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On the origin of lawsuits

By Len Rieser on Feb 25, 2010 01:26 PM

Where do big lawsuits come from?

This is the Darwinian question that occurred to me last week when I learned about “webcamgate” (as some Lower Merion students have called it). That’s the situation that has led to a class action complaint in which a student accuses the district of spying on him and others in their homes, through cameras installed in laptops.

Notes from the news, Feb. 25

By Anonymous on Feb 25, 2010 09:38 AM

Phila. schools chief vows action against violence The Inquirer
The police chief, DA, Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller, and others supported Superintendent Ackerman as she described what the District will do about school violence.

See also: Teens on school violence: 'Everybody's dying young' Daily News
Ackerman, others vow action on youth violence Philly.com
Mob Mentality City Paper

No resolution on violence at South Philly The Notebook blog
Helen Gym wrote about the "frightening analysis" in the investigation of events in South Philly.

SRC modifies its charter-school policy The Inquirer
The policy allows successful charters to apply to add grades in year three of the five-year charter term, rather than only at renewal.

See also: SRC: Change for charters Daily News

Phila. School District Extends School Year KYW
The last day of school is one day later and two days were removed from spring break.

See also: A snow day [today] — yippee Philly.com

How Do We Best Teach Technology? Philly Teacher blog
A technology teacher reflects on how to teach a subject that should not be taught in isolation.

Why Don't Liberals Really Like Poor Children? A Good Day Teaching blog
A response to the liberal hand-wringing about sending kids to public schools.

Netter Center continues to make strides in Community UC Review

North Central Philly: Tree House Books Helps Youth, Captures “Voice of Philadelphia” Philadelphia Neighborhoods

But Zero Tolerance MAKES no sense! School Stories blog

Philly Teachers Need Anger Management? Philly School Search blog

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No resolution on violence at South Philly

By Helen Gym on Feb 24, 2010 04:36 PM

It’s hard to look at the findings of the District’s independent investigation into the December 3 violence at South Philadelphia High School without significant shock and outrage. After all, this was an incident in which more than two dozen Asian immigrant students were assaulted throughout the day in multiple attacks, which sent 13 youth to the hospital at a school with a history of violence overall and against Asian immigrant students in particular.

Yet nearly three months after the Dec. 3 violence, we have a report that – while providing some insight – mostly sets us right back where we were before: with glaring discrepancies between accounts of student victims and witnesses and findings that appear to absolve the District of any accountability. The investigation was based on interviews with only a fraction of student victims and witnesses and contains innuendos and reliance on rumors that serve only to distract from the main question: could the school/District have done anything differently to avoid or minimize the attacks?

New blogger: The state of science instruction in the District

By Timothy Boyle on Feb 24, 2010 01:50 PM

Please help us welcome another new blogger to our site. You  may recognize Mr. Boyle from the comments, and now you can read his views on science education every week on the Notebook blog.


Hello, my name is Timothy M. Boyle and I am a science prep teacher in School District of Philadelphia. In my three years in the District I have taught science in grades 1-4. Through professional development workshops I have gotten to know elementary science teachers across the District. Discussions about our struggles and successes have yielded inspiration as well as concern.

Notes from the news, Feb. 24

By Anonymous on Feb 24, 2010 11:12 AM

Report released on racial violence at S. Phila. High The Inquirer
The report detailed the incidents of last December and made a series of recommendations.

See also: A graphic account of South Philly violence The Notebook blog
Fix for violence: Ban on hoodies Metro Philadelphia
Asian group hits report on school fights Daily News
Whitewash in South Philly Attytood

Data, please It's Our Money
City Controller Alan Butkovtiz said the cut-off time for students to use TransPasses should be moved up from 7 p.m. to 4 p.m. to help prevent flash mobs.

See also: Controller want time limit on student SEPTA passes Daily News
City official: Restrict student transit passes
The Inquirer
Phila. Controller Urges Tighter Controls on SEPTA Student Fare Passes KYW
Controller's Pass Idea Fails Daily News (opinion)
Piden restricción a estudiantes en SEPTA Al Día

New teacher contracts in Minn., Conn., Philly support reforms in failing urban schools AP via LA Times
The Renaissance Schools plan is getting more regional and national attention for its turnaround approach.

