrative leave after a camera in the teacher's possession was found containing inappropriate photographs of a young boy, school officials said yesterday.

2 Closed Schools Go to Charter (Washington Post, June 21, 2008)
Five recently shuttered D.C. public schools will be leased to various city agencies and two to charter schools, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's office announced yesterday. The seven schools are among 23 that Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee decided this year to close because of low enrollment.

UDC Reaps a Bumper Crop From Agriculture Measure (Washington Post, June 20, 2008)
The giant federal farm bill passed by Congress this week will help Iowa corn growers. It will help Kansas wheat barons. It also will help James Allen, who dreams of bringing pigweed to the back yards of Washington, D.C.

Bill Would Give District Control of Charter Board (Washington Post, June 19, 2008)
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton has introduced a bill that would give the District of Columbia full oversight over the D.C. Charter School Board.

22 Assistant Principals Are Latest to Be Fired (Washington Post, June 19, 2008)
D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee fired 22 assistant principals this week, her second round of school administrative terminations, which came about a month after her dismissal of 24 principals.

An Elementary History Lesson (Washington Post, June 19, 2008)
When Janet Wiggins was a student at Loudoun's all-black Banneker Elementary School in the 1950s, she used hand-me-down textbooks from white students. Her school didn't have a library, so she checked out books every couple of weeks from a bookmobile.

Aside from the VIP license plates and the ability to breeze through security checkpoints, one of the great perks of being in Congress is the ability to hand out nominations to elite, tuition-free colleges to some of the highest-achieving high school students in the land.

Report Finds Little Gain From Vouchers (Washington Post, June 17, 2008)
Students in the D.C. school voucher program, the first federal initiative to spend taxpayer dollars on private school tuition, generally did no better on reading and math tests after two years than public school peers, a U.S. Education Department report said yesterday.

7 Catholic Schools in D.C. Set to Become Charters (Washington Post, June 17, 2008)
The D.C. Public Charter School Board approved a controversial proposal last night to allow seven financially struggling Catholic schools to reopen as secular charters this fall, although the city's plan for funding the schools remains uncertain.

Graduates Honored For Drive, Degrees (Washington Post, June 17, 2008)
About 100 recent college graduates who attended District public schools were honored last night in a ceremony hosted by D.C. College Access Program, a nonprofit group that supported the students through high school and college. Former secretary of state Colin L. Powell gave the featured address.

D.C. Alters Youths' Pay Method (Washington Post, June 16, 2008)
More than 19,000 young people are set to begin working in the D.C. summer jobs program today, and this time city officials say they've figured out a way to be sure they get paid.

Leaders Chart Progress, Academic Goals (Washington Post, June 13, 2008)
D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and education officials marked the first anniversary of his takeover of the city's beleaguered public schools yesterday by listing a series of improvements, mainly in business functions and school facilities, and outlined their goal of improving student achievement in the second year.

Needy Students Closing Test Gap Under 'No Child' (Washington Post , December 31, 1969)
Since enactment of the No Child Left Behind law, students from poor families in the Washington area have made major gains on reading and math tests and are starting to catch up with those from middle-class and affluent backgrounds, a Washington Post analysis shows.



MARYLAND

An example of how the elements of the framework can lead to improved engagement is exhibited in my hometown of Baltimore. Baltimore City Public Schools worked to support 12,000 pre-kindergarten and kindergarten homes, and to engage families in home-based literacy practices. Each week students received a different bag filled with award-winning children’s books, exposing children, on average, to more than 100 books per year. The book rotation also includes parent training and information on how to share books effectively to promote children’s early literacy skills and nurture a love of learning. Through the program, families are also connected with their local public and school libraries. At the culmination of the program, children receive a permanent bag to keep and continue the practice of borrowing books and building a lifelong habit of reading.

When housing policies fail to break up concentrations of poverty in cities, some education researchers say school districts should take an active role in making sure their schools are economically diverse.

As part of its efforts to help schools better reach underperforming students, the school system will form a group of six schools interested in developing instruction plans focused on the interests and strengths of individual students, according to Kimberly A. Statham, deputy superintendent of teaching, learning and programs.

And now, the schools chief has sent that message directly to tens of thousands of parents in the 151,000-student district in a letter that basically tells them that the Maryland State Assessment that students in grades 3-8 must take in the coming weeks will be a colossal waste of time. That's because schools are now using the Common Core State Standards and the MSA tests are not aligned to the common core.

Hoping to devise ways for the school system to recruit and retain men, Lewis, Gaskin and more than 100 male educators filled the auditorium at Charles Herbert Flowers High School in Springdale on Saturday for the county’s first male educator summit.

MCPS forms ‘cybercivility’ task force (The Gazette, February 14, 2014)
Now Montgomery County Public Schools has formed a task force focused on “cybercivility” and is seeking applications from parents, students, staff members and community members to fill its ranks.

This is how some lessons are taught at G. James Gholson Middle School in Prince George’s County: boys in one classroom, girls in another.

From sprawling Los Angeles to tiny Talbot County on Maryland's Eastern Shore, educators are experimenting with the next wave of technology in schools: a tablet or laptop in every student's hand. The results have drawn national attention — for both their embarrassing failures and their successes.

Md. passes new student disciplinary code  (Baltimore Sun, January 28, 2014)
After four years of deliberation, the Maryland school board passed new disciplinary regulations Tuesday that will end a zero-tolerance policy that sent home large numbers of boys, special education students and African-Americans for minor infractions.

Maryland and Virginia are two of eight states, along with the District, where there are gaps of 34 percentage points or more in reading test scores between children from low income and higher income families. That's according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

2014 National Teacher of the Year Finalists Named (Education Week, January 15, 2014)
Four educators, hailing from Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia, have been announced by the Council of Chief State School Officers as the finalists for the 2014 National Teacher of the Year Award.

Montgomery County schools officials plan to survey students taking high school final exams in math next week about how they think about and prepare for the biggest test of the semester, as school leaders explore the causes of steep failure rates on the countywide tests.

How’s this for messy? Top Maryland officials approved a contract making the state the “fiscal agent” for one of two multi-state consortia developing standardized tests aligned with the Common Core State Standards despite objections that the contract has no minority business participation and concerns about testing obsession. Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) acknowledged the lack of minority representation, saying the state feels “kind of saddled” by the contract in this regard because it was inheriting it from Florida, and he told officials to fix the problem. He also said Maryland was doing President Obama “a favor” by taking on the contract.

Aberdeen parents vent frustrations with bullying (Baltimore Sun, December 19, 2013)
Faith Billings broke into tears Tuesday evening as the former Aberdeen High School student described how dealing with bullying during her middle and high school years, led her to drop out of high school and quit the sport she loved, softball.

Baltimore's fourth- and eighth-graders posted significant gains in reading on a rigorous national exam, but math scores declined and student achievement still lags significantly, according to results released Wednesday.

Montgomery County’s high school students took more Advanced Placement (AP) exams, in the spring, than ever before, but the percentage of tests showing college-ready scores dipped, particularly among African-American and Latino students, according to data released Friday.

Maryland's scores on a national reading test may have been inflated because the state's schools excluded a higher percentage of special-education students than any other state, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education.

Pre-K suspensions common in Maryland schools (Baltimore Sun, November 11, 2013)
Dozens of pre-kindergartners were suspended last school year in Maryland, with the most suspensions in Baltimore, highlighting a little-known practice that some education experts say is too extreme for toddlers who are just being introduced to educational settings.

The high school graduation rate has improved across Maryland, according to figures released Wednesday, but Prince George’s County saw its graduation rate fall by 3.3 percentage points, leaving the school district more than 10 percentage points behind the state average.

Hispanic students for the first time make up more of Montgomery County’s kindergarten and first-grade classes than children from any other ethnic or racial group, a significant shift that marks the increasing diversity of the high-performing school district.

Incentives have gone a long way at James Ryder Randall Elementary School, helping a struggling school post gains on state assessment tests while most other elementary and middle schools posted losses.

Marcus Williams had more than 16 friends who were fatally shot, enough to fill a classroom. Some were killed in the most innocent of circumstances — a pair of shoes that drew unwanted attention, something said to somebody, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, just walking to school.

For the first time in years, hundreds of Prince George’s County 4-year-olds will spend an entire day in a pre-kindergarten classroom when schools open Monday, part of coordinated county government and school system efforts to improve academic achievement.

For the first time in years, hundreds of Prince George’s County 4-year-olds will spend an entire day in a pre-kindergarten classroom when schools open Monday, part of coordinated county government and school system efforts to improve academic achievement.

Students could show signs of becoming high school dropouts as early as first grade, according to a Montgomery County schools study that officials hope will provide a road map for shrinking dropout rates and improving academic achievement.

State test scores decline significantly (Baltimore Sun, July 23, 2013)
Maryland's student test scores declined significantly for the first time in a decade, a drop officials attributed to the beginning of a tumultuous time in public education that will bring widespread changes to what is taught from kindergarten through high school.

When Montgomery County students return to school next month, they will take a poll asking whether they “energetically pursue goals,” “laughed or smiled a lot yesterday” and “have a best friend at school.”

School officials say they have not yet compiled the county’s June exam data, meaning it will take some time to learn how students as a group performed on finals in Montgomery — an issue of heightened concern amid a recent outcry about the county’s high exam-failure rates, particularly in math.

Fairfax County has knocked Montgomery County from the top spot on a list analyzing graduation rates for the country’s 50 largest school districts.

Montgomery County sent home a new elementary school report card this year, with ES as the top mark, officially representing “exceptional” work. But parent Chuck Thomas thinks there is a different meaning for ES. “Elusive Secret,” he said. “That is probably more accurate.”

Schools Superintendent Joshua P. Starr on Tuesday announced the first Montgomery County “Innovation Schools,” a list of 10 schools that will work with central office administrators to develop customized plans for improvement.

Thousands of students in Montgomery County failed final exams in high school math courses last semester, according to data that raise questions about how well students have learned the material and whether there is a disconnect between the test and the course work.

Lockheed Martin, the Prince George’s County school system and the county’s Office of Information Technology have entered into a private-public partnership that will allow students and teachers at three high schools to learn from and share information with each other in a secure, cloud-based environment, county officials announced Wednesday.

News literacy programs are expanding in classrooms across the country, with a growing nonprofit sector dedicated to the cause and new education standards that require students to read and analyze more nonfiction text.

Highlights of Prince George’s County school plan (Washington Post, April 10, 2013)
State lawmakers approved a compromise bill that allows Baker to select the superintendent, appoint three members to the school board and name the board’s chair and vice chair. The school board makes final decisions on the budget.

Under the legislation, Baker would select the school system’s chief executive — currently known as the superintendent — who would then have to be confirmed by the County Council to serve a four-year term. The CEO, who would become a member of the county executive’s cabinet, would be responsible for day-to-day management and oversight of the school system’s fiscal affairs.

The party that files a special education legal complaint in Maryland — most often the parents of the child — has the responsibility of convincing a judge that a school system’s individual education program for a disabled child is or is not appropriate. But Senate Bill 691 and House Bill 1286 would change that. The legislation proposes requiring Maryland public school systems to defend the appropriateness of learning plans they create for students regardless of who files the complaint.

Black men in schools lead by example (Washington Post, February 19, 2013)
Where are the African American male schoolteachers and administrators? It has been pretty obvious for years that if you really want to do something about high rates of truancy and suspensions among black students — to cap that “school-to-prison pipeline” — put more black men in classrooms and principals’ offices.

A teacher evaluation system that took Montgomery schools more than a decade to perfect took the state schools superintendent four sentences last week to shut down.

Today the U.S. Department of Education released state-specific reports for 12 Race to the Top grantees, detailing their progress on transforming education at the local level. The reports highlight the second-year work and accomplishments of states awarded funding through the first two phases of Race to the Top: Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Tennessee.

In the second year of Race to the Top, the Obama administration’s signature effort to improve public schools, nine of 12 jurisdictions that received $4 billion in federal grants made good progress. But three — the District, Maryland and Georgia — have stumbled, federal officials said.

As the school district updates its Seven Keys to College Readiness to include more rigorous academic standards in response to Maryland’s new “Common Core” requirements, it is also updating its strategic plan and needs help from members of the community.

Maryland gets D+ in teacher preparation (Baltimore Sun, January 23, 2013)
Maryland's teacher preparation programs remain lackluster as the state continues to fall short in standards that would attract candidates with strong academic backgrounds, and ensuring that teachers are properly qualified to teach in their subject areas, according to a report published Wednesday by the National Council on Teacher Quality.

The Montgomery County Public Schools system is revamping its signature Seven Keys to College Readiness as the district and American educators rethink what students should know and be able to do upon high school graduation.

For the fifth year in a row, Maryland’s public school system took the top ranking in an annual study that examines state education policies and student achievement across all 50 states and the District.

The Gifted Child Committee of the Montgomery County Council of Parent-Teacher Associations plans to meet Monday night to discuss concerns over math acceleration as Montgomery County schools rolls out Curriculum 2.0. At least one representative from the Montgomery County Public Schools central office is expected to be at the meeting.

Heroes in the war against dummy math (Wahington Post, December 2, 2012)
As a 13-year-old African American in 1954, Vinetta Jones knew the exasperating letdown of people thinking she was not capable of doing whatever it was she wanted to do. Yet it was still a shock when she, an accomplished math student, walked into her all-white Detroit junior high class on the first day of Algebra I and the teacher asked what she was doing there.

Middle-schoolers tour Maryland college campuses (Washington Post, November 26, 2012)
One of the nation’s lowest-performing schools — also known as a turnaround school, which receives special federal, state and local funding to improve academic achievement — Oxon Hill shut its doors for the day Monday to give students a sense of what it takes to make it to college, and what college life might be like.

Voters Approve Md. 'Dream Act' (Education Week, November 13, 2012)
Maryland voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure that makes undocumented students eligible for in-state tuition at public colleges and universities in what was the nation's first-ever test of a so-called Dream Act at the ballot box.

Howard school board apologizes for earlier segregation (Baltimore Sun, November 12, 2012)
On the day that the Howard County school board apologized for the system's treatment of African-American students during segregation, Dottie Cook thought back to her middle school days, when she received a hand-me-down education that included tattered books with her uncle's name written in them.

Jashaun Britton, the test coordinator at Buck Lodge Middle School in Adelphi, said some teachers and staff members had trouble finding time to work out, given their busy work schedules and home lives — at least until Carolyn Goode came along. Last year, Goode, a health teacher at the school, began to head the school’s Wellness Council, a group consisting of staff members looking for ways to implement health-related programs.

One of the most closely watched races in the Prince George’s Board of Education election offered the most spirited exchange Tuesday night during a candidates’ forum at Prince George’s County Community College.

Baltimore schools join Kennedy Center arts program (Associated Press, September 17, 2012)
The Kennedy Center in Washington is expanding an arts education program to Baltimore schools to help ensure every student in elementary and middle school has access to the arts.

Attorney: Teen in Md. school shooting remorseful (Associated Press, September 13, 2012)
A teenager charged with wounding a fellow student at his Maryland high school has expressed remorse and was on a suicide watch while being treated at a psychiatric hospital, his attorney said Thursday.

NSF Awards Grants for Climate-Change Education (Education Week, August 28, 2012)
Efforts to advance climate-change education in schools and communities are getting a boost from a new set of six grants awarded by the National Science Foundation, totaling more than $33 million over five years. The federal aid will support a number of initiatives, including a joint project in Delaware and Maryland to help schools deliver effective and regionally relevant instruction in grades 8-12, and work led by the New England Aquarium to enhance opportunities for climate-change education in zoos, aquariums, and other out-of-school settings.

Washington County, Md., in school nursing deal (Education Week, August 9, 2012)
School nurses are returning to Washington County public schools.

Maryland education officials have approved changes to the state's discipline policy that are meant to cut back on suspensions and expulsions.

New Guidelines Announced for Free and Reduced-Price School Meals (Maryland State Department of Education , July 5, 2012)
The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has announced revised Income Eligibility Guidelines for free and reduced-price school meals. The guidelines are set by the federal government and adopted by MSDE. They are used to determine whether children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals for the period July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013.

Dr. Lillian Lowery Starts Term as Maryland State Superintendent (Maryland State Department of Education , July 2, 2012)
Dr. Lillian M. Lowery today begins her term as Maryland State Superintendent of Schools. Dr. Lowery takes the helm of the nation's number one-ranked State school system following nearly three years as Delaware Secretary of Education. She succeeds Interim State Superintendent Bernard J. Sadusky, who becomes Executive Director of the Maryland Association of Community Colleges.

Law puts social studies back in the limelight (Baltimore Sun, May 22, 2012)
Social studies, a subject that had been demoted in Maryland schools in recent years, will regain some of its past educational stature under a bill signed Tuesday by Gov. Martin O'Malley.

Maryland schools test new teacher evaluations (Washington Post, May 22, 2012)
All Maryland public school teachers and principals are scheduled to be judged by a new evaluation system, based partly on student test scores, in a little more than one year.

