November 19, 2010 |
After trying to get the interview for months, I'm finally sitting with Arlene Ackerman, the superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia. We'll get to her own hard-knock Philadelphia story in a minute. But for the moment, we're talking movies. Because these days, you can't have a discussion about urban education without talking about Waiting for "Superman," the acclaimed documentary that chronicles school reform in Washington, New York, and Los Angeles - and the heartbreaking hurdles that students and parents must overcome.
March 30, 2009 |
President Obama is on board. So is Philadelphia schools chief Arlene Ackerman: Changing the way teachers are paid is an idea whose time has come, one key to fixing a broken education system, both have declared publicly. Though the subject is historically thorny - teachers unions staunchly oppose most merit-pay plans - advocates say that because teacher quality is crucial to student learning, it's time to take another stab. "It's a new day, and it's time for us to look at performance.
January 2, 2001 |
When hired last summer, the recruits were told they would staff classrooms in some of Philadelphia's toughest public schools. And they came in with what some may consider a significant disadvantage - no teaching certification. All have bachelor's degrees in other fields. Four months later, the fledgling educators - part of a program targeting the teacher vacancy rate in middle schools - have found working in an urban setting and coping with the behavior of its adolescents to be more of a challenge than they expected.
October 2, 2011
River dredging is a boondoggle The Inquirer has printed multiple articles about the Delaware River deepening without once exploring critical facts that document its fundamental failings. Fifty to 80 percent of the benefits (depending upon which report you read) come from giving oil companies cost savings and thus bigger profits. Of the six oil refineries to benefit, one has already closed and at least one more is likely to close within the year. The deepening will not increase goods or ships to the region.
January 12, 2011 |
TRENTON - New Jersey is on the road to recovery, Gov. Christie said in his first State of the State speech Tuesday, but he warned that more difficult work lies ahead. In a 40-minute speech to a joint session of the Legislature in the Assembly chamber, Christie said his administration - with the help of the Democratic-led Legislature - had turned Trenton upside down and upended the culture of burying problems instead of facing them. The Republican governor described the state of the state as getting better every day. "In one year," he said, "New Jersey has gone from being a basket case to being a national model.
November 3, 2011 |
This summer, it handed out 40,000 backpacks filled with school supplies to students in Camden and other low-income areas. This week, one of its founders promised to bail out an after-school program that was set to shutter after state funding cuts. Now, Better Education for Kids (B4K), an organization bankrolled by two hedge-fund managers, is using its cash to help elect candidates who agree with its ideas on education, including tenure reform, voucher programs, and teacher merit pay. The group's political action committee has spent money in four competitive districts, including in Burlington County's Seventh Legislative District, where it has fronted more than $31,000 to send glossy fliers promoting Troy Singleton, a Democrat running for the Assembly, according to financial disclosures filed with the state this week.
October 17, 2010
Movies Opening This Week Conviction See Steven Rea's preview on this page. Hereafter See Steven Rea's preview on this page. Paranormal Activity 2 More spooky happenings in this sequel to the surprise box-office hit. Stone See Steven Rea's preview on this page. Vision Biopic of Hildegard von Bingen, the 12th-century Benedictine nun who was a Christian mystic, composer, philosopher, playwright, poet, naturalist, scientist, physician, herbalist, and ecological activist.
September 19, 2010 |
Erstwhile Philadelphia mayoral candidates Sam Katz and Tom Knox have been sniffing the air for encouragement to once more enter the fray. So, they must have loved the fragrance wafting north from the District of Columbia on Tuesday. Not that you can make a direct comparison between D.C. and Philly politics, but the major factor leading to Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's loss in Washington's Democratic primary has implications for Mayor Nutter: Fenty took the black vote for granted. Washington is not exactly the Chocolate City that the band Parliament/Funkadelic sung about in the 1970s.