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POSTED: Thursday, March 10, 2011, 11:57 AM

Philly School Search blogger Len Lipkin has had a change of heart about the impact Gov. Corbett's budget would have on charters. When informed by one of his readers that Corbett’s proposal is actually diverting money from all PA districts that was earmarked for charters into an independently run “state charter authorizer” which would manage charter funding centrally instead of through the state, Lipkin said he "could not have been more wrong."

Apparently charter schools are actually heavily in favor of Corbett’s budget as evidenced by the statement from The Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools, an advocacy and educational nonprofit representing the state’s charter schools, which applauds Corbett for recognizing and responding to the growing demand by families for public school choice.

In his budget, the governor calls for the establishment of an independent state charter school authorizer. That authorizer will be charged with setting a uniform application, review, and decision making process for charter schools and will be responsible for approving new charters and renewing existing charters. Currently, school districts serve as authorizers for brick-and-mortar charter schools, in spite of the various legal and financial conflicts-of-interest this scenario creates. Those conflicts have limited the charter school movement’s ability to fully meet families’ demands for public school choice as some school districts throughout the state refused to authorize new charter schools or refused to permit existing charter schools to expand because those districts fear losing students would equate to losing revenue.

POSTED: Wednesday, March 9, 2011, 11:55 AM

In light of Gov. Corbett’s proposed budget cuts and Supt. Arlene Ackerman’s earlier decision to take 20 furlough days, to provide additional cost savings, the leadership team of the School District of Philadelphia has agreed to double the number of furlough days that they will not be paid. Originally, the group was slated to take 8 furlough days, but in a unanimous decision, they will now take 16.

"Executive staff members are committed to the continued improvement of the academic achievement of the city’s public school students and much like Dr. Ackerman’s decision felt it was the right thing to do in the face of the massive looming budget shortfall," read a statement released today by the district.

"Other non-represented members of District staff making $100,000 or more are still scheduled to take 6 furlough days."

POSTED: Wednesday, March 9, 2011, 4:00 AM
The School Reform Commission holds Hope Moffett's fate. (STEVEN M. FALK / Staff photographer)

Daily News reporter Valerie Russ reports:

Penny Nixon, the distict’s associate superintendent of schools, discussed questions raised about Hope Moffett’s impending firing on Tuesday.

“This is not about Ms. Moffett’s teaching performance, whether she’s a great teacher,” Nixon said. “It’s not about her views on the Renaissance process. We have many teachers who express views and concerns about that.

Joshua Cornfield @ 4:00 AM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Tuesday, March 8, 2011, 5:29 PM

All over the commonwealth, education groups and advocates are expressing their alarm over Gov. Corbett's first proposed budget, which they say has returned funding for K-12 education to the 2008-09 funding level.

In his 2011-12 budget proposal, Corbett cut nearly $550 million in basic education funding.

"Today's proposal is a distressing step backward, one that will dramatically weaken our children’s education," said Ron Cowell, president of The Education Policy and Leadership Center and spokesman for the Public School Funding Campaign.

POSTED: Tuesday, March 8, 2011, 4:46 PM

Individuals, from the President of the United States to a local rapper, are taking a stand against bullying, a growing problem among youth today.

In one case, Senator Bob Casey reached across the aisle to push for a bill that would require school districts to get tougher on bullying. Meanwhile, President Obama and the First Lady will open the doors to the White House on Thursday for a bullying prevention program. In Philly, Sen. Williams and local celebrities will host their own forum on bullying the same day.

Casey (D-PA) and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) introduced bipartisan legislation entitled the Safe Schools Improvement Act that will help prevent bullying in schools.

POSTED: Thursday, March 3, 2011, 6:49 PM

Carol Heinsdorf, President of the Association of Philadelphia School Librarians, will be testifying to the School Reform Commission next Wednesday, making the case for library programming to be managed by certified librarians in new and existing Promise Academies.

Heinsdorf and other supporters have been working on the project since last August, and have been rallying the troops to get involved in pushing the district to hire more certified librarians.

Supt. Arlene Ackerman's "Imagine 2014" plan lists "libraries in all high schools" as a contributing factor to student success, Heinsdorf said. However, she added there are currently only 65 certified librarians in the entire 257-school district. Thirty-one high schools have certified librarians, while thirty do not.

POSTED: Thursday, March 3, 2011, 11:21 AM

Mayor Nutter stopped by the Daily News Wednesday to have a chat about the city's budget.

He said the city is facing a trifecta of budget concerns that could affect its financial future going forward, he said - the federal gov't is facing a $1.7 trillion deficit, the state is staring down a gap of $4 billion hole the School District of Philadelphia is expecting a $400 million shortage.

"Any one of those three can have a significant impact on us and we're very, very concerned about those," he said.

POSTED: Wednesday, March 2, 2011, 1:49 PM

New York's state senate Tuesday voted to end seniority protections for teachers in New York City, WNYC reports, but the measure faces an uncertain fate in the state Assembly.

In a win for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the Republican-led state senate narrowly approved a bill that would end seniority protections for teachers in New York City. But it's fate in the Assembly is far less certain.

The bill would do away with the so-called "last in, first out" rule that requires new teachers to be the first to go during layoffs regardless of merit.

About this blog
Dafney Tales has been covering the School District of Philadelphia for the Daily News since 2009. She hopes this blog will be a forum where taxpayers – parents, educators and advocates - as well as students, can engage in a constructive conversation about education in the city. Send tips to talesd@phillynews.com. Reach Dafney at talesd@phillynews.com.

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