Corbett to name Green SRC chair. Daily News
Notebook sources and other news reports indicate that Gov. Corbett intends to nominate Councilman Bill Green as chair of the School Reform Commission on Friday and appoint Farah Jimenez, executive director of the People's Emergency Center, to fill a second seat on the commission being vacated by Joseph Dworetzky.
Three charter schools whose status has been in limbo since 2012 won belated renewals from the School Reform Commission on Thursday evening.
But a fourth, Arise Academy Charter High School, is a step nearer to closure.
After more than two years of investigations by both the state and the School District, 138 Philadelphia educators have been implicated in test score cheating, according to information given to the School Reform Commission on Thursday.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education has filed or is pursuing actions against 69 current and former employees based on its investigation of 14 so-called Tier 1 schools -- 11 District schools and 3 charters -- District officials told the SRC. They provided no more details on that group.
The District found grounds for disciplinary action against an additional 69 educators in 19 so-called Tier 2 schools that it investigated with the help of the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. Officials gave more details on the results of its own investigation.
Commissioner Joseph Dworetzky has announced that his term on the School Reform Commission expires on Saturday and that Thursday is his last meeting. His departure leaves the SRC with just three members.
Dworetzky, who was appointed by former Gov. Ed Rendell, could have stayed until his replacement was seated, which could take months. Gov. Corbett has not made appointments to fill either his seat or that of Pedro Ramos, who resigned as chair in October for family reasons.
Commissioners must be approved by the state Senate, and for previous appointees, including Ramos, that process took months.
Corbett is due to visit Philadelphia on Friday morning to declare three high-performing District schools as Governor's Schools of Excellence -- Central, Masterman and Carver. A knowledgeable Harrisburg source said Thursday only that the SRC appointments will be made "soon."
The School Reform Commission meeting tonight begins at 5:30, and there's plenty to highlight on the agenda. Two staff presentations, one on testing integrity and the other on charter schools, are scheduled. During the voting portion of the meeting, the SRC members will decide whether to close one charter and renew three others. Three principals are also facing termination tonight for reasons related to the District's long-awaited probe into possible adult cheating on PSSA tests at 53 District schools.
Updated, 3:40 p.m.
The School Reform Commission is hearing a presentation on testing integrity at its meeting tonight -- likely the result of its long-awaited investigation into PSSA test cheating in dozens of city schools.
And in a personnel resolution coming to an SRC vote, three principals are up for termination, effective Friday: Michelle Burns, Deidre Bennett, and Marla Travis-Curtis. All three worked at schools under investigation for cheating on the PSSA exam.
Burns, now principal of Kensington Urban Education High School, was principal of Tilden Middle School when the alleged cheating took place. Bennett, principal of Cassidy, was on the staff at Huey Elementary. Travis-Curtis has been the principal of Lamberton Elementary School.
Central alumni write open letter to senior class in advance of Corbett's visit. Philadelphia Student Union
Youth United for Change fights for better school food. Cross City Campaign for School Reform
Camden schools' turnaround man. Inquirer
Undoing Bloomberg’s education overhaul. NY Times
The School Reform Commission will vote Thursday on a resolution to close Arise Academy Charter High School, which was set up to educate foster children but had been plagued by difficulties since its establishment almost five years ago.
It will also vote on resolutions to renew two charters founded by Dorothy June Brown, Laboratory and Planet Abacus, as well as the Philadelphia Electrical & Technology (PE&T) Charter High School.
by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks
Forging relationships. Building rapport. Being human enough to show you care.
Whatever you call it, it's the educational philosophy that Philadelphia School District teacher Sydney Coffin has lived by as he's traversed some of the toughest high schools in the city.
by Harold Jordan
Last week, in a major announcement, the federal government issued new guidelines for all K-12 public schools with the goals of reducing discrimination in the administration of school discipline and improving school climate without overly relying on measures that remove students from school. I was at the event at which Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric Holder presented the federal discipline guidance, “Nondiscriminatory Administration of School Discipline,” and materials promoting best alternative school-disciplinary practices. Appropriately, it was held at Justice Thurgood Marshall’s alma mater, Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore.
by Jeseamy Muentes
Parents of elementary and middle school students should note that the deadline to apply to special admission, citywide, and out-of-catchment neighborhood schools is this Friday, Jan. 17. Applications will not be accepted after the deadline.
For the first time, the process was separated from the high school selection process, which is more robust -- 20 special admission schools compared to seven special admission middle schools. The application deadline for elementary and middle schools now falls a month later, in January, rather than in early December.
by Mary Wilson for NewsWorks
As Gov. Corbett prepares his state budget proposal, Pennsylvania House Democrats are calling on him to make education a higher priority.
The call for more attention to education has been a constant refrain since 2011, when Corbett's first budget made deep cuts to school funding.
Republicans argue that the reductions are the direct result of the disappearance of federal stimulus dollars that had been used to prop up education budgets under former Gov. Ed Rendell.
by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks
Put it directly to "John Q. Pennsylvania."
That's State Rep. Dwight Evans' idea for escaping the political loggerheads seen over state education funding.
Here's the question that Evans (D-Phila.) wants Pennsylvanians to consider in a non-binding statewide referendum:
In order to raise an additional $1 billion for public education annually, would voters approve of an increase to the state sales tax, personal income tax, business tax or a severance tax on revenue generated by Marcellus Shale drilling?