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With layoffs coming, it's time to stand up for seniority

By Ron Whitehorne on Feb 14, 2011 03:57 PM

With many school districts facing budget shortfalls, teachers, including those in Philadelphia, will likely face layoffs.

The budget crunch coincides with a growing attack on teacher tenure and seniority as the governing principle for teacher assignment and layoffs. Even Antonio Villaraigosa, the mayor of Los Angeles, and long time teacher union organizer and staffer, has joined the chorus calling for “peformance” as the “driver” in decisions around these issues. And former Washington, D.C. Superintendent Michelle Rhee has made ending tenure and eliminating seniority central agenda points of her “Students First” campaign.

Mastery to compete for Gratz, Clymer

By Benjamin Herold on Feb 14, 2011 01:32 PM

Mastery Charter will be competing for just two of the six recently named "Renaissance match" charter schools - Simon Gratz High School and George Clymer Elementary School.

Mastery CEO Scott Gordon described his organization's strategy as "high-risk."

Notes from the news, Feb. 14

By Anonymous on Feb 14, 2011 10:58 AM

notes from the news imageWest students walk out The Notebook blog
Students at West Philly High walked out of school Friday afternoon to protest the upheaval facing their school.

See also: 30 West Philadelphia High students walk out in protest The Inquirer

School districts bracing for end of stimulus funds Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
This piece compiles coverage about the budget situation in Pennsylvania and is supported by the Education Writers Association and Hechinger Institute.

Corbett Promises Drastic Budget Cuts Fox 29
Gov. Corbett will announce the cuts on March 8, and big cuts are expected for education.

PhillyDeals: Bill would grow tuition tax breaks for the middle class, too The Inquirer
The state senate bill that would bring vouchers to Pennsylvania would also double the Educational Improvement Tax credit, which allows businesses to pay part of their taxes into a scholarship fund.

See also: School-voucher research less emphatic than debate The Inquirer
The Nation: It Takes a Village, Not a Tiger Keystone State Education Coalition
The Parent's Role in the School Choice Debate Mt. Airy Patch

Learning vs. (Make-up) Work Making the Grade blog

What Can We Learn from Gaming? Philly Teacher blog

YouTube/You Learn?: The Role of Media Literacy for Students Today Research for Action blog

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Notes from the news

West students walk out

By the Notebook on Feb 11, 2011 03:33 PM

by Celeste Lavin and Raquel Ronzone


[Updated, 8:30 p.m.] As many as 100 students at West Philadelphia High School walked out of their classrooms at about 1 p.m. Friday. Borrowing a tactic from the long history of student activism, students say they organized a walkout as a statement to the District about their disappointment and concern with the ongoing reforms at the school.

Notes from the news, Feb. 11

By Anonymous on Feb 11, 2011 11:13 AM

notes from the news imageAckerman foresees $400 million 2011-12 school district shortfall The Inquirer
District officials announced the budget forecast yesterday. Some adjustments will be made immediately to make up a gap this  year, but the gap could be "$400 to $500 million or more" next year.

See also: District finally reveals size of budget gapThe Notebook blog
Schools plan for funding cuts Daily News
More School District cuts coming with less funding
Philadelphia Tribune
Phila. school budget proposal looks to cut $400-million 6 ABC

Charter school conversion plan rankles S. Philly parents WHYY/NewsWorks
You can hear reporter Benjamin Herold discuss Audenried High on the radio today, or listen to the piece online.

Ravitch: Turnaround is a national failure The Notebook blog
Diane Ravitch spoke at an event in New York City on Monday and had strong words about turnaround and the test-taking culture driving schools and policymaking.

NW Philly schools under-enrolled but district won’t say which ones WHYY/NewsWorks
The Facilities Master Plan meeting at Saul High brought out about 60 parents.

SRC member Girard-DiCarlo abruptly quits Philadelphia Tribune
Girard-diCarlo said in a phone interview that he had been thinking about quitting the SRC for a while.

See also: Renuncia miembro de la SRC Al Día
SRC: Who's who? The Notebook blog

The Children Must Play Practical Theory blog

Choice Cuts Week Ending 2011-02-11 [Video]  Philly School Search

SB 1 - What's Next? Keystone State Education Coalition

Study finds schools are not well prepared to deal with cyberbullies WHYY/NewsWorks

First grader found wandering blocks away from school 6 ABC

Michael Vick Shares Lessons Learned With Roberto Clemente Students  A Broad View blog

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Notes from the news

District finally reveals size of budget gap

By Paul Socolar on Feb 10, 2011 07:47 PM

[Updated, 10:10 pm] Superintendent Arlene Ackerman today acknowledged the size of the District's budget gap for next year to be "$400 to $500 million or more" - an amount that likely represents about 15 percent of total District spending.

