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Obama signs state aid bill, PA prepares to adjust budget

By Rajiv Venkataramanan on Aug 12, 2010 01:42 PM

Just hours after the House of Representatives passed the state fiscal aid bill on Tuesday, President Obama signed it into law sending $26.1 billion to recession-battered states. $16.1 billion is allocated to support state Medicaid programs and $10 billion is earmarked to avert layoffs in public schools across the country.  

Clearing the record on Ackerman's raise

By Paul Socolar on Aug 12, 2010 11:24 AM

(Updated 12:15 pm) Despite the recent flurry of coverage of Superintendent Arlene Ackerman's $338,000 salary and her receipt of a $65,000 performance bonus, some of the facts continue to be muddied in all the media spin.

Notes from the news, Aug. 12

By Anonymous on Aug 12, 2010 09:48 AM

It's time for the Philadelphia School Reform Commission to step up on accountability Daily News (opinion)
Phil Goldsmith writes that the responsibility rests with the SRC to take the lead on setting "high standards for transparency to build public trust" for the District.

Access to District payroll records restored for some The Notebook blog
City Controller Alan Butkovitz' office again has access to the records, but District staffers will need to explain why they need global access to salary and other "sensitive" data.

See also: Deal afoot to restore access to school salary files WHYY

Onorato supports school vouchers for low-income families The Inquirer
Onorato's support for vouchers earned him the endorsement of school choice supporter State Sen. Anthony Williams, who ran against Onorato for the Democratic nomination for governor.

See also: Onorato claims Williams’ mantle… will he get the money? PA2010.com
Onorato Backs State Grants For Private Schools AP via KDKA

Editorial: Feeding their brains The Inquirer
The Senate passed a childhood nutrition bill that includes a provision to continue the Universal Feeding Program in Philadelphia.

Charter battles Philly district over its expansion The Inquirer
Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Partners Charter School did not get official SRC approval for additional seats or to permanently expand to serve high school grades, and now it is urging the SRC to act so that hundreds of students won't have to find new schools for the fall.

Diplomas Now Wins $30 Million Education Department Grant PR Canada

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Access to District payroll records restored for some

By Dale Mezzacappa on Aug 11, 2010 06:33 PM

Access to School District payroll records has been restored to key people in Controller Alan Butkovitz's office, while employees within the District whose access was cut off are being asked to justify why they need the records to do their jobs.

Notes from the news, Aug. 11

By Anonymous on Aug 11, 2010 10:19 AM

Golden resigns as Philadelphia schools' safety chief The Inquirer
Golden abruptly left for another opportunity amid speculation that he was not consulted enough about safety issues, including the safety response at South Philly High.

See also: District's school-security chief quits Daily News

In wake of DN column, Ackerman locks down school salary data Daily News
Even though the salaries should be a matter of public record, Ackerman severely restricted staff access to the school salary data due to a "security breach."

US Department of Education Visits PSU Wednesday PSU blog
This afternoon PSU members will meet with Alberto Retana from the Dept. of Ed. as part of a National Youth Listening Tour to get students' perspectives on school turnaround.

A school choice governor? PA2010.com (opinion)
Corbett has made his feelings on vouchers known, but Onorato supports school choice via the EITC, which helps fund private and parochial schools.

House passes bill that saves thousands of teachers' jobs The Notebook blog
All it needs now is Obama's signature to send out $10 billion for teachers' jobs.

Philadelphia School District terminates longtime contract with CEP WHYY

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Notes from the news, Aug. 10

By Anonymous on Aug 10, 2010 09:57 AM

School District cancels contract with company that ran alternative programs The Inquirer
Community Education Partners, a private firm that ran disciplinary and alternative programs at four schools, had its contract terminated June 30 and is leaving Philly.

See also: CEP tells state it is leaving Philadelphia The Notebook blog

SLA magnet high school praised as one of top 10 The Inquirer
That's top 10 in the nation as picked by a panel of education experts for Ladies' Home Journal.

The Big Lie (Thoughts on Why School Is Not Only About Workforce Development) Practical Theory blog
SLA's principal says the emphasis should be on preparing students to be citizens, not workers, because "aiming for creating workers won't get our society the citizens it needs."

See also: Schools Are Given a Grade on How Graduates Do New York Times

Money aplenty, but where are the real turnaround experts? The Notebook blog
The New York Times found that many people are trying to get some of the billions going to school turnaround, even if they don't have experience in the area.

