In the News

Truancy: We are making progress
The WV Record, June 12, 2014
Children whose parents and grandparents may not have completed school themselves sometimes find it difficult to understand the importance of daily attendance. Add in the effects of the resulting multi-generational unemployment, underemployment, and poverty, and truancy in some homes is, therefore, part of the cultural fabric.

Coalition wants school discipline changes
The News Journal, June 12, 2014
Out-of-school suspensions in Delaware are disproportionately affecting black, Hispanic and special-needs students, putting them on the fast-track to prison and setting them up for social failure, a group of Wilmington and New Castle County leaders and state activists say.

Delaware Pushes to Get More Low-Income Students Enrolled in Higher Education
NationSwell, June 12, 2014
In fact, a large majority of high-achieving, low-income students don’t apply to selective colleges or universities — even when there are scholarships and financial aid for the taking.

Parenting Program Aimed at Latinos Helps Boost Literacy Behaviors
Education Week, June 11, 2014
Latino parents of young children who attended a 10-session education program called Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors end up sticking with behaviors that are linked to child academic success, a new study finds. Those outcomes include parents reading to their children at home, taking them to the library, and being more mindful of how parent behavior sets an example for children.

NCLB Not So Negative for Teachers, Study Says
Education Week, June 10, 2014
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 has not necessarily been the teacher's pet of education policies. If you follow education news, you've probably heard something about educators' dissatisfaction with the latest incarnation of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

English-Speaking Abilities of Immigrants: A Snapshot From the U.S. Census Bureau
Education Week, June 10, 2014
Forty-four percent of recent immigrants—those who have arrived in the United States since 2000—said that they speak English "very well," while 13 percent said they speak no English at all, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau.

A Case Study in Lifting College Attendance
New York Times, June 10, 2014
Sydney Nye was a straight-A student with an SAT score high enough to apply to any college in the country. When her senior year of high school in Wilmington, Del., started about nine months ago, she had dreams of becoming a chemical engineer.

State leads way nationally in universal pre-K
WV Metro News, June 9, 2014
According to the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), the Mountain State is ranked #6 nationally for pre-kindergarten enrollments among four-year-olds and #8 nationally for enrollments among three-year-olds.

Proposed fund would give parents school cash
The News Journal, June 9, 2014
Called the "Parent Empowerment Education Savings Account Act," HB 353 would allow parents to place a percentage of the per-student funding that goes to a public school into accounts with the state treasurer's office. They could then spend the money from those accounts on whatever educational purposes they choose, as long as they do not enroll their student in a public school.

American Schools - Back to 'Separate But Equal'?
Education Week, June 6, 2014
The Supreme Court ruled in Plessy vs. Ferguson in 1896 that separate schools for minority students were constitutional as long as they provided educational services that were equal to those provided majority students. In 1954, in one of the most important cases in the Court's history, it reversed Plessy, holding instead that American schools could not be equal as long as they are segregated. Now, however, the nation's schools are nearly as segregated as they were before Brown vs. Board of Education. But there is no hue and cry about this, no broad movement to reverse course. Quite the contrary. We have instead been busy accommodating ourselves to the idea that our schools will be segregated and have been trying to make the best of it.

Schools report Bring Your Own Device success
Powhatan Today, June 5, 2014
As the number of students with their own cell phones and other electronic devices grew over the past decade, teachers, administrators and Powhatan County School Board members worked hard on policies to keep handheld devices from being a distraction or a source of trouble.

Districts with more low-income families could have higher special education needs
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 5, 2014
Poverty and the need for special education often go hand-in-hand in more than a third of school districts in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Of the 117 school districts in southwestern Pennsylvania, 40 educated a higher-than-average population of both special education and low-income students during the 2012-13 school year, according to a Trib Total Media analysis of state Department of Education figures.

ELLs Test-Drive New English-Language Proficiency Assessments
Education Week, June 5, 2014
It's been a field-testing frenzy all spring with five separate assessment groups asking school districts and students to test drive the array of new exams they are designing to measure students' command of the common-core standards.

Bill lets state board restrict charter schools
The News Journal, June 4, 2014
A bill that received final approval in the General Assembly on Tuesday would allow the Delaware Board of Education to restrict geographic areas, grades and academic emphasis served by charter schools if it's determined they will affect surrounding districts.

Va. House GOP Warns of Cuts to Education Funding
NBC4, June 4, 2014
Virginia House Republicans said Wednesday that a budget stalemate could lead to $340 million in cuts to local school districts over the next two years and a freeze on construction projects at state universities.