Teaching for all levels — in one class (Washington Post, May 15, 2012)
Experts call it differentiated instruction — in essence, adapting lessons for kids of different abilities within a classroom. Teachers have always had to juggle disparate student needs. But pressure is rising to do it more often and with better results.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced in the fall that he would waive portions of the law for states that outline alternative plans and agree to certain policies. Eleven states have received waivers. Virginia, Maryland and the District were among more than two dozen applicants that submitted requests in February and are awaiting a decision.

Allen is not the longest-serving teacher in the county or the region. Personnel data obtained by The Washington Post showed that a modest number of others hired in the 1960s were still in Washington area classrooms as of 2011, even though retirements are thinning their ranks. One teacher at Suitland High was hired in 1965.

After years of shrinking budgets, Washington area school districts are increasingly turning to moms and dads to pay for core classroom costs, raising questions about whether tapping family pocketbooks is a sustainable or fair way to fill a public funding gap.

The new rules specify how school districts are to identify gifted students, provide programs and monitor their progress. School districts shall provide "different services beyond those normally provided by the regular school program" and "shall consider implementing" programs to serve gifted kids in prekindergarten through 12th grade, according to the regulations.

For the past decade, public schools nationwide have aimed for a target fixed in federal law: that 100 percent of students should pass reading and math tests by 2014. Now Virginia wants to lower the goal to 75 percent for reading and 70 percent for math.

Maryland school board moves to limit student suspensions (Washington Post, February 26, 2012)
The Maryland State Board of Education moved Tuesday to cut the number of students suspended from school, saying that such punishment is used too often for nonviolent offenses and that too much class time gets lost.

Prince George’s County school enrollment slides (Washington Post, February 21, 2012)
Prince George’s County public schools have lost more students over the past eight years than any other Washington suburban system, averaging an enrollment decline of more than 1,000 students a year.

Charter schools grow in Prince George’s County (Washington Post, February 21, 2012)
Three of the independently run, publicly funded schools opened this school year in Prince George’s, bringing the county’s total to seven. That is the highest concentration in Maryland outside of Baltimore. The growth is a sign that charter schools are a key component in School Superintendent William R. Hite Jr.’s efforts to expand the county’s menu of education options.

State school board members still don't know her name, but a Dorchester County girl who was denied access to an education for a year is the pivotal figure in their push to abandon long-held zero-tolerance discipline policies across Maryland.

Pending a vote, the Howard County, Maryland board of education is set issue a new schedule for their middle schools that will drop traditional reading classes.

The Maryland public school system has now made this a habit: ranking first in nation for the fourth consecutive year, according to an independent national report being released today.

Education advocates and state leaders say that school funding cuts by nearly one-third of the state's 24 local jurisdictions will undermine progress at public schools that have been repeatedly ranked as the nation's best. Class sizes are rising, teachers are not getting the support they need, and school buildings are not being well maintained, said interim state school Superintendent Bernard Sadusky.

A new teacher training program designed to help girls and minorities succeed in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics is focusing on how small actions in the classroom can affect a student's achievement.

New initiatives making schools data readily availabe (Washington Post, November 26, 2011)
Parents across the Washington region will soon have more readily available — and useful— information about how their public schools are doing, the result of new initiatives underway at the local and state level for reporting and displaying education data.

City schools launching Saturday School initiative (Baltimore Sun, November 22, 2011)
The Baltimore school system will launch its first districtwide Saturday School initiative in December, a program promised by city schools CEO Andrés Alonso to help remedy declining scores on state tests. The $3 million Saturday School program will run for 10 weeks, primarily targeting students who scored basic in math on the 2011 Maryland School Assessments. Students in grades four through eight are eligible for the program, which will offer between 20 and 30 hours of additional math instruction for up to 7,000 students before the 2012 assessments in March.

Md. students make gains on national test (Baltimore Sun, November 1, 2011)
Maryland's public school students made greater gains on a national standardized test than their peers in nearly every other state, although the achievement gap between white and minority students persists.

Shimla Anderson-Harris wasn’t completely sure where she was. “Is this the Sasscer Administration Building?” she asked a stranger Tuesday night as she walked through the parking lot of the Prince George’s County Board of Education’s central office. “I’m trying to get to the school board meeting.”

STEM education gaining steam (Washington Post, October 24, 2011)
President Obama has said that students must be inspired to be more innovative and declared that STEM education should be a priority, particularly for minority students. So now comes a deluge of events throughout Maryland. A sampling from this month alone: A former astronaut meeting with 2,500 Prince George’s students; the start of a climate, ocean and weather program at Drew-Freeman Middle School; a middle school conference was held at the United States Naval Academy to get girls interested in the science field.

Experts Call for Expanding Boys' Career Options (Education Week, May 19, 2011)
In the nearly four decades since Title IX of the federal Civil Rights Act barred sex discrimination in education, educators and policymakers have encouraged more girls to study and enter traditionally “male” careers, from science and technology to architecture and law.

More than 4,500 of the Baltimore's youngest students will descend on downtown Thursday, transforming city landmarks into their playgrounds and cultural institutions into classrooms during the first-ever "Pre-K at Play" event, part of a new emphasis on connecting students' success in school to their experiences.

Charisse Cabrera sat in the back pew of Holy Family Catholic Church in Mitchellville one spring Sunday as a priest tried to comfort a congregation of Filipino teachers caught in a bureaucratic maze. The Prince George’s County school system has brought them in by the hundreds in the past decade to comply with one federal law. Now they are at risk of being sent home because the school system failed to comply with another.

Columbus, which has a handful of schools that would qualify for the "parent trigger," has overhauled several struggling schools by swapping out most of the staff. Harris has said parent involvement is powerful, but it's not clear that this strategy would improve schools.

Damairee’s school, Moten at Wilkinson Elementary School, located just east of the Anacostia River in the nation’s capital, makes it convenient for parents to be a regular daily presence. The school hosts a family-literacy program that places parents for a couple of hours each week in classrooms, learning side by side with their children. The program also offers separate parenting classes and preparation to earn a General Educational Development certificate for several hours each day.

‘Scientist superintendent’ heads to Montgomery (Washington Post, April 29, 2011)
As Joshua P. Starr was leaving his office here one day last week, an elderly woman stopped the city schools chief to offer congratulations. She had heard that Starr was just named the next superintendent of the prestigious Montgomery County public school system.

Enrollment Surges at Schools for Homeless Students (Education Week, April 11, 2011)
When Sarita Fuentes thinks of homelessness, she doesn’t conjure the stereotypical image of a disheveled older man pushing a shopping cart through an urban neighborhood—she thinks of her students.“What I see are these babies—elementary school children and their siblings,” said Ms. Fuentes, the co-principal and CEO of Monarch School, a San Diego-based, public K-12 institution that exclusively serves homeless students.

Md. Senate delays immigrant tuition bill (Associated Press, April 11, 2011)
Senators have delayed granting in-state college tuition rates to illegal immigrants, possibly killing the measure with the clock running down on the 2011 session. The Senate voted 29-17 to send the in-state tuition measure back to the House, setting up last-minute negotiations with less than 10 hours before lawmakers leave town.

The disquieting side effect of our increasingly detailed longitudinal studies of students is we keep finding warning signs of a future graduation derailment earlier and earlier in a child's school years.

Study Finds Fewer Latinos Enrolling in Preschool (Education Week, April 8, 2011)
The proportion of Latino 4-year-olds enrolled in preschool declined from 2005 to 2009, though the rates of preschool enrollment for their African-American and white peers stayed the same during that period, according to findings released Friday by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.

From homeless child to star student (Washington Post, April 1, 2011)
Michael Robinson is a straight-A student, three-sport athlete, student government president and musician at Springbrook High School in Silver Spring. Once homeless, he is now pondering which Ivy League university to attend.

Congress has a lot of work to do as it comes back to session this week. Near the top of its to-do list should be updating the main federal education law, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA. That will take a big lift, but it can be done. And it should be done. Our nation’s schools depend on it.

A girl's nude photo, and altered lives (New York Times, March 27, 2011)
Around the country, law enforcement officials and educators are struggling with how to confront minors who "sext," an imprecise term that refers to sending sexual photos, videos or texts from one cellphone to another.

African American and Latino/Hispanic children and adolescents often face challenges that differ from each other and from other groups of children in the U.S. Although a number of out-of-school time programs serving African American and Latino children have been implemented, data on which approaches work among these groups are scarce. Two new Child Trends syntheses fill this gap by reviewing rigorous evaluations of out-of-school programs to identify programs that work, as well as those that do not, and the intervention strategies that contribute to program success. The programs targeted outcome areas such as reproductive health, substance use, and physical health and nutrition.

Study Finds Social-Skills Teaching Boosts Academics (Education Week, February 4, 2011)
From role-playing games for students to parent seminars, teaching social and emotional learning requires a lot of moving parts, but when all the pieces come together such instruction can rival the effectiveness of purely academic interventions to boost student achievement, according to the largest analysis of such programs to date.

Schools Tackle Legal Twists and Turns of Cyberbullying (Education Week, February 4, 2011)
It was just before winter break in Pennsylvania’s Hatboro-Horsham school district when Assistant Superintendent John R. Nodecker was alerted to a case of cyberbullying. Some students had created an online poll ranking the “hottest” girls in the district’s high school and middle school.

Three years ago, Sylvia Paylor was ready to upend her family's life so her fourth-grader could get a good education. Concerned about the neighborhood middle school, she told daughter Ayanna that when she left Cecil Elementary, they might have to move in with another family to save money for a private school.

City schools' revved-up summer program gets results (Baltimore Sun, February 1, 2011)
Until last summer, Baltimore City students probably didn't think that Michael Phelps and African step dancers would have much to do with their learning.

Transition Programs Help Incoming Freshmen  (Education World, February 1, 2011)
Everyone knows the transition to high school can be a challenging one. That’s why high schools have initiated “summer camps” for incoming freshman and special programs that track and support students who experience difficulty during the first months in their new surroundings. Included: “Wolf Watch” supports students in transition.

For the third year in a row, Maryland's public schools have been ranked No. 1 in the nation by a leading education newspaper, which gives the state high marks for its policies, the preparation of its youngest children and overall achievement.

For the third year in a row, Maryland's public schools have been ranked No. 1 in the nation by a leading education newspaper, which gives the state high marks for its policies, the preparation of its youngest children and overall achievement.

During a video address on January 7, 2011, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stresses the critical role of community members in improving our children’s education.

Full Standards System in States Several Years Away (Education Week, January 6, 2011)
Most states plan to revise professional development for teachers by next year to help them teach to the new common standards, but it will take two or more years to complete anticipated changes in curriculum, assessment, and other elements of the K-12 system to adapt to the new learning goals

The Council of Great City Schools reports that 11% of African American fourth grade males are proficient in reading, while the same can be said for 38% of their white counterparts.

Choosing the Right Tutor for Your Child (National PTA, January 1, 2011)
Many students struggle in school at some point during their academic career. In particular, math and science pose the greatest challenges. If your child is falling behind, then tutoring may be the best way to reverse the trend and set him or her up for long-term success. Steve Magat, an education consultant and owner of Tutor Doctor in Richmond, Virginia, offers tips for evaluating math and science tutors.

State is not backing away from teacher evaluation rule (Baltimore Sun, December 24, 2010)
Gov. Martin O'Malley has indicated that he will stand firm on the state's commitment to require student achievement to be 50 percent of principal and teacher evaluations despite significant opposition from teachers unions.

The lowest-performing public K-8 schools often linger in that state for years, neither improving enough to get off accountability life support nor being shuttered completely, and persistently failing charter schools fare no better than regular public schools, a new study finds.

This study from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute finds that low-performing public schools—both charter and traditional district schools—are stubbornly resistant to significant change. After identifying more than 2,000 low-performing charter and district schools across ten states, analyst David Stuit tracked them from 2003-04 through 2008-09 to determine how many were turned around, shut down, or remained low-performing. Results were generally dismal. Seventy-two percent of the original low-performing charters remained in operation—and remained low-performing—five years later. So did 80 percent of district schools. Read on to learn more—including results from the ten states.

A little-noticed controversy played out in the District of Columbia schools recently that highlights a rarely discussed reason African-American boys lag so far behind in academics: sports.

With DREAM Act Shelved, Immigrants Look to 2012 (Education Week, December 13, 2010)
The illegal immigrants who more than a decade ago were just teens hoping to forge a legal path to citizenship are vowing to make the DREAM Act a campaign issue come 2012, even though they'll likely be too old to benefit if the law ever passes.

Blaming teachers for low test scores, poor graduation rates and the other ills of American schools has been popular lately, but a new survey wags a finger closer to home.

Student Mentors Encourage Wise Choices (Education World, December 10, 2010)
When elementary students take cues on behavior, to whom do they look? In Cincinnati, Ohio, youngsters get this guidance from older peers. Through the Winners Walk Tall program, responsible middle schoolers make weekly visits to primary classrooms and teach lessons that emphasize making good choices.

 (, December 10, 2010)
Education officials across the country have replaced the principals and at least half of the staff in about 150 struggling schools to obtain federal aid, the Obama administration disclosed Thursday.

Low-performing schools move ahead with replacing staff (Washington Post, December 10, 2010)
Education officials across the country have replaced the principals and at least half of the staff in about 150 struggling schools to obtain federal aid, the Obama administration disclosed Thursday.

Duncan Open to Additional School Improvement Models (Education Week, December 9, 2010)
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in an interview today that he is open to the idea of developing more models for turning around low-performing schools, other than those spelled out in the regulations for the School Improvement Grant program, which was financed at $3.5 billion in fiscal year 2010.

As Bullies Go Digital, Parents Play Catch-Up (New York Times, December 4, 2010)
Ninth grade was supposed to be a fresh start for Marie’s son: new school, new children. Yet by last October, he had become withdrawn. Marie prodded. And prodded again. Finally, he told her.

I have written before in the past on various blog sites and networks about the vital equation that must exist in order for a student not to fail in our schools: Family + Student + School + Policymakers/Voters = Student Achievement

A Mission to Transform Baltimore’s Beaten Schools (New York Times, December 1, 2010)
For years, this city had one of the worst school systems in the country. Fewer than half its students graduated, enrollment had fallen precipitously and proficiency levels were far below the national average.

“Conversational Turns” Generate Great Outcomes (Maryland Family Network, December 1, 2010)
While it is useful for parents to help children encounter new words—for instance by pointing out new animals, foods, and objects—it is the back and forth nature of a conversation that seems to have the most dramatic effect on children’s language development. Zimmerman finds that children develop language skills most successfully when interactions are characterized by high levels of “conversational turns,”—moments when one speaker responds to the other. Of course, this doesn’t mean that a child needs to respond with full words or sentences; a small child might respond with a pleased squeal to the question, “Where is the squirrel going?” and it still demonstrates active and effective engagement. It is still a “conversational turn.”

Poor Children Get Biggest Literacy Boost From Preschool (Bloomburg Businessweek, November 18, 2010)
Poor children get the most benefit from preschool, but such programs also help children who aren't poor, particularly black youngsters, according to a new study.

NEA Asks Education Department for Regulatory Relief (Education Week, November 16, 2010)
The Obama administration has said it wants lawmakers to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education next year, but with a new Congress coming in, it's tough to tell whether or not that will actually happen.

Court: Illegal Immigrants Can Get In-State Tuition (Education Week, November 15, 2010)
The California Supreme Court weighed in Monday on the politically charged immigration fray when it ruled that illegal immigrants are entitled to the same tuition breaks offered to in-state high school students to attend public colleges and universities.

Americans like where they live for a number of reasons, including their local schools, even though this doesn't necessarily translate into either high regard for the schools or a proclivity to become involved in public education.

With a new school board scheduled to take over, here is the question: What should the future of family and community engagement look like in Prince George's County Public Schools?

Talking to young children about numbers can boost their success in math once they're in school, researchers say.

Take a lesson from ‘7 Steps to Effective Parenting’ (Enterprise News.com, November 11, 2010)
How we communicate (yelling vs. speaking softly and touching as we talk) will determine how clearly our message will be received. Consistency in how we teach determines how well our child will learn. Providing rules and guidelines with incentives and consequences teaches our child what to expect and what is expected of them.

Dealing With Bullying Incidents (Education World, November 10, 2010)
No matter how diligent teachers are in trying to prevent bullying, incidents are likely to occur. If they do, you can take various steps to deal with those incidents and avoid their spinning out of control. Some of those strategies are discussed below.

Ideas to Increase Parent Communication in Schools (Educator's Royal Treatment, November 10, 2010)
On a Tuesday night in March I participated in #edchat on Twitter and the topic of discussion focused on techniques teachers could use to improve communication with parents. I added my ideas on the topic and attempted to link techniques and strategies I utilize to both teachers and administrators. Educators must be experts in effective communication techniques, especially when it comes to parents.

Educators long have believed that the top predictor of whether a child attained a high level of education was highly-educated parents. A 20-year international study, however, has revealed an even bigger predictor of a child’s academic success: the presence of books in the home. Regardless of nationality, level of education, or their parents’ economic status, children who grew up with books in their homes reached a higher level of education than those who did not, according to the study, Family Scholarly Culture and Educational Success: Books and Schooling in 27 Nations published in Research in Social Stratification and Mobility.

Archaeologist, dental hygienist, lawyer — these are the dream jobs of students on the verge of adulthood. But without immigration papers that say they are in the country legally, their futures are more about how to navigate a system that doesn't acknowledge them than about what they want to be when they grow up.

