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Workers rally, honor Dr. King

By Ron Whitehorne on Apr 5, 2011 06:01 PM

Labor flexed its muscle all across the country this April 4, the anniversary of the slaying of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as he stood with striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tenn.

The “We Are One” demonstrations throughout the country demanded an end to the attacks on collective bargaining and the living standards of working people by right wing politicians and corporations.

Save the date! Notebook event is June 7

By Paul Socolar on Apr 5, 2011 02:16 PM

Party with us! The Notebook's annual June fundraiser is happening June 7! We hope that you'll be able to join us for what is an energizing and fun annual tradition.

Notes from the news, Apr. 5

By Wendy Harris on Apr 5, 2011 08:53 AM

notes from the news imageSearch still on for Ackerman bomb-scare emailer Daily News
Philadelphia's Department of Homeland Security continues its investigation of a bomb threat that was emailed to the District over the weekend targeting
Superintendent Arlene Ackerman and her staff.

See also: Bomb threat triggers search of School District HQ TMC News
Though District officials and police agree that a bomb threat was issued to District headquarters, police deny that the Supt. Ackerman was actually named as the target.
Philly police, School District differ on specific Ackerman threat The Inquirer

Philly School District security positions threatened by budget cuts The Inquirer
In the face of a $629 million budget deficit, the District is targeting entire categories of jobs, including administrators who are responsible for maintaining safety at some schools.

See also: School districts brace for big cuts in Corbett's budget The Inquirer
Poorest districts are hit hardest, but there is grumbling around the state.
Protesters blast Corbett's school cuts
The Inquirer
Hundreds of people rallied outside Temple University's Liacouras Center yesterday in protest of Governor Corbett's cuts to public education. 
Corbett cuts to be cut?
The Inquirer via AP
GOP legislators are going to try to ease some of Gov. Corbett's proposed cuts, though State House Republican Majority Leader Mike Turzai would not commit to increased funding for the Pennsylvania public schools.  

WikiLeaks files detail U.S. unease over Turks and charter schools The Inquirer
U.S. officials have a growing concern over large numbers of Turkish men seeking to gain visas to work at American charter schools, with one destination being North Philadelpia charter Truebright Science Academy.

Phila. teacher seeking online contributions to his education fund The Inquirer
A Science Leadership Academy teacher has set up a website to help raise money to fund his education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Renaissance schools a 'priority', but at what price? The Notebook
Although the District faces a huge shortfall, Associate Superintendent Diane Castelbuono said they are running "cost scenarios" that could help shield the Renaissance Schools initiative from the massive cuts.

Opinion: Philadelphia schools don't have to be violent  The Inquirer
Philadelphia school teacher Christopher Paslay shares 10 ways how the District can help improve safety in schools, including respecting everyone's right to learn and opening alternative schools rather than charters.

Letters: Philadelphia Schools Superintendant Arlene Ackerman vs. teacher Hope Moffett Daily News

Letters: Philadelphia charter school advocates dispute Philadelphia Daily News columnist John Baer on 'Waiting for Superman' 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

Ackerman: Parents, help fight the budget cuts

By the Notebook on Apr 4, 2011 02:21 PM

by Patrick Cobbs

Philadelphia schools chief Arlene Ackerman called on parents for help March 31 with the massive education cuts proposed by Gov. Tom Corbett for next year, but she said there is one program she will try to keep safe - the district’s 31 turnaround schools.

“Those are our schools that are our lowest-performing, and have been low-performing for sometimes decades, and so we’ve made that a priority,” she said.

Renaissance schools a 'priority,' but at what price?

By Benjamin Herold on Apr 4, 2011 12:25 PM

School District officials are still hoping to shield Superintendent Arlene Ackerman’s Renaissance Schools initiative from the massive budget cuts that have already begun – even though they aren’t sure how much the effort is going to cost.

Notes from the news, Apr. 4

By Anonymous on Apr 4, 2011 09:04 AM

notes from the news imageThreatening email targets Phila. School Headquarters 6 ABC
The email said the bomb would be in retaliation for Superintendent Ackerman's treatment of teachers. Staff have been asked to report any suspicious activity.

See also: Security stepped up at School District in face of threat The Inquirer
Ackerman recibe amenaza de muerte Al Día
Bomb squad searches School District headquarters WHYY/NewsWorks
Bomb Threat Reported at School District Headquarters Chestnut Hill Patch
Ackerman gets bomb threat Daily News
Philly School Superintendent, Staff Threatened NBC Philadelphia
Bomb Threat at SDP A Very Public Education blog

Healing the Wounds of South Phila. High The Inquirer
The final installment in the "Assault on Learning" series looks at the changes at South Philly High with new principal Oits Hackney.

See also: Inquirer Editorial: Can't learn with violence The Inquirer
Monica Yant Kinney: A city school success has parents working to save it The Inquirer
Hancock School isn't violent The Inquirer (opinion)
Letters to the Editor 'Assault on learning' in Philly schools The Inquirer
Letters to the Editor 'Assault on learning' in Philly's schools The Inquirer

Community responds to the District budget shortfall The Notebook NEWSFLASH
The District shared its plans on how to deal with the deficit, but community groups have other suggestions.

