February 16, 2015 |
When the affluent Lower Merion School District proposed cutting music and art instruction in elementary schools, some teachers and parents saw it as part of a scheme to increase prep time for state-mandated standardized tests. The loudest voice was Todd Marrone, a popular Welsh Valley Middle School art teacher, who started a blog to encourage a broader revolt against the growing role of high-stakes testing, which he called "the greatest threat to the humanities. " Marrone died in late 2013, but his protest has taken root in Lower Merion and is connecting with an increasingly powerful nationwide movement for kids to "opt out" of standardized tests such as the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, or PSSA.
March 19, 2010
KANSAS CITY, Mo., is on track to close 29 schools due to declining enrollment, and many other school districts are verging on similar action, so it wouldn't be illogical to predict a major overhaul of every phase of America's system of public education. I believe a major reduction in salaries, pensions and other benefits will be necessary to correct a dire situation. Politicians and school administrators can make speeches and promises, but money is the final arbiter. Ephraim Levin, Philadelphia
October 15, 2001 |
IF THE EVENTS of the past few weeks have taught us nothing, we have learned that we Americans, including Pennsylvanians, are capable of great acts of heroism and generosity. We have a deep reservoir of compassion when we see innocents suffering through no fault of their own. Even those of us who have no connection to New York City or Washington couldn't wait to donate our blood, sweat, tears and hard-earned money toward their rescue. It's enough to make me believe that we in Pennsylvania really do have the heart and will to rescue our own innocents.
September 16, 2013 |
Stepping into Philadelphia's school-funding crisis, the Rev. Al Sharpton delivered a fiery address Saturday linking public education to the civil rights movement and promising a return to the city to "take the veil off. " The problem, he said in his keynote speech at the "Higher Education Awareness, Dropout Prevention, and Health Initiative" conference, is "a direct effort to eliminate public education. " He then seized upon a theme often trumpeted by city education activists: "You got money, [Gov.]
October 14, 2010 |
Calling him "the education candidate," a public-school advocacy group endorsed Democrat Dan Onorato for governor Wednesday afternoon. Education Voters of Pennsylvania, a nonpartisan, nonprofit group based in Philadelphia, said it preferred Onorato over Republican Tom Corbett because of his support for gradually raising state funding for most school districts according to a formula first approved by the legislature in 2008. Corbett has said he does not support increased funding because of budget crises that the state faces in the next few years.
April 2, 2010
AMERICA IS now in the process of dismantling its public-school system. This is the result of indulging in expensive school contracts, lowering standards for teachers and pupils and a funding system that is both archaic and unworkable. All of the foregoing, tolerated by political know-nothings and exacerbated by tens of thousands of drones, has managed to wreck America's infrastructure of learning. What solutions now, disgusting, disingenuous politicians? Ephraim Levin, Philadelphia
April 20, 1999 |
Nationwide she may be known as the founder of the American Red Cross, but in Burlington County, Clara Barton will be remembered for promoting public education. At Burlington and Crosswicks Streets in Bordentown is a one-room brick schoolhouse, believed to be the first public school in the county, which Barton, then 30, started in 1852 as part of her goal to overcome a bias in the community against "pauper schools. " "Something drew me to the State of New Jersey," Barton wrote in her memoirs.
May 15, 2012 |
If the School Reform Commission and Chief Recovery Officer Thomas Knudsen have their way, we may witness the end of public education in Philadelphia. A five-year plan proposed by Philadelphia School District officials calls for the overhaul of virtually every element of the system — from finances to academics to central management. These drastic changes suggest to many that the district is intent on expediting the privatization of its schools, despite its promises to stay the traditional route and invest in neighborhoods and communities.
May 29, 1994
The most encouraging news about the plan for Philadelphia's public schools announced last week is that, at last, the key players are singing from the same hymnal. When Mayor Rendell, City Council President John Street, and the school board president, Rotan Lee, presented a list of ideas to prevent $29 million in cuts from the school district's budget, they talked more than economics. They talked about addressing the severe credibility problem of the district, the continuing perception that it just sucks up public money to support a "bloated, inefficient and topheavy bureaucracy.
March 3, 2003
QUICK RECAP: A few weeks ago, Philadelphia School District CEO Paul Vallas all but canned two principals who had allowed students to get a bit out of hand at their high schools. The crackdown was controversial, but few could debate its symbolic value. High school principals were on notice that a higher standard will be enforced. But a district doesn't survive on symbolism alone. Vallas has now followed up with a bold and substantial plan to overhaul nearly all Philadelphia high schools.