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A backlash against pervasive testing


Bill Hangley Jr.

on Nov 25, 2015 04:29 PM

Growing up in China, Janet Zheng got used to taking tests. But she also got used to getting the preparation she needed from her classes, which is why the American system makes no sense to her.

“You take this much test,” she said, holding her hands apart, “with this little knowledge,” pulling them together.

End of a nightmare?

By the Notebook on Nov 25, 2015 12:01 PM

High-stakes standardized tests are falling out of favor. From President Obama and Congress to School District leaders, we are finally hearing recognition of the unintended consequences of over-testing and overemphasizing test results.

Philadelphia schools have lived through 20 years of test-based accountability. At first, it involved rewards and some punishments for schools based on standardized test scores.

December edition editorial cartoon


Eric Joselyn

on Nov 25, 2015 12:01 PM

Staffing woes plague District schools this year


Dale Mezzacappa

on Nov 24, 2015 03:28 PM
Superintendent William Hite (Photo: Brianna Spause)

For Djervin Uylimos, the beginning of his high school career has not been what he expected.

Not at all.

In September, the Northeast High School freshman was signed up for seven classes – English, world history, algebra, physical science, Spanish, health, and gym.

A typical roster. What is not typical is that for much of the semester so far, he has had no teacher in four of these classes.

So he has spent hours in the classroom with whatever staff member can fill in – doing busywork or turning to his smartphone.

Does Philly need a citizens' commission to better engage the public?


Catherine Offord

on Nov 24, 2015 02:50 PM

Education Voters of Pennsylvania has proposed a Citizens’ Commission for Education to provide a formal platform for public participation in the District.

The commission’s structure is undetermined, but a petition to City Council requesting the establishment of a commission as a “mechanism” for participation has so far received more than 300 signatures. Organizers hope the move will jump-start a discussion about increasing civic engagement in District decision-making.

Accountability and the ESEA reauthorization deal: Your cheat sheet

By Alyson Klein for Education Week on Nov 24, 2015 01:53 PM

The newest proposed version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—dubbed the Every Student Succeeds Act—is almost over the congressional finish line, with votes in both chambers of Congress imminent.

So how would accountability work under the ESSA, if approved? And how does it compare to the No Child Left Behind Act, Classic Edition, and the Obama administration's waivers?

Your cheat sheet here. Top-line stuff on accountability first, then some early reaction. Scroll down further if you want the nitty-gritty details on accountability.

Mayor-elect Kenney pushes plan to create 25 community schools

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Nov 23, 2015 06:48 PM

In his first major policy announcement since winning election, Philadelphia Mayor-elect Jim Kenney formalized a campaign promise to create 25 "community schools" over the next four years.

Before a sea of schoolchildren and TV cameras in the gymnasium of North Philadelphia's Tanner Duckrey Elementary, Kenney told students Monday that the initiative would help give them "the ability to reach your potential in your life."

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