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Dream act — what one Philly public school would do if Wolf has his way

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on May 29, 2015 10:26 PM

What would you do with two and a half million dollars? Or, $2,447,020 to be exact.

That's how much money Northeast High School would get if the School District of Philadelphia gets all of the $265 million in additional resources proposed by Gov. Tom Wolf and Mayor Michael Nutter.

Not saying it will happen, but what if ....?

Both men face an uphill battle to get those numbers through the General Assembly and City Council respectively, but enough with the politicians for a minute.

A movement for our time


Eric Joselyn

on May 29, 2015 04:54 PM

Students tell their stories: From teen parent to 'learning about my self-worth'

By Dale Mezzacappa | Video by Trenae Nuri on May 29, 2015 03:26 PM

In researching our edition on "boosting graduation rates for all," the Notebook interviewed young people who had dropped out and were now reengaging in school. We asked why they left, why they returned, and what obstacles they face. Some described heartbreaking personal situations and herculean struggles. But all displayed hope and optimism about their futures. They were all eager to tell their stories.

Why is the School District's spending per student declining?

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on May 29, 2015 03:00 PM

Philadelphia public school classrooms received less money last year than in 2008, according to a study released this week by consulting group Education Resource Systems.

This study echoes what representatives from the District have been saying in community budget meetings and City Council hearings as they lobby for a funding increase of $300 million in recurring revenue.

Blended learning gets tentative boost in Philadelphia

By Benjamin Herold for Education Week on May 29, 2015 01:42 PM

The cash-strapped School District of Philadelphia earlier this month authorized up to $10 million in spending on blended-learning software, thus adding its name to the growing list of big-city districts to embrace one of the hottest trends in education technology.

Unlike some of its counterparts, however, the Philadelphia District is not attempting to strategically roll out a comprehensive plan for integrating software-based instruction into its classrooms.

Graduation rate hits new high, but some groups still lag behind


Paul Socolar

on May 29, 2015 11:42 AM

The new study “A Promise Worth Keeping” examined seven cohorts of students through high school, starting with incoming 9th graders in 2002 and ending with 2008’s 9th graders.

The report shows how the citywide effort to boost the high school graduation rate led to steady progress over the last eight years. But while the overall rate at which Philadelphia's students are now graduating has never been higher, the report also provides data showing that many segments of the student population still trail their peers in graduating on time, putting them at greater risk of dropping out. 

Pa. cyber charters not happy with Wolf's proposed steep cuts

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on May 29, 2015 09:39 AM

In the Multiple Choices podcast, Keystone Crossroads senior education writer Kevin McCorry joins with Paul Socolar, publisher and editor of the Public School Notebook, and Notebook contributing editor Dale Mezzacappa to explain and explore the history, complexities and controversies of public education funding in Pennsylvania.

For years, many public education advocates have been howling about the way Pennsylvania funds cyber charter schools.

It works like this: Say there's a cyber charter with a physical headquarters in Altoona. It can enroll kids from anywhere in the state, and it gets a percentage of whatever per pupil funding would have been spent in a student's home district.

A school for Jamie, but no end to anxiety for his parents

By Neema Roshania for NewsWorks on May 28, 2015 11:54 AM

This is the third and final part in a series of reports on one Philadelphia couple's search for a school for their son. Click here for parts one and two.

Phone to her ear, Jennifer Byiers waits on hold. She is sitting on a deep-red couch in her Mount Airy home, typing on her laptop and chatting with her husband, Chris. 

Around her sit superhero toys and marker drawings — trademarks of the couple's 4-year-old son, Jamie.

It's an important call. Jennifer is on the phone to confirm, at long last, Jamie's kindergarten enrollment.

Editorial: Memo to the new mayor

By the Notebook on May 28, 2015 10:35 AM

To Philadelphia’s next mayor:

The city’s high school graduation rate is abysmal but has been getting better. College-going rates are inching upward.

As mayor, there is much you can do to ensure that this improvement continues and accelerates.

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