Category: education

Virginia education advocates praise measures to get rid of ‘School to Prison Pipeline’

By Brent Solomon | Posted: Mon 2:44 PM, Feb 24, 2020
Source

The General Assembly approved two new measures last week.

One will get rid of the option schools currently have to insist students are charged with disorderly conduct if they act up in school, which is a misdemeanor. The second measure will give school leaders more power to decide whether a student’s behavior really constitutes a need to get the police involved. Both proposals are now in the hands of the governor.

“In Virginia, they have actually called the police on children in elementary schools and have had them arrested for their behavior and discipline,” said Dr. Marla Crawford of Elite Educational Consulting.

She’s praising the actions of the General Assembly, which just passed Senate Bill 729 and Senate Bill 3. Both eliminate what some education advocates call the “school to jail pipeline.”

“If a child is in the school fighting, and it may be just a simple interaction among children, but they can be charged with assault…We need to look at the overhaul of how we’re educating youth in Virginia,” said Crawford.
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After 10 Years of Hopes and Setbacks, What Happened to the Common Core?

THE AMERICAN CURRICULUM

It was one of the most ambitious education efforts in United States history. Did it fail? Or does it just need more time to succeed?

By Dana Goldstein | December 6, 2019 | Source: The NY Times

The plan was hatched with high hopes and missionary zeal: For the first time in its history, the United States would come together to create consistent, rigorous education standards and stop letting so many school children fall behind academically.

More than 40 states signed on to the plan, known as the Common Core State Standards Initiative, after it was rolled out in 2010 by a bipartisan group of governors, education experts and philanthropists. The education secretary at the time, Arne Duncan, declared himself “ecstatic.”
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Improving reading scores is about a whole lot more than teaching kids to read

by Natalie Wexler
Trustee, The Omega Foundation

Why is it harder to raise reading scores than math scores for students from low-income families? And why do kids who seem to read well in elementary school then struggle with grade-level text in middle and high school?

For decades, most elementary schools have taught reading as a skill: children have practiced reading comprehension strategies like “finding the main idea” or “making inferences” on simple stories. The theory has been that it doesn’t matter what students are reading, as long as they’re reading something. And in many elementary schools, especially those serving low-income students, the curriculum has been narrowed to “the basics:” reading and math.

But reading comprehension is highly dependent on background knowledge – as Daniel Willingham, Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia, will explain at the second event in WRAG’s Public Education Speaker Series on June 2. If students don’t learn about history, science, and the arts in elementary school, they’ll be at a tremendous disadvantage in high school, when they encounter texts that assume a lot of knowledge and vocabulary they don’t have. That’s particularly true for low-income students, who are far less likely to acquire academic knowledge at home.

Willingham – an accessible and engaging speaker as well as the author of several popular books – was recently cited in a speech by Secretary of Education John B. King. “We know from decades of research from folks like Daniel Willingham at the University of Virginia that knowledge matters for reading success,” King said. “It is not about reading vs. science and social studies.”

Willingham’s talk will shed light on why the achievement gap between wealthy and low-income students hasn’t narrowed in decades (in fact, some say it’s wider than ever), why it widens during school years, and what it will take to begin to close it.


WRAG’s 2016 Public Education Speaker Series is generously supported by The Omega Foundation, with additional support from the Tiger Woods Foundation. The series touches on a variety of critical topics facing students today. Education funders should click here to learn more about the series and to registerPlease, note that these programs are open to grantmakers only.

Gray administration cuts $15 million nonprofit grant fund from 2015 budget

Earlier this week, Mayor Vincent Gray announced that he had cut the $15 million allotment to the City Fund, the fund first created in this year’s budget to support D.C. nonprofits, from his FY2015 budget. (WBJ, 5/12)

The City Fund is administered by the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region. We reached out to Terri Freeman, head of the Community Foundation, to comment on the change.

Said Terri,

“It’s clear from the overwhelming response we had for the first round of grants from the City Fund that there is a need for additional resources to support the work of nonprofits in the community.  With the spend-down of several local foundations over the next year or two we know the need will only increase.  The issue of continued funding for nonprofit organizations will only grow.

HOUSING
– The D.C. Housing Authority plans to tackle the more than 72, 000 names on their housing assistance waiting list.  After closing the list just over a year ago, the Housing Authority will devote the next 100 days to contacting families on the list to check for eligibility and interest (CP, 5/15):

People on the waiting list are asked to respond by mail, by phone, online, or at one of 12 public kiosks. Anyone who verifies his or her interest and eligibility will be listed as active; anyone who hasn’t after 100 days will be deemed inactive. People on the list who have been in contact with the Housing Authority in the past year, totaling more than 11,500 households, are automatically considered active. That leaves just more than 60,000 households to be verified.

