by Bill Hangley Jr.
[Updated 7:25 p.m.] District officials have confirmed that Dimner Beeber Middle School is no longer a candidate for closure, citing community concerns and the presence of a potentially viable alternative plan for expanding the school.
That leaves M.H. Stanton Elementary in North Philadelphia as the only remaining candidate for closure. Officials said that recommendation would move forward. The School Reform Commission plans to vote on Stanton’s fate on Thursday.
A District statement says that rather than close Beeber, the District will instead propose reconfiguring the school for 7th and 8th grades only (eliminating the current 6th grade) and will explore the possibility of “co-locating” other school programs in the Beeber building.
by Benjamin Herold for NewsWorks, a Notebook news partner
Saying that thousands of children are being denied quality educational opportunities, about 200 students, parents, and charter proponents rallied outside School District headquarters Monday demanding that the School Reform Commission grant the expansion requests of at least 20 charter schools.
"Our children are begging for opportunities. Let them get in!" said Naomi Booker, the CEO of Global Leadership Academy Charter in West Philadelphia and the president of Philadelphia Charters for Excellence.
But District officials said a vote on the charters’ requests, which had been tentatively scheduled for this Thursday, has been postponed indefinitely.
On the agenda for Thursday's School Reform Commission meeting is a resolution to approve $15 million to establish a District-run virtual school.
The District plans to release more details later this week, but Superintendent William Hite has spoken in the past of starting a cyber school in an effort to retain some of the nearly $50 million that the District now pays for more than 6,000 city students who have headed to cybers. Some of that growth has happened among students who struggled in traditional high schools.
Career and technical education is the topic of tonight's School Reform Commission meeting.
Earlier this year, the SRC approved the District's plan to revamp and scale up its vocational and technical programs. The plan calls for adding 30 new programs and doubling the current number of CTE students to 12,000 by 2017.
The meeting begins at 6 p.m.
A confidential memo suggests that high-profile education reformer Michelle Rhee knew of, and then ignored, evidence of widespread cheating as early as her first year as chancellor of Washington, D.C., schools.
The secret memo, written in January 2009 and obtained by PBS education reporter John Merrow, could refute Rhee's longstanding claims that she was unaware that rampant adult cheating on standardized tests was likely, despite mounting evidence to the contrary. That is, if she in fact saw the memo.
Two earlier probes into a possible cheating scandal, prompted by investigations by USA Today, found no evidence of wrongdoing, though those investigations were limited in scope.
Philadelphia lags behind other Pennsylvania cities in getting early intervention services to eligible infants, toddlers, and preschoolers who fail to meet certain developmental milestones, according to a recent report.
Public Citizens for Children and Youth found that thousands of children with developmental delays who could be getting services are not -- which potentially costs the city more later in special education and other expensive services.
by Julie Mazziotta
Last summer, Mayor Nutter worked with employers in Philadelphia to create almost 7,000 jobs for youth in the city. This time around, he’s aiming higher, asking businesses to find 10,000 jobs for high school students.
In January, the mayor announced the 10,000 Summer Jobs Challenge, part of an ongoing collaboration with WorkReady, a career program run by the Philadelphia Youth Network.
This is a reprint of an article that originally appeared at Education Week.
by Alyson Klein
President Obama's budget unveiled today proposes new money for a big expansion of prekindergarten programs, a new competitive-grant program for high school improvement, a new Race to the Top competition focused on higher education—and level funding for the two formula grants that school districts depend on most: Title I grants for disadvantaged students and special education.
Overall, the U.S. Department of Education would see a significant funding boost to $71.2 billion for fiscal year 2014 that starts on Oct. 1 in a $3.8 trillion overall federal budget. That's a 4.6 increase over fiscal year 2012, the most recent year before a series of automatic cuts—known as sequestration—took effect.
by Benjamin Herold for NewsWorks, a Notebook news partner
Forty-two Philadelphia District schools are under heightened security during the administration of this year's state standardized tests, including a dozen schools that are under "quarantine" conditions.
The intensive monitoring comes in the midst of ongoing investigations into the possibility of widespread adult cheating on the exams at 53 District schools in 2009, 2010, and 2011. After similar security measures were put in place during the administration of last year's exams, test scores plummeted at 160 schools across the District, in some cases by 30 percentage points or more.
A coalition of advocacy groups wants groundbreaking changes in the Philadelphia teachers' contract -- including the effective end of seniority privileges -- but is also urging the School Reform Commission to take off the table its plan for deep salary and benefit concessions.
Saying that such cuts would be demoralizing, the groups want the SRC to ask the city and the state to cough up even more than $180 million in additional funds.