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Notes from the news, Jan. 21

By Anonymous on Jan 21, 2011 11:04 AM

notes from the news imageController: School district owes $20M in taxes to feds, state and city Daily News
The city says a method the District has been using to avoid paying taxes on money paid to retired and resigned employees is illegal.

Inquirer Editorial: Charter feud must end The Inquirer
Instead of fighting, charters and the District should "come together" and weigh the issues of charter enrollment.

Voucher bill lists eligible schools The Notebook blog
There are 144 schools throughout the state on the list and of those 88 are from Philly.

Displaced students make the rounds of city's cultural spots NewsWorks
As Global Leadership Academy students adjust to a new building, they have also explored other parts of the city on field trips.

Imagine Great Schools A Very Public Education
An update from the District provides the dates and times of the next round of facilities master plan community meetings.

Have you seen Chelsea Ramsey? The Hall Monitor blog

Green Woods Charter School will relocate by 2012 NewsWorks

Krashen & Ohanian:protect children from poverty before we discuss pedagogy Keystone State Education Coalition

Choice Cuts Week Ending 2011-01-21: We Made the Cut! Philly School Search

This is Why I Blog/Tweet/Use Social Media Philly Teacher 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

In case you missed it: Truancy, NCLB, tiger moms

By Lauren Goldman on Jan 20, 2011 05:49 PM

Suit targets Lebanon School District's fines for truancy The Patriot-News
The Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia and NAACP have filed suit against the Lebanon School District for unjust truancy policies with fines and jail time that have exceeded state law. 

Voucher bill lists eligible schools

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jan 20, 2011 02:36 PM

Senate Bill 1, the voucher bill that is the top educational priority of the new administration in Harrisburg, lists 144 schools whose students will be eligible for vouchers if they meet certain income limits.

Of that total, 88 are in Philadelphia.

The list is interesting:

Notes from the news, Jan. 20

By Anonymous on Jan 20, 2011 11:05 AM

notes from the news imageMasch: 'We do not have a budget crisis' The Notebook blog
The District CFO would not put a number on the estimated deficit for next year. He explained the District is taking "corrective actions" to address the shortfall much earlier than usual.

See also: School district says it can balance budget Daily News
School District of Philadelphia Outlines Financial Road Map Roxborough-Manayunk Patch
Philly Schools Map Out Financial Future Chestnut Hill Patch

70,000 empty seats in Philadelphia School District classrooms The Inquirer
A new analysis raised the number of empty seats from 45,000.

See also: New estimate: District has 70,000 empty seats The Notebook blog
Filadelfia tiene 70.000 asientos vacíos en las escuelas Al Día

Corbett appears set to push school vouchers The Inquirer
A line in the new governor's inaugural address seems to spell out his voucher plans: "we must embrace innovation, competition, and choice in our education system."

See also: Voucher opponents ready for a fight in Pennsylvania NewsWorks
RFA Contributes to Discourse on Educational Vouchers RFA blog
Inky and PPG: Vouchers Keystone State Education Coalition

PA House Standing Committee Assignments Announced Keystone State Education Coalition
A few new names on the education committee. State Rep. Clymer is chair.

Notes from the field-An Empowerment School Struggles to Make Its Mark City School Stories
A post from a teacher in an Empowerment School who is dealing with the Corrective Reading curriculum.

Letters: Philadelphia Daily News editorial misses the boat on charter-school reform Daily News

Employee Focus: Justin Green A Broad View

School Reform Commission Meeting [Wednesday] A Broad View

Philly School Search Featured on Local News [Video] 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

Masch: 'We do not have a budget crisis'

By Paul Socolar on Jan 20, 2011 12:35 AM

Presenting a "second quarter financial report" to the School Reform Commission on Wednesday, District Chief Financial Officer Michael Masch stuck with the District's recent stance and declined to estimate the size of an anticipated massive budget gap facing the system next school year.

New estimate: District has 70,000 empty seats

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jan 19, 2011 06:42 PM

There are now 70,000 empty seats in District schools, according to data presented to the School Reform Commission Wednesday - more than are in Lincoln Financial Field.

With a current student population around 155,000, this means that buildings currently being owned and maintained by the District are nearly one-third empty.

