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Key data for school closings released

By Celeste Lavin on Apr 14, 2011 01:01 PM

Finally, we have some official numbers from the District about individual school facilities.

The District made public on its website a long-awaited document that lists information about each school building, including the facility condition index (FCI), utilization relative to capacity, and academic rankings on its school performance index.

Notes from the news, Apr. 14

By Anonymous on Apr 14, 2011 09:38 AM

notes from the news imageStudents, parents rip plans for Audenried, MLK schools Daily News
The SRC will vote on Renaissance plans on April 27, and Audenried and King community members criticized the plans for those schools.

See also: King SAC still wants Mosaica The Notebook blog

Philadelphia School District to tap $25 million in reserves The Inquirer
The reserves will be used to balance this year's budget.

See also: Budget blues from the SRC Philly School Files blog

NAACP blasts U.S. trend for spending more on incarceration than education The Inquirer
Philly was one of the cities studied in an NAACP report, which notes taxpayers "spent nearly $281 million to imprison residents sentenced from just nine Philadelphia [zip codes]."

See also: Notes from the field- Funding Prisons vs. Education City School Stories
Vouchers, Prisons, Budgets Keystone State Education Coalition

How to return Philly schools to local control, with elected board? The Notebook blog
The final post in a series about school governance. This explains what needs to happen in Philly to create an elected school board.

Organizing 101: Basic Steps for Making Change at Your School Philly Education Justice blog
PSU members describe steps on how to organize at your school.

Ackerman facing federal tax liens The Inquirer
The IRS filed liens in three states and California filed a lien for state taxes.

Lawmaker Wants Arlene Ackerman Fired Fox 29
State Rep. Michael McGeehan will ask Gov. Corbett to fire Ackerman.

See also: State rep to call for Ackerman's removal Philly School Files blog

Point of View: Sen. Anthony H. Williams: Voucher Senate Bill 1 Is A Must For Free Schools Now UC Review

He has lots of idea$ for schools Daily News

Condom Debate: Dom Vs. Dr. Chuck Fox 29

School District Encourages District-Wide Participation in the Philadelphia Science Festival UC Review

School District Of Philadelphia Announced "Imagine Great Schools" Plan UC Review

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

How to return Philly schools to local control, with elected board?

By Ron Whitehorne on Apr 13, 2011 01:56 PM

This is the final installment in a three-part series about governance of the Philadelphia schools.

Two things need to happen in order to change our school governance to an elected school board.

First, we have to return the School District to local control.

King SAC still wants Mosaica

By the Notebook on Apr 13, 2011 11:05 AM

by Bill Hangley Jr.

Members of the School Advisory Council at Martin Luther King High say that despite the last-minute intervention of an influential state legislator, the battle for control of their school is not over.

When the School Reform Commission meets this week, the King SAC will ask commissioners to stick by their original plan to hand King over to the charter operator Mosaica Education, despite that company’s surprise rejection last month of the SRC’s offer to run King. The SAC does not want to see the school run by Foundations Inc., the top choice of State Rep. Dwight Evans, and the only other candidate for the job.

Officials at Mosaica have told the King SAC that the company is willing to return to King if it can do so with full community support.

“We are still committed to [Mosaica] – and we know they are committed to us,” said Conchevia Washington, parent of a King sophomore and chair of the King SAC, a volunteer committee of parents, students and community members charged with overseeing King’s charter transformation. “We want that original [SRC] motion to stand, and come hell or high water, we’ll deal with it.”

Short of that, they’d like to see a year’s postponement of plans to make King a charter, keeping it under district control, with Foundations gone from its current, limited management role. Subsequent meetings with Foundations have not convinced the SAC members that the organization has a viable turnaround plan for King, Washington said.

Notes from the news, Apr. 13

By Anonymous on Apr 13, 2011 10:10 AM

notes from the news imageArlene Ackerman Owed Back Taxes Fox 29
The IRS placed a lien on Ackerman's condo for $20,000 in back taxes.

See also: Ackerman owes IRS, has been paying, lawyer says The Inquirer
Ackerman's tax problems are over, lawyer says Daily News
Ackerman's tax troubles? Philly School Files blog
Fox29 reports on Ackerman IRS lien The Notebook blog

Amended school choice voucher bill moves forward, but vote delayed The Mercury
The vote is delayed till at least April 26 so the bill can be revised.

