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Half of Pa. public schools fail to meet state's expectations, new study says

Submitted by thenotebook on Fri, 04/18/2014 - 09:26 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks

A new analysis from the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia finds that 49 percent of Pennsylvania public schools fail to meet the state's overall proficiency expectations.

PILCOP's report centers on 2012-13 state standardized test scores in reading and math – measuring student performance at all public schools, district, charter or otherwise.

Students learn about Ben Franklin and bookmaking

Submitted by thenotebook on Fri, 04/18/2014 - 12:41 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Dan Hampton

More than 100 students from Charter High School for Architecture + Design got a lesson in book creation last week when author and artist Tim E. Ogline visited the school to discuss his book Ben Franklin for Beginners

The book tells the story of Franklin using humorous cartoon drawings, as well as text, to explain important events in his life.

“I was looking forward to talking to kids -- as future professionals in this field -- [about] what to expect, and give them a glimpse of the process,” Ogline said. “This is a long road and there’s a lot of work and planning involved.”

Parents in North Philly hear pitches for and against charter conversion

Submitted by thenotebook on Wed, 04/16/2014 - 18:35 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks

The stump speeches have begun, and the opinions are divided.

Parents at two North Philly elementary schools are fast approaching a vote that could forever alter the academic trajectory of their children.

Here the distrinction is not Democratic or Republican, but "District-run" or "charter."

Bartram's troubles: Not about funds?

Submitted by thenotebook on Wed, 04/16/2014 - 17:36 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Bill Hangley Jr.

As news of violence and disarray at Bartram High School dominated Philadelphia headlines, national education researchers were downtown at the Convention Center, discussing the theory and practice of a “portfolio” school reform strategy that relies on management changes – converting low-performing schools to charters or closing them.

And although many have tied Bartram’s troubles to the budget cuts that sharply reduced staff levels at the school, Philadelphia School Partnership head Mark Gleason does not agree.

City and School District give library cards to nearly 100K students

Submitted by thenotebook on Tue, 04/15/2014 - 15:02 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks

In a year that's seen budget cuts all but eradicate librarians from the Philadelphia School District's buildings, the District is now leaning even more heavily on the Free Library of Philadelphia to help make up for that shortfall.

The schools and the library have merged their databases and determined that roughly 98,000 of the School District's 136,000 students do not yet have cards for the city's public libraries. Based on that data merge, the library and the District will now distribute personalized library cards to every student without one.

Revisiting Beeber: Crisis averted or simply postponed?

Submitted by thenotebook on Tue, 04/15/2014 - 14:03 Posted in Commentary | Permalink

by Samantha Osaki

April 16, 2013, seemed to be a day of unmitigated success for Dimner Beeber Middle School’s community. Initially slated to close as part of the Philadelphia School District’s downsizing process, Beeber was spared because, according to Supertintendent William Hite, an alternate proposal put forward during a community meeting to reshape the school had urged the School Reform Commission to rethink its decision.

Though two other factors (safety concerns surrounding the death of a high school student and the co-location of the Science Leadership Academy, a touted magnet school, in Beeber’s building) may have been enough to save the school regardless of the community’s efforts, parents were indispensable. According to Beeber teacher and education activist Sam Reed, parents were critical to "the preservation of the nature of the school [as] a place that’s by and for the people who live" in the Overbrook/Wynnefield area.

Opposition forming to Pa. plan for scrapping school property taxes

Submitted by thenotebook on Mon, 04/14/2014 - 12:34 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Mary Wilson for NewsWorks

Pennsylvania's Senate could vote this spring on a proposal to eliminate school property taxes.

The sponsor of a Senate plan to replace school property taxes with higher sales and personal income levies says it has bipartisan backing -- and enough co-sponsors to pass a vote.

But opponents of the measure are mobilizing.

Teachers create website to document District's budget crisis

Submitted by thenotebook on Mon, 04/14/2014 - 10:20 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks

Criticize your boss publicly ... and your job security may be at risk.

That's the mantra many Philadelphia School District teachers follow in keeping their criticisms of the current funding crisis confined to anonymous message boards.

But a new website designed by a recently formed faction of the teachers' union, the Caucus of Working Educators, is turning that philosophy on its head with "Philly Teachers Sound the Alarm."

Pa. to audit Philadelphia School District

Submitted by thenotebook on Thu, 04/10/2014 - 17:18 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale met with Philadelphia schools Superintendent William Hite at District headquarters Thursday to announce that his office had begun poring through the District's multi-billion-dollar budget.

The audit will include accounts of the District's academic performance, financial stability, school safety, and administrative governance, DePasquale said.

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