July 17, 2012
Sharing food with Penn Farm
Students at nearby William Penn High School rent land at historic Penn Farm and established a community support agriculture program to sell produce to neighbors. During the school year, the William Penn students work for grades but, right now, the farm is their summer job. The teens earn $8.75 an hour, and senior Allie Ash said the pay is better than working at the mall. William Penn High School agroscience teacher Kathleen Pickard says 44 families have signed up for the CSA.
The New York Times
Universities reshaping education on the web
As part of a seismic shift in online learning that is reshaping higher education, a dozen major research universities are joining Coursera, a year-old company founded by two Stanford University computer scientists. In the fall, Coursera will offer 100 or more free massive open online courses that are expected to draw millions of students and adult learners globally. Professors say their in-class students benefit from the online materials and some have rearranged their courses so that students do the online lesson first, then come to class for interactive projects and help with problem areas.
TN education reform hits bump in teacher evaluation
According to a state report, Tennessee’s new way of evaluating classrooms “systematically failed” to identify bad teachers and provide them more training. In this first state review of evaluations — launched last summer — the education department suggests some principals will need to be trained again on how to observe teachers. It’s one of numerous recommendations in a 45-page report that captures thousands of teacher and administrator responses to the evaluation program.
Substitute teaching undergoes new scrutiny
While substitute teachers are largely seen as occasional pinch hitters for full-time teachers, statistics show that students spend a good chunk of their time in school with them. The National Council on Teacher Quality estimates that the average teacher misses between six and 10 days of school per year. “We ought to be looking at professionalizing substitute teachers to make sure kids are experiencing high-quality instruction throughout their time in school,” said Linda Davin, a senior policy analyst at the National Education Association, which has been studying efforts around the country to professionalize, support, and better compensate substitute teachers for a forthcoming brief.