Schools Matter Blog by Stephen Krashen Sent to the Washington Post, August 12
Melinda Gates still thinks that teacher quality is the problem in American education (“Gates Foundation to ‘stay the course’ as it seeks to help shape state education policies,” August 12). Of course we should always be trying to improve teaching, but there is no teacher quality crisis in the US: When researchers control for the effect of poverty, American students score near the top of the world on international tests. Our overall scores are unspectacular because of our unacceptably high child poverty rate, now around 25%. The problem is poverty, not teacher quality. Poverty means food deprivation, lack of health care, and lack of access to books. Each of these has a strong negative influence on school performance. Let’s forget about developing new ways of evaluating teachers, fancy databases, and the other Gates ideas that have no support in research or practice. Instead, let’s invest in making sure no child is left unfed, no child lacks proper health care, and all children have access to quality libraries.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Philadelphia School Reform Commission broke state law when it canceled its contract with the city’s teacher’s union.
The unanimous decision upholds two lower court rulings and marks the end of a legal battle that began in October 2014 when the SRC made the stunning decision to scrap its existing contract with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and impose changes to union health benefits. Monday’s decision, penned by Chief Justice Thomas Saylor, is a decisive victory for the union — one that removes at least some of the uncertainty surrounding union negotiations with the district over a new contract.
Post Gazette By Tim Means August 15, 2016 9:25 PM
Philly Trib by Wilford Shamlin III Tribune Staff Writer Posted: Saturday, August 13, 2016 12:00 am
Science Leadership Academy will expand its inquiry-driven, project-based schools, with a new middle school on Drexel University’s campus. A Philadelphia public school will occupy space in a renovated mansion at the West Philadelphia university on school days. In an interview Friday, founding principal Timothy Boyle said a school design committee is working with an architectural firm, an educational consultant, and Drexel staff, on designs for a new school site, adapting the best parts of its school model for the younger middle school enrollment. “My job is to take what’s wildly successful at SLA Center City and SLA Beeber and bring an inquiry-driven school model to a neighborhood school level,” Boyle said. SLA’s Center City school, at 55 N. 22nd St., and the Beeber campus, at 5925 Malvern Ave., are both configured for grades 9 to 12. Last spring, the middle school was approved by the School Reform Commission as part of the school district’s effort to offer innovative schools as an alternative to traditional public schools.
American Public Education Foundation Website
The Star-Spangled Banner will be sung by school children nationwide on Friday, September 9, 2016 at 10:00am PST and 1:00pm EST. Students will learn about the words and meaning of the flag and sing the first stanza. This will be the third annual simultaneous sing-a-long event created by the APEF-9/12 Generation Project. The project aims to bring students together – as the world came together – on September 12, 2001.