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Education top issue for city, poll finds

By Dale Mezzacappa on Mar 16, 2015 05:25 PM

A poll from the Pew Charitable Trusts has found that residents rank education as the top issue facing Philadelphia, outpacing crime and the economy.

Opinion on the quality of the public schools has sunk over the past several years, the poll showed, but views on charter schools were mixed. 

'Friends' groups gather citywide to build support for neighborhood schools

By Lauren Wiley on Mar 16, 2015 04:18 PM

About 125 parents and community members involved in supporting neighborhood schools throughout the city gathered Saturday to start the process of jointly advocating for Philadelphia public schools.

City Council candidates' views on education: Matthew Wolfe

By the Notebook on Mar 16, 2015 11:42 AM

On May 19, Philadelphians will hit the polls to winnow the field of City Council at-large candidates. Out of 28 declared candidates, only seven will be elected in November (including at least two from a minority party). Each party can run five candidates in the general election. The Notebook reached out to the candidates, asking their opinions on the election's most gripping issue: education.

Where do candidates stand on the School Reform Commission's decision to approve five new charter school applications? Whose job is it to find more money for public schools, the city's or the District's? Absent an agreement with the teachers' union, do they think the SRC is right to pursue concessions through the courts? And finally, what ideas do they have for how the District can fix its financial problems?

Families face hunt for prized charter school slots

By Neema Roshania for NewsWorks on Mar 16, 2015 09:58 AM

This is the first in a series of reports on one Philadelphia couple's search for a school for their son.
 

It's a snowy winter evening in Philadelphia's Roxborough section.

Chris Byiers steps into the brightly lit lobby of Green Woods Charter School, hoping for the best.

Chris is among the 60 or so parents who have shown up, looking to score big at the charter school's annual lottery.

Analysis questions validity of Pa.'s School Performance Profile ratings

By Sara Hoover for NewsWorks on Mar 13, 2015 03:57 PM

Everyone wants to know how schools are doing -- parents, teachers, taxpayers. Schools' performance is followed closely, but the measures used to rank schools may not be well-understood.

A new analysis shows the metrics used may actually measure poverty rather than academic performance.

The many components that determine school quality

By Eileen DiFranco on Mar 13, 2015 01:55 PM

Education pundits often toss the phrase “high-quality schools” around like footballs. Soon everyone and their sister or brother uses it, from universities to the media. They jump on the bandwagon of “high-quality schools," as if such a term can be defined by numbers on a spreadsheet.

From my 25 years of experience, many things other than numbers determine a school's quality. And those things must all be fulfilled before that phrase can even be put on the table.

As students refuse to take NJ exams, school leaders argue against opting out

By Bill Hangley Jr. for NewsWorks on Mar 13, 2015 12:40 PM

New Jersey education officials are pushing back against a growing wave of opposition to the state's new standardized tests, telling lawmakers that the "opt out" movement could cost the state millions and deprive schools of essential data.

Students take (many) steps to bring world of Rube Goldberg to life

By Peter Crimmins for NewsWorks on Mar 13, 2015 10:54 AM

For several months, high school students across Philadelphia have been trying to figure out the most complicated way to erase a chalkboard.

On Saturday, they will show their work at the Philadelphia Rube Goldberg Machine Contest, the first of what organizers hope will be an annual academic competition.

City Council candidates' views on education: Tom Wyatt

By the Notebook on Mar 13, 2015 10:40 AM

On May 19, Philadelphians will hit the polls to winnow the field of City Council at-large candidates. Out of 28 declared candidates, only seven will be elected in November (including at least two from a minority party). Each party can run five candidates in the general election. The Notebook reached out to the candidates, asking their opinions on the election's most gripping issue: education.

Where do candidates stand on the School Reform Commission's decision to approve five new charter school applications? Whose job is it to find more money for public schools, the city's or the District's? Absent an agreement with the teachers' union, do they think the SRC is right to pursue concessions through the courts? And finally, what ideas do they have for how the District can fix its financial problems?

Clarke: Setting tax hike hearing after primary isn't to help incumbents

By Tom MacDonald for NewsWorks on Mar 12, 2015 06:13 PM

Philadelphia City Council is in no hurry to take up Mayor Nutter's proposed 9 percent property tax increase to create a permanent source of funding for the city's schools.

In fact, city lawmakers have delayed a hearing on the matter until after the May 19 primary election.

New District blueprint all about equity, Hite says

By the Notebook on Mar 12, 2015 04:33 PM

On Thursday's Radio Times, Superintendent William Hite was asked to sum up his newest blueprint for the School District as a bumper sticker slogan. He indulged host Marty Moss-Coane, answering, Action Plan 3.0: "This is all about equity." 

Only a fair tax system will fully fund Pa. public schools

By Bishop Dwayne Royster on Mar 12, 2015 01:21 PM

A week after Gov. Wolf’s budget address, we’re seeing reactions from all sides to the governor’s proposal -- some celebratory and some critical.

Members of POWER (Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild), an interfaith organization that has prioritized the fight for full funding for our schools, have been watching this debate as it unfolds and assessing what it means for our children. As people of faith committed to a prophetic critique of “the world as it is,” we must speak truth about what is being left unsaid. When it comes to the funding of our schools, economic inequality and education inequality in Pennsylvania are intertwined -- and we are not moving fast enough to fix it.  

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