In the News

Teachers of English-Learners Feel Least Prepared for Common Core, Survey Finds
Education Week, August 14, 2014
Educators, in general, feel inadequately prepared for teaching the common core to students, but when it comes to teaching the more rigorous standards to their students who are still learning English, their confidence drops sharply, according to a new survey from the Education Week Research Center.

Slim Hope for ESEA Reauthorization, Say Education 'Insiders'
Education Week, August 14, 2014
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act will never be reauthorized. At least that's what 20 percent of education "insiders" surveyed by a Washington consulting group think.

One-third of Virginia’s schools could lack full accreditation as standards toughen
Washington Post, August 14, 2014
Nearly one-third of Virginia’s public schools will not earn full accreditation this fall after reading and science scores dropped precipitously on state-mandated standardized tests, according to state education officials.

Richmond Public Schools settles language-barrier complaint
Richmond Times Dispatch, August 13, 2014
Richmond Public Schools will eliminate language barriers and other obstacles that could have a “chilling effect” on the ability of non-English speakers to access city schools under the terms of a settlement of a discrimination complaint.

Can You Fight Poverty by Paying Kids to Go to School?
Politico, August 12, 2014
But these are different times, and a new kind of anti-poverty push, less a movement than a technocrat’s dream, is quietly being tested here, a modest experiment that could help redefine a static national conversation about how to deal with intractable poverty of the sort that not only has overwhelmed the old projects like Foote Holmes, but also afflicts even the shiny new places like Cleaborn Pointe. Three years ago, Gordon-Cole was one of 600 people (most of them single mothers) selected for the Memphis Family Rewards Program, a widely watched trial that provides cash incentives to poor parents and their high school-age children for completing tasks that seem, at first glance, absurdly second nature for middle-class families. A student who compiles an acceptable school attendance record gets $40 a month, showing up for an annual dental or medical check-up means a $100 check, grades are monetized ($30 for an A, $20 for B, $10 for a C) and taking a college entrance exam like the ACT gets you a $50 check. Parents are also rewarded: Adults get a $150 monthly bonus, up to $1,800 a year, simply for working full-time.

Diversity on the Rise Among TFA Recruits
Education Week, August 12, 2014
The focus on diversity is a deliberate move by the organization, which changed some of its recruiting techniques in order to have a more diverse pool of applicants. According to its figures, 47 percent of the new teaching corps received Pell Grants, which are meant for low-income college students; 33 percent are actually coming from graduate school or with professional experience, and 22 percent identify as African-American.

Districts split on high school math choices
EdSource, August 12, 2014
In moving to the Common Core State Standards this year, California school districts had to choose between serving up high school math as one big stew or as the curricular equivalent of separate courses. That option has created strong, sometimes passionate disagreements among parents and teachers who argue that a blended or “integrated” approach offers a clearer method of instruction and those who prefer sticking with a familiar sequence of courses. The latter group includes high-achieving districts in Silicon Valley.

State gets grant to help give low-income students access to AP courses
Charleston Daily mail, August 12, 2014
According to Kids Count data, about 25 percent of the student population in West Virginia lives below the poverty line. However, another indicator of level of need, according to the data, is the number of students who qualify for free or reduced-price school meals, which is nearly 53 percent.

Schools brace for up to 50,000 migrant kids
USA Today, August 11, 2014
Schools across the USA are bracing for as many as 50,000 immigrant children who would start school this fall, most of them unaccompanied by their families.

STEM: Where Are the Girls??
Middle Web, August 10, 2014
Even if women don’t go into STEM, they need a foundation of STEM knowledge and practices to participate in a healthy 21st century democracy. We need to fix this problem, but before we can come up with a solution, we need to answer an important question: Why aren’t there more girls or women in STEM courses and fields? In other words, what’s the problem?

Parent-Student Education Needed for Homeless Families, Studies Say
Education Week, August 10, 2014
A strong relationship with parents can make the difference in whether homeless students thrive in spite of their disadvantage.

How Delaware should test special needs students
Delaware Online, August 10, 2014
Parents must pay attention, and demand effective education for their children. Presently, public education doesn't meet these needs.

White Students No Longer to Be Majority in School
ABC News, August 9, 2014
Inside, giggling grade-schoolers who mostly come from homes where Spanish is the primary language worked on storytelling with a tale about a crocodile going to the dentist. The children and their classroom at the Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center, near both mushroom farms and the borough's bucolic red-brick downtown, are a subtle reminder of America's changing school demographics.

State releases first performance scores for school districts
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 9, 2014
In response to a Right to Know request, the state Department of Education has released school district academic performance scores that the governor had wanted to use to determine how schools spend state block grant money.

