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Campaign for Nonviolent Schools' platform launch Tuesday

By Anonymous on Mar 21, 2011 02:58 PM

The Campaign for Nonviolent Schools is a youth-led coalition that is launching its platform at the United Way Building Tuesday. The campaign's platform is organized around:

Is it time for the SRC to go?

By Ron Whitehorne on Mar 21, 2011 02:32 PM

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

For almost 10 years Philadelphia schools have been governed by a five-member commission selected by the governor, who appoints the majority, and the mayor, who gets two appointments. The citizens of Philadelphia, unique in the commonwealth, have no say in the selection of this body and no way, short of discharging the governor, of removing its members.

More on Foundations and King High

By the Notebook on Mar 21, 2011 01:00 PM

by Bill Hangley, Jr.

This piece was published by NewsWorks Friday, March 18.

When John Henderson of Foundations Inc. walks into Martin Luther King High today, he knows he’ll meet some angry people. His message: don’t blame us.

“[People] have to entertain the notion that Mosaica withdrew,” said Henderson, Foundations’ chief spokesperson. “That put us all in the situation that I don’t think any of us were prepared for.”

Foundations is the nonprofit organization that has managed King, a neighborhood high school of about 1,000 students, since 2003. Wednesday, it appeared to have lost that job for good after the School Reform Commission (SRC) voted to hand King over to a competing charter operator, Mosaica Education, as part of the District’s Renaissance school turnaround program.

The SRC’s decision followed weeks of work by King’s volunteer School Advisory Council (SAC), which endorsed Mosaica over Foundations by an 8-1 vote.

But not 24 hours after Mosaica officially won the job, District officials made a surprise announcement: Mosaica was giving up King, saying it wanted to focus its energy on another school it was awarded, Birney Elementary.

It soon emerged that the moving force behind the decision was Rep. Dwight Evans, who responded to Mosaica’s apparent victory by lobbying hard on behalf of Foundations, his longtime partner in Northwest education projects. With Evans as an ally, Foundations has grown deep roots in the Northwest, running after-school programs and providing services to charter schools. Its executives have raised thousands of dollars in campaign funds for Evans over the years. Foundations considers King its “flagship” school.

This story continues on the NewsWorks website; it is a product of a reporting collaboration between the Notebook and WHYY.

Notes from the news, Mar. 21

By Anonymous on Mar 21, 2011 09:57 AM

notes from the news imageMoffett to return to Audenried Monday The Notebook blog
The District and the PFT settled the federal case and agreed to let Hope Moffett return. How Moffett will describe the situation to her students is still at issue since the settlement says she must tell her students she "failed" them.

See also:Moffett’s return to classroom faces possible complication The Inquirer
Audenried teacher back to work Monday 6 ABC
Hope Moffett heading back to Audenried classroom Daily News
District, restored teacher still differ The Inquirer
School District Agrees to a Settlement in Free-Speech Lawsuit Filed by the Teachers’ Union PRNewswire

Inquirer Editorial: Don't target good teachers The Inquirer
The bill currently in the state legislature is too flawed to help much, but it "makes sense" to think about other factors than tenure in laying off teachers.

Inquirer Editorial: City schools still too violent The Inquirer
An independent monitor of school violence and climate should return to the Philly schools.

See also: Schools are failing to keep students safe The Inquirer (opinion)

Philadelphia Public School Officials Meet With Community Members Over Budget Cuts CBS Philly
The second community budget meeting was held at South Philly High.

See also: Priorities or Chop Block? Making the Grade blog

Save the National Writing Project Practical Theory blog
The NWP is one of the programs cut in a federal budget bill.

U.S. charter-school network with Turkish link draws federal attention The Inquirer
The FBI and Departments of Labor and Education are investing a charter provider that may be sending kickbacks to a Muslim organization, Hizmet.

See also: Charter schools' foreign ties probed UPI

Corbett budget hurts health, education, Phila. official says The Inquirer

Prez reacts to Corbett's ed funding cuts  The Hall Monitor blog

Dafney Tales chats the Philadelphia School District  The Hall Monitor blog

Will Smith, Charlie Mack donate computers to West Philly High Philadelphia Tribune

PhillyInc: Wharton School launching website for high school students The Inquirer

Voucher news roundup Keystone State Education Coalition

Parent Asks, “Talk to me about city schools” Philly School Search

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

Moffett to return to Audenried Monday

By Benjamin Herold on Mar 18, 2011 08:42 PM

Hope Moffett is returning to Audenried High School Monday morning.

In a surprise development, both the School District of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers have announced that Moffett will be back in the classroom teaching on Monday, and that her proposed termination has been reduced to a five-day suspension. The union is still planning to fight the suspension.

