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

MarylandCAN's top 10 education news stories of the week.

1. OP-ED| Dream Act: Best policy for Maryland

October 31, 2012 | Curtis Valentine and Gustavo Torres, The Washington Post

On Nov. 6, Marylanders will go to the polls to cast their vote in perhaps the most important election of our generation. Though many of us have come to believe that the state of America’s economy and immigration and public education systems hinges on our president, there are local issues that will have just as much impact.

Passage of the Maryland Dream Act, which is Question 4 on the ballot, would give undocumented immigrant students the right to pay in-state tuition at a community college once they’ve completed three years of high school in Maryland.

Read more here

2. New poll: Too little spending on schools, not enough taxes from high earners

November 1, 2012 | Sam Smith, MarylandReporter.com

Almost two-thirds of Maryland residents (65 percent) feel Maryland spends “too little” on public schools despite a rising trend in state and local government education spending, a new Goucher College poll found.

The poll also found that  60 percent of Maryland residents feel that high-income earners don’t pay enough taxes, despite a state income tax increase in May that forces over 300,000 Marylanders earning six figures to pay a higher tax rate.

Read more here

3. Officials have new way to track Md. high school graduation rate

October 31, 2012 | Gigi Barnett, CBS Baltimore

State school leaders have a new way to track Maryland’s graduation rate among high schoolers.

Gigi Barnett explains new numbers released this week show the number of students receiving diplomas is up.

From the first day of ninth grade until graduation day, school leaders are tracking students. It’s called The Cohort and is a new way to accurately track which students get a diploma and which ones don’t.

Read more here

4. Prince George’s voters have chance to set a new course for school system

October 31, 2012 | Ovetta Wiggins, The Washington Post

While the referendum on expanded gambling has dominated the political scene in Prince George’s County, another critical decision is looming for voters: choosing who should serve on the county Board of Education.

Nine candidates are vying to fill five seats on the nine-member board in Maryland’s second-largest school system.

The nonpartisan election of a majority of the board represents an opportunity for voters to set a new course for the 123,000-student system, which has experienced upheaval in recent months with the departure of its school superintendent and other key administrators.


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5. County ready after state OKs Braille curriculum

October 31, 2012 | Gretchen Phillips, Southern Maryland News

The Maryland State Board of Education approved implementation of the Maryland Common Core State Curriculum Frameworks for Braille: Mathematics and the Maryland Common Core State Curriculum Frameworks for Braille: English/Language Arts, according to a MSDE newsrelease.

Charles County Public Schools currently have 40 sight-impaired students, three of whom are considered legally blind. School spokeswoman Katie O’Malley-Simpson said the students have access to Braille and the system is equipped to accommodate the sight-impaired students in its schools.

Read more here

6. More Maryland students pass High School Assessments

October 31, 2012 | Erica L. Green and Julie Scharper, The Baltimore Sun

Maryland students earned diplomas last year at the highest rate in recent history, according to data released Wednesday by the state Department of Education, which also unveiled a new system of tracking graduates and dropouts.

Under the new "cohort" system, which follows students from ninth grade until they graduate, 83 percent of those who started high school in 2007-2008 graduated in 2011, up from 82 percent in 2010. Those who completed high school in five years also rose, from 85 percent to 86 percent.

Read more here

7. How housing narrows the achievement gap

October 29, 2012 | Mercedes White, Deseret News

It's hardly news that an achievement gap exists between children from high-income and low-income families in the United States. Although policymakers, politicians and educators work tirelessly to decrease these differentials, new evidence suggests the gap is actually growing.

In a 2011 study, Sean Reardon, professor of education at Stanford University, found that "the achievement gap between children from high- and low‐income families is roughly 30‐40 percent larger among children born in 2001 than among those born twenty‐five years earlier."

Read more here

8. Hurricane Sandy: Race to Top district contest deadline extended

October 29, 2012 | Michele McNeil, Education Week

With Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the East Coast and threatening a large swath of the nation's population—and schools—the U.S. Department of Education has announced an extension of the application deadline for the Race to the Top district competition.

Applications originally were due Oct. 30 for the $400 million contest, the latest iteration of the Obama administration's education-improvement brand. This is the first time the administration opens the contest to districts, which are being asked to pitch proposals on how to bring more-personalized learning to the classrooms.

Read more here

9. Wheaton H.S. to model project-based learning for Montgomery County schools

October 28, 2012 | Lynh Bui, The Washington Post

The Wheaton High School classrooms buzzed. Teams of biomedical students searched for documents on the Internet to learn the causes of myopia. Groups huddled in civil engineering class, crafting model homes with wooden dowels, cardboard and hot glue. Aerospace engineering students sailed cars down a hallway, powering the vehicles with plastic bags and a box fan.

Instead of quiet classrooms with teachers lecturing rows of students, at Wheaton the students ran the show and the teachers stood aside.

Read more here

10. Frederick school board rejects outdoor charter school

October 26, 2012 | Margarita Raycheva, The Gazette

Frederick County will not be getting a new outdoor charter school — at least for now.

Disappointed that the Frederick County Board of Education voted on Oct. 24 to reject the proposal, advocates for the Frederick Outdoor Discovery Charter School said they needed time to regroup and plan their next move.

The group can either appeal the rejection to the Maryland Board of Education or revise the proposal and reapply for a third time next year.

Read more here

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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