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A breakdown of Gov. Wolf's plan for new education spending

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on May 8, 2015 11:41 AM

What has Gov. Wolf proposed?

In the first year of his plan, the governor wants to increase spending for education, from pre-K through higher ed, by $1 billion.

Of this figure, $500 million would go to K-12 classrooms ($400 million to basic education and $100 million to special education).

Pre-K Counts and Head Start would received $120 million in new aid. The state's higher-ed system, along with community colleges, would get a $143 million boost in exchange for enacting tuition freezes.

Girard College student pulls off impressive admissions feat

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on May 7, 2015 04:18 PM

It's more than 80 degrees outside, but Brandon Dixon, 17, is wearing a thick blue blazer and a polo shirt with the word "Girard" embroidered just above his heart.

The high school senior applied to 11 colleges, and he got into all of them, an impressive accomplishment.

Will PSTV pivot and become a digital media hub for students?

By Camden Copeland on May 7, 2015 12:45 PM

“What would a student-centered broadcast medium be?”

It's a question that Melanie Harris, chief information officer for the District’s Office of Information Technology and Data Management, asked when thinking about the future of Public School TV (PSTV), the School District of Philadelphia's public educational channel.

Mayoral hopeful Abraham pins school spending on Wolf's tax breaks

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on May 7, 2015 10:34 AM

With education a major issue in the Philadelphia mayor's race, Democratic candidate Lynne Abraham has put forth her plan to fund the city's public schools.

Abraham, like fellow candidate Jim Kenney, has committed to meeting the Philadelphia School District's request for $103 million, and then some.

As ‘competency-based’ learning gains steam, specifics vary widely

By Anika Anand for Chalkbeat on May 7, 2015 09:35 AM

In a suburb just outside of Denver, principal Sarah Gould stands outside a 5th-grade classroom at Hodgkins Elementary School watching students work. This classroom, she explains, is for students working roughly at grade level. Down the hall, there are two other 5th-grade classrooms. One is labeled “Level 2 and 3,” for students who are working at the second and 3rd-grade levels. The other is for students who are working at a middle-school level.

Yearbook PHL trains teens to tell stories of student life

By Camden Copeland on May 6, 2015 02:20 PM

The Philadelphia Student Union has been running a multimedia workshop series called Yearbook PHL, which uses student narratives to compile snapshots of how teens are experiencing the public school system.

“People have a certain idea of what schools are like, but the only people who actually know what it’s like in school are the people that go to school,” said Mahala Papadopoulos, a Masterman 10th grader.

Which Pa. school districts get the highest share of aid from the state?

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on May 6, 2015 10:04 AM

Which school districts in Pennsylvania receive the most state funding as a share of their total revenue?

If you guessed Philadelphia, you'd be dead wrong.

As promised, SRC resolutions posted far ahead of meeting

By the Notebook on May 5, 2015 09:09 PM

With the District often chided for making information public at the 11th hour, SRC Chair Marjorie Neff recently promised more transparency for School Reform Commission meetings – or at least better service.

And after Neff's announcement that voting items for monthly SRC meetings would be available three weeks ahead of time, the District posted the draft of upcoming meeting resolutions on May 1, 20 days in advance of the May 21 meeting. This change gives more opportunity for the public to comment to the SRC in advance.

Three Renaissance charter renewals in question

By Dale Mezzacappa on May 5, 2015 04:57 PM

The School Reform Commission will consider more than a dozen charter renewals on Monday and is expected to hear at least two recommendations for nonrenewal -- including one at a District school that was turned over to a private operator for turnaround.

The District's Charter Schools Office is opposing renewal for Bluford Elementary, which is a Renaissance turnaround charter operated by Universal Companies. It is also recommending non-renewal for Delaware Valley Charter High School, citing academic inconsistencies and fiscal issues.

Relieve testing frenzy and abuse with new policy

By Debra Weiner on May 5, 2015 11:49 AM

When an increasing number of parents in school districts as different as Philadelphia and Lower Merion opt their children out of standardized testing, it's clearly time for state and federal education agencies to rethink whether testing, as it has been practiced, drives better instruction or undermines fundamental educational values.

Unlike many who are philosophically opposed to standardized testing, I believe that we need objective measures beyond grades from teachers to assess student growth. I also believe that the punitive use of standardized testing results has led to the crippling of creativity in the classroom, the elimination of art and music and sports and recess, the departure of good teachers from the profession, the discouragement of talented young people from entering the profession, and the temptation to cheat. 

Candidates talk schools, police brutality at youth mayoral forum

By Brian Hickey for NewsWorks on May 4, 2015 04:45 PM

By asking five mayoral candidates a question about police brutality, three Julia De Burgos Elementary School students sparked one of the campaign's most eye-opening moments to date.

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