“Our goal in reengineering is simple: to make the list easier to manage for the agency so that we may set realistic expectations for our clients as to how long it will take to get housed,” Housing Authority Executive Director Adrianne Todman said in a statement.

Opinion: Amid reports that D.C.’s homeless population has grown 13 percent from last year, how can the crisis truly be solved? (WaPo, 5/15)

EDUCATION │Working to eliminate the “school-to-prison pipeline,” a principal in D.C. has implemented some effective methods to serve students.  Will other schools in D.C. – and the region – take note? (DCist, 5/15)

– Sure, high school truancy is a prevalent issue that needs to be solved, but according to a recent study by DC Action for Children, 1 in 5 D.C. preschoolers had more than 10 unexcused absences last year. (GGE, 5/15)

FOOD │As Park Service Culls Deer in Washington, It Helps Charities Fill Bellies (NYT, 5/14)

TRANSIT │If funding permits it, Marylanders and Virginians may soon see improved commutes as MARC and VRE contemplate joining forces to extend service. (WBJ, 5/16)


I’ll be putting this app to the test today.
-Ciara

Funders meet with Dr. Joshua Starr, superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools

By Rebekah Seder, Program Coordinator

While Montgomery County has a reputation of being a homogeneous and wealthy jurisdiction, in reality the county is rapidly changing.  In the words of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Superintendent Dr. Joshua Starr, who recently spoke with members of the Public Education Working Group, “we are no longer the image people think we are.” The county is now marked by changing demographics, increasing poverty, and a student body growing by 3,000 students each year. To Dr. Starr, however, these issues are not challenges to be “dealt with,” but opportunities for Montgomery County to continue to lead the country in providing quality public education to all.

Dr. Starr, who started in his position this past July, outlined some of the areas he has been focusing on during his transition, including:

  • Curriculum 2.0: With funds from a federal Investing in Innovation (i3) grant, MCPS has launched a new curriculum that is focused on developing the “whole student,” by integrating core academics with arts, social sciences, and humanities. Based on internationally-driven standards, Curriculum 2.0 is being introduced in grades K-2, with the expectation that it will be integrated into additional grades over time, and as funding allows.
  • Professional development: In Dr. Starr’s words, variability in student performance is not always a “student learning problem, but an adult learning problem.” For this reason, providing ample opportunities for teachers to engage in effective professional development plays an integral role in creating a “21st century culture” of continuous learning and information sharing.
  • Issues of race and equity: Putting issues of race and equity on the table and dealing with them frankly is central to Dr. Starr’s efforts to improve the achievement levels of all students in the school system. Dr. Starr spoke about the achievement disparities between white, Hispanic, and African American students not as an “achievement gap,” but rather an “education debt” that has accrued over time due to structural barriers that have impacted achievement for decades. MCPS will take a comprehensive and integrated approach to improving the achievement of all students, by honing the processes by which schools intervene to provide supportive services to students and families, ensuring differentiated instruction to address the individual learning needs of each student, and partnering with community agencies to facilitate parental engagement.

Recognizing that MCPS is already one of the strongest school systems in the country, Dr. Starr is determined to build on MCPS’s solid foundation to continue strengthening schools, and avoid the risk of stagnation. There are many opportunities for local funders to help ensure MCPS’s continued improvement. At a big picture level, Dr. Starr emphasized his hope to partner with the philanthropic community to look deeply at what works in education reform and to serve as a thought partner on strategically aligning all aspects of the MCPS system to be as effective as possible.  Dr. Starr also highlighted the potential for philanthropic support of smaller projects as well, such as a mobile outreach van that could provide basic medical care, bilingual counseling, and other services to promote community engagement in the public education system.


This was the second in a series of Public Education Working Group meetings focusing on education throughout the region. In June, funders met with Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker and Superintendent William Hite. Later this fall, funders will meet with school officials from Northern Virginia.

Mario Morino’s new book released today…High rates of students in remedial community college courses…Talking with new DHCD head [News, 5.19.11]

COMMUNITY | Today Venture Philanthropy Partners, in collaboration with McKinsey & Company, are launching their latest publication, Leap of Reason: Managing Outcomes in an Era of Scarcity, by Mario Morino. The book calls on funders to empower their grantees to focus on impact and outcomes, rather than onerous reporting requirements, particularly during the current economic downturn when maximizing nonprofits’ impact is especially important.

