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Neff: SRC action on teachers' contract was unfair, but conditions in schools are unjust

By Marjorie Neff on Nov 24, 2014 12:27 PM

The School Reform Commission’s decision to cancel the contract with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and require teachers and staff to contribute to their health insurance premiums has been described as unfair. I agree.

I expect that my colleagues on the SRC feel the same way. But our decision was born in response to a larger and profound injustice being inflicted on Philadelphia’s children. 

When we describe something as unfair, we usually mean we think it’s wrong. When something is unjust, it goes beyond issues of fairness to violate a moral code. People of good will can disagree about whether requiring teachers and staff to contribute to health insurance premiums is the fair or right thing to do.

But there can be no argument that denying children basic conditions for learning is an injustice.  

Researcher delves into Adverse Childhood Experiences

By Paul Jablow on Nov 21, 2014 02:20 PM

Since the spring of 2013, Roy Wade has seen the impact of trauma on urban youth and adults in low-income neighborhoods from three vantage points.

One is from his Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia research office 13 floors above Market Street.

A second is from his pediatrics office in the Cobbs Creek section of West Philadelphia.

And the third is from his travels in the neighborhoods to such places as boys’ and girls’ clubs, YMCAs, community health centers, homeless shelters, primary care sites and behavioral health organizations.

Beers, bars and babies: Next generation of Philly school parents gets serious

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Nov 21, 2014 12:59 PM

Dark bars, craft beers, cooing babies and a basic philosophical belief in the power of public education: Meet the new generation of urban-professional parents who just may be crucial to the long-term success of the Philadelphia School District.

At two separate evening events in the city this week, throngs of young, civically minded parents gathered at bars to drink in the pros and cons of sending their not-yet-school-aged children to the District's oft-beleaguered neighborhood public schools.

For Tom Wyatt, an attorney by trade, that neighborhood school would be Andrew Jackson Elementary.

From the archives: Policy 102: the District’s stated commitment to equity for all

By the Notebook on Nov 21, 2014 12:58 PM

The Notebook launched in 1994 as a newspaper committed to ensuring quality and equity in Philadelphia public schools. We celebrated the 20th anniversary of the first publication earlier this year. We are featuring an article from our archives each week, shedding light on both the dramatic changes that have taken place in public education and the persistent issues facing Philadelphia's school system.

This piece is from the Fall 2002 print edition:


by Shauna Brown

When the Philadelphia school board adopted the “Multiracial-Multicultural-Gender Education” policy known as Policy 102 on January 24, 1994, advocates of equity in education saw a glimmer of hope in a city and school system plagued by a long history of inequality and discrimination.

SRC votes to close Imani Charter; school vows appeal

By Dale Mezzacappa on Nov 20, 2014 11:50 PM

The School Reform Commission voted 4-1 Thursday night to close Imani Education Circle Charter School in Germantown, leading the school's board and CEO to promise a swift and strong appeal to the state.

"We will go through the appeal process and will be fine," said CEO Francine Fulton after the vote.  "I have no fear the state will deny our charter."

District posts charter school applications on its website

By Paul Socolar on Nov 20, 2014 08:24 PM

Earlier this week, the School District released a list of 40 applications that it received from organizations wanting to open new charter schools next fall.

Now the District has posted the 40 full applications on its website.

SRC violated Pa. Sunshine Act, court complaint alleges

By Paul Socolar on Nov 20, 2014 01:06 PM

Advocates have filed a complaint in Philadelphia court charging that the School Reform Commission violated the state Sunshine Act when it met Oct. 6 and voted to cancel the contract of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.

The suit was filed by the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools in the Court of Common Pleas. In a statement, Lisa Haver of APPS, a plaintiff in the case, said, "The public should expect that the SRC would give adequate advance notice of such a major action, not take pains to shut the public out."

The School District has not offered a response and generally declines to comment on pending litigation.

Four Philadelphia-area high schools get $200K for college prep

By Shannon Nolan on Nov 20, 2014 12:18 PM

Students at four Philadelphia-area high schools now have a greater chance of going to college, thanks to a $200,000 grant.

College Possible, a nonprofit that offers college preparedness services for low-income students, accepted the grant from AT&T during an event at Parkway Center City High School on Wednesday. The money will be split among its four partner high schools: George Washington, Parkway Center City, West Philadelphia, and Upper Darby High School in Delaware County.

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