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Commonwealth Court rules District can't force charters to cap enrollment

By Dale Mezzacappa on Aug 27, 2015 07:06 PM

Comonwealth Court ruled Thursday that the School Reform Commission lacks the power to impose enrollment caps on charter schools, a decision that hands a big victory to charters seeking to limit school districts' control of them.

The ruling throws another wrinkle into the School District of Philadelphia's ongoing effort to remain solvent. The District has maintained that unrestrained charter growth depletes its own limited funding and doesn't allow it to plan for its own schools..

The student as education insurgent

By Ron Whitehorne on Aug 27, 2015 01:31 PM

Educating for Insurgency, by Jay Gillen, makes the case that the transformation of our schools depends on recognizing the critical role of young people in high-poverty schools.

Gillen is a Baltimore math teacher who helped organize the Baltimore Algebra Project, a student-run collective that provides tutoring services and engages in political advocacy. The project was inspired by and draws on the legacy of the iconic Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee leaders Bob Moses and Ella Baker.

Gillen’s book centers on a discussion of what he calls "schools of poverty" and the efforts to reform them. He compares the organization and norms of the plantation during slavery with today’s schools.  

CTE Success Stories: 'Like we were actually managing a business'

By Michaela Ward on Aug 27, 2015 10:35 AM

It was Andrea Seitchik, a George Washington High School Career and Technical Education teacher, who first approached Dylan Henry about taking CTE classes.

As a 10th grader, Henry decided to give Seitchik’s Sports Marketing and Management program a try. He said he liked the first class, an introduction to the program.

“It made it seem like we were actually managing a business,” he said.

Mastery charter grows its network with 'turnaround of a turnaround'

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Aug 26, 2015 08:37 PM

Scholar Academies operates one the highest-performing charter schools in Philadelphia, Young Scholars Charter School.

So when the Philadelphia School District gave the organization the keys to one of its own chronically struggling schools in 2010 through the Renaissance initiative, it expected to see significant improvement.

But five years after the transfer, the school has changed hands once again.

A look at career and technical education

By the Notebook on Aug 26, 2015 12:02 PM

The Notebook’s fall guide to high schools comes out next week -- on Friday, Sept. 4. As usual, the guide will include profiles of District and charter high schools (88 in total), as well as data on how students are performing in District and charter schools. 

For the first time, we have focused our attention on career and technical education programs and prepared a special package of stories exploring CTE in the District.

Judge rejects state plan to rescue Chester Upland district and cut charter payments

By Laura Benshoff for Newsworks on Aug 26, 2015 09:25 AM

Updated | 11:30 a.m.

Delaware County Judge Chad Kenney rejected the key piece of Gov. Wolf's plan to rescue the troubled Chester Upland School District on Tuesday: slashing payments to charter schools for their special education students.

In a 13-page opinion, Kenney wrote that the two days of hearings showed that the state-mandated funding formula sends to Chester charters far more money than they need or use to educate these students.

Principals fired in test cheating win back jobs through arbitration

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Aug 25, 2015 07:16 PM

Two principals fired by the Philadelphia School District in the wake of the statewide standardized-test cheating scandal have won favorable rulings through arbitration that could return them to school leadership.

What happened to Jasmine? Open your eyes to childhood trauma

By Daun Kauffman on Aug 25, 2015 02:04 PM

Jasmine was one of my favorites.

She was one of the shortest, scrawniest children in our 2nd-grade classroom. Maybe 45 pounds with her coat on. Her tattered backpack seemed as big as she was. Somehow the tiniest children can hold the most energy, the most emotion, and somehow they manage to get the most compassion from me.

When you peek in our classroom, you may see Jasmine stealthily surveying the classroom for the child most likely to respond the most spiritedly when she gives them the finger, or when she gives them a freshly sharpened pencil in the side of the head perfectly thrown from 20 feet away.

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