May 15, 2013 |
Tough little Union City's public school test scores and graduation rates rival those of comfortable suburbs. But in the late 1980s, the only schools with which Union City could be said to "compete" were in troubled Camden. While public education in Camden has won a sad race to the bottom - Trenton is taking over the city's schools - the success of Union City has inspired a laudatory new book. Improbable Scholars (Oxford University Press) offers something of a guide for Camden and struggling school districts nationwide.
May 10, 2013
By Rebecca Poyourow Over the past four years, my children have attended their neighborhood school in Philadelphia. My husband and I were attracted to Cook-Wissahickon Elementary School in Roxborough because of its dedicated teaching staff, its vibrant parent community, and its academic strength and diversity. However, little did we imagine when we enrolled our oldest in kindergarten in 2009 that support for public education would be so severely cut in the following years, with the largest cuts falling on the poorest districts.
May 10, 2013 |
The Pennsylvania Constitution says the state must "provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth. " And yet, for the third year in a row, we look to the Corbett administration to help us fill a sizable hole in the School District of Philadelphia budget. The district's "ask" is $120 million from Harrisburg and $60 million from the city to prevent the elimination of art, music, sports, school nurses, guidance counselors, assistant principals, all after-school activities, and more.
May 7, 2013
By Raymond Lamboy Gov. Christie has set the stage, and Mayor Dana L. Redd has cleared the path for a grand experiment in urban public education that will unfold in Camden. As with every well-thought-out experiment, a thesis or hypothesis statement is presented to measure success or failure. In this instance, the thesis seems to be this: The introduction and expansion of alternative-education models will lead to a functioning education system that will provide the children of Camden with an education on par with their suburban neighbors and will result in greatly increased student achievement.
May 2, 2013
I WONDER if you remember these words: "If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed it to happen to ourselves. " I remember this startling quote from "A Nation at Risk," a report issued by Bill Bennett's Education Department during the Reagan Administration. We just passed the 30th anniversary of this report last week, and I think it should be renamed "A Nation in Crisis.
April 19, 2013 |
We are delighted that the Coalition for Effective Teaching (CET) in Philadelphia wants to improve public education. However, we think a more responsible approach would have been to consult with teacher leaders before publishing a position statement. As practicing teachers, we have a few suggestions about how CET can truly enrich public education: First, change the group's name to Coalition for Effective Education, as the current title implicates teachers. Philadelphia has thousands of effective teachers who struggle with ineffective working conditions and who passionately support children who are not necessarily "learning-ready.
April 8, 2013
The unprecedented cheating scandal now unfolding in Atlanta reveals a danger of the increased emphasis on standardized testing. But that does not excuse the alleged misbehavior of educators there and elsewhere, including Philadelphia. Adults who cheat children out of an education must be held accountable. Former Atlanta schools Superintendent Beverly Hall is one of an astounding 35 educators who surrendered to authorities last week on conspiracy, theft, and racketeering charges more commonly used to prosecute organized-crime figures.
March 15, 2013
Flower Show retail less of a draw I beg to differ with reports blaming bad weather for attendance at the Philadelphia Flower Show ("Flower show has a decline in visitors," March 11). My husband attended the Flower Show some 20 years ago, and he raved about it when we moved to this area five years ago. A couple of years ago, we attended. For more than $30 a ticket, we got to see wilting displays of flowers. (This was toward the end of the show.) There were too many people, and half the show was devoted to sellers' booths.
February 28, 2013 |
America's public schools have played a role in reducing inequality and increasing the bonds between people of diverse backgrounds. Yet, as we struggle through a particularly partisan era, a period in which the middle class is shrinking and income inequality is increasing, there is a growing movement to privatize public schools. Earlier this month, the Philadelphia School District announced that even more of the city's public schools will be given to charter organizations this fall, even though only 29 percent of the 80 charter schools met benchmarks.
February 14, 2013 |
HARRISBURG - The budget ax might not land on public schools after all. For weeks, Gov. Corbett and members of his administration have sent strong signals that they would likely look to education funding for budget cuts if the legislature did not act to rein in the state's skyrocketing public-employee pension costs. But on Tuesday, the governor softened his stance. Surrounded by school administrators at a news conference in the Capitol, he said it was the legislature that would ultimately have to choose where to cut in order to recoup dollars for the state's two major pension funds.