July 15, 2013 |
My first dog loved me and I her. Queenie would sit on my house's back stoop and await my arrival from school. I'd open the gate and hear her whimper some 50 feet away. As we eyed each other, she would begin swaying anxiously. I'd stoop down, place my book bag on the ground, and still she stayed put. Then I would put my hands out and yell, "Here, Queenie," and only then would the little cocker spaniel leap from the stoop and run, ears flapping behind her head, into my waiting arms.
June 20, 2013 |
Gov. Corbett's administration - along with city and state officials - is working to assemble a funding package that could pump as much as $100 million more into the coffers of the Philadelphia School District, according to sources with knowledge of the high-level talks. But the money, which could include federal funds the state would send to the cash-strapped district, might come with hefty strings attached, they said. The additional aid would be contingent on the district's ability to obtain major concessions from the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, including requiring teachers to work a longer school day and contribute to their health-care coverage, sources said.
June 19, 2013 |
RECENTLY I took part in one of the most powerful and essential events I have ever attended. About two dozen parents and about 20 schoolchildren from several Philadelphia public schools took ourselves, along with 4,000 letters written to legislators by students K-12, to Harrisburg. Our goal was to personally deliver the letters and our opinion on the current school budget crisis to Gov. Corbett. We decided to go to Harrisburg to give our legislators and their leader the opportunity to make a firsthand connection between the numbers on their spreadsheets and the faces of the human beings standing in their offices and in the Rotunda.
June 14, 2013 |
Upon his death in 1831, Stephen A. Girard, industrialist and philanthropist, endowed Philadelphia's Girard College with what was then the largest private charitable donation in U.S. history. Pursuant to the era's thinking on social problems, the facility housed and educated white male orphans, enabling them to achieve more productive lives. In 1968, the college was opened to minorities after a long legal struggle led by William T. Coleman Jr. of the law firm Dilworth Paxson, founded by a legendary reformist Philadelphia mayor.
April 30, 2013
New Jersey ranks among the bottom states for school-breakfast participation. And when Garden State schools do serve breakfast, it's typically at the wrong time. That needs to change. Across the state, 525 school districts provide the most important meal of the day to low-income students who otherwise might not get breakfast. But most serve breakfast before the first classes begin, and many students who can't get to school that early start the day hungry. Their learning often suffers as a result.
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.