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Cyber charters have 'overwhelming negative impact,' CREDO study finds

By Benjamin Herold for Education Week on Oct 28, 2015 10:40 AM

Students who take classes over the Internet through online charter schools make dramatically less academic progress than their counterparts in traditional schools, according to a sweeping new series of reports released today.

How stark are the findings?

Going to a college fair? Use these tips to prepare

By Melissa Rowe on Oct 27, 2015 04:02 PM

As a college and career counselor, college fairs are a welcome high point. There’s little that can match the efficiency of having numerous college professionals under one roof. I always recommend a good college fair to any high school junior or senior, and I've even organized a few myself. When trying to decide which schools to apply to or how to differentiate between each institution’s unique value, you can’t go wrong by visiting a college fair.

Mayor: Dissolve the School Reform Commission

By Dale Mezzacappa on Oct 27, 2015 01:23 PM

Updated, 5:40 p.m. with additional quotes and reaction

In a major education policy speech this morning, Mayor Nutter called for the dissolution of the School Reform Commission and the return of a local board of education.

"Of all the policy recommendations I make today, none will have a bigger impact on Philadelphia than a return to local control," he told an audience of invited guests at WHYY.

After 15 years, Nutter said, "it's time for the experiment to end."

Notes from the news, Oct. 27

By the Notebook on Oct 27, 2015 08:40 AM

At sunset of term, Mayor Nutter reflects on his ambitious education agenda. NewsWorks

Too much testing? Ed. Dept. outlines steps to help states, districts cut back. Education Week

Pa. Schools Having Trouble Finding Substitute Teachers. CBS Philly

More parents, students saying 'no' to homework. Inquirer

Schools Debate the Necessity of Homework. Fox 29

Media lab program expanding to 27 more schools. Notebook

National principal of the year from Phila. Inquirer

How can teachers heed Obama’s call to cap assessments if they don’t know how to give tests? The Hechinger Report

Black men become rare sight at medical schools. The Philadelphia Tribune

It's 'bulls---,' Fattah Jr. says in meeting with investigators. Daily News

Low Income Students To Receive Free Tuition Ride At Rutgers-Camden. CBS Philly

Celebrating Your School's Cultural Diversity. Edutopia

News summary from Keystone State Education Coalition

State budget stalemate Day 119:

Senators call for continuous session until state budget agreement is reached. PLS Reporter

State Senate takes out $9 million loan to pay its employees. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Opinion: Their view | Pennsylvania budget must break status quo. Centre Daily Times

Poll results not expected to push either side to resolve state budget impasse. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Nutter to sum up 8-year effort to boost education outcomes in Tuesday speech

By Kevin McCorry for WHYY/NewsWorks on Oct 26, 2015 07:28 PM

Philadelphia's Mayor Nutter set an ambitious agenda for schools in his 2008 inauguration speech, promising to cut in half the number of dropouts while doubling the number of Philadelphians who hold college degrees — both by 2015.

"I'm asking you to join me in the greatest American city turnaround that anyone has seen in the last 50 years. Ladies and gentlemen, I've laid out for you: This is the new Philadelphia," said Nutter during that speech.

Media lab program expanding to 27 more schools

By Brianna Spause on Oct 26, 2015 01:18 PM

With more than 1,000 middle and high school students completing WHYY’s Youth Documentary Workshops each year, the program has outgrown its home at WHYY headquarters.

To help increase student access to media arts production, the School District has teamed up with WHYY to bring Media Labs to 27 schools over the next three years. This expansion will provide video storytelling workshops and professional training to more than 700 students throughout the District.

Too much testing? Ed. Dept. outlines steps to help states, districts cut back

By Alyson Klein for Education Week on Oct 26, 2015 11:18 AM

The Obama administration, which spent its first six years in office arguably upping the ante on standardized tests by calling for them to be a part of teacher evaluations, has instead spent the last year encouraging states and districts to make sure that assessments are of high quality and don't take up too much instructional time.

The shift has come as many parents have decided to opt their children out of standardized assessments, states have sought to rein in testing time, and the Common Core State Standards have faced serious political pushback, in part because of concern about the tests that go along with them. (More on changes to the administration's testing rhetoric here.)

No progress on substitute fill rate this week

By Catherine Offord on Oct 24, 2015 11:19 AM

Editor's note

Ongoing efforts by the School District and its private provider of substitutes, Source4Teachers, are still failing to have a visible impact on the proportion of empty classrooms being filled across Philadelphia, according to the latest figures.

Incentives designed to encourage teachers to take on substitute positions with Source4Teachers in recent weeks have included adjustments to the pay scale and written invitations to retired teachers. But the fill rate in Philadelphia’s classrooms remained at just 20 percent this week.

'Glen's Village' screening at Franklin Institute this weekend

By Wendy Harris on Oct 23, 2015 03:16 PM

Have you seen Glen’s Village yet? If not, you’ve certainly heard the buzz about the 30-minute documentary that focuses on Glen Casey, a 20-year-old West Philadelphia native who found the supports he needed both in and out of school to rise from a life surrounded by drugs and violence, graduate from high school, and become a University of Pennsylvania student.

The film, which has received a series of awards since its release in May, will be screened in Philadelphia at noon on Sunday, Oct. 25, as part of the 18th annual FirstGlance Festival Philadelphia at the Franklin Institute.

The festival, which is held in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, brings independent filmmakers and audiences together to view a variety of feature films, documentaries, and short films. This screening of Glen’s Village will mark its first showing to a public audience in Philadelphia since its release in May and the 11th film festival into which it has been accepted.   

'Education in Black and White' explores issues from 19th century to now

By Logan Mabe on Oct 23, 2015 02:26 PM

Last week, the Moonstone Arts Center held a three-day festival titled “Education in Black & White” as part of its Hidden History project with panel discussions and presentations focusing on the struggle for African American education in the city. They included a historical look at the impact of the Institute for Colored Youth and a modern-day take on the importance of Black teachers for Black students.

“What’s interesting and scary is that these are the same issues in education today as there were 150 years ago,” said Larry Robin, director of Moonstone, introducing the panel talk on the Institute for Colored Youth.

Mayoral candidates diverge on charter schools

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Oct 23, 2015 09:37 AM

As Election Day nears, the two top Philadelphia mayoral candidates have separated widely in their thoughts on charter school expansion.

Democrat Jim Kenney, a former board member of Independence Charter School in Center City, believes that Harrisburg Republicans have pushed charters as a way to starve the traditional system.

District drops plan to outsource health services

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Oct 22, 2015 04:33 PM

In May, the Philadelphia School District asked for outside proposals to help it provide better health services in schools without raising its medical budget.

The District received six proposals, but has now decided not to act on any of them.

"Some of what we found out was: We need to find out more," said Karyn Lynch, chief of student services for Philadelphia schools.

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