Chartered bust. Daily News
Where is Philadelphia's Bill de Blasio? Daily News
by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks
As executive director of the New Jersey chapter of the Education Law Center, David Sciarra advocates for an equal and adequate education for all New Jersey students.
Listen here as Sciarra discusses education-funding priorities in an extended interview with WHYY education reporter Kevin McCorry.
Sciarra outlines what he thinks New Jersey can teach Pennsylvania when it comes to implementing a "fair funding formula" that he says would best meet the needs of students across the state.
by Naveed Ahsan
Over the summer, the School District announced that it had canceled its annual high school fair to save money. Then, the Philadelphia School Partnership stepped up by offering to underwrite the event, while working with partner groups to plan it. The fair was resurrected.
Next Saturday, Nov. 16, students and parents can attend the Philly High School Fair, where they can gather information about admissions criteria, academic courses, extracurricular activities, and other special programs at more than 80 public, private, charter, and Catholic high schools throughout the city. The fair will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Armory at Drexel University, 33rd and Market Streets in University City.
At the fair, parents and students will learn about high school options for the 2014-15 school year, and questions can be directed to staff members of individual schools. Kristen Forbriger, PSP’s manager of communications and public affairs, said organizers expect a turnout of 5,000 to 8,000 attendees.
by Tom MacDonald for NewsWorks
As the School District of Philadelphia is trying to sell off vacant properties, a university is kicking the tires on one building.
The now-closed William Penn High School on North Broad Street is at the edge of Temple University's campus. Spokesman Ray Betzner says Temple is talking with the School District about acquiring the property.
Letters: Reinstate school funding formula. Daily News
Archdiocese to freeze pensions for 8,500. Inquirer
by Mary Wilson for NewsWorks
Some education advocates are criticizing a Pennsylvania Senate proposal to revamp how public charter schools start, expand, and receive funding -- because it would remove a check on their growth.
A plan before a key legislative committee would allow charter schools to increase their enrollment without the approval of the school district that first authorized their charter.
Bad framework. Daily News
Charter schools are hurting urban public schools, Moody’s says. Washington Post
Pennsylvania’s education funding doesn’t redistribute wealth enough. Keystone Politics
Susan Corbett addresses education. Altoona Mirror
A meeting on "school report cards" will take place from 6 to 7:30 tonight at Baldi Middle School in Northeast Philadelphia. It is the fourth of five such meetings held by the District to gather community feedback for a new grading system for schools.
This summer the District announced plans for a new school report card to replace the school annual reports and faulty School Performance Index (SPI) scores that have served as measures of accountability. An earlier series of forums was scrapped after two contentious meetings where angry parents questioned the motives behind rolling out a new and costly accountability system during a time of tremendous financial and structural instability and the value of the project.
At the time, a District spokesman indicated that the reason for the cancellation was the unstructured, off-point nature of the discussions, saying the District was not seeking input on whether it should proceed with school report cards, but rather, what information they should contain.
About that $45m..$10m to charters? Inquirer
Not the best deal for city schools. Inquirer
Tell me your Philly schools story. City Paper
What do Philadelphia students want? Diane Ravitch's Blog
The School District is trying to find 4,000 students that it expected to enroll in September who didn't show up.
Many of those may have switched to charter schools. Superintendent William Hite has said that of the $45 million that the state released last month, about $10 million has been set aside in anticipation of higher charter payments, which are mandated based on enrollment.
If it turns out that more than 1,000 or so of the missing students turn up in charters, that $10 million figure could go higher and create a new budget hole. District officials say they still don't have a definitive count of charter enrollment citywide.
The District has sought for years to impose enrollment caps on charter schools to contain the rapid growth of its payouts to charters. Still, it would be possible for charter enrollment to increase sigificantly citywide without any charters breaking their agreements, because many are not enrolled up to their limit.
Wednesday was a rare sight in City Hall: Mayor Nutter and City Council President Darrell Clarke standing next to each other and agreeing on something.
The something was a deal for the city and District to work together to get $50 million in promised revenue to the School District through the sale of empty school buildings.
However, when all the self-congratulation was over, the District's financial position was at least as precarious as ever, if not more so.
The Philadelphia School Partnership’s role in a controversial Council briefing on universal enrollment last month highlights the organization’s role in lobbying for controversial education policies and initiatives – even as it promotes itself as a philanthropy.
Last week, I wrote about PSP’s plan to create a private entity that would “outsource the enrollment and placement” of students into District, charter, and parochial schools. “PhillySchoolApp,” as the entity is being dubbed, would take the concept of “common enrollment” beyond what any other city has done. First, it would include parochial schools and coordinate the availability of tax-subsidized scholarships in the matching process. And second, it would take the crucial function of student placement out of the hands of the School District.
The following letter from a staff attorney at the Education Law Center was sent in response to a commentary by Helen Gym that appeared last week regarding the creation of a universal enrollment system being spearheaded by the Philadelphia School Partnership. The Education Law Center is a member of the working group involved in developing the universal enrollment system.
Thank you for offering the chance to explain our role on the universal enrollment working group of the Great Schools Compact. As you know, before the District, various charter schools, the Mayor’s Office, and Pennsylvania Department of Education, and the Archdiocese entered into the Great Schools Compact in 2011, there was very little chance for public comment. ELC supported the general notion of a Compact as a space to collaborate, particularly for the District and charter operators. We also supported the intent to pursue a system of universal public school enrollment, as reflected in the Compact agreement.
Through the hundreds of parents we have represented, we have seen all too well that the current system of more than 80 separate enrollment processes and 80 different deadlines for all the charter schools, in addition to the District’s process for its own schools, has become burdensomely complicated. It has also served to self-select many parents and students out of the charter system and to permit many improper and illegal enrollment policies and practices to go unchecked.
Kevin Hart gives back. Inquirer
School Talk: Regional superintendent Dion Betts. Passyunk Post
Penn Admissions hosts workshops for Phila. high schoolers. Daily Pennsylvanian
Community members demand an end to tax abatements. Our City Our Schools
Did someone order a Piazza? City Paper
Back in Philly: seniority and evaluation. Making the Grade
A new ‘no excuses’ school reform mantra. Answer Sheet