Sen. Anthony Williams: School Choice Fox 29

Phila., Camden among districts getting history aid The Inquirer

First Book donates 170,000 books to increase youth literacy in Philadelphia Philadelphia Charity Examiner

Help kids make the transition back to school 6ABC

Tony Danza reality show gets air date UPI

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CEP tells state it is leaving Philadelphia

By Dale Mezzacappa on Aug 9, 2010 05:45 PM

Community Education Partners, the for-profit operator of disciplinary schools that ushered in the privatization of alternative education in Philadelphia, has notified the state Department of Labor and Industry that it is closing its remaining four schools as of the end of this month. Its contract with the District was terminated June 30, according to District spokeswoman Lisa Mastoon.

The Nashville-based firm said it would be laying off 74 employees. A company spokesperson did not immediately return a call for comment.

Notes from the news, Aug. 9

By Anonymous on Aug 9, 2010 10:08 AM

Phila. schools outline reforms after warning on grants The Inquirer
A federal audit found poor documentation for $140 million in federal grant money, which prompted the District to make changes in grants administration such as contracting with an outside firm to write a best practices manual.

Editorial: Public has a right to know The Inquirer
The SRC should also release Superintendent's evaluation for her $65,000 bonus, not just the criteria, because it is in the public interest.

Elmer Smith: Dad has spent 6 years pushing for after-school programs for autistic children Daily News
Parent Eric Smith founded Project  Elijah Empowering Autism, named after his son, to help other parents with autistic children find resources.

Back-to-School “Party” Builds Excitement for School KYW
The District's second annual block party brought out an estimated 50,000 people.

Community Education Partners closing four Phila. schools Philadelphia Business Journal
They are closing CEP Miller, ALA Bartram, ALA Hunting Park, and ALA South Philadelphia and expect the closings to be permanent.

When Teachers Are Slashed, the Children Pay Huffington Post
Post by AFT president Randi Weingarten, which mentions that libraries in Philly have been closed due to budget cuts.

In case you missed it: What's really best for the students? The Notebook blog

Rights groups challenge Obama education plan Philadelphia Tribune

Advocates to Congress: Don't forget school lunch money WHYY

Education Secretary Duncan Announces $115.3 Million for 124 Grants to Improve Teaching of American History TTKN

Students Scared Tony Danza on Reality Teach Show NBC Bay Area

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In case you missed it: What's really best for the students?

By Jamie Raver on Aug 6, 2010 03:38 PM

Plagiarism Lines Blur for Students in Digital Age The New York Times
Plagiarism cases are on the rise as the Internet makes information increasingly more accessible, and students seemingly less accountable.

See also: Conflicts of Interest The Core Knowledge Blog
Which Is Worse: Cheating Vs. Plagiarism This Week In Education

Notes from the news, Aug. 6

By Anonymous on Aug 6, 2010 09:36 AM

Philadelphia area nonprofits could receive millions in federal grants The Inquirer
Four education nonprofits that work in Philly received millions in i3 innovation grants.

See also: Children's Literacy Initiative gets $21 million federal innovation grant The Notebook blog
Pennsylvania Education Organizations Awarded Funds in Highly Competitive Federal Innovation Competition PRNewswire

Contract doesn't prohibit Ackerman from releasing bonus evaluation WHYY
The District can't release the superintedent's performance evaluation, but she could make it public herself.

ACTION United says Race to the Top is misguided The Notebook blog
ACTION  United (the new incarnation of ACORN) held a protest at 440 to call for more community involvement in RttT.

Phila. launches Back to School party 6 ABC
The event is at the School District building at 440 N. Broad till 6 p.m.

Teacher aid revived in US Senate The Notebook blog
A jobs bill that will save thousands of teacher jobs cleared the Senate and is expected to pass the House.

Netter Center gets federal funds for nutrition effort Voice of Philadelphia
The $900,000 grant will be used to fund nutrition programs at four West Philly high schools.

Youthful leaders recognized at Young Heroes Awards 6 ABC

PA Team to Present Case for 'Race to the Top' Funds in Nation's Capital PRNewswire

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Children's Literacy Initiative gets $21 million federal innovation grant

By Dale Mezzacappa on Aug 5, 2010 03:44 PM

Philadelphia-based Children's Literacy Initiative is one of 49 winners of so-called i3 grants from the U.S. Department of Education, awarded to school districts and non-profit organizations to promote educational innovation.

Teacher aid revived in US Senate

By Rajiv Venkataramanan on Aug 5, 2010 12:11 PM

A state fiscal aid package once considered dead was revived yesterday when the US Senate voted to send states $16.1 billion to meet Medicaid payments and $10 billion to prevent layoffs of public school teachers.

ACTION United says Race to the Top is misguided

By Dale Mezzacappa on Aug 5, 2010 11:32 AM

The Obama administration's strategy for turning around low-performing schools doesn't give communities real power -- which is the only sustainable reform strategy in impoverished neighborhoods, according to the Philadelphia chapter of ACTION United.

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