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Masch: Corbett budget worsens revenue shortfall

By Paul Socolar on Mar 8, 2011 08:57 PM

The School District was already expecting to lose $309 million in federal stimulus funds for next year. But Gov. Corbett's just-released budget plan will in total cost the District more than $400 million in lost revenue, according to Chief Financial Officer Michael Masch.

Corbett budget slashes education spending

By Dale Mezzacappa on Mar 8, 2011 05:06 PM

Gov. Corbett's budget proposal for 2011-12 presents very nearly a worse-case scenario to many education advocates.

An overview of the proposal describes plans to slash the state contribution for both K-12 and higher education and eliminate several Rendell-administration initiatives beyond the basic education subsidy, including accountability block grants and tutoring aid.

It also eliminates reimbursements to districts for charter school expenses. 

Key points:

In case you missed it: Layoffs, seniority

By Lauren Goldman on Mar 8, 2011 04:00 PM

Pressure Mounts to Ax Teacher Seniority Rules NPR
In New York, the State Senate passed a bill that would remove seniority protections from teachers facing layoffs. Districts across the country are facing layoffs, and debate is brewing about how to select which teachers to lay off.

See also: Teacher layoffs probable; new way proposed Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Teacher Layoff Plans in Los Angeles Pose Broad Implications The New York Times
The real but misunderstood incentive to remove senior teachers Gotham Schools 
Group of young teachers petitions to preserve seniority rights Gotham Schools
Statement of Arne Duncan on the National Call on Flexibility and Productivity U.S. Department of Education 
With layoffs coming, it's time to stand up for seniority The Notebook blog

Notes from the news, Mar. 8

By Anonymous on Mar 8, 2011 10:59 AM

notes from the news imageDistrict: Hope is gone Daily News
Audenried teacher Hope Moffett has a termination hearing this afternoon. According to the Daily News, even one of Superintendent Ackerman's supporters disagrees with the handling of Moffett's case.

See also: District recommends termination for Moffett The Notebook blog
Audenried High teacher notified of plan to fire her The Inquirer
Kids: Audenried now a 'school without hope' Daily News
Philadelphia School Officials Want ‘Rubber Room’ Teacher Fired CBS 3
DN Editorial: School district squanders Hope Daily News

Ruling assures access to SRC resolutions The Notebook blog
The Notebook won a court case against the District to make publicly available the full text of SRC resolutions that have been introduced and discussed.

State tax cuts in Pennsylvania may shift burden to towns and schools The Inquirer
Gov. Corbett is expected to balance the state budget by cutting services, which would leave towns and schools to fill in the gaps.

See also: Budget on PCN Keystone State Education Coalition

Three charter schools woo Gratz WHYY/NewsWorks
The School Advisory Council at Gratz heard presentations from Mastery Charter, Universal Companies, and Mosaica.

Corbett nominee says new high school tests will be delayed The Inquirer
The Keystone Exam graduation tests were supposed to begin this spring, but the state's Education Department needs to do more research.

The Phlog: Charter School Enrollement Cap Prohibited PhillyNow blog

An Important Win Practical Theory blog

You've Got to be Kidding- Vicious Attack On Charter School Management Organizations City School Stories

Philadelphia Student Union statement on School Closings PSU Blog

Super-Powered Word Study: Teaching With Comics 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

District documents: Moffett facing termination based on media reports

By Benjamin Herold on Mar 8, 2011 10:33 AM

The School District did not even initiate an investigation that Audenried High School English teacher Hope Moffett had endangered the welfare of children, the main basis for her recommended termination, until after they had removed her from the classroom and read statements she made in the Notebook three days later, according to District documents.

Ruling assures access to SRC resolutions

By Dale Mezzacappa on Mar 7, 2011 06:23 PM

The Notebook had to take the School District to court over the matter but succeeded in winning a decisive ruling that the District can't withhold complete School Reform Commission resolutions from the public once they have been introduced at an open meeting.

Common Pleas Judge Idee C. Fox ruled last week in favor of the Notebook, which had challenged the District's refusal to make available the full text of a set of SRC resolutions that been introduced and discussed at one of its public meetings. The District had argued that a resolution does not become a public document until it is acted on by the SRC.  

District recommends termination for Moffett

By Dale Mezzacappa on Mar 7, 2011 12:30 PM

The School District plans to terminate Hope Moffett, because she gave tokens to students that they used to leave class and attend a protest against the policies of Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, specifically, the planned conversion of their school to a charter under Universal Companies, Inc.

Notes from the news, Mar. 7

By Anonymous on Mar 7, 2011 11:05 AM

notes from the news imageState official says Phila. district illegally capped charter school's enrollment The Inquirer
The District is appealing the decision, but if the decision stands it could have big ramifications for the District budget.

See also: Costly ruling on charter enrollment caps The Notebook blog
Philly School District loses big in charter enrollment dispute Young Philly Politics

Philly School District probe sees no "evidence of wrongdoing" by Ackerman The Inquirer
The District hired an outside investigator to look into the IBS contracting controversy.

See also: District statement on IBS investigation: 'No evidence of wrongdoing' The Notebook blog

The Lost Generation Metropolis
A Philadelphia Enterprise Reporting Fund piece about Latino men in Philly and the dropout crisis.

Teacher layoffs probable; new way proposed Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
New legislation would allow districts to consider performance and not just seniority when laying off teachers.

Inquirer Editorial: Attack school violence The Inquirer
The District has made some changes to respond to the violence at South Philly High, but it should act quickly to address violence across the District.

