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More by David Limm

District won't propose any school closings this year

By David Limm on Dec 15, 2014 06:26 PM

For the second year in a row, School District of Philadelphia officials will not be proposing any closures of District schools.

"At this time, we are not making any recommendations to close schools next year," School District spokesperson Fernando Gallard confirmed in an email, without elaboration.

Philly Keystone results show big need for improvement

By David Limm and Dale Mezzacappa on Nov 14, 2014 12:50 PM

Updated | Nov. 17 

Beginning with the class of 2017 -- this year's sophomores -- high school students will have to pass three Keystone Exams before they can don caps and gowns for graduation. 

Philadelphia's scores for the last school year, the second time the tests were given, indicate that the vast majority of schools have a long way to go if most of their students are to graduate by passing the test.

In some city schools, pass rates are in the single digits and low double-digits for all three subjects -- Algebra I, Literature, and Biology. Biology scores were the lowest; in only seven schools did at least half the students pass the biology exam. Pass rates were low, even in some highly selective schools.

How Philadelphia's District schools fared on the PSSA exams

By David Limm on Nov 13, 2014 03:08 PM

In late September, addressing last spring's results on the state's annual standardized tests, Superintendent William Hite said that, districtwide, students performed at a level similar to the previous year.

That was after a year of a thousand cuts, and in the early months of 2013-14, District schools were running short on staff after the loss of teachers, nurses, counselors, aides, and other support professionals. Students were learning in spartan conditions.  

Hite took a rosy view of the scores, saying he was "surprised we didn't see a more significant decline, considering how we started the year."

State releases school performance scores

By David Limm on Nov 6, 2014 03:33 PM

The state's Education Department today released the scores it uses to rate Pennsylvania's public schools.

The number of schools meeting the state's standard stayed flat this year, Education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq announced Thursday. Nearly three-quarters of the state's 2,947 district and charter schools, she said, received scores of 70 or higher.  

More details on changes to teacher health benefits

By David Limm on Oct 8, 2014 03:10 PM

In forcing the city's teachers' union to accept cuts to its members' health care benefits, the School Reform Commission said the move will allow the financially battered School District to inject $44 million back into schools this year. 

To seek clarity on the legal authority of breaking the collective bargaining agreement with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, the District and the state Department of Education filed suit asking the Commonwealth Court for a declaratory judgment that affirms the SRC's right to make its unilateral move.

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