GOOD


Closing schools has become an almost reflexive, corporate solution to a complex fiscal and social problema problem to which no one has found a satisfying answer.

Districts shutter, sell, or destroy physical properties typically for fiscal reasons. Districts also terminate contracts of poor-performing service providers to make way for new leaders who most often radically rearrange the organs of a schoolmaking it in essence a new school. In either case for students, alumni, and family members, closing a school can feel like excommunicating a grandfather to the wilderness to save money.

Keep Reading
Articles

Go Public: Film Project Gives 'Day in the Life' Perspective to Public Schools

Go Public tells the stories of 50 students, parents, volunteers, teachers, and district staff for an entire day.


Think you know what it's like to learn and work in a public school in the United States? Spend a little time watching Go Public, a film project that followed students, parents, volunteers, teachers, and school district staff in a suburban Los Angeles school district for one day last spring, and you'll see public education with fresh eyes.

The project followed 50 individuals from sunup to sundown and filmed at 28 different campuses and reveals the nuances of "what goes on during a typical day in a public school setting" in the racially, ethnically, and economically diverse Pasadena Unified School District. Entertainment industry vets James and Dawn O'Keefe, whose own kids attend public school in PUSD, came up with the concept after a local parcel tax measure that would've generated $7 million a year for the cash strapped district failed with voters. They set out to tell the real story of what goes on in the district—"what works and what doesn’t"—so that Pasadena residents, many of whom hadn't been on a school campus in years, have a better "understanding of the strengths, weaknesses and needs of public education as a whole."

Keep Reading
Articles

What Do Americans Say Is the Biggest Problem Facing Public Schools?

Hint: it's not ineffective teachers or campus violence.


Is the biggest problem facing public schools ineffective teachers? The media's fascination with tales of failing schools, rubber rooms, and kids waiting for 'Superman', would certainly have you think that's the case. According to the 44th annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools, Americans actually see a lack of financial support as the biggest problem facing their community schools.

Indeed, for a third year in a row, 71% of poll respondents say they have trust and confidence in the nation's teachers. But 43% of parents and 35% of Americans in general say money is the biggest issue. A decade ago in 2002, just 17% of poll respondents cited a lack of funds for schools as a problem. Back then Americans felt the biggest problems facing schools were overcrowding and discipline issues like fighting, gangs, and drugs. Now only 14% of Americans think those things are big problems.

Keep Reading
Articles

Teachers in Bankrupt Pennsylvania School District Pledge to Work for Free

Chester Upland School District runs out of money today, but teachers have pledged to keep working.


Would you still go to work every day if your boss couldn't pay you? That's what 200 teachers and 65 other employees of Pennsylvania's Chester Upland School District have pledged to do after district officials told them that a $19 million budget shortfall meant they wouldn't be receiving salaries.

Sara Ferguson, who's been a teacher in Chester Upland—a 3,700-student school system just south of Philadelphia—calls the situation "alarming," but she told the The Philadelphia Inquirer that she and her colleagues have committed to staying on the job because "the students don't have any contingency plan. They need to be educated."

Keep Reading
Articles