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Desperate times for schools in the City of Brotherly Love

Submitted by thenotebook on Fri, 03/28/2014 - 14:55 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

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

Submitted by thenotebook on Fri, 03/14/2014 - 13:32 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

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

Submitted by thenotebook on Wed, 03/12/2014 - 15:14 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

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

Submitted by thenotebook on Wed, 03/12/2014 - 11:52 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

 

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

Submitted by thenotebook on Mon, 03/03/2014 - 14:08 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

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

Submitted by thenotebook on Fri, 02/28/2014 - 14:32 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

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

Submitted by thenotebook on Wed, 01/29/2014 - 11:03 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

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

Submitted by thenotebook on Wed, 01/08/2014 - 12:20 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

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.

Custom software helps cities manage school choice

Submitted by thenotebook on Thu, 12/05/2013 - 11:00 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Benjamin Herold for Education Week

​With fewer available seats in good public schools than families who want them, many cities face a vexing challenge: How do you decide which children go where?

Enter Neil Dorosin.

"You have to allocate public school seats fairly, transparently, and efficiently, but it turns out that's not so easy to do," said Mr. Dorosin, the executive director of the Institute for Innovation in Public School Choice, based in New York City. "We help cities solve that problem."

U.S. achievement stalls as other nations make gains

Submitted by thenotebook on Wed, 12/04/2013 - 11:34 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Liana Heitin for Education Week

U.S. performance in reading, math, and science has remained stagnant since 2009 as other nations have plowed ahead, according to new results from a prominent international assessment.

Nineteen countries and education systems scored higher than the United States in reading on the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, up from nine systems when the test was last administered in 2009. Germany and Poland, for instance, have seen steady gains on the reading assessment over time and are now ahead of the United States.

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