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NEWS
August 15, 2007
THE MOST counterproductive trend in public institutions is a tendency for each new administration to cast aside all that has gone before. Years of progress can get wasted in the process. That's why the appointment of Sandra Dungee Glenn to chair the School Reform Commission is a sign that the progress the Philadelphia schools have made under the SRC's city-state partnership will continue. Glenn, appointed by Mayor Street as one of the city's two appointments to the five-member SRC, was named by Gov. Rendell to replace James Nevels, the SRC's founding chairman.
NEWS
February 25, 2010
The School Reform Commission voted unanimously yesterday to approve amendments to a controversial policy that would change the way charter schools can increase their enrollment or change their grade configuration. The policy would have permitted charters to apply for the changes only every five years, when a school's charter was up. Now, charters can apply for changes at renewal or during the third year of their charter. Until the proposed charter-school policy change, the SRC considered requests from charters on an individual basis and has had no policy for evaluating the success of each school.
NEWS
January 19, 2007
WE HAD hoped that talk of naming a Latino to replace Daniel Whelan, who is white, on the School Reform Commission would become a reality. After all, Latino students make up 17 percent of the district's 180,000 students. And it's a population that is struggling. Though the fastest-growing population in the city, Latinos have the lowest graduation rate and highest dropout rate - a staggering 50 percent - according to a Johns Hopkins University study. Instead, Gov. Rendell yesterday nominated Denise McGregor Armbrister, a highly qualified executive who runs the Wachovia Regional Foundation.
NEWS
November 8, 2007
WE WELCOME Heidi A. Ramirez's nomination to the School Reform Commission with great expectations. Ramirez, a young education specialist from Temple University, comes with both refreshing youth (she's 33) and an impressive resume that focuses on urban education, poor and minority students - exactly who comprise the School District of Philadelphia. With those credentials, we expect her to hit the ground running. And we are pleased that Gov. Rendell has selected for the board a Latina who, we hope, will have significant empathy for the district's growing Hispanic constituency.
NEWS
May 6, 2011
People are rightly questioning whether the Philadelphia School Reform Commission is fulfilling its role as an independent watchdog of the district's operations. At the very least, Gov. Corbett needs to show more concern by filling a seat on the governing body that has been vacant for months. David F. Girard-diCarlo was the only Republican on the five-member panel when he abruptly resigned in February. His absence has left a void in which few dissident views are expressed. Further damaging public confidence in the SRC is the poor leadership displayed recently by its chairman, Robert L. Archie, whose apparent breaches of conflict-of-interest rules ought to lead to his resignation.
NEWS
August 25, 2009 | By PHIL GOLDSMITH
AS INTERIM chief executive officer of the Philadelphia schools in 2000-2001, there were many days I wished I'd a magic wand to make board members disappear. I had a job to do, so how could I answer all their questions, from the mundane to the important to the inappropriate? So I can understand how School Superintendent Arlene Ackerman might've been frustrated by inquisitive SRC member Heidi Ramirez, who recently announced her resignation, citing her frustration at being ignored.
NEWS
August 26, 2009 | By DAFNEY TALES, talesd@phillynews.com 215-854-5084
AMID SPECULATION that Heidi Ramirez is leaving the School Reform Commission under political pressure, the status of the commission has grown even murkier. Gary Tuma, Gov. Rendell's spokesman, confirmed last night that Rendell has withdrawn his nomination for Joseph Dworetzky, who was his pick for another open spot on the board that oversees Philadelphia's public schools. Tuma said he wasn't sure when the nomination was pulled, but said that it was at least a week ago. A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi said the nomination was recalled June 30 - the deadline for the state budget.
NEWS
December 17, 2009 | By Kristen A. Graham INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
It's not only South Philadelphia High where immigrant students face problems, parents and an activist told the School Reform Commission yesterday. Even younger students in the neighborhood are routinely the victims of racism and bullying because they don't speak English, the parents said. Parents who don't speak English are ignored, and the educational services for their children are inadequate, they added. Angelica Viceriana, whose children attend Jackson Elementary in South Philadelphia, said she had been threatened by a district staffer when she signed up to speak to the commissioners.
NEWS
April 21, 2009 | By Kristen A. Graham INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The School Reform Commission was poised to award a $90,000 lobbying contract to Duane Morris Government Affairs L.L.C., an arm of the law firm that employs new panel chair Robert Archie. But last night, it appeared that Duane Morris was out. Archie said he would ask his law partners to withdraw the firm's proposal, which was set for a vote by the commission at tomorrow's meeting. He had nothing to do with the decision to give the state lobbying contract to Duane Morris, Archie said, adding that the choice was made before he was named to the panel.