BUDGETS | Yesterday advocates demonstrated to protest the cuts to services for the homeless in the District’s FY2012 budget. They seem to have gotten their message across: Council Chairman Kwame Brown told the crowd that he would “do everything I can to restore all of the homeless services” in the budget, though he said he wouldn’t be doing it by raising the income tax. (WAMU, 5/19)

EDUCATION
– A new report shows that significant segments of students at the region’s community colleges have to enroll in remedial English, math, and English as a second language courses. (Examiner, 5/19)

– Jay Matthews takes a look at the controversy around an extremely rigorous new DC charter school, which opponents think won’t adequately meet the needs of special education students and students learning English as a second language. (WaPo, 5/12)

Closing more bad charters sooner (WaPo, 5/15)

– D.C. schools investigate security breaches in 2011 tests. (Examiner, 5/19)

HOUSING | John Hall, the new director of the Department of Housing and Community Development, talks about his plans and priorities for his new position, particularly with regard to ensuring a supply of affordable housing. (City Paper, 5/17)

ENVIRONMENT | New technology being acquired by DC’s Wastewater Treatment Plant will be the “largest source of clean renewable energy in Washington, D.C.,” according to George Hawkins, the head of DC’s Water and Sewer Authority. (WAMU, 5/17)

AWARDS
– The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region is inviting nominations of exceptional youth and young adult leaders for its 2011 Linowes Leadership Award. The foundation awards four people annually, with one award specifically recognizing a young person, age 18 or younger. Nominations must be in by May 25. More information is available here.

– Greater DC Cares’ 2011 Impact Summit, where regional business, nonprofit, and volunteer leaders who have made an impact in philanthropy, volunteerism, and service will be recognized, is coming up on June 15. The is an open call for nominations in each category. Nominations are due by May 27. Forms and more information can be found here.

GIVING | Today is the Dulles Greenway’s annual “Drive for Charity” day. 100% of the tolls collected today will be donated to five Loudoun County nonprofits. If you’re wondering how much one day of tolls amounts to, last year’s Drive for Charity day raised $226,427.


Today’s news round-up by Rebekah.

Awards galore…Discrimination complaint against charter schools…A hope for budget autonomy? [News, 5.13.11]

AGING | Yesterday, WRAG’s Working Group on Aging was recognized by Emmaus Services for the Aging as one of their 2011 Aging in Community Honorees. Tamara and Kathy Freshley received the award on behalf of the working group at the awards luncheon, where WRAG member Richard England (picture) and the Honorable Kathy Greenlee, Assistant Secretary for Aging at the US Department of Health and Human Services, were also honored.

COMMUNITY | Jean Case, co-founder of The Case Foundation, was honored this week by the Washington Business Journal as the Corporate Philanthropist of the Year:

“Jean Case is an actively engaged philanthropist and pioneer in the world of interactive technologies…The Case Foundation is recognized for its innovative efforts to increase giving and catalyze civic and business participation, as well as to promote innovation, collaboration and leadership in the nonprofit sector.” (Washington Business Journal, 5/12)

Related: The Case Foundation has also been a pioneer in their use of social media. Learn more about their efforts at an upcoming WRAG event, “Social Media: How and Why Foundations Should Join the Conversation,” on June 9.

EDUCATION | Advocates filed a complaint with the Justice Department’s civil rights division yesterday contending that DC charter schools discriminate against special education students and others with special needs. The complaint says that charter schools’ admissions practices “‘contribute to…the failure’ of all DC schools to properly serve the city’s most vulnerable and fragile children.” (WaPo, 5/12)

BUDGETS
– When Mayor Gray and Chairman Brown testified yesterday before the House oversight committee, some expected to hear threats of a return of the financial control board. However, the session has been described as “relatively cordial,” with Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) afterwards suggesting that they might be willing to give the city a higher degree of budget autonomy in the future, as well as creating a contingency budget to ensure that the city continues to function normally in the event of a government shutdown. (WaPo, 5/12)

– The various committees of the DC City Council have submitted their reports on Mayor Gray’s proposed FY 2012 budget. The Committee on Human Services’ report lodges significant complaints about the proposed Department of Human Services budget, saying that it “will devastate the city and and further spending pressures will ensue in various city services as a result of neglecting the basic needs of poor families, children and homeless adults.” Meanwhile, the Housing and Workforce Development committee report calls for more funding for the Local Rent Supplement Program and Housing Production Trust Fund. (City Paper, 5/12)


Friday the 13th news roundup brought to you by Rebekah.

