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Getting beyond the blame game

By Eric Braxton on Jun 26, 2009 11:24 AM

There has been a lot of talk recently about how to improve teaching quality and ensure equitable distribution of qualified teachers in Philadelphia.

The issue is hot right now for good reasons: the PFT contract negotiations are getting contentious and group of community organizations have created a Teaching Quality and Equity Platform.

Blogger on the radio

By thenotebook on Jun 25, 2009 11:31 PM

If you're listening to WHYY Friday morning, you may hear from one of our new bloggers, Samuel Reed. You can listen to WHYY live online. Tune in at 6:30 and 8:30AM to hear Samuel speaking with reporter Stephanie Marudas about teaching and classroom stresses.

Are we passing failing students? Chime in with your view.

By thenotebook on Jun 25, 2009 11:07 AM

Samuel Reed's post about passing failing students has sparked quite a conversation.

Poster Philly HS teacher has a detailed comment about his/her experience with students who "must pass."

"Unlike what Sam is advocating - students, parents and teacher each meeting half way - the CSAP process puts 95%+ on the teacher.

Court rules student strip search illegal

By Anonymous on Jun 25, 2009 10:50 AM

Thursday the Supreme Court ruled that the strip search of a teenage girl, who was suspected of having ibuprofen, was illegal. The ruling was an 8-1 verdict that school officials violated the law, but the Court kicked back to lower courts the issue of if the school officials can be held liable in a lawsuit. Justice Ginsburg dissented from that second point, along with Justice Stevens, stating "Wilson's treatment of Redding was abusive and it was not reasonable for him to believe that the law permitted it."

Len Rieser blogged about the case when it was heard at the Court in April. Check back soon for more about this case and other education law cases being decided by the Court.

ETA: The article now also includes a reference to Horne v. Flores, a case from Arizona about English language learning education. In a 5-4 decision the Court ruled that a federal court's supervision of ELL services overstepped the court's bounds. Len also blogged about this case in his post from April. CNN has a more involved look at this decision.

One for the Community

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 24, 2009 10:14 PM

A remarkable thing happened at the School Reform Commission Wednesday -- impassioned community pleas actually had an impact.

My take on it is that Ruth Hayre was pulling strings from above.

School's out! A look back at the new Audenried's first year

By Anonymous on Jun 23, 2009 04:59 PM

The Daily News has an article today looking at Audenried's first year in its brand new space. It reopened this fall in a new building with a new class of ninth graders from the neighborhood.

The Notebook has followed one of those ninth graders, Dominique Holloman, in the No Easy Road series. You can watch a slideshow about Dominique and hear about the new Audenried from its principal, Terry Pearsall-Hargett.

Mastering Mediocrity: Are we really passing kids?

By Samuel Reed III on Jun 22, 2009 12:05 AM

Kristin Graham, The Inquirer’s education reporter, has recently written articles about the pressures of passing underperforming or de facto, failing students in the school district of Philadelphia. In her most recent June 21st article, Graham notes “the pressure to pass students- even those who rarely go to class or can’t read – is pervasive…   So I beg to ask, are we really passing students?”

Ramirez stays put for now; Senate checks out Dworeztky

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 19, 2009 01:27 PM

A state Senate Education Committee hearing on Joseph Dworetzky’s nomination to fill the vacant fifth seat on the School Reform Commission will finally take place in Harrisburg next Wednesday, June 24, nearly three months after the nomination, presumably paving the way for a full Senate vote.

Thanks are in order

By Molly Thacker on Jun 18, 2009 09:52 AM

I got a thank-you letter today from a graduating senior.  Although teaching is very much rewarding in itself, the truth is that it can also be a very lonely job, one where you don’t know if people are even noticing your efforts, much less benefiting from them. 

Virtual World, Meet the Classroom

By Alesha Jackson on Jun 17, 2009 11:58 AM

When I started college years ago, most people didn’t quite understand the World Wide Web: we logged on at the library, inadvertently sending mail from other people’s Hotmail accounts. Without the benefit of Google, our web surfing was limited to bidding on Ebay and the occasional foray onto music video Web sites. The web was still novelty—interesting, but not altogether very useful.

Governor proposes new track for professionals into teaching

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 16, 2009 05:56 PM

Gov. Rendell is asking the legislature to approve a program to fast-track science, engineering, technology, and math professionals into teaching jobs.  The governor would create a separate certification status called "residency," in which qualified persons are able to teach while taking courses in education strategies to earn full certification.

While the governor is emphasizing the so-called STEM subjects, the proposal would give the Secretary of Education the authority to create a "residency" certification for any field he deems has shortages.

As tension grows in Harrisburg, advocates rally

By Paul Socolar on Jun 15, 2009 07:32 PM

Just 15 days remain to resolve a budget deadlock in Harrisburg that will determine how the state responds to its $3.2 billion revenue shortfall and whether Philadelphia schools see a projected and hoped-for $300+ million boost in revenues that would fund dozens of proposed reform initiatives.

In case you missed it, week of Jun. 7

By Anonymous on Jun 14, 2009 02:12 AM

Contract confusion this week. Contracts were sent to individual teachers, with the salary line blank. Superintendent Ackerman said the contracts were sent in error and corrected contracts will be sent out and teachers must sign. The PFT is advising teachers not to sign the contracts.

Thanks for Turning the Page for Change

By thenotebook on Jun 12, 2009 01:46 PM

Thanks to everyone who joined us at University of the Arts Thursday, June 11 for our 15th anniversary Turning the Page for Change event!

We had a slideshow of photos from the past 15 years playing at the event. Here it is again. For a quick look through the show, hit the arrow at the bottom to flip through the slides.

Private providers out of Philly too?

By Anonymous on Jun 11, 2009 06:57 PM

At yesterday's SRC meeting the superintendent's office stated that the private management "model has to be transformed." They recommended that private managers be moved to providing support services rather than managing schools.

Earlier this year Helen Gym blogged about Baltimore's plans to cancel contracts with private manager Edison Learning. Their district decided to cancel two contracts with Edison--and the SRC in Philly will decide about private manager contracts later this month.

Check out the Notebook's ongoing coverage of EMOs and privatization.

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