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NEWS
March 19, 2010
KANSAS CITY, Mo., is on track to close 29 schools due to declining enrollment, and many other school districts are verging on similar action, so it wouldn't be illogical to predict a major overhaul of every phase of America's system of public education. I believe a major reduction in salaries, pensions and other benefits will be necessary to correct a dire situation. Politicians and school administrators can make speeches and promises, but money is the final arbiter. Ephraim Levin, Philadelphia
NEWS
October 15, 2001 | By TIMOTHY POTTS
IF THE EVENTS of the past few weeks have taught us nothing, we have learned that we Americans, including Pennsylvanians, are capable of great acts of heroism and generosity. We have a deep reservoir of compassion when we see innocents suffering through no fault of their own. Even those of us who have no connection to New York City or Washington couldn't wait to donate our blood, sweat, tears and hard-earned money toward their rescue. It's enough to make me believe that we in Pennsylvania really do have the heart and will to rescue our own innocents.
NEWS
October 14, 2010 | By Tom Infield, Inquirer Staff Writer
Calling him "the education candidate," a public-school advocacy group endorsed Democrat Dan Onorato for governor Wednesday afternoon. Education Voters of Pennsylvania, a nonpartisan, nonprofit group based in Philadelphia, said it preferred Onorato over Republican Tom Corbett because of his support for gradually raising state funding for most school districts according to a formula first approved by the legislature in 2008. Corbett has said he does not support increased funding because of budget crises that the state faces in the next few years.
NEWS
April 2, 2010
AMERICA IS now in the process of dismantling its public-school system. This is the result of indulging in expensive school contracts, lowering standards for teachers and pupils and a funding system that is both archaic and unworkable. All of the foregoing, tolerated by political know-nothings and exacerbated by tens of thousands of drones, has managed to wreck America's infrastructure of learning. What solutions now, disgusting, disingenuous politicians? Ephraim Levin, Philadelphia
NEWS
September 16, 2013 | By Jonathan Lai, Inquirer Staff Writer
Stepping into Philadelphia's school-funding crisis, the Rev. Al Sharpton delivered a fiery address Saturday linking public education to the civil rights movement and promising a return to the city to "take the veil off. " The problem, he said in his keynote speech at the "Higher Education Awareness, Dropout Prevention, and Health Initiative" conference, is "a direct effort to eliminate public education. " He then seized upon a theme often trumpeted by city education activists: "You got money, [Gov.]
NEWS
April 20, 1999 | By Louise Harbach, INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
Nationwide she may be known as the founder of the American Red Cross, but in Burlington County, Clara Barton will be remembered for promoting public education. At Burlington and Crosswicks Streets in Bordentown is a one-room brick schoolhouse, believed to be the first public school in the county, which Barton, then 30, started in 1852 as part of her goal to overcome a bias in the community against "pauper schools. " "Something drew me to the State of New Jersey," Barton wrote in her memoirs.
NEWS
May 15, 2012 | By Lisa Haver
If the School Reform Commission and Chief Recovery Officer Thomas Knudsen have their way, we may witness the end of public education in Philadelphia. A five-year plan proposed by Philadelphia School District officials calls for the overhaul of virtually every element of the system — from finances to academics to central management. These drastic changes suggest to many that the district is intent on expediting the privatization of its schools, despite its promises to stay the traditional route and invest in neighborhoods and communities.
NEWS
May 29, 1994
The most encouraging news about the plan for Philadelphia's public schools announced last week is that, at last, the key players are singing from the same hymnal. When Mayor Rendell, City Council President John Street, and the school board president, Rotan Lee, presented a list of ideas to prevent $29 million in cuts from the school district's budget, they talked more than economics. They talked about addressing the severe credibility problem of the district, the continuing perception that it just sucks up public money to support a "bloated, inefficient and topheavy bureaucracy.
NEWS
March 3, 2003
QUICK RECAP: A few weeks ago, Philadelphia School District CEO Paul Vallas all but canned two principals who had allowed students to get a bit out of hand at their high schools. The crackdown was controversial, but few could debate its symbolic value. High school principals were on notice that a higher standard will be enforced. But a district doesn't survive on symbolism alone. Vallas has now followed up with a bold and substantial plan to overhaul nearly all Philadelphia high schools.
NEWS
September 27, 1989 | BY CAL THOMAS
All 50 governors will meet Wednesday in Charlottesville, Va., for an education summit convened by President Bush. These days it seems that everyone is calling for a restructuring of the public school system, including the National Education Association, whose president, Keith Geiger, recently said "Our experience tells us that our schools need massive, substantive, systemic change. " They do, indeed, and the first change that needs to be made is to take them away from the NEA and the government and convert them into privately run, parent-controlled institutions.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
March 17, 2014 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
EDUCATION ADVOCATES CALLED for increased oversight and transparency of the state's charter schools, while sparring over a state Senate proposal that would allow universities to authorize new charters during a public hearing yesterday at City Hall. The hearing was the last of five held across the state by Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale on the topic of charters, which have grown sharply during the last decade. DePasquale, who took office last year, has chided state education officials for not holding charters more accountable.
