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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Radio Smart Talk: PA Sec. of Education addresses reforms

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Sep 12, 2012 2:55 PM

Radio Smart Talk for Thursday, September 13:

school-classroom-teacher.jpgClasses began in Pennsylvania's 500 school districts over the past two-and-a-half weeks.  The start of the school year is perhaps when most people think about education.  There aren't any major wholesale changes in Pennsylvania schools for 2012-2013, but every school year does bring new issues.

State Secretary of Education Ronald Tomalis will appear on Thursday's Radio Smart Talk to address reforms that have been adopted and others that have been proposed.

A new way to evaluate teacher performance is one of the key modifications, although it won't be implemented until the 2013-2014 school year.  Up until now, teachers were graded simply by classroom observation and were deemed either satisfactory or unsatisfactory.  More than 99% were observed to be satisfactory.

Under the new system, student performance, using several different criteria, will make up 50% of a teacher's evaluation and the other half will be determined by classroom observation. 

We'll address several other issues with Sec. Tomalis, including charter school funding and school choice.

Listen to the program:

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  • ptyoder img 2012-09-13 07:07

    1.How does testing an 11th grade student evaluate an 9th grade teacher?

    2. With the emphasis on standardized tests how to you combat "teaching to the test"?

    3. Are charter schools evaluated the same way?

  • Dawn L. King img 2012-09-13 08:22

    Truth be told, I have very little faith in the public school system, and has been considering homeschooling. I researched the Commonwealth's regs on homeschooling and there is mentions of standardized tests. Like the public school system, I also have little faith in standardized tests--as they are not a good factor in determining how well a child is learning. Are there any new regulations regarding homeschooling?

  • Dawn L. King img 2012-09-13 08:25

    What about homeschooling? I've done some research on the Commonwealth's regulations, and saw a mention of standardized tests. I have very little faith in these tests--as they cannot truly determine how well a child is learning? Are there any new regulations on homeschooling?

  • Dawn L. King img 2012-09-13 08:53

    I found the Secretary's "excuse" statement offensive. If kids don't have adequate meals, it would be difficult to learn. If a child comes to school hungry, their focus will be on their empty stomach as opposed to what they are supposed to learn.