See also: Vouchers Move Forward WDUQ
Hundreds rally as Pa. Senate readies voucher bill
Philadelphia Tribune
School Voucher Bill Up For Vote In Pa. Senate CBS Philly
Senate floor vote on SB 1 - school vouchers [live blog] PA School Talk
Corbett rallies Senate GOP on vouchers The Inquirer via Keystone State Education Coalition
Deep pockets behind school choice Morning Call

Phila. School District wants two fired in procurement probe The Inquirer
The Ackerman administration is recommending that procurement director John Byars and Francis Dougherty, from Nunery's office, be fired.

See also: District fires 2 whistle-blowers in deal with minority-owned firm Daily News

Inquirer Editorial: Less violent schools The Inquirer
The District should look at what's working to decrease violence instead of making schools "look like prisons."

See also: DN Editorial: It's dangerous kids that make dangerous schools Daily News
Schools being run by gang members? Philly School Files blog
The Time Is Right to End "Zero Tolerance" in Schools Huffington Post

King High update: SAC wants Mosaica back WHYY/NewsWorks
Today the King SAC plans to ask the SRC to stick to the original recommendation, to turn the school over to Mosaica.

School district unveils new plan for selling off properties PlanPhilly
Part of the facilities master plan is selling vacant properties over the next three years.

Details on the federal budget The Notebook blog
A federal spending bill has implications for numerous education programs and earmarks.

McCall raises money for Japanese survivors Philadelphia Tribune
This week's Learning Key focuses on two elementary schools.

See also: Creative teaching, technology make Disston special Philadelphia Tribune

Mt. Airy Students Return to Henry School Following Pepper Spray Evacuation Mt. Airy Patch
The cause of the incident is still under investigation.

See also: Phila.'s Henry School evacuated after pepper spray incidents The Inquirer

Edcamp Philly 2011  Philly Teacher blog
Edcamp is coming up on May 21.

Technology in the Classroom: Regional Computer Fair A Broad View blog

April 13th: SRC Meeting A Broad View blog

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

Fox29 reports on Ackerman IRS lien

By Dale Mezzacappa on Apr 12, 2011 07:37 PM

Fox29 broadcast a report that Superintendent Arlene Ackerman owes the IRS more than $20,000 in taxes dating to 2007 and has placed a lien on her Center City condo. The IRS filed the action against her in February. The Inquirer picked up the report.

District plans for selling facilities

By the Notebook on Apr 12, 2011 04:27 PM

The Notebook and PlanPhilly are working together to cover the District facilities master plan and school closings. This piece originally appeared on PlanPhilly.

by Patrick Kerkstra

Over the next three years, the School District of Philadelphia plans to close as many as 50 school buildings. The targets - which schools, which neighborhoods - for now remain largely unknown.

But no matter which buildings go dark, the closings seem certain to have a significant impact on the communities they serve. Schools, after all, are much more than buildings where children learn how to read and write. They are neighborhood anchors - often with imposing physical presences - that double as community meeting spots, informal rec centers and more.

Details on the federal budget

By Anonymous on Apr 12, 2011 12:17 PM

Politics K-12 has a great, quick summary of the education items in a spending bill before Congress.

Some Obama administration priorities like Race to the Top remain funded. Earmarks for programs, including the National Writing Project, which were removed in a stopgap bill, have not been restored.

Notes from the news, Apr. 12

By Anonymous on Apr 12, 2011 09:50 AM

notes from the news imageNo City Council opposition surfaces to placing police in schools The Inquirer
According to police commissioner Ramsey officers in schools would be like mentors, not looking to "lock up kids."

See also: Ramsey: cops in Philadelphia schools should be mentors WHYY/NewsWorks
Philadelphia Top Cop Calls For Expanded Police Presence In City Schools CBS Philly

'Zero tolerance' failed city schools The Inquirer (opinion)
PCCY's Shelley Yanoff wrote this op-ed on behalf of the organization Community Responses to Zero Tolerance.

