When the Philadelphia School Reform Commission voted to unilaterally cancel the District teachers' union contract last month, it did so in way designed to attract the least immediate pushback.
Education advocates believe the SRC's action violated the state's government transparency laws.
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 Q&A is from the Spring 2002 print edition:
The Notebook invited the five School Reform Commission members to speak with us individually about their perspectives on key issues facing the School District. Only Commissioner Sandra Dungee Glenn responded in time for this issue. She was interviewed on Feb. 26 by Notebook Editor Paul Socolar. Here are excerpts from that interview.
Notebook: What do you think most urgently needs change in the Philadelphia schools?
State releases school performance scores. Notebook
Burger Brawl organizers step up gift to schools. Philly.com
Q&A on Pennsylvania's school performance report card. Patriot-News
The Pennsylvania Department of Education released a trove of academic data Thursday -– more than a month later in the year than usual.
For the second year in a row, the state downplayed year-to-year trends in standardized test score results, instead trumpeting its School Performance Profile – an aggregate measure that takes into account holistic factors including graduation rates and student progress.
The number of schools meeting the state's standard stayed flat this year, Education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq announced Thursday. Nearly three-quarters of the state's 2,947 district and charter schools, she said, received scores of 70 or higher.
During the gubernatorial campaign, advocates emphasized that Pennsylvania is one of the few states that has no education funding formula. In other words, it has no rational, predictable, enrollment-based system for distributing state school aid.
The process now in place is based on an accumulation of old formulas and ad hoc decisions made over decades.
And a new analysis shows in dramatic fashion that this system, now under review by a special legislative commission, has a discriminatory impact based on race.
Wolf win seen as victory for Philly schools. Daily News
What Governor Tom Wolf Means for Philadelphia. Philly Mag
Prepping for a great year at Houston School. Chestnut Hill Local
Pa. school report cards coming out on Thursday. Patriot-News
Roxborough High Senior to receive Rising Star EDDY Award. Montgomery Media
Wolf wins — and now his real struggle begins. NewsWorks
Monday night’s School Reform Commission meeting on strategy, policy, and priorities brought together teachers, partner organizations, and District officials working on a new citywide campaign. They were all looking for answers to the same question: How do we get kids to read?
The common answer that night: Parents need to be involved, preferably from their children's early stages of development. Parents at the meeting, however, represented a small minority of attendees.
The campaign, called READ! by 4th, stands for Ready, Engaged, Able, and Determined, and aims for reading proficiency for all Philadelphia 4th graders by 2020. The program launched in August.
Free Library gets $500K federal grant to expand ‘Maker Jawn’ program. Technically Philly
Voters blame Corbett for school cuts. Daily Item
Education a key issue in Pennsylvania governor election. Daily Pennsylvanian
The $2-per-pack cigarette tax in Philadelphia has been in effect for more than a month, and some people are hitting the road to avoid paying the additional cost.
If you pull into the Wawa parking lot in Trevose on Route 1 just over the city line, it's hard to find a parking space because the store is selling cigarettes at the state minimum, without the $2 tax that must be collected just down the road.
Houston Elementary's volunteer-run library reopened last year after being non-operational for two years. Since then, it has grown by at least 500 books, says Elayne Blender, a community member who leads the library effort.
Now adult volunteers — who include grandparents, parents, neighbors and community members — are working with administration and the School District of Philadelphia to make sure that students have access to the library no matter the temperature outside.
The Roots set to assist Philly alma mater. Daily News
Notebook contributing editor Dale Mezzacappa will be on WHYY's NewsWorks Tonight, Friday at 6 p.m., discussing the Notebook/NewsWorks investigative report about the Pennsylvania Department of Education's delayed release of the 2014 PSSA results. (Listen to the show live at WHYY.org or by tuning into 90.9 FM. A recorded version will also be available at WHYY.org.)