by Aurora Jensen
Instead of building more charter schools, State Rep. Curtis Thomas and organizers of the William Penn Development Coalition say, the School District should refit and reopen closed neighborhood schools to address growing educational inequality in Philadelphia.
“It is time to declare a moratorium on charter schools,” Thomas said in an interview last week. He said charter schools had not lived up to his office’s expectations for district-wide improvement in education.
by Sarah Burgess
I recently exchanged emails with a teacher, asking her to spread the word about the Teacher Action Group’s Inquiry to Action Groups, which are starting up this week. These are peer-led study groups that bring educators together to delve into topics relevant to our teaching practice. Small groups meet weekly (for six sessions, each two hours long, plus a kickoff event) between February and April to share experiences, respond to readings, exchange ideas, and develop plans of action.
More budget challenges ahead. Notebook
by Holly Otterbein for NewsWorks
The former CEO of a Philadelphia charter school was sentenced to three years in prison Monday for stealing funds from the school.
Masai Skief, 32, pleaded guilty last year to embezzling $88,000 from the Harambee Institute of Science Technology Charter School and a related nonprofit, the Harambee Institute. After signing the plea agreement, prosecutors said, Skief kept stealing money from the Harambee Institute. In all, he took an extra $12,000, they said.
Gamechanger: Linda Cliatt-Wayman. CBS Philly
Doing nothing about schoolteacher cheating. Clinton Herald
Snow, ice disrupt school calendars. Inquirer
Pa., N.J. edge toward pension overhauls. NewsWorks
Do Parents Care Enough About School? NY Times
by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks
Here's an accurate headline you could have written about Gov. Corbett's Pennsylvania budget address earlier this week: Corbett calls for $387 million in increased state education funding.
But many education advocates are quick to say that hardly tells the full story.
They say that most of this proposed funding increase is a one-time influx of cash that's delivered with many strings attached.
by Dan Hampton
Tomorrow marks the end of the "Restoring Ideals" project and exhibition, a conservation effort led by Temple University's Tyler School of Art to commemorate the city’s founding ideals of tolerance, equality, and independence by preserving an object from local organizations that uphold those Philadelphian values.
Over the last six months, professional conservators have worked to restore and preserve artifacts from 10 area organizations, which were selected from among 25 through a public voting poll last year. The Notebook was one of those chosen and is lucky to have preserved and digitally archived our first 29 print issues, a chronicling of the School District between 1994 and 2002, before the Notebook came online.
by Jonathan Cetel
In his recent commentary, Michael Masch, the former chief financial officer of the School District of Philadelphia, seeks to challenge the fact that Philadelphia’s public charter schools receive less per-pupil funding than District-operated schools. His arguments rest on a defense of several of the deductions that the School District of Philadelphia is able to make against its expenditures when calculating the per-pupil allocation to charter schools. Mr. Masch brings considerable authority to the subject, but his analysis fails to consider several important factors.
First, Masch discusses only some of the more than 20 deductions that the state allows districts to make in calculating the per-pupil allocation to charter schools. The deductions he cited for 2011-12, the year he used for comparison, added up to nearly $750 million, but they were not the sum total. Specifically, he failed to mention the “Other Financing Uses” deduction that includes debt service. For the 2013-14 school year, that deduction exceeded $259 million.
Join the live chat this morning about Corbett's 2014-15 budget proposal. Central Penn Business Journal
by Larry Kalikow
For more than a quarter-century, the School District of Philadelphia has maintained a special-admission, academically superior high school exclusively for girls, the Philadelphia High School for Girls (aka "Girls' High"), without affording equivalent educational opportunity for boys.
On its website, the Philadelphia High School for Girls, for many years, unabashedly described itself as "a public, college preparatory school for academically talented young women drawn from the rich diversity of the city." It has further proclaimed that it provides, among other benefits, an "outstanding academic opportunity," an "unequaled art program," "outstanding AP opportunities" and "superb choices in the sciences, math and languages." Yet, the School District of Philadelphia has no corresponding boys-only school "for academically talented young men." Certainly, the diversity of the city is rich enough, and has been for the last 25 years, to include many such male students.
by Mary Wilson for NewsWorks
Gov. Corbett's budget proposal includes a number of one-time revenue sources, but the plan for a special fund -- that you might never have heard of -- isn't such a departure from Pennsylvania budgets of the past.
Corbett wants to transfer $225 million in cash and investments from the Tobacco Settlement Fund and give it to the Public School Employees' Retirement System (PSERS).
Revenue problem. Inquirer
Jewish Federation now behind Holocaust education mandate. Jewish Exponent
Gov. Corbett delivered his annual budget address in Harrisburg yesterday, indicating that public school funding would see an increase of $369 million. Two-thirds of that – $241 million – will be directed to the "Ready to Learn" block grant focused on early learning, STEM education, and supplemental instruction. Basic education funding, however, remained flat. Philadelphia will get a $29 million increase through the grant program.
The Notebook gathered reactions to the budget proposal from several education advocates and organizations.
by Jeseamy Muentes
Sharif El-Mekki, principal at Mastery Charter School’s Shoemaker campus, has been selected as one of three Principal Ambassador Fellows in the U.S. Department of Education’s first-ever Principal Ambassador Fellowship program.
The program, modeled after the Education Department’s six-year old Teaching Ambassador Fellowship Program, will recognize the important impact that principals have on instructional leadership, staff performance, and the school environment. El-Mekki and the two other fellows were chosen in December from more than 450 applicants from district, charter, and private schools nationwide. One of the other fellows is from a magnet school in Tennessee, and the other is from a Washington, D.C., high school.
Corbett budget: too little, too late. City Paper
Double vision. Daily News
Turn up the movement: Pictures from the citywide student assembly. Philadelphia Student Union