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In case you missed it, week of May 31

By Erika Owens on Jun 7, 2009 03:13 PM

Saturday's Inquirer reported that the USDA has decided to continue the universal feeding program, after months of speculation and recent pressure from Pennsylvanian elected officials.

This week was Superintendent Ackerman's one year anniversary heading the District. The Inky interviewed Ackerman and the Daily News asked local education folks to grade Ackerman's first year. The Notebook blogged about that report card and its C average. Ackerman appears to be following up her pledge that there would be changes in principal staffing - there was a report of the removal of six principals.

End of Year Celebrations

By Molly Thacker on Jun 5, 2009 03:00 AM

It’s getting to be the end of the school year and that means two things for me: reflection and celebration. 

KIPP gets grant to expand. Is this the solution?

By Eric Braxton on Jun 4, 2009 12:43 PM

Last week it was announced that KIPP Philadelphia was awarded a $4.6 million grant to expand. The grant will help KIPP meet its goal of operating ten schools in Philadelphia. I visited KIPP a few weeks ago and I was impressed with a lot of what I saw. Nonetheless, I am concerned that just adding more KIPPs is not the answer to improving education in our city. 

At what point do we start to take what is working in charter schools and other places and apply it to our public schools? I thought that was the point.

The Widget Effect: Where Every Teacher is Above Average

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 3, 2009 01:33 PM

The New Teacher Project has come out with a report on teacher evaluation just in time to inform the debate as School District and PFT tackle that issue among others in the ongoing (and secret) negotiations.

A surprising grade for Arlene Ackerman: C

By Helen Gym on Jun 2, 2009 11:33 AM

It's not a poll, but it is a surprise to hear about lukewarm enthusiasm for Philadelphia Schools Chief Arlene Ackerman's one year anniversary.

The Daily News surveyed a diverse crew of a dozen "education watchers" on Dr. Ackerman's first year at the helm of our schools - whose anniversary is officially today. Participants were asked to grade Dr. Ackerman in each of six areas: school safety, government relations, community relations, vision, finances, and school improvement.

The overall result? Five C's and one B (for finances).

Community journalism in times of economic crisis

By thenotebook on Jun 1, 2009 02:29 PM

The Media Mobilizing Project launched a new initiative last week, Community Journalism in Times of Economic Crisis. The initiative was created to provide coverage of how people are dealing with the economic crisis that the for-profit media may have missed.

You can read the first Communit y Journalism newsletter here, which includes a piece about the Philadelphia Student Union's "Teacher Quality Report Card" action.

The MMP also recently launched a new section of their site, PhillyEducationJustice.org.

The economic crisis and stimulus bill it prompted have actually turned out to be a financial boon for education funding. As Secretary Duncan said, this is an "opportunity that won't come again." 

In case you missed it, week of May 24

By thenotebook on May 30, 2009 03:59 PM

The USDA's plans to terminate Philly's universal feeding program were in the news throughout the week. We linked to our past coverage of the issue and updates in the Inky on Sunday and Friday.

Testing, By Any Other Name...

By Molly Thacker on May 29, 2009 01:29 PM

While neighborhood citizens were registering their votes in the basement of my school last week, my colleagues and I were in the library participating in the School District’s professional development, in which new plans for becoming “data wise” in the 2009-1010 school year were unveiled.  I wish I believed those two words – data and wise – were congruous.

Update on school lunches

By thenotebook on May 29, 2009 10:31 AM

Friday update: The Inquirer continues its coverage with an article today about the growing chorus of opposition amongst elected officials from Pennsylvania. Comment below with your thoughts on the program and what we can do to continue it in Philly. Read more of the Notebook's coverage.

Brave New Voices ... or is it all about love?

By Samuel Reed III on May 28, 2009 05:05 AM

I was pleased to see that the White House recently hosted a poetry jam featuring some up-and-coming spoken word poets who have appeared on Russell Simmons' HBO series "Brave New Voices." President and Michelle Obama are one of the hippest couples to occupy the executive mansion in recent years.

But I am even more pleased that Beeber Middle School has been hosting an annual Poetry Cafe jam for over the past 10 years.

What started out as a desperate attempt for me to find a way to engage many of my disengaged students is now a rite of passage for many of the  talented students in the school.

Pay to Play and NCLB, Pennsylvania style

By Debbie Wei on May 27, 2009 10:44 AM

OK, so who is it that actually does the PSSA testing in Pennsylvania – by that I mean, who designs the tests, does those reports we get back, and thinks up ever more ways to spend our money administering more tests – some of which don’t even “count” for anything?

Columnist Paul Carpenter followed the money in the testing biz and boy, it didn’t smell very good.

Stonewalled?

By Paul Socolar on May 27, 2009 02:05 AM

Today, May 27, is the day the District has its scheduled vote to approve its $3.2 billion unified budget.

Usually, by the time of the SRC's budget vote at the end of May, I feel that I've had a chance to ask finance officials about items that jump out at me as requiring explanation and that I get clarifications of these changes to the budget.

Not this year.

In case you missed it--Week of May 17

By Erika Owens on May 22, 2009 04:30 PM

Thursday the Effective Teaching for All Children campaign had an action at 440. The Daily News and KYW covered the event. We previewed the event and you can find data detailing the staffing inequities in our Summer edition--released this week!

On Wednesday the SRC delayed the vote on renewing New Media's charter,  tabled renewing the contracts of private companies that manage eight schools, and rejected a contract with former Edison executive Leroy Nunery to outline the plan for outside "Renaissance Schools" managers, though Superintendent Ackerman plans to reintroduce it next month.

Summer edition now available

By thenotebook on May 21, 2009 03:33 PM

The Summer edition of the Notebook is now available. It focuses on teacher excellence and includes data about inequities in staffing at schools in the District.

This afternoon the Effective Teaching for All Children campaign will deliver the Teacher Quality Report Card to the District and PFT. Check back for additional articles from the Summer edition.

Teacher Equity Campaign takes its challenge to District and PFT Thursday

By Dale Mezzacappa on May 20, 2009 04:39 PM

Tomorrow, a coalition of activists that includes students, parents, and teachers will deliver a “Teacher Quality Report Card” to leaders of both the School District and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, demanding changes in the contract that is currently in negotiations.

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