by NewsWorks Staff
Education saw the largest boost in spending in Gov. Corbett's budget proposal. He is seeking additional funding for special education programs, early learning grants, and higher education scholarships.
But the big increase proposed is not for the state's main pot of funding for schools, but for a block grant program called "Ready to Learn." NewsWorks Tonight host Dave Heller discussed the governor's education spending priorities with Susan Gobreski, executive director of Education Voters of Pennsylvania.
The State Senate approved the nominations of City Councilman Bill Green and People’s Emergency Center executive director Farah Jimenez to the School Reform Commission in a vote of 44-2 this afternoon. Sens. Vincent Hughes and Andrew Dinniman were the dissenting votes.
Gov. Corbett nominated both Green and Jimenez to the five-member panel last month. Green will fill the chair position left vacant by Pedro Ramos, who resigned in October, citing family issues. Jimenez will fill the seat left vacant by Joseph Dwortezky, whose term expired in January.
New data released by the School District on Tuesday show that charter enrollment in Philadelphia has swelled to 67,315 students, which is more than one-third of all K-12 students in public schools.
More than 1,500 of those students are enrolled in excess of enrollment caps for individual schools. Twenty charters are 10 or more students over their enrollment caps.
Four charters have more than 100 students in excess of their caps, led by Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Partners Charter, where the District reports an enrollment of 1,302 despite an enrollment cap of 675.
The District has attempted to make those caps enforceable by writing them into its charter agreements. But this has not prevented the state from paying some charters directly for students enrolled in excess of the caps.
[Update:] A District spokesperson said Walter D. Palmer and four other charters have been billing the state for enrollment in excess of the caps. Other charters have not tried to secure payment from the state for more than the authorized numbers of students.
Gov. Corbett devoted nearly one-fourth of his annual budget address to education issues, proposing a total commitment of $10.1 billion to public education spending in the fiscal year starting July 1, a boost of 3.8 percent.
Corbett's 2014-15 budget address set for this morning. Morning Call
The School Reform Commission’s enrollment policies, and the premises on which they are based, are at the heart of its efforts to improve city schools and student achievement. For that reason, they merit careful analysis.
For the last several years, the SRC has promoted an increase in "high-performing" or "high-quality" seats with the unstated premise that student performance is determined by the quality of classrooms and schools that students attend. And for the last decade, the SRC has supported the development of a portfolio of schools, including District and charter schools, to expand parent choice in school selection.
To facilitate the choice process, the SRC has recently been considering a "universal enrollment" system, which would allow parents to complete a single application for District, charter, and parochial schools (and possibly private schools) that they would like their child to attend.
In the discussion that follows, I hope to provide some perspective on the SRC’s enrollment strategies, a discussion that may have increased importance because of recent statements by SRC chair nominee Bill Green.
by Lou Ryan
Philadelphia’s children and teens are facing ever-rising rates of obesity, and the school lunch program could be part of the problem. That’s why the Humane League, a nonprofit animal advocacy organization, is encouraging the School District to implement Meatless Monday.
By providing meatless meals to children just one day a week, the District could not only reduce its students’ risk of developing obesity and other chronic diseases, but also improve environmental sustainability.
West Philadelphia school library enjoys renaissance. Daily Pennsylvanian
Sshh, men at work. AxisPhilly
Opportunity knocks for Corbett. Daily News
Corbett expected to ask for more education money. Morning Call
by Sameer Rao
Philadelphia is one of five areas nationwide that have been selected to be designated as Promise Zones, a federal initiative announced in January by President Obama to accelerate efforts to revitalize neighborhoods suffering from high unemployment, poverty, and crime, and low educational attainment.
by Paul Jablow
Before graduating from Neumann University last year, Brooke Monaghan did her student teaching at Haverford Middle School, which she had attended herself.
She liked it there but sensed that she wanted her first job to be different. “I saw that in a big middle school, students can be embarrassed,” she says.
So Monaghan went to a place about as different from Haverford as you can find in the area’s educational world: the Ombudsman South accelerated school, located in a storefront in a South Philadelphia strip mall.
by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks
A coalition of Pennsylvania Senate Democrats gathered at Philadelphia School District headquarters Thursday to propose 10 policy ideas that the lawmakers say would generate $1.1 billion for a variety of state budget line-items – including $300 million for education – without raising any broad-based taxes.
The group says the state can achieve these funding increases by finding savings in existing spending and generating additional revenue.
Southwark Elementary working to reboot library. Passyunk Post
Kicking Down the Barriers to College. US Chamber of Commerce
by Mary Wilson for NewsWorks
Gov. Corbett plans to ask Pennsylvania lawmakers for a $10 million increase for early education grants in his budget address next week.
The proposal would amount to a 16 percent increase in funding for the state's Pre-K Counts program.
by Michael Masch
For years, charter school supporters have been wrongly asserting that Philadelphia charter schools cost much less to operate than District-operated schools, and that charters are being shortchanged, receiving substantially less per-student funding from the School District than the District spends on each student in its own schools.
Among those who have made this assertion are Lawrence Jones, president of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools, Robert Fayfich, executive director of that organization, and Robert Morano, a board member of the Achievement House Cyber Charter School in Exton.
Fearful of antagonizing elected officials who support charter schools and wealthy, politically active businesspeople who support charter schools, the School District of Philadelphia has been reluctant to publicly challenge these kinds of claims by charter advocates, even though District leaders have known for years that they simply are not true.
It is time to set the record straight. Here are the facts:
Organizers of the third annual Educator Forum @ School of the Future are looking for educators' submissions that highlight the use of technology to enhance student learning.
The forum, scheduled for May 2-3 at the West Philadelphia school, is both a competition and a conference. It's organized by the SOF Partnership Foundation and SEPAECT, a group concerned with educational technology.