And officials describe their challenge as three-pronged:

Ravitch: Turnaround is a national failure

By Helen Gym on Feb 10, 2011 02:26 PM

Turnaround is a failed measure that’s led to instability in schools and “massive demoralization” among teachers and school officials, said New York University professor and author Diane Ravitch Monday night in New York City.

Ravitch was the featured speaker along with a dynamic panel of parent activists from across the country in an event sponsored by Parents Across America to launch a new national network of parent leaders.

Ravitch, who has risen to significant prominence in the last year in the wake of her book The Death and Life of the Great American School System, remained a sharp critic of current education reform fads, including turnaround, which is a major focus of the Ackerman administration.

SRC: Who's who?

By Paul Socolar on Feb 10, 2011 02:08 PM

Commissioner David Girard-diCarlo, who resigned from the School Reform Commission this week, held a seat on the SRC that was due to expire in January 2014, according to a recent memo from Erin O. Davis, SRC chief of staff. His seat is to be filled by Gov. Tom Corbett. In the meantime, the SRC will have only four members.

Notes from the news, Feb. 10

By Anonymous on Feb 10, 2011 11:05 AM

notes from the news imageSRC Commissioner Girard-diCarlo resigns The Notebook blog
SRC Chair Robert Archie announced the resignation at Wednesday's meeting. Gov. Corbett will nominate a replacement to serve out the rest of Girard-diCarlo's term.

See also: David Girard-diCarlo quits Philadelphia School Reform Commission The Inquirer

Fireworks at Audenried The Notebook blog
At the meeting to discuss plans for Audenried High School as a Promise Neighborhood Partnership school, community members wanted to know why they weren't involved in the choice of Universal Companies as its new manager.

School district to improve job-bid procedures Daily News
A restructuring of the procurement process will increase efficiency and hold District officials accountable, says Deputy Superintendent Leroy Nunery.

Philly schools panel considers extending contested contract The Inquirer
The SRC will vote next week on extending Elliot-Lewis' contract to manage the District building.

The future of education: On school vouchers, so many questions Daily News (opinion)
State Sen. Daylin Leach writes that the voucher bill is a "bold" idea, but adds, "The problem is that the old school won't save $9,000 when the student leaves."

See also: Notes from the field-Vouchers Are Not an Economic Bill of Rights for the Disadvantaged City School Stories
Voucher Editorials Keystone State Education Coalition

The Future of education: President Obama should keep President Ike Eisenhower in mind Daily News (opinion)
President Obama should beware of the "education-industrial complex."

Hearing From the Public on the Future of Northwest Philly Schools Roxborough-Manayunk Patch
Report from the Facilities Master Plan community meeting at Germantown High.

Renaissance Initiative to help troubled schools South Philly Review

Why I Chose Bache-Martin Elementary School: 2011-02-07 School Selection Report Philly School Search

Politics and Leverage or Collaboration and Unicorns Making the Grade blog

Fox 29 Investigates: Double Dip FOLO Fox 29

Tiger Mom Amy Chua, meet Pussycat Dad Robert Strauss Daily News (opinion)

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Notes from the news

SRC Commissioner Girard-diCarlo resigns

By Wendy Harris on Feb 9, 2011 03:57 PM

[Updated 8:40 p.m.] At today's School Reform Commission, meeting, SRC Chair Robert Archie announced the surprise news that Commissioner David Girard-diCarlo has tendered his resignation.

Girard-diCarlo notified the District and the governor in identical letters dated Feb. 8 and just received today, according to a District spokesperson.

Fireworks at Audenried

By Benjamin Herold on Feb 9, 2011 12:58 PM

UPDATE: District officials provide more information on data used in decision to designate Audenried a Renaissance School (go to update).

UPDATE: WHYY/NewsWorks republished this piece and added an audio segment.

Pitched by the District as a “Promise,” new plans for Audenried High School were derided at the school Tuesday as a “disgrace.”

