Since coming to Philadelphia, Superintendent William Hite has emphasized the importance of community input and involving students in decision-making. This fall, Hite created the Office of Student Services to tackle student issues and ensure that their voices continue to be heard, and he brought in a former colleague to lead it.
“If you really want to focus on curriculum, instruction, and what’s happening in the classroom, it is critical to pull out the student services,” said new Chief of Student Services Karyn Lynch.
Last fall, the District was weighing a consultant report that recommended closing 26 schools.
Now, the SRC is weighing another report that recommends closing about twice that many schools by the next school year.
Last spring, after a months-long process, the School Reform Commission voted to close just eight. Now, facing huge funding shortfalls and committed to continued charter growth, the District says it must be more aggressive this time and close 29 to 57 schools – possibly as many as 50 of them this year.
This guest blog comes from Steve Seplow, a freelance writer and former Inquirer editor, via the Committee of Seventy. The Notebook invites guest blog posts on current topics in Philadelphia education from its readers. Contact us at email@example.com to make a submission.
By Steve Seplow
With all the talk of needing a state-sanctioned photo ID to vote, teachers, administrators and other School District employees should be aware of one complicating fact about the law: Although photo IDs issued by every level of government from municipal to federal will get you into the voting booth, School District photo IDs do not count.
It is still possible that the law requiring ID will be voided by the courts. In the meantime, in case it is not voided, it is important to make sure that 18-year-olds voting for the first time or any other eligible voters both register and have the necessary ID documents.
This guest blog post comes from Harold Jordan, Notebook board chair and staff member at ACLU of Pennsylvania.
The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) recently released comprehensive data about the educational opportunity offered to the nation’s public school students. Known as the Civil Rights Data Collection, this dataset draws from a national survey of 72,000 schools serving 85 percent of the nation’s public school students during the 2009-2010 school year. The data include a profile of the School District of Philadelphia, which paints a disturbing picture, especially in the areas of discipline and the equitable assignment of experienced teachers.
Rhonda Brownstein, a Philadelphia native and graduate of Northeast High, Penn State, and Temple Law School, has been appointed the new executive director of the Education Law Center. She succeeds Len Rieser, a Notebook board member.
The Inquirer’s investigative series “Assault on Learning” has painted a chilling portrait of Philadelphia’s youth. They have been cast as unstable, uncontrollable, animalistic, and menacing.
The youth portrayed in the series are not, however, the Philadelphia youth we know. Over the past two years as part of two separate research projects, we have spent countless hours interviewing, interacting with, and watching in action scores of Philadelphia students who have become members of the Philadelphia Student Union (PSU).
At 8:00 a.m., on Monday, July 19, three buses carrying 150 students, parents, and community members will set out from Philadelphia to Washington D.C.
We won’t be alone.
Community members and organizers from across the country will converge in D.C. as part of the Alliance for Educational Justice’s national day of action.
Como muchos estudiantes de 9no grado, Tiffany Burgos estaba entusiasmada al entrar a la Escuela Superior Kensington de Comercio, Finanzas y Empresarial. Esperaba con gusto sus clases, apreciaba la oportunidad de estudiar materias nuevas, y quería comenzar el proceso de preparación para la universidad.
Like many 9th graders, Tiffany Burgos was excited when she entered Kensington High School for Business, Finance, and Entrepreneurship. She looked forward to her classes, relished the opportunity to study new subjects, and wanted to start the process of preparing for college.
Where do big lawsuits come from?
This is the Darwinian question that occurred to me last week when I learned about “webcamgate” (as some Lower Merion students have called it). That’s the situation that has led to a class action complaint in which a student accuses the district of spying on him and others in their homes, through cameras installed in laptops.