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Does Pa. provide a 'thorough and efficient' education? A panel considers.

By Greg Windle on Nov 5, 2015 11:26 AM

Last Monday, the National Constitution Center hosted a panel where four people actively involved in education policy discussed the role of the Pennsylvania constitution in improving access to quality public education. The discussion was framed around the contentious policy of “school choice,” which advocates the expansion of charters and magnet schools.

Realtors impressed by River Ward elementary schools

By Logan Mabe on Nov 5, 2015 09:40 AM

Most of the moms and dads who organized the River Wards Public School Realtor tour won’t see their kids join a kindergarten class for a few years, but they couldn’t contain their enthusiasm for promoting their neighborhood schools.

That’s why the parents reached out to Center City Realtors to give agents an up-close look at what the parents feel is the strength of the developing neighborhoods of Fishtown, Kensington, and Northern Liberties – the public schools.

Mayor-elect Kenney revisits school to reiterate plan for citywide pre-K

By Katie Colaneri for NewsWorks on Nov 5, 2015 09:30 AM

The day after winning the Philadelphia mayor's race, Jim Kenney returned to a public elementary school that he had visited on the campaign trail. One kindergartner asked him a pretty pointed question: "What can mayors do for kids?"

"For kids? Our best," Kenney replied. "The best we can."

What does the changing Pa. Supreme Court mean for school funding, charters?

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Nov 4, 2015 06:29 PM

The results of Tuesday's Pennsylvania Supreme Court election could have wide-ranging implications for a number of high-profile cases related to education issues.

Three Democrats swept the open seats on the state's highest court – shifting the balance of power to 5-2 in the party's favor when they assume the bench in January.

Pa. high schools get their grades

By David Limm on Nov 4, 2015 05:06 PM

High schools received their grades Wednesday as the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) released the School Performance Profile scores that it uses to rate schools, along with results on the Keystone Exams.

The state's school accountability system provides a snapshot of student achievement and growth that takes into account numerous measures, with most of the weight going to standardized test scores.

Kenney and Gym change the education conversation

By Dale Mezzacappa on Nov 3, 2015 09:46 PM

[2nd paragraph updated] 

With the election of Democrats Jim Kenney as mayor and Helen Gym to City Council on Tuesday, there is a new dynamic at City Hall regarding education policy.

Kenney has promised to work toward universal preschool, which was also a focus of the Nutter administration. But the mayor-elect has thrown his support behind community schools as the primary reform strategy for the District. That is a departure from Mayor Nutter's approach. Throughout his administration, Nutter supported the strategy that relied heavily on closing low-performing schools and expanding charters, with the goal of having "a great school" in every neighborhood. 

Philly District's borrowing due to Pa. budget impasse passes $500M

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Nov 3, 2015 07:35 PM

As Pennsylvania enters its fifth month without a state budget, school districts across the commonwealth have been forced to borrow money in order to keep their doors open.

The Philadelphia School District has needed to borrow the most – authorizing more than $500 million in loans.

The role of police in schools: A discussion on 'Radio Times'

By Dale Mezzacappa on Nov 3, 2015 03:11 PM

Notebook board chair Harold Jordan, senior policy analyst with the Pennsylvania ACLU, appeared on WHYY's Radio Times this morning with Philadelphia Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel to discuss the role of police officers in schools. The topic recently got renewed attention after video went viral showing a sheriff's deputy in South Carolina throwing to the floor and arresting a Black high school girl who would not leave her classroom.

Clearing the record on Source4Teachers pay rates

By Paul Socolar on Nov 2, 2015 06:07 PM

The embattled substitute teacher supplier, Source4Teachers, announced a boost in some of its pay rates last week. There's been confusion and inaccuracy in past press reports, including our own, about how much the company is paying to whom. So we held up our story on that news to make sure we're getting the details correct.

It has been a slow process, but the Notebook has finally gotten answers that may clear up some confusion.

LGBT-friendly high school among slate of Philly charter school hopefuls

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Nov 2, 2015 10:01 AM

The Philadelphia School District, which will accept applications for new charter schools through Nov. 15, already has received 22 letters of intent.

One of them is from James Baldwin Charter High School, which would stress lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender inclusion.

Why Philadelphia needs a 'Citizens' Commission for Education'

By Susan Gobreski on Oct 30, 2015 03:00 PM

We need a better mechanism for authentic public participation in the governance of the state-controlled School District of Philadelphia.

Education Voters has launched a new effort calling for the creation of a “Citizens’ Commission for Education” in Philadelphia.

Our current structure is inadequate. “We the people” really don’t have a way to ask questions about what is going on with schools. We can go to School Reform Commission meetings and make comments or ask questions, but that is all – speakers have no certainty of a response.

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