News & Notes:  

Capitolwire: House calls off session next week; Philly cigarette tax bill officially stalled until September.

Jul31

By Kevin Zwick Staff Reporter Capitolwire HARRISBURG (July 31) – House GOP leaders announced they will not return to the Capitol next week to vote a bill enabling Philadelphia to increase its cigarette tax to help fund its schools. House Speaker Sam Smith and Majority Leader Mike Turzai have asked Gov. Tom Corbett to advance […] More »

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Philly Charter School Student Finds Solace in Bodybuilding

Jul30

Competitive bodybuilder and Delaware Valley Charter High School rising junior Nixlot Dameus hasn’t always been able to bench press 405 pounds; in Catherine Kang’s ‘Art and Craft of Poetry’ class he shared that the painful motivation behind his strength is actually years of bullying. Dameus, a 15-year-old Haiti native who in 2013 captured the Mr. Philadelphia […] More »

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Pa. House to amend cigarette-tax bill

Jul30

When House members return to Harrisburg on Monday to consider the cigarette-tax bill that would help fund Philly’s schools, the legislation most likely will head to the Rules Committee, where it will be amended, a spokesman for the top Republican says. Read more More »

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Education Reform Hub Monthly July Issue

Jul30

This monthly update from the U.S. Department of Education will alert readers to new resources that inform policy and practice across several areas of education reform. Highlighted Resources The Reform Support Network has published a series of tools to help Race to the Top States sustain their reforms. First, the Sustainability Rubric Summary provides a […] More »

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PCPCS Board of Trustees Election Results Are In….

Jul30

King of Prussia, PA — Voting to fill four open Charter School Leader positions on the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools (PCPCS) Board of Trustees ended on Friday, July 25, 2014. Incumbents Larry Jones, Karen DelGuercio, and Joanne Barnett were re-elected to two-year terms. Anthony Pirrello was elected to his first two-year term. All […] More »

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EASD again rejects charter school application

Jul30

At a heated meeting that touched upon racial and economic issues, the Easton Area School Board again rejected a charter school application. The proposed Strong Foundations Charter School submitted a new application to the district last month. In March, the board rejected its first application, saying the planned school did not offer a curriculum that […] More »

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Commonwealth Foundation’s Policy Blog Update: Charter Schools More Efficient

Jul29

Latest Posts from Commonwealth Foundation’s Policy Blog Study: Charter Schools More Efficient JULY 28, 2014 | JAMES PAUL It is impossible to do more with less, they say; you cannot expect schools to achieve better results without increasing spending.Yet an essential new report from the University of Arkansas dispels this myth by measuring the cost effectiveness […] More »

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NAPCS July Update

Jul29

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools July Update Click here to view in your browser Gina Mahony Senior Vice President Government Relations Greetings!In a few days, Congress will depart Washington, D.C. for a five week summer recess. Here at the National Alliance, we’ll spend our time gearing up for their return on September 8th. In […] More »

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KIPP high schoolers get a leg up on college

Jul29

Haley Wilson, a rising senior at KIPP DuBois Collegiate Academy, is spending days this summer in the law department at GlaxoSmithKline, learning about patents, trademarks, and what it takes to bring a new medicine to market. In all, 74 seniors from the West Philadelphia charter school with a college-prep focus are exploring careers and learning […] More »

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2014 STEM Summit: Bridging the Gap through Innovation and Collaboration

Jul28

This year’s STEM Summit on August 28, 2014  is designed to allow educators, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and innovators of all type to come together and learn about real solutions to enhance teacher professional development, encourage student engagement, and provide learning opportunities in traditional and non-traditional environments.  In the spirit of TED conferences the STEM Summit […] More »

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Study: Charter Schools More Efficient

Jul28

It is impossible to do more with less, they say; you cannot expect schools to achieve better results without increasing spending. Yet an essential new report from the University of Arkansas dispels this myth by measuring the cost effectiveness and return on investment (ROI) of charter schools compared to traditional public schools (TPS). The authors find significant […] More »

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Letter to the Editor: Blow to education

Jul28

On July 23 the Pittsburgh Board of Public Education unanimously struck down a proposed amendment to expand the Environmental Charter School’s presence in Pittsburgh (“Charter School Expansion at Frick Rejected,” July 24) despite the Pittsburgh Public Schools staff recommending the proposed amendment. There is currently considerable demand for the Environmental Charter School, with a wait […] More »

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Final weeks to apply for 2014-2014 PA Education Policy Fellowship Program

Jul25

The 2014-2015 class is rapidly filling, but applications are available now for the 2014-2015 Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP).  The Education Policy Fellowship Program is sponsored in Pennsylvania by The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC). The Fellowship Program begins with a two-day retreat on September 18-19, 2014 and continues to graduation in June 2015.  On October […] More »

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Sen. Pat Browne & Rep. Mike Vereb: Basic Education Funding Commission organizes and begins work.

