by Naveed Ahsan
Teachers, parents, students, and education activists will gather at 4:30 p.m. today outside Gov. Corbett’s Philadelphia office, 200 S. Broad St., as part of the National Day of Action to Reclaim the Promise of Public Education.
Education advocates will stage actions in more than 60 cities across the country, demanding better schools for America’s children. The day of action was planned by an alliance of teachers' unions and community groups to fight back against what they see as an unprecedented attack on the public school system.
Hundreds are expected to convene outside Corbett’s office, including members of the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools (PCAPS), the Rev. Kevin Johnson of Bright Hope Baptist Church, and Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan.
There’s a governor’s race in Pennsylvania in 2014, and education is a hot issue as Gov. Tom Corbett seeks re-election. Party primaries take place May 20 and the general election is Nov. 4.
At press time, Corbett, a Republican, and eight Democratic candidates had announced their plans to run.
An October poll conducted by Franklin and Marshall College indicates that 21 percent of respondents feel that the state of schools and school funding is the most important issue in Pennsylvania. The Corbett administration has been blamed for cuts to education funding as well as the 2011 abandonment of a statewide funding formula passed in 2008. But Corbett is not surrendering the issue to Democrats.
In a press conference announcing his bid for re-election, Corbett said, “We have a responsibility to provide a good education to all children in Pennsylvania, but it starts with an honest discussion about education funding.”
The Notebook invited each candidate to submit a biography and asked them to give their positions on state education funding by responding to the following questions in 250 words or less:
by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks
Follow the money.
Taxi medallions in Philadelphia, depending on the market, can sell for $400,000 or more.
And over the next decade, the Philadelphia Parking Authority, which oversees the Taxicab and Limousine Division, will authorize the creation of 150 new taxicab medallions.
Pa. schools and $$ behind the curtain. Daily News
School District officials say that just over 1,500 students more than the number that they budgeted for are enrolled in charter schools this year, opening up a new $12 million to $15 million hole in its budget.
Spokesman Fernando Gallard said that the District was not prepared to say yet what steps it may take to close the gap.
The charter law requires the District to pay charters for each Philadelphia student enrolled. The District itself does not get money for those students from the state or the city on a per capita basis.
"We are closely monitoring the District's monthly revenues and expenditures to determine possible savings in order to meet the new cost estimates for charter schools," Gallard said. The District had already allocated 29 percent of its $2.4 billion operating budget, or $708 million, in payments to charter schools.
by Isaac Riddle
At Kensington High School for Creative and Performing Arts on Friday, representatives from 40 colleges and postsecondary institutions came to the school's first annual college fair, open to all students in the District's five high schools in the Kensington area.
Like most District high schools this school year, KCAPA lacked a full-time counselor for the first two months -- before high school counselors were restored by the District after the release of additional funding.
But the school has been fortunate enough to have another counselor dedicated to helping students with college admissions and coordinating a college fair at a time when guidance was scarce.
Prep Charter pupil's gift of giving. South Philly Review
by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks
There's a game-changer on the horizon, a piece of legislation rumbling through the halls of Harrisburg that, if passed, promises to alter forever the landscape of public education in Pennsylvania.
It's called Senate Bill 1085, referred to by many as the "Charter Reform Bill."
Proponents say it will raise the standards by which charters are opened and evaluated, while ensuring the creation of more high-quality educational options for all Pennsylvania's students.
by Elizabeth Fiedler for NewsWorks
Once your kids hit the age of 5, it's time to move to the suburbs. Or at least that's how it has gone for generations of middle- and upper-class parents in Philadelphia.
Most of the news out of Philadelphia schools lately has been the kind to lead city parents who have the option to start lining up a moving van: deficits, school closings, teacher layoffs, cheating scandals.
But these days some Philadelphians are taking a different approach. In neighborhoods from Graduate Hospital to East Falls to Fishtown, they're vowing to stay put, pitching in to help their neighborhood school improve. And they're doing this well before their children are ready for kindergarten, or even before they're born.
by Benjamin Herold for Education Week
With fewer available seats in good public schools than families who want them, many cities face a vexing challenge: How do you decide which children go where?
Enter Neil Dorosin.
"You have to allocate public school seats fairly, transparently, and efficiently, but it turns out that's not so easy to do," said Mr. Dorosin, the executive director of the Institute for Innovation in Public School Choice, based in New York City. "We help cities solve that problem."