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In case you missed it

By Anonymous on Feb 27, 2009 02:06 AM

Imagine 2014 dominated the local news and blogs this week. Todd Wolfson of the Media Mobilizing Project blogged about the Philadelphia Student Union's action against the plan on the Philly IMC. The MMP posted pictures of the action. We have the District factsheet released the day of the action. The Inquirer and Daily News reported on the opposition to the turnaround plan. And the Daily News reported the student activists' response to a meeting with Superintendent Ackerman.

Helen Gym generated a lot of discussion over on Young Philly Politics about the role of outside providers and the free market. On his Chalk and Talk blog Christopher Paslay pressed Mayor Nutter to follow through on his campaign pledge "call for a reduction in contracts with outside contractors unless there is a compelling educational purpose for renewing the contract.”

Paslay's post also mentioned KIPP, and in a Daily News article Ackerman reiterated that charter school applications must fit with the new five-year plan. KIPP has experience with starting brand new schools but a spokesperson says they aren't prepared to get into overhauling current failling schools like the plan requires.

Our blog has been buzzing about the strategic plan, too.

Elsewhere in the news, President Obama's address to Congress got raves in a Daily News editorial.

The Inquirer reported on a study that showed that only 18 districts in Pennsylvania meet the state's standards for graduation.

The Washington Post reported on a shift in the tone of teachers' contract negotiations in DC after an editorial by Chancellor Michelle Rhee. The outcome of the negotiations could be a bellweather for contracts around the country.

Some colleges are experimenting with three-year graduation tracks to help students afford higher education. The article also mentions that "most American students now take longer than four years to complete their degrees." Sue Snyder connected this trend to the "no-frills" college option proposed by the state Board of Ed.

The Institute for College Access and Success issued a fact sheet about Community College students, who still face challenges in affording higher education.

Ed Week's Politics K-12 blog reviews the initiatives in the 2010 proposed federal budget.

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Comments (6)

Submitted by Peak Johnson (not verified) on February 27, 2009 11:38 pm

I believe that the reforming of certain schools is needed, too many schools are getting away with things they shouldn't, such as passing students that don't really derserve to go to the next grade level. Working as a second grade teacher's assistant I've noticed a lot of skills that my second graders are lacking such as, reading and writing. There's a third grader, a former student, who has personal issues and cannot function properly. He has problems spelling his name, doing homework, following directions, yet his school allowed him to continue on to the third grade. Surely they could have helped him more, he can not continue to progress with the skills he still needs to obtain. Hopefully Dr. Ackerman's plan will fix problems such as these, so that those students who need help get it.

I do applaud Youth United For Change for looking into Dr. Ackerman's plan, making sure that the youth of Philadelphia were being accounted for in such a huge decision. Dr. Ackerman also for actually speaking to the youth, explaining details to them, and answering their questions. Most adults in high positions would have simply ignored teenagers, I think this says a lot about Dr. Ackerman.

Submitted by Erika Owens (not verified) on February 28, 2009 12:10 am

Lowering class size in the early grades is included in the plan and is a very important part of of addressing this issue. I hope that it happens, coupled with intensive academic supports so students can get and stay at grade level.

I'm concerned about holding students back because it can have such a big impact socially, on self confidence, and if the student doesn't get the support they need the second time around there's no reason to think it'll actually help them understand the information better. It really seems that to get at the issue of passing kids who don't know the material is to make sure they know the material! Makes sense, but is apparently hard to make happen.

I mostly worked with middle school students, and even if they made a year or two of grade improvement, many students were still several grade levels behind. But then I worked with kindergarten and first graders and the same amount of time tutoring brought them above grade level!

I hope that emphasis on the early grades, and the Obama administration's commitment to early childhood education, helps kids get to grade level. Ideally, that will get us to the place where we are keeping students on grade level in later elementary, middle, and high school rather than struggling to catch up.

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