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Pa. standardized test scores continue slide over last three years

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Dec 22, 2014 05:04 PM

Pennsylvania's standardized test scores have steadily declined over the last three years, according to the state Department of Education's filings with the federal government. The dropoff has been especially stark among some of the commonwealth's most at-risk students.

Philadelphia should fear a charter takeover of York City schools

By Ron Whitehorne on Dec 22, 2014 01:05 PM

In spite of opposition from York City’s elected school board, York's school district is on the verge of being turned over lock, stock, and barrel to a for-profit charter operator with ties to Florida Republicans Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Jeb Bush.

The York City School District has been under state control since 2012, when Gov. Corbett's administration put the district in receivership, appointing David Meckley, a local businessman, as chief recovery officer. Meckley has pressed an austerity program, which includes cutbacks to school budgets, teacher layoffs, and union concessions.

York's school board drew the line at his proposal to privatize the entire district. The board tabled this measure, citing a lack of evidence that the proposed charter operator, Charter Schools U.S.A., would do better than the existing administration. The Pennsylvania Department of Education has gone to court to compel the local school board to implement the charter takeover. A decision is expected this week.

Wolf's education transition committee has heavy Philadelphia presence

By Dale Mezzacappa on Dec 19, 2014 06:17 PM

Half of the members of Gov.-elect Tom Wolf's 18-person transition committee for education issues have Philadelphia ties, including co-chair Pedro Rivera, the Lancaster superintendent.

Rivera was born and raised in Philadelphia and spent 13 years in the system as a teacher, principal, and director of human resources before heading to Lancaster in 2008. There he has drawn attention for improving student achievement and the district's financial position.

Students say state's treatment of Philadelphia schools a form of violence

By Peak Johnson on Dec 19, 2014 02:18 PM

Students gathered at the School District's headquarters late Thursday afternoon to participate in a "die-in" to protest the grand jury decisions not to indict police officers in the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. They also honored the death of Laporshia Massey, a Philadelphia student who died last year after suffering an asthma attack in school, where no nurse was on duty.

From the archives: Money talks: EMOs give generously

By the Notebook on Dec 19, 2014 11:56 AM

The Notebook launched in 1994 as a newspaper committed to ensuring quality and equity in Philadelphia public schools. We celebrated the 20th anniversary of the first publication earlier this year. We are featuring an article from our archives each week, shedding light on both the dramatic changes that have taken place in public education and the persistent issues facing Philadelphia's school system.

This piece is from the Summer 2003 print edition:

Philly District adopts new financial plan; assumes slower charter growth

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Dec 19, 2014 10:22 AM

To maintain the same "insufficient" progams being offered this year, the Philadelphia School District says it will need an additional $30 million in new, recurring revenues for next school year.

By 2018-19, the District says it'll need an additional $152 million to avoid cutting back even further.

Wakisha Charter school shutting for good earlier than planned

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on Dec 19, 2014 09:36 AM

North Philadelphia's Wakisha Charter School is closing its doors Friday, only the second charter school in Philadelphia history to do so in the middle of a school year. Wakisha was supposed to close Dec. 23, but last week the school's administration stopped classes and moved up the last day to Dec. 19.

Watch: SRC meeting on District's 5-year financial plan

By the Notebook on Dec 18, 2014 05:23 PM

The School Reform Commission will hear about two five-year financial plans -- one that will maintain the inadequate status quo, and another that would provide students with an effective education. 

District: We need $309M more next year to provide effective education

By Dale Mezzacappa on Dec 18, 2014 02:30 PM

Updated | 7:50 p.m.

Tonight Superintendent William Hite presented two five-year financial plans to the School Reform Commission.

One is called "Inadequate Status Quo" and reflects the "grim reality" of current conditions in schools. 

The other, called "Transformation," asks for enough resources to "provide all ... students with the kind of educational opportunities that will enable them to fulfill their promise."

When to stay and when to leave? School nurses make the call

By Eileen DiFranco on Dec 18, 2014 12:31 PM

In his four years of being in high school, Terrell was never sick. So when he showed up in the nurse's office at 8:30 a.m. on a half-day, I knew something was really wrong.

Terrell said his stomach really, really hurt. Juice and crackers for hunger pains and a trip to the bathroom for what I like to call “a morning constitutional” typically cure the vast majority of in-school stomachaches. But not this time. Terrell had a stomach virus and he needed to go home.

There is no magical cure that can be offered in school that will make a student with a stomach virus or the flu well enough to remain in school and concentrate on his/her studies. School nurses are trained to recognize the severity of illnesses and injuries and to treat or refer according to their assessment. Thus, school nurses need to be regarded as the backbone of the health delivery system to our schoolchildren.

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