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City Council candidates' views on education: Derek Green

By the Notebook on Mar 12, 2015 11:24 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?

Attorneys for districts, parents ask judges to hear education funding case

By Laura Benshoff and Dale Mezzacappa on Mar 12, 2015 09:43 AM

Judges must order Pennsylvania's governor and legislature to guarantee the constitutional right of every student to a "thorough and efficient" education, attorneys told a Commonwealth Court panel Wednesday.

Students who are still learning English fuel Philly opt-out movement

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on Mar 11, 2015 05:56 PM

In 2014, Pennsylvania parents opted about 100 kids out of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, or PSSAs. This year, that many are opting out of tests just at the Feltonville School of Arts & Sciences, a middle school in North Philadelphia.

In some cases, parents and teachers object to the tests for philosophical or political reasons. But many Feltonville parents have a more immediate concern: their kids can't understand them.

City Council candidates' views on education: Isaiah Thomas

By the Notebook on Mar 11, 2015 02:25 PM

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?

After 13 years of service learning, buildOn is leaving Philly schools

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on Mar 11, 2015 10:25 AM

Football. Debate team. Theater. High school students flock to extracurricular projects that mold their identities. For the last 13 years, hundreds of Philadelphia high school students have had another option: buildOn.

Neff and Green present a unified front despite SRC shake-up

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Mar 10, 2015 05:51 PM

In the wake of the recent School Reform Commission shake-up, Marjorie Neff and Bill Green presented a unified front Tuesday at a lighthearted news conference at Philadelphia School District headquarters.

Green, a former city councilman who left his post to become SRC chair in January 2014, was stripped of the leadership position by Gov. Wolf on March 1.

Bill Green won't go to court to win back the title of SRC chair

By Paul Socolar on Mar 9, 2015 09:15 PM

Eight days ago, Bill Green was unceremoniously removed from his position as chair of the five-member School Reform Commission by Gov. Wolf, who named Commissioner Marjorie Neff to replace him.

Green responded that Wolf didn't have the authority to remove him and that he would contest the action in court, while continuing to serve as a commissioner.

Sustainable community schools: An alternative to privatization

By Ron Whitehorne on Mar 9, 2015 12:02 PM

Public education is at a crossroads in Philadelphia. An aggressive and well-funded charter school lobby wants to rapidly expand the city’s already sizable charter sector.   

Lavish campaign contributions have secured political support in the Republican-dominated state legislature and from mayoral candidate Anthony Williams here in Philadelphia. A well-oiled public relations and media operation has crafted a narrative about children trapped in failing schools and the thousands of families on waiting lists for charters. 

The reality of understaffed, poorly resourced public schools destabilized by punitive and largely ineffective school transformation policies has driven many families to seek refuge in charters, few of which perform better than the schools they left. The charter lobby ignores the fact that charter school expansion, given the present charter school law and the absence of additional funding in the form of a charter school reimbursement line in the state budget, can only come at the expense of children in traditional public schools. 

Notes from the news, Mar. 9

By thenotebook on Mar 9, 2015 08:53 AM

Mayoral candidates talk wages, schools, housing. Inquirer

Chambers of Commerce questions Philly mayoral candidates. The Philadelphia Tribune  

Philadelphia mayoral candidates grill business leaders on how to attract talent and promote innovation. Philadelphia Business Journal 

Budgets, branding, and Dr. Seuss: NinetyNine's mayoral campaign-coverage week in review. NewsWorks

Mayoral candidate Doug Oliver counting on his youth, voters' desire for change. Inquirer

Management skills a must. Inquirer

School district whistle-blower finally has date in court. Inquirer

Officials react to Gov. Wolf's budgetary proposal. The Philadelphia Tribune

Pa. House Approves Legislation That Would Strengthen Charter Schools Statewide. CBSPhilly

Wolf's budget boosts education funding. The Philadelphia Tribune 

Supporting wider success for students. Inquirer

Study investigates high discipline rates among black girls. Notebook

Black girls carry extra burdens to stay in school. The Philadelphia Tribune

A survey: Tell us about the educational technology at your school. Notebook

Rendell Center for civic education moving to Annenberg at Penn. Notebook

Inexcusable absences. New Republic

Could it be that the teaching profession isn't pink enough. The Hechinger Report

Words of Philadelphia Children Become Part Of New Requiem For Sandy Hook Victims. CBSPhilly

Constance Clayton still a Philadelphia force - in art. Inquirer

Start early to have girls consider STEM careers. Inquirer

4 Ways to Engage Digitally Distracted Students. edSurge

Opinion: Stop Calling America's Classrooms a 'War Zone'. edSurge

Outrage: High-Stakes Testing in Kindergarten. Diane Ravitch's blog

Students compete to win 21st annual spelling bee. The Philadelphia Tribune

Mayor of Philadelphia Michael Nutter Comes To New York. BWOG

Gary Mills, Helping Inner City Kids With Basketball Lessons and More. CBSPhilly

News Summary from Keystone State Education Coalition 


Rendell Center for civic education moving to Annenberg at Penn

By Dale Mezzacappa on Mar 6, 2015 03:02 PM

In a move designed to beef up civics education in schools, the Rendell Center for Civics & Civic Engagement will relocate to the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

The Rendell Center, led by Judge Marjorie O. Rendell of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, focuses on civics education for the younger grades, while Annenberg has concentrated on middle and upper grades.

Study investigates high discipline rates among Black girls

By Camden Copeland on Mar 6, 2015 12:34 PM

Black girls are disciplined at higher rates and with harsher consequences than their White counterparts, according to a new report from Columbia Law School's Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies.

The study, called Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underpotected, compares 2011-12 data on out-of-school suspensions, expulsions, and school-related arrests for White and Black girls in New York City and Boston, and explains the adverse consequences of the disparities.

The data showed that in Boston, Black girls are 11 times more likely to be disciplined than White girls and 12 times more likely to be suspended. In New York City, Black girls were 10 times more likely to be disciplined and 10 times more likely to be suspended than White girls.

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