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Sharp climb in number of students opting out of state standardized tests

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Aug 12, 2015 07:51 PM

In a sign that the opt-out movement continues to grow, the number of elementary school students who refused to take Pennsylvania's state standardized tests rose dramatically over the last two years.

From 2013-14 to 2014-15, opt-outs on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment math test more than tripled – from 1,017 students to 3,270. That's a 220 percent jump.

In the same years, PSSA English language arts opt-outs jumped 139 percent – from 1,355 to 3,245.

Opt-outs on the science test jumped 263 percent – from 309 to 1,123.

Sharp climb in number of students opting out of state standardized tests

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Aug 12, 2015 07:49 PM

In a sign that the opt-out movement continues to grow, the number of elementary school students who refused to take Pennsylvania's state standardized tests rose dramatically over the past two years.

Between 2013-14 and 2014-15, opt-outs on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment math test more than tripled – from 1,017 students to 3,270. That's a 220 percent jump.

In the same years, PSSA English language arts opt-outs jumped 139 percent – from 1,355 to 3,245.

Opt-outs on the science test jumped 263 percent – from 309 to 1,123.

Top Pa. court to decide if SRC can cancel teachers' contract

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Aug 12, 2015 06:29 PM

A battle between the Philadelphia School Reform Commission and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers is heading to  the state's highest court.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will decide whether the SRC has the authority to unilaterally cancel the teachers' contract.

In October, the SRC voted to cancel the teachers' contract and impose health care concessions on teachers in order to achieve $200 million in savings.

District back-to-school event is Friday

By thenotebook on Aug 12, 2015 04:19 PM

The School District on Friday is hosting its annual back-to-school expo to help students and their families prepare for the upcoming school year.

The event, being held this year at the School of the Future on Parkside Avenue in West Philadelphia, features information sessions as well as giveaways of backpacks, books, and sneakers, among other items. Activities run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Pa. starts seventh week without budget

By Mary Wilson for WHYY NewsWorks on Aug 12, 2015 10:51 AM

The engineers of the Pennsylvania budget impasse will sit down for another design meeting Wednesday afternoon.

The new fiscal year began July 1. Negotiations between the governor and top lawmakers have been held about once a week since then.

"We had productive discussion," said House Speaker Mike Turzai after a budget confab last month. "We really rolled up our sleeves."

CTE success stories: Precious Terry, culinary arts graduate

By Michaela Ward on Aug 11, 2015 07:14 PM

The Philadelphia School District’s career and technical education (CTE) programs give students an opportunity to choose a career path that best matches their interests and talents, while gaining hands-on training in high school. Many students who have participated in one of the District’s 41 CTE programs have transitioned to post-secondary institutions – college, university, or technical school -- and some have also gotten jobs in their chosen fields right out of high school.

School District sees big shakeup at the top, but principal turnover recedes

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Aug 10, 2015 05:26 PM

Winds of change have been blowing through the Philadelphia School District.

Several top administrators have announced their departures in the last few months.

In May, Chief Financial Officer Matt Stanski said he was leaving to take a similar post in the Montgomery County, Maryland, school district.

In July, Deputy Superintendent Paul Kihn resigned.

A few weeks later, Chief Academic Officer Donyall Dickey accepted a position as chief schools officer in Atlanta.

Summer activities for kids and families | Week of Aug. 10

By Greg Windle on Aug 10, 2015 05:17 PM

Families looking for affordable kids' activities in Philadelphia have a lot to be excited about this week. The Oval is hosting events nearly every day, and there will be outdoor music festivals all week, culminating in the Indian and Caribbean festivals at Penn’s Landing this weekend. The city also has free movie screenings, art classes, and biking and soccer lessons.

Wednesday

The Lillian Marrero Branch of the Free Library is hosting a free Graphic Novels and Comics discussion group for kids ages 12-17 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. The group will also have an opportunity to draw with supplies provided by the library. The branch is at 601 W. Lehigh Ave.

Overall Pa. graduation rates respectable, but some urban districts lagging

By Fabiola Cineas on Aug 10, 2015 10:16 AM

With a statewide four-year high school graduation rate of 86 percent, Pennsylvania ranks 15th in the nation.

But the Pennsylvania Department of Education data from the 2012-13 academic year, the latest year available, also show that most of the Commonwealth’s urban districts lag well behind that average.

Pa. school leaders brace for impact of state test declines

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Aug 6, 2015 06:01 PM

Last month, WHYY/NewsWorks reported that scores on state standardized tests have dropped precipitously based on the implementation of more rigorous tests.

Educators across the state are reeling now that they have learned how much scores have plummeted in their individual schools.

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