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School Choice

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NEWS
November 27, 1991 | by John M. Baer, Daily News Staff Writer
A divided state Senate has approved the nation's broadest school "choice" bill and sent it to the House and an uncertain future. The measure would give state vouchers of as much as $900 to parents choosing to send a child to a school, public or private, other than the public school they'd normally attend. While other states have some form of "school choice," none is as generous as the Pennsylvania proposal. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Frank Salvatore, R-Philadelphia, passed yesterday, 28-22, after a day and a night of sometimes bitter debate.
NEWS
September 25, 2013 | By Julie Zauzmer, Inquirer Staff Writer
It was AP English, not government, but House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was familiar with the topic of instruction Monday morning in the writing center at Freire Charter School. "We're studying point of view," a student told the congressional visitor, and Cantor chuckled. Through the window of the third-floor classroom, Cantor and the students could hear about a dozen protesters outside chanting, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Eric Cantor's got to go. " "You look out the window," Cantor told the class.
NEWS
June 21, 1995 | BY MATT DANIELS
A glance at some recent newspaper stories and editorials on school choice would lead one to believe the school choice movement is a Catholic conspiracy being engineered by a sinister group of red-robed figures who take their orders from the Vatican. Some in the local media apparently believe the school choice movement is some sort of papal plot to take over education in Pennsylvania. As a Protestant Philadelphian, I feel it is important to address the notion that the push for school choice is primarily a Catholic movement.
NEWS
May 21, 2010 | By Cal Thomas
Few organizations are as consistently liberal as the Anti-Defamation League, especially when it comes to matters of church and state. The ADL devotes an entire page on its website ( www.adl.org ) to church-state separation, and it wants the "wall" between the two to remain as high and impenetrable as possible, believing that to lower it would have a negative effect on both. Which makes it remarkable that the executive committee of the ADL's Philadelphia chapter has voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution endorsing vouchers that would allow children in underperforming schools in poor neighborhoods to escape to schools that would give them a safer environment to learn in and, thus, a better education.
NEWS
July 22, 1992 | By MARTHA C. BROWN
The educational choice movement is gaining ground. Yesterday, President Bush was in Philadelphia at the Archbishop Ryan High School promoting the provision of $1,000 vouchers to low- and moderate-income parents. The administration's endorsement comes in the wake of state efforts. California's Choice in Education League has announced that it has enough signatures to put a state school voucher referendum on the ballot. In March, the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the right of poor Milwaukee parents to choose private schools paid for with tax dollars.
NEWS
May 13, 1999 | BY WALTER PALMER
Just recently, the Philadelphia Compact commissioned a poll on where Philadelphians stand on school choice and vouchers. The results were not significantly different from prior studies. In past results, offered by Temple University, Millersville State University, state Rep. Dwight Evans and the Commonwealth Foundation, the polls showed that from 60 percent to 75 percent of African- Americans and Hispanics support vouchers, particularly poor urban residents. Not until the Gallup National Poll in 1998 showed that a majority of white Americans support school choice did the issue start to get serious attention in certain professional communities.
NEWS
July 14, 2005 | By John Merrifield and David Salisbury
The United States education system is governed by the political process. Public elections and lobbying work to establish where schools will be built, what will be taught, and which teachers will be hired. As a result, our elementary and secondary education system contains all the inefficiency and stagnation symptomatic of government bureaucracies. Low quality, high costs, a lack of innovation, and perverse incentive structures plague our education system. Thousands of reforms and billions of dollars worth of tinkering with the system have failed to improve the lot of students.
NEWS
April 29, 1991 | BY PAUL M. HENKELS
It is about time we address head-on the root cause for our social problems such as poverty, crime, drugs, etc. More money for welfare, prisons, condoms, and treatment might temporarily help those who suffer but it won't make a dent in solving the basic problems. Only education will. Then there is unemployment, partly brought on by foreign competition. If our work force were better educated, our country would be more competitive. Just like we used to be. But education is ineffective in this country.
NEWS
June 2, 1999 | BY CHARLES P. PIZZI
Only a few weeks remain before our lawmakers in Harrisburg adjourn for the summer. A very critical issue remains on their calendar, and each moment that a decision is delayed, the future of another child and another family is threatened. I urge everyone in our community to ask their legislators to consider and support the education reform plan now before them.For many of us, the school choice initiative proposed by Gov. Ridge offers hope for struggling school districts and a more promising future for our children and families.
NEWS
June 16, 1993 | By Tia Swanson, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
The school board figures $50,000 is what it costs them every year for a teacher, and in March, during the last hectic days of a very tough budget year, each $50,000 meant something. In the end, 17 teaching positions were slashed, including two high school English teachers, three elementary-school gym teachers and three teachers from the elementary talented-and-gifted program. When they left, the primary grades' program ended. Now comes a crisis of a different sort, involving that same figure, the same job, the same budget.