It's like a miniature town, with little people earning a salary as they serve in a myriad of different jobs with the common goal of maintaining a successful, fully functioning community. But it's actually Cristy Pollak's sixth-grade class at Corona Creek Elementary School, in which students serving in these roles learn about economics and tackle work that otherwise might not get done, due to recent statewide budget cuts. And Pollak is one of many local teachers who have developed innovative ways as they have attempted to cope with the unprecedented wave of cuts, which have resulted in a loss of instructional and professional development days, as well as teacher's aide hours, among other things.

Housing Policy Is School Policy (Education Week, October 20, 2010)
In recent weeks, the nation’s education reform community has been enthralled by Davis Guggenheim’s film “Waiting For ‘Superman,’” which disparages teachers’ unions and celebrates the lotteries used to get into high-poverty charter schools. ("'Superman' and Solidarity," this issue.) The empirically dubious message is that the nonunion character of charter schools will save low-income students, even though only 17 percent of charter schools outperform regular public schools.

U.S. Found to Recruit Fewer Teachers From Top Ranks (Education Week, October 20, 2010)
Countries with the best-performing school systems largely recruit teachers from the top third of high school and college graduates, while the United States has difficulty attracting its top students to the profession, a new report finds.

Early Grades Are New Front in Absenteeism Wars (Education Week, October 20, 2010)
While many think of chronic absenteeism as a secondary school problem, research is beginning to suggest that the start of elementary school is the critical time to prevent truancy—particularly as those programs become more academic.

 (, October 16, 2010)
Thousands of struggling elementary students in Maryland remain all but immune to massive and costly efforts to improve public education. The reason is they miss at least a month of class every school year.

Low-income students in Montgomery County performed better when they attended affluent elementary schools instead of ones with higher concentrations of poverty, according to a new study that suggests economic integration is a powerful but neglected school-reform tool.

Thousands of struggling elementary students in Maryland remain all but immune to massive and costly efforts to improve public education. The reason is they miss at least a month of class every school year.

Offering middle-school math teachers bonuses up to $15,000 did not produce gains in student test scores, Vanderbilt University researchers reported Tuesday in what they said was the first scientifically rigorous test of merit pay.

Lessons Learned from Immigrant Families (Colorín Colorado, October 2, 2010)
Families in Maryland schools represent 182 countries and speak 179 languages. These families contribute a wide, rich variety of cultures to our schools. Since 1990, I have worked closely with over 3000 immigrants and refugees. As schools prepare to welcome students back to school, here are some lessons learned from immigrant families.

Planting Seeds in Future Scientists  (Education World, October 1, 2010)
What fuels Marjorie Cober’s enthusiasm for science after 25 years of teaching? The "oohs," "ahs," and "yucks" when students are called on stage to help hold up a large snake, the shrieks from the audience while a teacher encases a student in a large soap bubble, and a four-year-old dressed in chemical goggles too big for her face. (The child’s mother used her phone to send a picture to all of the relatives.) The images come from six years of an annual event in Hagerstown, Maryland -- Family Science Night.

Planting Seeds in Future Scientists  (Education World, October 1, 2010)
What fuels Marjorie Cober’s enthusiasm for science after 25 years of teaching? The "oohs," "ahs," and "yucks" when students are called on stage to help hold up a large snake, the shrieks from the audience while a teacher encases a student in a large soap bubble, and a four-year-old dressed in chemical goggles too big for her face. (The child’s mother used her phone to send a picture to all of the relatives.) The images come from six years of an annual event in Hagerstown, Maryland -- Family Science Night.

This article gives basic steps families can take to work with their child's teachers and the child to make his or her school experience better.

Positive Behavior Supports: A Guide for Parents (families-schools.org, October 1, 2010)
This booklet explains Positive Behavior Supports (PBiS), how and why it works in schools, and ways families and schools can work together on behalf of individual children and the school community as a whole.

Getting Parents In the Literacy Loop (Education World, September 23, 2010)
What is the literacy background of your students' families? Are they active advocates, willing waiters, or carelessly uninvolved? Learn how to best approach each type of parent and involve them in their child's literacy learning.

Racial Disparity in School Suspensions (New York Times, September 15, 2010)
In many of the nation’s middle schools, black boys were nearly three times as likely to be suspended as white boys, according to a new study, which also found that black girls were suspended at four times the rate of white girls.

Students' SAT Scores Stay in Rut  (Wall Street Journal, September 14, 2010)
High school students' performance on the SAT college-entrance exam remained mostly unchanged from last year, except for notable gains by Asian-Americans, who continue to outperform all other test takers.

When school districts fail to meet their responsibilities to educate students, state departments of education by law have to step up and become the responsible party. But do these state agencies have the knowledge and capacity to do what the districts have not done? Are they oriented and equipped to get better results?

Today’s educators face a myriad of concerns including the high concentrations of poverty that limit opportunities for young Americans to succeed in too many of our schools. That’s why the American school house must play a critical role in addressing at least one more R—reducing the negative consequences of poverty by becoming a central component of federal, state and local antipoverty strategies.

This school year, all Montgomery County schools began posting nutrition information in cafeterias to help their young calorie-counters and encourage healthier choices. They also did it to comply with a new county law that requires food outlets with more than 20 locations to post calorie information for items served.

Cyber-bullying defies traditional school bully stereotype (Washington Post, September 2, 2010)
Research suggests that girls are more likely than boys to engage in cyber-bullying but that both can be perpetrators and victims. "Without question, the nature of adolescent peer aggression has evolved due to the proliferation of information and communications technology," said Sameer Hinduja of the Cyber-bullying Research Center at Florida Atlantic University. "There have been several high-profile cases involving teens taking their own lives in part because of being harassed and mistreated over the Internet."

Middle Schools Fail Kids, Study Says (NY) (Wall Street Journal, September 1, 2010)
On average, children who move up to middle school from a traditional city elementary school, which typically goes up to fifth grade, score about seven percentiles lower on standardized math tests in eighth grade than those who attend a K-8 school, says Jonah Rockoff, an associate professor at the Columbia Graduate School of Business who co-authored the study.

Better Training on Early Years Urged for Principals (Education Week, August 9, 2010)
The nation’s elementary school principals lack access to the focused professional development to help them meet the higher expectations of modern early-childhood education, experts and advocates say. In a bid to stamp out the achievement gaps that often plague poor and minority children before they start school, groups in early-childhood education and school leadership are emphasizing the need for principals to be poised to lead good practices for pupils in prekindergarten to grade 3.

Pasadena school dogs chronic dropouts (Associated Press, August 7, 2010)
Rahn developed a model based on what most dropouts lack: family-style support. Learning Works staffers dispense everything from hugs to hamburgers, condoms to child care, as well as academics in classrooms decorated with graffiti murals.

Senate Puts Federal Afterschool Funding at Risk (Afterschool Alliance, August 3, 2010)
Afterschool providers, supporters and working families across the nation were disappointed last week when the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to allow 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) afterschool funds to be diverted to programs that would extend the school day.

Spanish LOCATE Service (Maryland Family Network, August 1, 2010)
It is Hal’s job to assure immigrant parents that regulated child care is a safe option that can stimulate their child’s growth and development. He does this by explaining the system of regulated care in America and promoting the value of quality care. As he works through options with families, he introduces them to the Child Care Subsidy, which may help them pay for regulated child care.

Becoming Advocates for Our Students (Education Week, July 19, 2010)
When I reached my 27th year of teaching, coaching, and working in the field of education, I had an epiphany: I realized that if my work was going to continue, it would have to be devoted more to the child and less to the lesser tasks that crowd a school day. At the age of 54, I discovered Maria Montessori’s work. The tenet that drew me to it was Montessori’s undiluted respect for the child, something that my own traditional education, and my first 2 ½ decades as a professional, had made it almost impossible for me to fully grasp and capture in my work.

Staff and students at Gilmor Elementary, the city school at the center of an intense bullying debate this year, said they experienced a worrisome decline in classroom safety and learning environment, according to the results of a district-wide survey that come to light as the school undergoes a major staff shake-up.

Afterschool programs across the country provide critically needed services to our nation's children and families; however, many afterschool providers find it difficult to serve youth once they enter middle school. Young adolescents offer afterschool providers a special set of challenges which they must overcome in order to attract and retain participants. For example, young adolescents are more autonomous, busier, better able and more likely to articulate specific needs, and less appeased by activities designed for a general audience. While youth in grades six through eight can clearly benefit from participation in afterschool, programs must recognize the needs of these youth and employ innovative strategies to attract and keep them engaged.

Why fun is important in learning -- Part 2 (Washington Post, June 15, 2010)
Why do we assume that learning only occurs when kids are serious and quiet? This anti-fun vein evident in education editorials and discussion boards highlights a fundamental issue in education today and, in fact, has been with us for centuries.

Must-read new report on high school dropouts (Washington Post, June 10, 2010)
I have long considered high school drop-outs not only the least soluble of our education problems but the least clear. School districts have traditionally fudged the numbers, reporting their drop-out rates as only 5 or 6 percent, a grossly deceptive one-year rate.

Montgomery County slashes budget for schools (Washington Post, June 9, 2010)
Class sizes will expand, hundreds of teaching positions will be eliminated and other services will be slashed under a budget approved Tuesday by the Montgomery County Board of Education. It is the first year-to-year spending cut in memory, officials said.

Eighty-five percent of poor 4th graders in predominantly low-income schools are failing to reach “proficient” levels in reading on federal tests, according to a study issued by a national foundation as it gears up to lead a 10-year effort to raise 3rd graders’ reading proficiency.

Why fun is important in learning (Washington Post, June 4, 2010)
Why do we assume that learning only occurs when kids are serious and quiet? This anti-fun vein evident in education editorials and discussion boards highlights a fundamental issue in education today and, in fact, has been with us for centuries.

The Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color is a group formed in 2007 dedicated to ensuring that boys and young men of color have full opportunities for in-school success. Recently, the COSEBOC released a document entitled "Standards and Promising Practices for Schools Educating Boys of Color," as a blueprint for how to better serve students with an African-American or Latino background.

Understanding School Bullying (Education World, June 1, 2010)
Bullying is a problem that has been with us since the advent of schools. Yet in recent years, it seems to have become even more serious and more pervasive, exacting a terrible toll on many students. Research indicates that 15 to 20 percent of all students are victimized by bullies at some point in their school career. Nationwide, almost one in three children is involved in bullying, either as a bully or as a victim. Clearly, bullying is a problem that schools must recognize and address. After all, the first and foremost obligation of any school is to provide a safe and secure environment where teachers can teach and students can learn.

Though home visits are widely used in early childhood education and social service agencies for assessments and connection to corresponding community services, K–12 home visits usually are triggered by problematic student behavior (e.g., attendance). These outreach efforts, even though well-intended, may reflect the 14th-century definition of the French word visit, which means "to come upon, afflict."

Are parents involved in creating your school's parent-involvement programs? In the February 1950 issue of Educational Leadership, a series of letters between a Baltimore principal and a parent provide a unique, document-based glimpse into how one school got parents involved more deeply and successfully.

Readers who believe that families are an essential part of any school community and therefore should be understood, respected, and included in order to serve the best interest of students will be interested in a volume edited by Monica Miller Marsh and Tammy Turner-Vorbeck and published by Teachers College Press in 2009.


Urban 8th Graders Make Reading Gains on NAEP (Education Week, May 25, 2010)
Eighth graders in large cities posted small gains in reading over the past two years, though urban 4th graders failed to show any improvement deemed statistically significant, according to national test data released today.

A Closer Look at Charter Schools and Segregation (Education World, May 20, 2010)
In January 2010, the UCLA-based Civil Rights Project (CRP) released "Choice without Equity: Charter School Segregation and the Need for Civil Rights Standards." The study intended to report on, among other things, levels of racial segregation in charter schools.

A new study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Research and Reform in Education could change the way schools in the United States teach non-native speakers to read and speak in English.

Educational Attainment Rises Among All Americans (Education Week, May 19, 2010)
Americans across major racial and ethnic groups became better educated over the past decade, though significant gaps remain in the rates at which blacks and Hispanics earn a high school diploma or college degree, a new analysis of U.S. census data finds.

How Much Parent Involvement Do Educators Really Want? (Learning First Alliance, May 19, 2010)
I grew up in a big city and graduated from a magnet high school that had 5,000 students. My teachers barely knew who I was, much less who my parents were. How different from the Mississippi school districts where I’ve taught for nearly two decades. The total population of one town was just under 2,000, and half of them were students in our schools. Parent involvement takes on a very different meaning when I see the parents of my students every week ringing me up in the grocery store, rinsing me out at the beauty shop, tuning up my car at the local garage, or delivering my mail. I worship with them, bowl with them, sit in the waiting rooms with them. I know them, and they trust me.

Eighty-five percent of poor 4th graders in predominantly low-income schools are failing to reach “proficient” levels in reading on federal tests, according to a new study by a national foundation that is gearing up to lead a 10-year effort to raise 3rd graders’ reading proficiency.

States need to give test developers explicit instructions on how to avoid unnecessary linguistic complexity when designing content tests. They need to provide detailed guidelines to school districts on how to select and use testing accommodations for students. Those are two of the recommendations in a new research brief on how to include ELLs appropriately in academic content assessments.

Readers who believe that families are an essential part of any school community and therefore should be understood, respected, and included in order to serve the best interest of students will be interested in a volume edited by Monica Miller Marsh and Tammy Turner-Vorbeck and published by Teachers College Press in 2009.

At Adelphi Elementary School, students peel away from their classrooms twice a week for tutorials in reading and math. Clusters of five or six children shuffle into a book closet, a hallway, a computer lab or any place teachers can fit a few chairs for 45 minutes of catch-up lessons or enrichment.

Maryland education officials charted a reform path Tuesday that would overhaul statewide exams, make student performance a factor in teacher evaluations and toughen graduation requirements in math and science. They hope their proposal will make the state eligible for millions of dollars in federal education aid.

Across the country, afterschool leaders and supporters are asking the Obama Administration tough questions about its "Blueprint for Reform: The Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act" (ESEA). Coupled with the President's proposed Fiscal Year 2011 budget for 21st Century Community Learning Centers, advocates are concerned that the Administration intends to take precious resources away from programs that provide educational and enrichment activities for children and youth before school, after school and during the summer, and instead use those resources to extend the school day.

A Closer Look at Charter Schools and Segregation (Education World, March 20, 2010)
In January 2010, the UCLA-based Civil Rights Project (CRP) released "Choice without Equity: Charter School Segregation and the Need for Civil Rights Standards." The study intended to report on, among other things, levels of racial segregation in charter schools.

Eighty-five percent of poor 4th graders in predominantly low-income schools are failing to reach “proficient” levels in reading on federal tests, according to a new study by a national foundation that is gearing up to lead a 10-year effort to raise 3rd graders’ reading proficiency.

Obama Calls for Major Change in Education Law (New York Times, March 13, 2010)
The Obama administration on Saturday called for a broad overhaul of President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind law, proposing to reshape divisive provisions that encouraged instructors to teach to tests, narrowed the curriculum, and labeled one in three American schools as failing.

Maryland and several other states are pushing rapidly toward adoption of new academic standards proposed Wednesday for English and math, adding momentum to the campaign to establish common expectations for public school students across the country.

Deep budget cuts approved for Prince George's schools (Washington Post, February 28, 2010)
The Prince George's Board of Education on Saturday eliminated hundreds of jobs, approved lengthy furloughs, slashed bus service and expanded class sizes for all but the youngest students under a budget for the 2010-11 school year.

Growing minority enrollment forces schools to adapt (Baltimore Sun, February 22, 2010)
By the start of classes in August 2011, white students in Howard County are expected to be a minority, joining those in Baltimore County. The two school systems are riding a demographic wave that carries broad implications for how students are taught.

Fifth Graders Soar In the Blogosphere (Education World, February 1, 2010)
In Gillian Ryan's classroom, students have a good reason to put thought into the answers they share. Their audience is not only comprised of classmates; it is as a broad as the "blogosphere." The constant online "banter" between the students and their teacher steps up the level of interest students have in their learning, and provides their teacher with a glimpse of what is going on in their heads in realtime.

New Critiques Urge Changes in Common Standards (Education Week, January 28, 2010)
Writing groups convened by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association are at work on what they say will be a leaner, better-organized, and easier-to-understand version than the 200-plus-page set that has been circulating among governors, scholars, education groups, teams of state education officials, and others for review in recent weeks. The first public draft of the standards, which was originally intended for a December release but was postponed until January, is now expected by mid-February.

If the plan survives scrutiny by the public and is approved by the school board in the next couple of months, fifth-graders in elementary schools would be given a choice of where they go to school next fall, rather than being assigned to a neighborhood school. Fifth-graders in schools with kindergarten through eighth grades would also get to move to a charter or new transformation school, but they would be given lower priority than the fifth-graders at an elementary-only school.

Obama announces teacher training initiative (USA Today, January 6, 2010)
President Barack Obama announced a $250 million initiative Wednesday to train math and science teachers and help meet his goal of pushing America's students from the middle to the top of the pack in those subjects in the next decade.