John Baer: Could 'stashed' funds help Pa. schools in crisis? Daily News
Baer presses districts to use rainy day funds, which total $2.7 billion statewide. Philly has no money in its reserve fund.

See also: Letters: To Pennsylvania Gov. Corbett: College, not prison, is the way to go Daily News
ED BUDGET HEARINGS Keystone State Education Coalition

Ackerman talks budget (and chainsaws) at Leeds Middle School WHYY/NewsWorks
Ackerman talked about what changes would be part of a "doomsday" budget scenario and assured parents that only special education services that are "extras" may be cut, not core services required to fulfill a student's IEP.

See also: Ackerman discusses budget cuts, violence in schools West Philly Local

A message from students who left The Notebook
The Notebook's April edition is focused on students who have dropped out or been pushed out of school and their experiences.

See also: Undefining “Dropout” Voice of Philadelphia


Senator proposes rescue plan for state's struggling schools The Patriot-News
State Sen. Vincent Hughes plans to propose a bill today that would focus on turning around the lowest five percent of schools, rather than giving some students vouchers.

Grays Ferry community groups weigh in on Audenried plan The Notebook blog
Community groups say they were not consulted about the plan to turn over Audenried to Universal Companies, but they don't have plans to protest the move.

Education chat: Helen Gym - the continuing conversation The Notebook blog
Helen Gym chatted on on Thursday, and included some excerpts here.

'Parent trigger' laws give parents more power The Notebook blog
The laws allow parents to decide when and how to turn around schools.

Campaign for Nonviolent Schools Marches, 2000 Strong Philly Education Justice blog
Report from Wednesday's rally, with video.

Transcript: Live Chat on District Budget A Broad View blog

More districts looking at nontraditional candidates to lead schools The Inquirer

Private or state schools? What's the difference The Inquirer

Inmates urge West Philly High students to stay in school Philadelphia Tribune

Letters: An unfair aspect to Pennsylvania school vouchers Daily News

Performance Teaching 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

'Parent trigger' laws give parents more power

By Deborah Russell... on Apr 1, 2011 02:22 PM

Imagine us, the folk on Dauphin Street in North Philly, devoid of fancy degrees and titles. No Ed.D., Ph.D., M.A., or even a high school degree in many cases.

Yet, under proposed new legislation, there is a chance we may get more power to speak out on books in the curriculum or weigh in on effective classroom management. And supervise the principal, as if we were the board of directors (and theoretically we are). And work to boost the morale of a dispirited teaching staff that often feels taken for granted.

Or if none of that works, demand the school turn into a charter.

Far-out future or reality?

Grays Ferry community groups weigh in on Audenried plan

By Benjamin Herold on Apr 1, 2011 12:28 PM

A coalition of seven community groups serving the Grays Ferry neighborhood of South Philadelphia has finally weighed in on the School District’s plans to award Audenried High to Universal Companies for conversion to a charter.

Sort of.

Education chat: Helen Gym - the continuing conversation

By Helen Gym on Apr 1, 2011 10:52 AM

[Clarification: The questions posted below were ones that went unpublished and unanswered on on Thursday due to time or the moderator's choice. I was not the moderator for the questions that did appear on the online chat.]

Yesterday, I was a guest on a live chat at about the District’s budget cuts. The dialogue was fast-paced and lively, and included comments from education advocates, parents, and District communications staff members Shana Kemp and Jamilah Fraser. Because of the timing, we couldn’t get in all the questions, so I posted them below.

For readability’s sake, I pulled out a few Q&As at the top, then posted the rest of the comments below unedited. Hopefully, others can continue the dialogue in the comments section. 

Notes from the news, Apr. 1

By Anonymous on Apr 1, 2011 08:58 AM

notes from the news imageSome Antiviolence Efforts Are Working The Inquirer
In part six of the "Assault on Learning" series the investigation looks at successful programs such as Positive Behavior Supports.

See also: A Fla. district leads in violence prevention The Inquirer
Phila. looking to decrease its reliance on use of out-of-school suspensions The Inquirer
Dealing with school violence: Accusations or conversations? The Notebook blog
Annette John-Hall: Blame game won't stop school violence The Inquirer
Letters: School violence teaches kids the wrong lessons The Inquirer

Philadelphia teachers ready for a kick in the class Daily News
The $629 million deficit will likely mean teacher layoffs.

See also: Chat school cuts with Helen Gym Daily News
Philly School District's Budget Crisis Fox 29
Student Leaders To Fight Cuts Together AP via Fox 29
Philly schools face $629M budget shortfall
Philadelphia Tribune
Students march in Philly to protest education cuts
Philadelphia Tribune

School District to reveal closing-consolidation plan The Inquirer
The District will reveal the plan next Thursday and will hold a series of community meetings to discuss it.

