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

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

1. Obama, Romney have different views on education

October 17, 2012 | Greg Toppo, USA Today

Glance at the two presidential candidates' education plans and you may not immediately see much of a difference. Both want greater scrutiny of teacher effectiveness. Both champion privately run, but publicly funded K-12 charter schools as well as higher academic standards. Both want more high school and college graduates and a more competitive workforce.

But scratch beneath the surface and a few key differences emerge. President Obama has given states freedom from the sanctions of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) education law, while his challenger, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney says he supports the Bush-era law and wants to reinvigorate it.

Read more here

2. Prince George’s school board candidates debate benefits of age, perspective

October 17, 2012 | Daniel J. Gross, The Gazette

Prince George’s County District 1 school board candidates are sparring over experience and community ties as their campaigns prepare for the Nov. 6 election.

Zabrina Epps, 41, of Laurel, and David Murray, 20, of Bowie, are both seeking the District 1 seat that school board member Rosalind Johnson resigned from after her six-year tenure. District 1 encompasses South Laurel, Beltsville, northern Bowie, Lanham and Adelphi, all in northernmost Prince George’s.

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3. States punch reset button with NCLB waivers

October 17, 2012 | Michele McNeil, Education Week

Given the flexibility to revise their academic goals under the No Child Left Behind Act, a vast majority of the states that received federal waivers are setting different expectations for different subgroups of students, an Education Week analysis shows. That marks a dramatic shift in policy and philosophy from the original law.

The waivers issued by the U.S. Department of Education let states abandon the goal of 100 percent proficiency in reading and mathematics for all students and instead hold schools accountable for passing rates that vary by subgroup—as long as those schools make significant gains in closing gaps in achievement.

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4. Garrett BOE receives charter school application

October 16, 2012 | Elaine Blaisdell, Cumberland Times-News

The Kitzmiller Charter School Initiative Inc. Board of Directors recently submitted an application to the Garrett County Board of Education for Riverside Academy, a public charter school, to be located at the former Kitzmiller Elementary School building.

The application for Riverside Academy outlines plans for a school “where students and community thrive.”

“Riverside Academy will be an innovative place-based learning community that values its small town roots while building the foundational capacity in students to be global learners and leaders,” states the application.

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5. City school board elects new vice chairman

October 15, 2012 | Erica L. Green, The Baltimore Sun


The Baltimore city school recently elected David Stone, who once headed up the city's charter school office and is serving his second term as a commissioner, second-in-command of the district last week.

He takes over for longtime board member, Jerrelle Francois, as vice chair of the board.

“As a city resident, a former employee and, most of all, as a parent of three Baltimore City Schools’ students, my commitment to the system is strong," Stone said of his appointment.

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6. PGCPS officials say language, community involvement key in student success

October 15, 2012 | Jenni Pompi, Bowie Patch

What does the future hold for public education in Prince George's County?

That's a question that sparks a lot of interest in Bowie.

Approximately 100 parents, educators and community members gathered at the Kenhill Community Center last week for a forum hosted by the city of Bowie on the future of Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS).

Read more here

7. Opinion: Maryland still hopes for a Dream Act

October 15, 2012 | Raul A. Reyes, NBC Latino

In Maryland, the “dream” is alive.  In November, residents will vote on the Maryland Dream Act, which would allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities.  Although the state legislature approved the measure last year, opponents gathered enough signatures to put it before voters.  Now it looks like the Maryland Dream Act will pass – because the public recognizes its economic, social, and practical benefits.

Twelve states currently allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates, provided they meet certain conditions.  In Maryland, students must have spent three years in a state high school and their parents must have paid taxes for at least three years.  If the Maryland Dream Act is approved, more states may consider similar legislation.  So let’s review the Act’s impact, for it could serve as a national model.

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8. Government assessment requirement back for incoming high school students

October 14, 2012 | Alisha George, Carroll County Times


Students entering high school next year will once again have to pass a high school assessment test in government in order to graduate or obtain a combined score of 1602 on the four assessments, along with several other changes listed in the Carroll County Public Schools program of studies for the 2013-14 school year.

The Government High School Assessment will be administered again this year after a one-year hiatus from Maryland schools. It will be a graduation requirement for ninth-graders that enter high school next school year.

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9. Officials consider creating parent academy in Prince George’s County

October 13, 2012 | Ovetta Wiggins, The Washington Post


Searching for a way to encourage parental involvement in education in Prince George’s County, elected officials said Saturday that they would like to create a county-wide family academy that would offer workshops that provide parenting tips, information about child development and student achievement and tools for navigating the school system.

Prince George’s Council member Derrick L. Davis (D-Mitchellville), who hosted a forum at Ernest Just Middle School in Mitchellville, said parents have to become more involved for the school system, which has made modest strides in state test scores in recent years, to move forward.

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10. New lessons, tests coming to schools

October 12, 2012 | Jessie Yeatman, Southern Maryland News

New education reform efforts will change what is taught, what is tested and how teachers are evaluated.

Those changes will all stem from the federal Race to the Top initiative, which has trickled down to the board of education and school employees in St. Mary's County. School staff at a meeting Wednesday updated the board on some of those changes.

The Common Core Curriculum, which aims to align lessons from state to state, will be fully in place across all grades in St. Mary's public schools by next school year. Most grades and subjects have already begun to replace the current state curriculum with the new lessons.

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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