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Graduation rate for District schools at a new high - 70%


Paul Socolar

on May 22, 2015 02:08 PM

The School District’s graduation rate is continuing on a decade-long upward climb, despite the deep cutbacks that have hit schools over the last four years.

Can Jim Kenney bring community schools to Philadelphia?

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on May 22, 2015 12:31 PM

On a small plot of land wedged between South Philadelphia High School's parking lot and the sidewalk, Arielle Narva works with a 17-year-old named Kahlil to turn over soil in raised garden beds.

"This bed that Kahlil is working on right now, he's kind of prepping it so we can plant tomatoes, hot peppers, all that summery stuff," said Narva.

Why are teachers' pension plans in trouble?

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on May 22, 2015 11:00 AM

In the Multiple Choices podcast, Keystone Crossroads senior education writer Kevin McCorry joins with Paul Socolar, publisher and editor of the Public School Notebook, and Notebook contributing editor Dale Mezzacappa to explain and explore the history, complexities and controversies of public education funding in Pennsylvania.

The state runs two public employee pension plans that share a parallel narrative. One plan is for teachers and school employees, called PSERS. The second is for other state workers, called SERS — which, in addition to rank-and-file state employees, covers state troopers, lawmakers, judges, top executive branch officials and state university staff members.

Pitching plan for education funding, Wolf visits Upper Darby school

By Bill Hangley Jr. for NewsWorks on May 22, 2015 10:57 AM

Gov. Wolf says a vote for his education budget will be a vote for lower property taxes in Pennsylvania.

But while Republicans say they would welcome the tax relief, they're not sold on the governor's plan to increase spending overall.

SRC approves new KIPP charter school and transfer of Douglass to Mastery

By Dale Mezzacappa on May 21, 2015 10:33 PM

On Thursday, the School Reform Commission approved a new K-4 KIPP charter school for West Philadelphia to open in 2016 and voted to transfer management of Young Scholars Frederick Douglass Charter School from Scholar Academies to Mastery.

The three-year KIPP charter was approved by a 3-1 vote, with SRC Chair Marjorie Neff dissenting. Commissioner Farah Jimenez recused herself due to a potential conflict of interest.

Nurses protest District plans to privatize school health services

By Dale Mezzacappa on May 21, 2015 10:13 PM

Umbrellas in hand, more than 50 people demonstrated outside School District headquarters Thursday against District plans to outsource school-based health services, a move that could further reduce the ranks of unionized school nurses.

Several speakers said that the proposal was nothing more than a union-busting move that would line the pockets of private health-care providers on the backs of children.

Students tell their stories: From the verge of foster care to YESPhilly

By Dale Mezzacappa | Video by Trenae Nuri on May 21, 2015 03:12 PM

In researching our edition on "boosting graduation rates for all," the Notebook interviewed young people who had dropped out and were now reengaging in school. We asked why they left, why they returned, and what obstacles they face. Some described heartbreaking personal situations and herculean struggles. But all displayed hope and optimism about their futures. They were all eager to tell their stories.

State pension crisis: Where do we go from here?

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on May 21, 2015 01:03 PM

There may not be three more yawn-inducing words in the English language than public employee pensions.

But because the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is saddled with $53 billion in state employee pension debt, those words are at the center of nearly every conversation in Harrisburg this spring.

Neighborhood schools: Fragile gains at risk


Bill Hangley Jr.

on May 21, 2015 11:20 AM

The faces of young Philadelphia can be found sitting around a table in the sunny classroom of a neighborhood high school.

There’s a young woman from Bangladesh who loves learning, but who just two years ago spoke hardly any English.

There’s a young African American man who wants to be doctor, whose uncle once told him that he wasn’t college material.

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