Baltimore County teachers resigning in greater numbers
Baltimore Sun, June 4, 2014
After 22 years of teaching in Baltimore County, JoAnne Field says she will be leaving her third-grade classroom this year. She loves the children, has a principal she believes is "wonderful and supportive" and is committed to public education.

Digital Harbor unlikely school for racial tensions, educators say
Baltimore Sun, June 4, 2014
It was just a moment of poor teenage judgment: One student threw a marker across a classroom at Digital Harbor High, sparking an argument between a Latino student and a black student. Since they couldn't fight in class, they agreed to meet after school on Federal Hill.

Prince George’s to discuss how to increase the number of fathers involved in education
Washington Post, June 4, 2014
Prince George’s school board member Curtis Valentine, a former middle school teacher, hosted a forum in February to discuss ways to increase the number of male teachers in the school district.

A Black Father's Search for a Diverse Preschool
Education Week, June 3, 2014
In just two years, I have visited almost two dozen preschool facilities—searching for the "right" fit for my daughters. While many of these facilities have cleverly constructed brochures, websites, and marketing materials that celebrate racial and ethnic diversity, the reality I found is that many are not really racially and ethnically diverse, in terms of students, faculty, or staff.

Philadelphia Tragedy Highlights Role of School Nurses
Education Week, June 2, 2014
The death last month of a Philadelphia elementary student who fell ill at a school that did not have a full-time nurse on duty has reignited debate in the city and nationwide over the importance of school nurses and the reasons why they are among the first to go when money becomes scarce.

Graduation Gaps: Disparities in H.S. Completion
Education Week, June 2, 2014
The Education Week Research Center calculated the number of graduates and nongraduates for the class of 2012 by multiplying the 2011-12 graduation rate by the estimated size of the entering freshman class four years earlier. Nationally, about 760,000 of the 3.8 million students who started high school in 2008 failed to earn diplomas. (See related graphic: Nongraduates, Class of 2012)

Immigrant parents less likely to read to their children: study
Reuters, June 2, 2014
Minority children often lag behind their peers in language development when they start preschool. According to a new study, some of that disparity in school readiness may be due to differences in the frequency of “book sharing” among families.

Virginia ranks 2nd in 6-year graduation rate
Stafford County Sun, June 2, 2014
About 70 percent of students who enrolled at public four-year colleges and universities in Virginia in fall 2007 received a degree within six academic years, putting the state second only to Delaware in its graduation rate, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia reported Friday.

Report On Suspensions And Expulsions In D.C. Reveals Disturbing Trends, Need For More Data
DCist, June 1, 2014
A report from the Office of the State Superintendent reveals that students who are black, male, in foster care, homeless, or who have mental health needs are disproportionately suspended or expelled from D.C. schools.

Studies of STEM-Focused Schools Yield Mixed Results
Education Week, June 1, 2014
In an article published online in March by the peer-refereed Journal of Educational Research, Michael Hansen, a principal researcher at the American Institutes for Research, found that students in STEM schools in North Carolina were significantly more likely to take core, advanced, and vocational-technical STEM courses than were their peers in other types of schools. However, in Florida, STEM students participated in vocational-technical STEM courses at higher rates but were about as likely as students at other types of schools to take core and advanced STEM courses.

D.C. classrooms welcome babies in effort to teach empathy
Washington Post, June 1, 2014
The program, called Roots of Empathy, was conceived nearly two decades ago in Toronto and has since become common across Canada. Now it has been imported to the United States, amid growing concern about classroom bullying and growing conviction that teaching certain character traits — such as persistence, self-control and self-confidence — is just as crucial for students’ futures as teaching academics.

A year later, bluer skies for Fairfax County schools
District Administration, June 1, 2014
When Superintendent Karen Garza started her job at Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia last July, she had barely unpacked when she found a perfect storm of budget planning: increased enrollment, deferred retirement system contributions and a major uptick in students needing ESOL services.

Community engagement is a euphemism for “how to deal with black folk”
The Hechinger Report, May 29, 2014
Local community groups, alumni associations, teachers unions, parents and non-profits may be part of the problem, but they are the undeniable part of the solution. Turnaround districts should incubate local talent to apply successfully for charter schools. In most cases, the benefits of changing the name of a school don’t outweigh the ill will. Districts can recruit teachers from a diverse pallet of prep programs. If building a positive school culture contributes to the disproportionate expulsion and suspension rates of black and brown children, use another strategy. Ensuring that parents and neighbors are represented on charter school boards heightens trust. Demand that diversity be a key performance indicator for faculty and staff hires. Work with local civil rights organizations to help conceptualize a community relations strategy. There are too many different ways to facilitate authentic community engagement.