EduTours: “Funding School” for school funders

By Erica Pressman, Coordinator, Public Education Working Group

Two things are clear from a growing body of research:

  1. Excellent teachers are the most important driver of student achievement. That’s why schools nationwide are focusing on develping, compensating and retaining highly effective teachers.
  2. Principals have a huge impact. An effective manager/instructional leader has the power to create a supportive environment for both teachers and students.

With this in mind, the year-long 2010-2011 DC School Tours September Tour and October Deep Dive centered around issues of human capital in the schools – both teachers and principals.

September’s tour, “Bringing Teacher Evaluation to Life” brought us to Maury Elementary on Capitol Hill, where we heard about educators’ experiences with IMPACT, DCPS’ highly-anticipated teacher evaluation platform, now in place for over a year. Principal Carolyne Albert-Garvey explained how IMPACT is changing interactions between principals and teachers and shaping professional development. As a charter school, Ward 7’s high-performing Achievement Preparatory Academy has significant flexibility to hire, fire and train teachers, and founder and head of school Shantelle Wright views evaluation as an ongoing process of daily observations and conversations.  At a lunchtime panel, tour participants heard from Jason Kamras, DCPS director of teacher human capital (and 2005 National Teacher of the Year), Jennifer Niles, founder and head of school at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School, and Matt Radigan, a DCPS master educator about how teacher evaluation and compensation drive student achievement.

We continued our exploration of human capital at October’s Deep Dive, “Human Capital – What Makes an Effective Principal?” at the Oyster-Adams Bilingual School in Woodley Park, where Principal Monica Liang-Aguirre and other DCPS principals spoke about teacher recruitment, student achievement, their own career paths, and their daily decisions and dilemmas concerning academics, behavior and culture, facilities/operations, and personnel management. Michelle Pierre-Farid from New Leaders for New Schools spoke about the impact of an effective principal on school culture and student achievement.  We finished our day together by discussing opportunities for philanthropic investment in organizations engaged in human capital work.

We still have a few spots left for our next deep dive session, coming up on Dec. 15 at 2pm: DC Public Education Learning Series: DEEP DIVE: “Quality Time in a Classroom.”

Now enrolling grantmakers for “DC Public Education Learning Tours 2010-11”


DCPS reforms under Chancellor Rhee and the presence of the second-largest charter sector in the country have led DC education reform into the national spotlight. As local funders we have an obligation to delve deeper into the education reforms in our city. The Banyan Tree Foundation, the CityBridge Foundation, Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers, and the D.C. Public Education Fund have designed two “semesters” of DC Public Education Learning Tours to facilitate the kind of learning that fosters this deeper understanding.

> Register for single events, or for Fall Semester, Spring Semester, or Full Year packages. Learn more at Washingtongrantmakers.org/edutours. Presented with support from the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, Flamboyan Foundation, and Elizabeth Harrison Hadley.

Changing the education system [News, 7.12.10]

EDUCATION
Gates Foundation playing pivotal role in changes for education system (WaPo, 7/12) – “…propelling initiatives that otherwise might be put on hold because of tight budgets. The Prince George’s County schools and the D.C. Public Education Fund…won separate $2.5 million grants for teacher evaluation and training.”
Bill Gates wins teachers’ applause (Seattle Times, 7/10) at the 2010 American Federation of Teachers Convention. (Text of speech)

HIV/AIDS | President Obama will unveil the country’s first-ever national AIDS strategy this week. (NYTimes, 7/11)

FUNDRAISING | “Attempting to close a $130,000 budget gap…DC Scores hosted a fundraising challenge during the soccer World Cup.” (WaPo, 7/12)

FOSTER CARE | Md. nonprofit opens third foster home in Montgomery County (WAMU, 7/9) – “Aunt Hattie’s Place”

AFFORDABLE HOUSING
N.Va. nonprofit’s plight puts low-income housing at risk
(WaPo, 7/10)
Tent city protests DC affordable housing policy (News8, 7/10)

HIGHER ED | Rising enrollment is a mark of success for new D.C. community college (WaPo, 7/12)

REALLY CHANGING THE EDUCATION SYSTEM | At the 2010 Aspen Ideas Festival which concluded yesterday, Bill Gates mentioned the Khan Academy — “a not-for-profit organization with the mission of providing a high quality education to anyone, anywhere.”

Scroll down to view the entire library of videos (which are great) and the idea of paying thousands of dollars to listen to a grad student begins to seem old-fashioned. View a recent CNN piece on Sal Khan, former hedge fund analyst, current nonprofit educator.

…and in the CORRECTIONS department, three links to the WGDaily archives were broken in the email version of Friday’s news round-up. They are fixed online–see Friday’s post.

Let’s make it a great week.
-Nick