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Dale Mezzacappa has reported on education since 1986, most of that time with The Philadelphia Inquirer. Prior to taking over the education beat, she was in the Trenton and Washington bureaus covering politics and government. Her work has won many local and national journalism awards, including for a series spanning 13 years that followed 112 inner city sixth graders promised a free college education by a wealthy philanthropist. She is currently contributing editor at The Philadelphia Public School Notebook, a quarterly independent and non-profit publication. A graduate of Vassar and a former Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, she teaches a journalism course at Swarthmore College and sits on the board of the Education Writers Association.
 

Recent Blog Entries

More by Dale Mezzacappa

Chester-Upland can't pay its teachers -- but they're working anyway

By Laura Benshoff for Newsworks on Aug 28, 2015 10:55 PM

Teachers union president Michele Paulick said she received some unwelcome news at the Chester Upland School District teacher convocation this week.

"Our superintendent, Gregory Shannon, read a letter from our receiver, Francis Barnes, that informed the teachers that there are no funds," said Paulick, who described feeling "shock, frustration and anger" at the news.

Commonwealth Court rules District can't force charters to cap enrollment

By Dale Mezzacappa on Aug 27, 2015 07:06 PM

Commonwealth Court ruled Thursday that the School Reform Commission lacks the power to impose enrollment caps on charter schools, a decision that hands a big victory to charters seeking to limit school districts' control of them.

The ruling throws another wrinkle into the School District of Philadelphia's ongoing effort to remain solvent. The District has maintained that unrestrained charter growth depletes its own limited funding and doesn't allow it to plan for its own schools..

District sued over translation services for families of students with disabilities

By Dale Mezzacappa on Aug 24, 2015 05:12 PM

The School District of Philadelphia is facing a lawsuit alleging that thousands of children are denied special education services due to a lack of translation and interpretation services for families that don’t speak English.

Wolf warns Chester Upland schools may not open without drastic interventions

By Kevin McCorry of NewsWorks and Dale Mezzacappa on Aug 18, 2015 08:10 PM

Without immediate action, Gov. Wolf said Tuesday, the Chester Upland School District will not be in a financial position to open its doors next month.

Wolf has a plan to rectify the situation, resting partly on the backs of area charter schools.

With school opening near, many city schools still have teacher vacancies

By Fabiola Cineas on Aug 13, 2015 08:03 PM

Under the pressure from administrative turnover and plunging PSSA results, school principals and high-level District officials have convened at Fels High School beginning last week to develop action steps for school improvement. And they brought their challenges with them.

Looming large is staffing uncertainty. Many of the District’s highest-needs schools are still scrambling to fill teacher vacancies. This comes on top of the continuing effects of counselor layoffs and other cutbacks.

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