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Union cries foul at District’s plans to outsource substitutes, medical care

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on Jun 10, 2015 09:04 PM

The mother of a 4th grader with medical needs at Lingelbach Elementary school in Philadelphia says private agency nurses did not work out for her son.

"They weren't invested in my child. They didn't know the signs that I expected them to know, when he was in distress," said Sabrina Jones. Her biggest concerns were "the level of care and the inconsistency" of having different nurses on different days.

Notebook kicks off year-end fund drive and announces matching gift

By Paul Socolar on Jun 10, 2015 10:58 AM

The Notebook celebrated 21 years of publishing and honored noted photographer Harvey Finkle on Tuesday before a packed house at University of the Arts.

The organization also kicked off a major, year-end fundraising drive at the event. Between now and June 30, the Notebook must raise $45,000.

Schools in 40 Pa. counties would struggle with Keystone graduation requirement

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Jun 10, 2015 10:01 AM

Pennsylvania students in the class of 2017 are the first who will be required to pass standardized Keystone exams in algebra, literature and biology in order to graduate high school. A new data analysis from Research for Action details how complicated it could become to help students graduate who can't pass those exams.

Reports: Most states' education spending inadequate, unfair

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 9, 2015 09:47 AM

Most states invest too little in education and distribute the funds inequitably, harming the academic potential and life chances of the country's growing cadre of low-income students, according to two reports from civil rights groups released on Monday.

The reports, from the Education Law Center, based in Newark, N.J., and the D.C.-based Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Education Fund, outline how school funding in almost all of the country is largely at odds with student need. In all but a handful of states, more affluent students get more resources, while the more impoverished get less.

Education jargon, explained

By Paul Jablow on Jun 9, 2015 08:53 AM

Too often we hear school officials, experts, advocates, and yes, even journalists throw around terms like block grants and charter authorizer with little explanation as to what these terms mean. Important education funding terms and concepts get lost in translation. Here we break down jargon and loaded concepts into a glossary of education funding terms.

Aid ratio

A measure of a school district's wealth compared to a state average, and thus a measure of the district's ability to support a school system. The formula includes both the personal income and property value that a district has "behind" each student.

Philadelphia Futures celebrates 25 years of graduates

By Michaela Ward on Jun 8, 2015 03:12 PM

When asked why he wants to go to college, Anthony Williams has a simple answer. 

“My goal is to make something of myself," said Williams, a soon-to-be graduate of Bodine High School and the Philadelphia Futures Sponsor-A-Scholar program.

Non-native speakers feel lucky to graduate before Keystone test requirement

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Jun 8, 2015 09:39 AM

Furness High School senior Xiuying Zhang has an artistic gift. The vibrant colors and nuanced shadows of her paintings and illustrations make her classical Asian motifs sing.

In the fall, she'll attend the University of the Arts, where she'll take the next step toward her dream of becoming a professional illustrator.

If this were 2017, though, it's highly likely she would not be graduating high school.

Students tell their stories: I tried cyber school ... I was going to give up school.

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 5, 2015 03:36 PM

In researching our edition on "boosting graduation rates for all," the Notebook interviewed young people who had dropped out and were now reengaging in school. We asked why they left, why they returned, and what obstacles they face. Some described heartbreaking personal situations and herculean struggles. But all displayed hope and optimism about their futures. They were all eager to tell their stories.

Simone Gause, 19, from Frankford, did well at First Philadelphia Charter School for Literacy through 8th grade. But due to health issues, her mother decided she should try cyber education for the first two years of high school.

Harvey Finkle: Photographer captures movement for educational equity

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 5, 2015 01:37 PM

At the June 9 Turning the Page for Change event, the Notebook will honor Harvey Finkle for his nearly half-century of work documenting social movements in Philadelphia, including the long and continuing struggle for equitable and excellent public education.

The Notebook was founded in 1994 as a volunteer operation. Even after it was staffed, photographs were “catch as catch can,” said editor and publisher Paul Socolar. “In 2000, when Harvey connected with me and offered to help, he worked with a tiny budget to start giving us quality photographs.”

Hundreds of Philly students opted out of standardized tests this year

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on Jun 5, 2015 10:20 AM

This spring, Tonya Bah sent a letter to parents with children at Wagner Middle School in West Oak Lane, where her daughter Fulani is in the 8th grade.

In the letter, she shared why she didn't think standardized tests helped students at Wagner and explained how parents could opt their children out of taking the tests, using the School District of Philadelphia's protocol.

Council introduces framework of school funding strategy

By Tom MacDonald for NewsWorks on Jun 4, 2015 03:33 PM

Mayor Nutter's plan to raise $105 million in recurring revenue for Philadelphia schools by hiking property taxes nearly 10 percent has hit a brick wall in City Council.

Council members have spent much of the spring looking for an alternative to fill the School District's budget hole. 

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