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August Newsletter 2013

Three top charter schools bid on Winston site
By Martin Moulton
Greater Greater Education

August 30, 2013- Three public charter school operators have submitted bids to lease the former Winston Education Campus in Hillcrest. But some neighborhood residents have petitioned DCPS to create an application-only school at the site. Read more

Teaching District students 21st century skills
By David Philhower
The Northwest Current, p. 10

July 23, 2013- As students head back to school, our new parents are excited. At this year’s school lottery we received 1,840 applicants for 32 spots. As a D.C. public charter school we are obligated to hold a lottery when spaces are oversubscribed. Read more

Guesses and Hype Give Way to Data in Study of Education
By Gina Kolata
New York Times

September 2, 2013- What works in science and math education? Until recently, there had been few solid answers — just guesses and hunches, marketing hype and extrapolations from small pilot studies. Read more

With Common Core, Fewer Topics Covered More Rigorously
By Kenneth Chang
New York Times

September 2, 2013- If the new mathematics standards adopted by New York and 44 other states work as intended, then children, especially in the lower elementary grades, will learn less math this year. Read more

Education reform is strengthened at home
By Jonetta Rose Barras
Washington Post

August 29, 2013- On Sept. 7, Interim State Superintendent Emily Durso and her staff will convene the second annual D.C. Parent and Family Engagement Conference. She said a yearly event held downtown may not be enough: “I would like them more regularly in those wards where there is high student population.” Read more

When Class Became More Important to a Child's Education Than Race
By Sarah Garland
The Atlantic

August 28, 2013- On a weekday afternoon in July, Jessica Klaitman pulled her 16-month-old daughter Hannah out of a stroller in the lobby of the New York Kids Club, a “child-enrichment center” with four classrooms, a dance studio, and gym space in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. Read more

Football preview: D.C. charter schools
By Roman Stubbs
Washington Post

August 27, 2013- Around the league: Friendship Collegiate, fresh off an 8-3 finish and a DCSAA title in 2012, has the potential to be better in 2013 despite facing a nationally competitive schedule. Read more

The Two Cultures of Educational Reform
By Stanley Fish
New York Times

August 26, 2013- About halfway through his magisterial study “Higher Education in America,” Derek Bok, twice president of Harvard, identifies what he calls the “two different cultures” of educational reform. Read more

At Charter Schools, Short Careers by Choice
By Mokoto Rich
New York Times

August 26, 2013- Tyler Dowdy just started his third year of teaching at YES Prep West, a charter school here. He figures now is a good time to explore his next step, including applying for a supervisory position at the school. Read more

Why We Need to Look at Learning in Preschool Programs
By Sara Mead
Education Week

August 23, 2013- There are a lot of misperceptions flying around about the District of Columbia Public Charter School Board's Early Childhood Performance Management Framework. As a member of the board who supports the framework, I'd like to try to clear up some of those misperceptions and explain why I support the framework. Read more

America's kids need a better education law
By Arne Duncan
Washington Post

August 25, 2013- The nation’s most sweeping education law — the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, better known as No Child Left Behind — is outmoded and broken. Congress has gone home for its summer recess without passing a responsible replacement. That’s too bad. America deserves a better law. Read more

The 50th Anniversary of the "I Have a Dream" Speech and the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
By US Census Bureau

August 21, 2013- On Aug. 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to more than 200,000 people from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. His famous "I Have a Dream" speech and the march were key moments in the American Civil Rights Movement, before the landmark legislation securing voting, housing and employment rights for all Americans regardless of race. To mark the anniversary, the U.S. Census Bureau has gathered key statistics that measure changes in some characteristics of the black population to date. Read more

The Common Core and the Common Good
By Charles M. Blow
New York Times
August 21, 2013- America, we have a problem. Our educational system is not keeping up with that of many other industrialized countries, even as the job market becomes more global and international competition for jobs becomes steeper. We have gone from the leader to a laggard. Read more

Obama pushes ambitious Internet access plan
By Zachary A. Goldfarb
Washington Post

August 13, 2013- President Obama liked the idea laid out in a memo from his staff: an ambitious plan to expand high-speed Internet access in schools that would allow students to use digital notebooks and teachers to customize lessons like never before. Better yet, the president would not need Congress to approve it. Read more

To improve learning, some schools lengthen the school day or year
By Sarah Carr
The Hechinger Report

July 31, 2013- It’s a July morning at 6:45 a.m. and the temperature is starting to climb across the city. Most schoolchildren would expect to have at least a few more weeks of summer. But Quincy Lindsey, a fifth-grader at New Orleans’ ReNEW Cultural Arts Academy, is trying to wake up for his first day of school. Read more