NEWS
February 28, 2014 | BY JENNY DeHUFF, Daily News Staff Writer dehuffj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5218
IN YET ANOTHER effort to hoist the beleaguered school district onto stable fiscal ground, City Council is floating a new proposal ahead of what's expected to be a contentious budget season. Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez introduced a bill yesterday that funnels a greater percentage of property taxes from the general fund to the schools. About 45 percent of property-tax revenues now go to city coffers, while the remaining 55 percent goes dedicated to the school district. Sanchez's bill would tip the scales so that the city gets 40 percent and the school district 60 percent.
NEWS
February 24, 2014
Mayor Nutter's plea for the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce to do more to help city schools was another sad reminder that the system still hasn't closed a funding gap that threatens to create yet another fiscal crisis next year. "Solving the education problem must become a business and economic imperative," Nutter said Tuesday. "If we don't address this problem now, in 10 years, we won't have a competitive workforce, meaning you won't have a qualified pool of workers to fill available positions.
NEWS
February 11, 2014
LAST WEEK, the School District of Philadelphia confirmed what it feared back in November: It is facing an extra $25 million in unbudgeted costs associated with increased enrollment in charter schools. Charters have enrolled 1,600 more students than allowed by their agreements with the district. As if we needed another example, this situation is a perfect illustration of the lack of a coherent strategy for public education in the state. Although the School Reform Commission authorizes charter schools, the SRC has no authority to impose enrollment caps on schools, which means that they have no control over the costs associated with charters.
NEWS
January 23, 2014
The state senators who will individually interview Bill Green about his nomination for chairman of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission should be as thorough as if they were questioning him in a formal hearing - which, unfortunately, they won't. A huge flaw in the SRC appointment process is that it offers little or no opportunity for public input after the mayor and governor make their choices. That can reduce the required Senate confirmation to a rubber stamp. But that should not be the Senate's approach to any SRC nomination, and especially not when it comes to Green, whose past statements in favor of charters and vouchers have some in the education establishment questioning his commitment to traditional public schools.
NEWS
January 22, 2014
Vote on school taxes I recently introduced House Resolution 613, which seeks a nonbinding resolution on the May 20 ballot asking voters whether they would support increasing the state sales, income, and business taxes - or any combination of taxes - to support public education. Gov. Corbett's reported backing of an election-year funding boost for schools reeks of pandering, not passion, for public education. After all, education funding - like transportation infrastructure funding - is a core function of state government, and perhaps even more critical to the commonwealth's future.
NEWS
January 20, 2014 | By Bob Warner and Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writers
When Bill Green last sought reelection to City Council, in 2011, he was so openly interested in Philadelphia's 2015 mayoral race that it became part of his pitch at ward meetings. Other candidates waiting to speak took to joking about it. "Here's the part where he runs for mayor," one candidate for judge whispered to another as Green was speaking one night in Fairmount. But his interest in that 2015 race has faded in recent months. When Pedro Ramos abruptly resigned in October as chairman of the School Reform Commission, Green began lobbying Gov. Corbett for an appointment to lead the agency.
NEWS
January 19, 2014 | By Kristen A. Graham and Jeff Gammage, Inquirer Staff Writers
Gov. Corbett on Friday remade the School Reform Commission - and possibly the Philadelphia School District - in announcing two new choices for the panel. Corbett will nominate City Councilman Bill Green, a Democrat, and social-services advocate Farah Jimenez, a Republican, to the SRC. If approved by the state Senate, Green would have to resign his Council seat and would become SRC chair. But even as the governor praised the nominees, Mayor Nutter stepped into the fray. He lauded Jimenez, but called Green's selection "quite frankly, perplexing.
NEWS
January 16, 2014
WE DON'T fully embrace conspiracy theories, like the one about corporations in cahoots to privatize public education, but that's not to say that we're blind as to how budget cuts are systematically dismantling public education, especially in this city. And, given the last six months of the school district's financial woes, we're ready to sign on to a new theory: how lawmakers are conspiring to keep the city's students - many of them low-income and disadvantaged - from getting to college, thereby relegating those students to remain in the margins of the economy for the rest of their lives.
NEWS
December 14, 2013 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
William Fedullo, the personal injury lawyer who takes over as Philadelphia bar chancellor Jan. 1, has a reputation as a consensus builder who connects with clients and opposing attorneys, a trait that helped him fashion settlements in courtroom disputes where adversaries often are separated by wide differences and heated emotions. It is a quality that he will need if he is to make progress on his goal of having the Philadelphia Bar Association help forge a solution to the city School District's chronic money shortages.
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