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Kenney and Gym change the education conversation

By Dale Mezzacappa on Nov 3, 2015 10:46 PM

[2nd paragraph updated] 

With the election of Democrats Jim Kenney as mayor and Helen Gym to City Council on Tuesday, there is a new dynamic at City Hall regarding education policy.

Kenney has promised to work toward universal preschool, which was also a focus of the Nutter administration. But the mayor-elect has thrown his support behind community schools as the primary reform strategy for the District. That is a departure from Mayor Nutter's approach. Throughout his administration, Nutter supported the strategy that relied heavily on closing low-performing schools and expanding charters, with the goal of having "a great school" in every neighborhood. 

Philly District's borrowing due to Pa. budget impasse passes $500M

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Nov 3, 2015 08:35 PM

As Pennsylvania enters its fifth month without a state budget, school districts across the commonwealth have been forced to borrow money in order to keep their doors open.

The Philadelphia School District has needed to borrow the most – authorizing more than $500 million in loans.

The role of police in schools: A discussion on 'Radio Times'

By Dale Mezzacappa on Nov 3, 2015 04:11 PM

Notebook board chair Harold Jordan, senior policy analyst with the Pennsylvania ACLU, appeared on WHYY's Radio Times this morning with Philadelphia Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel to discuss the role of police officers in schools. The topic recently got renewed attention after video went viral showing a sheriff's deputy in South Carolina throwing to the floor and arresting a Black high school girl who would not leave her classroom.

Clearing the record on Source4Teachers pay rates

By Paul Socolar on Nov 2, 2015 07:07 PM

The embattled substitute teacher supplier, Source4Teachers, announced a boost in some of its pay rates last week. There's been confusion and inaccuracy in past press reports, including our own, about how much the company is paying to whom. So we held up our story on that news to make sure we're getting the details correct.

It has been a slow process, but the Notebook has finally gotten answers that may clear up some confusion.

LGBT-friendly high school among slate of Philly charter school hopefuls

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Nov 2, 2015 11:01 AM

The Philadelphia School District, which will accept applications for new charter schools through Nov. 15, already has received 22 letters of intent.

One of them is from James Baldwin Charter High School, which would stress lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender inclusion.

Why Philadelphia needs a 'Citizens' Commission for Education'

By Susan Gobreski on Oct 30, 2015 04:00 PM

We need a better mechanism for authentic public participation in the governance of the state-controlled School District of Philadelphia.

Education Voters has launched a new effort calling for the creation of a “Citizens’ Commission for Education” in Philadelphia.

Our current structure is inadequate. “We the people” really don’t have a way to ask questions about what is going on with schools. We can go to School Reform Commission meetings and make comments or ask questions, but that is all – speakers have no certainty of a response.

Join me in honoring Paul at the Notebook's brunch

By Diane Waff on Oct 29, 2015 04:29 PM

Paul Socolar has a respected track record of honest reporting, integrity, insight, and a strong commitment to social justice. He has had a huge impact on the local educational landscape and has made the Philadelphia Public School Notebook a must-read for just about everything related to Philadelphia public schools.

As editor and publisher of the Notebook, Paul has given teachers, parents, and students a voice. He has made their issues and concerns visible. The Notebook’s investigative journalism has put a spotlight on major issues, from standardized testing and teacher evaluation to school turnarounds and school closings. It has kept parents informed about opportunities for their children and about their rights.

READ! by 4th director explains goals of campaign

By Fabiola Cineas on Oct 29, 2015 01:19 PM

The Notebook sat down with Jenny Bogoni of the Free Library, READ! by 4th’s executive director. In the interview, she outlines the mission of the campaign, its strategies, and challenges.

What is the READ! by 4th campaign’s main goal?

Ensuring all children can read on grade level by the time they enter 4th grade.

Philly NAEP scores below average for urban areas; nationally, scores slip

By Dale Mezzacappa on Oct 28, 2015 04:01 PM

Students nationwide showed a marked dip in math performance and a somewhat smaller decline in reading proficiency, according to 2015 results of the only standardized achievement test administered across the country by the federal government.  

It was the first reversal of a steady upward trend that held for the more than two decades that U.S. students have been taking the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). 

Philadelphia students continue to score below the national average for big cities, according to analysis of the scores from 21 urban areas. Both nationally and in the city, there are huge achievement gaps among racial and ethnic groups. 

Here are some key facts on the NAEP and its significance.

Things educators know about schooling that the public needs to know

By Julio C. Nuñez on Oct 28, 2015 01:49 PM

It has been 32 years since "A Nation at Risk" was published. The report, issued in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan's National Commission on Excellence in Education, established the beliefs that schools across the nation were failing and that we needed to demand more of our teachers and our students.

"A Nation at Risk" was the blueprint for our country's hyperfocus on "measurable growth" that education stakeholders experience today. It catalyzed a shift in the U.S. concept of education. Outcomes, not input, would determine the quality of instruction. Standards, not knowledge, would dictate what gets taught, how, and for how long. Students’ “seat time” would be favored over other activities that required physical engagement.

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