More choices for Baltimore 8th-graders (Baltimore Sun, January 3, 2010)
Baltimore began upending the structure of its public high schools in 2002, and today's middle-schoolers can pick from nearly four dozen schools across the city rather than being assigned to a comprehensive high school in their neighborhood. Digital, which is in Federal Hill, is the second-most-popular choice among the city's eighth-graders, even though it didn't exist seven years ago. Neither did Coppin Academy in West Baltimore, but it has four times the number of applicants as open places.

Preparing students for a brighter future (Baltimore Sun, January 2, 2010)
Martin's class is a pilot project being conducted by Advancement Via Individual Determination, or AVID, a national college-preparatory program for students who are capable of more challenging work but need additional resources to reach their potential. Woodlawn High in Baltimore County is among six schools across the country participating in the AVID Center's African-American Male Initiative, which aims to raise achievement among those students.

Many teachers, parents, and students are confused about gender equity in schools. They are not alone. We recently received a call from a young reporter who wanted to speak about our work "in making women superior to men." The reporter viewed gender bias in school as males versus females. We do not. Gender bias short-circuits both boys and girls, and both move forward when gender restrictions are removed.

A new partnership led by NASA will pilot a series of multi-week math and science education programs this summer, the space agency announced on Wednesday. The goal of the new NASA initiative, called Summer of Innovation, will be to encourage low-income, minority students to pursue careers in engineering, math or science. NASA will competitively select school districts in up to seven states to pilot the program this summer.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids under age 2 have no screen time, and that kids older than 2 watch no more than 1 to 2 hours a day of quality programming.

Mission: Educational Engagement (Journal Sentinel, November 29, 2009)
For decades, national studies have linked high parental engagement with higher rates of student achievement and interest in school. Yet attention on home life issues and parental involvement have languished in the field of American education reform. Efforts to improve educational outcomes long have centered on what happens in school - not what happens after the last bell of the day.

Scholars: Parent-School Ties Should Shift in Teen Years (Education Week, November 17, 2009)
In a series of studies and a new book, Ms. Hill makes the case that both research and policy initiatives aimed at promoting parent involvement fail to take into account the distinct needs of adolescents, a group of students that seems biologically driven to break free of parental vigilance.

Baltimore School District on Upward Swing (Education Week, October 21, 2009)
Two years ago, only 150 students attended Holabird Elementary, then a K-5 school in the southeastern corner of this city. Competition from charters and from regular public schools in nearby Baltimore County had drained families from Holabird, a chronic underperformer.

Camp Out Lures Dads To Get Involved (Education World, October 12, 2009)
"The Dad's Club Camp Out is a huge success at our school, and every year parents and students can't wait for it!" says Tina Palutis. "It's a big undertaking and requires a lot of planning, volunteers, and time, but it is the most rewarding activity I think we offer."

Teams of "warriors" in sixth through eighth grade at Adams Middle School in Tampa, Florida, read and discuss young adult novels as part of the school's annual "Extreme Read." The experience not only supports the students' literacy skills but gives them the chance to see those around them -- peers, parents, and even the math teacher -- as fellow readers.

Nearly nine in 10 Hispanics say it's "necessary" to get a college education to get ahead in life — more than any other ethnic or racial group in the USA. But Hispanic students' plans to get an actual diploma fall well below those of other groups, a survey finds: Fewer than half of Hispanic 18- to 25-year-olds say they plan to get a bachelor's degree, well below the 60% of all young people who say the same.

ESEA Action High Priority, Duncan Says  (Education Week , October 5, 2009)
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan signaled last week that the Department of Education is poised to launch reauthorization efforts for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. He used a packed meeting of key stakeholders here to underline his likely priorities and stress his sense of urgency.

Literacy Efforts Over the Long Haul (Education World, October 1, 2009)
Involving families in literacy-building activities is a year-long endeavor at Col. E. Brooke Lee Middle School in Silver Spring, Maryland. When staff members discovered that their students' reading scores weren't improving as hoped, they took action to motivate the students to read and to get parents involved.

On September 22, Deputy Secretary of Education Tony Miller visited Viers Mill Elementary School in Silver Spring, Md., to recognize and celebrate the importance of parental involvement in education. Miller joined representatives from the Montgomery County Public Schools for a tour of classrooms and spoke to more than 300 local parents and children who gathered for the school’s first “Family Learning Night” of the academic year.

N.Y.C. Study Finds Gains for Charters  (Education Week, September 30, 2009)
New York City’s charter schools are making strides in closing achievement gaps between disadvantaged inner-city students and their better-off suburban counterparts, a new study concludes.

ELL 2.0: How to Make the Most of the Web (Education Week, September 23, 2009)
I don’t believe educational technology is a magic bullet for our students. At the same time, I do believe the Internet can be an incredibly beneficial supplement to effective classroom instruction for English-language learners. Consider, for example, the thousands of free Web sites that offer audio and visual supports for written material. That’s a huge asset if you don’t happen to have a one-to-one tutor-to-student ratio (and not many of us do!). The Internet also provides a place for ELL students to take risks, make mistakes, and learn from them without fear of public embarrassment.

Ninety-five percent of Americans consider early childhood literacy an important problem, but they do not know that reading to children between the ages of 3-5 has long-term consequences for a child's academic achievement and life-long success, according to a new survey released today.

Obama speech to nation's students divides area parents (Baltimore Sun, September 5, 2009)
President Barack Obama's plans to speak directly to the nation's students Tuesday have sparked a dispute among area parents and politicians, with some expressing concerns that the president could use the speech to promote his agenda - and others calling it a valuable classroom lesson.

New rules for schools (Baltimore Sun, September 4, 2009)
Maryland and eight other states have set up new accountability systems under No Child Left Behind that have given more flexibility and focus to the efforts to resolve problems at schools that don't meet standards, according to a report released Thursday by the Center on Education Policy.

First Day of School Abuzz With Change (Washington Post, August 25, 2009)
Schools in Prince George's County opened for the first time under the leadership of Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. Charles and Frederick counties also began classes, along with some schools in Anne Arundel County. By week's end, classes will resume throughout Anne Arundel and in Calvert and St. Mary's counties. Schools in Montgomery and Howard counties reopen Aug. 31, and most Northern Virginia schools begin Sept. 8.

Schools start on note of thrift (Baltimore Sun, August 24, 2009)
As Maryland's public schools reopen for a new year during a time of economic turmoil, some systems are taking tough measures to stem the fiscal bleeding, such as furloughing employees, denying teacher pay raises and increasing class sizes.

Back to school (Maryland Family Magazine, August 3, 2009)
Allison Nikirk of White Hall is anticipating a year of changes for her two daughters, who are entering fourth and sixth grades at St. James Academy in Monkton. And with change, she says, comes anxiety. While she says her youngest daughter’s concerns with going back to school center mostly on what she’ll be learning, her oldest daughter is facing the common anxieties associated with starting middle school, such as new friends, new teachers and a new school.

Black-White Achievement Gap Narrows on NAEP (Education Week, July 16, 2009)
American schools have made modest progress in closing the achievement gap between black and white students in math and reading, though that narrowing varies by grade and subject and from state to state, a study shows.

Sketching a path to better education (MEDILL, July 16, 2009)
A recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education found that art instruction in American classrooms has stagnated, prompting one official involved in the survey to remark that student achievement in those areas was “mediocre.” The ramifications of those findings could be significant.

STEM-Up is a multi-faceted program that includes instructional materials that are being added to the curriculum at 16 participating elementary schools and two middle schools that feed into Roosevelt High and the soon-to-open Mendez High School. The program also includes interactive community and parent workshops to provide information and tools that can used at home to encourage children to explore and develop skills needed in STEM fields.

For two years, Benjamin Santamaria helped Spanish-speaking parents and students at University Park Elementary in Hyattsville navigate the public school system. This school year, those parents and students will be without him.

Talk With Kids, Not At Them (HealthDay, June 29, 2009)
If you want to help children develop language and speech skills, UCLA researchers say, listening to what they have to say is just as important as talking to them. The effect of a conversation between a child and an adult is about six times as great as the effect of adult speech input alone, the researchers found. The results of their study appear in the July issue of Pediatrics.

It's graduation time, but not for everyone. One out of every four students fails to graduate from high school in four years, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Risk factors for dropping out include low academic achievement, mental health problems, truancy, poverty and teen pregnancy.

MD Signs Education Standards Initiative (Baltimore Sun, June 2, 2009)
Maryland and 45 other states have agreed to develop a common set of academic standards for students in kindergarten through 12th grade, a national shift away from local control over schools that seemed unlikely even a few years ago.

U.S. Effort to Reshape Schools Faces Challenges  (New York Times, June 1, 2009)
As chief executive of the Chicago public schools, Arne Duncan closed more than a dozen of the city’s worst schools, reopening them with new principals and teachers. People who worked with him, and some who fought him, say those school turnarounds were worth the effort, but all aroused intense opposition.

Public school enrollment across the country is hitting a record this year with just less than 50 million students, and classrooms are becoming more diverse, largely because of growth in the Latino population, according to a new federal report.

Forty-six states and the District of Columbia today will announce an effort to craft a single vision for what children should learn each year from kindergarten through high school graduation, an unprecedented step toward a uniform definition of success in American schools.

In these tough times, it is absolutely vital that we raise our voices for afterschool programs, many of which are threatened by budget cuts and shrinking revenues. I've had the chance to hear from so many of our Afterschool for All program partners who are dealing with the impact of the recession. Just a few weeks ago, a program director in Mississippi called to let me know that her town's only afterschool program is in danger of shutting its doors this summer. Sadly, more than 150 kids will be affected.

Programs Report More Hungry, Homeless Students  (Afterschool Alliance, June 1, 2009)
Just as children in their communities need more help, afterschool program leaders across the country say they are being forced to increase fees and reduce staffing, activities and hours to cope with budget cuts and rising costs.

Fewer Than 1,500 Haven't Passed Md. Tests (Washington Post , May 28, 2009)
With less than a month left in the school year, Maryland education officials have about 2,500 fewer reasons to be worried about the fallout from enforcement of the state's new exit exam requirement.

Large Districts to Use Stimulus for ELL Support (Education Week, May 20, 2009)
At least four large urban school districts plan to spend a significant amount of their federal economic-stimulus money to support or improve programs for English-language learners, a fast-growing group in U.S. schools. The districts—Boston, New York City, St. Paul, Minn., and Seattle—have had varying degrees of success serving such students.

In Search of a Better Teaching Formula (Washington Post, May 16, 2009)
To counter the notion that mathematics ability is inscribed in DNA, school officials and corporate executives are waging a public relations campaign for the hearts and minds of the average math student. Their goal is to immerse more middle school students in algebra and toughen high school math requirements so graduates can compete for increasingly technical jobs. Their message: Advanced math is not only for rocket scientists.

Inequalities are rooted in many areas of the U.S. education system, and the current system's relationship with poverty has not improved, according to a Kansas State University researcher.

Math Instruction for English Language Learners  (Colorín Colorado , May 1, 2009)



Pr. George's School Board Shakes Its Freshman Slump (Washington Post, March 29, 2009)
It's been a rough few months for the Prince George's County Board of Education. The school system's high-profile superintendent resigned after 2 1/2 years on the job. Board members caught flak over a glitch-prone computer grading and attendance system, a budget that eliminates about 900 jobs and a headquarters purchase that will cost more than advertised. And last week, they voted to close eight schools.


Eight Prince George's County schools, most of them inside the Capital Beltway or in the southern part of the county, will close next year under a revised plan the Board of Education approved last night, saving the school system nearly $6 million in a tight budget year.

Advocates for early-childhood education are taking President Obama at his word that the billions of dollars for programs like Head Start included in the recent economic-stimulus package are merely a “down payment” on future expansion.

Md. school board rejects illegal immigrant tally (Examiner.com, March 24, 2009)
The Maryland State Board of Education has blocked an effort to make Frederick County public school administrators count the number of illegal immigrant students.

Multiracial Pupils to Be Counted in A New Way (Washington Post , March 23, 2009)
Public schools in the Washington region and elsewhere are abandoning their check-one-box approach to gathering information about race and ethnicity in an effort to develop a more accurate portrait of classrooms transformed by immigration and interracial marriage. Next year, they will begin a separate count of students who are of more than one race.

They don't just wait for students to come to their offices in search of college brochures, health pamphlets or other help. These days, counselors are scouring schools for at-risk kids to prevent personal or academic troubles before they arise. In tough economic times, students and families need the guidance more than ever.

Charting a Course After High School (Education Week, March 13, 2009)
The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act calls for schools to help students develop a plan that will carry them to college or the workplace, but the requirement remains a challenge for families and educators alike.

Turning On to Reading, High School (Washington Post, March 12, 2009)
Surrounded by low chalkboards and tiny desks, 6-foot-6-inch, 300-pound Kelson Patterson probably couldn't help appearing larger than life. But from the perspective of fifth-graders at Highland Elementary School in Silver Spring, the Albert Einstein High School varsity football captain didn't need furniture to accomplish that.

Obama Says Public Schools Must Improve (Washington Post , March 11, 2009)
President Obama sharply criticized the nation's public schools yesterday, calling for changes that would reward good teachers and replace bad ones, increase spending, and establish uniform academic achievement standards in American education.

Schools In Calvert Face Major Budget Cuts (Washington Post , March 8, 2009)
Fewer teachers, larger classes and cuts in support staff are all likely in Calvert County under the proposed $189.7 million budget for the 2009-10 school year, school official said.

Curriculum Program Relocating To Md. (Washington Post, February 24, 2009)
The International Baccalaureate Organization, whose college-preparatory curriculum has expanded exponentially in the Washington area alongside the rival Advanced Placement program, is relocating its U.S. offices from New York to Montgomery County.

Parents Schooled in Learning How to Help With Math  (Education Week (Subscription), February 23, 2009)
The adults from the Prince William County, Va., district, located in the suburbs of Washington, were taking part in a school-sponsored math workshop for parents—the sort of forum that has become a fixture in districts across the country

Online-Grading Systems Keep Parents Informed  (Education Week (Subscription), February 22, 2009)
A number of Maryland schools in the D.C. suburbs and beyond are installing online grading systems so students and their parents know exactly what their test scores and grades are almost instantaneously. But parents and school officials acknowledge monitoring the daily e-mails and fluctuations can be addictive and obsessive even as it prevents surprises and offers help for failing students before it's too late.

A Report's Forgotten Message: Mobilize (Education Week, February 20, 2009)
America is once again in crisis mode. We feel the effects of an economy that seems not just in recession, but disintegrating. Settled certainties, assumptions, and expectations are crumbling—causing anxiety, yes, but also opening up opportunities for new directions that were unachievable in more-normal times.

Early Launch for Language (Washington Post, February 16, 2009)
Can kids learn anything if they are exposed to a subject for only half an hour a week, with no homework? When it comes to learning another language, educators say yes.

Schools Face Sharp Rise In Homeless Students (Washington Post, February 8, 2009)
The economic plunge has generated a growing wave of children nationwide who are sleeping in shelters, motels, spare bedrooms or even the family van as their parents seek to keep them in school. Educators are scrambling to help, with extra tutoring, clothes, food and cab fare.

Md. Leads U.S. in Passing Rates on AP Exams (Washington Post, February 5, 2009)
For the first time, Maryland ranks top in the nation for the share of high school graduates who passed at least one Advanced Placement test.

The proposal to move the school's talented-and-gifted program to Robert R. Gray Elementary School in Capitol Heights is only a small part of a sweeping plan to realign school boundaries and close a dozen mostly under-enrolled schools to save $11.9 million in the fiscal year that starts in July. But the case of Glenarden Woods is igniting debate over how much a county with an uneven record of academic achievement values its most successful programs. It also reflects tensions over gifted education that emerge from time to time in many local school systems.

Improve Education From Day One: Leverage Parents  (Education Week (Subscription), January 22, 2009)
Barack Obama, who becomes the nation's 44th president this week, is getting plenty of advice on which goals to tackle first in this ugly economy. Most ideas call for urgent action and carry a big price tag.

Screening Students Proves to Be Crucial  (Education Week, January 8, 2009)
Determining where an English-language learner should be placed at the time of enrollment—and when the student should be moved—is a key part of assuring student success.

Battle over immigrant schoolchildren continues (Gazette.net, December 4, 2008)
The battle over illegal immigration continues in Frederick County this week, with the latest iteration involving school children who are in the country illegally. At issue is whether or not the Frederick Board of County Commissioners can ask the Frederick Board of Education to count the number of students who cannot document their immigration status.

Many Pr. George's Seniors Failing to Take Exit Exams (Washington Post, December 3, 2008)
One of the largest hurdles in the struggle to get more than 2,700 Prince George's County high school seniors to pass graduation exit exams is that many of them aren't even showing up to take the tests required to earn a diploma.

Enrollment Keeps Falling Slightly in Balto. County (Baltimore Sun, November 19, 2008)
Enrollment in Baltimore County public schools has continued to decline slightly, but areas of growth - with some schools far exceeding their capacity - remain, according to a new report. This year marks the sixth consecutive time that the school system has had fewer students than the previous year. There are 103,643 students enrolled - down 1,071 from 2007. The district has about 5,100 fewer students than in 2003.

