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Join me in honoring Paul at the Notebook's brunch

By Diane Waff on Oct 29, 2015 03:29 PM

Paul Socolar has a respected track record of honest reporting, integrity, insight, and a strong commitment to social justice. He has had a huge impact on the local educational landscape and has made the Philadelphia Public School Notebook a must-read for just about everything related to Philadelphia public schools.

As editor and publisher of the Notebook, Paul has given teachers, parents, and students a voice. He has made their issues and concerns visible. The Notebook’s investigative journalism has put a spotlight on major issues, from standardized testing and teacher evaluation to school turnarounds and school closings. It has kept parents informed about opportunities for their children and about their rights.

READ! by 4th director explains goals of campaign

By Fabiola Cineas on Oct 29, 2015 12:19 PM

The Notebook sat down with Jenny Bogoni of the Free Library, READ! by 4th’s executive director. In the interview, she outlines the mission of the campaign, its strategies, and challenges.

What is the READ! by 4th campaign’s main goal?

Ensuring all children can read on grade level by the time they enter 4th grade.

Philly NAEP scores below average for urban areas; nationally, scores slip

By Dale Mezzacappa on Oct 28, 2015 03:01 PM

Students nationwide showed a marked dip in math performance and a somewhat smaller decline in reading proficiency, according to 2015 results of the only standardized achievement test administered across the country by the federal government.  

It was the first reversal of a steady upward trend that held for the more than two decades that U.S. students have been taking the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). 

Philadelphia students continue to score below the national average for big cities, according to analysis of the scores from 21 urban areas. Both nationally and in the city, there are huge achievement gaps among racial and ethnic groups. 

Here are some key facts on the NAEP and its significance.

Things educators know about schooling that the public needs to know

By Julio C. Nuñez on Oct 28, 2015 12:49 PM

It has been 32 years since "A Nation at Risk" was published. The report, issued in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan's National Commission on Excellence in Education, established the beliefs that schools across the nation were failing and that we needed to demand more of our teachers and our students.

"A Nation at Risk" was the blueprint for our country's hyperfocus on "measurable growth" that education stakeholders experience today. It catalyzed a shift in the U.S. concept of education. Outcomes, not input, would determine the quality of instruction. Standards, not knowledge, would dictate what gets taught, how, and for how long. Students’ “seat time” would be favored over other activities that required physical engagement.

Cyber charters have 'overwhelming negative impact,' CREDO study finds

By Benjamin Herold for Education Week on Oct 28, 2015 09:40 AM

Students who take classes over the Internet through online charter schools make dramatically less academic progress than their counterparts in traditional schools, according to a sweeping new series of reports released today.

How stark are the findings?

Going to a college fair? Use these tips to prepare

By Melissa Rowe on Oct 27, 2015 03:02 PM

As a college and career counselor, college fairs are a welcome high point. There’s little that can match the efficiency of having numerous college professionals under one roof. I always recommend a good college fair to any high school junior or senior, and I've even organized a few myself. When trying to decide which schools to apply to or how to differentiate between each institution’s unique value, you can’t go wrong by visiting a college fair.

Mayor: Dissolve the School Reform Commission

By Dale Mezzacappa on Oct 27, 2015 12:23 PM

Updated, 5:40 p.m. with additional quotes and reaction

In a major education policy speech this morning, Mayor Nutter called for the dissolution of the School Reform Commission and the return of a local board of education.

"Of all the policy recommendations I make today, none will have a bigger impact on Philadelphia than a return to local control," he told an audience of invited guests at WHYY.

After 15 years, Nutter said, "it's time for the experiment to end."

Notes from the news, Oct. 27

By the Notebook on Oct 27, 2015 07:40 AM

At sunset of term, Mayor Nutter reflects on his ambitious education agenda. NewsWorks

Too much testing? Ed. Dept. outlines steps to help states, districts cut back. Education Week

Pa. Schools Having Trouble Finding Substitute Teachers. CBS Philly

More parents, students saying 'no' to homework. Inquirer

Schools Debate the Necessity of Homework. Fox 29

Media lab program expanding to 27 more schools. Notebook

National principal of the year from Phila. Inquirer

How can teachers heed Obama’s call to cap assessments if they don’t know how to give tests? The Hechinger Report

Black men become rare sight at medical schools. The Philadelphia Tribune

It's 'bulls---,' Fattah Jr. says in meeting with investigators. Daily News

Low Income Students To Receive Free Tuition Ride At Rutgers-Camden. CBS Philly

Celebrating Your School's Cultural Diversity. Edutopia

News summary from Keystone State Education Coalition

State budget stalemate Day 119:

Senators call for continuous session until state budget agreement is reached. PLS Reporter

State Senate takes out $9 million loan to pay its employees. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Opinion: Their view | Pennsylvania budget must break status quo. Centre Daily Times

Poll results not expected to push either side to resolve state budget impasse. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Nutter to sum up 8-year effort to boost education outcomes in Tuesday speech

By Kevin McCorry for WHYY/NewsWorks on Oct 26, 2015 06:28 PM

Philadelphia's Mayor Nutter set an ambitious agenda for schools in his 2008 inauguration speech, promising to cut in half the number of dropouts while doubling the number of Philadelphians who hold college degrees — both by 2015.

"I'm asking you to join me in the greatest American city turnaround that anyone has seen in the last 50 years. Ladies and gentlemen, I've laid out for you: This is the new Philadelphia," said Nutter during that speech.

Media lab program expanding to 27 more schools

By Brianna Spause on Oct 26, 2015 12:18 PM

With more than 1,000 middle and high school students completing WHYY’s Youth Documentary Workshops each year, the program has outgrown its home at WHYY headquarters.

To help increase student access to media arts production, the School District has teamed up with WHYY to bring Media Labs to 27 schools over the next three years. This expansion will provide video storytelling workshops and professional training to more than 700 students throughout the District.

Too much testing? Ed. Dept. outlines steps to help states, districts cut back

By Alyson Klein for Education Week on Oct 26, 2015 10:18 AM

The Obama administration, which spent its first six years in office arguably upping the ante on standardized tests by calling for them to be a part of teacher evaluations, has instead spent the last year encouraging states and districts to make sure that assessments are of high quality and don't take up too much instructional time.

The shift has come as many parents have decided to opt their children out of standardized assessments, states have sought to rein in testing time, and the Common Core State Standards have faced serious political pushback, in part because of concern about the tests that go along with them. (More on changes to the administration's testing rhetoric here.)

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