2 Virginia schools blamed for restraining students
Richmond Times Dispatch, August 7, 2014
The U.S. Department of Education has concluded that two Virginia schools denied students with emotional disabilities the right to a free, appropriate public education by frequently subjecting them to seclusion and physical restraint.

Gov. Corbett Advances $265 Million to Help Philadelphia District
Education Week, August 6, 2014
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett has committed to advancing $265 million to help the financially strapped Philadelphia school district open schools on time.

Multigenerational Programs Aim to Break Poverty Cycle
Education Week, August 5, 2014
It’s part of rising national interest in multigenerational approaches to reduce poverty and improve student achievement, based on mounting evidence that parents’ and children’s educational and life trajectories are inextricably linked. More than 60 percent of American children live in families whose highest educational degree is a high school diploma or less, according to a new report by the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation. While that is an improvement over 2008 levels, parents are often not advancing their education fast enough to keep up with rapidly growing job requirements.

Recasting At-Risk Students as Leaders
Education Week, August 5, 2014
Nearly 100 students were invited to join a new leadership committee. The students were all potential dropouts, mainly because of their high absentee rates. The staff worked hard to "rebrand" the program from yet another don't-drop-out lecture to a unique opportunity. The key to making this work was to impress upon the selected students that they were on the committee not to help themselves, but to help other struggling students. They would be the team that would help reshape their school and possibly their entire district.

How We Can Strengthen Schools Serving Low-Income Children
Education Week, August 5, 2014
Changes in the American economy pose enormous challenges for America's public schools and the dream of socioeconomic mobility for low-income families.

Pittsburgh school board approves revised code of conduct
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 5, 2014
In a special meeting Monday, the board of Pittsburgh Public Schools approved changes to the Code of Student Conduct that are aimed at replacing zero tolerance with more discretion, incorporating ideas from a student-proposed bill of rights, and explicitly providing protection for students for sexual orientation and gender identity expression.

D.C. charter school educates parents alongside children
Washington Post, August 3, 2014
The images in the book were bright and the words simple, but many of the women in the classroom hesitated as they sounded out each sentence.

Summer STEM camp kids feed on curiosity
Delaware Online, August 2, 2014
Instead of requiring someone to manually shift the machine to meet changing winds, why not write a program that rotates them to capture the maximum amount of energy?

15 Strategies for Placing Excellent Teachers in High-Need Schools
Education Week, August 1, 2014
In July, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced his department’s new Excellent Educators for All initiative, which seeks to ensure that students in high-need schools have equitable access to effective teachers.

White House Symposium Addresses Family-Engagement Practices Nationwide
Education Week, August 1, 2014
Family-engagement methods intended to involve parents in their children's education far beyond the annual parent-teacher conference took center stage at a White House event July 31 that drew representatives from the research and philanthropic communities, as well as Obama administration officials.

D.C. students’ proficiency rates inch upward on annual city tests
Washington Post, July 31, 2014
Average student proficiency rates on the District’s annual standardized tests inched up in 2014, increasing 1.4 percentage points in math and less than one percentage point in reading, results that city leaders called steady-if-slow progress in improving academic prospects for the District’s children.

Poverty Has Spread to the Suburbs (And to Suburban Schools)
Education Week, July 31, 2014
More Americans are living in poverty in the suburbs than in urban or rural areas, a dramatic demographic shift that has occurred since 2000, a new report by the Brookings Institution finds. It's a finding that won't be a surprise to plenty of suburban superintendents, who've seen that residential change reflected in the enrollment makeup of their schools.

District releases school-by-school DC CAS results
Washington Post, July 31, 2014
D.C. officials released summary results of annual standardized tests Thursday morning, but just as interesting to many parents and policymakers are the results of individual schools.

Year-Round Schooling: How It Would Help Minorities
Education Week, July 29, 2014
In my previous two posts, I've emphasized the need for all American K-12 schools to transition to a year-round school calendar. I've highlighted and debunked the most common arguments against year-round schooling and called for educators to stand behind a push to shift to a more consistent school calendar that maximizes student learning. Perhaps one of the strongest arguments in favor of year-round schooling however is the boost it would give to minority and other traditionally disadvantaged groups.

My son has been suspended five times. He’s 3.
Washington Post, July 24, 2014
Black children represent 18 percent of preschool enrollment but make up 48 percent of preschool children receiving more than one out-of-school suspension, according to the study released by the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights in March.

