Posts Tagged “D.C. Schools”
Many lawmakers have taken to heart President Obama’s proposal for mandatory preschool for all children and are enacting legislation along those lines. D.C. Council member Marion Barry put forward just such a plan for the District.
Barry’s bill would change the minimum age at which children are required to attend school from five to three. The district government already guarantees a public preschool education to all 3 year-olds: Barry would require parents to take advantage of this education or send their kids to a private or parochial school equivalent. Some experts find the proposed change unnecessary, given that 13,000 out of 15,000 of the city’s three year-olds already go to preschool.
Many other education experts believe mandatory preschool attendance would go a long way towards bridging the achievement gap between disadvantaged students and their better-off counterparts. Many programs already demonstrate the effects preschool can have on a student’s education. The AppleTree Institute, a D.C. charter preschool, for example, teaches three and four year-old at-risk and otherwise disadvantaged students. The average AppleTree Institute student improved from the 35th to the 75th percentile in his or her two years there, according to Governing.
The surplus goes fast
At the end of January, the D.C. government announced a 2012 budget surplus of over $400 million. The following weeks were spent predicting what Mayor Vincent Gray would use the surplus for. D.C.’s financial future, at least for the next year, seemed secure. A pre-budget-season briefing, held by the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, however, suggested that D.C.’s money will not go as far as the government had once hoped.
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This week, barring the national sex scandals, D.C. Chancellor Kaya Henderson comes out in opposition to the proposal to close 20 public schools in the city, and a bill is in the making to make adults in the District accountable if they fail to report a child sex abuse case.
D.C. Council hearing focuses on school closures
The city’s plan to close 20 of D.C.’s public schools was the focus of a Council hearing Thursday night, as the public had its first opportunity to weigh in on the issue. Parents, teachers, students, and activists expressed concerns that closing schools would drive more students into charter schools, and others argued for saving particular schools, according to The Washington Post. The change would displace more than 3000 students.
“It is treating a symptom in a way that can only worsen the disease,” said Mary Levy, an education finance lawyer and researcher.
Most of the members seemed to agree with D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson’s plan, the Post reported. Because of dwindling enrollment, they see the need for a downsizing of the school system to “concentrate resources” as opposed to operating half-full buildings.
Independent council member David A. Catania used Shaw Middle School as an example of the costs enrollment issues create: the school has 131 students, nine teachers, and employs more than 26 adults total.
Council members also agreed that the chancellor must address the problems driving students to charter schools, the Washington Post reported, as over 40 percent of the District’s students attend charters.
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Posted by: Isabel Echarte in News, Vox Populi, tags: Anacostia, Ballou, D.C. Council, D.C. Schools, District Digest, Dupont robbery, Graduation Rates, National Zoo, Roosevelt, Smithsonian, Spingarn, tentacled snakes, truancy
This week in the District, eight tentacled snakes were born at the Smithsonian National Zoo, D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson announces an “education crisis” in the number of students with unexcused absences, and a robbery in Dupont Circle led to a car chase.
First tentacled snakes born in years at National Zoo
After four years of difficulty breeding the reptile, zookeepers at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo were surprised October 21 when eight tentacled snakes were born. The newborns will likely be sent to other zoos, as the National Zoo has four on display and few others in the country host the species, officials said.
This birth is the first time in 11 years that this species at this zoo has given birth to offspring able to survive outside the womb, according to the Washington Post.
“It could be that they were relatively young before,” keeper Matt Evans said to the Washington Post. “Even though they looked like they were pregnant this time, we weren’t expecting anything different.”
The snakes, which look like a cross between a slug and a snake, can grow up to four feet long. They are aquatic ambush hunters, officials said, and when hunting, they hold themselves under water using their tail and sense prey with their tentacles. Their venom is designed to attack prey in different ways but has not effect on humans.
“Within a few hours of being born, the snakes were already acting like adults,” Evans said in a news release. “Instincts took over and they were hunting.”
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WWCD: What Would Carrie Do?
