August 9, 2013
Maybe the schools shouldn’t open
An opinion by Dave Davies
It’s gotten crazy. Year after year, the Philadelphia school system approaches the abyss and appeals to everyone for help. And city taxpayers, seeing no one else coming, step in to save the day. Year after year, the district loses students and revenue to charter schools, loses state revenue, and struggles to educate the Commonwealth’s neediest children. Now the district’s budget hole is so big that the superintendent is saying he can’t open all the schools unless he gets $50 million, presumably from the city, by next Friday. Folks, this doesn’t work. We’re somehow in a situation in which the city is committing to permanently erect a two percent differential between its sales tax and that of its suburban neighbors (we’ll be at eight percent, the suburbs six), and we’re committing $120 million a year of that revenue to the schools, far into the future. And what is state committing on an on-going basis? Pretty close to nothing.
The Los Angeles Times
California sees a surprise drop in student test scores
For the first time in a decade, California standardized test scores in English and math slipped this year, flummoxing educators who blame budget cuts and new national learning standards that have required curriculum changes. Despite the statewide slip in scores, released Thursday, Los Angeles Unified School District largely held its own: Students posted the highest gain in math among 10 large urban school districts and a smaller drop in English than statewide peers. Scores rose particularly in two grades — sixth and ninth — that have adopted new academic learning standards, even as some educators pointed to them for the statewide decline.
The New York Times
In Mayoral race, looking for substance in schools conversation
The release of state test scores on Wednesday, the first exams to be aligned with tougher academic standards, brought talk of achievement gaps and teacher training into vogue on the campaign trail. With the results showing that less than a third of students in grades three through eight citywide were deemed proficient in reading and math, Mr. de Blasio, Mr. Liu and other candidates for mayor took turns blasting Mr. Bloomberg’s efforts to turn around the school system. The state test scores provided easy political fodder, but they also served as a reminder that many of the candidates have yet to articulate far-reaching visions for the city’s schools, which serve 1.1 million children.
Left behind in science: Why Mississippi’s children lose out on STEM jobs
Only 10% of Mississippi’s high school graduates who go on to college earn a degree in STEM subjects. Yet within the next five years, an estimated 46,000 STEM-related jobs will become available in Mississippi. The state education department is offering grants to five districts to upgrade equipment and improve engineering courses and is helping schools expand offerings through its STEM job cluster program.
Related Topics: Achievement Gap, Advanced Placement, annual standardized tests, basic, campus reconstruction, CCSS, closed schools, college, Common Core Standards, communities, courses, economic gap, efficient system, English, enrichment classes, Governor Corbett, Grants, high unemployment rate, international science exams, investors, legislature, math, national science exams, obama administration, partnership students, performance goals, proficient, public education, reorganization, sales tax, school district, standards, STEM education, STEM skills, tax policy, test performance, test scores, The Mississippi School for Math and Science, U.S. Department of Labor