Updated | 6:30 p.m.
In a decision Thursday morning, Commonwealth Court has 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.