Black people in Ferguson, Mo.—where a police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager Aug. 9 -- are more likely to be arrested by local police officers than their white peers. Those statistics have sparked a mistrust of the mostly white police force that added fuel to passionate protests that have followed the death of Michael Brown, 18.
Those racial disparities are also present in schools in Ferguson, where black students are more likely to face some forms of discipline than their white peers, federal statistics show.
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 piece is from the Spring 2000 print edition:
by Nancy J. McGinley
When I left my job as a middle school principal in the School District of Philadelphia to become principal of a suburban junior high school, the first major difference appeared in the form of a $20,000 increase in my annual salary.
Hite hopes to avoid transportation cuts. Notebook
Inside city schools, grim scenes. Inquirer
Taney's deep bench shows it takes a village. Daily News
Local public schools to open on time. South Philly Review
Weeks before Philadelphia schools open -- on time but with more budget cuts, a cigarette tax likely but still not enacted -- the School Reform Commission will convene its inaugural meeting of the new school year today at 5:30 p.m.
On the agenda for the meeting are two District presentations, one on curriculum and instruction and the other on "serving students in care." A host of resolutions will also be voted on, including the adoption of a new student code of conduct and policies relating to the use of cell phones and other electronic devices in school.
Notably, also among the proposed resolutions:
In a move that leaders hope will be temporary, the Philadelphia School District will not fill its staffing vacancies for school police officers, causing a few dozen additional schools to share an officer when classes begin Sept. 8.
This inaction amounts to a 10 percent cut in school police workforce — saving the district $2.4 million.
The 26 elementary and middle schools affected will only have an officer in the building for half of the week.
Although more people know what the Common Core State Standards are than last year, most of them oppose the standards, according to the 46th edition of the PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools.
Overall, the wide-ranging survey found, 81 percent of those polled said they had heard about the common standards, compared with 38 percent last year. However, 60 percent oppose the standards, generally because they believe the standards will limit the flexibility that teachers have to teach what they think is best. Last year's poll did not specifically ask respondents whether they supported the standards.
5 big issues this new school year. Daily News
A sorry tale of 2 school districts. Courier-Times
Apple to provide Pa. educational program. Inquirer
We Philadelphians have a special kind of love for this old city. It is a love rooted in family, food, neighborhoods, and, yes, our schools. As a “lifer” in the Philadelphia School District, from 1999 to 2012, I have a vested interest in its future.
Over the last two years, I’ve observed the District’s budget crisis from the comfort of my computer screen in my dorm room at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. But this past May I traveled 400 miles back home and took action alongside hundreds of other Philadelphians who refuse to accept the meager hand being dealt to Philly students.
Obstacle courses. Daily News
Philadelphia tax for schools is justified. Post-Gazette
Help coach good teachers. Inquirer
"Transportation is a privilege, not a right," says the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Last week, the Philadelphia School District announced that 7,500 fewer high school kids would be so honored.
The move came as the District announced that it would close its $81 million budget gap with a mishmash of cuts and hopes.
The end of summer approaches, with the first day of school inching closer. Parents and guardians should make sure students are registered at their assigned schools before the official start of the year on Sept. 8.
Now until Sept. 5, registration for students in the Philadelphia School District is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 2 p.m. Registration is closed on weekends and for Labor Day observance on Sept. 2.
Traditional public schools and charter schools don't have the same rules when it comes to teacher certifications, but one new proposal would bring the two types of schools a little closer together.
All professional staff at traditional public schools in Pennsylvania are required to be certified by the state. Contrast that with charter and cyber-charter schools, which are only required to have 75 percent of their teachers state-certified.
Forthcoming legislation from State Rep. Thomas Murt, R-Montgomery, would increase that requirement to 80 percent.