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

Top 10 education news stories of the week from MarylandCAN


1. Montgomery County SAT scores hint at causes of the achievement gap

October 2, 2012 | Kumar Singam, Examiner

The newsmedia has been rife with strories of historic lows in SAT scores. Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), the largest public school system in Maryland, has been quick to announce that the “Class of 2012 set an all-time record on the SAT and significantly outperformed their peers across the state and the nation on the college entrance exam.”

The news release insists that black and Hispanic students in MCPS continued to make gains on the SAT and outperform their peers in the state and the nation. The district has also touted the fact that The Schott Foundation for Public Education report cites MCPS as having the highest African American male graduation rate among the country’s large districts.

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2. Presidential candidates should debate education

October 2, 2012 | Carol Rasco, The Huffington Post

Believe it or not, it wasn't until the very last question of the very last debate when the 2008 presidential candidates were finally asked about education policy. At Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), we're urging the debate moderators to ask the question early and often.

Even though the lion's share of policy discourse is focused on other issues, a recent Rasmussen survey shows 61 percent of likely voters rate education as very important.

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3. Frederick County SAT scores decline following national trend

October 2, 2012 | Margarita Raycheva, The Gazette

While Frederick County students did better on their math SATs this year, their performance on the critical reading and writing portions of the test decreased slightly.

The average score for Frederick County students in math this year increased by four points, to 528, according to results released by the College Board on Sept. 24.

But the average score has declined by two points to 515 in critical reading and by three points to 501 in SAT writing, the results show.

While the number of test takers in Frederick County remained flat at 2,047, the average combined SAT score for the county has also gone down by one point to 1544.

However, county school officials said they are not concerned by the decline.

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4. Glen Burnie East: Marley earns high performing honors from state

October 2, 2012 | Susan Shillenn, Capital Gazette

Marley Elementary School, 715 Cooper Road, has been named a High Performing Reward School by the Maryland State Department of Education and was the only such school to be identified in Anne Arundel County.

High Performing Reward Schools are Title 1 schools that have met Annual Measurable Objectives, for all subgroups, on the Maryland School Assessments for two consecutive years.

These schools also must have a 10 percent or less achievement gap between students in subgroups and the rest of the student body.

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5. Closing the achievement gap: An Obama signature program?

October 1, 2012 | Harold A. McDougall, The Huffington Post


I posted earlier that President Obama needs to create a sense of agency and engagement among the American people as we face depressing economic and social times. A signature program to close our achievement gaps would be a good way to do that. I say gaps because there is more than one, though they are all related.

There is the academic gap between Asian and white youth on the one hand, and black and Latino youth on the other.

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6. Teachers, principals volunteer for evaluation pilot

October 1, 2012 | Sara Toth, The Baltimore Sun

New teacher and principal evaluation systems mandated by the state don't take effect until next year, but 129 Howard County teachers and 23 principals have volunteered to participate in a pilot evaluation: a test run that places more emphasis than ever on student achievement.

Several factors led to the pilot, Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Administration Linda Wise told the Board of Education recently. In 2010, the Maryland General Assembly passed the Education Reform Act, which "paved the way" to the state applying for, and receiving, Race to the Top grant funding, Wise said.

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7. JHU gets $7.4M grant to reform STEM education in Baltimore

October 2012 | Lisa De Nike, Gazette

Supported by a five-year $7.4 million National Science Foundation grant, experts at The Johns Hopkins University are partnering with teachers and administrators in Baltimore City Public Schools on a program to enhance teaching and learning in science, technology, engineering, and math in city elementary schools by making STEM a community affair.

The program, called STEM Achievement in Baltimore Elementary Schools—SABES for short—not only will benefit more than 1,600 students in grades three through five in nine city elementary schools but also could become a national model for science, technology, engineering, and math education.

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8. Maryland braces for mandatory federal spending cuts

September 28, 2012 | Gus G. Sentementes, The Baltimore Sun


Looming federal budget cuts the nation faces in January could strike a body blow to Maryland's economy, taking $2.5 billion in personal income out of residents' pockets and crimping social programs in health and human services, education, and workforce development, according to a recent state report and interviews with regional economists.

In a memo to Gov. Martin O'Malley last week, the state Department of Budget and Management wrote that the cuts would reduce federal grants to state and local governments by about $150 million; cut defense and civilian jobs in Maryland by at least 12,600; and ultimately decrease annual tax revenues to the state by $200 million.

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9. Baltimore charters voice policy progress, funding concerns

September 28, 2012 | Erica L. Green, The Baltimore Sun


Representatives of the city's Coalition of Baltimore's Charter Schools presented to city school board members Tuesday, a range of issues they have raised in recent months about district policies and funding challenges that impact their ability to educate the districts 11,000 students—or 13 percent of the student population—they serve.

In a letter, charter leaders said that in recent weeks, they received answers and assurances regarding federal funding for professional development, the charter renewal process, and a lack of communication from district officials about the future of charter budgets—concerns raised since May.

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10. Maryland is 1st state with Common Core for braille

September 27, 2012 | Paul Katula, Voxitatis Blog

The Maryland State Board of Education this week 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. The Braille standards are available on the Web, here.

In response to House Bill 413 and Senate Bill 230, MSDE’s Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services established a Task Force in September 2010 comprised of stakeholders with representatives from the Maryland State Department of Education, the Maryland School for the Blind, local school systems, parents, and advocacy groups. The Task Force developed the Maryland Common Core State Curriculum Frameworks for Braille: Mathematics and the Maryland Common Core State Curriculum Frameworks for Braille: English/Language Arts. 

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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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