See also: District to present plan for school buildings next week The Hall Monitor blog

Bitter-tweet reaction to Daily News' 'Chainsaw' cover Daily News
The District took to social media yesterday to discuss the Thursday cover of the Daily News, which featured Superintendent Ackerman photoshopped with a chainsaw under a headline about budget cuts.

See also: Violence For Sale's Sake = Okay? A Broad View blog
Maybe we should have used a pickaxe? The Hall Monitor blog
Daily News vs. the School District on Twitter WHYY/NewsWorks
Twitter War: School District Vs. Daily News The Philly Post blog
TWIT STORM: DN And Philadelphia School District Going Mano-A-Mano On Twitter Over Today’s Cover Phawker

At Ford Foundation, a harsh critique of urban school closures The Notebook blog
The Ford Foundation brought together activists from several urban districts to discuss the current tenor of school turnaround.

On the tube The Inquirer
Philadelphia teacher Elisabeth Raab participated in the first ever Jeopardy! Teachers Tournament.

Chaka Fattah on a mission to close opportunity gap between rich and poor The Hall Monitor blog

District launches 2011 March of Dimes' campaign  The Hall Monitor blog

Vouchers don't solve the problem in education Education Voters PA blog

Will Kimora Lee Simmons Makeover YOUR Classroom? A Broad View 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

Dealing with school violence: Accusations or conversations?

By Len Rieser on Mar 31, 2011 05:41 PM

“The students are hopeless."

“The union is useless."

“The administrators are incompetent, and liars to boot."

“The families are horrible."

These, and many more, are among the comments responding to the Inquirer series on school violence.

At Ford Foundation, a harsh critique of urban school closures

By Benjamin Herold on Mar 31, 2011 12:03 PM

For many, the growing push to close underutilized and chronically low-performing urban schools sounds like a common sense plan.

But not Chicago's Jitu Brown.

“School closings actually harm us in our communities,” said Brown, speaking Monday at the Ford Foundation in New York City.

Notes from the news, Mar. 31

By Anonymous on Mar 31, 2011 09:10 AM

notes from the news imageDistrict outlines plan to close $629 million gap The Notebook blog
The SRC adopted a lump sum budget yesterday that includes $281 million in cuts to schools and includes all three phases of the District's plan to address the deficit.

See also: Philadelphia schools raise shortfall estimate to $629 million, warn of major cuts The Inquirer
Our schools: Death by 1,000 cuts? Daily News
Sports, Music Face School Budget Ax Fox 29

Phila. students, supporters rally against school violence, state budget cuts The Inquirer
Nearly a thousand people attended the "Fund Schools, Not Prisons" rally organized by the Campaign for Nonviolent Schools.

See also: Students: fund schools, not prisons The Notebook blog
Campaign for Nonviolent Schools Keeps Building Power After Citywide March PSU blog
High School Students Rally Against State’s Proposed Budget Cuts CBS Philly
Estudiantes protestan ante recortes del gobernadora Al Día
Temple Students Protest Cuts To Higher Education CBS Philly
High school students rally to protest education cuts 6 ABC
March to City Hall garners support for education The Temple News

A Flawed System Of Intervention The Inquirer
In part five of the "Assault on Learning" series, the investigation finds that interventions like CSAP "too often fail."

See also: Philly schools insist on CSAP for a disabled boy, instead of the care he needs The Inquirer
At Philly disciplinary school, students face a strict day The Inquirer
Full district response to Assault on Learning Philly School Files blog
Letters: School violence teaches kids the wrong lessons The Inquirer
Philadelphia school violence: where's the superintendent? WHYY/NewsWorks
Notes from the Field-A Shameless Abdication of Responsibility City School Stories

Nunery: no school closings this September The Notebook blog
The District is counting on some savings from the implementation of the facilities master plan, but Nunery says closings won't happen in September.

The case for an elected school board The Notebook blog
In part two of a three-part series about governance for the Philadelphia schools, Ron Whitehorne describes why a democratically elected school board is important.

Education chat: Helen Gym Young Philly Politics
Helen Gym will be chatting on at 1 p.m. today.

Letters: Hope Moffett is not quite ready for beatification Daily News

Meals on Wheels marches on at Southern South Philly Review

Guest Blog: Violence, No Disposable Youth A Broad View blog

Language Services: Making Education Accessible A Broad View blog

Flipping the Urban Classroom Making the Grade blog

Point of View: My Stand For Ackerman, Gamble And Renaissance Plan Could Prevail If… UC Review

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

Nunery: no school closings this September

By Dale Mezzacappa on Mar 30, 2011 08:44 PM

Deputy Superintendent Leroy Nunery said Wednesday that there will be no school closings this September, even though the District is counting on some savings next year by implementing parts of its facilities master plan.

Besides school closings, other options include school consolidation, relocation, expansion, and co-location with charter schools. Those options are still on the table for this fall, a spokesperson said.

Students: fund schools, not prisons

By Celeste Lavin on Mar 30, 2011 08:34 PM

More than 1,500 elementary, secondary, and college students marched up Broad Street today protesting Governor Corbett’s massive cuts to education in his proposed budget.

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