May 20, 2013
D EAR ABBY: I have worked the last 25 years serving in adult education, helping students complete their high-school equivalency diploma. Big changes are impending in this very important educational service. Starting in 2014, the cost may go up. Until two years ago, the classes in our community were free. The testing cost $7.50, which paid for a printed diploma. Since then, the cost has gone up - first to $25 and then to $35. Now the GED program has been bought by a for-profit organization and the costs will go higher than ever.
August 21, 2012
WHEN HE WAS young and dumb, Joe Bell made bad choices that resulted in a lifetime sentence, but not how you might think. The high-school dropout from West Philly took a car for a joyride at 17, got caught, got probation, then did it again. Dumb. He served time, got out and then a few years later was convicted of burglary. He served time, got out and then was jailed for burglary again . Dumb. He's been a guest of the state for 10 of his 46 years and is now free. He's lived almost half a century, and he's got little to show for it aside from an apartment he may soon lose, and a 3-year-old son he vows never to lose.
July 6, 2012 |
THE DECISION facing leaders of the Philly-based Frontier Virtual Charter High School is simple: Walk away now before things get even uglier. The school's board — which on Saturday discussed optimistic plans for the upcoming school year — must decide at an afternoon meeting Thursday whether it's time to wave the white flag because the state Department of Education filed charges earlier this week to revoke the school's charter. State education officials have said an investigation found that Frontier had numerous violations of the Charter School Law and failed to deliver the education and basic tools that it promised students.
April 11, 2012 |
On Saturday mornings for the last few months, Wharton professor Keith Weigelt has taught West Philadelphia residents - they call him Mr. Keith - about money, earning, saving, investing. For many students, this was the first time they learned about mutual funds. "White households have 20 times the amount of median wealth as black households," says Weigelt, 61. "We're trying to reduce the wealth gap by teaching financial literacy. I had this woman in tears telling me that, for the first time, she feels she can get out of poverty.
April 6, 2012 |
IF YOU'VE been thinking about getting your GED and you're not too good with computers, then get a move on. Effective January 2014, the high-school equivalency test will be more rigorous and entirely computerized, requiring a level of digital fluency that education advocates here say could hinder many test-takers. The GED was last revised in 2002, but for its next incarnation the test will be overhauled by a magnitude never before seen in its 70-year existence. Last year, the American Council on Education, which manages the test nationwide, partnered with a computer-based testing company to develop an assessment that they believe will better prepare students for modern workplace demands.
March 21, 2012 |
PENNSYLVANIA'S Adult and Family Literacy program proves its value every day, transforming the work lives of our citizens who have not succeeded in the education system or who have emigrated from another country. It is not just an education program; it is also an economic-development program for the state. Soon the Legislature will determine how much to fund it. Here's an example about a man named Mike, whose story demonstrates the critical need to continue the funding of Adult and Family Literacy: Like a lot of Pennsylvanians, Mike had a life that wasn't easy for him educationally.
September 16, 2011 |
Reading lays the foundation for everything we do, and I mean everything. The reality is that without being able to read or comprehend, the quality of life folds like a deck of first-grade vocabulary cards. I'm not just saying this because I read and write for a living. (Shout-out to my pragmatic mother who instilled a love of books in me by designating the library as our second home - a free and easy form of entertainment.) Seriously, though, can you imagine being unable to fill out a job application because you can't understand it?
September 15, 2011 |
It was the question Toshea Greene had been dreading, but one she knew eventually had to come. Sitting in her supervisor's office after almost a year on the job, a decision she made 27 years ago had returned to dismantle everything. Greene, 42, a divorced mother of two, left school after ninth grade. During a routine audit last year of personnel files at the Center City nonprofit where she did community outreach, her secret was discovered. It would cost her the job, which required a high-school diploma.
October 19, 2010 |
Conviction opens with the eerie shot of a weather-beaten shack on a bleak, wintry patch of land in rural Massachusetts. The camera pokes inside: There is blood and debris everywhere. Something bad has happened here. And something bad happens to Kenny Waters (Sam Rockwell), the small-town mug who gets arrested, tried, and sent to jail for life, charged with murdering the house's occupant. It is 1983, the circumstantial evidence is damning, there is incriminating testimony from witnesses, and Kenny's been skirmishing with the law since he was a little kid. Since he and his sister, Betty Anne, were little kids.
June 10, 2010 |
Major League Baseball is en route to having a kid wonder in the nation's capital. You might have heard the news. At the moment, he's just 17 years of age. He's known for smacking 500-foot home runs. As a catcher, he can throw runners out from his knees. On the mound, his fastball has been clocked at 96 m.p.h. And in a perfect world, devoid of the self-righteous and sanctimonious, that is all any of us would ever know about Bryce Harper. Except that's not all we know about MLB's top overall pick in the draft earlier this week, is it?