Not vacation: Summer learning programs crucial
By AP Staff Writer
Washington Examiner

August 12, 2013- For many students and teachers, summer vacation was more like summer term. Reading lists. Science camps. Portfolio development. The to-do list for kids and teachers sound remarkably alike. Schools are on the hook to improve student performance on high-stakes tests, administrators are eyeing more science and technology instruction, and parents are demanding more for their children. Read more

Time to speed up education reform
By Vincent C. Gray
Washington Post

August 9, 2013- The District got some very good news late last month, when the leaders of our public-education system joined me in announcing the results of this past year’s D.C. Comprehensive Assessment System (DC-CAS) tests. These exams are given to students in grades three through eight and in grade 10 every year, and they test a number of subject areas. Read more

Charters Struggle in Search for Affordable Space
By Katie Ash
Education Week

July 25, 2013- Before Le Monde French Immersion Public Charter School opened its doors last fall in Portland, Ore., it had already overcome one of the biggest challenges facing charter schools: finding and financing its facility. Read more

D.C. awards six community schools grants
By Emma Brown
Washington Post

August 27, 2013- Six groups have won grants from the D.C. government to help create “community schools” offering students and families supports that extend beyond the classroom, including social services, parent engagement and mental and physical health care. Read more

KIPP: Empower Posts Transformative Outcomes in Los Angeles
By Don Soifer
Lexington Institute

August 30, 2013- One of the most innovative elementary schools in the country produced some of the strongest results in California’s state assessment system, and the takeaway for public schools across the nation may prove game-changing. Read more

Higher Achievement group enriches academic confidence
By Gordon Peterson

August 28, 2013- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of equality for children of all colors, yet the nation’s capital has the largest racial achievement gap in all of the country’s school districts. Only 60-percent of D.C. students finish high school, but one non-profit organization is working to turn that around. Read more

Maryland schools have been leader in Advanced Placement, but results are mixed
By Liz Bowie
Baltimore Sun

August 19, 2013- Destiny Miller went online this summer to check one last set of grades from her senior year at Woodlawn High School — scores on three Advanced Placement exams. The 18-year-old sat alone on her bed waiting for the scores to appear on her smartphone. Read more

Rising Test Scores Spark Renewed Interest In Longer D.C. School Days
By Stanley Fish
WAMU 88.5

August 2, 2013- Students at C.W. Harris Elementary School in Ward 7 recently posted some impressive gains in standardized tests, showing improvements in math proficiency of 11.9 percent and reading proficiency of 13.1 percent. The school isn't an outlier, though... Four other schools showed similar big gains.Read more

Gray, chancellor help ring in school year
By Andrea Noble
Washington Times

August 26, 2013-More than 80,000 students headed back to school in the District on Monday, but it was a bumpy start for a few of them after two early morning school bus accidents. Read more

Arne Duncan Wants Special Education Students To Take General Exams
By Joy Resmovits
Huffington Post

August 28, 2013- Should students with disabilities be held to the same academic standards as their peers? And should schools and teachers be held accountable for their progress? U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan answered that question with a resounding yes... Read more

Free Bus Rides For D.C. Students Touted By D.C. Legislator
By Martin Di Caro
WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

August 26, 2013- In the District, school students may now ride Metro buses or the D.C. Circulator to school for free. As she stood outside Brightwood Elementary School, Ward 4 Council member and mayoral candidate Muriel Bowser said she pushed to subsidize bus rides so all students could ride at no cost to them. Read more

March on Washington: Crowds pour into city for celebrations
By Sam Ford, Robert Lyles
ABC 7 News

August 23, 2013- Prepare for huge crowds on the National Mall Saturday for events leading up to the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. The actual anniversary is Wednesday, but guests are pouring in from out of town to take part in activities over the next few days. Read more

In D.C., controversy over academic testing has new frontier: preschool
By Michael Alison Chandler
Washington Post

August 24, 2013- The controversy over academic testing has spread to an unlikely frontier in Washington: preschool. Some D.C. parents are protesting a proposal by the city’s public charter school board to rank preschools based largely on how children as young as 3 are performing on reading and math tests. Read more

D.C. school reform is incomplete
By Jonetta Rose Barras
Washington Post

August 24, 2013- Politicians and bureaucrats generally engage in feel-good packaging. Any step forward is amplified, treated as worthy of a gala. They are motivated often by the possibility of reelection, reappointment or promotion. But their brand of marketing can be dangerous, creating misperceptions and inviting complacency when just the opposite is needed. Read more

D.C. high school students to take SAT exams for free
By Emma Brown
Washington Post

