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New turnaround target: 76 schools by 2012

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jan 21, 2010 12:06 AM

Pennsylvania's application for a piece of the $4 billion federal Race to the Top money calls for Philadelphia to "turn around" 76 low-performing schools by 2012-13 -- eight schools in 2010-11, 40 the following year, and 28 in 2012-13.

When will teachers see the contract?

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jan 20, 2010 02:41 PM

The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers will make the contract changes available to its members at 5:30 pm (UPDATE: The contract was made available earlier in the day.) Thursday, 90 minutes before the scheduled ratification meeting and vote at the Liacouras Center Thursday night.

PFT spokeswoman Barbara Goodman said that the changes are still being printed, which is one reason why they will not be released earlier.

Corrective Reading, Math stir teacher debate

By Ron Whitehorne on Jan 20, 2010 12:06 PM

A controversial initiative by the Ackerman administration this school year has been the introduction of Corrective Reading and Math, two scripted remedial programs which are being employed in the so-called Empowerment Schools.  

Many teachers, while recognizing remediation is clearly needed, question both the content of these programs and the manner in which they are being implemented.

A full treatment of this topic is goes well beyond what can be done in a single blog post, but my hope is that this can launch a conversation in which teachers, as well as parents and students, will contribute and offer a more complete picture. 

Notes from the news, Jan. 20

By Erika Owens on Jan 20, 2010 11:09 AM

PFT union votes tomorrow on tentative agreement Daily News
The union membership must ratify the "win-win" agreement.

See also: Teachers awaiting details of contract The Inquirer
Phila. Public School Teachers Have a New Contract Agreement KYW
Contract agreement "a win-win" The Notebook blog
Distrito Escolar llegó a acuerdo con el sindicato Al Día

Asian group files federal civil rights complaint over South Philly violence The Notebook blog
The complaint was filed with the Department of Justice and describes harassment and abuse of students that adults allowed to occur.

See also: Rights complaint filed in South Phila. High case The Inquirer
Asian group seeks federal help Daily News

Corrective Reading and Math stir debate among teachers The Notebook blog
Teachers shared their views about the remedial programs.

Pa., N.J. apply for federal schools grants The Inquirer
Could bring in up to $400 million for the state.

See also: Morning Money: School Daze It's Our Money

Philadelphia Teacher Residency program gets $2M U.S. grant Philadelphia Business Journal 
The program trains people with a math and science background to teach.

Difficult Conversations Practical Theory blog
Principal Chris Lehmann is in a reflective mood in his recent blog posts.

City program encourages higher education Temple News

Please email us if we missed anything today or if you have any suggestions of publications, email lists, or other places for us to check for news.

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Notes from the news

Asian group files federal civil rights complaint over South Philly violence

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jan 19, 2010 03:56 PM

The School District of Philadelphia failed to protect Asian students in South Philadelphia High School from harassment and violence, displaying "intentional disregard" for their welfare, according to a complaint filed today by Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund with the federal Department of Justice.

Contract agreement "a win-win"

By Paul Socolar on Jan 19, 2010 01:34 PM

Both parties see today's contract agreement as "a win-win,"  according to a source knowledgeable about the contract settlement reached today between the School District and the 17,000-member Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.

"Both sides got a lot," the source said.

Notes from the news, Jan. 19

By Erika Owens on Jan 19, 2010 11:08 AM

Contract agreement "a win-win" The Notebook blog
Ratification vote scheduled for Thursday on the multi-year agreement.

See also: Tentative agreement reached in PFT contract talks The Notebook blog
Schools, union close to deal Daily News
Phila district, teachers close to contract deal The Inquirer

Phila. Students Call for Peace at Schools KYW
Hundreds marched along Broad St. from the District building to celebrate Dr. King's birthday and to call for an end to school violence.

See also: Hundreds march for end to school violence The Notebook blog
Marchers demand end to Philadelphia school violence The Inquirer

Much talk of unity at South Philly High The Notebook blog
A "Gathering of Unity" was held at South Philly, and it brought together student, political, religious, civic, and District leaders.

See also: At S. Philly High, a good student mix Daily News

Service Day volunteers paint W. Philadelphia school The Inquirer
One of the many Dr. King Day events held throughout the day.

See also: Local day of service, an eye to the world Daily News
A King Day message of aid and interfaith tolerance The Inquirer
Orchestra Plays Free Concert In Honor Of MLK Jr. CBS 3
Taking King day on, not off The Inquirer (opinion)

Editorial: Dropouts cost money The Inquirer
Cutting Philly's dropout rate in half would bring in $18 million in taxes and generate $125 in earnings.