Notes from the news, Mar. 18

By Anonymous on Mar 18, 2011 09:32 AM

notes from the news imageMosaica out; Foundations to manage King The Notebook blog
Mosaica announced it was withdrawing its bid to manage King High School, and State Rep. Dwight Evans says he lobbied hard for that move.

See also: MLK update: Mosaica out, Foundations in - Evans claims credit WHYY/NewsWorks
Charter operator, facing opposition, withdraws from plan to convert MLK High The Inquirer
Charter school operator drops bid for MLK High
Philadelphia Tribune

 Ackerman bonus disturbingly generous, auditor general says The Inquirer
Auditor General Jack Wagner said he opposes bonuses for public employees, especially highly paid ones.

See also: The superintendent's contract extension: Another misstep for the SRC The Notebook blog
Pa. Auditor General ‘Disturbed’ By Bonuses Paid To Arlene Ackerman CBS Philly
Auditor Blasts Ackerman Bonus NBC Philadelphia

Voucher bill explained by its sponsor The Notebook blog
State Senator Piccola discussed Senate Bill 1, which would allow students at 144 low-performing schools to receive vouchers.

See also: Elmer Smith: School-voucher plan doesn't make the grade Daily News
Sweeney says he may allow Senate vote on school bill The Inquirer
School voucher bill dividing state’s Black caucus
Philadelphia Tribune

 Schools taking PSSAs face higher No Child standards this year The Inquirer
To meet NCLB adequate yearly progress standards this year 67 percent of students must be at grade level or above in math and 72 percent in reading, up 11 and 9 percent respectively from last year.

Pushouts blog up and running Voice of Philadelphia
This is one of the items from a pushout project funded by the Philadelphia Enterprise Reporting Fund.

See also: Pushout Project — The First Day Voice of Philadelphia

 Will Smith Donating Computers to West Philly H.S. NBC Philadelphia
The Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation and Charlie Mack Cares organization are donating computers to replace the ones that were stolen.

See also: Will Smith Helps Philly School Replace Computers AP via ABC News

DN Editorial: School audit: Please improve math Daily News

Schools are failing to keep students safe The Inquirer (opinion)

Distrito Escolar tendrá hoy junta de Presupuesto Comunitario Al Día

Did you hear? Axe is coming down on non-union employees The Hall Monitor blog

Pa. college leaders warn of aid cuts' impacts The Inquirer

Letters: Philadelphia School District is being boneheaded on Hope Moffett Daily 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

Voucher bill explained by its sponsor

By the Notebook on Mar 17, 2011 10:02 PM

by Paul Jablow

Senate Bill 1, which would provide taxpayer-funded vouchers for low-income children to attend non-public schools in Pennsylvania, has passed the Senate Education Committee and is now in the Appropriations Committee. The bill was sponsored by Sens. Jeffrey E. Piccola (R., Dauphin) and Anthony Hardy Williams (D., Phila).

The voucher concept is supported by Gov. Corbett, according to his nominee for secretary of education, though Corbett has reservations about some parts of the bill. There is no movement on voucher legislation in the state house of representatives.

The Notebook talked about the bill with Sen. Piccola, chairman of the Senate Education Committee.

Mosaica out; Foundations to manage King

By the Notebook on Mar 17, 2011 04:26 PM

by Dale Mezzacappa and Bill Hangley, Jr.

Mosaica Turnaround Partners announced Thursday that they have withdrawn as the turnaround provider for Martin Luther King High School, less than a day after the School Reform Commission awarded them the school as part of the Renaissance Schools initiative.

State Rep. Dwight Evans took credit for the shift, saying that he continued to lobby Wednesday night on behalf of the school’s current managers, Foundations Inc., even after the SRC voted to approve Mosaica. Foundations will now take on that role.

Notes from the news, Mar. 17

By Anonymous on Mar 17, 2011 09:02 AM

notes from the news imageCharter operators named for six Philadelphia schools The Inquirer
The SRC approved Superintendent Ackerman's recommendation of charter school turnaround providers for six Renaissance Match schools.

See also: SRC vote okays 5 of 6 SAC first choice The Notebook blog
Differing opinions for the future of Olney West The Hall Monitor blog
When Is A Public Meeting NOT A Public Meeting? A Good Day Teaching blog

Councilwoman Blackwell: Don't fire Moffett The Notebook blog
Blackwell plans to introduce a City Council resolution to retain Moffett.

See also: Exiled teacher Hope Moffett e-mails students as they take state exams Daily News

Violent Philadelphia schools need independent watchdog, state audit says The Inquirer
Auditor General Jack Wagner says the independent Safe Schools Advocate position should be re-funded.