During a raucous evening informational meeting, a parade of outraged parents, students, community members, and school staff expressed overwhelming opposition to news that Audenried will be turned into a charter school run by Universal Companies – and to the new arrangement being presented to them as a done deal, decided without their input.

Notes from the news, Feb. 9

By Anonymous on Feb 9, 2011 10:56 AM

notes from the news imageNo school-specific info in this phase of facility planning The Notebook NEWSFLASH
The second round of community meetings for the Facilities Master Plan have begun, but the District still isn't revealing school-specific information.

Kelley School encourages kids in test-taking efforts Philadelphia Tribune
This week's Learning Key includes stories about a PSSA pep rally, Picasso Project grants through PCCY, Shaw Middle School, and more.

See also: Grants benefit school arts programs Philadelphia Tribune
Shaw’s scores rise as students develop life skills Philadelphia Tribune
Kids learn and succeed in Lego robotics contest Philadelphia Tribune

No exceptions for West on ousting of staff The Notebook blog
The District says that federal funds West Philly High received for turnaround require it to remove at least half the staff. Parents and students at a community meeting expressed their concerns about the continued upheaval.

High school hoops star shot dead in Phila. The Inquirer
Rashawn Anderson was killed Monday night. He was a member of the Roxborough basketball team. The school brought in counselors for students.

See also: A moment of silence for slain Roxborough High student WHYY/NewsWorks
Roxborough High Student Gunned Down Fox 29
Roxborough Basketball Star Gunned Down NBC Philadelphia
Grandmother of Slain Roxborough Student: 'They Took My Baby Away' Roxborough-Manayunk Patch

Students Design Their Future Huffington Post
Brandon Ford, the West Philly student who got to sit with the first lady at the State of the Union address, is a participant in the Spirit of Innovation Awards program.

NEPC: No credible evidence on vouchers Keystone State Education Coalition

The Voucher Debate Continues Research for Action blog

Campaign for Healthier Schools Promotes Active Lifestyles A Broad View blog

It Ain't Easy Being Teacher Chestnut Hill Patch 

How hip hop can enhance classroom learning The Hall Monitor blog

Edu-Overwhelmed Philly Teacher blog

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Notes from the news

No exceptions for West on ousting of staff

By Benjamin Herold on Feb 8, 2011 03:23 PM

The revolving door of teachers and principals at West Philadelphia High School is set to keep spinning.

As part of its transition to a District-run "Traditional" Promise Academy, West will open next school year with its fourth new principal in less than 12 months, as well as a teaching staff that is at least 50 percent new to the school.

Notes from the news, Feb. 8

By Anonymous on Feb 8, 2011 10:59 AM

notes from the news imageTiger Moms, the model minority stereotype, and the impact on youth in schools The Notebook blog
Amy Chau's description of how "Chinese parents" raise successful kids has implications for Asian students who are assumed to need less help and services because their parents prioritize education.

Will Promise Academies Keep Their Word? Fox 29
Fox 29 was at the Renaissance Schools community meeting at West Philly High.

School voucher debate heats up in Pa. Legislature Philadelphia Tribune
The Senate education committee will hold a hearing Feb. 16 on the Opportunity Scholarship and Educational Improvement Tax Credit Act.

Promise Academy Students Learn Tools for Literary/Life Success A Broad View
African American authors and cartoonist visited students at Promise Academies.

$16M expansion of Phila. charter school begins 6 ABC
West Oak Lane Charter School is expanding--it's building 64,000 additional square feet for classrooms, a gym, and other educational uses.

Reflections of an Author-"Words of Mass Reduction" City School Stories
Frank Murphy follows up on his Notebook blog piece about vacant seats.

FW: Corrected Fitzpatrick Link/ Voucher potpourri Keystone State Education Coalition

Parents to be schooled on PSSAs The Hall Monitor blog

An Open Letter to Local Schools Philly School Search

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Notes from the news

Tiger Moms, the model minority stereotype, and the impact on youth in schools

By Helen Gym on Feb 7, 2011 02:05 PM

Recently, Yale Law Professor Amy Chua wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal that set off a media and cultural firestorm.

Titled “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior,” the piece’s outlandish assertions about Asian immigrant parenting hit the requisite rounds on the 24-hour news cycle.

Though the media chatter has been seemingly non-stop, what has not been adequately addressed is Chua's calculated exploitation of a pernicious stereotype that has had deep impact on youth – particularly youth of color – in our schools: the model minority stereotype of the superhuman Asian student. 

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