Letters: Ackerman attackers don't know the facts The Inquirer

Phila. Elementary School Library in Need of Books KYW 

Actor Tony Danza to Hold Show-Stopping School Fundraiser KYW

Please email us if we missed anything today or if you have any suggestions of publications, email lists, or other places for us to check for news.

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Notes from the news

Hundreds march for end to school violence

By Paul Socolar on Jan 18, 2010 11:00 PM

A youthful, multiracial crowd of several hundred honored Dr. Martin Luther King's memory Monday with a short march down N. Broad Street and a rally calling for united action to stop school violence.

Much talk of unity at South Philly High

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jan 18, 2010 07:27 PM

On a day when students marched against violence on North Broad Street on North Broad Street, South Philadelphia High School was the site Monday of eloquent talk about peace and nonviolence as civic, religious, and School District leaders came together with students to  invoke the spirit of the Rev. Martin Luther King.

Events on Martin Luther King day

By thenotebook on Jan 17, 2010 05:16 PM

Several organizations are holding events on Martin Luther King Day. For a list of other upcoming events, check our events page.

10:45 a.m. Gathering of Unity at South Philly High School, convened by Superintendent Ackerman
11 a.m. - 3 p.m. An MLK Day of Action: Stop Trying Youth as Adults in PA!, organized by the Youth Art Self-empowerment Project
3-5 p.m. A Call to Witness and Action, organized by the Philadelphia Student Union
3 p.m. Concert at King High School, from the Philadelphia Orchestra
All day: Day of Service, including events at Philly schools and a Philadelphia READS book drive.

Tentative agreement reached in PFT talks

By thenotebook on Jan 15, 2010 03:41 PM

UPDATE 1-19 12:35 p.m.

Both parties see agreement as "a win-win."

UPDATE 1-19 10:22 a.m.

Tentative, multi-year agreeement reached; ratification vote meeting is Thursday night. The agreement comes after negotiations over the weekend and throughout Monday night.

Text of statement from PFT president Jerry Jordan:

Quick tip- Ed Week free til Jan. 21

By Erika Owens on Jan 15, 2010 03:00 PM

Education Week is having an "open house" til next Thursday. Usually most of their content is behind a paywall, but for this week you can access it all for free. Ed Week is an amazing resource--check it out!

Thanks to Ronald Cowell of the Education Policy and Leadership Center for the alert about this on Facebook.

TFA alums don't vote, and other half-truths

By Anna Weiss on Jan 15, 2010 01:11 PM

A week or so ago, I clicked on a link on a teacher friend's Facebook page and ended up on a New York Times article.  The article was informing me of something very strange. Apparently, working in education is no longer a civic duty!

Notes from the news, Jan. 15

By Erika Owens on Jan 15, 2010 09:31 AM

Ackerman defends response to S. Phila. turmoil The Inquirer
She commented after meeting with the Inquirer editorial board to talk about the past 18 months on the job, saying she "lost sleep" over South Philly.

See also: Letters: S. Philly High students speak Daily News

Arbitrator: District improperly demoted principal
An arbitrator sided with South Philly's former principal who must be reinstated at another school in the District.

Nutter Admin. Gives Itself High Marks on Education Effort KYW
The mayor's Chief Education Officer Lori Shorr said, "I'm giving us a B-plus, A-minus."

Piccola: School empowerment goes beyond local control Patriot News opinion
Piccola, the chairman of the PA Senate Education Committee, wrote in support of state takeovers and EMOs.

Olney High sees fewer spectators after brawl The Inquirer
A brawl happened after a game with rival Frankford on Jan. 7, and now spectators, other than pre-approved parents, are banned from games.

A program that changed students’ lives Chestnut Hill Local
One casualty of state education budget cuts is the ACT 101 program, which helps low income and minority college students.

Please email us if we missed anything today or if you have any suggestions of publications, email lists, or other places for us to check for news.

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Notes from the news

Today's symposium with Noguera is full

By Paul Socolar on Jan 14, 2010 11:42 AM

Pedro Noguera of New York University headlines a symposium on school climate here this afternoon, sponsored by the Notebook and Need in Deed.

The event, at the Comcast tower, filled up weeks ago ... only people with confirmed RSVPs will be able to attend. It is a secured building so there is no way to show up and be admitted if you are not on the RSVP list.

As many people as possible have already been admitted from the long waiting list. We apologize that we weren't able to accommodate all the demand to participate in this event.

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