Portfolio management is a hot trend in school reform, and Philadelphia school leaders have embraced the concept. Nationally, Democrats, Republicans, and big foundations are on board. It’s a strategy for cities like Philadelphia that have many students in low-performing schools and want them in high-performing ones.
How is it supposed to work? For starters, shrink the size and role of the central office. Shift its focus to identifying and closing poor performing schools and finding managers who can operate better ones.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Twenty-five thousand Chicago teachers, members of the Chicago Teachers Union, are on strike.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel portrays the action as “a strike of choice” that victimizes parents and children. Union president Karen Lewis responds that they hoped to avoid a strike but the actions of Emanuel and the Board of Education left them little choice.
The Green Party of Philadelphia recognizes that Philadelphia’s public schools are facing a crisis. Philadelphia has the eighth-largest school district in the nation by enrollment, with 154,482 students in 257 schools. This number includes privately managed and alternative education schools. There are 40,483 students enrolled in 74 charter schools. Additionally, Philadelphia is the only county in Pennsylvania that does not have an elected school board.
A great challenge is now facing the people of Philadelphia: to educate ourselves to build a just, sustainable, humane, and democratic future, and to become responsible and effective citizens of the local and global communities we share. The Green Party believes every child deserves a public education that fosters critical and holistic thought, and provides the breadth and depth of learning necessary to become an active citizen and a constructive member of society.
Today Governor Corbett is scheduled to give a speech to the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, and several activist groups plan to protest the event. Corbett will be speaking at the Prince Music Theater, and the protest is planned for 4-6:45 p.m.
Please help us welcome our newest blogger, Nijmie Dzurinko, former executive director of Philadelphia Student Union.
In the blurry world of education reform, parents, students, educators, and communities need a guiding light to keep us on track. What could public education look like in our city and state if education was fundamentally a human right guaranteed in our society? How can we proceed in our efforts to improve public education using a human rights lens as a way of discerning the competing efforts, frames and messages that inundate us?
“This all sounds too broad. I’m concerned about my school, my family, my community, and I can’t get into the politics.”
If that was your internal voice just now, you may have lost sight of the fact that the most powerful architects of public school reform are taking it upon themselves to tackle big questions like the future of education in our society, how it will be delivered and to whom, who will benefit, and how the role of education will be understood by all of us.
“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.
It is a shame what politicians are doing to us and to our children. The really sad part is how unaware many people are of the decisions we are actually in control of.
These days, people have taken a back seat – giving politicians the right to the driver's seat as it relates to education. We as parents need to step up our game and take our place, which is on the driver's side.
Testifying before the City Council Education Committee on Tuesday, several charter school operators blasted the Philadelphia Great Schools Compact. The compact is an effort to help District and charter schools work together more productively and create more high-quality educational seats.
Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, called for an end to the Renaissance Schools initiative, a program that has converted low-performing District schools into charters.
The initiative, spearheaded by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, provides states with uniform school standards that align with modern college and career expectations. Already 46 states, including Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia have signed on, paving the way for full implementation in 2014.