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May 12, 2014 / Rebekah Seder, Editor

OSSE seeking another waiver for No Child Left Behind as D.C. schools fail to meet original goals

– D.C. officials are seeking another extension of the city’s No Child Left Behind waiver, setting off debate as to whether the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, responsible for monitoring the implementation of the terms of the waiver, has done enough to address chronically low-performing schools (WaPo, 5/11):

OSSE officials plan to submit their proposed revisions for the Education Department’s initial review on May 12, with a final vote by the state education board sometime this summer.

Under the proposed revisions, the lowest-performing schools would get three years to make progress: one year for planning and two to implement changes. If the school does not make gains within those three years, then the OSSE would intervene directly.

The 2014-2015 school year is the first in which OSSE will be expected to serve in that more direct role, overseeing the improvement of 10 schools. OSSE officials said they are in the midst of making plans for how such oversight will work.

Some state education board members are skeptical that the OSSE — an agency that has struggled with high turnover and made a number of public stumbles since its inception in 2007 — has the ability to lead successful turnaround efforts. Jeff Noel, OSSE’s director of data management, said the agency has been working to build such capability.

– In Montgomery County, parents and school officials are grappling with how to address inequities in school improvements across the county, where schools in wealthy enclaves are able to fundraise for non-essential projects like new playing fields, while schools in lower-income communities go without. (WaPo, 5/11)

Opinion: One way to improve the effectiveness of Head Start would be to allow children from families at all income levels to participate. The op-ed writer cites an early education program in a gentrifying D.C. neighborhood that serves both low-income and upper middle class children, with all kids in the program seeing improvement in their social and behavioral skills. (NY Times, 5/10)

CSR | Opinion: Citing PNC‘s exemplary record of corporate social responsibility in the region after it bought out Riggs Bank, Jim Dinegar of the Greater Washington Board of Trade encourages positive thinking about Exelon’s purchase of Pepco, another CSR leader in the region. (WaPo, 5/11)

WRAG’s Tamara Copeland, echoing Jim’s commentary, says, “I like Jim’s positive outlook for the purchase of Pepco by Exelon. Welcome to the region, Exelon. We look forward to you becoming a part of the local philanthropic community.”

– In honor of Mother’s Day, the Washington Area Women’s Foundation produced this excellent infographic depicting mothers’ participation in the region’s workforce. (WAWF, 5/9) (And speaking of the Women’s Foundation, kudos to them for being named one of the best places to work by the Washington Business Journal!)

– Microsoft plans to open one of its first U.S.-based “innovation centers” on the St. Elizabeths campus in Southeast, where the company will provide digital literacy classes to students and job-seekers and support entrepreneurs. (WaPo, 5/11)

HEALTH | Hagerstown, MD, is emblematic of the relationship between high unemployment rates and high rates of obesity. (WaPo, 5/11)

VETERANS | A recent report from Student Veterans of America found that slightly over half of veterans attending college on federal education awards for vets graduate with a degree or certificate. (NPR, 5/11)

PHILANTHROPY | Here’s more coverage of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropys new site, Philamplify – a Yelp of sorts for foundations. (WaPo, 5/11)

ARTS | An entrepreneurial couple have opened an affordable artist workspace in an old warehouse in the neighborhood of Langdon Park in northeast D.C. (WaPo, 5/9)

NONPROFITS | The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and Grant Writing USA will present a two-day grants workshop, July 8-9, 2014. More information here.

Well, that was fast!

– Rebekah

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