DCPCSA April 2016 Newsletter
 
 

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April 2016 Newsletter Education reform 'good politics, good policy,' School choice advocate says
By Javier E. David
CNBC

April 30, 2016- Education reform, a traditionally contentious policy issues in America, is one that has gotten short shrift in the current race for the White House. A 2016 campaign largely defined by economic anxiety, immigration and fears of terrorism has devoted little illumination to the state of public education, which by many indications could use the attention. Read more

The good news behind America's bad test scores
By Josh Kenworthy
Christian Science Monitor

April 28, 2016- American schools just got their biennial report card, and the results aren't exactly worthy of the honor roll. Fewer than half of America's high school seniors are prepared for college – even fewer than in 2013. The gap between the strongest and weakest performing 12th-graders in math widened in the past two years, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), often called "the nation's report card." Read more

Guiding a First Generation to College
By Tina Rosenberg
New York Times

April 26, 2016- When Shane Hennings was starting his junior year at Jamaica Gateway to the Sciences High School in Queens, he knew he would go to college even though no one in his family had gone. “My mom and my family always said go and become someone,” he said. “I want to help my mom." Read more

New Education Law Opens Door to Education Data
By Laura Camera
US News

April 26, 2016- The new federal education law allows states and school districts to press the reset button on an array of education policies, and some advocates are urging policymakers and education officials to take advantage of the opportunity to effectively use student data to improve learning and teaching. Read more

Top business leaders, 27 governors, urge Congress to boost computer science education
By Emma Brown
Washington Post

April 26, 2016- Leaders of dozens of the nation’s top businesses — from Apple and Facebook to Target, Walmart and AT&T — are calling on Congress to help provide computer science education in all K-12 schools, arguing that the United States needs far more students who are literate in the technologies that are transforming nearly every industry. Read more

Can More Money Fix America's Schools?
By Cory Turner, Kevin McCorry, Lisa Worf, Sarah Gonzalez, Kirk Carapezza, Craig Mcinery
NPREd

April 25, 2016- This winter, Jameria Miller would often run to her high school Spanish class, though not to get a good seat. She wanted a good blanket. "The cold is definitely a distraction," Jameria says of her classroom's uninsulated, metal walls. Her teacher provided the blankets. First come, first served. Such is life in the William Penn School District in an inner-ring suburb of Philadelphia. The hardest part for Jameria, though, isn't the cold. It's knowing that other schools aren't like this. Read more

The untold story of Prince's impact on a Minnesota charter school
By Kevin Mahnken
The Thomas B. Fordham Institute

April 22, 2016- In the wake of Prince’s untimely death on Thursday, the world marks the passing of a multi-talented performer and musical polymath. Prince Rogers Nelson was one of his generation’s most gifted songwriters; a virtuosic guitarist; a compelling (if somewhat enigmatic) screen presence; and a champion for the sartorial cause of purple. Even his most dedicated fans may not realize, however, that he leaves behind a legacy in the realm of education as well. Read more

The Department Of Education Expands Focus On Charter School Students
By Diane Palmer
Parent Herald

April 22, 2016- The U.S. Department of Education wants to learn more about the demographics of students who attend charter schools. A notice was released on Wednesday calling for applications to create a competitive charter school grant program. Read more

Race and the Standardized Testing Wars
By Kate Taylor
New York Times

April 23, 2016- WHEN the parents of more than 200,000 pupils in the third through eighth grades in New York chose to have their children sit out standardized state tests last spring, major civil rights organizations were quick to condemn their decision, along with similar movements in Colorado, Washington and New Jersey. Read more

Minecraft Generation
By Clive Thompson
New York Times

April 14, 2016- Jordan wanted to build an unpredictable trap. An 11-year-old in dark horn-­rimmed glasses, Jordan is a devotee of Minecraft, the computer game in which you make things out of virtual blocks, from dizzying towers to entire cities. He recently read “The Maze Runner,” a sci-fi thriller in which teenagers live inside a booby-­trapped labyrinth, and was inspired to concoct his own version — something he then would challenge his friends to navigate.Read more

The end of “no excuses” education reform?
By Sarah Garland
The Hechinger Report

Mar 27, 2016- Several students sit around a conference table at Simon Gratz High School in North Philadelphia on a surly winter’s day, the kind that makes even the school’s drafty classrooms seem welcoming. They are there to give their assessment of the school – and they’re not afraid to be blunt. Read more

Helping to level the AP playing field: Why eighth grade math matters more than you think
By Liz Sablich
Harvard Education Publishing Group

April 4, 2016- For years, many schools across the U.S. have offered qualified students the ability to take advanced-level courses apart from many of their fellow students in a practice known as tracking. New data released in the 2016 Brown Center Report on American Education shed light on tracking, who it applies to, and its implications for student achievement and equity in American schools. Read more
Special-education report makes one thing clear: There’s a lack of clarity on the issue.
By Jay Mathews
Washington Post

May 1, 2016- The biggest difference between schools I attended a half-century ago and schools I visit now is special education: It took a while for our country to grasp how to help students with extra needs. Read more

The Charter School Population Is Quickly Catching Up To DCPS
By Rachel Sadon
DCist

April 28, 2016- Although D.C. Public Schools has seen an uptick in its population over the past fives years, following years of a steady decline, the city's charter school population is still growing at a faster clip—and quickly catching up to DCPS. In the past ten years, public charter schools saw the number of students they serve more than double. Read more

U.S. high school seniors slip in math and show no improvement in reading
By Emma Brown
Washington Post