See also: Notes from the field: Dealing With School Violence: A Different Solution City School Stories
Letters: To become less violent, schools need resources The Inquirer

PA Senate approves voucher program WHYY/NewsWorks
Senate Bill 1 was approved by the appropriations committee and has now moved to the full senate.

See also: DAILY GRINDER: School Vouchers Soon a Reality? PhillyNow blog
PA SENATORS POISED TO VOTE BILLION $ BAILOUT FOR PENNSYLVANIA’S FINANCIALLY STRUGGLING PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS Keystone State Education Coalition

Urgent need for sex education in Philly schools The Notebook blog
This guest blog post argues that Philly schools need to teach comprehensive sex education, starting in K-8.

School District fights for funding Philadelphia Tribune
Superintendent Ackerman lists some of the things that the District doesn't want to touch to make up the deficit: Renaissance Schools, athletics, instrumental music, enlarging class size.

Dwight Evans: Turn King H.S. into charter Philadelphia Tribune
State Rep. Evans spoke to the Tribune editorial board about his "education corridor" plans for King High.

School District Of Philadelphia Creates 'Parent University' To Help Adults Understand Kids' Homework Huffington Post

Free Money Financial Aid Phone Bank! Fox 29

Foro de educación para estudiantes camino a la universidad Al Día

Heat exhaustion causes ranting Making the Grade blog

Fox Investigates: Subject Faces Judge Fox 29

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Urgent need for sex education in Philly schools

By Guest blogger on Apr 11, 2011 02:13 PM

This guest blog post comes from District teacher Christina Long. April is STD Awareness Month.


The city just launched a sexually transmitted disease education campaign and new website called Teens Take Control. At the launch, Health Commissioner Donald Schwarz unveiled the winner of a condom design campaign.

A Daily News editorial described the condom access push as an “important part” of the public health campaign. An Inquirer editorial also endorsed the idea, commenting that promoting condoms “seems like one good approach to the problem.” However, far more critical than cool-looking condoms is the need for sex education in our public schools. Most District schools are doing an atrocious job of teaching teens even the basics on this subject.    

Notes from the news, Apr. 11

By Anonymous on Apr 11, 2011 10:04 AM

notes from the news imageSchool closings to be announced in October The Notebook blog
An overview of the facilities master plan announcements on Thursday.

See also: School district plans career & technical centers to accommodate more students Daily News
Facing Deficits, School District Of Philadelphia May Close Or Consolidate Schools CBS Philly

Finding progress even in schools that don't meet Pa. standards The Inquirer
Looking at "value-added" data can reveal a different picture of a school.

Corbett suggests district mergers The Inquirer and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Gov. Corbett says mergers could help districts respond to the budget cuts.

Nutter and Ramsey consider putting armed police officers in some schools The Inquirer
The mayor and police commissioner think that city police officers in schools would help reduce violence.

See also: Karen Heller: Education is the key to fighting violence in schools The Inquirer
Going online to avoid violence The Inquirer
Safe schools and pushouts: exploring the connection Voice of Philadelphia
Letters: To become less violent, schools need resources The Inquirer

Study: Wide variation in success of PA charters The Notebook blog
A new CREDO study of Pennsylvania charters breaks down charter school data by several different demographics and finds variation between subgroups.

VOUCHER BILL SB1 IS MOVING Keystone State Education Coalition
The appropriations committee is expected to vote on the bill today and send it to the full senate.

Ronnie Polaneczky: In this city of 'pay to play,' this kind could help schools Daily News
Some sports clubs would like to rent space in school gyms during off-hours.

Philadelphia School District offers early-retirement incentive program The Inquirer
Teachers meeting certain age or years of service requirements can retire and receive 18 months of paid health insurance.

Starting a conversation on education reform The Notebook blog
The Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal focused its latest edition on education.

See also: RFA Articles Published in the Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal Research for Action blog

Henry Got Crops! Accepting CSA Members Roxborough-Manayunk Patch
The CSA is a partnership between Weaver's Way Co-op and Saul High.

