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Notes from the news, Nov. 6

by thenotebook on Nov 06 2013 Posted in Notes from the news

Laboratory Charter parents seek to stem legal fees. Inquirer

Temple seeks to buy William Penn High School. Daily News

Letters: Reinstate school funding formula. Daily News

Carter-Williams offers lessons to Imhotep student-athletes. Daily News

Archdiocese to freeze pensions for 8,500. Inquirer

Proposal to change Pa. charter school rules runs into resistance. NewsWorks

Howe Elementary preps students for success. Tribune

High School Expo returns thanks to new sponsors. Tribune

A Conduit for Teacher-Driven Classroom Innovation. PhilaSoup

Schooled: The Smartest Kids in the World. Slate

In public education, edge still goes to rich. NY Times

Colorado rejects move for schools as casino fails in Massachusetts. NY Times

City school board tips away from Finch, Vallas. CT Post

News summary from Keystone State Education Coalition

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Comments (6)

Submitted by anon (not verified) on Wed, 11/06/2013 - 19:52.

all you greedy union public school teachers need to take a hefty pay cut already so we can hire us some fancy predatory philadelphia lawers to keep our laboratory charter school running asses out of jail. give it up now.

Submitted by Education Grad ... on Thu, 11/07/2013 - 22:59.

The Inquirer article says that the Laboratory Charter School's campuses in West Philadelphia are in Wynnefield and Overbrook Farms. Both schools are east of 63rd street. The location at 59th and Woodbine is in the part of Overbrook Farms that borders Wynnefield, not Overbrook. Come on, this is basic geography.


Submitted by Education Grad ... on Thu, 11/07/2013 - 22:57.

According to Laboratory Charter School's website (which is very new, they haven't had a website for very long), the school has the following:

"With a zero tolerance policy, we provide students with a safe, structured environment conducive to learning."

What does the school mean by ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY? If it means a zero tolerance discipline policy, this is not a best practice. Also, zero tolerance is not inclusive nor is it consistent with the ZERO REJECT principle of IDEIA! How many students attending The Lab School qualify for Emotional Support, Autistic Support, Life Skills Support, or Multiple Disabilities Support services? My guess...very few. IT'S NOT A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD!

Educator of Great Students

Submitted by Education Grad ... on Thu, 11/07/2013 - 23:18.

I was reading The Lab School's 2012-2013 Parent-Student Handbook here: On page 23, Saturday school is compulsory for students who need the additional instruction. IS THIS EVEN LEGAL?

Submitted by Phila. Parent (not verified) on Fri, 11/08/2013 - 04:30.

Lab Charter schools have run under very different rules and procedures since they were opened. In 2004, I applied for my children to attend Lab Charter. The procedure for the so called "lottery" included (1) attending a meeting in the January or February. This meeting was in the suburbs. June Brown attended and spoke to parents while my children had to sit in another room watching a movie. The children were observed. (I was told about their behavior). At the end, we were given a short application to complete on site. I was at the meeting from 6 pm - 9 pm. When we left, June brown sat outside and took our applications. There were two boxes. (I assume she had "keep" and "reject" boxes.) Next, step was a required school visit. My children had to spend a 1/2 day (rising kindergartener) and whole day (rising 2nd grader) at the school BEFORE I submitted the application. They were tested and observed. I was then told I could submit the application. Next, I was given a huge packet of worksheets (about 100 pages) for each child (rising kindergartener and 2nd grader) to complete over the summer. Eventually, I received an acceptance letter. Parent were told at the school visit not all students could be accepted because "student will study a foreign language" and therefore had to have the ability to do it. (They had minimal French instruction.) I found out later very few students with different learning needs either were accepted or stayed at the school. (A friend had two students enrolled. They struggled a bit with standardized testing. By January, she was told they had to leave because they had been late to school a few times. The administrator claimed this violated the contract the parent had signed about attendance.)

Needless to say, Lab Charter has very high test scores. They should - the application process is like a private school. While Lab Charter may be more extreme than other schools, it is not unique. Other charters in Philly had an admission process that includes an interview (e.g. Performing Arts Charter, Boys Latin). A barrier to entry can be as complicated as getting or dropping off an application (e.g. Freire required the application to be dropped off in CC during the AM) , having to attend a pre meeting (e.g. Boys Latin) and day time interview (e.g. Boys Latin) to requiring an expensive uniform (e.g. Performing Arts Charter) .

I do NOT support Phila. School so-called "Partnership" having any role in the application process - they are even less trustworthy - but there are many "tricks" used by charters to control their enrollment. Some are also notorious for "dumping" kids (e.g. Christopher Columbus Charter, PET, Prep, etc.) The proposed charter law is extremely dangerous - it gives charter operators carte blanche to do what they want to do while decimating public school funding.

Submitted by Education Grad ... on Sat, 11/09/2013 - 17:20.

Phila. Parent,

Please please please contact the Charter Schools Office with your story: Who knows if the process that the Laboratory CS has changed?

I feel strongly about this because Laboratory CS is basically trying to be a publicly funded private school. I teach children in one of the District's Complex Support Needs (formerly Low Incidence) programs. Most of the children I teach don't even have the choice of attending their neighborhood school if they want to receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (emphasis on Appropriate). These children wouldn't be able to attend Laboratory CS based on what its 2012-2013 Parent-Student Handbook said.


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