NBC News’ Education Nation couldn’t have picked a better – or worse – time to arrive in Philadelphia for a week of special events and coverage meant to draw attention to what is needed for improved academic achievement for all students.
UPDATE: SEPTA and the District released a joint statement that they have a "basic framework" to continue providing TransPasses for one year.
The District announced at an afternoon press briefing that full-day kindergarten has been restored.
A press release from the District details the announcement. According to the release, "Superintendent Dr. Arlene Ackerman contacted the Pennsylvania Department of Education today to request a waiver allowing the District to use Title I funds to augment this half-day offering to provide a full-day program."
Superintendent Ackerman said she personally lobbied in Harrisburg for flexibility to use funds for full-day kindergarten. She said that as a parent, she could not let other parents go into summer without knowing about kindergarten. The Title I funds will be used to finance full-day kindergarten moving forward, and cuts will have to be made in other areas to free up the funds.
Aunque muchos estudiantes en camino a la universidad hacen una larga lista de las universidades a las que les gustaría ir, Dominique "Peak" Johnson sólo tenía una.
"Mi enfoque principal era en Temple, aunque recuerdo a mi orientador de 9no grado diciéndome que no pusiera todos mis huevos en la misma canasta", dijo Johnson.
As I was slogging through the District’s 400-plus page budget book, I was struck by the significant increases and expansions within various central office administration budgets. (All references are to the District's FY2011-12 Consolidated Budget).
The School District has announced its first steps to "rightsize" the District's physical plant, setting in motion a new facilities master plan that is expected to close as many as 50 buildings.
No schools will be closed in the 2011-12 school year, but officials said they intend to cut 35,000 seats by 2014.
"This is not the right time to just launch into closing buildings … unless you have a good plan," said Deputy Superintendent Leroy Nunery in April.
According to Philadelphia Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Everett Gillison, "only as a last resort" should armed city police officers be stationed in schools.
"I do believe that schools are not supposed to be pathways to jail," he said, noting that city police can make arrests, unlike school police officers.
His comments came after an Inquirer report that Mayor Nutter and Police Chief Charles Ramsey were discussing such a move.
Martin Luther King, Jr. High School in East Germantown, slated to be converted to a charter, will instead become a District-run Promise Academy next year. The switch came after revelations about behind-the-scenes dealings by high-level officials, the withdrawal of two charter operators, and the launching of a city inquiry.
The King School Advisory Council (SAC) endorsed this solution in early May, following nearly two months of intrigue and controversy that further unsettled the already-beleaguered school.
While many college-bound students make a long list of universities they'd like to attend, Dominique "Peak" Johnson had only one school in mind.
"My main focus was Temple, even though I remember my 9th grade counselor telling me not to put all my eggs in one basket," Johnson said.
For Johnson, the university was close to home and his job. And for the aspiring writer who wants to pursue journalism, Temple – which has a strong communications program – just seemed like the right fit.
Philadelphia's school system is in a deep, deep budget hole, and there is no good way out. The cuts now planned in order to balance the budget will be devastating. And yet they may not be enough to close the School District's $629 million gap.