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SRC schedules special meeting 'for general purposes' on Monday morning

By the Notebook on Oct 5, 2014 10:43 PM

A special School Reform Commission meeting will be held Monday morning at 9:30.

A small legal notice appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday edition, but the meeting was not otherwise announced. It is not on the District's website (which on Sunday night said that the next SRC meeting is Oct. 16). The newspaper ad said the meeting was for "general purposes."

Councilman proposes setting stage for local takeover of Philly schools

By Tom MacDonald for NewsWorks on Oct 3, 2014 03:59 PM

It may be a case of putting the cart before the horse, but a Philadelphia councilman is proposing requirements for a city school board.

The proposal is taking shape even though there's no sign that the state will return the Philadelphia School District to local control.

Visualizing a board made up mostly of education experts, Councilman David Oh said he would also like to include several members elected from the public as part of his charter change request.

A guide for student bike commuters

By Payne Schroeder on Oct 3, 2014 12:15 PM

In response to the District’s proposed budget cuts to subsidized public transportation, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia has created a guide for high school students who want to bike to school as an alternative.

Last school year, high school students who lived more than 1.5 miles from their schools were eligible to receive free SEPTA TransPasses. But in August the District made a proposal to increase the distance to two miles, making 7,500 high school students ineligible to receive the subsidy.

Hite said during the first School Reform Commission meeting of the new school year that the District is working with several partners to avoid the transportation cuts, but many students still need assistance.

From the archives: Budget crisis 'more stark than ever'

By the Notebook on Oct 3, 2014 10:59 AM


The Notebook was 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 this spring. 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 Spring 2001 print edition:

by Paul Socolar

Confronting a fiscal crisis of monster proportions, the School District enters the spring in search of some major new revenue from all levels of government and facing a growing likelihood of new budget cuts.

Two Philly charters owe their existence to appeals to state board

By Dale Mezzacappa on Oct 2, 2014 07:22 PM

The new cigarette tax bill that sends badly needed money to the School District comes with a controversial provision -- that the District start accepting applications for new charter schools.

To the consternation of the charter community, the School Reform Commission has not considered new charter applications since 2007, citing its precarious financial situation, although it has continued converting low-performing District schools to charters.

District and Penn team up to study school turnarounds

By David Limm on Oct 2, 2014 05:30 PM

Philadelphia, distinct among large urban districts for its long history of pursuing school turnarounds using outside management organizations, has been a real-world laboratory of reform experiments for more than a decade.

By studying the successes and failures of the District's recent efforts to turn around academically underachieving schools, a team of researchers wants to create a body of knowledge that all schools can use to improve.

Comparing Wolf and Corbett on 'Radio Times'

By the Notebook on Oct 2, 2014 10:30 AM

On WHYY's Radio Times this morning, Notebook editor Dale Mezzacappa talked about the differences in approach to education between gubernatorial candidates Tom Wolf and Tom Corbett. 

Groups charge $30 million in charter school fraud, call for tougher oversight

By Tom MacDonald for NewsWorks on Oct 1, 2014 04:13 PM

A new report is calling for holding charter schools in Pennsylvania more accountable.

Produced by the groups Center for Public Democracy, Integrity in Education, and Action United, the report says that the $30 million in charter school fraud already discovered in Pennsylvania could be the tip of the iceberg because there isn't enough oversight.

In Philadelphia debate, Corbett and Wolf spar again on education cuts

By Dale Mezzacappa on Oct 1, 2014 09:28 AM

The very first question to Gov. Tom Corbett in his debate with challenger Tom Wolf went straight to the point: Are schools better off in Pennsylvania since he took office?

The issue of education took up the first 17 minutes of the candidates' hour-long debate on Wednesday morning. Starting at 8 a.m. in the studios of KYW Radio, it was broadcast during morning drive time.

In a round of lightning-fast questioning marked by verbal zingers and frequent interruptions, the two men largely repeated their campaign positions on the issue, which, polls have shown, dominates voter concerns.

From armed robbery to criminology

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Sep 30, 2014 05:14 PM

When he was 35, Quaris Carter arrived in North Philadelphia as a stranger to the East Coast, carrying two garbage bags of clothes and barely a dime.

After more than three decades in Texas, he was just grateful for the chance to redefine his life.

"I actually sort of saw myself change," he said. "I started feeling free, like, I'm going somewhere new. It's a new start."

Hill-Freedman named a National Blue Ribbon School for second time

By Shannon Nolan on Sep 30, 2014 05:04 PM

The Hill-Freedman World Academy in Northwest Philadelphia was honored Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Education as a National Blue Ribbon School.

This is the second time the selective-admission school has been awarded a Blue Ribbon, with the first being in 2006. It is the only District school to receive the award this year.

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