education

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Students' academic growth will carry greater weight in evaluating Virginia schools under a new plan the state has submitted for federal approval.

The plan lays out how Virginia will comply with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. The law signed by President Barack Obama revamps the widely criticized No Child Left Behind Act and gives states more control over schools and education policy.

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U.S. News and World Report has put Salisbury University on its list of the Best Colleges for 2018.

There are 620 universities in the Best Regional Universities category which is divided geographically into North, South, Midwest and West.

The criteria ranges from academic reputation and graduation rates to financial resources and student selectivity.

Dr. Karen Olmstead, the university’s interim provost and vice president of academic affairs, noted that for the last two decades SU has been named one of the top regional universities by the publication.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - A candidate for Maryland governor is calling on a university to rescind its invitation to the nation's education secretary to give a commencement address.

Ben Jealous said in statement Monday that he will speak in support of University of Baltimore students and alumni at a protest opposed to Betsy DeVos giving the fall commencement speech.

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) - A $4 million grant from the Department of Defense has been awarded to a Virginia school district.

The nonprofit National Math and Science Initiative said it will announce details of the funding for the Virginia Beach school district Friday.

The money will help boost student learning in math, science and English courses. Specifically, the funding will provide training and equipment to teachers with advanced placement classes in those subjects.

Five Virginia Beach high schools will benefit from the money.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - Most students in Maryland are heading back to school for the first year since Gov. Larry Hogan's executive order requiring public schools to start after Labor Day.

Tuesday marked the first day of classes for students statewide, unless their school was granted a waiver under the order issued last year.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh has a plan to combat violent crimes in the city, and has named a new director to help her lead the fight.

Pugh appointed Drew Vetter, who had been chief of staff at the Baltimore Police Department, to direct the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice.

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Governor John Carney has called on Delaware state educators to come up with anti-discrimination policies for transgender students in the public and charter school system.

The memo was sent to Education Secretary Susan Bunting calling for strong regulations that would prohibit unlawful discrimination against these students.

The new regulations are to be made available by November 1st for public comment.

But the Wilmington News Journal reports it is not clear how the state Department of Education would enforce the guidelines if there is noncompliance.

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The $26 million budget cut for public education in Delaware has sent local districts scrambling to see what they can do with less money.

WBOC reports that the Capital School District took an  $1.4 million hit but expects to avoid layoffs even as it balances its budget.

But the President of the Education Board Sean Christiansen told the television station that the cuts could force the district to authorize a referendum – the first in 13 years.

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Education and non-profits are taking a hit in Delaware’s budget process.

The Joint Finance Committee has voted to slash $27 million for the state’s public schools.

In addition, the committee has approved eliminating state grants-in-aid for non-profits.

Those were just some of the largest cuts approved by the budget writing panel.

But the Wilmington News Journal reports that Democrats are hoping to still persuade Republicans to go along with some tax hikes to close a $350 million budget shortfall.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Larry Hogan is asking the state school board to investigate allegations of fraud in one of Maryland's biggest school systems.

Hogan sent a letter Sunday to Maryland State Board of Education President Andrew Smarick requesting the board begin looking at possible wrongdoing at Prince George's County schools.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Senate lawmakers have given final approval to a bill prohibiting Delaware charter schools from giving enrollment preferences to children living within a 5-mile radius.

The bill was approved on a 12-to-4 vote Thursday and now goes to Gov. John Carney.

The bill applies to all charter schools but is aimed at Newark Charter, a predominantly white, high-performing school with a waiting list of more than 3,000 students.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - House lawmakers are taking a first look at a bill that would allow school districts in Delaware to raise taxes without the approval of local residents.

The bill to be considered in committee on Wednesday allows local school boards, starting in tax year 2018, to increase the rate or amount of a tax originally authorized in an election without going back to voters.

The increase would be limited to the higher of a rate equal to the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index, or a rate of 3 percent every two years without a further election or referendum.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Democratic House and Senate leaders have told the legislature's budget-writing committee to halt its work amid concerns about spending cuts the panel has approved.

House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf and Senate president David McBride instructed the Democratic co-chairs of the Joint Finance Committee on Wednesday to cancel a Thursday work session to allow legislative leaders from both parties to continue discussions on raising additional revenue to balance the upcoming budget.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - Gov. Larry Hogan will deliver remarks at the first Governor's Business Summit.

It's scheduled for Thursday in Baltimore.

The governor's opening address is called: "Maryland is Open for Business."

Leaders in business and education are scheduled to attend.

They will be gathering to discuss topics like entrepreneurship and the future of manufacturing in Maryland. They also will talk about redefining urban centers across the state and the next generation of learning environments.

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A number of Delaware school districts have been handing out pink slips and have decided not to fill open positions as they await a final decision on cuts in the education budget.

The Wilmington News Journal reports there were 22 layoffs in the Appoquinimink district.

Governor John Carney says the reduction in education spending is necessary with a looming $400-million budget deficit.

But Cary said the districts do have to the option of raising taxes without a referendum to meet some of the shortfall under his spending plan.

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - University of Virginia students will be paying more for tuition next year.

Local media report UVA's Board of Visitors approved the increase Thursday. In-state students will pay 2.2 percent more, and out-of-state students will pay 3.5 percent more.

The university said in a statement that the increase is needed to deal with a state budget cut and required employee pay raises.