Few At-Risk Students Are Able to Turn Around Academically, ACT Report Finds
Education Week, May 29, 2014
The report, "Catching Up to College and Career Readiness: The Challenge is Greater for At-Risk Students," showed that despite early detection of academic struggles, students seldom were able to close the gap as they progressed through school. Two previous reports by ACT in this series found that strong preschool and elementary programs contribute to student success in later years, yet students in the general population who were behind in 4th and 8th grade struggled to improve much by middle and high school.

School Spending Increases Linked to Better Outcomes for Poor Students
Education Week, May 29, 2014
In districts that substantially increased their spending as the result of court-ordered changes in school finance, low-income children were significantly more likely to graduate from high school, earn livable wages, and avoid poverty in adulthood.

Pa. bill would end plans for mandatory graduation tests
Philadelphia Inquirer, May 29, 2014
A bill that would eliminate a key component of the state's Common Core curriculum - passing proficiency tests to graduate from high school - was introduced Wednesday by Sen. Andrew Dinniman (D., Chester), his third attempt to send the tests to the back of the class.

Project arms students to handle social pressures
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 28, 2014
The "truth booth" was one strategy in a week-long, student-designed project highlighting the dangers of stigmatizing mental illness among teens. Seven Allegheny County schools participated in the campaign, termed Stand Together and overseen by the nonprofit Pittsburgh Cares. Five schools presented their work Tuesday at the Heinz History Center.

Analysis Offers Insights Into Tapping Parent Power to Increase Achievement
Education Week, May 28, 2014
Built into the body of No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 is an assumption that increasing parental involvement will improve student achievement. For instance, when schools consistently fall short of making what the law calls "Adequate Yearly Progress" (AYP) toward improving their test scores, they may be required to take steps like hiring a parent-involvement coordinator.

D.C. Tops Charts For Pre-K Enrollment
WAMU, May 27, 2014
When D.C. is compared to states, it has the highest percentage of 4-year-olds enrolled in pre-K programs as well as the highest spending per child.

Toledo Public School programs hope to reduce ‘summer slide’
The Blade, May 27, 2014
During the last two years, TPS has built a piecemeal summer-school system, opening its doors to community agencies that offered academic enrichment, summer activities, and food. Each year, the system has grown, as the district has moved toward something that approaches a comprehensive summer program. Read more at

Raleigh County learns in first year with iPads
WV MetroNews, May 26, 2014
The school year is wrapping up in Raleigh County where students spent the first year replacing textbooks with iPads. Raleigh County is the first county to extensively start offering textbooks in the digital format.

Cyberbullying becoming a bigger problem in low income areas according to MSU study
M Live, May 21, 2014
Cyberbullying, which has come to the forefront as a major issue the last decade, is more than just a middle class issue isn't just a problem in upper and middle class America according to new research by a Michigan State University criminologist.

Education Alliance's EDTalks focuses on innovation and big ideas
The State Journal, May 21, 2014
During the launch of The Education Alliance’s EDTalks: Connecting Education, Jobs and Our Future speaker series May 20 at the Morgantown Event Center, innovative discussion and big ideas on strengthening public education was the focus.

For Schools, Long Road to a Level Playing Field
New York Times, May 20, 2014
In the American national mythology, there are few more revered ideas than the belief in education’s power to provide every child a shot at success and to overcome entrenched inequality.

Then and now, Pa. schools struggle with funding
The Notebook, May 20, 2014
A crowd of some 100 parents, teachers, principals, and education activists braved a brutal rainstorm on April 30 to wage what amounted to a two-hour attack on the School Reform Commission, which was considering the proposed bare-bones budget for the next school year.

West Virginia Board of Education approves A to F grading system requested by governor, May 16, 2014
The West Virginia Board of Education has approved a new policy for accrediting the state's public schools. The policy establishes a straightforward A to F grading system just like the one parents are accustomed to seeing on their kids' report cards.

Integration: New Concepts for a New Era
Education Week, May 13, 2014
In 2007, in a ruling that would resonate nationwide, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected voluntary school desegregation plans for Louisville, Ky., and Seattle. Since then, the conventional interpretation of the decision in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District has been that the court prohibited school boards from pursuing integrated schools. I disagree. Indeed, I think this view is dangerous because it discourages schools from seeking integration, something I believe they can do legally, and should.