August 20, 2013- All juniors and seniors in the District’s public high schools, including those attending traditional and charter schools, will be able to take the SAT for free this year, Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced Tuesday. The aim is to encourage more students to take the exam, which is required for application to many of the nation’s colleges. Read more

Some D.C. charters' salary ranges include lower-paid teachers-in-training
By Emma Brown
Washington Post

August 20, 2013- Most D.C. charter schools pay teachers less the traditional school system, but minimum and maximum salaries do not tell the whole story. The starting-salary data for some charters include relatively low-paid teachers-in-training, who work alongside a mentor, gradually taking on more responsibility as the year progresses. Read more

Effort to tamp down on waitlist shuffle is not progress
By Mark Lerner
DC Charter Schools Examiner

August 14, 2013- The Washington Post's Emma Brown revealed the other day that charters and DCPS are sharing school enrollment application names to see who has signed up with more than one facility. This is a reaction to the calls of traditionalists who believe that the whole process of students choosing a school for a public education in the District of Columbia is way too messy. Read more

Charter school resources don't always correlate with ranking
By Natalie Wexler
Greater Greater Education

August 14, 2013- In charter schools, as in traditional public schools, money doesn't always guarantee results. One school, Paul Public Charter School, manages to do a lot with a little. Read more

Competition with Charters Motivates Districts
By Marc J. Holley, Anna J. Egalite, and Martin F. Lueken
Education Next

FALL 2013- Proponents of market-based education reform often argue that introducing charter schools and other school choice policies creates a competitive dynamic that will prompt low-performing districts to improve their practice. Rather than simply providing an alternative to neighborhood public schools for a handful of students, the theory says, school choice programs actually benefit students remaining in their neighborhood schools, too. Read more

D.C.'s Jefferson Middle School rocked that CAS
By Emma Brown
Washington Post

August 8, 2013- “I’m gonna rock that CAS,” Jefferson Middle School seventh-graders promised last spring in a hit music video, a version of Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” meant to get their classmates psyched up for the District’s annual standardized tests. And, according to test scores released last week, they made good on their word. Read more

DC's most diverse charter schools
By Steven Glazerman
Greater Greater Education

August 8, 2013- To parents, the most important features of a school may include quality of instruction, proximity to home, and safety. These preferences matter in a place like DC where charter schools and choice are so prevalent. But many parents also look for another factor: racial and ethnic diversity. Read more

DCPS, charter school officials cooperate to tamp down on 'wait-list shuffle'
By Emma Brown
Washington Post

August 9, 2013- D.C. charter and D.C. Public Schools officials are for the first time sharing and comparing rosters over the summer, a move they hope will help cut down on the number of students who are enrolled in more than one school. Read more

Can a Hebrew charter school teach the language but not the faith?
By Lauren Markoe
Religion News Service

August 7, 2013-What’s one way to ensure that a new Hebrew-immersion public charter school isn’t a Jewish school? Hire a priest to run it. Sela, which means “rock” or “foundation” in Hebrew, opens in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 19. As a public school, Sela may not teach or show preference to any religion. Read more

Inspired Teaching Demonstration PCS, DC CAS Success
By DC Public Charter School Board

August 6, 2013- Inspired Teaching Demonstration PCS showed the most growth of any public school in the District on the DC CAS this year. Headed into its third year of operation, Inspired Teaching will serve preschool through fifth graders in SY 2013-14. When asked how they did it, Principal Zoe Duskin said Read more

Changing school culture can end bullying
By Kerry Kennedy
Washington Post

August 11, 2013- When a wave of immigrant families settled in Bucyrus, Ohio, the schools faced a clash of cultures. Some 96 percent of the city’s 12,000 residents identify as white. In one classroom, a teacher instructed the class that Mexican immigrants were to blame for drug trafficking in the United States. Following his comments, a Mexican American fifth-grader was targeted with racial slurs, harassed and then suspended for misconduct. Read more

Blended Learning Improves Test Scores
By Kelly Sheridan
Information Week

August 12, 2013- A new study by the RAND Corporation and the Department of Education gives new credibility to the popular notion that blended learning -- a combination of traditional classroom methods with computer-mediated activities -- can improve students' test scores. Read more

Mayoral Candidates See Cincinnati as a Model for New York Schools
By Javier Hernandez
New York Times

August 11, 2013- In search of a cure for ailing schools, educators and politicians from around the world have descended on this city's poorest neighborhoods, hearing of a renaissance. Read more

Officials scrutinize special-education services at BASIS DC
By Emma Brown
Washington Post

August 4, 2013- Local and federal officials are scrutinizing BASIS DC, a charter school known for its accelerated curriculum and rigorous expectations, in the wake of allegations that the school has failed to provide special-education students with legally required services. Read more

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