Gwendolyn Glenn / WYPR

Students in Maryland and 11 other states and the District of Columbia will start taking new standardized tests in March to assess their progress in math and English Language Arts under the Common Core standards. But some education experts fear that students who are only beginning to learn to speak English will be at a disadvantage when they take the more rigorous, computerized exams.

Freeman Hrabowski, educator, at TED2013: The Young, The Wise, The Undiscovered. Tuesday, February 26, 2013, Long Beach, CA. Photo: James Duncan Davidson. / TED Conference via flickr

A week after analysts announced a state budget deficit, Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland Baltimore County sent his staff an email stating that a hiring freeze would go into effect December 1st.

The email also warned that “uncertainty remains about the extent of expected reductions,” referring to budget cuts that may come as a result of the deficit.

Gwendolyn Glenn / WYPR


It’s about 6:30 a.m. and 17-year-old Julia Miller, dressed in jeans and tennis shoes, is ready for school. But before she can head out, she has to wake up her two-month-old son, Logan, and feed and dress him. Miller already fed him sometime between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. and fell back asleep. “I’m exhausted,” she said as she trudged up the narrow stairs to her room in the small townhouse she shares with her mom, older brother and Logan’s father, 19-year-old Shaquille Johnson. He works afternoons in a grocery store and was walking around sleepily helping Miller with the baby.

Gwendolyn Glenn / WYPR

There are nearly 1,000 babies born to teenagers in Baltimore each year, according to the Kids Count Data Center. And that has led to a lot of students missing more than 20 days of school each year, making them chronically absent.

So officials at Benjamin Franklin High school came up with a way to help teen parents balance school work and child care. They opened the city’s first all-day childcare center within a school.

The center was three years in the making. Principal Chris Battaglia spearheaded a campaign to raise nearly half a million dollars from the city school system, the state department of education, the city health department, the United Way and other donors to renovate unused space in the building. The day care center opened its doors Oct. 30.

A plus by ludwg via flickr

The nation's teacher training programs are not rigorous enough and education majors are being graded too easily, according to a new report released this week by the National Council of Teacher Quality, an education think tank.

The report, called “Easy A’s,” compared teacher training programs to other programs at more than 500 institutions. It concluded that education majors at 58 percent of the schools surveyed are held to lower standards than students in other majors.

Gwendolyn Glenn / WYPR

The Common Core standards for math and English Language Arts have led to major changes in how elementary and secondary students are being taught. But some education experts worry that teacher training has not kept up with the changes.

Kate Walsh, President of the National Council on Teacher Quality, an education think tank that focuses on teacher preparation and effectiveness, says college education departments are not in step with the major changes the Common Core requires of teachers. “Higher education is traditionally slow at adopting changes that are happening at the K-12 level,” she said at an Education Writers Association conference in Detroit last month. “We're seeing little evidence of the Common Core being taught on campuses up until a year ago. That may be shifting, but what has happened at the K-12 level often doesn't manifest itself in the teacher training that's going on in those schools.”

Team Meade, universities talk partnerships taken by Fort Meade via flickr

The chancellor is stepping down. After 50 years in education, and 12 years as Chancellor of the University System of Maryland, William English “Brit” Kirwan is retiring. He will leave office after his replacement is selected by the Board of Regents.

The search is underway.

During his tenure, Kirwan was hailed for his strategic spending; his “Effectiveness and Efficiency Initiative,” started in 2003-04, has saved the system upwards of $462 million to date. He was also partly responsible for the tuition freezes after the recession. Under him, enrollment in Maryland’s 11 institutions of higher learning increased by 24 percent.

Gwendolyn Glenn / WYPR

For more than a hundred years, educators have debated the value of homework and they still do today. This year, a school in Chicago banned homework for kindergarten through second grades, and some local parents think schools here should do the same.

Valarie Perez-Schere, whose younger children go to Roland Park Elementary-Middle School, says the things she’s read about young children and education suggest “that there is little benefit to kids third grade and under doing homework.”

When it comes to studying sexual violence, college surveys often don't include students at historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs. But one major study found sexual assaults are lower on those campuses than others.

Some question those numbers and whether HBCUs have the resolve to openly address the issue of campus rape.

Of the 100 HBCUs in the country, Morgan State University in Baltimore ranks in the top 15 for academics.