See also: Audit: District breaks safety rules Daily News
Wagner calls for security upgrades at Philadelphia school district WHYY/NewsWorks
Philly schools dilemma: Save money or stay safe? 6 ABC
Auditor General Jack Wagner Renews Call for Funding of Safe Schools Advocate for School District of Philadelphia PRNewswire

Nonunion school workers face firings, cuts Daily News
The SRC voted to revoke policies about guaranteed benefits and firing, in the face of the District budget deficit.

See also: SRC to vote on changing rules for layoffs of non-union employees The Notebook blog


WATCH: Fund Our Schools Citywide Mobilization Philly Education Justice blog
The Campaign for Non-Violent Schools released this video about its work.

Reflections: Then and Now-Budget Cuts Short Change Our Children City School Stories

PSEA To Teachers: Consider Pay Freeze Fox 29

Excited for Green Woods Charter in Chestnut Hill Chestnut Hill Local (opinion)

Morality vs. Legality Making the Grade 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

Councilwoman Blackwell: Don't fire Moffett

By the Notebook on Mar 16, 2011 06:16 PM

Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell plans to introduce a resolution in City Council tomorrow calling for the retention of Audenried High School teacher Hope Moffett.

SRC vote okays 5 of 6 SAC first choices

By Paul Socolar on Mar 16, 2011 02:57 PM

[Updated 9:30 pm] Mastery, Mosaica, and ASPIRA are the winners in this year's process of matching six low-performing Renaissance Schools with turnaround managers. All six schools are slated to become charters after a Wednesday vote by the School Reform Commission.

Superintendent Arlene Ackerman and District staff recommended the first choices of the School Advisory Council at five of the six schools slated for turnaround.

SRC to vote on changing rules for layoffs of non-union employees

By Dale Mezzacappa on Mar 16, 2011 11:16 AM

One item on today's School Reform Commission agenda is a resolution that will repeal some job protections for non-unionized employees.

In part, it reads:

Ackerman: Moffett 'crossed the line'

By Benjamin Herold on Mar 16, 2011 10:38 AM

Despite an avalanche of criticism, Philadelphia Superintendent of Schools Arlene Ackerman remains adamant that exiled Audenried High teacher Hope Moffett should be fired for “poor judgment” that jeopardized the lives of her students.

Notes from the news, Mar. 16

By Anonymous on Mar 16, 2011 09:55 AM

notes from the news image A conversation with Superintendent Arlene Ackerman WHYY/NewsWorks
Reporter Benjamin Herold speaks with Ackerman about Hope Moffett and protests against her Renaissance Schools plans. This piece includes a radio segment.

See also: Ackerman: Moffett 'crossed the line' The Notebook blog

Pa. figures show graduation rates lower than previously reported The Inquirer
Using a new method, based only on the four-year graduation rate, Philadelphia's graduation rate is 57.4 percent.

See also: Pennsylvania adopts 4-year criteria for tracking graduation The Patriot-News

Olney West protests plans to make it a charter school The Inquirer
Olney West wants to become a Promise Academy Innovation school rather than a charter-run school.

District releases Renaissance SAC monitoring reports The Notebook blog
The second-quarter reports are for the Renaissance Schools already being managed by charter operators.

Inquirer Editorial: A better fix for failing schools The Inquirer
Congress is taking up NCLB again and it can use some changes.

Exiled teacher Hope Moffett gets court date Daily News
Next Tuesday is her scheduled date in court.

Carver students get hands-on learning Philadelphia Tribune
This week's Learning Key includes a look at the medical and tech programs at Carver, a Philadelphia Young Playwrights program, and a student's essay.

See also: Students find their voices at Monologue Festival  Philadelphia Tribune
‘A Girl’s Journey to Dreamland’
Philadelphia Tribune

School districts on border patrol Daily News
Looking at shrinking budgets, suburban districts are watching out for students who do not live within their boundaries.

Just 2 left in search for new school chief The Herald News
Pamela Brown, assistant to the deputy superintendent, is a finalist for a superintendent job in Michigan.

DN Editorial: Not a prayer Daily News
Of all the education issues City Council could hold hearings on, school prayer should not be the priority.

Social School Search: Announcing Parents Discussion Group and Meetups Philly School Search
The site will host two in-person meetups, one in Northwest and one in Center City.

March 16th: SRC Meeting A Broad View blog

2 state bills would help parents with choosing schools Daily News

Green Woods Charter details multi-year move plan to Chestnut Hill 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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Notes from the news

District releases Renaissance SAC monitoring reports

By Benjamin Herold on Mar 15, 2011 04:13 PM

The District has released the second quarterly monitoring reports from School Advisory Councils (SACs) at seven existing Renaissance charter schools.

Three of the providers - ASPIRA, Inc, Mastery Charter, and Universal Companies - are vying for additional schools in the second year of the Renaissance Schools initiative.

Some school-by-school highlights:

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