Dropout Rate Down; Graduation Rate Up (The Herald-Mail, November 17, 2008)
The dropout rate among students in Washington County Public Schools is at its lowest point ever, according to data recently released by the Maryland State Department of Education. The percentage of students graduating from high school in the county also is the highest it has ever been.

Fixing the Freshman Factor (Washington Post, November 4, 2008)
As schools push to raise graduation rates, many educators are homing in on ninth grade as a moment of high academic risk. Call it the freshman factor.

Healthier lifestyles lead to better grades (Baltimore Sun, November 3, 2008)
Quit smoking. Turn off the computer. Go to bed. It could improve your grades. In the first study of its kind, researchers at the University of Minnesota found a clear connection between student health and academic success.

HSA tests now crucial (Baltimore Sun, November 2, 2008)
Before Maryland school officials mandated last week that all students, regardless of grades, pass the High School Assessments or risk not getting a diploma, the tests were without real consequence. Not like the SATs or the ACT, mega tests that determine the college you attend. Students knew that. And that helps explain why, with the new mandate, passage rates in Anne Arundel County for the Class of 2009 increased markedly from the Class of 2008, 16percent to 30 percent on the four required tests.

Audits Obtained by Parents Show More Misspent Funds (Washington Post , October 23, 2008)
For a second consecutive year, parent activists are calling attention to a pattern of accounting problems in the use of student funds at some Montgomery County high schools.

Needy Students Closing Test Gap Under 'No Child' (Washington Post , October 2, 2008)
Since enactment of the No Child Left Behind law, students from poor families in the Washington area have made major gains on reading and math tests and are starting to catch up with those from middle-class and affluent backgrounds, a Washington Post analysis shows.

The achievement gap separating black and Hispanic students from whites and Asians in performance on statewide tests has narrowed in reading and math at every grade level tested, according to an analysis of results released this week by Montgomery County school officials.

Charles Workers Meet With Organizers (Washington Post, July 17, 2008)
Organizers from a prominent labor union met with a group of Charles County employees this week as part of a fledgling effort to unionize county government workers.

Leaders explain schools' gains (Baltimore Sun, July 17, 2008)
Middle school students at the Crossroads School near Fells Point were evaluated by teachers every single day last school year, with the results driving the next day's instruction. At East Baltimore's Fort Worthington Elementary, about a quarter of the school's parents turned out for MSA Family Fun Night and sampled questions from the Maryland School Assessments.

Case Goes to Jury in Ex-Schools Chief's Retrial (Washington Post, July 16, 2008)
The witness list was virtually unchanged. The judge and lawyers were the same. So, too, was much of the evidence, as former Prince George's County schools chief Andre J. Hornsby, whose last trial ended in a hung jury, was tried again on public corruption charges.

Md. Scores In Reading, Math Show Big Strides (Washington Post, July 15, 2008)
Maryland's march toward the goal of having all students reach grade level in reading and math gained momentum today with the release of test scores that show surprisingly strong gains in those subjects, especially among disadvantaged students.

Test scores rise (Baltimore Sun, July 15, 2008)
Statewide test scores for African-American and low-income children rose significantly this year and are moving closer to parity with other students, according to data released today by state education officials.

New academic chief apt to set high standard (Baltimore Sun, July 15, 2008)
Patricia E. Abernethy, the newest chief academic officer for Baltimore County public schools, is described as a champion for children and an educator with an exceptional understanding of what it takes to boost academic achievement.

Group Protests School Transfer Policy (Washington Post, July 12, 2008)
A new parent group in Calvert County is protesting a policy that allows children to attend elementary schools close to their day-care centers, an arrangement that the group says unfairly lets some families place their children in the county's best schools.

The opening of a Hyattsville elementary school could be pushed back if school officials act on a slew of concerns about the location, including the dangers of having students walk to school. "The route to school should be as safe as the school itself," said Hyattsville City Council member Mark Matulef (Ward 2) during a June 19 public hearing.

Tougher integrity policy OK'd (Baltimore Sun, July 10, 2008)
The Anne Arundel County Board of Education passed a stronger integrity policy yesterday that reflects a need to "promote vigor and achievement" in schools, one year after a cheating scandal jolted Severna Park High School.

Two named to school board (Baltimore Sun, July 10, 2008)
A PTA parent and a retired educator from Bel Air were appointed to five-year terms on the Harford County Board of Education yesterday by Gov. Martin O'Malley. Alysson L. Krchnavy and Leonard Wheeler were named to the seven-member board in a county embroiled in a debate over whether the school board should be elected or appointed.

Home-schooled kids left out of Subway contest (Baltimore Sun, July 7, 2008)
Children darted across the grass carrying small balloons and then plopped to the ground trying to pop them. The relay runners came back and slapped the hands of the next children, as the games progressed for the springtime ritual known as Field Day.

Using books to fill the gap (Baltimore Sun, July 7, 2008)
Axxam and Mustafa Sassy are headed to Germany and Egypt on vacation this month with a bag full of books. The two middle schoolers received 34 of them at a summer book fair at their school, Arundel Middle.

Teacher pay set by the results (Baltimore Sun, July 6, 2008)
From rural Washington County to suburban Prince George's County, school systems around the state are beginning to wade into a promising but controversial topic in education: pay for performance. School officials are starting to offer teachers and principals extra pay or bonuses when they take on challenging assignments or raise test scores.

For those who teach Italian in U.S. schools, the advent of an Advanced Placement course in Italian language and culture three years ago was an epochal event, securing a future for the subject alongside Spanish and French and staving off competition from fast-growing programs in Japanese and Chinese.

The Prince George's County Board of Education endorsed a plan last week to convert five underenrolled schools into specialized academies to create more space for its popular language immersion and Montessori programs.

Teacher Bonuses Get Teachers' Blessings (Washington Post, June 25, 2008)
One of the most ambitious pay-for-performance initiatives in Washington area schools is drawing strong teacher interest and local union support even though many national labor leaders have long asserted that it is unfair to link teachers' paychecks directly to their students' test scores.

Experts Urge Longer Day to Raise Scores (Washington Post, June 25, 2008)
To improve middle schools, a Maryland education panel proposed yesterday giving students more class time, ensuring they are ready to complete algebra by eighth grade and enrolling them in a foreign language course by sixth grade.

Montgomery County high schools turned in their strongest showing yet on the 2008 Challenge Index, the best-known ranking of U.S. high schools.

Officials in tug of war on school nurses (Baltimore Sun, June 19, 2008)
County officials tangled this week over a venerable institution: the school nurse program. Members of the County Council and the school board argued about the prospect of the health department taking over the program from the school system, and how best to serve the health interests of students.

City PTA council is shut down (Baltimore Sun, June 19, 2008)
The Maryland PTA has stripped the Baltimore City Council of PTAs of its authority to operate, amid concerns that the group's president is using his post as a platform to express personal criticism of city schools chief Andres Alonso.

Hornsby retrial begins (Baltimore Sun, June 19, 2008)
The courtroom was filled with familiar faces. The judge, the two prosecutors, the defense attorney and the defendant - all had faced each other before. The only thing different was the jury.

Although the nation's lowest-performing students have made great progress in the No Child Left Behind era of testing, the top students are not making similar strides, according to a report by the Fordham Institute. The trend in Maryland mirrors the nation, said Tom Loveless, a Brookings Institution researcher who helped write the report for Fordham.

Three teachers were arrested during a two-month period starting in January for sexual abuse related to charges involving minors. A fourth teacher was arrested for having cocaine in his car, which was parked in a school parking lot.

Incumbent President Tricia Johnson of Davidsonville is seeking a second five-year term in the at-large seat, and Teresa Birge of Seven Oaks, who intends to represent the newly created District 32 seat in West County, must go up for a retention vote in November, which means there will be no other names on the ballot. Collin Wojciechowski, a rising senior at Chesapeake High School, will serve one year as the student member.

Needy Students Closing Test Gap Under 'No Child' (Washington Post , December 31, 1969)
Since enactment of the No Child Left Behind law, students from poor families in the Washington area have made major gains on reading and math tests and are starting to catch up with those from middle-class and affluent backgrounds, a Washington Post analysis shows.

How Much Parent Involvement Do Educators Really Want? (Learning First Alliance, December 31, 1969)
How Much Parent Involvement Do Educators Really Want? TeachMoore's picture By Renee Moore on May 18, 2009 Editor's note: This is the first in a series of four guest blogs on how teachers view parent engagement and involvement in public schools. Stay tuned for a contribution from teacher-blogger Larry Ferlazzo. I grew up in a big city and graduated from a magnet high school that had 5,000 students. My teachers barely knew who I was, much less who my parents were. How different from the Mississippi school districts where I’ve taught for nearly two decades. The total population of one town was just under 2,000, and half of them were students in our schools. Parent involvement takes on a very different meaning when I see the parents of my students every week ringing me up in the grocery store, rinsing me out at the beauty shop, tuning up my car at the local garage, or delivering my mail. I worship with them, bowl with them, sit in the waiting rooms with them. I know them, and they trust me.



PENNSYLVANIA

More class time added for Thomas Jefferson students (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 3, 2014)
''We don't want kids sitting in study halls," he said. ''We want to see them taking advantage of the opportunities. Raising the credits will match the increase in the additional educational opportunities they have.''

The Coalition for Community Schools, which is sponsoring the national conference, defines a community school as "both a place and a set of partnerships between the school and other community resources. Its integrated focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development and community engagement leads to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities.

Washington County Public Schools is changing its summer literacy program for young elementary school students in an attempt to improve results and attendance.

At Williams Valley's CCLC program, activities are aligned to the classroom curriculum. That means instructors cover the topics in the curriculum, but in a different manner to meet the students' needs. The after-school program is completely free and open to students, regardless of their current academic scores or progress. It's hoped, however, that students will boost their academic scores in math, reading and science; reduce the number of discipline incidents; and improve their attendance records as a result of attending the program.

Such is life in Philadelphia, my adopted hometown and former professional stomping grounds, where hundreds of public schools and tens of thousands of children have been left largely on their own to forage and fundraise for the basics of modern education.

A big part of Mr. Creedon's leadership has involved championing the arts, connecting community resources with schools, and using research and findings on brain development to make his case. He reminds arts groups that young artists are future ticket holders and cites the artistic and scientific outputs of Sir Isaac Newton, Galileo, and Leonardo da Vinci to argue to educators that "science and creativity go hand in hand."

Cyber-Charter Applicants Face Tougher Times in Pa. (Education Week, February 18, 2014)
In rejecting a recent group of applications to open cyber charter schools in Pennsylvania, state officials cited a litany of shortcomings, and one overriding concern: Who, ultimately, would be running the show?

Lebanon elementary school program a hit (Lebanon Daily News, February 2, 2014)
Lebanon's Harding Elementary School was a hive of activity Friday night as dozens of fourth- and fifth-grade boys from all five city elementary schools participated in Lebanon School District's third annual Boys Night Out Program.

North Hills schools consider curriculum changes (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 16, 2014)
Administrators in the North Hills School District are considering adding International Baccalaureate courses and revamping the curriculum in four areas.

2014 National Teacher of the Year Finalists Named (Education Week, January 15, 2014)
Four educators, hailing from Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia, have been announced by the Council of Chief State School Officers as the finalists for the 2014 National Teacher of the Year Award.

Performing Effective Advocacy (Stanford Social Innovation Review, January 14, 2014)
Carey Harris had a question on her mind. As executive director of A+ Schools, an advocacy organization working to improve Pittsburgh’s public schools, she and her organization were asking: How can we increase our impact?

At Radnor High, a look at 'what schools should be' (Philadelphia Inquirer, January 13, 2014)
Jillian Hughes attends a public school with 22 Advanced Placement courses, 96 percent of students going on to college or trade school, and a sense of community so strong that 300 students formed a club just to turn up and cheer at school sporting events.

Imagine you need to learn how to fly a jet. You’re given a link that describes how and an online video tutorial…nervous? Now imagine you’re being taught by a fighter pilot in a small class, and that class is with your peers. The course runs for weeks and includes experience from other teachers who now fly jets and were once like you. Little less nervous? Welcome to one district’s Technology Academy for teacher training.

Philadelphia students in District-run schools lag 7 to 14 percentage points behind the average for big cities in math and reading achievement in 4th and 8th grades on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the only test that compares students across the entire country.

At the School Reform Commission meeting Monday evening, a group of high school students led more than 150 of their peers in a series of roundtable discussions intended to gather thoughts on what the District can do to keep its students motivated, challenged, and in school.

Pennsylvania's Core Standards aim to get students on same page  (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, December 7, 2013)
In elementary math classes, students will spend less time working independently with paper and pencil and more time with items such as beads and blocks, working collaboratively on strategies to solve problems.

Parents of students in the financially troubled Philadelphia school district have filed hundreds of special education and educational-adequacy complaints with the Pennsylvania Department of Education, saying that insufficient funding is denying children the education they are guaranteed under state and federal law.

Report: Delco schools see rise in low-income students (Philadelphia Inquirer, November 18, 2013)
With a lower median income and denser pockets of poverty than neighboring communities, Delaware County is struggling to educate all of its students, according to a report from an education advocacy group.

Pa. Study Asks: Has 'Zero Tolerance' Gone Too Far? (Education Week, November 14, 2013)
Policies originally designed to keep guns out of schools have instead kept excessive numbers of Pennsylvania students out of their classrooms as educators applied the rules in an overly broad manner, says a new report by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Will Release School Funds (New York Times, October 16, 2013)
Gov. Tom Corbett said Wednesday that he has agreed to release $45 million for the Philadelphia schools as the district goes through its worst financial crisis in memory and questions swirl about a student’s apparently asthma-related death after attending a school without a nurse on site.

The old approach to fifth-grade social studies in the Souderton Area School District was teachers lecturing to students with lessons centered around a textbook.

Philadelphia Seeks Salvation in Lessons From Model School (Education Week, September 24, 2013)
In little more than two years, the Philadelphia school district has stripped $400 million out of its annual budget, closed 30 schools, eliminated nearly 7,000 jobs, and lost more than 20,000 students.

After Crisis, Philadelphia Students Head Back to School (Education Week, September 3, 2013)
Before they start the school year together, the staff at the Kensington High School for Creative and Performing Arts will grieve: They'll hold a wake of sorts for laid-off colleagues, reviewing a DVD of their photos and recounting their accomplishments, and then they'll head across the street to eat.

Acting Pennsylvania Secretary of Education William Harner has abruptly stepped down from his post after being asked to do so by Gov. Tom Corbett. The news comes just a few months after Harner took over from former secretary Ron Tomalis, who was moved by Corbett to a position overseeing higher education in his cabinet.

The measure used for public school performance throughout Pennsylvania for more than a decade -- adequate yearly progress, or AYP -- is being replaced by a new accountability system.

School Reform in Philadelphia: A Study in Agony (Education Week, August 20, 2013)
That is a giant task. Philadelphia is one of the nation's largest cities. Once a manufacturing powerhouse, it was devastated by the rise of low cost producers in Asia and elsewhere. Though it is still home to some Fortune 500 companies, it is a pending economic wreck, one of the poorest big cities in the nation, a city that leads the nation in crime, a city that is distinguished by some of the highest levels of illiteracy in the nation, a city of a million and half souls that includes 300,000 ex-offenders.

Philadelphia Borrows So Its Schools Open on Time (The New York Times, August 15, 2013)
Just a month after Detroit became the largest American city to file for bankruptcy, and with major cities like Chicago and Los Angeles struggling, this former manufacturing behemoth is also edging toward a financial precipice. But here the troubles are centered on the cash-starved public schools system.

The Philadelphia public school funding crisis is real. Thousands of people are being laid off, counselors, nurses, teachers, assistant principals, sports programs, arts classes and much more are being decimated. Here is a letter that American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and historian/education activist Diane Ravitch just sent to Education Secretary Arne Duncan asking him to intervene in the crisis. I’ve written about it here and here, and the letter spells out the problem in detail. (Weingarten was in Philadelphia earlier this year protesting mass school closings and was arrested with other protesters.)

Ten thousand unused musical instruments. No sports or art programs. No assistant principals, counselors, cafeteria aides or secretaries. That's what the Philadelphia public schools will look like in September without a major cash infusion. These and other cuts are the consequences of the district's $304 million deficit.

In recent years, the focus on third-grade reading proficiency has intensified to the point where more than 30 states have policies targeting third-grade reading, with about a dozen of those states allowing school districts to retain students in third grade, rather than promoting them to fourth grade, if they do not hit reading proficiency targets. Pennsylvania is not among them.

Standardized testing to change for Pennsylvania students (Philadelphia Inquirer, June 9, 2013)
New standards that would require high school seniors to pass multiple exams in order to graduate could be coming to a school district near you.

School districts across the state are being encouraged to mold their anti-discrimination policies to protect transgender students.

In York, Pa., school officials rejected a plan that would have converted the entire district to charter schools in favor of one that sets strict performance measures while maintaining a school board, the York Daily Record reports.

Presently, it is parents who decide to enroll their children in cyber schools (or other schools). Parents should make such decisions: They know best what’s best for their children. I don’t think government – any government – should interfere with these rights – ever.

