by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks
Tara Magras has close ties with Edward T. Steel Elementary in Nicetown.
She lives a block from the school, volunteers there almost everyday, entrusts her three young children to the faculty and staff.
Although she concedes that the school's "test scores are low," the prospect of Steel becoming a charter school makes her uneasy.
"I don't have anything against charters," she said in an interview outside of the school. "It's just that I like the teachers here."
by Jeseamy Muentes
Applications are now being accepted for the Penn Summer Scholars Program, a three-week intensive program for “academically exceptional” Philadelphia public and charter high school students.
by Bill Hangley Jr.
Updated | 11:21 a.m.
Philadelphia Deputy Superintendent Paul Kihn said this weekend that, contrary to some media reports, schools that opt to become Renaissance charters next year won’t be getting several thousand additional dollars for each pupil.
“The finances of this are so commonly misunderstood,” Kihn said after making a presentation at the American Educational Research Association conference. “From a student and family’s perspective, [a school gets] exactly the same money if it’s run by the District or run by a charter.”
SRC urges Supreme Court to act soon. Inquirer
That Dumb, Dumb Portfolio Model, Not Right for Public Schools. Diane Ravitch's Blog
The "Public Good" Is Not a Dirty Word: Rebuilding Our Collective Responsibility. White House/Champions of Change
The legal battle over whether Philadelphia's School Reform Commission has the power to unilaterally impose new work rules on the District's teachers is getting more intense with the filing of new arguments urging quick action by the Supreme Court.
In a friend-of-the-court brief filed Friday, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) maintains that "the collective bargaining agreement ... has proven a particularly high barrier to the District effecting reforms essential to providing services in a fiscally responsible and manageable manner."
The American Educational Research Association conference is taking place in Philadelphia. These are prepared remarks from a presentation on Friday by Notebook editor and publisher Paul Socolar in a session about "The Landscape of Education Reform in Philadelphia." He was asked to discuss the "portfolio model" and how it has developed in Philadelphia; subsequent comments by Philadelphia School Partnership head Mark Gleason have spurred controversy. [Listen to the entire panel discussion below.]
First a cursory definition: Portfolio school districts rely on a variety of operators of public schools within the city, with the stated aim of providing high-quality learning opportunities … so ultimately every family can choose a slot in a good school. The term is borrowed from Wall Street: You're going to hang on to the successful companies in your stock portfolio and dump the losers. Proponents here talk about replacing “low-performing seats” with “high-performing seats.”
School funding ideas shared. Tribune
Philadelphia's future in the numbers. Inquirer
Philly charter can't shake controversy. Inquirer
The American Educational Research Association conference is April 3-7 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and the downtown Philadelphia Marriott hotel. This excerpt is from a presentation on Friday by Notebook editor and publisher Paul Socolar in a session about "The Landscape of Education Reform in Philadelphia." The topic was whether there are positive trends in school performance in Philadelphia.
Yes, since the state takeover in 2002, the trends are positive on a number of indicators … and not just test scores. Graduation rates are up – now, finally, two-thirds of students are graduating high school within six years. And more of the graduates are going to college.
But the story of how Philadelphia schools are doing is complicated and much murkier.
Teachers go to court over seniority. Daily News
The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers has asked the state's highest court to reject the School District's recent petition for confirmation of its authority to unilaterally abrogate teacher seniority rights and other teacher work rules.
On Thursday, the PFT filed its response to the state Supreme Court, arguing that the court doesn't have jurisdiction over the work rule changes and that the issues under dispute should be subject to collective bargaining as they have been in the past. The union's attorneys argue that the "grievance and arbitration dispute resolution mechanism" established by state labor laws "is the only method for resolving these issues."
by Jeseamy Muentes
Eight Philadelphia teachers will receive honors at 6:30 tonight at the National Liberty Museum’s Teacher as Hero ceremony. The seventh annual event, also sponsored by State Farm Insurance, will recognize a total of 19 teachers from throughout the region.
We allowed Bartram High fiasco to happen. Daily News
Letters: Take a chance on education. Daily News
In its petition filed last week with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the Philadelphia School District is asserting its right to make changes that could have the effect of casting aside nearly 50 years of collective bargaining history, during which its contract with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers has grown to govern not just salaries and benefits but minute details of daily life in schools.
To the PFT, the contract codifies protections for its members and guarantees them everything from functional water fountains to the right of senior teachers to claim positions in preferred schools. The union has long argued that its working conditions are student learning conditions and that some provisions, like limiting class size and specifying when schools must have counselors and librarians, have acted as a bulwark against the steady erosion of services while also preserving jobs.
by Jeseamy Muentes
More than 13,000 attendees, including education and policy leaders, will gather in Philadelphia this week at the annual meeting of the American Education Research Association (AERA).
The event will be held April 3-7 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and the downtown Philadelphia Marriott hotel. The theme is “The Power of Education Research for Innovation in Practice and Policy.” More than a dozen of the 100-plus sessions will include local leaders or have a Philadelphia focus.
by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks
Discussions about Philadelphia public schools often get bogged down in the seemingly never-ending back-and-forth over funding and the hyper-focus things that are easy to measure, such as standardized-test scores.
But for the 200,000-plus students attending public school in the city, these issues often take a back seat to the heartache and stress that many wrestle with in their personal lives.