Replacing Pedro Ramos. AxisPhilly
Saul cafeteria now serving up school harvest. NewsWorks
Looking into the fog of education funding. Daily News
Zogby: We never cut $1B from public education. Patriot-News
The sudden resignation of School Reform Commission Chairman Pedro Ramos has many asking who his replacement will be. For others, his departure raises the question of how the five-member panel should be selected, especially because the term of another commissioner is set to expire in about three months.
Joseph Dworetzky, who was named to the SRC by former Gov. Ed Rendell, will reach the end of his term in January 2014. Dworetzky has been an outspoken commissioner, unafraid to challenge his fellow SRC members and the District. Back in May, he voted against a stripped-down budget that eliminated nearly everything from schools except a principal and small number of classroom teachers. He also objected to a number of Superintendent William Hite’s proposals to close schools.
Dennis Creedon likes to say that arts education saved him. Dyslexic as a boy, he was able to realize his potential and focus his gifts through music.
Now one of the Philadelphia School District's assistant superintendents, who oversees a learning network, Creedon has also been in charge of arts programming. And with art and music teachers a dwindling breed in District schools, one of his major projects was the creation of a curriculum that helps teach literacy through the arts.
More than seven years in the making, with a grant from the William Penn Foundation, the curriculum was delivered to all 1st- through 8th-grade classrooms at the start of the school year.
Unfinished business. Inquirer
A welcome change of heart. Inquirer
Corbett: Keep focus on the kids. Philly.com
Are private schools worth it? Atlantic
Pedro Ramos, who has served for two years as School Reform Commission chair, has resigned from his post and the commission, citing family matters.
Ramos’ term on the SRC expires in 2014. His replacement on the commission has not yet been named. Commissioner Wendell Pritchett has previously filled in as acting chair in his absence.
Ramos was a gubernatorial appointee. The governor appoints three of the five commissioners, and the mayor appoints two.
Ramos, 48, a former Philadelphia school board president, city solicitor, and managing director, was appointed to the panel by Gov. Corbett in 2011. He joined the SRC at a time of unprecedented financial crisis in the District and worked with school, city, and state officials to bring the District's budget back into balance. Advocating a fiscally responsible stance, he presided over deep cuts in spending.
Fund for city schools exceeds goal. Inquirer
Two visions for American education. HuffPost
What's at stake for schools in property tax plan? Third and State
Why do teachers quit? Atlantic
by Naveed Ahsan
School nurses, parents, and education advocates concerned about budget cuts held a silent candlelight vigil outside of District headquarters before Thursday’s School Reform Commission meeting in memory of 12-year-old Laporshia Massey, who died from an asthma attack on Sept. 25.
Responding to calls for a formal inquiry into the Sept. 25 asthma-related death of Bryant Elementary student Laporshia Massey, who apparently became ill at school, the School District released the following brief statement on Friday, saying it is investigating -- and cooperating with other investigations:
The School District is concerned about the death of any student, no matter where and when that happens. Especially when a child is dismissed from school and dies several hours later, we take it very seriously out of concerns for the child and his or her family and for our students and staff. Because we want to ensure the safety of all children, it is paramount that we find out what happened to cause this tragic death. We are doing what is necessary to investigate what happened, and we are cooperating with all involved city and state agencies, as we always do, upon the death of one of our students. From our review to date, we are certain that our staff at Bryant are not the cause of the student’s death, and we will continue to address all concerns arising out of this tragedy.
Though Governor Corbett has announced that he will release the $45 million that the state had appropriated to the District but had been withholding until reforms were made, education advocates continue to debate the issue of fair funding for Philadelphia schools.
This morning on Radio Times, Donna Cooper, executive director of Public Citizens for Children and Youth, and Charles Zogby, secretary of the Budget for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, debated the issue of funding for public education in Pennsylvania.
by Sara Neufeld, The Hechinger Report
In the beginning, Pennsylvania was going to be like most other states, following a new set of national education standards and administering new national standardized tests.
But a lot has happened since 2010, when the state signed on to participate in what’s known as Common Core, an initiative designed to make the United States more globally competitive by ensuring students’ ability to meet basic benchmarks.
A Democratic administration turned Republican, and Gov. Tom Corbett took seriously conservatives concerned about the federal government infringing on states’ rights. In March 2012, Pennsylvania officials released their own document, known as the Pennsylvania Core Standards, which they call a hybrid between the national Common Core and the state’s own guidelines.
SRC rejects plan to sell off art Notebook
The good, the bad, and the Corbett Inquirer
Twists and turns over new Pa. standards and tests leave districts in limbo The Hechinger Report
New Study Reveals Growth of Inequality in Nation's Public Schools Our City Our Schools
What poor children need in school The Washington Post
In the suburbs, conflicting emotions over new school mandates The Hechinger Report
What science teachers need to know (that isn’t about science) The Washington Post
Hebrew-Language Charter School to Close at End of Month Jewish Exponent
Can they be this obsessed with data? The Washington Post
Parents United for Public Education and Philly School Counselors United filed a complaint with the Department of Education Thursday saying that Philadelphia chidlren are being denied an adequate education due to the counselor shortage in city schools.
"The lack of counselors impedes the ability of teachers to deliver as effectively instructional services," according to the complaint, filed with the help of the Public Interest Law Center of Pennsylvania (PILCOP).
The art will not be sold.
The School Reform Commission rejected a proposal Thursday to hire two companies, including Sotheby's, Inc., to market and sell about 60 pieces of artwork that were taken out of schools nearly a decade ago -- under what some people still consider questionable circumstances -- and put in storage.
The artwork, including paintings by prominent African American artists Henry Ossawa Tanner and Dox Thrash, was at first estimated to be far more valuable than experts now say it is. Commissioners nixed the idea of selling the pieces after hearing that appraisers have put their collective value at less than $1 million, and after being told that the intention was to put any proceeds in the general fund instead of dedicating it to arts-related programming in schools.
The School Reform Commission voted unanimously Thursday night not to renew the charters of Community Academy and Truebright Science Academy Charter School. Both remain open pending expected appeals to a state board.
All four commissioners present voted to terminate the charters. SRC Chair Pedro Ramos was not in attendance.
Both schools have been in bitter battles with the District.
by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks
The Philadelphia School District has at least 20,000 students designated as having special needs.
Each year, the District pays millions in legal fees and lawsuit settlements based on its failure, both proven and alleged, to meet their needs.
This year, due to budget cuts, the District shed close to 3,000 staff members.