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

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

1. Maryland behind 11 states, tied with five others on graduation rates

November 27, 2012 | Holly Nunn, The Gazette

While many officials hail Maryland schools as No. 1 in the nation, new data show that the state is behind 11 others in the percentage of students that graduate.

The U.S. Department of Education released statistics Monday ranking states by high school graduation rates, reflecting new data reported consistently nationwide.

Read more here

2. City schools unveil 10-year renovation plan

November 27, 2012 | Erica L. Green, The Baltimore Sun

In the next 10 years, Baltimore's school system will have a leaner, modernized look under a proposed $2.4 billion facilities plan that calls for closing 26 school buildings and upgrading 136 others in a large-scale face-lift of Maryland's oldest school infrastructure.

The plan, announced by CEO Andrés Alonso on Tuesday, would orchestrate the relocation of some schools to different buildings; others would cease to exist.

Read more here

3. A Maryland dream that needs to become a national dream

November 27, 2012 | DeRionne P. Pollard, Ph.D., The Huffington Post

Maryland voters made history on November 6 by resoundingly voting in support of the Maryland Dream Act, which ensures that all of our young people have the opportunity to pursue affordable higher education. It's time for the rest of our country to follow suit.

As the Washington Post reports, this is the first time a state has approved a version of the Dream Act through the popular vote. About a dozen other states have laws or policies supporting principles of the Dream Act.

Read more here

4. Baltimore schools among finalists for Race to the Top

November 26, 2012 | ABC2News


Today, the U.S. Department of Education announced that Baltimore City Public Schools and the Baltimore County Board of Education in Maryland are among 61 applications selected as a finalist for the Race to the Top-District (RTT-D) competition.

The 2012 RTT-D program will provide close to $400 million to support locally developed plans to personalize learning and deepen student learning, directly improve student achievement and educator effectiveness, close achievement gaps, and prepare every student for success in college and careers.

Read more here

5. A post-election agenda for Maryland schools

November 26, 2012 | Jason Botel and Mitchell Whiteman, The Baltimore Sun

When Marylanders cast their ballots on Election Day, they said "yes, you can" to same-sex couples who want to get married, to young people whose families immigrated here illegally and who hope to receive in-state tuition, and to casino operators who want to expand their operations here. Now, as we move forward from this election, it's time to say "yes, you can" to another group of Marylanders who are no less deserving of affirmation: public school students from underserved communities.

Maryland is the top-ranked state in the nation when it comes to public education, according to an analysis by Education Week; that is something to be proud of. But when you look at the stark achievement gap between students from high- and low-income families, we're near the bottom. That must be fixed.

Read more here

6. Four college graduates will serve on new Prince George’s school board

November 26, 2012 | Ovetta Wiggins, The Washington Post

Four members of the Prince George’s County Board of Education will have bachelor’s degrees when the incoming board takes office next year, twice the number of current members who have a college degree.

Just two college graduates serve on the nine-member board of the 123,000-student system; one of the seats is vacant.

Read more here

7. Charter school renewals, contract schools debated

November 26, 2012 | Erica L. Green, The Baltimore Sun

Today, The Sun published a story about a slew of Baltimore city charter schools are up for renewal this school year, and all agree that it was fine time for the popular schools to have a uniformed, reliable and rigorous evaluation process that will improve their trajectory in the district. You can read more about that renewal process, here.

The story also caught up on some challenges that charters have faced in the district's ever-changing reform climate, and their plans as they look to the next decade (they are marking 10 years since charter.

Read more here

8. New graduation rate data show large achievement gaps

November 26, 2012 | Michele McNeil, Education Week

The U.S. Department of Education today released four-year high school graduation rates for the 2010-11 school year that, for the first time, reflect a common method of calculation for all states.

The state-by-state data show graduation rates that range from 59 percent in the District of Columbia to 88 percent in Iowa. The new method requires states to track individual students and report how many first-time 9th graders graduate with a standard diploma within four years.

Read more here

9. Baltimore charters looking to the next decade

November 25, 2012 | Erica L. Green, The Baltimore Sun

Eighteen charter schools seeking contract renewals to continue operating in Baltimore are undergoing a rigorous review process that will uniformly evaluate them for the first time since they began populating the district 10 years ago.

The majority of the city's charter schools, which are autonomous but receive funding from the school system, were opened under schools CEO Andrés Alonso, who had called them "engines for reform." Their populations have ballooned to encompass nearly 13 percent of city students, and their presence has helped raise Baltimore's profile as a district of school choice.

Read more here

10. Prince George's County school board begins search for new superintendent amid leadership void

November 23, 2012 | Associated Press, The Republic

The Prince George's County school board is beginning its search for a new superintendent as the school system contends with a void in leadership following Superintendent William Hite's departure.

A consulting company hired to identify and screen candidates has met with community stakeholders to discuss the type of superintendent they want.

Read more here

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