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Micro-grant award sparks vibrant clean-up effort on GHS property

By Daniel Pasquarello for NewsWorks on Jul 30, 2014 01:00 PM

Their community mainstay may be shuttered, but locals still want to ensure it doesn't become an eyesore.

So, more than 30 members of the "Legends of Germantown" Facebook group helped spruce up the land surrounding what was once Germantown High School (GHS) on Sunday afternoon.

What began with sweeping and weeding walkways coalesced into a more concerted raking- and trash-collecting effort to prepare the larger expanses of grass for mowing.

Temple joins growing list of schools making standardized tests optional

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Jul 29, 2014 05:36 PM

Nervous test-takers, fear not. Temple University announced Tuesday it will join the growing list of colleges ditching the SAT as an entrance requirement.

The university calls it the "Temple Option," describing it as "an admissions path for talented students who show great potential for success but don't perform well on standardized tests."

Activist requests investigation into Pa. education adviser's work situation

By Mary Wilson for NewsWorks on Jul 29, 2014 04:34 PM

A government reform activist is trying to get Pennsylvania's Ethics Commission to investigate a special adviser to Gov. Corbett.

The ethics complaint calls for an investigation into Ron Tomalis, an adviser on higher education and a former state education secretary.

Campaign ad returns Pa. focus to education spending

By Mary Wilson for NewsWorks on Jul 29, 2014 04:06 PM

Education funding cuts are front and center once again in a tiff between Pennsylvania's candidates for governor.

A television attack ad that surfaced last week highlights the issue, which has dogged Republican incumbent Gov. Corbett in the polls for years.

Bonds of mentorship help student defy culture of low expectations

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Jul 28, 2014 04:58 PM

According to the most recent longitudinal study of Philadelphia graduation rates, just 10 percent of students who begin 9th grade in Philadelphia public schools manage to persist all the way through to college graduation.

To raise achievement levels, the city and state have restructured public education in Philadelphia over the last 15 years, rapidly expanding both District and charter options – with mixed results.

The path forward: Q&A with Donna Cooper of Public Citizens for Children and Youth

By Bill Hangley Jr. on Jul 28, 2014 04:25 PM

Equitable education funding has long been one of Donna Cooper’s top priorities. As Gov. Ed Rendell’s chief of policy, she was instrumental in 2008 in establishing the state’s most recent stab at creating a workable and predictable education funding formula.

That formula didn’t survive the arrival of Gov. Corbett. But Cooper, now in her second year at the helm of Public Citizens for Children and Youth, believes that with the right political pressure, another version might not be too far off.

“A school funding formula is not brain surgery,” she says. “If the legislature feels the heat … they’ll do it.”

But creating a formula is one thing; getting the funds to support it is another. We asked Cooper to reflect on this year’s budget process, the strategic approach that could establish a fully funded formula, and the prospects of long-term stability for Philadelphia’s schools.

Reading program hopes to help Philly kids give 'summer slide' the slip

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Jul 28, 2014 09:58 AM

Education experts have long advocated for parents to keep their kids engaged in learning over the summer – when skills picked up during the school year can get rusty.

That "summer slide" can be especially tough on students from families who can't afford high-quality summer programs. To combat this loss, State Sen. Vincent Hughes has organized the Save Our Skills summer reading program – a free, four-week literacy program where students receive a free breakfast and lunch while sharpening their skills with certified teachers.

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