DCPCSA June 2015 Newsletter

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June 2015 Newsletter Education Dept. extends more No Child Left Behind waivers
By Jennifer C. Kerr
Associated Press

Jun 23, 2015- The Obama administration is giving seven more states and the District of Columbia continued flexibility from the requirements of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind education law. Read more

Why are American schools slowing down so many bright children?
By Jay Mathews
Washington Post

June 21, 2015- Vicki Schulkin, a Northern Virginia parent, knew her son Matt was bright but did not think this was a problem until some of his teachers began to bristle at the erratic working habits that sometimes accompany intellectual gifts. Read more

Sesame Street was the original MOOC
By Delaney Parrish

June 18, 2015- In the nearly 50 years since its creation, about 80 million American children have watched Sesame Street. For many Americans, Jim Henson’s Muppets are iconic cultural figures that trigger childhood nostalgia.  Read more

Massachusetts Takes On a Failing School District
By The Editorial Board
New York Times

June 17, 2015- The Massachusetts public schools consistently rank at or near the top in the nation for performance on the rigorous, federally backed math and reading exams known as the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The state has nonetheless struggled with how to improve chronically low-performing districts like the one in the impoverished former mill town of Lawrence. Read more

Survey examines higher education backgrounds of leaders worldwide
By Scott Jaschik
Inside Higher Ed

June 1, 2015- Politicians and plenty of parents throughout the world regularly urge students to think practically, and to focus on degrees in technology or business. And colleges and universities around the world are being pressured to focus on disciplines outside the liberal arts and sciences.  Read more

Kindergartens Ringing the Bell for Play Inside the Classroom
By Motoko Rich
New York Times

June 9, 2015- Mucking around with sand and water. Playing Candy Land or Chutes and Ladders. Cooking pretend meals in a child-size kitchen. Dancing on the rug, building with blocks and painting on easels. Call it Kindergarten 2.0. Read more

How Choice Strengthens Schools and Families
By Paul Hill

June 11, 2015- In the course of a small study with Tricia Maas about the “backfill” issue in charter high schools (question: What are the schools doing to offer vacant seats to transfer students, and how are they helping the newcomers come up to speed?), I’ve been struck again by the importance of informed choice.  Read more

The Challenge of Diversity in Pre-K Classrooms
By Abbie Lieberman and Shayna Cook
Ed Central

June 4, 2015- Brown v. Board found that “separate is inherently unequal.” Research continues to come to the same conclusion. In fact, a re-analysis of a landmark study by James Coleman, focusing mainly on high school students, showed that “a school’s socioeconomic composition was one and three-quarters times more important than its students’ own socioeconomic status” in predicting educational outcomes. Read more

How to grade a teacher
By Joe Nocera
New York Times

June 16, 2015- This is the second column I’ve written about Deborah Loewenberg Ball, the dean of the University of Michigan School of Education. Ball believes the training that teachers get while they are in school needs to be drastically improved. Read more

The Raciolinguistic Catch-22
By Nelson Flores and Jonathan Rosa
Harvard Education Publishing Group

June 11, 2015- Despite the fact that heterogeneous linguistic repertoires have been a norm throughout human history, language diversity is often viewed as problematic in mainstream US educational contexts. Read more

Roots of the School Gardening Movement
By Matt Weber
Harvard EdCast

May 20, 2015- The school garden movement is growing. A significant resource for teaching and learning, gardens provide students with a connection to nature and an understanding of where the food we all eat comes from.  Read more

Getting a Jump on College
By Jon Marcus
Harvard Education Letter

May/ June 2015- Every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday at 8:39 a.m., Tony Mao files into his sophomore-level University of Connecticut engineering course in applied mechanics. Mao is not a university student. He’s a high school senior at the private Christian Heritage School in Trumbull, Conn., who spends his free time playing on the coed varsity tennis team and writing college application essays. Read more

How one DC charter school is "changing everything" to give kids knowledge
By Natalie Wexler
Greater Greater Washington