Philadelphia kicks off campaign to boost college attendance WHYY
PhillyGoes2College.com and an office in City Hall opened yesterday.

See also: Philadelphia Offers One-Stop Shopping for Prospective College Grads KYW

Mantua: West Philadelphia Community Center Enriching Young Minds Philadelphia Neighborhoods

What's A Good Liberal To Do? Len Lipkin and Philly School Search Philly Weekly

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A graphic account of South Philly violence

By Paul Socolar on Feb 24, 2010 10:41 AM

A retired federal judge's report, released on Tuesday, provides a lurid and troubling, almost blow-by-blow account of the violent attacks on Asian students at South Philadelphia High school on December 3.

The outside investigation by James T. Giles, now of the law firm Pepper Hamilton, was commissioned by the District. His report focuses on a series of violent incidents in and outside the school last December 2 and December 3, but did not attempt to examine the troubled history of Asian and immigrant students at the school prior to these incidents. Nor does it draw a conclusion about which of several versions of the events of December 2 is accurate.

The 37-page report (Click here to download the report in smaller sections.), which concludes with 15 recommendations for the school, was formally presented on Tuesday by Giles, joined by Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, who called on all parties to "move forward."

Some highlights from the report:

Notes from the news, Feb. 23

By Anonymous on Feb 23, 2010 10:27 AM

Report on S. Phila. High violence expected [today] Philly.com
A retired federal judge who was hired to investigate the situation at South Philly will issue his report today.

West Philly community responds to 'Renaissance' label The Notebook blog
About 50 people attended West's community meeting last week. They expressed support of Principal Cruz and her current turnaround efforts.

See also: Questions About Renaissance Schools Philly Weekly

Schools must teach what not to say, too The Inquirer (opinion)
In order to teach kids about free speech the lesson must include "some basic principles of civility."

Letters: Teachers need tools to do their jobs properly The Inquirer
Response from Len Rieser and Kelly Darr to last week's op-ed about students with disabilities and English language learners.

Local Elementary Kids Take Part in Annual Science Fair KYW

Having Your Cake and Eating It Too Philly School Search blog

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West Philly community responds to 'Renaissance' label

By Eric Braxton on Feb 22, 2010 01:18 PM

Thursday evening I attended the Renaissance Community Meeting at West Philadelphia High School. About 50 people attended. Most of them were parents and community members with a few students and teachers in the mix as well. The message they sent was incredibly unified: our school has already started the turnaround; don’t lose that progress.

Notes from the news, Feb. 22

By Anonymous on Feb 22, 2010 10:21 AM

First lady touts Pa.'s health-food initiative Daily News
Mrs. Obama visited Fairhill Elementary, a Philadelphia public school.

See also: Fairhill visit spotlights healthy eating plan The Notebook blog
The First Lady brings the fight for fresh food to Philly WHYY
First lady takes health message to N. Phila. The Inquirer

Ten win 'Teacher as Hero' awards The Inquirer
One of those winners is Notebook blogger Samuel Reed, III!

'Weighted student funding' - any takers? The Notebook blog
Prinicipals could decide to participate in a weighted student funding pilot program before the entire District moves to the formula in 2011-12.

Karen Heller: City's problems boil down to just one: Poverty The Inquirer
Heller supports Superintendent Ackerman's view that the problems at South Philly and elsewhere are not only for the District to fix.

Esos vatos locos forever! And school racial violence, Somali pirates The Notebook blog
The DREAM ACT, a follow up on a February edition story on school violence, and a song.

Adapting to teen trouble on transit Metro Philadelphia
Thoughts from SEPTA's police chief on managing safety on transit.

See also: Flash Mob, the Gallery and Parenting A Very Public Education blog

Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez Goes on the Record The Frankford Gazette

Actor Tony Danza Supports His Students at SRC Meeting KYW

Sometimes It's the Teacher Who Needs a Hug Philly Teacher blog

Fishtown: Community Theater Brings Children’s Stories to Life Philadelphia Neighborhoods

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Fairhill visit spotlights healthy eating plan

By Wendy Harris on Feb 20, 2010 06:22 PM

Fairhill Elementary School eighth graders Kendall Barrott and Gregory Leach shifted with excitement in their seats in the school cafeteria as they waited for First Lady Michelle Obama to take the stage.