117 immigrant children placed in Delaware
Delaware Online, July 24, 2014

Report: D.C. youth more likely to attend preschool, have health insurance
Washington Post, July 23, 2014
Children in the District are attending preschool at higher rates, performing better academically and are more likely to have health insurance, according to an annual report of child well-being indicators released this week.

New data ranks West Virginia 46th in education, July 23, 2014
West Virginia schools once again received poor scores in a national report. The 2014 Kids Count Data Report shows the state ranks 46th in the country for education.

Principals in U.S. Are More Likely to Consider Their Students Poor
New York Times, July 22, 2014
The phrase “soft bigotry of low expectations” is inevitably associated with George W. Bush, who used it frequently. But whatever your politics, the idea has undeniable merit: If schools don’t expect much from their students, the students are not likely to accomplish much.

In 25 Years, U.S. Children Make Fragile Progress, Kids Count Analysis Finds
Education Week, July 22, 2014
American children are in many ways healthier and better educated today—even after the Great Recession—than they were a quarter-century ago, according to the latest Kids Count data book, an index of child well-being released Tuesday morning. But children's and parents' gains are precarious as families continue to sink into poverty, and wide racial gaps remain.

Philadelphia District Invites Educators, Community to Redesign Schools
Education Week, July 22, 2014
Philadelphia appears to be taking a page from Indianapolis' play book, where the city's public schools and the mayor's office partnered with The Mind Trust, a local education non-profit, to launch a competition to select three fellows to design and run "innovation" public schools in the city.

Delaware test scores flat; exams to get harder
Delaware Online, July 22, 2014
Scores on the state standardized test stayed essentially the same in the final year before Delaware moves to a new, tougher exam.

W.Va. ranked low for preschool access
Charleston Gazette, July 22, 2014
While West Virginia’s universal preschool program has been nationally recognized, a report being released today ranks the state’s program among the worst in the country because it provides access only to 4-year-olds

Obama to Report Widening of Initiative for Black and Latino Boys
New York Times, July 20, 2014
The districts, which represent about 40 percent of all African-American and Hispanic boys living below the poverty line, have committed to expand quality preschool access; track data on black and Hispanic boys so educators can intervene as soon as signs of struggle emerge; increase the number of boys of color who take gifted, honors or Advanced Placement courses and exams; work to reduce the number of minority boys who are suspended or expelled; and increase graduation rates among African-American and Hispanic boys.

Maryland, Idaho Receive NCLB Waiver Extensions
Education Week, July 18, 2014
Maryland has run into some difficulties in the teacher evaluation area, including in implementing its Race to the Top plan. Still, it's the very first original Race to the Top state to get a waiver extension.

D.C. schools hire expert to help improve outcomes for African American boys
Washington Post, July 17, 2014
D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson has hired Robert Simmons, a professor of urban education whose work focuses on the experiences of African American boys, for a new senior-level position as the school system’s chief of innovation and research.

Montgomery algebra failures mean some students have to bail on summer plans
Washington Post, July 12, 2014
The day of her son’s eighth-grade promotion ceremony in Montgomery County, Susan Townsend got word that the teen had failed his Algebra 1 final exam. She says she was surprised, since he is a good test-taker and had a B average over his first three marking periods.

Md. student test scores drop significantly as state shifts to Common Core
Washington Post, July 11, 2014
Reading and math scores on state tests for Maryland elementary and middle school students have dropped to their lowest levels in seven years, according to a Washington Post analysis of 2014 test data released Friday. Some Maryland officials expected the drop because schools are transitioning to new national academic standards that do not align with the tests.

Zero-tolerance policies are destroying the lives of black children
Washington Post, July 7, 2014
President Obama wants to limit the number of students expelled every year from high schools. He believes the rates of suspensions and expulsions are racially biased, arbitrary and ineffective. “Although African-American students represent 15 percent of students in the CRDC, they make up 35 percent of students suspended once, 44 percent of those suspended more than once, and 36 percent of students expelled,” writes the Education Department. “Further, over 50 percent of students who were involved in school-related arrests or referred to law enforcement are Hispanic or African-American.” So the administration sent to educational leaders a Dear Colleague guidance letter on civil rights and discipline. To close the racial gap, he said, go easy with the zero-tolerance policies. Predictably, the ed-reform types, rending their garments and gnashing their teeth, see this is as a disastrous stripping of school autonomy.

Obama administration wants better teachers for nation’s poor schools
Washington Post, July 7, 2014
The Obama administration is ordering states to devise strategies to get better teachers into high-poverty classrooms, correcting a national imbalance in which students who need the most help are often taught by the weakest educators.

