This story was published by NewsWorks on Nov. 25
The Pennsylvania legislature is one step closer to pushing back the use of standardized tests as a graduation requirement.
State law now mandates that, starting with the class of 2017, high schoolers must pass Keystone exams in Literature, Algebra I and Biology to graduate.
A former testing coordinator at Chester Community Charter School, the state’s largest bricks-and-mortar charter with more than 3,000 students, has been sanctioned by the state for “systemic violations of the security of the PSSA exams” over the five-year period between 2007 and 2011.
The school was under scrutiny for testing irregularities by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as part of a statewide cheating scandal that broke in 2011.
The newest proposed version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—dubbed the Every Student Succeeds Act—is almost over the congressional finish line, with votes in both chambers of Congress imminent.
So how would accountability work under the ESSA, if approved? And how does it compare to the No Child Left Behind Act, Classic Edition, and the Obama administration's waivers?
Your cheat sheet here. Top-line stuff on accountability first, then some early reaction. Scroll down further if you want the nitty-gritty details on accountability.
In his first major policy announcement since winning election, Philadelphia Mayor-elect Jim Kenney formalized a campaign promise to create 25 "community schools" over the next four years.
Before a sea of schoolchildren and TV cameras in the gymnasium of North Philadelphia's Tanner Duckrey Elementary, Kenney told students Monday that the initiative would help give them "the ability to reach your potential in your life."
A tentative outline for a Pennsylvania budget looks like it could crumble this week, dealing a bitter reality check to Gov. Wolf and the top lawmakers who said they could deliver a spending plan by Thanksgiving.
The Notebook is examining standardized testing this month. The topic is the focus of our upcoming edition due out this week.
1. Pennsylvania Gov. Wolf has requested a total of $58.3 million for testing in the current budget.
Does Pennsylvania's school rating system make the grade?
In a recent brief, Research for Action argues that the state's School Performance Profile index leaves much to be desired.
The Notebook is examining standardized testing this month. The topic is the focus of our upcoming December-January edition.
What is the so-called achievement gap?
This gap manifests itself in test scores; in the vast majority of standardized tests, scores for African American and Latino students are, on average, significantly lower than scores for White and Asian students. Many object to calling it an “achievement” gap, citing vastly different resources available to students in different circumstances. The gap has shrunk over the last few decades, but is still wide and persistent, as is the gap in resources.
The Philadelphia School Reform Commission hosted a marathon meeting Thursday night featuring a slate of nearly 70 public speakers. The bulk of the testimony showcased opposition to the District's proposal to convert three of its elementary schools into neighborhood-based charters.
In an email to School District employees Thursday, Superintendent William Hite again acknowledged the failure by staffing firm Source4teachers to adequately fill the District's substitute vacancies and described a few planned changes in the Cherry Hill-based firm's contract to be considered at Thursday's School Reform Commission meeting.
"Without a doubt, our efforts this year to ramp up substitute teacher recruitment and hiring by contracting with Source4Teachers (S4T) have not worked as anticipated," Hite said.