Obama visited the North Philadelphia school Friday to discuss her “Let’s Move” initiative, a nationwide campaign to prevent childhood obesity. 

'Weighted student funding' - any takers?

By Dale Mezzacappa on Feb 19, 2010 04:04 PM

When Arlene Ackerman came to Philadelphia, she said right off the bat that she planned to implement something called "weighted student funding." The idea is twofold: allocate resources based on students' academic and other needs, and give all schools more autonomy to make budgeting decisions.

Now she is following through.

Esos vatos locos forever! And school racial violence, Somali pirates

By Gustavo Martínez on Feb 19, 2010 01:26 PM

I'm supposing none of y'all know what the title to this post means. I'll put it this way: that's proper Chicano English, a southwestern US of A dialect of Spanglish, for "aw yeah, crazy dudes!"

Down there, by our own Berlin Wall, we live in español, but go to school in Spanglish, which goes to show how unsuccessful Operation Wetback was.

What worries me is that still, today, there are people who think that English is the only language that should be spoken in this land. But I take relief when amigos gabachos stand in defense of the many tongues spelling out life in the today's United States. So, gracias to attorney and blogger Len Rieser for his post in response to a Christopher Paslay's op-ed piece that appeared in The Inquirer earlier this week.

Notes from the news, Feb. 19

By Anonymous on Feb 19, 2010 10:27 AM

Fairhill pupils await Michelle Obama The Inquirer
Mrs. Obama is visiting the elementary school Friday to talk about her campaign against childhood obesity.

See also: First Lady Speaks Out Against Childhood Obesity in Phila. KYW

Ackerman: Youth violence a public health issue The Inquirer
Superintendent Ackerman explained that the 15,000 violent and nonviolent incidents are far too many.

See also: Jackson: prevent flash mobs with better schools Philly.com
Jesse Jackson addresses student violence in Phila. The Inquirer

Why can't they just teach their kids English? The Notebook blog
Len Rieser wrote in response to a recent Inquirer op-ed that questioned spending District dollars to teach immigrant kids English.

Gubernatorial candidates debate in Center City Philly.com
PSU and YUC students spoke at the forum. The discussion of education referenced the costing-out study and importance of early childhood ed.

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

Why can't they just teach their kids English?

By Len Rieser on Feb 18, 2010 08:02 PM

Of all the grumpy things that people say about immigrants, one of the more unusual is that they don’t sit their kids down on arrival and teach them English.  But that’s one of several points made by Christopher Paslay in an op-ed earlier this week.

Notes from the news, Feb. 18

By Anonymous on Feb 18, 2010 09:02 AM

Violence is key topic at school-reform-panel meeting Daily News
Superintendent Ackerman said violence is like a "public health threat" and that she is interested in talking more with students who organized an anti-violence campaign.

See also: Student Union, Ackerman discuss violence The Notebook blog
New Campaign Launch to SRC PSU blog
"I am talking about student-created solutions to violence in our schools" Philly Education Justice blog

First lady brings antiobesity campaign to Phila. The Inquirer
Mrs. Obama and the Treasury and Agriculture secretaries will visit Fairhill School tomorrow to discuss her campaign.

Renaissance community meetings rescheduled The Notebook blog
Meetings at West Philly High and Harrity tonight.

Jackson to Give City Schools Talk The Inquirer
Rev. Jesse Jackson will have a public conversation with Ackerman.

Man shot outside Washington High School The Inquirer
The teen was shot while a fashion show was going on at the school. He was in stable condition.

See also: Teen Shot Outside Philadelphia High School NBC Philadelphia
Teen Shot Outside Philly High School Fox 29

Tony Danza argues the merits of debate team Philly.com

Philly Schools To Ask For Waiver Over Snow Days AP via KDKA

"P" is for Parents and Powerful A Good Day Teaching blog

Turning Words Into Action: How are you applying #edchat ideas? Philly Teacher blog

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Notes from the news

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