No Child Left Behind gauge may end in Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh Post Gazette, April 15, 2013)
Adequate yearly progress has been the assessment measurement for schools and school districts in Pennsylvania since the enactment of the federal No Child Left Behind Law in January 2001.

One of the most common methods for identifying a potential bullying problem in a school is a student survey. In 2011, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency's PA Youth Survey (PAYS) asked students a series of eight questions about bullying at school and internet safety.

State adopts Pennsylvania Common Core Standards (The Times Herald, March 19, 2013)
The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) voted to put Pennsylvania Common Core Standards into place and will also require students to meet proficient requirements on either the Keystone Exams, or comparable examinations, in order to graduate.

A 1st grader, then a teacher, then a parade of parents and activists blasted Hite's unprecedented plan to close 37 city schools, including Strawberry Mansion, their neighborhood high school.

"It's very difficult as an African American in Cherry Hill to be in the theater department," she said, noting that black characters are not featured in most shows. "There aren't as many opportunities to be in the spotlight."

Offer more options for students (Philadelphia Enquirer, January 31, 2013)
It is no secret that our education system needs reform, but what direction to take and how to get there present a formidable challenge. Countless studies have shown that our children's math and science skills are dangerously below average. Test scores for eighth-grade Pennsylvania students have remained stagnant since 2005, and in 2011, about 61 percent of students scored basic or below basic on standardized tests. Schools continuously report failing test scores while our federal government pours unprecedented amounts of taxpayer money into an ineffective system.

Pain for gain in school plan (Philadelphia Enquirer, January 16, 2013)
After hearing from students, parents, teachers, and community leaders during an extensive listening tour, Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. released a detailed plan for the future of Philadelphia's schools last week. The plan sets out the goal of improving academic results for all students while emphasizing that making the district financially stable is a necessary step on the path to accomplishing that goal.

Four hundred miles from Sandy Hook Elementary, a Pennsylvania superintendent named Mike Strutt left a morning meeting on Dec. 14 and decided to place his schools on "threat alert." He was concerned about a copycat attack on the day of the Connecticut shooting. But, as he read reports of the massacre, he started to worry more about something else.

A national school reform advocacy group is giving Pennsylvania schools a D+ rating when it comes to performance. But the poor score is better than it sounds.

When it comes to truancy, even partial successes are celebrated. “We don’t expect to turn kids completely around, but to know someone is thinking more of themselves than they did the day before is a positive thing,” said Brian Kluchurosky, director of Youth Advocate Program’s truancy prevention program in Allegheny County. “We start to create a plan to achieve something like getting a job or a work permit. They have to believe in themselves and become resilient.”

Pa. panel on higher education sets good goals (The Mercury, December 9, 2012)
A special commission appointed by Gov. Tom Corbett on post-secondary education issued a report in November that, if taken seriously and followed with actions, could affect both families and business in Pennsylvania by improving college funding and training choices for the future.

For Young Latino Readers, an Image Is Missing (New York Times, December 4, 2012)
PHILADELPHIA — Like many of his third-grade classmates, Mario Cortez-Pacheco likes reading the “Magic Tree House” series, about a brother and a sister who take adventurous trips back in time. He also loves the popular “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” graphic novels.

The Philadelphia School District revealed Wednesday that its system for rating schools is faulty.

Practical Hurdles at Play in Pa. Charter-Law Stumble (Education Week, October 30, 2012)
A recent effort by Pennsylvania officials to re-examine the state's charter school laws highlights the challenges states may face as they try to change the policy and political environment for charters.

PSSA adviser: Cheating probe impact overstated (Associated Press, September 28, 2012)
The effect of a cheating probe on the lower test scores reported on Pennsylvania's achievement tests was overstated by the state's education secretary, the head of the committee that examined those scores told a newspaper.

Pa. Special-Ed. Funding Linked to Charter Law Changes (The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 28, 2012)
A long-awaited overhaul of Pennsylvania's special-education funding system is on hold this fall, awaiting agreement on proposed charter law changes, according to the chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee.

Pa. school test scores decline slightly in 2011-12 (Associated Press, September 24, 2012)
Pennsylvania's students scored slightly lower on their 2011-12 achievement tests because of a state crackdown on alleged cheating in some districts.

With Progress Weak, Pa. Braces for Next Round of Testing (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 24, 2012)
If school officials think making adequate yearly progress was difficult this year, wait until they give state tests this school year. At least some of the changes in the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment will make it more difficult to achieve AYP, which is based on student achievement on math and reading tests, test participation, attendance and graduation rates.

Boy eyes offer after Pa. school changes HIV policy (Education Week, August 7, 2012)
A ninth-grader from the Philadelphia area is considering an admissions offer by a private boarding school after it announced a new policy to treat HIV-positive applicants the same as others.

Teen's bullying musical to premiere in Gettysburg (Education Week, August 6, 2012)
A Hanover High School senior is getting local attention for his upcoming musical about teen bullying. "The Victim," a new musical, was written and directed by Zachary David Terrazas, 17, who said he was a victim of bullying in sixth grade and has seen others affected by it.

Pa. releases list of 414 worst-performing schools (Education Week, July 25, 2012)
The state Education Department has published a list of Pennsylvania's lowest-achieving schools, whose students may now qualify for scholarships to enroll elsewhere.

New Pa. law seeks athletic equity for girls (Education Week, July 24, 2012)
When her daughter Kelly joined the field hockey team at New Hope-Solebury High School in 2006, Chris Flynn noticed the field. The surface was dirt and dead grass. No restrooms, no scoreboard, no place to sit. A few hundred yards away stood the boys' gleaming stadium field, with lighting, bleachers, restrooms, even a concession stand.

Pa. school districts brace for more fiscal cuts (Pittsburgh Post Gazette, May 25, 2012)
Within three years, nearly half of school district officials responding to a statewide survey expect their districts will become financially distressed if federal and state funding doesn't improve.

Of the 145 students who started 9th grade at Franklin in fall 2005, only 17 enrolled in a four-year college, according to new National Student Clearinghouse data provided to the Notebook by the School District.

Career ed programs to get makeover (Philadelphia Enquirer, April 12, 2012)
The Philadelphia School District wants to revamp career and technical education - eliminating outdated programs, beefing up existing ones, and adding offerings in high-growth, 21st century job areas.

Morales is a senior honors student at one of Philadelphia’s higher-performing neighborhood schools, George Washington High in the Far Northeast. Among Washington’s 2,000 or so students, reading isn’t exactly a hot topic of conversation. That’s why many are pushing the new Common Core State Standards, which aim to get students to read more diverse and challenging materials.

Students between ages of 8 and 17 are required to attend school in Pennsylvania. Last school year, about 9.25 percent of Pennsylvania's 1.78 million students, or more than 164,000, were chronically truant in 2010-2011, according to attendance figures that districts provide to the state.

Tilden Middle School lost teachers to budget cuts this year. It lost a secretary, noontime aides, and money to pay staffers for before- and after-school programs.

The number of high school students taking Advanced Placement exams, which can qualify for college credit, climbed substantially in the last decade or so, with the proportion of minorities and low-income students among them increasing even more.

Teachers in eastern Pennsylvania trying to come up with ways to curb the influence of gangs in schools have been told that the problem is growing but can be handled.

Teen's anti-bullying plea makes its debut (Philly.com, January 29, 2012)
Ben Harowitz, a speck of an eighth-grader from Swarthmore who plays sax and loves Harry Potter, had reason to fear the reaction of his peers. Being bullied is hardly a cool calling card; broadcasting the slights carried a social risk. Opening up was the point, he insisted. Too many kids suffer needlessly in silence when telling an adult can bring instant relief. "I wanted to give victims a voice," Harowitz told me excitedly before the assemblies. "When you say something, you get it to stop."

Philadelphia teacher's methods make math add up (Philly.com, January 13, 2012)
This snippet of student-driven discussion is a glimpse of the style and approach that have earned Gaffey national and international recognition. He placed second in Microsoft's U.S. Innovative Education Forum in August, then represented the United States at the Worldwide Innovative Education Forum in South Africa and was named a semifinalist.

Three school districts here will merge teaching efforts (Lancaster Online, December 28, 2011)
The open campus project will blur the lines between school districts and alter the traditional school schedule, while helping to preserve teaching jobs, cut costs and stem the tide of students fleeing public schools for cybercharters, school officials say.

Cultural learning from China to Osborne (Post Gazette, November 23, 2011)
"We seem to hear a lot that we need to be more like the Chinese schools, that they are beating us in math and science," Ms. Ondek said. "She says that she is here to learn more about the aesthetic education. In each case, we're realizing some of our shortcomings. ... We can learn from each other."

She helped parents find strength in numbers (Philly.com, November 21, 2011)
SYLVIA SIMMS, a bus attendant for the Philadelphia School District, started asking questions a few years ago when the district closed her former school, transferring employees and students to a school where, she says, there were fewer resources available.

School test scores recently released by the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment reveal that schools partnering with private education management organizations (EMO’s) – including EdisonLearning - showed greater gains in student achievement than the schools operated by the Philadelphia School District.

PA Support for School Jumps (Philadelphia Inquirer, July 8, 2008)
Philadelphia and its Pennsylvania suburban school districts will share $82.6 million in new basic education funding next school year under the state budget signed Friday by Gov. Rendell.

Rutgers program brightens youths' futures (Philadelphia Inquirer, July 7, 2008)
When Bradley Soto, now 12, moved to Camden from Puerto Rico about four years ago, he found it hard. "One time, he started crying," said his mother, Migdalia Gonzalez, a school paraprofessional. "He said, 'I can't live here because I don't know English.' "

Phila. students must enroll at age 6 (Philadelphia Inquirer, July 5, 2008)
Philadelphia students will be required to start school at a younger age under legislation passed yesterday as part of the state budget. The compulsory school age in the Philadelphia School District will drop from 8 to 6 under the legislation.

Rent by charter school probed (Philadelphia Inquirer, July 4, 2008)
The Philadelphia Academy Charter School has been paying nearly $67,000 a month in rent to an independent nonprofit that is now a focus of an expanding federal criminal investigation, according to records and interviews.

Phila. School District lays off 200 (Philadelphia Inquirer, July 2, 2008)
Call it Arlene Ackerman's opening salvo. More than 200 Philadelphia School District staffers received layoff notices this week, a move the new schools chief hopes will begin to de-centralize the district and move resources into classrooms. The employees were all academic coaches, mostly veteran educators who supported teachers in a variety of roles, from technology to mentoring new teachers.

Phila. school test scores up for sixth straight year (Philadelphia Inquirer, July 1, 2008)
Philadelphia public schools' test scores are up for a record sixth year in a row - but more than half of all students are still performing below grade level in math and reading. Touting city children's progress, school district officials yesterday released Pennsylvania System of School Assessment results. Students in third through eighth grade, plus 11th graders, take the exam in reading and math annually.

Phila. school test scores up for sixth straight year (Philadelphia Inquirer, July 1, 2008)
Philadelphia public schools' test scores are up for a record sixth year in a row - but more than half of all students are still performing below grade level in math and reading. Touting city children's progress, school district officials yesterday released Pennsylvania System of School Assessment results. Students in third through eighth grade, plus 11th graders, take the exam in reading and math annually.

Phila. taking back 6 privatized schools (Philadelphia Inquirer, June 19, 2008)
In a blow to the Philadelphia School District's historic privatization experiment, the School Reform Commission voted yesterday to seize six schools from outside managers and warned them that they are in danger of losing 20 others if progress is not made. "Hard decisions have to be made," said Arlene Ackerman, the district's chief executive. "Adults must be held accountable."

SRC agrees to renew Philadelphia Academy Charter School (Philadelphia Inquirer, June 19, 2008)
Philadelphia Academy Charter School will remain open, but with an unprecedented level of scrutiny from the Philadelphia School District. The Philadelphia School Reform Commission voted unanimously yesterday to give the popular Northeast school a new, five-year operating charter starting Sept. 1, provided the school agrees to meet a list of 20 conditions.

Warminster teacher on trial over threats (Philadelphia Inquirer, June 19, 2008)
Three years ago, Susan Romanyszyn was a finalist for a prestigious national math teaching award, a woman praised for her creative skills in the classroom. Today, she is on trial in Bucks County Court, accused of dashing that reputation with a barrage of harrowing threats planted anonymously in the Warminster elementary school where she taught fourth grade.

Mount Airy charter school's officials upbeat after hearing (Philadelphia Inquirer, June 18, 2008)
At a Philadelphia School Reform Commission hearing yesterday, district officials detailed the financial, management and academic problems that they said warranted the closing of Renaissance Charter School in Mount Airy.

At-risk Phila. students graduate (Philadelphia Inquirer, June 18, 2008)
Drugs got Lawrence Shorts kicked out of high school. For Danny Garcia, the glitz of a promising career as a boxer caused him to drop out. Anya Patterson had a baby. Ashton Butts had to support himself.



VIRGINIA

More than 100 central Virginia teenagers have been implicated in a six-county “sexting” investigation, authorities said Tuesday.

The demographic makeup of Fairfax County’s Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology continues to shift. More than 66 percent of the students in next fall’s incoming class are of Asian descent, with just 10 black and eight Hispanic students admitted to the magnet school’s Class of 2018.

New legislation cuts number of SOLs tests (Washington Post, April 7, 2014)
That is poised to change next year. A bill passed in Richmond last month and signed by the governor Friday cuts the number of standardized tests that third-graders take in half, eliminating the social studies and science tests.

More money doesn’t necessarily translate to more successful, college-ready students. A new study by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank in Washington, D.C., finds that, adjusted for inflation, per-pupil spending from 1972 to 2012 has soared 120 percent in Virginia.

State leans on Bensley to help high-poverty schools  (Chesterfield Observer, March 19, 2014)
Raising the academic performance of poverty-stricken students is, perhaps, the single-greatest challenge facing struggling school systems across the state.

The organization approved the measure to allow students who have undergone sex re-assignment surgery or hormone therapy to participate in sports in the gender they identify with.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced on Saturday that Virginia is among six states and the District of Columbia receiving grants totaling $38 million in an effort to turn around persistently low-performing schools.

Maryland and Virginia are two of eight states, along with the District, where there are gaps of 34 percentage points or more in reading test scores between children from low income and higher income families. That's according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

100 Va. school boards oppose state takeover board (Washington Post, January 21, 2014)
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.

In Richmond, many calls for fewer tests (Daily Press, January 15, 2014)
There's general agreement at the state capitol that Virignia students need to take fewer tests, and the philosophy behind state testing rollbacks House Republicans proposed this week "makes a lot of sense," according to incoming Education Secretary Anne Holton.

2014 National Teacher of the Year Finalists Named (Education Week, January 15, 2014)
Four educators, hailing from Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia, have been announced by the Council of Chief State School Officers as the finalists for the 2014 National Teacher of the Year Award.

Black male students in Virginia are twice as likely to be suspended from public schools as their white peers, according to a report released Wednesday that cited disparities in school punishment and promising school practices.

Arlington Schools tap big data to reduce dropout rate (Washington Post, December 14, 2013)
The Arlington County public school district is inviting number crunchers from Sterling, Silicon Valley and even Singapore to help solve one of the most vexing problems in public education: how to keep children from dropping out of school.

Latino students in Arlington explore careers (Washington Post, November 24, 2013)
Latino students from across Arlington County got to glimpse potential future careers at a leadership conference Friday at George Mason University. About 200 students spent the day on the college campus and met with Latino professionals to hear how they pursued their educations and jobs.

A new survey of students and teachers involved in tablet programs implemented in schools in two of the nation's largest school districts looks to get to the bottom of the efficacy of 1-to-1 tablet initiatives in classrooms.

N.J., Va. Governors May Face Legislative Hurdles (Education Week, November 11, 2013)
The two gubernatorial contests this year produced the re-election of a staunch foe of teachers' unions in New Jersey and the election of a solid friend of public school funding in Virginia. Both winners, though, must deal with legislatures controlled by the opposite party as they consider new K-12 policy pushes.

Fairfax schools chief to propose deep cuts (Washington Post, October 21, 2013)
During the past five years, the schools have seen a surge in student enrollment as the county continues to attract immigrants and families seeking a top public education. Enrollment has increased by 15,000 students since 2008, outpacing school funding from the county, schools administrators said. At the same time, populations of students taking classes for English as a second language and those who qualify for free and reduced-price meals — a measure of poverty — have climbed dramatically.

In Fairfax, graduation rates improve slightly (Washington Post, October 11, 2013)
The four-year graduation rate for Fairfax County seniors reached 92 percent last year, beating the statewide average by almost three points, according to recently released data from the Virginia Department of Education.

Building a District Culture to Foster Innovation (Education Week, October 2, 2013)
In the 13,200-student Albemarle County school district in Virginia, many students spend their summers in “maker spaces,” building spaceships out of cardboard or participating in computer-programming workshops to learn how to code.

City has nearly a third of Va.'s low-performing schools  (Times Dispatch, September 17, 2013)
Nearly a third of the lowest performing schools in the state are in the city of Richmond, according to test results released today by the Virginia Department of Education.

Fifty years ago today, four African-American girls, dressed in white, gathered in the basement of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley — all 14 — and Denise McNair, 11, chatted about the first week of school as they prepared to participate in the morning’s service.

