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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

Three Renaissance charter renewals in question

By Dale Mezzacappa on May 5, 2015 04:57 PM

The School Reform Commission will consider more than a dozen charter renewals on Monday and is expected to hear at least two recommendations for nonrenewal -- including one at a District school that was turned over to a private operator for turnaround.

The District's Charter Schools Office is opposing renewal for Bluford Elementary, which is a Renaissance turnaround charter operated by Universal Companies. It is also recommending non-renewal for Delaware Valley Charter High School, citing academic inconsistencies and fiscal issues.

What does a state education formula do?

By Dale Mezzacappa on May 1, 2015 10:00 AM

Nationally, most education funding comes from local sources, but all state governments contribute to school costs in some way. Most of the time, the state programs compensate in some way for differences in property wealth, income levels, and taxing capacity among school districts.

Most states also have a formula that guides how the aid is distributed among districts in a consistent way from year to year, based on factors such as enrollment, local wealth, and student characteristics.

School Progress Reports released for Philly District

By Dale Mezzacappa on Apr 30, 2015 02:33 PM

The School District has released its School Progress Reports for 2013-14, which quantify a number of indicators to evaluate achievement, climate, and equity. The reports, which replaced the troubled School Performance Index, are in their second year.

Community Academy charter wins appeal to stay open

By Dale Mezzacappa on Apr 28, 2015 06:16 PM

Updated | Wednesday, 7 p.m.

The state Charter Appeal Board, in a 4-3 vote, has ordered the School Reform Commission to renew the charter of Community Academy of Philadelphia (CAP).

Community Academy, launched in the 1980s as an alternative for students having difficulty in the traditional system, became a charter school in 1997. It is the city's oldest charter.

SRC to hold hearing on proposed closure of Kensington Urban

By Dale Mezzacappa on Apr 28, 2015 04:31 PM

The School Reform Commission is holding a hearing Tuesday evening on the proposal to close Kensington Urban Academy and merge it with Kensington International Business High School. The two schools now share a building.

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