The School Reform Commission voted Thursday to grant a five-year renewal to New Foundations Charter School, but postponed a decision on two others.
It also gave a $93 million, three-year contract to Maramont Corp. for school lunch services, but only after extensive questioning of company representatives and the District's food service staff.
The School Reform Commission will hold its next Strategy, Policy, and Priorities meeting on Monday, Dec. 16. Leading the discussion on the topic of student engagement will be students themselves.
To accommodate students, the meeting will start at 4:30 p.m. instead of the usual 6 p.m. start time.
by Naveed Ahsan
Teachers, parents, students, and education activists will gather at 4:30 p.m. today outside Gov. Corbett’s Philadelphia office, 200 S. Broad St., as part of the National Day of Action to Reclaim the Promise of Public Education.
Education advocates will stage actions in more than 60 cities across the country, demanding better schools for America’s children. The day of action was planned by an alliance of teachers' unions and community groups to fight back against what they see as an unprecedented attack on the public school system.
Hundreds are expected to convene outside Corbett’s office, including members of the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools (PCAPS), the Rev. Kevin Johnson of Bright Hope Baptist Church, and Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan.
Students from Youth United for Change continue their efforts to improve the quality of food served in school.
They took their case to the School Reform Commission meeting on Thursday night to publicly ask that students have a role in choosing a new provider for food that is prepared elsewhere and that the District set standards to require that at least 75 percent is fresh rather than frozen. YUC also wants rules for the request-for-proposal that will allow more companies to apply.
by Isaac Riddle
About 50 parents, teachers, students, and community members joined Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan in a protest about budget cuts outside of Vare-Washington Elementary School on Wednesday afternoon.
The group gathered to voice concerns over the latest loss of programs and services at the South Philadelphia school and to talk about the impact the District’s leveling efforts will have on a school already hurting from staffing shortages brought on by districtwide budget cuts.
by Isaac Riddle
“If you can’t get your voice heard, then you need to find the mechanism to be heard,” said Eileen Duffey, an 18-year veteran of the School District of Philadelphia.
Duffey, a school nurse at the Academy at Palumbo, found that mechanism through Our Schools Are Not for Sale, a short documentary video that examines the current education funding crisis and the closing of 24 neighborhood schools by the School Reform Commission earlier this year.
by Isaac Riddle
Protesting further losses in staff and resources to their school, around 200 students from Constitution High School staged a “sit-in” in front of their school’s entrance early Wednesday morning.
The school's staff was informed Monday during an emergency meeting that $90,000 would be trimmed from the school’s budget, according to Kathleen Melville, an English and Spanish teacher at Constitution, a citywide admission school in Center City. The reduction is a result of leveling, the District's process of reassigning teachers about six weeks into the school year, based on actual enrollments at that time.
Students at Constitution, however, feel their school already lacks an adequate number of teachers and staff.
The Philanthropy Roundtable, with the help of the Delaware Valley Grantmakers, sponsored a meeting of big donors in Philadelphia on Monday and Tuesday. The philanthropic association offered advice, field trips, and workshops on how donors' money "can increase a city's total number of high-quality K-12 seats, regardless of the school sector(s)," public, charter, or parochial.
That the meeting came in the middle of an unprecedented budget crisis that has stripped city schools of essential services was an insult to several dozen protesters, who said that they felt the donors' presence was part of a privatization agenda.
"The message of the young people is that they were upset that these groups had the audacity to come to Philadelphia in the middle of the worst financial crisis the School District has faced," said Hiram Rivera, executive director of the Philadelphia Student Union. "These are wealthy people talking on how they can capitalize on this crisis while students are going to schools with no counselors, no nurses, no programs."
by Isaac Riddle
The Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools organized a press conference Thursday at City Hall to announce a new campaign that would call on City Council and other elected officials to fully fund District schools.
by Mark McHugh
Youth United for Change members have been working hard this summer organizing community members in the fight for public education. But last weekend they took a stand alongside members of the Florida activist group Dream Defenders to protest the controversial verdict in the George Zimmerman trial and fight for passage of the Trayvon Martin Act, also known as “Trayvon’s Law.”