African American boys make up 59 percent of students enrolled in “emotional support” programs in Philadelphia but less than a third of the general student population. They are six times more likely to be labeled emotionally disturbed than White girls.
White girls are four times more likely than Black boys to be identified as mentally gifted.
The racial and socioeconomic achievement gap often first surfaces as children begin to take standardized tests, usually around third grade.
But in reality the gap opens long before that – at or before birth, experts say, arguing that kindergarten is way too late to start.
President-elect Barack Obama agrees, promising to focus much of his education agenda on investing in the nation’s youngest children.
Following the examples of other School District and city unions, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers has reached agreement with the District on a one-year extension of its current contract, with a 4 percent pay increase effective March 15.
Like Mayor Nutter, Superintendent Arlene Ackerman pushed for one-year contract extensions of all expiring union contracts, saying she hadn’t had sufficient time on the job to engage in a comprehensive negotiation process.
Wendy Harris has joined the staff of the Notebook as its first managing editor.
Her addition is the harbinger of a series of big changes at the Notebook, as it expands its news services, including the launch of a new Web site and blog in January 2009.
The forthcoming blog will provide a forum for reader discussion, news, and commentary from a diverse group of observers of the Philadelphia schools. Expanded staffing will also allow for frequent updates of thenotebook.org, the Notebook's Web site.
To the editors:
Thank you for your truly comprehensive issue about our district’s immigrant population and the many issues concerning ESOL instruction.
I’d like to note that we do have exit criteria for ESOL students based on PSSA performance, ACCESS test scores, and a minimum grade of C in the core subject areas.
I am not alone in missing the assistance our ELL coaches used to provide. I hope that help is on the way – thanks, in part, to your reporting.
Philadelphia has a handful of racially and economically diverse schools where Black and White students achieve comparably high test scores, defying the traditional achievement gap. In some cases, African Americans outperform their White peers.
These schools are an anomaly in a city where most schools are racially isolated and high-poverty, and the few dozen that are integrated often exhibit large learning gaps. Though they are not the norm, these successful schools can teach valuable lessons.
Latino parents in South Philadelphia, working through the organization JUNTOS/Casa de los Soles, won a commitment from District officials to provide better interpretation services for non-English-speaking parents in schools at a Nov. 9 public action at Annunciation Church.
For five years, Paul Tough, a reporter on education and an editor of the New York Times Magazine, followed Harlem native Geoffrey Canada and the creation and development of the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) – a multilevel social service network “woven so tightly that children in the neighborhood couldn’t slip through.” The result is this illuminating book, which chronicles both the successes and limitations of the effort.
Sandra Dungee Glenn remembers vividly the moment she first became aware of educational inequities.
She was in fourth grade, attending a creative writing class at the University of Pennsylvania with some of the brightest students from all over the city, White and Black, well-off and poor. She was in a group with a White girl from the Northeast who talked about her school’s cafeteria, gym, auditorium, and a science lab with rabbits and turtles.