washington d.c.

washington d.c.

A Private School in Washington, D.C. Appeals to Conservative Students & Their Families

the heights private school for boysImagine starting your school day off in a blazer, standing up in class with your classmates, and saying the Hail Mary. After praying, you can finally take off your jacket, and then it’s time for some light reading from a 14th-century English romance book, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. It sounds a little strange to me, but for the boys who attend the Heights School in Washington, D.C., this is a completely normal day.

The Heights School is a conservative private school for boys in grades 3-12 in the nation’s capital that is affiliated with Opus Dei, a sect of the Catholic Church. It was founded in 1969 and has quickly become very popular among conservative Catholics, like politician Rick Santorum, who sent two of his sons to the school.

“I’ve got just one job as a dad,” said Pat Kilner, a father of nine who has sent his four sons to the Heights School. “And that’s to get these kids, who are gifts to me, to heaven, so they can be in the eternal presence of the Lord. And none of my kids has left the church.”

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D.C. to Review High Rates of Erasures on School Tests

Irregularities in public school test scores are set to be investigated by the District of Columbia’s Board of Education. The tests showed an unusually high rate of erasures- answers being erased and changed from wrong to right.

Former chancellor Michelle Rhee defended the integrity of the tests. She claims that the test scores are real and the investigation insults the dedication of teachers and children that worked hard to improve their academic achievement levels.

USA Today held its own investigation that lasted several months. During this investigation, 103 public schools in Washington, D.C. showed a high number of answers that had been changed from wrong to right. USA Today found that since 2008, more than half of the schools in D.C. were flagged for having high erasure rates with answers being changed to the correct ones. In one school, the erasures in one class were so high, the odds of winning the Powerball lottery were better than the erasures occurring by chance.

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Proposed Budget to Cut Pell Grant Funding

With recent spikes in college tuition, students are in need of federal aid more than ever, but they may not get the amount they need. If the U.S. Senate passes a bill proposed recently by the U.S. House, the federal grant budget will be cut by 15 percent.

Education activists and many college students are incensed by the proposed budget cuts. They say that lawmakers need to get their priorities in order. They also say representatives in D.C. should do away with tax loopholes and subsidies for multimillionaires and corporations, instead of trying to balance the federal budget by cutting back college aid.

“The Pell Grants are the federal government’s cornerstone financial aid program that 9.4 million college students rely on each year to pay for the college courses that are fueling our recovering workforce and economy,” Rich Williams said, a higher education advocate with Illinois Public Interest Research Group. “Tough choices are supposed to come only after the easy ones. It’s difficult to imagine how cuts to Pell Grants happen before cuts to BP and Goldman Sachs. And yet that’s exactly what the House resolution does.”

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Highest Student Debt by State

washington-DCBecause loans are the primary means of paying for education in the U.S., the Project on Student Debt has set out to increase public understanding of student loans.

While the average student debt load in America is $24,000, in some states this amount in much higher. Below is the list of the ten states with the highest student debt. These figures were calculated from voluntarily reported data, submitted from nearly 1,000 public and private non-profit colleges. For-profit and two-year schools are not factored into the data. The highest average student dept is based on data from 2009 graduates.

1. Washington, D.C.
Average debt: $30,033
School with the highest average student debt: Corcoran College of Art and Design

2. New Hampshire
Average debt: $29,443
School with the highest average student debt: Saint Anselm College

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College Students Face Hunger and Homelessness

With rising tuition costs, college is becoming less affordable for some students. With the tough job market, several young adults are finding that the only way to be successful is with a college degree.

Graduate hopefuls like Diego Sepulveda, a 22-year-old UCLA student, are facing hunger and even homelessness to stay in school.homeless

After Sepulveda lost his job at Subway, he had to be resourceful when it came time to find a place to sleep. Sometimes he would sleep on a couch in the college library. Other nights, he would find himself crashing in a friend’s living room. As for showers, he used the student activities center, which has a pool and locker rooms.

“You’re always thinking, ‘How am I going to pay for next quarter? How am I going to get through the rest of the days here at UCLA?” he says. Read the rest of this entry »

Michelle Obama Kicks-off Women’s History Month in D.C. Schools

First Lady Michelle Obama has long hoped to gather an “amazing group of women” to help inspire young people to do well in school to prosper as adults. She had her chance this week as she visited Anacostia High School in the capital, a struggling school in a poor D.C. neighborhood, and 21 other famous women visited schools around the country.

Michelle Obama at Anacostia High School (via New York Times)

Mrs. Obama recruited the likes of Sheryl Crow, Alicia Keys, Alfre Woodard, Bobbi Brown, as well as former astronaut Mae Jemison and the Army’s first female four-star general, Gen. Ann Dunwoody, to participate in this Women’s History Month initiative at both public and private schools. Read the rest of this entry »


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