In your October issue, a table presented figures to suggest that charter-managed Renaissance Schools recorded impressive gains in reading and math during the first year of the Renaissance initiative. In the weeks since, this table has been widely cited – from Education Week to the Huffington Post. We don't intend to contest the claim that the charter-managed Renaissance Schools are producing gains in student achievement; rather, our goal is to highlight that the way these data were presented raises more questions than it answers.
The Pennsylvania House is facing a hot-button and potentially costly issue: whether to go along with Gov. Corbett and the state Senate and approve a taxpayer-funded tuition voucher program.
Passage is uncertain for the program, which would be phased in over three years.
In its first year, the program likely would draw thousands of low-income parents in struggling public schools to try private or parochial schooling for their children. In the second year, the legislation would prove a boon for low-income parents who have been paying for private school all along.
La Cámara de Representantes de Pensilvania está enfrentando un asunto sumamente caliente y potencialmente costoso: Si aceptarán la propuesta del Gobernador Corbett y el Senado y aprobarán un programa de vales para matrícula financiado con los impuestos de los contribuyentes.
La aprobación es incierta.
El plan de vales de matrícula que posiblemente se tenga en Pensilvania está ahora en el Comité de Educación de la Cámara de Representantes, ya que fue aprobado por el Senado (voto 27-20) el 26 de octubre. La Cámara no ha aprobado planes de vales en el pasado, pero no se sabe cuál será el resultado para la versión presentada este año.
After a four-hour debate, the Pennsylvania Senate passed legislation Wednesday approving vouchers and revising the charter school law.
The vote was 27-22. Three Democrats joined 24 Republicans in supporting the bill.
UPDATE: According to state Sen. Dominic Pileggi, Senate Bill 1 is on Wednesday's Senate agenda.
School vouchers have taken another step forward in Pennsylvania.
And they're taking charter school reform with them.
On Tuesday, an amended version of Senate Bill 1, as the measure is known, was approved by the Senate Education Committee. The new plan calls for a limited school voucher program, as well as a package of changes to state charter school law that had been advancing separately, reports Mary Wilson of WHYY/NewsWorks.
More details are trickling out about Gov. Tom Corbett’s voucher proposal that was announced Tuesday.
While negotiations with the legislature are still going on, it seems likely that Philadelphia will have as many as 90 schools on the final list of 140 where students from low-income families would qualify for a voucher because of chronically low school performance.
This morning, Gov. Corbett described his plans for education reform during a speech at Lincoln Charter High School in York. "We have to think and act smarter," Corbett said.
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 the extent to which the schools remained neighorhood schools . You can also read more about test score gains at the schools.
On her daughter's first day of 5th grade last year, Katrina Dear was nervous.
Since her chatty little girl was in kindergarten, Dear had sent her to a charter school with strong academics, a structured environment, and motivated families.
But after learning that the charter planned to hold her daughter back for the 2010-11 school year, Dear transferred her into the public school in her West Philadelphia neighborhood, Guion S. Bluford Elementary.
With turnarounds proceeding rapidly in Philadelphia and established providers eager to continue taking over low-performing schools, it is likely that the School District will look very different in five years.
In 2010 and 2011, 13 District schools have been converted to charters, including three high schools. Another nine have become Promise Academies, remaining within the District, but receiving mostly new leadership and staff, as well as expensive new programs. In the first two years of the Renaissance Schools program, the District is averaging 11 turnaround attempts per year.
The Notebook asked several officials, activists and educators to discuss their reform vision and also their predictions, considering what will be financially feasible and politically palatable.