Teaching resources: Labor, Wisconsin, and women's history The Notebook blog
Some great resources from Rethinking Schools and the Zinn Education Project.

Drop-In Program Gives Drop-Outs a Second Chance Voice of America
A look at the District's Reengagement Center.

Bridging the Gap: Language Access Services A Broad View blog
A description of some of the translation services the District offers.

Letters: Cuts even worse than imagined Daily News

Letters: The attacks on teachers must not stand Daily News

Ravitch on Jon Stewart/ Vouchers Keystone State Education Coalition

New Study Finds Philadephia Schools Need To Do More To Address Diversity CBS 3

Supply vs. Demand: Rock Star Superintendents The Huffington Post

Video Footage of Blackboard Labs/PYPM Recording Workshop at Upenn The After School Hip Hop Project

Green Woods Charter Chestnut Hill Community Meeting 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

Costly ruling on charter enrollment caps

By Anonymous on Mar 4, 2011 07:26 PM

Acting Secretary of Education Ronald Tomalis ruled Friday that the District violated state law by imposing enrollment caps on a charter and that the District owes Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Charter School $1.3 million for students it added since 2008 without District approval. The District says it will appeal the decision in Commonwealth Court.

The state's decision appears to open the door to other Philadelphia charters to expand their enrollments in any cases where they have not voluntarily agreed to limit them.

District statement on IBS investigation: 'No evidence of wrongdoing'

By Anonymous on Mar 4, 2011 06:29 PM

The District released a statement outlining the findings of a third-party investigation into the IBS contracting controversy, revealing "no evidence of wrongdoing." The District retained the services of Pepper Hamilton, LLP law firm to conduct the investigation.

Teaching resources: Labor, Wisconsin, and women's history

By Helen Gym on Mar 4, 2011 02:50 PM

Rethinking Schools and the Zinn Education Project have created an amazing array of classroom resources, guides, and book suggestions for broader understanding of two current and relevant movements - women's history, and the labor movement and the Wisconsin struggle.

Notes from the news, Mar. 4

By Anonymous on Mar 4, 2011 10:30 AM

notes from the news imageMoffett expects 'reassignment' to be drawn out Daily News
During the drawn-out process, Moffett expects to continue to report to the rubber room and not her classroom.

See also: Annette John-Hall: Punished teacher part of larger stage The Inquirer
Audenried teacher speaks out from 'rubber room'

LTE: Vouchers not the answer to better schools in Pa. Philadelphia Tribune
Jerome Mondesire and Michael Churchill explain the better choice than vouchers to improve education is to strengthen public schools.

Learning from “Pushouts” — an update Voice of Philadelphia
VOP, PhillyCAM, and Youth Empowerment Services got an enterprise reporting grant to report on pushouts.

Keith Look's turnaround work in Nashville The Notebook blog
Education Week is doing a series of articles looking at the turnaround efforts of Keith Look, who used to work at the Philadelphia Education Fund. We republished the most recent piece.

Mid-Year Graduation: On to the Next One A Broad View blog
The District held its first mid-year graduation ceremony, and this post includes a video of Leroy Nunery's speech at the event.

Educator: Kids face unimaginable challenges Daily News
Wendy Kopp, founder of TFA, spoke last night about her new book and education.

Blackwell calls for hearings on school prayer The Notebook blog
In response to concerns from some constituents, council member Blackwell would like to see discussion of school prayer.

Bullying in Philadelphia Public Schools Radio Times
Discussion of the "Widening the Circle" report about school violence.

School librarians will ask SRC for more support The Hall Monitor blog

IRS Stalled On School District Tax Ruling Fox 29

Two stories and a missing narrative The Workshop Blog

A student's take on King High's turnaround The Notebook blog

Cool Philly School Map 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

Blackwell calls for hearings on school prayer

By Celeste Lavin on Mar 3, 2011 07:30 PM

City Council member Jannie Blackwell, (D-3rd District) wants Council to hold hearings on prayer in public schools.

She has introduced a one-page resolution saying that “schools should respect the right of students to engage in religious activity and discussion” and calling prayer a way to “promote more virtuous living [that] may have a positive impact on student behavior in schools.”

Keith Look's turnaround work in Nashville

By the Notebook on Mar 3, 2011 05:25 PM

The Notebook recently began sharing content with Education Week, where this piece originally appeared. Keith Look formerly worked at the Philadelphia Education Fund and served as an administrator in the Philadelphia School District.

Education Week logo

by Alyson Klein

Louisville, Ky.

The test scores aren’t in yet, but by almost every other measure that matters—school climate, instructional strategies, staff satisfaction—the former Shawnee High School isn’t the same place it was just a year ago.

A student's take on King High's turnaround

By Bill Hangley Jr. on Mar 3, 2011 02:57 PM

The young man said, “You’re with the news?”

Yes, I said.

“I’m a student leader,” he replied, slender and thoughtful-looking in clean jeans and a blue windbreaker. “My name is Taylor Smith.”

We stood in the back of the auditorium at Martin Luther King High in Germantown. Up front, about sixty parents and teachers sat and listened while a professional moderator explained the evening’s agenda. Next year, as part of the Philadelphia School District’s Renaissance program, King will be under new management. Three different independent organizations are vying for the contract. On this rainy Thursday night, the District’s goal was to gather feedback from parents about what they’d like to see from King’s next administration.

A week before, like students at two other newly-designated Renaissance high schools, about 75 of King’s 1,000 students walked out of class to protest the shakeup. Smith  wasn’t one of them. “Most of those kids, they didn’t even know what they was protesting,” he said.

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

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