by Benjamin Herold for NewsWorks, a Notebook news partner
Creating social networks to help kids share books.
Data-mining to pinpoint potential dropouts from online courses.
Sending digital "nudges" about good study habits to the smartphones of college students.
These days, it seems everyone is an ed-tech entrepreneur.
This is a reprint of an article that originally appeared at Education Week.
by Michele McNeil
In statehouses and cities across the country, battles are raging over the direction of education policy — from the standards that will shape what students learn to how test results will be used to judge a teacher's performance.
Students and teachers, in passive resistance, are refusing to take and give standardized tests. Protesters have marched to the White House over what they see as the privatization of the nation's schools. Professional and citizen lobbyists are packing hearings in state capitols to argue that the federal government is trying to dictate curricula through the use of common standards.
New advocacy groups, meanwhile, are taking their fight city to city by pouring record sums of money into school board races.
See also: Philly students protest school budget cuts. NBC 10
by Holly Otterbein for NewsWorks
Philadelphia School District students are furious that they may have to endure even more cuts after they've already lost several nurses, central office staff members and a beloved annual musical at the High School for Creative and Performing Arts.
A group of roughly 250 students marched to the District's headquarters at 440 N. Broad St., where they held their own sort of musical on Tuesday afternoon to protest what some have called next year's "doomsday budget."
Today is National Teacher Day, and this afternoon 59 Philadelphia teachers, one from each District high school, will receive the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation’s Distinguished Teaching Award.
The honorees will join Superintendent William Hite, School Reform Commissioner Wendell Pritchett, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan, three trustees from the Lindback Foundation, and others for the celebration, which will be held from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Prince Music Theater.
South Philadelphia High students share concerns about receiving Bok students. Philadelphia Student Union
Youth United for Change will hold its 22nd annual award ceremony and reception on Tuesday, May 7. The theme for this year’s event is “Defending Public Education.” American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten will be the keynote speaker.
As a union leader, Weingarten has advocated for partnerships with parents and students around reforms that improve public school education nationwide. In March, she joined hundreds of teachers, students, parents, and other public school advocates outside District headquarters in Philadelphia to protest mass school closings. She later was arrested, along with 18 other protesters, after an organized attempt to block School Reform Commission members from entering a meeting to vote on which schools would be shuttered.
Questlove hollas back to his Philly 'roots'. Daily News
by Michael Masch
I am struck by how many supposedly politically sophisticated public school advocates appear to be urging City Council to give the Philadelphia School District more money, independent of what the state does. If that happens, most of the horrible cuts now looming will still occur, since $60 million represents less than 20 percent of the District’s identified 2013-14 budget gap.
It seems to me that Council President Darrell Clarke has a point when he says that Council has already increased city funding for the District two years in a row, even as the Commonwealth was cutting and freezing its funding, and it's just not smart for the city to do that again.
This guest blog post comes from Aaron Troisi, a board member of the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools.
With the School District cutting programs and closing neighborhood schools, the city’s children may soon receive some educational assistance from an unlikely source – Philadelphia’s hip-hop community.
Hip Hop Fundamentals, a local group of dancers who use breakdancing to teach academic content, are gearing up to tour their empowering “Civil Rights Movements” assembly to 10 neighborhood public schools at no cost to the local schools. But first they have to raise some money.
Teacher Action Group Philadelphia and the Campaign for Nonviolent Schools will hold the 4th annual Education for Liberation Curriculum Fair and Citywide Summit on Saturday, May 4, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Folks Arts and Cultural Treasures charter school.
The theme for this year’s curriculum fair and summit is “Flipping the Script in Philadelphia.”
District's oldies are not goodies. Inquirer
Central High School RoboLancers compete in FIRST World Championship. Technically Philly
Philadelphia may cut its school librarians. School Library Journal
Camden schools now in state's hands. Inquirer
by Benjamin Herold for NewsWorks, a Notebook news partner
Sixteen-year-old boys aren't typically thought of as quiet observers of the world around them.
But that's exactly what the students in Carly Ackerman's 10th-grade composition class at Boys' Latin Charter High School in West Philadelphia are learning to become.
At City Council budget hearings on Monday, Superintendent William Hite and School Reform Commission Chairman Pedro Ramos testified to the District's "dire" state of financial affairs. Seeking an additional $60 million from the city to help plug a huge budget shortfall, Hite and Ramos made their case by describing the plight of a school system attempting to succeed amid ever-worsening conditions.
You can read the full text of their testimonies below.