by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks
There's a game-changer on the horizon, a piece of legislation rumbling through the halls of Harrisburg that, if passed, promises to alter forever the landscape of public education in Pennsylvania.
It's called Senate Bill 1085, referred to by many as, "The Charter Reform Bill."
Proponents say it will raise the standards by which charters are opened and evaluated, while ensuring the creation of more high-quality educational options for all Pennsylvania's students.
by Elizabeth Fiedler for NewsWorks
Once your kids hit the age of 5, it's time to move to the suburbs. Or at least that's how it has gone for generations of middle- and upper-class parents in Philadelphia.
Most of the news out of Philadelphia schools lately has been the kind to lead city parents who have the option to start lining up a moving van: deficits, school closings, teacher layoffs, cheating scandals.
But these days some Philadelphians are taking a different approach. In neighborhoods from Graduate Hospital to East Falls to Fishtown, they're vowing to stay put, pitching in to help their neighborhood school improve. And they're doing this well before their children are ready for kindergarten, or even before they're born.
by Benjamin Herold for Education Week
With fewer available seats in good public schools than families who want them, many cities face a vexing challenge: How do you decide which children go where?
Enter Neil Dorosin.
"You have to allocate public school seats fairly, transparently, and efficiently, but it turns out that's not so easy to do," said Mr. Dorosin, the executive director of the Institute for Innovation in Public School Choice, based in New York City. "We help cities solve that problem."
Defense continues in charter fraud case. Inquirer
by Connie Langland
Last spring, Springboard Collaborative won a contract with the District by promising to replace learning loss over the summer with reading gains for some of its lowest-performing students.
The program included five weeks of instruction for struggling readers in grades K-3 in four District schools and workshops to train parents to teach reading at home.
The effort apparently paid off. Overall, 642 students in eight schools (four charter schools also participated) gained 3.3 months in reading skills, according to Alejandro Gac-Artigas, Springboard’s CEO. He cited research showing that low-income students experience a three-month learning loss over the summer months, not progress.
by Aaron Moselle for NewsWorks
A new grassroots group wants to transform Germantown High School's shuttered building into a cutting-edge vocational technical school.
On Tuesday night, more than a dozen community stakeholders met to discuss the future of the hulking property, one of 24 schools that closed in June as part of the Philadelphia School District's facilities master plan.
by Naveed Ahsan
Winter break is still weeks away, but the deadline for high school applications is nearly here.
This Friday, Dec. 6, is the last day for students to submit applications to attend citywide admission, special admission, career and technical education programs, and neighborhood high schools. All students who will be entering 9th grade next year, even those who want to attend their own neighborhood high schools, are being encouraged to submit an application.
When his counterparts describe handing out iPads to students, Joseph Otto just tunes out the conversation.
Otto is chief operations officer of the William Penn School District in Delaware County, just across Cobbs Creek from Southwest Philadelphia. His district limps along from year to year by paring back services and staff and putting off investments in books, technology, and other classroom needs. The local school board is loath to raise taxes any higher because the district’s residents already shoulder some of the highest tax burdens in the region.
“iPads are not even an option for us,” said Otto.
“We do nothing extra. We’re just trying to survive.”
by Liana Heitin for Education Week
U.S. performance in reading, math, and science has remained stagnant since 2009 as other nations have plowed ahead, according to new results from a prominent international assessment.
Nineteen countries and education systems scored higher than the United States in reading on the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, up from nine systems when the test was last administered in 2009. Germany and Poland, for instance, have seen steady gains on the reading assessment over time and are now ahead of the United States.