April 26, 2013
By Nathan Mains Every school day in Pennsylvania, 82 high school students leave school after classes - and never return. That's more than 14,000 school dropouts last year across the commonwealth. Fifty-four of Pennsylvania's 598 high schools are considered among the nation's lowest performers, meaning that fewer than 60 percent of freshmen progress to their senior year on time. Dropping out of school isn't just a stigma - it's a life-changing disadvantage with wide-ranging implications and the issue is dogged by troubling questions around who's dropping out, the reasons for the exodus, and the societal and economic consequences.
April 20, 2013
By William C. Kashatus When I was a teenager in the 1970s, I refused to get out of bed for school at 6 a.m. It got so bad that my mother threatened to pour ice water over my head. Not until my father took away the car keys did I force myself to roll off the mattress and become the grouchy morning person who trudged off to school. Forty years later, my adolescent son is exhibiting the same early-morning behavior. Just like his teenaged father, he's trying to get an education, play sports, and hold down a weekend job on less than six hours of sleep each night; not nearly enough rest for an adolescent who lives in a 24/7 culture.
March 14, 2013 |
I AM A Philadelphia School District (PSD) teacher in my 36th year, and what has really gotten stuck in my craw most has been the imperial, patronizing manner in which the PSD leadership has been conducting its business. Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. arrived six months ago spouting transparency and community engagement, but what we've mostly gotten has been something far less. School Reform Commission Chairman Pedro Ramos and the SRC set the stage by surreptitiously hiring an attorney to lobby the state Legislature to increase the power of the SRC to impose working conditions.
March 7, 2013
Teachers have long stressed the "three R's" - reading, writing, and arithmetic - as fundamental to learning. It's time to bring back another R: recess. In their well-intentioned emphasis on academics and standardized test scores, schools across the country have eliminated recess. Today, only 40 percent of public schools offer a play period. It's time to reconsider recess' benefits for students' minds as well as their bodies. Expecting elementary-school children to sit in classrooms for hours on end may actually hurt the learning process.
March 2, 2013 |
William R. Hite Jr. wants you to know: He does not want to drive teachers out of the Philadelphia School District. The superintendent says he doesn't want to take away their water fountains, desks, or privileges to leave the building during their lunch periods. He's not after students' books and he doesn't want to increase class sizes. "We believe teachers are professionals, just like architects, lawyers, doctors," Hite said Thursday in an interview. "We want a contract that reflects that.
February 24, 2013 |
THE SCHOOL DISTRICT announced Friday that it will recommend nine schools to become renaissance schools, a district initiative aimed at turning around low-performing schools. Two of the selected schools - Strawberry Mansion High and McMichael Elementary - were on the district's proposed school closure list last week, but on Tuesday, the district announced that both would stay open. Strawberry Mansion, Edison High, and Barry, Bryant, Cayuga and McMichael elementaries were recommended to be Promise Academies.
February 7, 2013 |
MANY COLLEGE kids change their major once or twice, then accept their degree and wind up working in an entirely different field. Somehow, it's impossible to envision Jared Jackson traveling down that winding road. "I've wanted to be a doctor since I was 2 or 3 years old," he said. Two or three? That early? "Yes," he said. "I had the little stethoscope around my neck. Played with the fake X-ray toy . . . Be a doctor. That's all I wanted to do. " In time, Jackson, a 6-1, 215-pound defensive end, also began mixing in football and Wednesday morning he was part of a wonderful, in-the-gym ceremony at Imhotep Charter, which last fall captured Public League and City Titles at the Class AA level and advanced to a state semifinal.
January 25, 2013
If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, why are so many public-school students needlessly going hungry? Only 35 percent of New Jersey's 471,714 children eligible for a free or reduced-price meal received breakfast at school last year. That's among the lowest participation rates in the country. New Jersey ranks 46th in the number of low-income students who get breakfast at school. Pennsylvania is 36th. Nationally, only about 50 percent of students in the reduced or free lunch program eat a school breakfast.
January 18, 2013 |
Arvel Wells-Kargbo, 56, of East Mount Airy, a longtime Philadelphia teacher and principal who dedicated her career to raising standards for Philadelphia schoolchildren, died Thursday, Jan. 10, of cardiac arrest. Mrs. Wells-Kargbo, principal of the Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School at the time of her death, grew up in North Philadelphia and graduated from Gratz High School in 1974. She earned a bachelor's degree at Morgan State University and master's degree at Antioch College, and had finished studies for her doctorate in education at Nova Southeastern University, her husband, Molson Kargbo, said.