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More by David Limm

A startling proposition: $25 million to add more charters

By David Limm on Feb 4, 2015 09:15 PM

The Philadelphia School Partnership has laid down a startling proposition before the financially starved School District. If the School Reform Commission approves up to 15,000 new charter school seats over the next three years, the influential school reform group will fund the expansion to the tune of $25 million -- and throw in $10 million for the District.

School District lacked authority to cancel teachers' contract, court rules

By David Limm and audio by Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on Jan 22, 2015 11:33 AM

Updated | 6:30 p.m.

In a decision Thursday morning, Commonwealth Court ruled that the School District of Philadelphia lacked the authority to cancel the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers' contract when the School Reform Commission voted last fall to do so and to impose new health care terms on the union.

The ruling, a victory for the PFT, bars the District from restructuring the collective bargaining agreement between the teachers' union and the School District and sends the issues back to the negotiating table.

Study looks at question of local governance for Philly schools

By David Limm on Jan 15, 2015 03:39 PM

Is it time to abolish the School Reform Commission?

Lately, the topic has made its way from the parlor chatter of policy wonks to the eyes and ears of an education-minded public.

And state and city officials, too, have taken recent actions toward stripping control from the appointed five-member board that has presided over the School District of Philadelphia since the state took over more than a decade ago.

Pa. releases some recent test results in an accessible format

By David Limm on Jan 9, 2015 12:05 PM

Say you're someone who's curious about taking a detailed look at how Pennsylvania's schools, districts, and students performed over the past few years. As a researcher, policymaker, journalist -- or anyone with an interest in exploring the data -- it would be reasonable to expect test-score results to be made available in a similar format each year, in a spreadsheet form that can be easily sorted and manipulated.

Until two years ago, anyone could download the same Excel spreadsheets containing data sets of PSSA scores from the Pennsylvania Department of Education's website -- all in the same, easy-to-mine, easy-to-compare format. Test results as far back as 1995 were all available via one web page.

Former principal now eighth educator charged in cheating probe

By David Limm on Jan 7, 2015 02:43 PM

Another former Philadelphia school principal was arrested today, making her the eighth educator charged in the state's probe into adult cheating on state standardized tests, Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced.

A grand jury found that, while principal at Alain Locke Elementary between 2009 and 2011, Lolamarie Davis-O'Rourke "created an environment ripe for cheating" by "proctoring students to change answers from wrong-to-right, directing teachers to help students switch answers and rewrite written responses, and changing the locks to a storage room so that only she and the building engineer could access stored test booklets," said a statement from the Attorney General's Office.

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