February 9, 2015 |
With lagging student test scores and only about 120 students in grades K-4, Spring City Elementary School three years ago looked more like a candidate for closure than for an extreme makeover. But with the boldness of a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, the Spring-Ford Area School District gambled on a radically different approach to fixing the struggling school near the border of Montgomery and Chester Counties. It spent roughly $300,000 over three years to arm students and their classrooms - even kindergartners - with the latest desktops, iPads, Apple TVs, and smartboards.
September 26, 2014 |
The results of the Philadelphia School District's 2014 state exams are in, and overall, city students' performance dipped slightly from the previous year. Fewer than half of all students met state standards, and both reading and math scores dropped. In reading, 42 percent of students met the bar set on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, down from 42.3 percent last year. In math, 45.2 percent met standards, down from 46.9 percent in 2013. "No one is satisfied with these results," Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said Wednesday.
September 11, 2014 |
Rowan University will offer certain applicants this year the option of submitting an additional essay in lieu of SAT or ACT scores, joining a slew of schools that have eliminated or reduced standardized-test requirements for admission. The South Jersey university tested a "test-optional" program for performing-arts applicants last year. The success of that program has led to wider implementation: Students with 3.5 grade-point averages on a 4.0 high school scale will be eligible. A broad swath of students must still submit SAT or ACT scores, including applicants to the engineering school, applicants qualifying for the state Educational Opportunity Fund, home-schooled students, international students, and candidates for academic merit scholarships.
July 30, 2014 |
In an effort to cultivate talented students who don't test well, Temple University says it will become the first national public research university in the Northeast to make standardized test scores optional for admission. The university expects as many as 150 to 200 students who likely would not have been accepted because of low SAT and ACT scores, but who exhibit other promising attributes, will be admitted for fall 2015. Many of them could come from the Philadelphia School District.
May 10, 2014
Arguably, it has never been tougher to be a teacher in America - especially in poor, urban, crime-infested neighborhoods such as Philadelphia's Hunting Park, where too many children find it hard to focus their minds on learning. Education is the most valuable commodity children from such environments can obtain. They should have the very best teachers. Too frequently, though, they not only lack fine educators; they are subjected to pedagogical abuse. It's abuse when a teacher, prodded by a principal, cavalierly changes or provides the answers to a test rather than put forth the effort required to teach what the child needs to learn.
May 10, 2014 |
The culture of cheating was so blatant at Cayuga Elementary, authorities said, that the principal broadcast orders to tamper with tests over the loudspeaker. Five educators were arrested Thursday and accused of tampering with public records, forgery, conspiracy and other crimes - the first such charges brought in a Pennsylvania cheating investigation expected to yield more arrests. Charged Thursday were Evelyn Cortez, 59, Cayuga's principal until last week, and teachers Jennifer Hughes, 59, Lorraine Vicente, 41, Rita Wyszynski, 65, and Ary Sloane, 56, who had been principal of Bethune Elementary.
December 14, 2013 |
WEST CHESTER West Chester University has again been named one of the nation's top values for public colleges and universities, according to Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine. Each year since 2008 the Chester County school has made the list, which ranks institutions based on quality of education and overall cost to students. This year, West Chester is ranked 77th among the top 100 schools. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is No. 1 on the list. The University of Delaware is No. 32. The College of New Jersey is 34th, Rutgers University 47th, and Pennsylvania State University 53d. The list is compiled using data from 600 public schools, with criteria such as the admission rate; test scores of incoming students; graduation rates; and costs of tuition and room and board.
May 17, 2013
The principal who lost his job after blowing the whistle on test cheating in Camden schools seven years ago is again on his way to being let go, giving life to the adage that no good deed goes unpunished. Rehired less than a year ago, Joseph D. Carruth has been told he will be out of work on July 1 unless the School District finds a new position for him. State education officials, who are taking over the city's schools, should do their best to keep him employed. No one was ever held responsible for what state investigators called "adult interference" at two Camden elementary schools and the magnet high school where Carruth was principal.
April 9, 2013
WE'VE CERTAINLY made progress. Used to be, some kids cheated on their tests. Now it's the teachers and principals who cheat. Last week, Philly took a back seat to Atlanta, where a grand jury indicted an ex-superintendent and nearly three dozen former administrators, teachers and principals. Seems when students took tests and got answers wrong, teachers gathered in covens, pulled out their erasers and - presto, change-o - turned them into correct answers. The district "earned" more than $500,000 for the improved scores.
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.