Va. Battle Brews Over Law Authorizing State-Run District (Education Week, September 10, 2013)
School boards in Virginia are planning a legal fight against a new law signed by Gov. Robert F. McDonnell that creates a state-run K-12 district for schools performing poorly academically. Such a move would challenge a policy that has been put to use in various ways by officials in such states as Louisiana, Michigan, and Tennessee seeking more direct control over struggling public schools.

Later this month, Virginia families begin sending their children back to school. Thanks to Congress, many are going to be in for quite a surprise.

Reading scores for the Virginia Standards of Learning test dropped by double digits following the introduction of a new, more rigorous exam this past year, according to test results released Tuesday by the Virginia Department of Education.

Julie Landry admits that her 8-year-old son, a rising third-grader in Fairfax County, is rambunctious, but she insists that he isn’t a troublemaker. He’s autistic, a disability that makes him prone to outbursts. Those outbursts are misunderstood, Landry said, and some of his teachers and school administrators aren’t prepared to handle them properly. The boy’s classroom disruptions led to 11 days of suspensions last year, and at one point, he faced possible expulsion twice within six weeks.

As Virginia’s Board of Education began working this week to develop a formula for assigning letter grades to public schools, some board members said they are proceeding carefully.

“We bend over backwards to help folks in poverty, and we don’t want to get punished for it,” said Mark Lineburg, the superintendent of schools in Bristol, a small school district in southern Virginia where two in three students are eligible for free and reduced-price lunches.

In their blue caps and gowns, Sia Kanu and Zac Winland blended in with the rows of graduating Lee High School students Monday. But unlike the hundreds of other seniors in their Fairfax County class, the two 19-year-olds represented a tiny sliver of the county’s student population: Both are homeless and living apart from their families, fending for themselves while trying to overcome harrowing pasts.

Students taking Virginia’s Standards of Learning tests are likely to see lower scores than last year, thanks to the introduction of harder English and Science standards, state education officials reported Friday.

Fairfax County has knocked Montgomery County from the top spot on a list analyzing graduation rates for the country’s 50 largest school districts.

K-12 Impacts Likely in N.J., Va. Governor Races (Education Week, May 21, 2013)
In a relatively quiet election year at the state level, the high-profile governor running for re-election in New Jersey will attempt to defend and build on the big changes he initiated in the areas of teacher tenure and state control of struggling districts. And in Virginia, where the incumbent is term-limited, the governor's contest could determine the future of major K-12 policy changes enacted this year.

Debating the math on education funding (Henrico Citizen, April 18, 2013)
During the General Assembly’s 2013 session, state legislators debated how much to spend on public education. But has education funding been going up or down? It depends on whom you ask. Democratic politicians and the Virginia Education Association say funding for the commonwealth’s public schools is at its lowest level since 2008.

Three Fairfax County high school students made cellphone videos of drunken sex acts with fellow teens and shared them among themselves, authorities said. When they go on trial Thursday, they face a charge usually reserved for adult predators: child pornography.

"And the concern is not where to find the jobs its will there be enough people to fill them. So that is really what this is all about," said Chris Horne with the institute.

Latinos, the largest minority group in Northern Virginia, are attending increasingly segregated schools, according to a report released Tuesday that examines enrollment patterns across the state during the past two decades.

A growing number of states are drawing a hard line in elementary school, requiring children to pass a reading test in third grade or be held back from fourth grade.

Black men in schools lead by example (Washington Post, February 19, 2013)
Where are the African American male schoolteachers and administrators? It has been pretty obvious for years that if you really want to do something about high rates of truancy and suspensions among black students — to cap that “school-to-prison pipeline” — put more black men in classrooms and principals’ offices.

In Norfolk, newest teachers face tougher tasks (The Virginian-Pilot, January 28, 2013)
When newly minted teacher David Squires applied for a job with Norfolk, the division hired him for one of its worst-performing, highest-poverty schools, Lafayette-Winona Middle School.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the DREAM Act allows undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates at state colleges and universities in Maryland. In order to pay this rate, each student must have completed high school and then earned 60 credits at any community college in Maryland. The student must also provide proof of residency in Maryland and proof of payment of income taxes and must meet the selective service requirement.

Educators struggle to combat dropout rate disparities (Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 14, 2013)
“There are myriad reasons why more black students are disenfranchised. First, a far greater percentage are economically disenfranchised,” she said, noting that 56 percent of Henrico’s black students qualify for free or reduced-price school lunch.

For the fifth year in a row, Maryland’s public school system took the top ranking in an annual study that examines state education policies and student achievement across all 50 states and the District.

Fairfax assures parents about school security (Washington Post, December 14, 2012)
After the shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, officials in Fairfax County sent a message to parents about school security measures.

Not all grading scales are created equal  (Richmond Times Dispatch, December 10, 2012)
For example, a student from Chesterfield and a student from Fairfax County can finish a course with the same numerical percentage but have different letter grades on official transcripts submitted with college applications.

Virginia's students have a way with words (Virginian-Pilot, December 8, 2012)
This week, state education leaders detected just that: Their fourth- and eighth-graders sparkled in a new analysis of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, sometimes called the nation's report card, that focuses on word meanings.

Virginia's students have a way with words (Virginian-Pilot, December 8, 2012)
This week, state education leaders detected just that: Their fourth- and eighth-graders sparkled in a new analysis of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, sometimes called the nation's report card, that focuses on word meanings.

Virginia schools want your child workforce ready on graduation day, and they aren't wasting any time. Starting next school year, all freshmen getting a standard diploma must take career-tech classes too. This is state law for all high schoolers.

Report: Va. schools do good job but issues remain (Education Week, November 29, 2012)
"This report contains compelling evidence that our schools and our students are achieving at impressive levels," Virginia Board of Education President David M. Foster wrote in an introduction to the report. "At the same time, significant areas of need must be addressed if Virginia is to excel nationally and internationally. These include meeting the challenges presented by more rigorous Standards of Learning and closing persistent achievement gaps among student subgroups."

Pakistani teachers visit Fairfax classrooms (Washington Post, November 15, 2012)
Rana Hussain’s sequined turquoise sari cascaded to the tile floor in the first grade classroom at Eagle View Elementary as she knelt next to a blonde boy reading next to her. He whispered to her and followed the words on the page with his index finger.

93 percent of Va's public schools fully accredited (Associated Press, September 26, 2012)
Virginia education officials say 93 percent of Virginia's public schools are fully accredited after meeting state benchmarks.

Va. public school students fare well on SAT (Associated Press, September 24, 2012)
Virginia public school students continue to score above the national average on the SAT college-admissions test, the Virginia Department of Education reported Monday.

Va. moves to revoke teacher licenses in sex cases (Associated Press, September 13, 2012)
The Virginia Department of Education has hired a specialist to ensure teachers convicted of sexual misconduct don't return to the classroom.

Math SOLs more challenging for all Va students (Associated Press, September 12, 2012)
The state's new, more rigorous mathematics tests proved to be a challenge for all types of students during the last school year, the first in which they were tested under revised standards aimed at better preparing them for college or post-graduation employment, education officials said Wednesday.

A crowd of children was already waiting by the curb one day this month when a yellow school bus stocked with books pulled up in front of their high rise apartment in South Arlington. The doors opened, and within minutes a team of teachers set up a card table, powered up their laptops and plugged in electric scanners. Presto. A portable library.

Va to require an online course for graduation (Education Week, August 9, 2012)
Beginning next year, all high school students in Virginia will have to take some sort of online course in order to graduate. The General Assembly passed the law this year, fueled by the belief that today's students need the experience of taking coursework online to do well in college and the workforce.

Governor McDonnell Unveils Economics and Personal Finance iBooks Textbooks (Virginia Department of Education, August 7, 2012)
Governor Bob McDonnell today announced the development and availability of two interactive digital textbooks to help high school students earn a now-required diploma credit in economics and personal finance. The iBooks textbooks, “Economics” and “Personal Finance,” were developed by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).

Alexandria school on a mission to improve (The Washington Post, August 7, 2012)
Mount Vernon Community School got a new principal this year, and teachers were skeptical. Peter Balas is the third in five years to lead the Alexandria elementary school. “When we found out we were getting a new principal, everyone was like, ‘Again?’ ” said Holly Rocchetti, a fifth-grade teacher.

Group files complaint about Fairfax County school (Education Week, July 24, 2012)
An advocacy group has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education alleging that black and Latino students and students with disabilities are being shut out of a prestigious Fairfax County high school.

Va. begins work on implementing NCLB waiver (Education Week, July 16, 2012)
Virginia education officials are beginning work on implementing the state's two-year waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind school accountability requirements.

Fairfax school board approves budget (Washington Post, May 25, 2012)
Teachers will get a raise and families will no longer be required to pay $100-a-sport athletic fees next school year under a spending plan approved in the wee hours of Friday morning by the Fairfax County School Board.

As opportunities to earn college credit in high school continue to expand, a growing number of students in Virginia are gaining a competitive edge at an even younger age — by completing high school courses during the middle school years, state education experts say.

Virginia's eighth-graders outperform their peers nationwide in science, but only 40 percent show a solid grasp of the subject, according to a national report released today.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced in the fall that he would waive portions of the law for states that outline alternative plans and agree to certain policies. Eleven states have received waivers. Virginia, Maryland and the District were among more than two dozen applicants that submitted requests in February and are awaiting a decision.

Similar kids, pass-rates apart (Washington Post, April 18, 2012)
Manassas and Manassas Park draw many students who speak limited English or come from poor families. Both are intimate school systems, with fewer than 10,000 students, overshadowed by the second- largest school system in the state in surrounding Prince William County.

After years of shrinking budgets, Washington area school districts are increasingly turning to moms and dads to pay for core classroom costs, raising questions about whether tapping family pocketbooks is a sustainable or fair way to fill a public funding gap.

For the past decade, public schools nationwide have aimed for a target fixed in federal law: that 100 percent of students should pass reading and math tests by 2014. Now Virginia wants to lower the goal to 75 percent for reading and 70 percent for math.

Virginia finalizes waiver for No Child Left Behind Act (Richmond Times Dispatch, February 24, 2012)
Virginia education officials on Thursday finalized the state's waiver request for flexibility from some requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The application, approved unanimously by the state Board of Education, now will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education for review. If the request is granted, it will go into effect for the 2012-13 school year.

Virginia lawmakers debate teacher tenure (Washington Post, February 12, 2012)
Virginia lawmakers are debating whether to eliminate seniority-based job protections for public school teachers, making the commonwealth another front in a national fight over tenure laws that critics say protect ineffective educators from dismissal.

The state Senate voted to pass a bill Tuesday that scales back Standards of Learning testing for 3rd graders. The proposal, introduced by Democratic state Sen. John Miller, would only require standardized testing for math and English, and aims to allow teachers to focus on improving 3rd grade reading proficiency and test scores.

Lifting bans on parents in classrooms (Washington Post, January 23, 2012)
“Local school boards shall adopt and implement policies to ensure that the parent or legal guardian of a student or prospective student enrolled in the school division may, subject to reasonable notice and with minimized disruption, act as an observer in the child’s classroom.”

The nation’s leading education journal today ranked Virginia as fourth in the nation in overall educational quality and performance. Education Week’s Quality Counts 2012 report awarded the commonwealth a letter grade of B, up from a B- in 2011, when the commonwealth also ranked fourth.

Study Tallies a District's Return on Investment  (Education Week, December 7, 2011)
The Virginia Beach, Va., school district believes its own system is worth about $1.53 for every $1 spent from the 70,000-student district's operating fund.

New initiatives making schools data readily availabe (Washington Post, November 26, 2011)
Parents across the Washington region will soon have more readily available — and useful— information about how their public schools are doing, the result of new initiatives underway at the local and state level for reporting and displaying education data.

A Virginia company leading a national movement to replace classrooms with computers — in which children as young as 5 can learn at home at taxpayer expense — is facing a backlash from critics who are questioning its funding, quality and oversight.

Fairfax schools officials on Monday released the results of their first-ever “trust and confidence” survey, inaugurating what is slated to become a yearly attempt to quantify the community’s perception of school leadership.

A conscientious couple wanted to send their child to the Arlington Traditional School, a public magnet famous for having everyone reading by the end of kindergarten. They took the standard tour but yearned for more. Could they sit quietly in one of the classes for an hour or so, they asked, to get a better sense of the place?

Public school enrollment across the country is hitting a record this year with just less than 50 million students, and classrooms are becoming more diverse, largely because of growth in the Latino population, according to a new federal report.

Forty-six states and the District of Columbia today will announce an effort to craft a single vision for what children should learn each year from kindergarten through high school graduation, an unprecedented step toward a uniform definition of success in American schools.

Multiracial Pupils to Be Counted in A New Way (Washington Post , March 23, 2009)
Public schools in the Washington region and elsewhere are abandoning their check-one-box approach to gathering information about race and ethnicity in an effort to develop a more accurate portrait of classrooms transformed by immigration and interracial marriage. Next year, they will begin a separate count of students who are of more than one race.

Needy Students Closing Test Gap Under 'No Child' (Washington Post , October 2, 2008)
Since enactment of the No Child Left Behind law, students from poor families in the Washington area have made major gains on reading and math tests and are starting to catch up with those from middle-class and affluent backgrounds, a Washington Post analysis shows.

Student Reaches for the Sun and Succeeds (Washington Post, July 17, 2008)
Even with an overcast sky, the solar panels on the roof of George Mason High School in Falls Church were absorbing enough sun on a recent morning to power the air conditioner in a classroom.

Owning His Gay Identity -- at 15 Years Old (Washington Post, July 14, 2008)
School's out, and Saro Harvey and his best friend, Samantha Sachs, are hanging out in his Arlington County bedroom. She is slouched across his bed, and he is poised on a chair, posture-perfect, wearing dark, skinny jeans and a ruffled shirt meant for a girl. A rust-orange purse he sometimes carries hangs behind the door.

At Magnet School, An Asian Plurality (Washington Post, July 7, 2008)
Asian American students will outnumber white classmates for the first time in the freshman class at the region's most prestigious public magnet school this fall, a milestone reached as the number of African Americans and Hispanics has remained low and the Fairfax County School Board prepares to review the school's admission policy.

Rules Are Rules, Even for Test Graders (Washington Post, June 19, 2008)
Every time Elly Kluge's friends and colleagues ask what happened last week at the Advanced Placement European history test grading session in Colorado, the 67-year-old Arlington County history teacher says: "I was sent home early because I am a terrorist."

Fairfax County school officials are proposing to spend $52 million to buy a 275,000-square-foot office building in the Merrifield area to continue consolidating the headquarters of the region's largest school system.

Parent Questions Motives Behind Push for Diversity (Washington Post, June 19, 2008)
Regarding your May 22 column ["Wealth's a Poor Way to Grade a School"], the idea that "diversity" is inherently beneficial is itself racist. People can benefit from interaction with all kinds of people, and all kinds of people can be detrimental.

Islamic Academy Protested (Washington Post, June 18, 2008)
More than a dozen people protested yesterday outside a private Islamic school in Fairfax County that critics say promotes religious intolerance and violence against people of other faiths.

Reaping the Rewards Of Solid SAT Study (Washington Post, December 31, 1969)
Amy Weiler, an assistant principal at C.D. Hylton High School in Woodbridge, has noticed a reassuring statistic when she evaluates the impact of SAT classes and workshops at her school. Average scores have risen, by fairly large margins, among a certain group of students, she said. The average score among "actively involved" SAT review students at Hylton has climbed to 1750, well above the Prince William County average of 1486.

Needy Students Closing Test Gap Under 'No Child' (Washington Post , December 31, 1969)
Since enactment of the No Child Left Behind law, students from poor families in the Washington area have made major gains on reading and math tests and are starting to catch up with those from middle-class and affluent backgrounds, a Washington Post analysis shows.



WEST VIRGINIA

Parents outraged at new curriculum standards  (The Daily Athenaeum, April 16, 2014)
Recently, parents across the country have been reaching out to their local Board of Education to express distaste for the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

Kids Count pushes for big payoff (MetroNews, April 16, 2014)
A new survey shows most young children in West Virginia who receive child care don’t get it from licensed child care centers.

More than nine out of 10 West Virginia children aren't receiving the early childhood education that would help them excel later in life, according to a report released by one of the state's largest child-advocacy organizations.

W.Va. administrators debate summer practice rule (Education Week, April 11, 2014)
Some high school administrators are opposed to a proposed athletics rule that would expand voluntary summer practices in West Virginia.

W.Va. must alter views on education, immigration (Herald-Dispatch, April 9, 2014)
We also need a different attitude about education. The statistics say our financial support of education is not the problem, but our results, 49th in student achievement, means part of the educational success equation is missing. We need to change our state's culture regarding education. Parents and families must see the value of it for their children even if they, themselves, did not benefit from their own schooling.

Program aims to feed students  (Charleston Daily mail, February 17, 2014)
The little girl wanted a longer recess, but the little boy wanted an extra lunch. What they got was a new law aimed at helping children across the state.

A new report says West Virginia is failing its students and teachers. Our state is one of seven in the country getting an "F" on this year's report card from policy group Students First.