NEWS
May 18, 2007 | By Susan Snyder INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Just two weeks before the Philadelphia School District hopes to close a budget deficit with more state and city funding, its leaders have angered the very two people who could help make it possible - Gov. Rendell and Mayor Street. Rendell and Street called into question the management capabilities of the School Reform Commission after it unilaterally appointed an interim management team to lead the district without consulting either leader. In a sharply worded statement issued yesterday, Street and Rendell opposed the commission's decision Wednesday to appoint Thomas M. Brady, a retired U.S. Army officer, as interim chief executive officer of the 174,000-student district.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
September 16, 2016 | By Valerie Russ, Staff Writer
WHAT HAD BEEN expected to be a raucous School Reform Commission meeting Thursday turned out to be rather mild since SRC Chairwoman Marjorie Neff announced early in the meeting that the panel would not vote immediately to either renew or reject charters for four area schools. Last spring, the district's charter school office had recommended the SRC not renew the operating charters of Universal's Vare Promise Neighborhood Partnership Charter and its Audenried Promise Neighborhood Partnership Charter, both in South Philadelphia, or those of Aspira's John B. Stetson Charter School in Kensington and Olney Charter High School in Olney because of low test scores and concerns about their operations and finances.
NEWS
August 20, 2016 | By Mensah M. Dean, Staff Writer
The Philadelphia School Reform Commission drew praise Thursday from education advocates by banning most suspensions for kindergartners and ending suspensions for students who violate the dress code. "We can't educate children who are not in school, and the fact that kindergartners are being suspended for things that are not considered violent behavior, that's something that we need to address," School Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said after the SRC meeting. "We have not seen zero tolerance be very effective, particularly for younger students," said SRC Chair Marjorie Neff.
NEWS
August 17, 2016 | By Mensah M. Dean, Staff Writer
The Philadelphia School Reform Commission's nearly two-year battle to cancel the city teachers' union contract and impose new work rules to save money was soundly defeated again Monday. The state Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision last January that blocked the five-member commission from forcing terms on the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. Union leaders called the ruling a rebuke of a power grab, and a spokesman for the commission and Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said no further legal action would be taken.
NEWS
July 3, 2016 | By Mensah M. Dean, Staff Writer
The School Reform Commission on Friday voted to begin the process of shutting down one of the oldest charter schools in the city, and gave its blessing for another charter to add high school grades. Citing years of low test scores, a declining graduation rate, and a host of other academic and administrative deficiencies, the commission voted, 4-1, to revoke its operating agreement with World Communications Charter in Center City. The next step for World Communications is an Aug. 15 hearing, then another SRC vote.
NEWS
June 30, 2016
The Philadelphia School District's quixotic legal defense of a racially driven contract award is threatening to become even more misguided, ham-fisted, and expensive than the original blunder. A federal jury delivered the district's second resounding defeat stemming from the disputed security-camera contract this week, entering a $2.3 million judgment against the schools and the late Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, as the Inquirer's Martha Woodall and Jeremy Roebuck reported. After a weeklong trial, the jury found that Ackerman discriminated against a white-owned firm, Security & Data Technologies (SDT)
NEWS
June 29, 2016 | By Lisa Haver
AMERICA WAS founded on a system of open government in which all citizens, rich or poor, should have equal access to those who make the laws and should be able to express opinions on those laws before they are enacted. Our nation's founders recognized that power must be divided among branches of government and that there must be checks on power. And when government officials betray the public trust, we can vote them out of office. But there are no checks on those appointed to govern the School District of Philadelphia and no way to vote them out. The School Reform Commission, which has invoked "special powers" when it sees the law as an impediment to its agenda, is not compelled to follow the basic tenets of democracy.
NEWS
June 25, 2016
ISSUE | GENDER RIGHTS Consider all students In its zeal to protect the rights of transgender students, the Philadelphia School Reform Commission is ignoring the rights of all the other children in the public schools ("SRC gives transgender students choices," Friday). What rights? Privacy rights. Based on the SRC's new policy, transgender students will be referred to by their pronoun of choice, use their bathroom of choice, and try out for an athletic team of their choice. But what about the child who is uncomfortable changing clothes in front of a member of the opposite sex?
NEWS
June 19, 2016 | By Mensah M. Dean, Staff Writer
When other high school seniors are fretting over test scores and class rank, Adrianna Branin's struggle is to be called by the right pronoun. For Branin, 17, who was born female and appears feminine and attends Franklin Learning Center and will graduate Monday wearing a navy blue boys' robe, it's never she. Branin prefers them, they, or their. And when the principal or teachers slip up and call Branin she, Branin is offended. "Pronouns are huge," Branin, who works at Attic Youth Center, which aids and supports LGBTQ youth, said in an interview Friday.
NEWS
May 28, 2016 | By Mensah M. Dean, STAFF WRITER
The School Reform Commission Thursday night adopted a $2.8 billion budget for the 2016-17 academic year that includes a modest surplus, but hefty expenditure increases for charter schools and employee pensions. The commission also once again put off taking action on the fates of two charters run by Aspira Inc., the North Philadelphia-based Latino education nonprofit. The five-member school district governing body had been expected to act on a recommendation from its charter staff not to renew Aspira's contract.
NEWS
May 21, 2016 | By Mensah M. Dean, Staff Writer
Two charter school operators that were expected to lose two schools each, due to various academic and governance shortcomings, instead received temporary lifelines at Thursday night's School Reform Commission meeting. Aspira Inc., the North Philadelphia nonprofit dedicated to educating Latino children, was given one week to persuade the SRC to allow it to continue managing two of its struggling schools. Leading Aspira's effort is former City Solicitor Ken Trujillo, who was hired recently and pledged during the meeting that he would answer all outstanding questions about Olney Charter High School and John B. Stetson Charter School.
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