When I wrote about Georgetown’s sex and relationships columns in the paper a few weeks ago, I wasn’t too impressed by The Hoya‘s current sex scribe, Colleen Leahey (COL ’11). Apparently I’m in good company: yesterday The Washington City Paper‘s The Sexist blog surveyed the sex columns currently running in local student papers and ranked them on how progressive they are—and The Hoya‘s came in last.
According to The Sexist, the city’s most progressive sex column can be found in the American University Eagle. Co-written by three anonymous authors, the column has been a bit of a mixed bag, with high highs (tackling anal sex in an enlightened way) and low lows (the inaugural column kicked off with a disturbing date rape scenario). But the Sexist found enough promise in the column-writing threesome to give them a progressive score of seven.
Coming in second was the GW Hatchet‘s sex column. The Hatchet switches off between an anonymous male writer and an anonymous female writer, and tends to neglect the LGBTQ perspective, according to the Sexist, earning them a six on the progressive scale.
The Sexist gave Leahey props for using her real name and acknowledged the challenges inherent in writing a column for a relatively conservative paper where “vulgarity” is frowned upon, but took her to task for directing her columns at “desperate” heterosexual females. Ultimately, Leahey and The Hoya walked away with just four progressive points.
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After earning the dubious distinction of being ranked the 11th best party school by Playboy, the University of Maryland at College Park is mounting an effort to crack down on excessive partying this year, according to the Washington Post. But with only 34 officers in its Department of Public Safety charged with controlling over 26,000 undergraduates, it’s a bit of a daunting task.
The force of 34 officers put up a good fight, busting dozens of parties in a matter of a few hours. The consequences of a bust can range from confiscation of alcohol to, in rare cases, arrest, and the University often comes down hard with harsh administrative charges.
The easiest way to crack down on parties? Taking advantage of clueless freshmen:
On this Thursday night, Ecker drives through campus and the surrounding neighborhoods, easily picking out the freshmen, who travel in packs composed of nearly every person from their dorm floor.
In one such clump, everyone has a student ID around his or her neck, and a few students wear high school T-shirts. But the most obvious clue that they are freshmen? No red cups in hand, Ecker said. They haven’t learned to bring their own cups to keggers.
Additionally, the police are declaring war on a much more frightening enemy this fall: the “undesirables.” These would be the young men who gather at a popular location and harass the women walking by, especially those who are dressed up for the evening.
The harassment that normally begins as verbal assaults and gradually increases to grabbing, pinching, touching, and fondling later on in the night when traffic on the sidewalk becomes more congested. This also makes it more difficult to identify the perpetrators, some of whom are students themselves.
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Swine Flu: Scourge of college coeds everywhere
As you’ve surely noticed from your hacking, sniffly friends and classmates, H1N1 has hit Georgetown. But we’re not the only ones: a virulent H1N1 strain has spread rapidly through several D.C. college campuses, according to the Washington Post. UMD College Park, for one, has already reported 435 cases of flu-like illness.
With students sharing living space, classrooms, and red solo cups, H1N1 has the potential to spread widely on campus, according to the Post:
Swine flu appears to have spread to most of the country’s colleges and universities. A weekly survey by the American College Health Association found influenza-like illness at 72 percent of schools surveyed as of Sept. 4. The flu is being contracted at a rate of about 18 cases per 10,000 students.
In other parts of the country, H1N1 is most widespread at Washington State’s Pullman campus, where more than 2,600 students have contracted flulike symptoms, according to Inside Higher Ed.
At Cornell University, where a junior died Friday due to complications related to the flu, the Inter-Fraternity Council at Cornell University has enacted a moratorium on all social events for a week.
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Monument-filled AND college-kid friendly!
A new report by the American Institute for Economic Research ranked Washington D.C. as the fourth best metropolitan area to attend college, according to the Washington Post.
The report highlighted the 75 best college locations in America, subdividing the list by city size. D.C. was grouped into the major metropolitan category, and finished behind only New York, San Francisco and Boston.
The rankings were determined based on 12 factors, including the number of college students per every 1,000 residents and the cost of living. D.C. particularly excelled in the student to resident ratio category, with 81 students for every 1,000 residents. We also had the lowest unemployment rate and the second-highest average income of the major metropolitan areas in the study.
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