Program Helps Kids Stay on Track With Reading, Math (The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register, January 26, 2014)
Woody Yoder, curriculum director of Marshall County Schools, believes the key to helping children struggling to learn is a teacher's comprehensive knowledge of the unique qualities of his or her students.

Tomblin touts achievements (WV Gazettte, January 8, 2014)
Tomblin emphasized accomplishments that include operating a fiscally sound government, attracting economic development, improving public schools, reducing prison overcrowding and confronting the state's epidemic of drug abuse.

During the monthly West Virginia Board of Education meeting on Wednesday -- the same day of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's State of the State address -- board members established an "implementation timeline" for the public education agenda that the governor tasked them with in his address one year ago.

West Virginia education officials said they have made progress on the governor's education priorities but more needs to be done.

During the month of November, students at two Huntington schools showed the spirit of giving by collecting items for students living in Nicaragua. Davis Creek Elementary collected personal care and other items to be given to needy children at the La Pancorva School in Leon, Nicaragua.

Event targets cyberbullying in schools (Charleston Gazette, December 17, 2013)
Krista Kobeski works for Facebook, and even she wonders what it would be like to grow up in today's online world. Kobeski, a member of Facebook's policy communications team, travels the country to speak to school districts about the social media site's educational outreach programs, particularly relating to cyberbullying.

Friday's shooting marks the eve of the anniversary of the Newtown school shooting. Since then, schools have been implementing active shooter plans to better react to today's events.

Southern WV Schools Set Anti-Bullying Campaign (Eyewitness News Online, November 16, 2013)
Schools in southern West Virginia are taking a stand against bullying.

West Virginia plans to join a national initiative aimed at improving third-graders' reading proficiency. The Campaign for Grade Level Reading focuses on ensuring that children in low-income families are reading at grade level by the end of third grade.

At the Education Alliance's education summit titled "Excellence in Education: It's Everyone's Business," the echoing answer by speakers and presenters was accountability and early literacy, along with the belief that every child has the ability to learn.

W.Va. graduation rates on the rise (Herald Mail Media, October 29, 2013)
The Eastern Panhandle’s seven high schools mirror their counterparts across West Virginia in improving graduation, dropout and attendance rates, according to figures supplied by superintendents in Morgan, Berkeley and Jefferson counties.

Almost without exception, the parents we heard from in our school district area are totally tired of what they perceive as the excessive standardized testing that the Commonwealth of Virginia has implemented upon the children. They said in no uncertain terms that everyone is stressed to the limit and there was no argument on that point.

Higher grad rate could help W.Va. crime costs (The Shepherdstown Chronicle, September 16, 2013)
A policy group says a 5 percent increase in the high school graduation rate among males in West Virginia could save $100 million each year in crime-related costs as well as boost the state's economy. -

WV releases new student performance data (The State Journal, September 4, 2013)
Data released under a new education accountability system shows less than one-third of West Virginia public schools are meeting goals for both student learning and improvement. Fewer than half the schools are meeting just one of those goals.

One out of four freshmen in Delaware public high schools will not graduate from high school on time, and only three out of ten will manage to complete high school and their first two years of college without interruption.

School Districts Cooperate in W.Va. (The Intelligencer, August 9, 2013)
What some are referring to as an experiment in public education - a single elementary school serving students from two West Virginia counties - is in progress for some youngsters in Gilmer and Lewis counties.

In his State of the State Address, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin asked the state board to take actions within its authority to assure all students are reading at grade level by the end of the third grade. Since that time, the board has continued to work with state colleges and universities to raise standards for teachers, especially in the area of reading instruction. The board has also begun exploring how it can assure that all current teachers have the skills needed for the critical task of teaching not only reading but all subjects to our youngest students. Specifically, the board is requiring all new teachers take and pass an assessment guaranteeing they possess the necessary skills to teach reading.

Middle School principals focused on bullying issue (The Pocahontus Times, August 7, 2013)
A new report from the West Virginia Department of Education states that Pocahontas County middle schools rank in the top five in bullying rates in the state.

"We need to be every bit as much about supportive schools and raising the climate in schools as we are about securing schools and making bulletproof windows and better locks," Goodwin said.

Report: W.Va. 3-year-olds need preschool access  (Charleston Daily Mail, June 24, 2013)
West Virginia's educational system ranks fourth-worst in the nation for the second straight year, and child-welfare advocates say lack of quality pre-kindergarten programs for 3-year-olds is partly to blame.

State identifies schools with greatest learning gaps (Charleston Daily Mail, June 19, 2013)
Ninety-seven West Virginia schools have been singled out by the state for the gaps in learning among their students. These schools, in 39 counties, were identified by the state Department of Education as having the greatest disparities in learning between different groups of students. Six are in Kanawha County: Capital High School, Elkview Middle, Holz Elementary, Ruffner Elementary, Sissonville Elementary and Sissonville Middle. Poca Middle School, in Putnam County, is also on the list.

W.Va. backlash emerging over education standards  (Charleston Daily Mail, June 16, 2013)
West Virginia is sticking with new standards for math, reading and writing in public schools, but faces opposition fueled by the tea party movement, which believes the benchmarks are part of an attempted federal takeover of local education authority.

The number of young people graduating from high school in West Virginia is slowly creeping up, in keeping with national trends.

The West Virginia Department of Education has a Summer Challenge for kids to expand their math learning and reading instead of watching television.

West Virginia soon could become the first state to offer free breakfast and lunch to every student, regardless of income. New legislation would set up foundations to collect public and private money to pay for those meals. One food policy expert was quoted in an Associated Press story as saying she was amazed by this program, which would take effect in 2015.

Education officials disagree with NRA's school safety plan (Charleston Daily Mail, April 2, 2013)
Christine Campbell, president-elect of the West Virginia chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, echoed the statement from the national group, saying that the call for armed guards in schools serves only to distract from the issues at the heart of school violence.

Education changes are common sense (Charleston Daily Mail, March 4, 2013)
It just makes sense that we take steps to ensure that all children develop literacy skills and are proficient in reading by the end of the third grade.

Concerned citizens, legislators, community organizers, pastors, school officials and a representative from the Department of Health and Human Resources came to the conclusion that it will take a village to end child poverty in West Virginia.

Pre-kindergarten may help some families (Charleston Daily Mail, March 4, 2013)
It would make responsible day care available to all West Virginians - from struggling families who need to be able to attend training or go to work to upper middle-class families who would simply be delighted by a nice new entitlement program.

Assistant Superintendent Kenny Moles got real with the Raleigh County Board of Education Tuesday about the county’s ACT test scores and areas in which the county should focus for improvement.

Fayette County works to fight child poverty (Register -Herald, January 30, 2013)
“In the community, we have to focus on what we can do, and that’s going to involve churches, schools, and parents,” he said. “We have to get everybody stepping forward on this and not just lay it at our legislators' feet.”

Dropouts: Hurt selves, states (Charleston Gazette, January 29, 2013)
Nearly one-fourth of West Virginia teens drop out of high school, matching the U.S. average. That's a dismal loss, both for the youths and the state. Their futures are hobbled, many doomed to failure.

W.Va. backlash emerging over education standards  (Charleston Daily Mail, January 16, 2013)
West Virginia is sticking with new standards for math, reading and writing in public schools, but faces opposition fueled by the tea party movement, which believes the benchmarks are part of an attempted federal takeover of local education authority.

West Virginia's public schools are ninth in Education Week's annual rankings, despite receiving an F for student achievement.

A high-profile rural-focused project to turnaround a struggling West Virginia school district is wrapping up its first year and reporting progress. Reconnecting McDowell is a five-year initiative that's led by the American Federation of Teachers and involves both public and private partners. Their goal is to transform one of the worst districts in the state, McDowell County schools, into one of the best.

An audit of the state's education system conducted by out-of-state firm Public Works, LLC identified several changes to make the West Virginia Department of Education run more efficiently and save millions of dollars. Now, nearly a year after the audit was released, parents and students are voicing their opinions of the state's education system.

AFT pushes for universal testing for new teachers (The State Journal, December 3, 2012)
Randi Weingarten, president of the AFT, said in a conference call with reporters that all teachers should meet universal requirements and show mastery of subject-matter knowledge, similar to the bar exam new lawyers must pass, and demonstrate competence in how to teach. A report from the AFT, "Raising the Bar – Aligning and Elevating Teacher Preparation and the Teaching Profession" urged a move toward a more systematic approach to preparing teachers.

Audit Findings Highlight Challenges Facing State Schools (The State Journal, November 28, 2012)
Education in West Virginia became one of those things, and in the past year, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin ordered an efficiency audit to improve student education.

The West Virginia Board of Education announced Nov. 15 that it has fired state Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple by a 5-2 vote. The two board members who voted against Marple's dismissal, Priscilla Haden and Jenny Phillips, subsequently announced that they were resigning from the board effective Dec. 31.

Judge puts Pickens teen's vaccination case on hold (Associated Press, September 28, 2012)
The case of high school senior kept out of the classroom for refusing to get mandatory immunizations is on hold while a similar case plays out elsewhere in the state.

Hearing set in challenge to W.Va. vaccination law (Associated Press, September 25, 2012)
A Pickens High School senior kept out of the classroom over her refusal to get mandatory immunizations may get a chance to argue her case in court later this week.

W.Va. files federal education law waiver request (Associated Press, September 10, 2012)
West Virginia education officials are seeking a reprieve from the federal education accountability law better known as No Child Left Behind.

US education secretary to visit W.Va. Sept. 20 (Associated Press, September 10, 2012)
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is coming to West Virginia next week. Duncan will visit Charleston and Welch on Sept. 20 as part of an annual back-to-school bus tour promoting education.

Single-Sex Classroom Debate Continues (MetroNews, August 6, 2012)
The single-gender classes debate continues in West Virginia and leading the debate is one Wood County school. Van Devender Middle School is currently the only school that still offers single-gender classes, against the wishes of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of West Virginia.

Hoppy's Commentary for Monday (MetroNews, August 5, 2012)
In 2006, then U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings announced a regulatory change making it easier for public schools to have single-sex classes. “Research shows that some students may learn better in single-sex education environments,” Spellings said at the time. “The Department of Education is committed to giving communities more choices in how they go about offering varied learning environments to their students." Since then, the number of single-sex classrooms has increased from a handful to over 500. In West Virginia, three counties—Cabell, Kanawha and Wood—have taken advantage of the rule change and given parents at some schools the option of single-sex classes for their children.

Sunday Sit-Down: Bob Wise (The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register, August 5, 2012)
-- You left the governor's mansion in 2005. What has been keeping Bob Wise busy over the past seven-eight years? Wise: Two weeks later, I started here at the Alliance for Excellent Education in Washington, D.C. It's been non-stop ever since. Our mission is that every child graduates from high school, ready for college and a career. We're a national organization promoting national reform, national policies. It's about trying to transform America's high schools into what they ought to be, and making sure that every child is able to reach their full potential.

Some teachers are already back in meetings in preparation for the Fall 2012 school year. Friday, at the Student Success Summit in Morgantown, a new website was launched that will help students with career counseling and mentoring.

Schools receive tech upgrade (The Review, August 1, 2012)
Just in time for the new school year, Hancock County Schools are getting a technology upgrade that will ensure a high-speed Internet connection for all classrooms.

Wood teachers attend area wildlife workshop (Parkersburg News and Sentinel, August 1, 2012)
A group of teachers from most Wood County elementary schools spent Tuesday in a wildlife workshop to help their students. Twenty-seven second-through-fifth-grade teachers spent the morning at the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge in Williamstown to take what they learned in the field into the classroom, said Tammy McKnight curriculum specialist for Wood County Schools.

Teachers across the state have spent their summer learning through the Department of Education Leadership Institute. This week, automotive teachers from high schools and technical programs are in Morgantown for a pilot program with West Virginia University's National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium.

Marshall Forensics Participates at Youth Science Camp (HungtingtonNews.Net, July 31, 2012)
Marshall University faculty brought forensic science to high school student scientists from across West Virginia attending the West Virginia Youth Science Camp last Thursday at the Cedar Lakes Conference Center near Ripley.

New Scholarship Created for WV Veterans (12 WBOY.COM, July 26, 2012)
A new scholarship will help plug the financial holes left in VA benefits on campus.

Parents and teachers must do a better job of preparing West Virginia students for a world in which a good science education is crucial. National Assessment of Educational Progress results show in 2011 only 25 percent of West Virginia eighth graders demonstrated sufficient knowledge of the subject. Only one percent scored "advanced," while just 24 percent were graded "proficient."

Three “irregularities” were reported when Fayette County Schools students took their WESTEST assessment last week, according to the Fayette County Board of Education. None of the incidents involved cheating per se, but rather posting pictures of test materials on Facebook.

The American Civil Liberties Union has asked three county school systems in West Virginia to stop placing students in single-gender classes.

Kanawha County Schools has a "not-in-my-backyard" problem in rolling out a new state-funded intervention plan to help children with behavioral problems.

A program to transform the lives of so-called disruptive students in Kanawha County is getting a lot of scrutiny. The idea would have 12 students, who need special attention attending an 8-week program at Kanawha City Elementary. It is called the "Chance Program."

New changes are being made to school curriculum throughout the country, and West Virginia is already adapting many of those changes. Tammy McKnight is the Curriculum Coordinator for Wood County Schools. She met with a group of parents to discuss new changes in curriculum. She says the most common question is, "is my child still going to have what they need to be successful in college? And the answer is yes."

West Virginia and Kentucky rank in the bottom 10 states when it comes to college attainment, according to a new report.

A report released last week by Auburn University shows that the high poverty levels and low educational attainment among women have a direct correlation to the region's high number of teen births.

A report released last week by Auburn University shows that the high poverty levels and low educational attainment among women have a direct correlation to the region's high number of teen births.

A report released last week by Auburn University shows that the high poverty levels and low educational attainment among women have a direct correlation to the region's high number of teen births.

West Virginia students showcase math skills (Herald Star, March 5, 2012)
About 130 amateur mathematicians in grades fourth through 12th competed at the West Virginia Region 6 Math Field Day Saturday at Wheeling Park High School, with 28 moving on to the state tournament.

No Child Left Behind left lots of schools behind (Charleston Daily Mail, March 2, 2012)
In 2001, former President George W. Bush, citing "the soft bigotry of low expectations," proposed the No Child Left Behind Act. Backers hoped that high standards and measurable goals would hold public schools accountable for helping all students succeed.

Report critical of W.Va.'s education system (Herald Dispatch, January 31, 2012)
A nonpartisan research and education policy group concludes that West Virginia's public education system is among the nation's worst.

The Education Efficiency Audit of West Virginia’s Primary and Secondary School System has declared that West Virginia has one of the most highly-centralized and impermeable education systems in the country.

The American Federation of Teachers, vilified by critics as an obstacle to school reform, is leading an unusual effort to turn around a floundering school system in a place where deprivation is layered on heartache.

Dropout prevention (The Register-Herald, November 28, 2011)
Tracking of attendance, grades and behavior would all be part of an Early Warning System with additional programs centered on engaging students and families in an after-school enrichment program along with promoting community involvement in dropout prevention.

Schools Supt says achievement is everybody’s job (West Virginia Public Broadcasting, November 17, 2011)
National assessments continue to rank West Virginia near or at the bottom in reading and math. On the WESTEST 2, the Educational Standards Test, two out of three 11th graders score below mastery in at least one subject area. Jorea Marple, PH.D., has been WV State Superintendent of Schools for 8 months and says improving achievement in public schools is the job of everyone.

W.Va. aiming to protect LGBT students from bullies (Associated Press, November 7, 2011)
A proposed anti-bullying policy for West Virginia schools acknowledges for the first time that sexual orientation and gender identity are common reasons for harassment. Had it been in place when Michael White was in middle-school, it might have spared him the worst years of his life.

Preliminary Survey Results Show Most Teachers Like Their Schools (West Virginia Department of Education, July 10, 2008)
Nearly 8,000 West Virginia teachers say their school is a safe, good place to work and learn. The response was one that nearly half of all West Virginia educators made as part of West Virginia’s Vision for Improving Teaching and Learning (WV VITAL) project.

About 100 Educators to Become Technology Specialists (West Virginia Department of Education, July 10, 2008)
Some 100 West Virginia educators have started a 40-day journey to become technology integration specialists as part of the West Virginia Department of Education’s effort to incorporate 21st century skills into the classroom.

W.Va. Receives Grant to Improve Teaching and Learning (West Virginia Department of Education, July 10, 2008)
The West Virginia Department of Education has received a $45,000 national grant from the Knowledge Works Foundation to develop initiatives that transform teaching and learning.

W.Va. Cited for its Work on 21st Century Skills (West Virginia Department of Education, June 17, 2008)
For the second time in two years the West Virginia Department of Education has been recognized for its 21st Century Learning initiative. West Virginia was one of six states to receive the 21st Century Practice of the Year Award for 2008, which commemorates the nation’s preeminent state-led 21st century skills initiatives.

Lincoln Co. Schools to Operate Biodiesel Facility (West Virginia Department of Education, June 17, 2008)
U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller and West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine helped Lincoln County High School celebrate the grand opening of its Agriculture Education Biodiesel Center.


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