Last Sunday, The Baltimore Sun reported that the Baltimore School District may sever contracts with two of three schools run by the former Edison Schools Inc. (now Edison Learning).
[Update: The district voted to end Edison's contract for the two schools March 24, the Sun reports - The Editors]
Children need breakfast
(a) every day
(b) only on days they go to school
(c) only on days they take standardized tests
It seems like some Philadelphia principals think the answer is (c). Which is beyond the understanding of child advocates who have been pushing Philadelphia school officials for decades -- with success -- on child nutrition.
Quick segue back to testing…there’s an interesting piece out of FairTest analyzing the “Dangers and Opportunities in Federal Stimulus Law.”
This week the SRC decided to renew the Teach For America and The New Teacher Project contracts.
I went to the meeting at School of the Future last week to learn more about the District’s strategic plan, Imagine 2014. The most controversial part of the plan is the part about Renaissance Schools. The Renaissance Schools plan calls for the transformation of some of the city’s lowest performing schools.
The School Reform Commission has just voted to renew contracts for The New Teacher Project and Teach for America, a month after tabling similar resolutions. The two programs, aimed at placing new teachers in challenging schools, are part of an ongoing attempt to recruit and certify teachers in non-traditional ways.
The one thing that kept going through my head Wednesday as I sat at the hearing on the proposed closing next year of William Penn High School was that Ruth Wright Hayre was certainly spinning in her grave.
As long as we’re Imagining, let’s think about schools in which it’s safe to be lesbian or gay. A federal court did just that last week in Gay-Straight Alliance of Yulee High School v. School Board of Nassau County, holding that two high school students must be allowed to set up a Gay-Straight Alliance at their north Florida high school.
Inquirer columnist Inga Saffron offered an architectural history and reflection on William Penn High School, which is slated to be closed. Inky reporter Martha Woodall wrote about Mastery and KIPP charter schools and their potential role in implementing Imagine 2014.
Last night, I joined hundreds of parents and community members at the School of the Future for the District’s latest “Imagine 2014: Strategic Plan” meeting. District officials said more than 300 people came, overflowing spaces and workshops and filling up the auditorium at the School of the Future.
Students, teachers, parents, community organizations, and at least one City Council member – Curtis Jones Jr. (setting a bar for other Council members) – came out to the two-hour session. The amazing turnout and level of engagement were a rebuff to the dismissive tone the media took when labeling an earlier meeting as “surprisingly low” turnout and reporting most of the comments on the lack of parent involvement.
For those considering going to future meetings, and to any district officials who might be looking for suggestions, here’s how things went down with some suggestions for improvement:
It looks like Philadelphia is in for a massive sum of new dollars from the state through the federal stimulus plan – some $361 million – if the legislature approves the recommendations of the Rendell administration. That amount would dwarf the amount of new money received in any previous year, representing a 13 percent increase in total District revenues.
In the latest edition of The Notebook, Superintendent Arlene Ackerman is quoted as saying, “small high schools have not been the answer for a majority of young people and they are not the answer here.” She argues that large high schools can be personalized and that many small schools have increased inequity.
The Daily News reports that the District’s first public meeting on its new strategic plan was lightly attended. And the conversation seemed to focus mainly on whether to bring in outside partners to manage schools.
President Obama gave a speech about education that outlined a five point plan today to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. (Full text of his speech is available here).
Obama's five pillars for improving education:
At a weekend class with my daughter, I glanced at another mother. She reminded me of a student I had taught before, so I asked her if she is Ethiopian or Eritrean. She responded “Well, I’m both. How did you know?”
A quick review of names led to the discovery that her uncle was married to one of my former students. This led to a discussion of what school was like “back in the day” when I taught ESL and she was a student in the Philadelphia public high schools.