by Aurora Jensen
Instead of building more charter schools, State Rep. Curtis Thomas and organizers of the William Penn Development Coalition say, the School District should refit and reopen closed neighborhood schools to address growing educational inequality in Philadelphia.
“It is time to declare a moratorium on charter schools,” Thomas said in an interview last week. He said charter schools had not lived up to his office’s expectations for district-wide improvement in education.
Dimner Beeber Middle School was headed for extinction.
Since it was barely a quarter full and posted poor academic indicators, the District planned to close it and send a few hundred Beeber 7th and 8th graders to nearby Overbrook High School.
But for Raynae Bosley, a rising 8th grader, Beeber was working.
In 7th grade, she said, “all of the teachers didn’t give up on me and they kept getting me up to the next level.”
“I really didn’t want the school to be closed at all.”
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.
by Aaron Moselle for NewsWorks
Vocational-training facility. Retirement community. Cultural center.
Those were just some of the new uses for Germantown High School's building that were discussed Friday during "What's Next? A Forum on the Future of Germantown High," a panel event co-sponsored by NewsWorks content partner NBC 10 and hosted by Solomon Jones.
The Philadelphia School District is vowing to take a hard line on two issues that have caused confusion when charter operators take over traditional public schools: special education and facilities costs.
Even as the District tries to convert three more of its schools into charters, officials and parents alike are wading through confusion over “exceptions” that past administrations granted to outside managers in previous years of the District’s Renaissance school turnaround initiative.
The community meeting to discuss the planned closure of Beeber Middle School will be held at 6 p.m. tomorrow, March 19, at the school. The meeting was postponed from March 6 due to a forecast of inclement weather.
The District's revised Feb. 18 closure plan announced the proposed closing of Beeber, a school serving grades 6-8. The plan says: "Students will be offered reassignment at Overbrook High School. Overbrook will expand its grade organization to become a 7-12 middle secondary school."
A day of impassioned protest came to a harrowing end for many who fought the District's closure plan when the School Reform Commission decided to close 23 schools, sparing four, last Thursday. With all the commotion that night, it might have been easy to miss a few things. Luckily, Benjamin Herold was keeping track.
10 things you might have missed on the day #phillyeducation closed 23 schools...
— Benjamin Herold (@BenjaminBHerold) March 9, 2013
After an excruciating day of protests and pleas for mercy, Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission voted Thursday night to close 23 city schools and merge or relocate five others. (See NewsWorks footage of reaction to one closing.)
by Bill Hangley Jr.
A day that began with big crowds, high spirits, and defiant speeches ended with disappointment for most opponents of Philadelphia’s school-closings plan.
“I’m totally numb,” said veteran activist “Mama” Gail Clouden as the crowd filed out of the auditorium at School District headquarters after a series of votes that closed 23 schools and spared just four. “This is unbelievable to me.”
“There’s a way to do this, and do it right, and they chose to do it wrong,” said the Rev. Dr. Alyn Waller of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church. “This was not just emotional talk. We’ve given them facts, we’ve given them other proposals, and it is clear – they just did not consider them.”
Thursday's School Reform Commission vote on the recommended closure of nearly 30 schools will undoubtedly have a major impact on the future of the city's public school system. In advance of the vote, the Notebook asked prominent Philadelphians to offer their thoughts, using new data and maps on school attendance patterns in the city as a starting point.
by Sandra Dungee Glenn
At the heart of school closings and school choice in Philadelphia is the question of equity -- or lack of it. For the last three decades, parents have been migrating to what they perceive as better options for their children, largely as a result of the neglect of schools in neighborhoods of color.