Hispanics Are Forgotten in Civil Rights History
Education Week, May 13, 2014
Whenever civil rights has been covered in history class, or when I've seen a documentary or read an article concerning such, I have always been very aware of what is missing, and it is something that I am interested in and looking for. As an American of Hispanic descent, I never see any information related to my ethnicity's cause for civil rights. Where is the plight of Hispanics represented in the civil rights discussion and history of the United States?

Data: Race and Ethnicity in U.S. Schools Today
Education Week, May 13, 2014
The U.S. Department of Education’s 2010 report “Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups” paints a detailed picture of where American children live, the conditions they find in their public schools, and their home lives. Based on data from the 2007-08 school year, the study offers widely divergent snapshots of the life experiences of children.

Fairfax considers changes to school discipline policies
Washington Post, May 13, 2014
Students facing disciplinary action in Fairfax County schools could receive lighter punishments and shorter suspensions next year if the school board approves newly proposed discipline procedures.

Losing the script: Montgomery clears way to change how sexual orientation is taught
Washington Post, May 13, 2014
Montgomery’s school board gave the go-ahead Tuesday to an update of lessons on sexual orientation, clearing the way for a plan to introduce the topic a year earlier in middle school and put an end to tightly scripted methods of teaching.

D.C.’s No Child waiver highlights debate over city’s plan for struggling schools
Washington Post, May 11, 2014
The District won relief two years ago from the most burdensome provisions of No Child Left Behind, the federal education law that requires all students to be proficient in math and reading by 2014.

Secretary Duncan and Attorney General Holder Issue Guidance for School Districts to Ensure Equal Access for All Children to Public Schools, Regardless of Immigration Status, May 8, 2014
Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric Holder today announced updated guidance to assist public elementary and secondary schools to ensure enrollment processes are consistent with the law and fulfill their obligation to provide all children—no matter their background—equal access to an education.

What Relationships Mean in Educating Boys
Education Week, May 6, 2014
Pundits ranging from academic demographers to New York Times columnists have weighed in recently on the declining prospects for males in the developed world—a situation the journalist Hanna Rosin suggested in an article and 2012 book might herald an "End of Men."

Heading off the ‘senior slump’: Maryland schools officials to require fourth year of math
Washington Post, May 2, 2014
Starting with the Class of 2015, 12th-grade math is required for seniors who are seeking admission to Maryland’s system of public universities. Separately, all students in Maryland will soon be required to take math every year of high school in order to graduate, a change that will start with next fall’s ninth-graders.

Truancy, absenteeism a chronic problem in D.C. schools
Washington Post, April 26, 2014
Last school year, about 15,000 D.C. Public Schools students — 32 percent of all students in pre-kindergarten through high school — missed more than 10 days of classes without a valid excuse, according to school system data released in January. Nine thousand of those students missed more than 20 days without an excuse.

Parents outraged at new curriculum standards
The Daily Athenaeum, April 16, 2014
Recently, parents across the country have been reaching out to their local Board of Education to express distaste for the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

Kids Count pushes for big payoff
MetroNews, April 16, 2014
A new survey shows most young children in West Virginia who receive child care don’t get it from licensed child care centers.

Report: 90% of W.Va. kids lack early educational opportunities
Charleston Gazette, April 16, 2014
More than nine out of 10 West Virginia children aren't receiving the early childhood education that would help them excel later in life, according to a report released by one of the state's largest child-advocacy organizations.

Del. officials eye science, technology and math
Education Week, April 15, 2014
State officials are joining with the Dow chemical company and Junior Achievement to strengthen science, technology, engineering and math instruction in Delaware's middle schools.

Companies sign on to career training push
The News Journal, April 14, 2014
A planned hub for Delaware students to prepare and get experience for their careers before graduating high school has gotten a boost from 10 companies that have signed on to provide money and opportunities.

Department of Education Releases New Parent and Community Engagement Framework
U.S. Department of Education, April 12, 2014
An example of how the elements of the framework can lead to improved engagement is exhibited in my hometown of Baltimore. Baltimore City Public Schools worked to support 12,000 pre-kindergarten and kindergarten homes, and to engage families in home-based literacy practices. Each week students received a different bag filled with award-winning children’s books, exposing children, on average, to more than 100 books per year. The book rotation also includes parent training and information on how to share books effectively to promote children’s early literacy skills and nurture a love of learning. Through the program, families are also connected with their local public and school libraries. At the culmination of the program, children receive a permanent bag to keep and continue the practice of borrowing books and building a lifelong habit of reading.

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.

W.Va. administrators debate summer practice rule
Education Week, April 11, 2014
Some high school administrators are opposed to a proposed athletics rule that would expand voluntary summer practices in West Virginia.


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