November 29, 2012 |
Three Camden students seeking to transfer out of their poorly performing district on the state's dime, with a petition that is seen as an effort to enable school choice in the city, will have to wait for a final decision. That's the result of the New Jersey education commissioner's siding with an administrative law judge's decision to deny swift relief to the students. In the petition, filed in October, lawyers for the three children and their parents asked the state to waste no time in reassigning Keanu Vargas, 12, a seventh grader at Pyne Poynt Family School; Freddy Hernandez, 5, a first grader at Davis Elementary; and Emmanuel Roldan, 8, a fourth grader at Dudley Elementary, to better-performing parochial or other schools not part of the Camden School District, claiming the boys were losing valuable time academically.
October 29, 2012
Christmas in mid-October Strolling through the garden section of a big-box store, I was amazed to see many lighted Christmas trees (at $199.99 each) and to hear an ongoing and very loud rendition of "Jingle Bells. " This display constitutes a total ignoring of fall and its natural beauty, as well as all of the wonderful events, activities, and holidays that will occur in the next two months. This is really a not-too-subtle attempt to develop a purposely extended commercial Christmas selling season that will distract attention and interest in such happenings as Halloween, the World Series, the presidential election, Thanksgiving Day, the observance of Pearl Harbor Day, and even Hanukkah.
September 6, 2012 |
WHAT SHOULD the penalty be for two Philadelphia parents caught sending their child just to a neighboring school district just over the Philadelphia border? In the spectrum of law enforcement, what is the appropriate punishment for these parents trying to get their elementary-school-age daughter a better education in a suburban school district? Should the daughter be removed and the parents warned? Should she be removed and the parents fined? Should the daughter be removed and the parents forced to pay back to the taxpayers of Lower Moreland Township $10,753, which is the cost of tuition for an out-of-district child attending Lower Moreland schools?
August 27, 2012 |
Joe Watkins has worked for a U.S. president and a senator, has served as an investment company manager, and twice ran for statewide office. In 2010, Students First, the pro-vouchers and charter-school political action committee he headed, made the largest total contribution from a single source to one candidate in Pennsylvania history - $3.3 million to Philadelphia Democrat Anthony Hardy Williams. Watkins, 59, lives in Philadelphia, where he's the pastor of a North Philadelphia church.
August 26, 2012 |
The Chester Upland school board voted unanimously Thursday night to work with state-appointed Chief Recovery Officer Joe Watkins in crafting a recovery plan for the financially distressed Delaware County district. Watkins was selected as chief recovery officer this month by Pennsylvania Education Secretary Ron Tomalis under new legislation that gives Watkins broad power to recommend closing schools, renegotiating the teachers' contract, making budget cuts, privatizing school management, and turning schools into charters.
August 25, 2012 |
The leadership of the nonprofit Philadelphia School Partnership announced Thursday that it was more than halfway to its goal of raising $100 million to pump into expanding strong schools, whether they're charter, public, or private. That the group has shaken loose $51.9 million in just under two years in a tough economy is a symbol of the considerable and rising influence of the partnership (PSP) in the city's education sector. An energized Mayor Nutter, speaking at a news conference with deep-pocketed donors and city school officials to announce PSP's fund-raising prowess, made it clear he was on board with the organization's goals.
August 24, 2012 |
IT MIGHT HAVE once seemed unthinkable: Handing the keys to a large, troubled public-school district over to a high-profile advocate for increasing privatization, including vouchers and for-profit private schools. But activists said that last Friday's surprise announcement that Gov. Corbett had named the Rev. Joe Watkins - an MSNBC pundit who headed the Students First PAC, the pro-voucher group that's dumped millions of campaign dollars on Corbett and other pols - as chief recovery officer to run the Chester Upland schools in Delaware County marks a tipping point.
August 19, 2012 |
Joe Watkins, head of a political action committee that supports school choice initiatives, former managing director in an asset management firm, and a Philadelphia minister, has been appointed by state Education Secretary Ron Tomalis to guide the financial recovery of the struggling Chester Upland School District. "Joe is a qualified individual who has the ability to assist the Chester Upland School District with long-term financial stability, as well as ensuring the district's students continue to have access to quality academic programs," Tomalis said in a statement Friday.