MarylandCAN News Roundup: Top 10 Education News Stories of the Week

Top 10 News Stories of the week from MarylandCAN


1. Maryland ranks 10th in child well-being, national study says

July 25, 2012 | Yvonne Wenger, The Baltimore Sun

Fewer Maryland children are living in high-poverty neighborhoods than a decade ago, but the lingering economic slump has left more parents without a steady paycheck, the Annie E. Casey Foundation reported Wednesday.

The Baltimore-based charity ranks Maryland 10th in the nation for overall child well-being in its 2012 Kids Count Data Book, which analyzed nationwide research and statistics on children's economic well-being, education, health, family and community.

Read more here

2. Obama announces new education program focused on African Americans

July 25, 2012 | Kristen Welker, NBC News

The official added that the initiative would be housed in the Education Department, which will work with the Executive Office and other Cabinet agencies to identify practices that will improve African Americans’ achievement in schools and colleges. The administration official did not yet know how much funding the program would receive but said more information would be released Thursday when the president signs the executive order.

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3. As growth continues, more Harford elementary MSA scores beat state, regional averages

July 25, 2012 | Allan Vought, ExploreHarford.com

Harford County elementary school students beat the state average in all six levels of Maryland Scholastic Assessment testing in the 2012 school year.

More local schools averaged 95 percent or above advanced or proficient in third, fourth and fifth grade reading and math than averaged below 80 percent in those categories, and many schools posted 90-plus averages in all six categories.

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4. Is school too easy-peasy?

July 23, 2012 | Editorial Board, The Baltimore Sun

There is a common belief, particularly in the nation's more affluent neighborhoods, that teenagers are swamped with homework and school-related commitments. Some would have you believe that U.S. students are working around the clock and at great risk to their health and well-being to deal with the daunting academic load.

But while that may be true for some, just how widespread is this phenomenon? According to a recent report, just the opposite is going on.

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5. Md. schools move toward banning zero-tolerance policies

July 25, 2012 | Gigi Barnett, CBS News


After a two-year study, state school leaders are one step closer in banning zero-tolerance discipline policies in all Maryland schools. Gigi Barnett has the latest on the move to keep students in class.

Last year, 15-year-old Nick Stuban committed suicide. It happened shortly after he was suspended from WT Woodson High School in Fairfax. Nick purchased a legal pill on campus and school leaders sent him home. His parents blamed the suspension for Nick’s death and the suicide caused a national outcry for schools to rethink their zero tolerance policies.

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6. Barstow educator gets closer look at new state, federal evaluation system

July 25, 2012 | Laura Dukes, Southern Maryland News


A Barstow Elementary School educator is receiving an extended chance to get a nationwide perspective.

Barstow speech language pathologist Lisa Mills recently was given an extension in her role as a Hope Street Group National Teacher Fellow.

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7. Western Md. teachers prep at Hagerstown workshop for Race to the Top

July 24, 2012 | Associated Press, The Washington Post

About 400 western Maryland public school teachers are gathering in Hagerstown for a three-day meeting aimed at helping poor students do better.

The so-called Educator Effectiveness Academy opens Tuesday. It is among 10 such workshops scheduled across the state as part of the federal Race to the Top competition.

The workshops are funded by federal grants to school districts where at least 40 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. The educators are creating plans targeting specific student groups with the aim of closing the achievement gap.

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8. Maryland education board gives preliminary approval to student-discipline reforms

July 24, 2012 | Donna St. George, The Washington Post


The State Board of Education overwhelmingly approved regulations Tuesday intended to cut back on suspensions, keep students in class and create a less-punitive culture in public schools.

The changes place Maryland among states and school systems at the forefront of a national movement to rethink how students in trouble are punished and whether too many are suspended and expelled for offenses that could be handled in other ways.

Read more here

9. Baltimore school test results hit three-year lull

July 22, 2012 | Liz Bowie and Erica L. Green, The Baltimore Sun


For a decade, the news from the city schools was good. Buildings might be dilapidated, deficits might bring schools to the brink of bankruptcy, and superintendents might be fired, but every summer, educators released test results standing next to charts that showed steady improvement. Baltimore was no longer the worst school system in the state.

But for the past three years, progress — as measured by test scores — has virtually stalled.

Critics of CEO Andrés Alonso say the lack of continued improvement shows that he has failed to make the nuts and bolts of teaching his focus. Another problem, they say, is the constant change within the school system — including high principal turnover — that has marked his tenure.

Read more here

10. Summer learning loss: What’s true and false

July 20, 2012 | Alfie Kohn, The Washington Post

The idea of summer learning loss — the implication being that it’s risky to give kids a three-month vacation from school because they’ll forget everything they were taught — has become the media’s favorite seasonally specific education topic. And that’s not just because they’re desperate for something to write about when school’s out. It’s a story we’re all predisposed to embrace because we’re already nervous about time off for children. It’s widely accepted, for example, that kids need to be doing some homework every night during the school year lest they find themselves gravitating to insufficiently constructive activities.

Read more here

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