April 26, 2016- The nation’s high school seniors have shown no improvement in reading achievement and their math performance has slipped since 2013, according to the results of a test administered by the federal government last year. Read more

Water tests ordered at DC schools after elevated lead levels found
By Kristi King
WTOP

April 22, 2016- Every school in D.C. is about to have a water test following the discovery of elevated levels of lead in the water at three elementary schools. “Outrageous” is the word one city leader used to characterize annual tests for lead done in D.C. schools previously.Read more

TA black professor offers advice ‘For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood’
By Emma Brown
Washington Post

April 20, 2016- Christopher Emdin says he wasn’t trying to alienate anyone with the title of his new book: “For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood … and the Rest of Y’all Too.” But he did want to start a conversation that he knew wouldn’t be entirely comfortable. Read more


Technical glitches plague computer-based standardized tests nationwide
By Emma Brown
Washington Post

April 15, 2016- As most states have moved to new standardized tests based on the Common Core during the past two years, many also have switched from administering those tests the old-fashioned way — with paper and No. 2 pencils — to delivering them online using computers, laptops and tablets. Read more

A Changing Landscape: Examining How Public Charter School Enrollment Is Growing in DC
By Peter Tuths
DC Fiscal Policy Institute

April 28, 2016- Enrollment in the District of Columbia’s public charter schools leapt from a quarter of all DC students a decade ago to nearly half of all DC students in the 2015-2016 school year. While the gap in enrollment growth rates between DC Public Schools and public charter schools has narrowed significantly in recent years, the charter sector appears to still be growing faster.Read more

A Fearless Defender of the Poor and Disenfranchised
By Kevin Chavous
Washington Informer
Mar 21, 2016- As District of Columbia council member for D.C.’s underserved Ward 7 for 12 years, I began my tenure in 1993, when the District’s public school system was in crisis, especially east of the Anacostia River. In this trying time, half of D.C.’s public school students dropped out and, as a consequence, became prey to the malign influences of the streets. That was when I became an enthusiastic supporter of school choice. Read more

Teacher: What third-graders are being asked to do on 2016 Common Core test
By Valerie Strauss
Washington Post

April 12, 2016- Students across New York have been taking the 2016 state-mandated standardized Common Core tests — first in English Language Arts and later this week in math — and from the beginning of the administration of the exams, trouble has been reported. Wrongly printed test booklets, poorly constructed questions, etc. In this post, one teacher does her best to explain the problems with the ELA test that third-grade students have taken — at least within the limits of what is legal for her to say.Read more

Remedial classes have become a hidden cost of college
By Danielle Douglas-Gabriel
Washington Post

April 6, 2016- One in four students have to enroll in remedial classes their first year of college, costing their families nearly $1.5 billion, according to a study released Wednesday by Education Reform Now, a think tank. Colleges often require students with weak academic records to take courses to help them catch up to the rest of their classmates, but those remedial classes don’t count toward a degree. Read more

Teach for America applications fall again, diving 35 percent in three years
By Emma Brown
Washington Post

April 12, 2016- Applications to Teach for America fell by 16 percent in 2016, marking the third consecutive year in which the organization — which places college graduates in some of the nation’s toughest classrooms — has seen its applicant pool shrink. Read more

The 2016 FOCUS Gala
By Mark Lerner
Prents Have School Choice Kids Win

April 11, 2016- Last Thursday my wife Michele and I had the tremendous pleasure of attending the 2016 Friends of Choice in Urban Schools gala which celebrated the 20th anniversary of the start of Washington, D.C.’s charter school movement. In keeping with the evening’s theme, planners of the event included multiple clever reminders of 1996. Read more

Google Contest Winner
By Dorothy Rowley
Washington Informer

April 6, 2016- Congratulations to Akilah Johnson, winner of this year’s Google-sponsored “Doodle 4 Google” competition. Akilah, a 10th-grader at Eastern High School in Northeast, listed among 52 finalists and was the only contestant representing D.C. in the national competition. Read more

Draft ESSA regulations: A mixed bag for educational excellence
By Jonathan Plucker, Ph.D., Brandon Wright
Thomas B. Fordham Institute

April 11, 2016- The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires a “negotiated rulemaking” process whenever the Department of Education issues regulations under parts of the law pertaining to assessments, academic standards, and several other topics. This process requires a panel of experts, which the agency assembled in March. Their work thus far (they’ve met twice) has revealed major problems on the regulatory front concerning gifted and high-achieving students. These issues need immediate attention, including close scrutiny by the lawmakers who crafted ESSA. Read more

That’s the Idea: Some schools serving low-income students believe in a challenge
By Jay Mathews
Washington Post

April 17, 2016- I am having an argument with Erich Martel, an experienced former history teacher in the D.C. schools. He thinks it is wrong for schools to require that all, or nearly all, students take Advanced Placement courses, among the toughest our schools have. Read more

Education Secretary John King to States: Ease Up on the Math and Reading
By Lauren Camera
US News

April 14, 2016- After years of schools narrowing their curricula to target math and reading during the test-happy No Child Left Behind era, Education Secretary John King is urging states to use their flexibility under the new federal education law to expand and focus more on science, social studies, arts and world languages. Read more

The future of education data and research in the District of Columbia
By Alexandra Tilsley
Urban Institute

Mar 30, 2016- There's no dearth of data in education, but data aren’t useful unless they’re timely, actionable, and accurate. A 2015 report from the National Academies of Sciences found that the DC education system lacks a comprehensive, transparent, and accessible data system and independent analysis. Read more
 
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