February 21, 2015 |
From a Washington Township third grader to grandparents, educators, and parents, speaker after speaker at a public hearing Thursday rose to voice displeasure - or worse - with New Jersey's emphasis on high-stakes standardized tests. Most had come to complain about the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), a new and controversial exam aligned with Common Core curriculum standards. It will be given to third through 11th graders statewide starting March 2. "PARCC is a not-yet validated test that is wasting valuable classroom time for both teachers and students," said Natalia Reyes, an Eastampton mother of three, speaking to a state student assessments study commission at Camden County College in Blackwood, where the hearing was held.
February 19, 2015 |
New Jersey's largest teachers' union launched a six-week television and online advertising campaign Tuesday featuring parents and teachers voicing their concerns about a controversial standardized test soon to be administered statewide. With the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) about to be presented to students in grades three through 11 starting March 1, the ads criticize standardized tests as causing stress in children, narrowing education, and taking time and resources from other subjects and programs.
February 16, 2015 |
As a new, highly controversial standardized test draws near, the ranks of New Jersey parents opting their children out of the exam are growing, as is the number of school districts scrambling to draft policies on how to deal with the budding revolt. It's all about PARCC - the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, one of two tests developed with $360 million in federal funds and aligned with the Common Core curriculum standards. PARCC's proponents say it is a more rigorous test than the New Jersey state tests it is replacing and will help achieve the goal of high school graduates who are career- and college-ready.
July 29, 2014 |
What started out as a shared goal of improving academic standards to prepare students for college and the workforce has collided with ideological differences over states' rights and rigid opposition to President Obama. Caught in the middle is Gov. Christie, a possible presidential contender in 2016 who has made education reform a pillar of his tenure but who must be careful not to alienate potential conservative supporters now denouncing the standards as federal encroachment on the classroom.
February 10, 2014
Pennsylvania's judiciary has produced a breathtaking run of scandal, from the highest court to the lowest (Philadelphia's Traffic Court); from kids sentenced for cash, the subject of a new documentary, to tickets fixed for crab cakes (Traffic Court again). It's small consolation, but consolation nevertheless, that it wasn't all for naught. As of July, the state's judges will be governed by a substantially strengthened Judicial Code of Conduct in line with national ethical standards. While the overhaul can't correct all the judiciary's flaws - especially the elections at the root of its problems - the new standards address many of the shortcomings revealed by the scandals of recent years.
January 2, 2014 |
When Jim McLaughlin first learned about federal efficiency standards for lightbulbs - and that incandescents would change or go away - he had but one thought: Stockpile! Two years ago, the Broomall resident bought cases of bulbs. Wednesday, as the final phase of standards kicks in, his inventory has lessened. But at age 71, he figures - and hopes - his bulbs will outlast him. "We have none of the new-generation bulbs in our house, and I plan to keep it that way," he said, adding not quite facetiously, "I'm a grumpy old man. I don't want anyone telling me what to do. " In nearby Wallingford, energy efficiency aficionado David Director is ecstatic about the new bulbs.
June 8, 2013 |
Mayor Nutter and Licenses and Inspection Commissioner Carlton Williams are to announce new proposed demolition standards and controls for the city. The move comes two days after six people were killed and 14 others injured when a Center City thrift store collapsed during the botched demolition of a building next door. The mayor, Williams and other city officials are to outline the proposed standards and controls at a 2 p.m. news conference at City Hall.
April 25, 2013 |
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans a hearing Wednesday in Philadelphia on an Obama administration proposal to clean up gasoline and automobile emissions, one of only two public sessions nationwide on the so-called Tier 3 standards. The rules, which mandate cleaner fuels and some new vehicle technologies, are aimed at reducing soot, sulfur, and nitrogen oxide emissions. "We're looking at automobiles and fuels as a system," said Christopher Grundler, director of the EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality.
March 29, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration will unveil a proposal Friday to clean up gasoline and automobile emissions, a step that officials say will result in cleaner air across the nation and slightly higher prices at the pump. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the rule to reduce sulfur in gasoline and tighten emissions standards on cars beginning in 2017 could increase gas prices by less than a penny per gallon and add $130 to the cost of a vehicle in 2025. But the agency says it will yield billions of dollars in health benefits by slashing smog- and soot-forming pollution come 2030.
February 12, 2013 |
Pope Benedict XVI's decision, announced Monday, that he would step down as spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church may prove the signature moment of his eight-year pontificate. His credentials as a theological conservative and church traditionalist have allowed him to take a nearly unprecedented step that a more moderate Pope might not have dared: to hand over the scepter of papal infallibility to someone yet to be chosen, and then do recede into the background as no pope has done for centuries.