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First Name
Paul
Last Name
Socolar
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Bio

Editor and director of the Notebook since 1999, Paul was one of the Notebook’s founders in 1994. He came to the Notebook as a public school parent with a long history of involvement in public education and other social justice issues. His children both graduated from Philadelphia public schools. He has been an active Home & School Association member and served as a parent representative on a School Council. Prior to becoming editor, he worked on education issues for the National Coalition of Education Activists and the American Friends Service Committee.

Recent Blog Entries

More by Paul Socolar

Fact-checking the District's claims about the contract cancellation

By Paul Socolar on Oct 13, 2014 10:05 AM

Last Monday, the School Reform Commission voted to cancel the teachers' union contract and unilaterally change the health benefits for members of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. After that action, PFT president Jerry Jordan charged that several of the official statements about the contract situation were "lies."  

Here is a look at some of the statements and issues in dispute, and what the Notebook has been able to find out about them.

 

Nutter to attend a charter school board meeting during back-to-school week

By Paul Socolar on Sep 5, 2014 01:27 PM

Mayor Nutter’s annual Education Week, marking the opening days of school in Philadelphia, will have a couple of new twists this year.

The mayor’s activities will continue into a second week, city officials said, as Nutter plans to be in Harrisburg starting on Sept. 15 in an effort to ensure that the state legislature promptly approves the proposed Philadelphia-only cigarette tax increase upon its return from summer recess. The District is counting on $49 million from the tax this school year in order to avert further layoffs.

In another addition to the usual back-to-school activities, the mayor will go to a charter school board meeting on Sept. 10 to encourage other members of the public to do the same.

The Notebook is seeking a development director

By Paul Socolar on Aug 29, 2014 03:16 PM

Please spread the word: The Notebook is seeking an energetic and experienced fundraising professional to serve as its new development director.

The position is available in mid-October. We look forward to this new addition to our wonderful, seven-person staff team

An award-winning nonprofit news organization, the Notebook is entering its third decade as a vital source of news, commentary, and community conversation about Philadelphia's public schools. More than three-fourths of the Notebook's budget comes from contributions: memberships, individual donations, and special events, as well as grants. 

Controller's audit of District financial controls found no 'material weaknesses'

By Paul Socolar on Aug 28, 2014 03:02 PM

City Controller Alan Butkovitz released his annual report on the School District’s internal controls on Wednesday and drew headlines for his continued concerns about the District’s handling of its art collection.

But not noted in the media coverage was the fact that this is the first time since 2008 that the controller’s review of the District’s internal controls found neither “material weaknesses” nor “significant deficiencies.”

5 things to know about the District's decision to open schools on time

By Paul Socolar on Aug 15, 2014 11:43 AM

Flanked by four members of the School Reform Commission, Superintendent William Hite announced Friday morning that Philadelphia schools would open on time Sept. 8, but that another round of "difficult and hopefully temporary" cuts would be made to narrow the District's $81 million deficit.

Here are five key points about the School District's latest plan for dealing with its budget gap.

1. Temporary cuts and budget adjustments totaling $32 million were announced. These include discontinuing TransPasses for 7,500 high school students who live less than two miles from school, eliminating 300 slots in alternative programs for students at risk of dropping out, making 27 more elementary schools share police officers, reducing school cleaning and repairs, cutting extra professional development time at the District's Promise Academies, and eliminating some administrative positions. "These are cuts we want to treat as temporary," Hite said. "We want to restore them."

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