June 15, 2015- For decades, elementary schools have focused on building skills at the expense of instilling knowledge. One DC charter school network, Center City, is in the forefront of a movement to reverse that approach. Read more

Charter Sector Challenged by Quality of School Boards
By Arianna Prothero
Education Week

May 29, 2015- A District of Columbia charter school spent millions contracting for services with a company owned by the school’s founder. And an Ohio charter spent more on rent than staff salaries—money paid to a company that was owned by the same education management group that ran the school. Read more

D.C. schools to introduce more challenging ‘cornerstone’ lessons
By Michael Alison Chandler
Washington Post

May 28, 2015- D.C. Public Schools is introducing a slew of new classroom lessons designed to give students more in-depth and engaging learning opportunities across the school system starting next year. Read more

District introduces gifted programs to push talented students, keep families
By Michael Alison Chandler
Washington Post

June 6, 2015- When D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson came to the District in 2007, there was no office for gifted education and no plan for serving the city’s most talented learners. The school system was overwhelmed with working to raise basic skills for the large number of struggling students. Read more

What a new report shows about D.C. schools
By Editorial Board
Washington Post

June 5, 2015- A RECENTLY released assessment of D.C. public schools’ performance under mayoral control pretty much confirms things that already were known. There has been progress in student achievement; formidable challenges remain; change takes time; and stability is important. Read more

Beyond College-Ready: Top Charter Schools Support Graduates In College
By Alexandra Starr

June 7, 2015- It's high school graduation season, when many students are celebrating the end of their high school career. But some schools are deciding that their job doesn't end with the granting of a diploma — or even a send-off to college. Read more

There's a growing feeling that standardized tests are taking time from instruction
By Natalie Wexler
Greater Greater Washington

June 23, 2015- Some DC education activists, teachers, and parents are concerned that standardized testing and test prep are taking too much time away from instruction. But there's no hard data on how much time schools here devote to testing, and it's not clear education officials are planning to collect it. Read more

Trauma is hidden cause of academic struggles for many in D.C., report finds
By Michael Alison Chandler
Washington Post

June 24, 2015- Children in the District are disproportionately exposed to traumatic experiences, including poverty, homelessness and gun violence, that affect their ability to learn, a new report says. Read more

Despite progress, D.C. students are still not up to par, report says
By Michael Alison Chandler
Washington Post

June 22, 2015- The District’s education leaders emphasized the progress that they have made in reforming the city’s schools in recent years but acknowledged Monday that they must increase efforts to improve prospects for thousands of underperforming students. Read more

If you can't get kids to a mental health clinic, bring the clinic to a school
By Natalie Wexler
Greater Greater Washington

June 18, 2015- Teachers at high-poverty schools often struggle with behavior problems caused by students' mental health issues. One solution is to provide mental health services in schools, as a company formed by two clinical psychologists is now doing in DC. Read more

FOCUS names new executive director
By Michael Alison Chandler
Washington Post

June 18, 2015- Irene Holtzman, a longtime director of KIPP DC was named the new executive director of FOCUS, an active advocacy organization for charter schools in the District. Read more

D.C. attempts to block charter school funding equity lawsuit
By Mark Lerner
DC Charter Schools Examiner

June 18, 2015- On Tuesday representatives from D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine's office did what they could before a Federal judge to stop a lawsuit from going forward over funding equity between charter schools and DCPS. The FOCUS-engineered legal action was brought by the D.C. Association of Chartered Public Schools, Washington Latin PCS, and Eagle Academy PCS. Attorney Stephen Marcus is representing the charters. Read more

How one school changed its academic culture
By Valerie Strauss
Washington Post

June 18, 2015- Here is the fifth in a series of profiles about the winners of a pilot project called Schools of Opportunity, which is highlighting schools that are creating healthy environments for students, teachers and staff. Seventeen schools were named as inaugural winners in initiative to identify and recognize public high schools that seek to close opportunity gaps through practices “that build on students’ strengths” — not by inundating them with tests. (You can see the list here.) Read more