Jul24

The Basic Education Funding Commission held its inaugural and organizational meeting today (July 24) and is now ready to begin its work developing an adequate and fair system for distributing state money to local school districts, according to Senator Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) and Representative Mike Vereb (R-Montgomery). During the commission’s first meeting, Senator Browne and […] More »

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National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and Charter Board Partners Join Forces to Improve Quality of Public Charter Schools

Jul23

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and Charter Board Partners (CBP) announced a partnership with the goal of strengthening public charter school governing boards across the country. Through this partnership, charter schools, members of charter school boards, and other stakeholders will have greater access to information, tools, and resources to support […] More »

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Capitolwire: Commonwealth Court ruling called a ‘ground breaking’ decision for growing charter schools.

Jul23

By Christen Smith Staff Reporter Capitolwire HARRISBURG (July 22) — The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania issued a ruling Tuesday in favor of allowing charter schools outside of Philadelphia to expand into multiple locations. A lawyer connected to the case, Lehigh Valley Dual Language Charter School v. Bethlehem Area School District, described the decision as “ground breaking” […] More »

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New Research Reveals Charter Schools Nationwide are More Cost Effective and Produce a Greater ROI

Jul22

University of Arkansas Report, “The Productivity of Public Charter Schools,” Represents First National Research Tying Charter Funding to Achievement Fayetteville, Ark. – A first-ever report released today by the University of Arkansas, which ties charter school funding to achievement, finds that public charter schools are more productive than traditional public schools in all 28 states […] More »

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The path forward: A Q&A with Larry Jones of Richard Allen Prep Charter

Jul22

For more than a decade, Larry Jones has been a prominent supporter of Philadelphia’s charter schools, particularly the smaller, community-based variety that proliferated in the wake of the 2001 state takeover. He has run the 350-student Richard Allen Preparatory Charter School since it opened in 2001; since 2006, he has also served as president of […] More »

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Pa. needs to fix the way it pays for its public schools: As I See It

Jul21

By Jim Buckheit, Nathan Mains, Jay Himes, Joseph Bard and J. Hugh Dwyer. The state’s primary support for education is still distributed according to the whim of the Legislature, leaving each school district wondering annually if it will receive more, less or the same amount of state support as the previous year. Read more. More »

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Achievement House cyber school has new CEO

Jul21

Achievement House Cyber Charter School has a new CEO at the helm for the next school year. Last month the school’s board of trustees named Don Asplen as the new leader, following the retirement of former CEO Timothy Daniels. Read more. More »

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County supports Spartansburg charter school proposal

Jul18

Saying they recognize the need for the Spartansburg area to develop its own elementary school, Crawford County commissioners have gone on record in support of the community’s plan — and commissioners will continue to explore whether the county may be able to help financially. Read more. More »

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CapitolWire: Basic ed funding commission could tackle charter school issues that special ed commission could not

Jul14

By Christen Smith Staff Reporter Capitolwire HARRISBURG (July 14) — As the dust of budget season settles around the state capitol Monday, education advocates regroup and prepare for a bigger — and arguably more complex — discussion centered on reforming how the government funds public education. It’s a debate rife with many of the same […] More »

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OP-ED: Education funding is top priority under Gov. Corbett

Jul11

By State Rep. William F. Adolph, Jr. Facts matter in making public policy. Anyone who spends more than a day working on public policy unfortunately knows that facts are regularly distorted to advance certain policy positions. Regrettably, in the editorial “Taxpayers are losers in latest state budget” on July 7, 2014, the editorial writers for […] More »

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Letter to the Editor: Poverty underlies city school problems

Jul11

Excuse my frustration, but after reading the article in Thursday’s paper about the low state test scores and the York City School District’s plans for improving them, I feel compelled to state that it’s time to finally address the elephant in the living room.  (This is a term arising from drug and alcohol counseling to […] More »

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PCPCS Budget Update: Charter School Impact

Jul11

To: PCPCS Member CEOs, Governor Corbett has signed the budget and the following aspects of the budget and related legislation are of immediate importance to charters. –          As predicted six months ago, the 50% PSERS reimbursement to charters from the state is eliminated starting in the 2014-2015 school year. –          All of the other proposed […] More »

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Press Release: Charter Schools Improve Business Practices Based on Controller Butkovitz’s Recommendations

Jul10

PHILADELPHIA – City Controller Alan Butkovitz today released a follow-up report of the School District of Philadelphia’s Charter School Oversight that found several schools have made significant improvements in line with recommendations made in the Controller’s 2010 report. This includes Harambee Institute of Science and Technology Charter School, at which the following conditions from the […] More »

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Press Release: Governor Corbett Signs Budget that Invests a Record $12 Billion in Education

Jul10

Spending plan includes Governor’s Ready to Learn Block Grant and Ready to Succeed Scholarship Harrisburg – Governor Tom Corbett today signed into law the 2014-15 state budget that invests a record $12 billion in state funding for students in Pennsylvania’s early, basic and postsecondary education systems.  This represents an increase of $323 million, or 2.8 percent, […] More »

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Educating America: The Power of Choice

