Three of the newest members of the overhauled School Reform Commission (SRC) appeared together on WHYY’s Radio Times Monday morning to talk about their new roles and the challenges facing a district running low on both cash and public trust.
Pennsylvania's inquiry into suspicious state test score results appears to have slowed to a crawl.
So far, the School District of Philadelphia has received no response from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to a state-ordered internal investigation of 28 schools with suspicious results on the 2009 Pennsylvania System of State Assessment (PSSA) exams. The report was delivered to PDE in August.
UPDATED 10-21: Comment from the District.
Widespread school closings often fail to generate expected savings or meaningful student achievement gains, but can contribute to significant community upheaval and neighborhood blight.
“This is not a panacea to cure all the ills of a school district,” said Larry Eichel, the project director of PRI. “Based on what we’ve seen in other cities, I think it’s hard to say that school closings have transformed school districts.”
Representatives of the School District of Philadelphia, its five labor unions, and the Philadelphia Student Union (PSU) gathered with U.S. Rep. Bob Brady at Furness High School in South Philadelphia Monday to tout the potential local impact of President Obama’s proposed American Jobs Act.
Horace Furness High School saved Felly Velicia, so the District's pending decision about whether to close the school couldn’t be more personal for the 18-year-old from Indonesia.
“You know the feeling if you’ve lived in a house, and you grew up there, and you have to leave?” she asked. “I won’t know where to come running to.”
Updated 7:30 p.m.
Still in the midst of a significant makeover, the School Reform Commission met Wednesday with two empty seats, a new chairman, and two new "executive advisors" closely observing their work.
Wednesday morning, Gov. Tom Corbett announced that he will name his most recent nominee, Pedro Ramos, as SRC chair. Senate confirmation of Ramos' nomination, however, is not expected until later this month. In the meantime, Corbett announced, new mayoral appointee Wendell Pritchett will serve as interim chair.
Mayor Michael Nutter and state Secretary of Education Ronald Tomalis unveiled Tuesday two new strategies to expand their respective roles in overseeing the School District and its leadership.
In a statement, Nutter described the strategies as "phase two" of the Educational Accountability Agreement with the District. The city and state will both name an "Executive Advisor" to work with the District's executive office. The city will designate Chief Education Officer Lori Shorr and the state will designate Edward Williams, a longtime District veteran and former chief academic officer.
State Rep. Dwight Evans' controversial behind-the-scenes involvement in a charter deal at Martin Luther King High worth an estimated $60 million over five years was "passionate advocacy," according to Mayor Michael Nutter.
Mayor Nutter and other key players are looking for ways to change the way Philadelphia’s beleaguered School Reform Commission (SRC) does business, according to several sources close to the situation.
For the Notebook’s October print edition on school turnarounds, we took a comprehensive look at the city's initial group of seven Renaissance charter schools. This article looks at test score gains at the schools . You can also read more about the extent to which the schools remained neighborhood schools.
[Updated 6:00 pm] Former School Reform Commission Chairman Robert Archie has fired back with a statement in which he "emphatically" rejects Markman's findings, and state Rep. Dwight Evans has also slammed the report. The District has offered a brief statement.
[Updated 2:26 pm] The mayor's chief integrity officer has come down hard on state Rep. Dwight Evans and recently resigned School Reform Commission chairman Robert Archie in a long awaited fact-finding report released Thursday afternoon.
Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission can now muster a quorum, but there's still no word on when it will resume business.
On Tuesday, the SRC indefinitely postponed its scheduled Wednesday meeting, the second such cancellation this month. By not meeting, the commission delayed action on approximately 29 pending resolutions dealing with issues ranging from operations to procurement.
For the Notebook’s forthcoming October print edition on school turnarounds, we took a comprehensive look at the tumultuous turnaround process at West Philadelphia High.This article looks at the dueling educational visions at West. You can read more about West's lost year in part II of this series.
It was 2006.
Neil Geyette was a 23-year-old, first-year teacher standing outside a bathroom filled with smoke at West Philadelphia High School. He had just extinguished yet another of the 31 small fires blamed on students at the school that year.
An administrator, he says, walked up, took in the scene, and then walked away, all without saying a word.
As part of the Notebook’s upcoming print edition, we took a comprehensive look at the tumultuous school turnaround process at West Philadelphia High. Read more about the competing visions of school reform at West in part I of this series.
Five different principals in the span of a year.
A serious spike in assaults, incidents of disorderly conduct, thefts, and arsons – all of which had been steadily declining.
And a teaching staff that turned over by 40 percent one year, then almost 90 percent the next.
All of this, was part of the price that West Philadelphia High School paid to be “turned around” during a dispiriting 2010-11 school year.
The same charitable foundation that is funneling $405,000 in controversial anonymous donations to support the buyout of departed Philadelphia schools superintendent Arlene Ackerman also gave the District $150,000 to support Ackerman’s arrival.
Over $10,000 of that money, which was used to create a “CEO’s Transition Fund” to cover expenses related to Ackerman’s transition team, went directly to Ackerman herself.