Two parents and two employees of the School District have begun a hunger strike in response to the recent layoffs of 1,202 noontime aides, MSNBC reports.
The strike, called “Fast for Safe Schools,” began Monday morning on the steps of the governor’s Philadelphia office. The activists plan to drink only water until the state and city have the funds to rehire aides.
by Tom MacDonald for NewsWorks
With Philadelphia's public schools bracing for a bare-bones budget in the fall, a City Council hearing looked at other countries as places to emulate.
Republican Councilman-at-large David Oh called for the hearing, saying that fixing Philadelphia schools will take more than restoring budget cuts.
"Just throwing money at a problem isn't helpful, and I think it's irresponsible not to try to fix the problem. While there are some good schools and students that benefit from those schools, overall our students are not doing well and do not have the type of educational experiences or resources that they should have."
The Notebook announced the winners of the ninth annual Philadelphia Student Journalism Awards for high school journalists at its “Turning the Page for Change” event last week. The Notebook recognizes and honors the best work of Philadelphia's high school newspaper writers and editors during a special awards ceremony at the annual event. This year, illustrations and photography were also included in the honors.
Twelve high schools submitted entries from print and online publications. Notebook staff and volunteers evaluated the submissions and selected a winner in each of four categories. The winners received prizes, including a cash award, and honorable mentions received citations during the Notebook’s event, which was held last Tuesday at University of the Arts, Hamilton Hall.
Here are this year's winners and honorable mention recipients.
Deathly ill public ed needs state meds. Daily News
Schools' friend in Harrisburg. Inquirer
Karen Heller: An academic turnaround Inquirer
View of an education apocalypse. Inquirer
Can school reform hurt communities? NY Times
by Mark McHugh
Members of the Philadelphia Student Union and the faith-based organizing group POWER conducted a boisterous rally in front of Gov. Corbett’s Philadelphia headquarters on Friday afternoon.
Several hundred protesters were there to object to the “doomsday” budget that the School Reform Commission recently enacted due to insufficient revenue. They marched from LOVE Park, past City Hall, to Corbett's office at 200 S. Broad St.
by Sonia Giebel and Mark McHugh
KIPP wants to move into the soon-to-be closed Wilson Elementary School in Southwest Philadelphia, starting with a 100-student kindergarten next year and gradually expanding to a K-4 school.
Marc Mannella, CEO of KIPP Philadelphia, presented the proposal to a community meeting Thursday night called by City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, who is among those fighting to keep Wilson open in some form.
by Elizabeth Fiedler for NewsWorks
Philadelphia is trying to find new life for vacant school buildings or those that soon will be empty.
With 24 schools slated to close, a study by the University of Pennsylvania's School of Design looked at ways to reuse the structures.
Harris Steinberg said the worry is that the neighborhoods losing the schools will get more blight once the buildings are empty. Steinberg is the executive director of Penn Praxis, the clinical consulting arm of the School of Design at Penn.
The Notebook, in collaboration with two other education news publications, has introduced a new job board for education jobs in Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. The job board covers a range of opportunities, from teaching positions to counseling and administrative roles to ESL coordinating. A variety of jobs are located in Philadelphia, and other positions can be found in New York, New Jersey, and Colorado.
See also: Philly City Council approves a cigarette tax hike. NBC10
See also: School headquarters protesters were acquitted. Inquirer
by Connie Langland
With their schools' mandates to operate running out in just a matter of days, leaders of 10 charters are deep into negotiations with District officials who are determined, at least for now, to defer plans by the schools to expand.
Citing the budget crisis, Superintendent William Hite last month announced he would not recommend any charter expansions in the coming year -- a setback to the publicized ambitions of 21 charter schools to add more than 15,000 students over the next five years. Such expansion would cost the District $500 million.
This is a reprint of an article that originally appeared at Education Week.
by Sean Cavanaugh
The Philadelphia school system will open a new, full-time online school this coming fall, a program that the district promises will offer the academic flexibility and customized learning that many students and families demand.
But district officials also see the virtual program as bringing at least one clear benefit to the city school system itself: the ability to compete.
Leaders of the financially troubled district see the online program as a tool to stave off families' temptation to choose "cyber charters" and other options outside the district.
In creating its online program, Philadelphia joins a number of other big-city school districts that have founded virtual schools as a way to either add to the list of school choices available to parents or persuade families that have already chosen alternative online programs outside their systems to come back.
This article originally appeared at The Legal Intelligencer on June 10 and is reprinted with permission. Copyright 2013 ALM Media Properties, LLC
by Vernon Francis
Philadelphia's public education system is in serious financial trouble. Again. With a $304 million deficit, the school system faces its worst budgetary crisis since 1991 and, as usual, it's not clear when a workable solution will be proposed, much less implemented. The city's schools and the children they are supposed to educate are just too important to be left dangling in the wind while our leaders decide who pays. It is time to solve this problem now, and the organized bar needs to lend its voice and our profession's expertise to the effort.
Are plans to raise money for Philadelphia’s struggling schools unraveling? Notebook/NewsWorks
See also: With the liquor-by-drink tax stalled, school funding remains unclear. Inquirer
Philly votes against PA House budget. Philadelphia Weekly
Will Wilson become a charter school? West Philly Local
Just a click to help build a fantastic school playground. West Philly Local
My generation of teachers is being destroyed due to seniority. Making the Grade
Penn Design envisions future for closing Philadelphia school buildings. Daily Pennsylvanian
Our most successful fundraiser ever. Notebook
by Holly Otterbein for NewsWorks
Philadelphia City Council declined to vote on a bill Wednesday that would generate $22 million for the School District by increasing the liquor-by-the-drink tax to 15 percent from 10 percent. For now, it seems that there is not enough support for it to pass.
But Council President Darrell Clarke said the proposal is not dead. It also would need state-enabling legislation to become a reality. If that comes through, he said, Council could theoretically reconsider it.
“If the vote happens in Harrisburg, we’ll be in a position to do some things,” Clarke said, “and put revenue on the table for the School District.”
by Holly Otterbein for NewsWorks
Philadelphia Mayor Nutter's plan to increase the drink tax is on life support.
City Council President Darrell Clarke said lawmakers would not vote on the proposal Wednesday, signaling that there is not enough support now for it to pass. The plan, which requires state-enabling legislation, would raise the liquor-by-the-drink tax to 15 percent from 10 percent. It would raise $22 million for the struggling School District.