Jul10

The expansion of school choice in Washington, D.C., and its success with students is sending public school principals on a task not listed in their job description: They’re going door to door to recruit and retain students in the nation’s capital, where charter schools now account for 44 percent of total enrollment. Read more. More »

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Hite: Layoffs if no cigarette tax by Aug. 15

Jul10

If there is no cigarette-tax agreement in Harrisburg by Aug. 15, Philadelphia School Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said Wednesday, he  will have to lay off employees and consider a delay in the opening of  schools.  “There’s a lot of uncertainty around what our next move is,” Hite said. Read more. More »

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Apply Now for PA Education Policy Fellowship Program

Jul09

Applications are available now for the 2014-2015 Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP).  The Education Policy Fellowship Program is sponsored in Pennsylvania by The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC). With about 400 graduates in its first fifteen years, this Program is a premier professional development opportunity for educators, state and local policymakers, advocates, and community […] More »

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EPLC ‘Focus on Education’ Program to Air on PCN July 19

Jul09

The next EPLC “Focus on Education” episode will air this coming Sunday, July 13 at 3:00 p.m. on PCN television. This July 13 panel will discuss the status of the teaching profession in Pennsylvania; what it takes to become a teacher in the state; teacher preparation programs; whether there are efforts to attract more minority students to the teaching profession; why […] More »

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Capitolwire: New special ed funding formula in Fiscal Code does not apply to charters

Jul09

By Christen Smith Staff Reporter Capitolwire HARRISBURG (July 9) — A new special education funding formula found 75 pages into the Fiscal Code will apply only to traditional public school districts, leaving the funding mechanism for charter school special education students untouched — for now. The apparent compromise side-steps the controversy regarding what charter schools have […] More »

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Virtual Reality: Harrisburg University & Commonwealth Connections Academy Team Up on Game Design Camp

Jul07

Harrisburg, PA – July 7, 2013 – Local “virtual” students at Commonwealth Connections Academy turned their strong interest in game design into a reality, thanks to Harrisburg University of Science and Technology. Commonwealth Connections Academy’s STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) Conservatory teamed up with Harrisburg University, a STEM-focused post-secondary institution, to allow students to turn […] More »

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A frustrated Pritchett resigns from SRC

Jul05

In a surprise move, Wendell Pritchett resigned Thursday from the School  Reform Commission, citing frustration with and fear for the state of public  education in Philadelphia.  He will be replaced by Marjorie Neff, who until June was principal of Masterman, the city’s top magnet school. Read more.   More »

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Philadelphia’s request for a school funding-cigarette tax adds to drama of finalizing Pa.’s state budget

Jul02

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter’s hope of getting a $2-a-pack cigarette tax to keep class sizes from rising to 41 and preventing 1,300 teacher layoffs in that city’s schools still remains unfulfilled. Democratic lawmakers made a passionate, yet unsuccessful push on Tuesday evening during a House Rules Committee meeting to get the authorization for the city to impose […] More »

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Arise Academy Charter decides to fight back

Jul02

The attendance officer at Arise Academy Charter High School in West Oak Lane was concerned when a junior with spotless attendance missed school. Administrators made calls and found out that the agency that runs the group home where Affrika Clarke, 18, lived had abruptly moved her and her housemates in May to a motel in […] More »

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Spartansburg eyes charter school, may seek $350K loan from county

Jul02

The Spartansburg community is seeking Crawford County’s backing — including a possible $350,000 loan through the county — to develop its own elementary school in the northeastern Crawford County community by the fall of 2015. Spartansburg and neighboring Sparta Township residents are seeking to form their own elementary school in the wake of Corry Area […] More »

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KIPP Schools Wins Third Annual Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools

Jul01

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation revealed at the National Charter Schools Conference that KIPP Schools has won the 2014 Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools. The prize honors the public charter school network that has demonstrated the most outstanding overall student performance and has helped close achievement gaps among low-income and minority […] More »

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State Senate approves Smucker’s Charter School Reform measure

Jul01

Hopes for much-needed reforms to the state charter school law grew brighter with Senate passage of a bill championed by state Senator Lloyd Smucker. “Charter schools are an increasingly popular education option in many communities.  At the same time, people are realizing that reforms are needed to ensure that the schools are meeting performance standards […] More »

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Roberto Clemente Charter School gets Allentown zoning board OK to expand

Jul01

With a tenant dispute now settled, Allentown’s Roberto Clemente Charter School can expand onto former Allentown School District property, the city’s Zoning Hearing Board ruled Monday. The school, which serves grades 6-12 at 136 S. Fourth St., has proposed a 320-student elementary school at 501-509 Cedar St., the former Garfield Elementary School. The elementary, which […] More »

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Gov. Tom Corbett refuses to sign budget without pension reform

Jul01

HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Corbett swiftly announced late Monday night that he would not sign a $29.1 billion budget the Legislature had just approved. He is holding out — at least for a night and perhaps longer — because he wants lawmakers to reduce the state’s and school districts’ pension payments to free up money […] More »

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