D.C. Public Schools chancellor: Charter schools grow from 'unresponsive' public schools
By Jason Russell

June 15, 2015- An "unresponsive" public school district led to a strong charter school sector in Washington, D.C., according to Kaya Henderson, chancellor of D.C. Public Schools. "Part of the reason why we have one of the most robust charter sectors in the country, and I think part of the reason why the charter sector here grew so quickly, is because for a long time the [D.C. Public Schools system] was just unresponsive," Henderson said today at The Atlantic Education Summit. Read more

D.C. teachers want evaluation data to be public
By WTOP Staff

June 16, 2015- The union representing D.C. public educators says that language tucked into the District’s budget bill would prevent the public and the union alike from accessing teacher evaluation results, but city officials dispute that saying the wording applies only to charter schools. Read more

Principal: ‘I cannot be part of reforms that eat away at the moral fabric of our schools’
By Valerie Strauss
Washington Post

June 15, 2015- This is the ninth in a continuing series of letters between two award-winning school principals, one who likes the Common Core State Standards and the other who doesn’t. The debate over the Common Core State Standards has become so polarized that it is hard to get people who disagree to have reasonable conversations about it. Read more

Back to school for D.C.’s dropouts
By Colbert I. King
Washington Post

June 12, 2015- The creation of the marginalized is taking place before our very eyes. It materializes in one statistic: the D.C. Public Schools 2014 graduation rate. The overall four-year DCPS graduation rate is 58.3 percent — one of the lowest in the nation. Read more

Three wrong-headed ideas driving reform of U.S. teaching force
By Valerie Strauss
Washington Post

June 12, 2015- “When the going gets tough in our wealthy societies, the powers-that-be often choose quick fixes. In search of a silver bullet instead of sustained systemic improvement, politicians turn their eyes on teachers, believing that asking them to do more with less can compensate for inconvenient reductions in school resources.” Read more

As Congress debates No Child Left Behind: Who should decide which schools are failing kids?
By Emma Brown
Washington Post

June 10, 2015- From Rand Paul on the right to Elizabeth Warren on the left, members of the Senate education committee pushed aside their policy disagreements earlier this spring when they voted unanimously in favor of a bipartisan revision to the widely reviled No Child Left Behind law. Read more

Education in multiple languages gives kids a big boost, which means high demand for DC's programs
By David Alpert
Greater Greater Washington

June 10, 2015- Seven DC public schools and six charters teach children in not just one language, but two. It's an approach that helps native and non-native English speakers, poor and affluent children alike, the latest research shows. But 13 schools are far from enough to meet the demand. Read more

Powerful images show what it’s like to read when you have dyslexia
By Ana Swanson
Washington Post

June 10, 2015- When he was 18, Dan Britton was failing every subject except science and graphic design. His graphic design teacher suspected something was wrong and took him to be tested. The test results showed that Britton had the reading ability of a 10-year-old and the writing ability of an 11-year-old. Read more

D.C. students become advocates at Cesar Chavez Public Charter High Schools
By Moriah Costa

June 10, 2015- Shayla Johnson, a senior at Cesar Chavez Public Charter High School, believes police militarization and racial tension needs to end. But she did more than post a Facebook status about it — she dedicated her senior thesis to finding a solution to the problem. Read more

Student poverty, lack of parental involvement cited as teacher concerns
By Lyndsey Layton
Washington Post

June 9, 2015- Student poverty is a major barrier to learning, according to teachers polled in a new national survey of educators released Tuesday. Lack of parental involvement and overtesting were also identified as big problems, as well as student apathy, according to an online Public Opinion Strategies survey of 700 elementary and secondary teachers across the country. Read more

The government is helping fund a Minecraft-style game for teaching kids about the environment
By Andrea Peterson
Washington Post

June 9, 2015- Minecraft is a cultural phenomenon. The block-based exploration and crafting game was snapped up by Microsoft for $2.5 billion last year and has helped inspire competitors from giant toy companies like Lego. Read more

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