Everybody's children; Other people's money

By Frank Murphy on Jan 19, 2011 03:32 PM

In the 2011 school year and going forward, the probability that a major financial shortfall will cripple the operations of the School District of Philadelphia is increasingly becoming a certainty.

Circumstances beyond the control of the District’s money managers will soon significantly reduce the operational income needed to fund essential instructional programs.

In order to balance a much-diminished budget, it is likely that services will be slashed. These cuts will be deep. It may be necessary to increase class sizes, reduce staff, and close schools in order to cope with the impact of this impending crisis.

Notes from the news, Jan. 19

By Anonymous on Jan 19, 2011 10:58 AM

notes from the news imageTop 10 Philadelphia school stories for 2010 Daily News (opinion)
The Daily News republishes a version of Helen Gym's blog post of top stories.

DIY movement: Teachers and students as makers The Notebook blog
The National Writing Project and MAKE magazine have created a pilot project to help students explore writing and making.

Classroom meets real world at Lincoln High Philadelphia Tribune
This week's learning key looks at the variety of programs offered at Lincoln, the Musicopia String program, and the Keystone Achievement Award.

See also: High school students find ‘good crowd’ at Musicopia Philadelphia Tribune
94 district schools receive top academic honors from state Philadelphia Tribune

King Day observances tout service, education Philadelphia Tribune
At a luncheon hosted by Philadelphia Martin Luther King Jr. Association for Nonviolence education was a theme. Mayor Nutter urged the news media to focus on improvements in the District.

You’ve Got To Be Kidding: The Divisive Language of School Reform City School Stories
A second look at two recent quotations about education.

Philly School Search: Choice Cuts Week of 2011-01-14 Philly School Search
Philly School Search shared some news items and new features over the long weekend.

See also: Social School Search On YouTube and Facebook Philly School Search
Teacher Salaries USA vs. the World [Infographic] Philly School Search

Lights...Camera...Action! A Broad View
The high school film festival is now accepting applications.

Education news nuggets The Hall Monitor blog

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day A Broad View

RockTheCapitol: Is School Choice the right formula for Pennsylvania Keystone State Education Coalition

More on the PISA results..... Keystone State Education Coalition

Charming Shoppes Spreads Abundance of Warmth and Cheer A Broad View

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

DIY movement: Teachers and students as makers

By Samuel Reed III on Jan 18, 2011 03:37 PM

Imagine a learning space where teachers and students collaborate on making stuff, document their tinkering, and disseminate their knowledge to a community of other makers. Could this type of learning be a viable alternative to the dominate test preparation culture found in many schools? Would engaging students in Do It Yourself (DIY) culture provide better context to improve reading, writing, and critical thinking skills?

No more Ms. Nice Mom

By Deborah Russell... on Jan 18, 2011 02:53 PM

So back to the issue of parenting – from the standpoint of a “guest teacher,” the 21st century term for a substitute teacher.

Last week I had my first day working for the District at a high school in North Philly, and it was quite an adventure. I subbed for a Biology teacher and assumed that a science class would yield eager, attentive kids seeking to untangle the wonders of the life sciences.

During the first period that notion was dispelled quickly.

Notes from the news, Jan. 18

By Anonymous on Jan 18, 2011 11:17 AM

notes from the news imageFatimah Ali: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett plans belt-tightening for Philadelphia's public schools Daily News
Our new governor will be sworn in today, and with the state and District facing big budget deficits the disparities between well funded and poorly funded districts may grow.

Some second thoughts on the Ackerman contracting controversy The Notebook blog
There's been a lot of focus on Ackerman's actions, but the underrepresentation of minority businesses hasn't been getting as much attention.

See also: Clymer presses Philadelphia School District for answers The Inquirer

UPDATE: Philadelphia Public Schools, Others Delayed Tuesday Morning; Roads Slick Mt. Airy Patch
Good list of closings and delays. Philly public schools are on a two hour delay.

Six students knifed in brawl at West Philadelphia El stop The Inquirer
Five of the students are from Boys' Latin Charter and one is from West Philadelphia Catholic.

