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February 2017 Newsletter Americans Are Falling Behind in Foreign-Language Learning
By Corey Mitchell
Education Week

Mar 2, 2017- A critical shortage of qualified foreign language teachers in the United States could leave the nation at a competitive disadvantage in an increasingly global, multilingual society, according to a new American Academy of Sciences report. Read more

The Fight Over Charter Schools Is a Distraction
By Jia Lok Pratt
Education Week

Feb 28, 2017- I left corporate America more than 10 years ago to join the education reform movement. I took an administrative leadership position within a high-performing charter network because, as a first-generation college graduate, I knew firsthand the power of education to shape one's life trajectory. I wanted to be part of the solution to improve public education for all children, and charter schools seemed a promising catalyst to transform public schools. Read more

Study: Kindergartners Start School With More Academic Skills Than in Past
By Christina Samuels
Education Week

Feb 27, 2017- Kindergarten students in 2010 started school with noticeably stronger literacy, math, and behavior skills across the board compared to their peers that started school just 12 years earlier, says a study published this month in the journal Educational Researcher. Read more

Smarter Balanced Looks to Combine Common-Core and College-Entrance Tests
By Liana Loewus
Education Week

Feb 27, 2017- With states increasingly having walked away from the common-core-aligned tests developed by two federally funded consortia—especially at the high school level—one of those assessment groups is looking to hit the refresh button with a new type of test: one that is useful for both federal accountability and college admissions. Read more

Looking for Deeper Learning in Preschools (Part 1)
By Contributing Blogger
Education Week

Feb 23, 2017- This post is by Kathleen Cushman. Her most recent book, with WKCD colleague Barbara Cervone, is Belonging and Becoming: The Power of Social and Emotional Learning in High Schools (Harvard Education Press). Throughout New York City, families this week are indicating their preferences in the Department of Education's lottery system by which every child born in 2013 can receive a place in a free full-day pre-kindergarten program. Read more

Do's and don'ts for scientists who want to shape policy | Science
By Erik Stokstad

Feb 9, 2017- Paul Cairney, a political scientist at the University of Stirling in the United Kingdom, has a message for those who want facts and research findings to guide policy. "‘Evidence based policy making’ is a good political slogan, but not a good description of the policy process," he writes on his blog, which has become a popular read for policy wonks. Read more

Sesame Street Plans Social-Emotional Learning Program for Refugee Children
By Evie Blad
Education Week

Feb 15, 2017- The Sesame Workshop hopes the friendly faces of Sesame Street characters will help refugee children navigate the complex social and emotional effects of trauma and displacement. The organization is teaming with the International Rescue Committee, a global humanitarian organization, to "deliver transformative early learning and social-emotional support to millions of refugee children in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria," it said in a news release Thursday Read more

Making the Elimination of Excellence Gaps an Educational Priority
By Beth Holland
Education Week

Feb 10, 2017- In a recent guest post on this blog, Professor Donald Peurach described the challenge of transforming education through "deeper learning" and "21st-century skills." He explained that most change efforts focus on the structures and systems surrounding teaching and learning absent discrete knowledge of what needs to occur in the classroom. Read more
Do your homework, Ms. DeVos
By Editorial Board
Washington Post

Feb 8, 2017- BETSY DEVOS begins her tenure as U.S. education secretary with the dubious distinction of being the only Cabinet member in history to need the tie-breaking vote of the vice president to win Senate confirmation. That she barely squeaked by — due in no small measure to her poor performance at her confirmation hearing — hopefully impresses upon her the need to do some homework and assemble a competent team. Read more

Donald Trump, Betsy DeVos, and the changing politics of charter schools
By Jon Valant

Feb 7, 2017- An emerging narrative says we are entering a golden age for charter schools and school choice policies. President Donald Trump rarely mentioned education during the campaign but pledged funding to encourage school choice, calling it “the civil rights issue of our time.” He nominated an education secretary, Betsy DeVos, who has almost exclusively focused on expanding school choice, and the Republican Party—long supportive of charters and choice—has sweeping control of state and federal governments. Meanwhile, enrollment in charter schools continues to climb Read more

Big changes at key charter school network go unnoticed in prevailing debate
By Jay Mathews
Washington Post

Feb 19, 2017- Our national debate over public charter schools lacks nuance and depth. Opponents say charters are leeches sucking money out of already struggling regular public schools. Supporters say charters are innovators giving children better lessons while fighting evil district bureaucrats trying to rein them in. Read more

D.C. Charter Teachers Seek to Unionize
By Rachel M. Cohen
The American Prospect

Feb 22, 2017- This morning, teachers at Paul Public Charter School, one of the oldest charters in Washington, D.C., publicly announced their intent to unionize—a first for charter schoolteachers in the nation’s capital. As in other cities where charter teachers have formed unions, the Paul educators are forming their own local—the District of Columbia Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff (DC ACTS)—which will be affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT. Read more

The District's smart plan for school accountability
By Editorial Board
Washington Post

Feb 26, 2017- IN ITS REVAMP of the No Child Left Behind education law, Congress gave states more flexibility in designing accountability systems to measure school performance. There is no question that the much-maligned old law was far too rigid. But there is a danger of weakening measures to the point of making them meaningless. That fortunately doesn’t seem to be the aim in the District, where officials have developed a proposal that places a muscular emphasis on academic outcomes. Read more

Feds cite D.C. charters for high suspension rates, particularly for black students
By Joe Davidson
Washington Post

Feb 14, 2017- Skeptical questions remain over how much support Betsy DeVos will provide traditional public schools in her new role as secretary of education. But there is no doubt she is a big fan of charter schools. She and her husband invested in K12 Inc., the nation’s largest operator of for-profit charter schools, whose quality has long been questioned. With her devotion to charters and her perch at the top of the educational bureaucracy, DeVos, who took office after a tough confirmation hearing in which her fitness was doubted, is well positioned to push efforts aimed at correcting the high and racially twisted disciplinary practices of Washington’s charter schools and to determine if similar patterns exist elsewhere. Read more

Fix The Leaky Roof: Putting A Hold On DC’s Tax Triggers
By Alejandra Matos
Washington Post

Feb 13, 2017- Families make hard budget decisions every day: What to spend today and what to put away for a rainy day. Sometimes a year-end bonus opens the door to finally replacing that aging roof. This very scenario is playing out at the macro level in our nation’s capital right now. The stakes are enormous for all of us. Read more

Bars, Restaurants and Schools Close Their Doors For 'Day Without Immigrants'
By Martin Austermuhle and Mikaela Lefrak

Feb 16, 2017- On any normal weekday, French bakery Le Caprice would see steady business during morning hours. The bakery, located on 14th Street NW just north of the Columbia Heights Metro station, is well known for its croissants, which are made daily by a workforce that arrives before the sun rises in order to throw open the doors by 7 a.m. Read more

Civil Rights: Unfinished Business of Our Nation's History
By Ramona Edelin
The Afro

Feb 22, 2017- As one of his final acts in office, President Obama established the Freedom Riders National Monument. Building upon the ‘Journey of Reconciliation,’ an integrated bus ride through the Upper South 56 years ago, the Freedom Riders sought to test if bus stations in the Deep South were complying with U.S. Supreme Court desegregation decisions. Read more

The Opportunity in Virginia's Newest Charter School Plan
By Don Soifer
Lexington Institute

Feb 10, 2017- When Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe took office three years ago, he made a commitment to ensuring equal opportunities for all of Virginia’s children central to his inaugural address. “Common ground doesn’t move towards us, we move towards it,” became a resonant theme, to be evaluated by actions in office. Read more

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