From the News

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.

More Than Half of Students 'Engaged' in School, Says Poll
Education Week, April 9, 2014
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.

Is the Stress of Poverty to Blame for Academic Failure?
Education Week, April 8, 2014
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.

Schools can overcome the challenges of poverty — with the right interventions
Hechinger Report, April 8, 2014
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.”

ESL Teachers in Common-Core Era Need Different Prep, Paper Argues
Education Week, April 7, 2014
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 Sap Instructional Time in High Schools
Education Week, April 7, 2014
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.

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 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.''

Study: Top Minority Students Fall Off During High School
US News, April 2, 2014
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.

D.C. Voters Toss Mayor Gray in Primary, Raising Questions About Schools
Education Week, April 2, 2014
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.

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.

Report finds wide racial disparity in U.S. children's well-being
Reuters, April 1, 2014
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.

Pittsburgh teachers and officials to explore 'community schools'
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 1, 2014
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.

New State Laws Require More Sex-Abuse Training in Schools
Education Week, April 1, 2014
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.

U.S. Must Improve Outcomes for Minority Youth as Demographics Shift, Report Says
Education Week, April 1, 2014
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.

School Data Finds Pattern of Inequality Along Racial Lines
New York Times, March 21, 2014
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.

What Applying to Charter Schools Showed Me About Inequality
The Atlantic, March 20, 2014
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.

Women's Group: 'Common Core Will Help Close STEM Gender Gap'
Education Week, February 20, 2014
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.

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:

Va. transgender students can play sports in gender they identify with, February 19, 2014
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.

Report offers first look at results of anti-bullying legislation
WDDE, February 19, 2014
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.

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?

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

Middle schools present vexing problem for D.C. leaders as parents choose other options
Washington Post, February 17, 2014
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.

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.

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.

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.


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