A new Pew poll shows that education now ranks as the most important issue among voters in the city – and more than three-fourths of those surveyed rated the schools as poor or fair.
What can be done? The May 19 primary election could effectively determine the next mayor and City Council members. The direction of the city on education issues is up for grabs.
Schools in Philadelphia and elsewhere are struggling to catch up with the times.
Classrooms are starting to look different, but some still function like they did 50 years ago, when pencils, chalk, and books were the main learning tools (with maybe an occasional filmstrip).
Fear, scarce resources, and a lack of vision are blocking an expanded classroom role for technology.
Dale Mezzacappa and Allison Weltonon Apr 3, 2015 01:00 PM
Building 21 is one of three innovative high schools started this year designed to transform the educational experience for students. After a year of planning, it opened in September to its first class of more than 100 9th graders.
Dale Mezzacappa and Allison Weltonon Apr 2, 2015 11:31 AM
When math teacher Eros Uthman-Olukokun joined the High School of the Future faculty in the summer of 2013, he was overwhelmed.
Every student had a laptop, and all academic materials were online. Accustomed to paper, pencils, and textbooks, Uthman-Olukokun suddenly had to do everything differently.
Vernon Clarkon Apr 1, 2015 11:47 AM
At the Philadelphia Virtual Academy, principal Dave Anderson said, some blended learning -- a combination of classroom instruction and online skill-building -- is taking place, but because it is a cyber school, the greater emphasis has been on computer-based learning.
Connie Langlandon Mar 31, 2015 10:48 AM
At the start of class, 9th grader William Cook has logged on to an academic website, just as his algebra teacher, Robert Mastrangelo, instructed.
“Do the reading and watch some of the videos before you do the practice,” advises Mastrangelo, who moves down an aisle to assist a student having trouble logging on.
Eric Joselynon Mar 27, 2015 05:23 PM
Maura McInerneyon Mar 27, 2015 12:01 PM
Imagine having no speech or hearing, only limited sight and no way of communicating with those around you. This was the isolated world of one of the Education Law Center’s clients, 9-year-old Billy (not his real name).
Billy is a child with multiple disabilities, including cerebral palsy, physical impairments, and an intellectual disability. His school days were long and lonely. Teachers and classmates did not understand or interact with him, and he could not communicate even his most basic needs.
Paul Socolaron Mar 26, 2015 12:57 PM
The fall 2014 edition of an annual report called Managing for Results in America’s Great City Schools provides data from 2012-13 comparing the School District of Philadelphia and about 40 other big-city school districts on key performance indicators for information technology.
Philadelphia’s results fell near the bottom among big-city districts nationally on most of the technology indicators.
Dan Hardyon Mar 26, 2015 11:41 AM
The numbers tell the story: Philadelphia has all the markings of a technology-starved school district.
In a report released last fall on 2012-13 information technology benchmarks for about 40 of the school districts making up the Council of the Great City Schools, the School District of Philadelphia ranked second from the bottom in the average age of its computers: just over five years. A computer’s assumed useful life is about five years.