See also: Uniforms, jealousy to blame for school fights? Daily News
Charter school students: targets or violent participants? The Hall Monitor blog
6 Students Stabbed In West Philly Fight Fox 29
Students slashed in West Philadelphia fight 6 ABC

DN Editorial: CAN EDUCATION be reformed without lawsuits? Daily News
The DN says "it's hard to see how" the recent suits by charter schools will lead to "meaningful reform."

What happens when you light a bulb? The Notebook
Science teacher Timothy Boyle describes the fun and discovery students experience during an experiment with getting a light bulb to light.

Student Push Schools On Zero-Tolerance Policy Fox 29
State Rep. Tony Payton discussed the study on zero tolerance.

A bad formula Daily American (opinion)
Last week State Sen. Piccola announced plans to introduce a bill to fund vouchers, but that funding would come from the basic education subsidy.

Rendell on Rendell NewsWorks

Volunteering for those affected by school fire 6 ABC

Digitally excluded: Separate & unequal Daily News (opinion)

School officials offer temporary home for W. Phila. charter destroyed in fire The Inquirer

Worldview: U.S. must compete with China in the classroom The Inquirer (opinion)

Jesse Jackson: Don't use MLK Day to make up snow days Philadelphia Tribune

Data Shows Smedley Mastery Charter School Turning Around The Frankford Gazette

There were a lot of blog posts over the long weekend. I'll gather those and post them in tomorrow's Notes.

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

Some second thoughts on the Ackerman contracting controversy

By Ron Whitehorne on Jan 15, 2011 05:24 PM

When I read the front page article in The Inquirer in late November charging Arlene Ackerman with questionable and possibly illegal behavior in relation to the awarding of contracts for installing cameras at city high schools, I wanted to jump up from my morning coffee and high-five my wife. As may be clear by my posts on this website, I'm not a big fan of the superintendent, so public exposure of her apparent missteps was like an early Christmas present.   

What happens when you light a bulb?

By Timothy Boyle on Jan 14, 2011 02:50 PM

Today my students will solve a problem.

On the board will be the focus question from FOSS's Magnetism and Electricity lesson 2.1: "How do you get electricity from a source to a receiver?"

Some of my students won't know what is meant by source and receiver, and I don't want them to; we'll label what we experienced later. At each of the tables in the classroom will be D-cell batteries, pairs of wires, and light bulbs. I'll turn out the lights and 40 minutes later each child will figure out how to get their light bulb aglow.

Notes from the news, Jan. 14

By Anonymous on Jan 14, 2011 11:34 AM

notes from the news imageYUC report says zero tolerance a failure The Notebook blog
The report found that Black and Latino students are often targeted for discipline and that the policy makes schools less effective at educating students.

See also: Report says zero-tolerance discipline makes Philly schools less safe The Inquirer
Zero Tolerance in Schools: Good Or Bad? Fox 29
New report blasts school zero tolerance policies NewsWorks

Corbett Nominates Tomalis to lead Education Department The Inquirer
Reaching back into the Ridge administration, Governor-elect Corbett makes his selection for the state's education secretary.

See also: Corbett Opts For 'No Child' Enforcer Fox 29
 Corbett names Tomalis education secretary The Notebook blog

Getting more Philly students to file for financial aid NewsWorks
Video of Superintendent Ackerman and Mayor Nutter discussing the value of filing the FAFSA.

See also: City program to help with college-aid applications The Inquirer
Ayuda financiera puede llegar a todos los estudiantes Al Día

Mastery wants a 6th grade at Smedley, Mann The Notebook blog
Parents are happy with Mastery's turnaround of their elementary schools so far and Mastery would like to create a K-12 pipeline, but currently there is a gap with 6th grade.

Philadelphia Charter Schools Sue Over Enrollment Caps Education Week
The Notebook and Education Week recently entered a content sharing agreement. This is the first Notebook piece to be re-published on Education Week's site.

Charter School students have temporary new home 6 ABC
Global Leadership Academy will share Turner Middle School with KIPP West Philadelphia for the balance of the school year.

See also: New home for charter school, says district The Hall Monitor 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.

Click here to get Notes from the news in your inbox every day.

Notes from the news

YUC report says zero tolerance a failure

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jan 13, 2011 10:54 PM

The School District’s zero-tolerance discipline policy does not make school safer, creates a prison-like culture,  costs money - and it keeps students “one minor mistake away from having their life turned upside down,” according to a new report.

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