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.
Bullying in Philadelphia schools. Philadelphia Student Union
Pre-K, the great debate. NY Times
by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks
Before being nominated by Gov. Corbett to chair the Philadelphia School Reform Commission, City Councilman Bill Green released two policy papers outlining his views for how to "repair public education."
In them, he envisioned a "recovery school district" model (similar to what's now in place in Louisiana) that, in effect, would create two distinct landscapes of public education in Philadelphia.
One landscape would include the District's well-performing schools, and the other would comprise the district's "failing" schools.
It came in like a wrecking ball ...
I’ve been subjected to hearing my 10-year-old daughter play Miley Cyrus’ song "Wrecking Ball" many times. Some parents hear this song and envision the provocative music video. I’ve come to relate it to the universal enrollment plan being proposed for Philadelphia's schools. It seemed to come out of nowhere, and I was blindsided.
I consider myself a fairly informed public school parent. I attend School Reform Commission meetings, participate in various workgroups, and faithfully read this publication's morning news roundup. So when the Great Schools Compact, an education-reform initiative that seeks to replace poor-performing seats with high-quality alternatives, released its agreement at the end of 2011, I didn’t recall any red flags about universal enrollment as a plan to privatize the School District’s placement office and assign students to one school.
by Alyson Klein for Education Week
President Obama placed education at the center of a broad strategy to bolster economic mobility and combat poverty—calling on Congress in his State of the Union speech to approve previously unveiled initiatives to expand preschool to more 4-year-olds, beef up job-training programs, and make post-secondary education more effective and accessible.
"Last year, I asked this Congress to help states make high-quality pre-K available to every 4-year-old," said Obama, whose education agenda in his second term has shifted away from K-12 toward prekindergarten and college affordability. "As a parent as well as a president, I repeat that request tonight. But in the meantime, 30 states have raised pre-K funding on their own. They know we can't wait."
A Charter/Public School Truce. AxisPhilly
Faith Formation ‘Number One Priority,’ Says Philadelphia Catholic Schools Leader. Catholic Education Daily
Non-profit gives low income families access to higher education. Daily Pennsylvanian
by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks
There will be no new cyber-charter schools opening this year in Pennsylvania.
The state Department of Education rejected proposals from each of the six operators that applied in November.
The state's 14 existing cyber-charter schools – which educate students via computers in students' homes – have thus far produced dismal academic results for their 35,000 students statewide.
What does the District's 64 percent on-time graduation rate look like, school by school?
It ranges widely, from a 99 percent graduation rate at Masterman to a half-dozen neighborhood high schools with graduation rates in the low 40s. Not surprisingly, special admission high schools with strict entrance requirements are clustered near the top, while neighborhood schools nearly all fall below the District's average rate.
Bill to Offer an Option to Give Vouchers. NY Times