One of Pennsylvania's most powerful state lawmakers says the actions of Philadelphia's City Council may put additional funding in jeopardy for the cash-strapped city School District.
Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) criticized City Council's decision not to hold a hearing on Mayor Nutter's plan to sell the city-owned Philadelphia Gas Works.
Nutter's proposed deal with UIL Holdings Corp. of Connecticut would have privatized the utility for $1.86 billion. A portion of those proceeds would have been used to reduce the city's unfunded pension liability.
"Grit" has in recent years captivated the imagination of educators and policymakers, leading many to embrace the idea that schools should seek to cultivate in their students a set of personality traits demonstrated by researchers to be closely tied to academic and personal success.
Increasingly, though, critics are offering a different take, arguing that grit is a racist construct and has harmed low-income students by crowding out a focus on providing children with the supports they deserve and the more-flexible educational approach enjoyed by many of their more affluent counterparts.
That view was on full display Saturday at EduCon 2.7, a progressive education-technology conference being held in Philadelphia.
Is 'Grit' Racist? EdWeek
Pa. tax shift plans inspire early opposition. NewsWorks
Note: Joseph Dworetzky served as a School Reform Commission member from 2010 to 2014. The opinions expressed here are his own and are not to be read as the views of Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller, the law firm where he is a shareholder, or of the SRC or the School District of Philadelphia.
Last week, I received an email from the Philadelphia School Partnership expressing outrage over a recent report by Public Citizens for Children and Youth that recommended the School Reform Commission should not approve any of the 40 pending charter school applications. The group said PCCY’s recommendation was deeply flawed.
Thirteen of the 40 applicants – representing 13,000 new charter seats -- deserve approval, PSP said. The reason? These 13 schools are being proposed by high-quality charter school operators, with many of their existing schools serving a similar cohort of low-income students as District-run schools but receiving better school ratings. According to PSP, to reject these applications wouldn’t just be mistaken, it would be "outrageous."
Friday marks the opening of EduCon 2.7, an unorthodox ed-tech conference that stands apart from other such gatherings because of its approach (a strident commitment to progressive, inquiry-driven teaching), its location (a high school, Philadelphia's Science Leadership Academy), and especially for the way it is funded (no vendor sponsorships, product exhibition spaces, or sales pitches allowed, in stark contrast to other large events in the sector).
Court: SRC cannot impose terms on teachers. Daily News
Parents Call For SRC To Approve More Charters. CBS Philly
The Publics and the Catholics. Citizen
Everybody hates Pearson. Fortune
The Education of Jeb Bush. NY Times
Last week, Philadelphia providers of afterschool programs such as tutoring and college prep were shaken up when their budgets were cut without warning.
Logging onto internal invoicing and attendance software, providers saw that their "slot levels," or the number of students they serve through Philadelphia's Department of Human Services funding, had dropped.
Updated | 6:30 p.m.
In a decision Thursday morning, Commonwealth Court has ruled that the School District of Philadelphia lacked the authority to cancel the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers' contract when the School Reform Commission voted last fall to do so and to impose new health care terms on the union.
The ruling, a victory for the PFT, bars the District from restructuring the collective bargaining agreement between the teachers' union and the School District and sends the issues back to the negotiating table.
A promise yet to be delivered in West Philadelphia. Al Jazeera America
Doug Oliver wants Philadelphians to face harsh facts and make tough choices when it comes to education spending.
Having just stepped down from his post as senior vice president of marketing and corporate communication for Philadelphia Gas Works to run for mayor, Oliver speaks like a man with nothing to lose.
To figure out why some of his elementary school students struggle with reading, Daun Kauffman sometimes has learned as much in home visits as in his classroom.
Kauffman now teaches 2nd grade at Juniata Park Academy, but for more than a decade he taught in his own neighborhood in Hunting Park, where families struggle to balance so many life issues.
“Students’ challenges in Hunting Park quickly become more clear in person,” he says.
President Obama used his penultimate State of the Union address to call for a dramatic expansion in college access and increased investments in early childhood, including help for parents in covering child-care costs. But both proposals are part of a broad overhaul of the tax system that is already getting the thumbs-down from a Republican-controlled Congress.
Meanwhile, K-12 policy largely took a back seat, despite an escalating debate in Congress over federally mandated student testing.
DN Editorial: Formula follows function. Daily News