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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

Gov. Wolf names Marjorie Neff chair of SRC; Green says he'll fight move in court

By Dale Mezzacappa on Mar 1, 2015 08:23 PM

Gov. Wolf has asked Marjorie Neff to take over as the chair of the School Reform Commission, ousting Bill Green from that role. 

Green says he plans to fight the move in court, saying that while he respects Neff, "There is no legal basis for another Commissioner to be named Chair."

District appeals to state Supreme Court on teachers' contract decision

By Dale Mezzappa, audio by Laura Benshoff on Feb 23, 2015 02:31 PM

Updated | 4:30 p.m.

The School Reform Commission is asking the state Supreme Court to reverse a lower court decision that the SRC lacks the authority to cancel its contract with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and spend the savings on programs in the schools. 

The District and SRC waited until the last possible day to file the appeal of the Commonwealth Court's Jan. 22 decision.

Facing growing shortfall, officials ask public for ideas on new revenue, cuts

By Dale Mezzacappa on Feb 10, 2015 06:31 PM

At the School Reform Commission's latest strategy, planning and priorities meeting Monday night, District officials again laid out a bleak budget picture -- predicting a shortfall next fiscal year of $80 million. The projection assumes that no labor savings and no new revenues are forthcoming.

At the two-hour meeting, officials asked about 40 members of the public who attended how they would make decisions about raising new revenue and cutting spending -- or adding services, should more than enough money to balance the budget miraculously materialize.

New education secretary outlines priorities, obstacles

By Dale Mezzacappa on Feb 3, 2015 01:32 PM

After finding more funding to send to schools, Gov. Tom Wolf's top education priority is tackling the problems of distressed districts, including Philadelphia, according to acting Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera.

As Wolf prepares his first budget, Rivera said that in his first weeks heading the Pennsylvania Department of Education he has also been helping the Wolf adminstration in "creating and facilitating a plan to support some of the state's neediest schools."

Pedro Rivera named state education secretary

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jan 19, 2015 02:57 PM

Gov.-elect Tom Wolf named Lancaster superindentent and Philadelphia native Pedro Rivera to be the state secretary of education on Monday.

In a statement, Wolf said that Rivera had improved student achievement and graduation rates in Lancaster, as well as stabilizing the district's finances. He also cited Rivera's implementation of a "community schools" model, in which students and their families can get medical, dental, vision and other services on site.

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