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Stories we've republished from Education Week.

Funding crisis threatens spread of innovation

By Benjamin Herold for Education Week on Jun 12, 2014 02:19 PM

Nearly a year after Superintendent William Hite committed millions of dollars to expand Science Leadership Academy and two other pioneering District schools here, the investment in hands-on, technology-rich instructional models has stirred hope and experimentation across the city.

But the tentative flourishing of innovation is at risk of being overwhelmed by a massive funding shortfall that has cast doubt on the superintendent's ability to safely open schools in September, let alone spread promising new models across the 131,000-student system.

No change in 12th-grade performance on NAEP math, reading

By thenotebook on May 7, 2014 10:45 AM

by Liana Heitin for Education Week

High school seniors' performance in mathematics and reading has stagnated since 2009, according to a new round of results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

The achievement data from NAEP, known as "the nation's report card," show that 12th graders' average math score remained at 153, on a 300-point scale, when comparing the 2013 results with those from 2009, the last time the test was administered. Just 26 percent of students scored at or above the proficient level in math — again, the same as four years ago.

Desperate times for schools in the City of Brotherly Love

By thenotebook on Mar 28, 2014 02:55 PM

by Benjamin Herold for Education Week

Balloons rained down from the balcony. The 11th graders gathered in the auditorium screamed in delight.

And I couldn't help but feel profoundly sad.

Such is life in Philadelphia, my adopted hometown and former professional stomping grounds, where hundreds of public schools and tens of thousands of children have been left largely on their own to forage and fundraise for the basics of modern education.

Google under fire for data-mining student email messages

By thenotebook on Mar 14, 2014 01:32 PM

by Benjamin Herold for Education Week

As part of a potentially explosive lawsuit making its way through federal court, giant online-services provider Google has acknowledged scanning the contents of millions of email messages sent and received by student users of the company’s Apps for Education tool suite for schools.

In the suit, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company also faces accusations from plaintiffs that it went further, crossing a “creepy line” by using information gleaned from the scans to build “surreptitious” profiles of Apps for Education users that could be used for such purposes as targeted advertising.

A troubled district gambles on reinventing high schools

By thenotebook on Mar 12, 2014 03:14 PM

by Benjamin Herold for Education Week

Six months after investing millions of dollars in expanding three of Philadelphia’s most innovative educational programs, Superintendent William R. Hite is doubling down on his bet to improve the troubled District by putting new models of teaching and learning in place.

Although he says the cash-strapped city school system will need $440 million in as-yet-uncommitted revenues just to provide a “bare minimum” level of service to its 131,000 students in the 2014-15 school year, Mr. Hite in February pushed for and won approval to open three unconventional high schools next school year. The price tag for the new schools remains unclear, but will easily run into the millions of dollars next year alone, prompting concerns from some public education advocates that more money will be diverted away from existing schools.

Innovative education model challenges teachers to adjust

By thenotebook on Mar 12, 2014 11:52 AM

 

by Benjamin Herold for Education Week

Another first-period engineering class has just been derailed by a series of small frustrations: Students strolling in late. Questions met with blank stares. Smartphones used for text messages instead of research.

Karthik Subburam, a five-year veteran in his first year teaching in the "inquiry-driven, project-based, technology-infused" style of Philadelphia's nationally acclaimed Science Leadership Academy, runs his fingers through his hair. "Sometimes, it's like pulling teeth," he says.

Six months into the school year, a controversial gamble by Philadelphia Superintendent William R. Hite to expand innovative school models has yielded progress. Science Leadership Academy has established a second campus that mirrors the quirky, intimate atmosphere of the original. At the new SLA@Beeber, students skateboard through the hallways past a teacher draped in Christmas lights, and no one bats an eye.

District leader makes the case for arts education

By thenotebook on Mar 3, 2014 02:08 PM

by Caralee J. Adams for Education Week

For Dennis W. Creedon, teaching children about art is as important as teaching them math or reading.

"People see it as a frill, but it's not a frill. It's actually the center of the core," said the 59-year-old assistant superintendent in the Philadelphia School District. "If you cut these out of schools, you are really cutting the heart out of our children and their future."

Computer science: Not just an elective anymore

By thenotebook on Feb 28, 2014 02:32 PM

by Liana Heitin for Education Week

Computer science education is getting something of a fresh look from state and local policymakers, with many starting to push new measures to broaden K-12 students' access to the subject.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia now have policies in place that allow computer science to count as a mathematics or science credit, rather than as an elective, in high schools—and that number is on the rise. Wisconsin, Alabama, and Maryland have adopted such policies since December, and Idaho has a legislative measure awaiting final action.

Obama sells Race to Top, early-childhood education in State of the Union

By thenotebook on Jan 29, 2014 11:03 AM

by Alyson Klein for Education Week

President Obama placed education at the center of a broad strategy to bolster economic mobility and combat poverty—calling on Congress in his State of the Union speech to approve previously unveiled initiatives to expand preschool to more 4-year-olds, beef up job-training programs, and make post-secondary education more effective and accessible.

"Last year, I asked this Congress to help states make high-quality pre-K available to every 4-year-old," said Obama, whose education agenda in his second term has shifted away from K-12 toward prekindergarten and college affordability. "As a parent as well as a president, I repeat that request tonight. But in the meantime, 30 states have raised pre-K funding on their own. They know we can't wait."

New federal school discipline guidance addresses discrimination, suspensions

By thenotebook on Jan 8, 2014 12:20 PM

by Evie Blad for Education Week

Leaders of the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice have issued new guidance on how school leaders can ensure that discipline polices are drafted and applied in a manner that does not discriminate against racial or ethnic groups.

Leaders should also seek alternatives to "exclusionary" penalties like suspension and expulsion that rob students of valuable classroom time, often for nonviolent offenses, said U. S. Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who were scheduled to discuss the guidance at an event this morning at Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore.

The new guidance clarifies how districts can meet their obligations under Title IV and Title VI of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, which relate to fair and nondiscriminatory treatment among schools and recipients of federal aid.

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