Tag Archives: DC

Is it time for schools to rethink, well, time?

On a recent weekday morning in Washington D.C., several hundred teenagers hurriedly made their way through their high school’s hallways in a frantic effort to get to class on time.

I know – nothing new there. Except that in this particular school, the hallways had ubiquitous electronic clocks that measured time in bright red numerals down to the second, and these particular students had just three minutes to move from one class to another. “They had five minutes last year,” principal Caroline Hill told me, in between passionate exhortations for her students to keep moving. “And it was a complete waste of time.”

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Categories: Assessment, Equity, Learning

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This is what a community conversation about school reform looks like

Now that my new book is out, I’m doing a series of public talks around the country to explore core issues of choice, reform, and community. My first event was at the legendary DC bookstore, Politics & Prose, and they videotaped the conversation, which featured everything from high-stakes testing to E.D. Hirsch to a quick […]

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Something’s Happening Here . . .

In the span of a few weeks, all of DC seems to be abuzz with the prospect that our elected officials may actually try to ensure greater racial and socioeconomic equity in the city’s public schools — apple carts be damned. First, there was the Op-Ed two colleagues and I published in the Washington Post, […]

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Turning School Chance Into School Choice

There are a lot of smart people in Washington, D.C., and one of them is Evelyn Boyd Simmons.

A longtime D.C. resident, an effective parental advocate, and a firm believer in the unmatched promise of public education, Evelyn has a way of cutting to the quick on complicated, contentious issues. And so it was when in a recent conversation, she summarized the state of affairs in American public education with a clever turn of phrase.

“What people like to call school choice,” she said flatly, “is nothing more than clever marketing. What folks really have is school chance.”

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Should Integration Be a Goal of DC Public Schools?

From 2000 to 2010, the white share of the District of Columbia’s population grew from 30.8 percent to38 percent . And from 2000 to 2012, the median household income in the city rose 23.3 percent while the nation saw a 6.6?percent decline, adjusted for inflation. This rapid gentrification provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create racially and socioeconomically integrated public schools. The D.C. Advisory Committee on Student Assignment, which is redrawing school boundary lines and feeder patterns, should seize this opportunity.

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DC’s Plan to Assess Early Childhood Programs: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

In case you missed it, the Public Charter Schools Board of DC has proposed a common framework for assessing the quality of all preschool and lower elementary programs. The original proposal sparked arguments for and against the plan; led to a petition campaign of protest; and anchored a lively hourlong discussion on public radio. Lots of people wrote the board to share their own ideas and feedback, and, earlier this week, the Board unanimously approved a revised policy.

What did the PCSB get right, and where is its plan still lacking?

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How Should We Evaluate Our Preschools?

Imagine, for a second, that you are in charge of more than $600 million in taxpayer money. You live in a city that has made deep investments in early education, and that aspires to provide universal preschool by 2014. You have a thriving network of public charter schools, and you want to help parents make […]

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The PCSB Responds

As the deadline for public comment on the PCSB’s proposed accountability framework for early childhood programs nears (August 28) — and as public reactions to the proposal intensify — PCSB’s executive director, Scott Pearson, published a formal reply to the change.org petition that is asking for greater balance in how schools are evaluated. Here’s Scott’s response:

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Is It The Tests or the Stakes?

As DC grapples with whether or not to adopt an accountability framework that would assign between 60-80% of a charter preschool’s overall rank to its students’ reading and math scores, it’s worth asking: What’s at the root of the problem here — the tests, or the stakes attached to those tests?

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High Stakes Tests For 3-Year-Olds?

If you’re a parent of a young charter school student in DC – or just someone who cares about early education – you need to know what’s happening here in the nation’s capital, and fast.

In less than a week, all charter schools that serve young children will start being held accountable to their students’ test scores on reading and math.

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