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NEWS
February 2, 2016 | BY ANTHONY HARDY WILLIAMS
WHEN IT COMES to fighting for parents and families of the children in our public schools, School Reform Commission member Sylvia Simms pulls no punches. That makes her a hero to me and to the thousands of Philadelphia families who can't wait any longer for quality public education. Simms made headlines last week following her decision to support the turnaround of the Wister Elementary School in Germantown. Like it or not, let's at least acknowledge that it took guts for her to advocate that Mastery Charter Schools should be allowed once again to lead the Wister turnaround effort.
NEWS
October 9, 2015
NO ONE IS telling Superintendent William Hite he doesn't have the right to do his job. Part of a superintendent's job is looking at data and engaging with school communities, not doubling down on unproven initiatives. Converting public schools to charters has raised legitimate concerns from financial analysts and academics as well as communities most affected: * Three of the seven charter conversion schools started in 2010 were deemed failing and have or will likely see their charters revoked because of poor academic performance.
NEWS
October 9, 2015 | By Kathy Boccella, Inquirer Staff Writer
With Gov. Wolf's backing, the Chester Upland School District asked a judge Wednesday to approve a deal under which it would pay its three main charter schools a substantially reduced rate for special-education students. The financially crippled district has argued that charter-school payments, which total $64 million annually, have left the school system destitute and struggling to pay its teachers. At a hearing Wednesday in Media, school officials asked Delaware County President Judge Chad F. Kenney to sign off on the agreement to cut payments to charters by as much as $24 million, reducing tuition for special-education students from $40,000 to $27,028.
NEWS
August 29, 2015 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
In a decision that could prove far-reaching, Commonwealth Court ruled Thursday that the Philadelphia School District does not have the power to override state law and limit charter-school enrollment. The School Reform Commission moved in 2010 to cap enrollment in - and therefore payments to - some city charters that had previously agreed to limits, but it declined to do so under new charters. Those schools, Richard Allen Preparatory and Delaware Valley, were ultimately joined by Folk-Arts Cultural Treasures Charter School, Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Partners Charter School, and Wakisha Charter School in a suit claiming the caps were illegal.
NEWS
August 20, 2015 | By Kathy Boccella, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Wolf administration on Tuesday urged a Delaware County Court judge to drastically cut how much the financially troubled Chester Upland School District pays charter schools for special-education students and online learning. Gov. Wolf said the district's survival could hinge on winning court approval for the cuts in charter reimbursements, which would total an estimated $24.7 million in the 2015-16 school year. "This needs to end," Wolf said, referring to Chester Upland's 25-year history of financial crises, which have led to millions of dollars in emergency state aid, massive layoffs, and a plunge in enrollment in traditional public schools.
NEWS
June 25, 2015 | By Kathy Boccella, Inquirer Staff Writer
Joe Watkins - then-Gov. Tom Corbett's pick to oversee the Chester Upland schools, which the state said lacked the ability to address their financial disarray - said Tuesday that he is resigning to take a job with a new social-media company. Watkins, who has been the district's chief recovery officer for 21/2 years, will leave Tuesday. He will become executive vice president for external affairs for ElectedFace, a website that aims to connect people to government officials in every political district in America.
NEWS
June 11, 2015 | By Chris Palmer, Inquirer Staff Writer
A state Senate committee on Tuesday approved a bill that would create a state-run system to take over low-performing Pennsylvania schools, sending to the full chamber a measure that Philadelphia's superintendent said could be devastating to city schools. Modeled after similar legislation in states such as Louisiana and Tennessee, Senate Bill 6 mandates that the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools - as defined by the state's school performance profile - transform themselves within three years, either by contracting with outside providers or converting to charters.
NEWS
June 1, 2015 | Claudia Vargas, Inquirer Staff Writer
There was no way around it. Democratic mayoral nominee Jim Kenney ran a better campaign than his closest rival, State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams. The pundits and politicians said it. Now, Williams himself is saying it. "Jimmy had a better campaign," Williams said. "I'm not going to parse words. . . . He was a class act in how he conducted himself throughout the campaign. " In a wide-ranging postelection interview with The Inquirer, Williams said Kenney bested him in every way, from getting his message out to garnering key political support to avoiding mistakes.
NEWS
May 9, 2015 | Chris Hepp, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Democratic mayoral primary has apparently passed another monetary milestone. American Cities, the independent expenditure group formed to support State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, has purchased $940,000 in television ad time for the closing week of the campaign, according to two sources familiar with political ad placements on local stations. That seems likely to constitute the largest concentrated ad buy for a Philadelphia mayoral candidate. It would exceed the spending rate of Tom Knox in 2007, when he paid $1.6 million for ads over the last two weeks of the campaign.
NEWS
April 28, 2015 | By Angelo Fichera, Inquirer Staff Writer
A school-choice advocacy group in Philadelphia will roll out on Monday the first of a planned series of television advertisements to promote its cause as voters consider whom to support in the mayor's race. Mike Wang, executive director of Philadelphia School Advocacy Partners, said his organization intended to spend more than $1 million on television ads in the coming months, much of it after the May 19 primary. "This is about getting every child access to a great school," Wang said, adding that the group would spend "whatever it will take to do that.
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