A coalition comprised of an array of political, religious and civic leaders on Monday reiterated its call that the School District to impose a one-year moratorium on closing schools, presenting an analysis showing that the proposal to shutter 37 buildings disproportionately affects Black and Latino students and those with disabilities.
At the same time, they announced that the Office of Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education will investigate its complaint that last year's closings of eight schools schools was similarly discriminatory.
“Reforming our schools to deliver a world-class education is a shared responsibility – the task cannot be shouldered by our nation's teachers and principals alone…” (U.S. Department of Education, ESA Blueprint for Reform 2010)
Christopher Paslay brings his expertise as a high school English teacher, contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer and Chalk and Talk blogger to make The Village Proposal a timely and compelling read. The book examines the problems in education by juxtaposing Paslay's personal memoir with solid documented research.
You may not agree with some or all of the arguments, but that is exactly what makes Village Proposal a good read. Paslay argues using a narrative structure not found in many books about education reform. He doesn’t bore the reader with an overly complex or over-simplified problem-and-solution approach to education. He presents a nuanced view of shared responsibility.
Graduation rates among Black and Latino males are only 53 and 43 percent respectively, not much improved from when the District's African American and Latino Male Dropout Taskforce looked at the problem two years ago.
Bill McKinney, former chair of the taskforce and board chair of Men in Motion in the Community (MIMIC), an organization that mentors Black and Latino boys, says dealing with this crisis means having to acknowledge the challenges of their environment, personal struggles, and school-based problems.
In 2010, the District's African American and Latino Male Dropout Taskforce released a report with recommendations on how to address the dropout crisis among Black and Latino males. Some of the suggestions were duplicative of objectives in Imagine 2014, but there were others not in the District's strategic plan. Here are a few points taskforce members thought should also be considered:
Opponents of the District's "zero tolerance" policy scored a victory in September when the District eliminated the phrase from its student code of conduct.
Just how big a victory remains unclear.
The policy, enacted in October 2008 under former Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, spurred an increase in student expulsions, igniting opposition from activists who want to see alternatives to punitive disciplinary policies.
After a summer filled with rumor and speculation, the District announced on August 22 that Arlene Ackerman was stepping down as superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia. Leroy Nunery was immediately named acting superintendent.
Under the separation agreement, Ackerman received a controversial $905,000 payout. Her contract had just been extended months earlier by the School Reform Commission, and so she may have been owed as much as $1.5 million under those terms.
Summer 2008 Arlene Ackerman joins the Philadelphia School District as CEO. She brings with her leadership experience in D.C., San Francisco, and Seattle. Ackerman was selected from among three finalists for the position.
Spring 2009 Ackerman unveils her five-year strategic plan, Imagine 2014. The School Reform Commission approves the plan with an estimated first-year budget of $126 million.
School turnaround is about the need to make drastic changes and achieve dramatic improvements in chronically low-performing schools. The approach has been championed by the Obama administration, which over the past three years has awarded $3.5 billion in grants to schools willing to adopt one of four models:
It was all pomp and circumstance at the Grand Ballroom of the Pennsylvania Convention Center today, as 600 young men and women received their high school diplomas through the District’s Summer Learning and More (SLAM) program.