Education news from across the region

On Friday, we briefly noted that Prince George’s County Interim School Superintendent Alvin L. Crawley announced his resignation, which will end his tenure about a month before his contract was scheduled to expire. The reasons for his departure are unclear, but the Board of Education alluded to “the passage of the recent legislation changing the governance structure of our school system.”

As County Executive Rushern Baker searches for a permanent replacement for Crawley – the position’s new title will be chief executive officer – the Post looks at school performance in Prince George’s County. Despite measurable gains in the last five years, the county still lags behind state and regional averages. Demographics might have a lot to do with it (WaPo, 4/29):

Even though Prince George’s is one of the most affluent majority-black jurisdictions in the country, many middle-class families send their children to private schools. Of the 200 schools in the county, 135 contain a student population where 50 percent or more are eligible for free or reduced-price meals, a measure of poverty.

– Big changes to summer school for elementary- and middle-schoolers in the District. Starting this year, summer school will be by invitation only. Changes to the program are designed to help students who are most likely to benefit from it, but students who are too far behind are being cut loose. (WaPo, 4/29)

So, we’re left with academic Darwinism. In the meantime, it’s not hard to imagine what will happen to the children who need the most help.

Related for WRAG Members: Join us this Thursday for a briefing on D.C.’s summer youth programming. [More info.]

– On the other hand, D.C. tops nation in preschool spending, though spending in Maryland and Virginia is declining. (Examiner/WaPo, 4/29)

– And finally, Kaya Henderson, chancellor of D.C. Public Schools, wrote an op-ed for the Post that makes a really great point about the media. She says that the school system is making big gains, but you might not realize it with the media only focusing on drama (WaPo, 4/29):

These investments do not generate headlines. They do not create controversy. They do not fit neatly into the box of what others think of as school reform. But they will result in student achievement and in more families choosing DCPS.

REGION | If you’ve ever wondered how our region ranks against others for economic performance, well then today is your lucky day! The answer is fifth, according to the Milken Institute’s index of best performing cities – and we’ve shot up from a puny 17th place in last year’s ranking. (Atlantic, 4/29) Very nice. High five!

– We’re also the ninth most ozone-polluted region in the country. (WAMU, 4/28)

GRANTMAKING | In 2010, WRAG convened members for a Project Streamline workshop  on reducing the paperwork burden on grantees. A number of WRAG members subsequently went on to streamline their application and reporting processes. We recently checked in with CareFirst, which has substantially revised its grant reports. (Daily WRAG, 4/29)

Well that was a lot of education news for one day. Do you feel like you’ve learned something? Good! Because now you have to test your knowledge of famous literary titles. Can you pick out the mistakes here?

Apparently we’re in for a wet week. Here are two songs that come to mind – Sugar Magnolia, in which blossoms bloom, and Africa, wherein the rains are blessed.