News & Notes:  

Walton Family Foundation Announces Collaboration with Harvard

Nov21

According to the Map the Gap study conducted recently by EdFuel, a national human capital watchdog, the education systems in the 50 largest U.S. cities will need to fill 32,000 non-instructional leadership roles in the next decade. Not only is that number staggering, but the leadership skills needed are ever-changing. Leaders today often face tasks […] More »

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It’s all about quality

Nov19

  Over the last two days, we’ve heard incredible stories about charter schools from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia that are outperforming their districts in serving low-income and minority students. Philadelphia is now accepting new charter applications for the first time in seven years. Forty charter schools applied–including high-performing schools like KIPP, Mastery, Freire, and MaST Community […] More »

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Political Spending by Government Unions During the 2014 Election

Nov19

Workers’ contributions to government union Political Action Committees (PACs) are voluntary, but the collection of this PAC money is anything but. Taxpayers are required to subsidize the collection of campaign contributions for government unions, a political and financial privilege no other private organization enjoys. Read more. More »

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Fair funding is critical

Nov17

Pennsylvania does not have a fair funding formula for how it distributes state aid to our 500 school districts charged with educating students through 12th grade. Read more. More »

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Smarter way to fund schools

Nov17

Imagine writing a large check for a new car and finding out a year later that it fails safety tests, won’t pass inspection and needs thousands in repairs. You’d probably be demanding answers from the dealership. If the only solution they offered was the exact same car but for more money, would you take it? […] More »

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Charter tries to clone itself

Nov17

Chris Pienkowski from Mayfair was overjoyed when his middle son, Ben, beat the odds last year and got into kindergarten at MaST Community Charter School through that high-tech haven’s computerized lottery. Read more. More »

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Wakisha Charter School votes to close next month

Nov14

Less than three weeks after the Walter Palmer charter school abruptly closed its high school, another Philadelphia charter said it was shuttering because it was on the brink of financial collapse. At a meeting that drew dozens of angry and sobbing parents, staff, and students, the board of Wakisha Charter School in North Philadelphia voted Thursday […] More »

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Penn Hills charter school seeks second location

Nov14

Imagine Penn Hills Charter School took its first step toward expanding into a new school building next year. The board of the Penn Hills-based charter school Thursday night unanimously approved a motion to submit a letter of intent to rent a former school building at 10700 Frankstown Road. Read more.  More »

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PA Cyber reviewing its relationship with NNDS

Nov14

The Rochester-based nonprofit National Network of Digital Schools relies almost entirely on the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School for its revenue, but that lucrative 10-year relationship is now under review against a messy backdrop. Read more. More »

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A Shoddy Attack on Charters

Nov14

My letter to the editor of the Philadelphia Daily News takes issue with the paper’s recent characterization of charter schools as “fiscal monsters.”  Read more. More »

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Rechartering prompts changes at Vida

Nov10

The rechartering process has been a learning experience for Vida Charter School. In response to an almost 2-year rechartering investigation by Vida’s authorizing districts, as well as its own internal audits, the school has updated some of its hiring and board election policies. Read more. More »

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How Philly’s charter schools stack up on PA’s performance measure

Nov10

The Pennsylvania Department of Education last week released its evaluation of the academic progress of the state’s public schools. The School Performance Profile index is composed mainly of standardized test score results, but also takes into account attendance, graduation rates, and student improvement. Last week, Newsworks published a story that analyzed overall state trends, as […] More »

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Upcoming Event: Pittsburgh Learning Pathways Summit 2014

Nov10

More than 300 teachers, students, principals, parents, and mentors have already registered to participate on Friday, November 21! Join your friends and colleagues to help design learning pathways for students in the greater Pittsburgh region and hear from local educators who are using digital badges to illuminate learning pathways for their students. Patrick Dowd, Executive […] More »

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Districts, parents sue Pa. over education funding

Nov10

School districts, parents, an organization representing small and rural school systems and the state NAACP on Monday filed a lawsuit against Gov. Tom Corbett, state education officials and legislative leaders, saying that Pennsylvania fails to uphold its constitutional obligation to educate children adequately. Read more. More »

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Bear Creek Charter School does well in PSSA tests

Nov10

Recently released PSSA test results were cause for celebration at Thursday’s meeting of the Bear Creek Community Charter School Board of Trustees. The school’s composite performance on last year’s tests showed almost a 7.5-point increase over the previous year — 87.4 in 2013-14, up from 80.0 in 2012-13 — and school Principal Brian Dugas said […] More »

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Editorial: Will Wolf save York City schools?

Nov10

The York City teachers union rejected a state fact finder’s report this week, ensuring a lengthy contract negotiation will drag on even longer. The union and school board have been at it for more than a year now, and it’s safe to say they’re farther apart than ever — especially since we were led to […] More »

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Point Breeze activists feel blindsided by loss of prize charter

Nov10

Claudia Sherrod held high hopes for the Walter G. Smith School, an imposing structure on the National Register of Historic Places at 19th and Wharton Streets in Point Breeze. She and others in the community were stricken when the Philadelphia School District shuttered the building in 2013 amid its continuing budget crisis. But news that […] More »

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Focus narrowing for Basic Education Funding Commission

Nov10

Focus narrowing for Basic Education Funding Commission Author: Jason Gottesman/Thursday, November 6, 2014 Thursday, the Basic Education Funding Commission held its seventh hearing aimed to help in its mission to provide the legislature with a new basic education funding formula for consideration. According to Commission Co-Chairman Sen. Pat Browne (R-Lehigh), the focus of the commission is […] More »

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Capitolwire: Charter school SPP ratings drop slightly, districts hold steady

Nov10

Charter school SPP ratings drop slightly, districts hold steady By Christen Smith Staff Reporter Capitolwire HARRISBURG (Nov.7) — Just one third of the state’s charter schools scored 70 or higher on the 2013-14 School Performance Profiles, representing an overall decline of 4 percent from last year’s scores, according to data released by the Pennsylvania Department […] More »

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