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Stories tagged: standardized curriculum

Pennsylvania’s stops and starts over new classroom standards

By the Notebook on Oct 18, 2013 11:32 AM

by Sara Neufeld, The Hechinger Report

In the beginning, Pennsylvania was going to be like most other states, following a new set of national education standards and administering new national standardized tests.

But a lot has happened since 2010, when the state signed on to participate in what’s known as Common Core, an initiative designed to make the United States more globally competitive by ensuring students’ ability to meet basic benchmarks.

A Democratic administration turned Republican, and Gov. Tom Corbett took seriously conservatives concerned about the federal government infringing on states’ rights. In March 2012, Pennsylvania officials released their own document, known as the Pennsylvania Core Standards, which they call a hybrid between the national Common Core and the state’s own guidelines.

Pencils Down: It's time to rethink tests

By Samuel Reed III on Oct 30, 2012 01:44 PM

How reliable are tests in measuring what really matters for 21st-century learning? And should high-stakes tests really be used as a punitive evaluation of teacher quality? With all the controversy surrounding standardized tests and cheating, it’s time for teachers, parents, districts and policymakers to consider alternatives.

Navigating the digital world

By by Wendy Harris on Apr 2, 2012 03:53 PM
As a result of the big changes underway in the School District, teachers will soon be given more freedom to be creative. As part of our April print edition, the Notebook and NewsWorks took a multimedia look inside the classrooms of five exemplary Philadelphia teachers to get an on-the-ground perspectives of the great teaching and learning that is possible.

South Philadelphia senior Marcus Johnson stands at the front of his classroom eager to give his presentation on mammals. But there are no poster board cutouts here, no sketches across a blackboard, no pages borrowed from an animal encyclopedia. Johnson, with his back to a class that has iMacs and iPads, works the keys on his laptop computer with the focus of an engineer in a computer lab. After a few clicks, he turns to face his peers, and the website he designed – which gives vivid images and rich content about the animals he loves so much – fills the interactive projector at the front of the room.

Video: Kimberly Paynter for WHYY/NewsWorks

Lessons from teachers

By Anonymous on Apr 2, 2012 01:08 PM

Ask any teacher, whether at a neighborhood, magnet, or charter school, and most would agree that to keep students engaged and create meaningful learning, they need some autonomy – some room to be creative.

April edition cartoon

By by Eric Joselyn on Apr 2, 2012 10:45 AM

Giving teachers more say

By by Benjamin Herold for the Notebook and WHYY/NewsWorks on Mar 30, 2012 04:34 PM

Something in Brenda Wolbransky's classroom doesn't feel right.

The 32-year District veteran is pacing the rows of her honors English class at George Washington High, coaxing her students into a conversation about Lord of the Flies, the classic tale of British schoolboys who get trapped on an island and descend into anarchy.

Working on a new blueprint for schools she grew up in

By by Dale Mezzacappa on Mar 30, 2012 04:35 PM

Penny Nixon fondly remembers Ms. Newman, her 12th grade teacher at Martin Luther King High School nearly 30 years ago.

"We wrote about almost everything in Ms. Newman's class," said Nixon. "We wrote about issues that impacted our lives, just being a teenager – around peer pressure, around drugs and alcohol."

Currículo cambiará debido a los Common Core standards

By por Paul Jablow on Mar 30, 2012 04:34 PM

Si usted nunca ha escuchado sobre los Common Core standards (estándares básicos en común), es hora de tomar nota. Éstos podrían tener un efecto enorme en lo que los estudiantes aprenderán, y posiblemente también en los exámenes que toman para medir su progreso.

Tougher standards, better readers?

By by Benjamin Herold for the Notebook and WHYY/NewsWorks on Mar 30, 2012 04:34 PM
What will you read this week? As part of our April print edition on engaging curriculum, the Notebook and NewsWorks took a multimedia peek inside the reading lives of local high school student Zach Morales and School Reform Commissioner Lorene Cary

Zach Morales learned early that high school would go more smoothly if he kept certain things to himself.

But privately, the unassuming teen is proud of his passion for reading. So he hesitates for only a moment before opening the door to his small bedroom.

"I have a vast collection of books," says Morales, sweeping an arm towards shelves packed with horror novels, Harry Potter books, and biographies of professional wrestlers.

"Every book in this bookcase, I've actually read," he proclaims.

Listen to more of Zach's story in reporter Benjamin Herold's radio feature.

Fear factor

By Anonymous on Mar 30, 2012 04:34 PM

There were sighs of relief in Philadelphia schools this winter when District leaders announced they will no longer mandate the use of scripted curricula. This was the first clear reversal of a burgeoning trend to narrow what is taught and prioritize drill on the discrete skills measured by state exams.

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