Baltimore County teachers learn to use technology to engage students
Baltimore Sun, July 2, 2014
The Baltimore County school system is scheduled to implement a new digital technology program in 10 designated 'Lighthouse' schools in the fall, and educators from the schools chosen to pilot the program took part in a two-day conference last week at Cockeysville Middle School. Read more:,0,810086.story#ixzz3AUSzhPh4

Virginia, 5 other states awarded extension to ‘No Child’ waiver
Washington Post, July 2, 2014
The U.S. Education Department announced Thursday that Virginia and five other states have been awarded another year of flexibility from some requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind law.

Truancy: We are making progress
The WV Record, June 12, 2014
Children whose parents and grandparents may not have completed school themselves sometimes find it difficult to understand the importance of daily attendance. Add in the effects of the resulting multi-generational unemployment, underemployment, and poverty, and truancy in some homes is, therefore, part of the cultural fabric.

Coalition wants school discipline changes
The News Journal, June 12, 2014
Out-of-school suspensions in Delaware are disproportionately affecting black, Hispanic and special-needs students, putting them on the fast-track to prison and setting them up for social failure, a group of Wilmington and New Castle County leaders and state activists say.

Delaware Pushes to Get More Low-Income Students Enrolled in Higher Education
NationSwell, June 12, 2014
In fact, a large majority of high-achieving, low-income students don’t apply to selective colleges or universities — even when there are scholarships and financial aid for the taking.

Parenting Program Aimed at Latinos Helps Boost Literacy Behaviors
Education Week, June 11, 2014
Latino parents of young children who attended a 10-session education program called Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors end up sticking with behaviors that are linked to child academic success, a new study finds. Those outcomes include parents reading to their children at home, taking them to the library, and being more mindful of how parent behavior sets an example for children.

NCLB Not So Negative for Teachers, Study Says
Education Week, June 10, 2014
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 has not necessarily been the teacher's pet of education policies. If you follow education news, you've probably heard something about educators' dissatisfaction with the latest incarnation of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

English-Speaking Abilities of Immigrants: A Snapshot From the U.S. Census Bureau
Education Week, June 10, 2014
Forty-four percent of recent immigrants—those who have arrived in the United States since 2000—said that they speak English "very well," while 13 percent said they speak no English at all, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau.

A Case Study in Lifting College Attendance
New York Times, June 10, 2014
Sydney Nye was a straight-A student with an SAT score high enough to apply to any college in the country. When her senior year of high school in Wilmington, Del., started about nine months ago, she had dreams of becoming a chemical engineer.

State leads way nationally in universal pre-K
WV Metro News, June 9, 2014
According to the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), the Mountain State is ranked #6 nationally for pre-kindergarten enrollments among four-year-olds and #8 nationally for enrollments among three-year-olds.

Proposed fund would give parents school cash
The News Journal, June 9, 2014
Called the "Parent Empowerment Education Savings Account Act," HB 353 would allow parents to place a percentage of the per-student funding that goes to a public school into accounts with the state treasurer's office. They could then spend the money from those accounts on whatever educational purposes they choose, as long as they do not enroll their student in a public school.

American Schools - Back to 'Separate But Equal'?
Education Week, June 6, 2014
The Supreme Court ruled in Plessy vs. Ferguson in 1896 that separate schools for minority students were constitutional as long as they provided educational services that were equal to those provided majority students. In 1954, in one of the most important cases in the Court's history, it reversed Plessy, holding instead that American schools could not be equal as long as they are segregated. Now, however, the nation's schools are nearly as segregated as they were before Brown vs. Board of Education. But there is no hue and cry about this, no broad movement to reverse course. Quite the contrary. We have instead been busy accommodating ourselves to the idea that our schools will be segregated and have been trying to make the best of it.

Schools report Bring Your Own Device success
Powhatan Today, June 5, 2014
As the number of students with their own cell phones and other electronic devices grew over the past decade, teachers, administrators and Powhatan County School Board members worked hard on policies to keep handheld devices from being a distraction or a source of trouble.

Districts with more low-income families could have higher special education needs
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 5, 2014
Poverty and the need for special education often go hand-in-hand in more than a third of school districts in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Of the 117 school districts in southwestern Pennsylvania, 40 educated a higher-than-average population of both special education and low-income students during the 2012-13 school year, according to a Trib Total Media analysis of state Department of Education figures.

ELLs Test-Drive New English-Language Proficiency Assessments
Education Week, June 5, 2014
It's been a field-testing frenzy all spring with five separate assessment groups asking school districts and students to test drive the array of new exams they are designing to measure students' command of the common-core standards.


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