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Staffing woes plague District schools this year


Dale Mezzacappa

on Nov 24, 2015 03:28 PM
Superintendent William Hite (Photo: Brianna Spause)

For Djervin Uylimos, the beginning of his high school career has not been what he expected.

Not at all.

In September, the Northeast High School freshman was signed up for seven classes – English, world history, algebra, physical science, Spanish, health, and gym.

A typical roster. What is not typical is that for much of the semester so far, he has had no teacher in four of these classes.

So he has spent hours in the classroom with whatever staff member can fill in – doing busywork or turning to his smartphone.

Does Philly need a citizen's commission to better engage the public?


Catherine Offord

on Nov 24, 2015 02:50 PM

Education Voters of Pennsylvania has proposed a Citizens’ Commission for Education to provide a formal platform for public participation in the District.

The commission’s structure is undetermined, but a petition to City Council requesting the establishment of a commission as a “mechanism” for participation has so far received more than 300 signatures. Organizers hope the move will jump-start a discussion about increasing civic engagement in District decision-making.

Accountability and the ESEA reauthorization deal: Your cheat sheet

By Alyson Klein for Education Week on Nov 24, 2015 01:53 PM

The newest proposed version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—dubbed the Every Student Succeeds Act—is almost over the congressional finish line, with votes in both chambers of Congress imminent.

So how would accountability work under the ESSA, if approved? And how does it compare to the No Child Left Behind Act, Classic Edition, and the Obama administration's waivers?

Your cheat sheet here. Top-line stuff on accountability first, then some early reaction. Scroll down further if you want the nitty-gritty details on accountability.

Mayor-elect Kenney pushes plan to create 25 community schools

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Nov 23, 2015 06:48 PM

In his first major policy announcement since winning election, Philadelphia Mayor-elect Jim Kenney formalized a campaign promise to create 25 "community schools" over the next four years.

Before a sea of schoolchildren and TV cameras in the gymnasium of North Philadelphia's Tanner Duckrey Elementary, Kenney told students Monday that the initiative would help give them "the ability to reach your potential in your life."

Wolf: Budget framework in 'deep peril'

By Mary Wilson for NewsWorks on Nov 23, 2015 04:47 PM

A tentative outline for a Pennsylvania budget looks like it could crumble this week, dealing a bitter reality check to Gov. Wolf and the top lawmakers who said they could deliver a spending plan by Thanksgiving.

Waiting for sorely needed pre-K expansion

By Shawn Towey on Nov 23, 2015 03:00 PM

Amid lots of distress about the impact of the Pennsylvania budget impasse on pre-K, the most critical budget issue for the city is actually pre-K expansion.

With its enormous unmet need for affordable, quality preschool, Philadelphia had been expecting a huge expansion in pre-K funding. Based on Gov. Wolf’s intention to add 14,000 new seats in the state’s two programs, Head Start Supplemental Assistance and Pre-K Counts, many applicant organizations went ahead and invested in readying classrooms and even hiring new staff, competing for certified teachers with experience in early childhood education. In April, 23 providers in the city applied for more than 3,800 new seats worth more than $30 million.

But nearly five months into the new fiscal year, leases have been dropped and classrooms that were readied for the new seats sit empty or have been repurposed.

5 things to know about the financial cost of testing

By Paul Jablow on Nov 23, 2015 11:09 AM

The Notebook is examining standardized testing this month. The topic is the focus of our upcoming edition due out this week.

1. Pennsylvania Gov. Wolf has requested a total of $58.3 million for testing in the current budget.

Research group calls for revisions to Pa. school quality index

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Nov 23, 2015 09:41 AM

Does Pennsylvania's school rating system make the grade?

In a recent brief, Research for Action argues that the state's School Performance Profile index leaves much to be desired.

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