TV station WVIR reports a group of students protested outside the building where the Board of Visitors was meeting.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland lawmakers are putting the finishing touches on a legislative session that has been full of measures aimed at countering President Donald Trump and the GOP-led Congress.

The Democrat-led legislature, which adjourns at midnight Monday, has passed legislation aimed at protecting health care from cuts in Washington.

It also has empowered the attorney general to sue the federal government without the governor's permission. And the attorney general will get an extra $1 million a year in future budgets to help pay expenses to do that.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Supporters of a plan approved by Maryland lawmakers to identify and assist struggling schools in Maryland are speaking out against Gov. Larry Hogan's veto of the measure.

Lawmakers and representatives of the state's teachers union are gathering Thursday morning in Annapolis.

The Republican governor vetoed the bill on Wednesday. He says it's too lax on academic performance standards, caves in to special interests and makes it "nearly impossible" for the state to fix struggling schools.

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Margaret Mason has quit the Christina School Board effective immediately.

Her term is not due to expire until 2021.

She was first elected to the board last year.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the Delaware Department of Education said it is extending the filing deadline for the next school board election in May.

There is a 20 day-candidate filing period for election to the school board.

The paper had no word on why Mason suddenly decided to step down. 

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Larry Hogan has signed a measure to allocate $28 million in additional school funding, including $23.7 million for Baltimore city.

Hogan signed the bill on Monday morning at a ceremony with Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh standing behind him in Annapolis.

The money goes to Baltimore city and 10 Maryland counties that have lost funding in the state's school funding formula due to declining enrollment.

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DOVER, Del. (AP/DPR) - Delaware Gov. John Carney says his first months in office have brought into sharp focus the struggles the state must deal with.

Carney, a Democrat, says the General Assembly has been dealing with a nearly $400 million budget deficit.

"If we're going to tackle the tough issues that confront us, we need to get our financial house in order. We need a budget reset, a new plan to set us on a stronger financial footing and make our state more competitive."

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Forty-one percent of high school graduates in Delaware’s public schools are entering colleges and universities unprepared.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the Department of Education issued the number during a conference held in Wilmington yesterday.

The Department stressed that acceptance to an institution of higher learning does not mean the student is ready.

The paper reports that 61 percent of the 2015 graduating class enrolled in college – an uptick of 3 percent.

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The Indian River School District Superintendent Mark Steele says his students will get “slammed” under the state budget proposed by Governor John Carney.

He told the Wilmington News Journal that what would hurt the school system most is the decision to cut $22 million in the Education Sustainment budget.

Carney’s budget has also slashed $15 million from the school operating budgets.

For the district the cuts would amount to $1.7 million for the fiscal year of 2018.

Jennifer Seay / Wicomico Board of Education

Christen Tacka has been named this year’s Wicomico Teacher of the Year.

The 22-year old intervention specialist at Prince Street Elementary School said that while it may sound corny she loves her job.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that 25 teachers were honored at the annual banquet last night held on the campus of Salisbury University.

The paper reports that the field was dominated by teachers in early childhood and primary education with seven top elementary teachers chosen by their schools.

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The graduation and dropout rates for high school students in Delaware is improving.

The high school graduation rate inched up from 84.6 percent from 84.3 percent in 2015.

Around 83-hundred out of 98-hundred students graduated with a high school diploma.

Meanwhile, the dropout rate declined from 2.2 percent in the 2014-2015 school year to 1.4 percent in the last term.

The Red Clay School District - now the biggest statewide - hailed its low dropout rate of .9 percent.

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There will be more flexibility in Delaware’s new education plan for schools for accountability and funding.

In addition, there will be a five star rating performance system.

But the plan did get some opposition from the Delaware State Education Association.

State Representative Kim Williams, vice chair of the Education Committee, questioned the fairness of the system because of school choice with some schools having a larger group of higher performing students.

A final draft is expected to be submitted to the federal Department of Education later this spring.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware lawmakers are eyeing proposals to bring more transparency and accountability to the state school board, if not abolish it.

A legislative committee on Tuesday discussed several recommendations for overhauling the seven-member board of gubernatorial appointees.

The board has been criticized by lawmakers, teachers, school districts and parents in recent years for being heavy-handed and inaccessible.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - House lawmakers are set to vote on a bill aimed at encouraging teenagers to stay in school and get their high school diplomas.

The bill to be voted on Tuesday requires any student over the age of 16 who wants to leave school prior to graduation to obtain the written consent of a parent or guardian.

The student also would have to attend an exit interview where he or she would be told that dropping out could lead to diminished earning potential and the increased likelihood of unemployment.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - State officials are distributing legal guidance to local school districts on immigration-related issues in response to President Donald Trump's recent executive actions.

Virginia's Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven Staples sent a memo Wednesday to local superintendents with the advice.

The memo emphasizes that districts must provide a high-quality education for every student, regardless of immigration status. It also says school divisions cannot inquire into a prospective student's citizenship status.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Senate has cut down a bill that would have allowed students to opt out of animal dissections.

The measure brought a spirited debate during the Senate's session Monday night before it was rejected.

Sen. Ron Young, a Frederick County Democrat, says animal dissections are no longer necessary. He also says alternative methods are cheaper, and 18 other states allow students to opt out.

But Sen. Nancy King, a Montgomery County Democrat, says local school boards can address the issue better than state lawmakers.

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