Two icons of the progressive education movement spoke in Philadelphia on Wednesday night to decry standardized testing and urge that a “justice-oriented framework” drive school reform instead.
“Test score gaps are used to label schools as failures without providing resources or strategies to eliminate the gap,” said Stan Karp of Rethinking Schools, an education journal and publisher.
In July 2010, when Saliyah Cruz was named principal of Communications Technology High, state test scores said the small citywide admission school in Southwest Philadelphia was one of the best in the city.
Everything else said something different.
Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis "acted prematurely" in changing how to calculate adequate yearly progress for charter schools, according to the U.S. Department of Education. The rule change made it easier for some charters to make AYP.
But a federal spokesperson also said in an email that the change may ultimately be approved.
High school students in Philadelphia public schools transfer for two basic reasons: They are having problems at their current school or they hope for better educational opportunities elsewhere.
In either case, District officials are working to make the changes quicker and easier.
“We want to be able to streamline the process,” says Danielle Seward, deputy chief of student enrollment and placement.
By Benjamin Herold and Dale Mezzacappa
The disappointing results on Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) exams are the product of less cheating and tight new test security measures, according to state Secretary of Education Ronald Tomalis.
Los estudiantes de escuela superior en las escuelas públicas de Filadelfia se transfieren por dos razones básicas: porque stán teniendo problemas en su escuela actual o porque esperan recibir mejores oportunidades educativas en otra escuela.
En cualquier caso, los funcionarios del Distrito están trabajando para que la transferencia sea más rápida y fácil.
“Queremos poder simplificar el proceso”, dice Danielle Seward, subdirectora de matrícula y colocación de estudiantes.
District staff members have recommended new managers for four recently designated Renaissance charter schools.
Their proposal, to be voted on Thursday night by the School Reform Commission, would award Mastery Charter the school it wanted, introduce two new providers to the District's aggressive school turnaround initiative, and overrule a vote by Creighton Elementary's School Advisory Council (SAC) to keep the school under District control.
The District recommends that:
About 250 parents, community members, principals, teachers, and District officials braved an unusual fall snowstorm on Saturday to attend the first citywide summit on School Advisory Councils.
The "SAC Summit" at Benjamin Franklin High School was a key step in District plans to put functioning SACs in an increasing number of schools, perhaps close to half of those in the city.
Pennsylvania has released overall and school-by-school results for last spring's PSSA tests.
Statewide, there was a slight increase in the overall percentage of students scoring proficient or above on the test, and about two-thirds of schools were declared to have met their federal learning targets, or "adequate yearly progress" (AYP).
Last week, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that states could apply for waivers from No Child Left Behind. What does this mean?
The law, which has yet to be reauthorized in Congress even though it expired in 2007, has long been controversial – especially its goal that all students would be proficient in math and reading by 2014. Schools that consistently failed to meet ever-escalating targets have been required to undertake drastic reform measures, including what we are now calling turnaround.
As the goals get higher, more and more schools are failing to meet them, even if large numbers of their students are reaching the proficiency levels.