By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – As 2011 draws to a close, from an education perspective some progress has been made, yet problems persist. The high school dropout rate is still serious and students in Korea, Japan and Singapore surpass our kids in most subjects.

Charters have grown to 5600 schools nationally. Research from Stanford University’s Center for Research on Educational Outcomes, shows 17% have achievement gains significantly better than those in traditional public schools.

Voucher programs, using public money to enroll students in private schools, are getting public attention. Education Week reports that 37 states including Pennsylvania are considering such legislation.

Congress has grappled with changing the Elementary and Secondary School Act; however No Child Left Behind is still the law.

The best news is that with leadership from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, 160 cities have joined in making sure all kids read on grade level by the end of 3rd grade.

Philadelphia is among them!

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