Pa. Lawmakers May Restore Funding To State-Owned Universities CBS Philly

Daniel Rubin: More courage from a Dreamer on immigration The Inquirer

Pennsylvania Supreme Court tells Philadelphia to release $1.3 million to Palmer charter The Inquirer

Picking an Elementary School: NW Philly Parent Meetup 4/14 Philly School Search

Local school districts ranked WHYY/NewsWorks

South Philadelphia: Nebinger School on the Rise Philadelphia Neighborhoods

REAL to REEL: Education Video Contest A Broad View blog

Philly schools connect parents with autism services WHYY/NewsWorks

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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Study: Wide variation in success of PA charters

By Celeste Lavin on Apr 8, 2011 06:47 PM

Students at middle and multi-level charter schools in Pennsylvania perform worse than their peers in traditional public schools in both math and reading, according to a new study published by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University.

Students at elementary level charters, however, outperform their traditional school counterparts in both math and reading.

Starting a conversation on education reform

By Anonymous on Apr 8, 2011 03:19 PM

On Thursday the Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal launched its 6th edition focused on education with an "It starts with a conversation" event at WHYY.

The edition features 50 articles written by local, regional, and national experts about a variety of education programs. The event included a forum with leaders from charter schools, advocacy organizations, businesses, academia, and more. Co-founders Tine Hansen-Turton and Nicholas Torres introduced the edition and the PSIJ's efforts to spark dialogue about school reform in an op-ed in the Daily News.

School closings to be announced in October

By Benjamin Herold on Apr 8, 2011 11:07 AM

Sweeping changes for School District facilities are on the horizon, but few of them will happen this year.

Thursday evening's presentation on a proposed three-year facilities master plan indicated that the District plans to shed up to 50 buildings, radically overhaul the grade configurations of schools across the city, change the way it delivers programs like career and technical education, and continue its uneasy collaboration with the city’s growing charter school sector.

Notes from the news, Apr. 8

By Anonymous on Apr 8, 2011 10:12 AM

notes from the news imagePhiladelphia to get rid of 50 schools, reconfigure grades The Inquirer
District officials described plans on how to cut excess capacity in half over the next three years.

See also: Updates from facilities master plan SRC meeting The Notebook blog
District to combine, sell off properties to save $, gain $12M Daily News
Philadelphia Schools to eliminate dozens of buildings. 6 ABC
Facilities master plan: resources, links The Notebook blog
Ackerman Presents Report On Philadelphia School Reconfiguration CBS Philly
Philly Could Close Up To 50 Schools Fox 29

Philadelphia Rally Against Education Cuts NBC Philadelphia
Protect Public Education led a rally at City Hall on Thursday.

See also: Philadelphia students and supporters rally against proposed budget cuts WHYY/NewsWorks

Charter wins another round against District The Inquirer
The State Supreme Court ruled in favor of Walter D. Palmer Charter School and said the state must pay it $1.3 million in disputed funds.

NYC schools chancellor Cathie Black resigns The Notebook blog
Black had been on the job a few months. She was a non-traditional choice by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

See also: Cathie Black and the privatisation of education Guardian UK

Collaborations strengthen connections to school, each other The Notebook blog
The first in a series of posts from two teachers responding to the "Assault on Learning" series by discussing creating curricula that keep students engaged.

See also: The case for alternative schools The Workshop blog

School computers seized in connection with e-mailed bomb threat The Inquirer
A suspect in the bomb threat appears to have sent the message from an unnamed school's computer.

Philly unwraps campaign against STDs The Inquirer
The "Freedom Condom" campaign is aimed at helping young people access and use condoms.

See also: City fighting STDs with information, free condoms Philadelphia Tribune
DN Editorial: Condom city Daily News
M. Nutt’s STD Plan PhillyNow blog

Ackerman, Parent University, featured on CNN The Hall Monitor blog
A segment was scheduled to air last night on Anderson Cooper 360, and it will be re-broadcast throughout the weekend.

See also: CNN to Feature Parent University [Thursday night] A Broad View blog

Going to college? NFL player Jahri Evans can help The Hall Monitor blog

Philly Students Get A New Blacktop To Play On Philebrity

Earth Day Poster Contest A Broad View blog

New Reports Pan EITC Accountability and Cyber Performance Keystone State Education Coalition blog

Our Phony Education The Workshop blog

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Notes from the news

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