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Hearings for new charter applicants set for next week

By the Notebook on Nov 30, 2015 03:09 PM

Hearings for 12 would-be school operators looking to open new charter schools will begin next week.

The School District will review applications for 13 new schools, which, if approved, could increase the city's public charter school enrollment by more than 9,000 students. One applicant, KIPP, is proposing to open two schools.

Last week, one of the applicants withdrew its proposal to create a James Baldwin Charter High School in Mantua focused on serving LGBT students, according to the District.

Two sets of hearings are planned. Preliminary hearings will take place on Dec. 7 and Dec. 11 (see schedule below), and a more-detailed round of hearings is slated for January.

Pa. House OKs delaying Keystone exams as graduation requirement

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Nov 30, 2015 02:05 PM

This story was published by NewsWorks on Nov. 25

The Pennsylvania legislature is one step closer to pushing back the use of standardized tests as a graduation requirement.

State law now mandates that, starting with the class of 2017, high schoolers must pass Keystone exams in Literature, Algebra I and Biology to graduate.

Testing, testing: A look at other assessments


Fabiola Cineas

on Nov 30, 2015 11:14 AM

In Pennsylvania, the PSSAs and Keystones are probably the most familiar standardized tests, in part because of the high stakes associated with them.

But students in the School District of Philadelphia take a number of other assessments each year whose names are less well-known. Some help identify for the teacher that a child is not making sufficient progress in learning to read, and others pinpoint why.

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.

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