April 25, 2013
Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. has released a more realistic budget that details the devastation to Philadelphia schools that is likely to occur without additional funding. But the lack of urgency among city officials to respond to the looming disaster suggests they either don't believe Hite's math or don't understand that the city's economic future depends on how well it educates its children. Hite's doomsday budget, unlike an earlier spending plan he presented, includes all the educational cuts that will be implemented unless the schools get a requested $60 million in additional funding from the city and $120 million from the state.
April 20, 2013 |
If the "catastrophic" budget picture Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. laid out Thursday comes to pass, Philadelphia schools would be virtually unrecognizable come September. There could be no money for counselors or librarians. There might be no sports or extracurricular activities. No dedicated funds for secretaries, aides, or summer school would be provided. And that would follow the steep cuts made over the last two years. There also could be 3,000 layoffs, including some teachers.
March 19, 2013 |
Pennsylvania can generate $365 million for public schools - without raising taxes. This is more than four times what Gov. Corbett proposes to restore in his recent budget proposal. The General Assembly can produce these savings, including an estimated $175 million for Philadelphia, by passing my bipartisan charter and cyber charter school reform bill (H.B. 934). I support charter schools as a way to produce innovations that can be duplicated in other public schools. That was the intent of the 1996 law authorizing these schools in the commonwealth.
December 13, 2012
By Hillary Linardopoulos After I read that the Philadelphia School District had given a number of administrative employees significant raises in recent months, I wondered how officials had found the money - especially given that teachers like me are spending thousands of dollars of our own money to make sure students have paper, pencils, and more. Some of the more than $300,000 in raises were tied to promotions, and I recognize that some of these folks likely deserve more pay. But it's still hard to swallow when you're in an under-supplied classroom day in and day out, being told that you're just going to have to make it work.
August 30, 2012 |
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Bobby Jones enjoyed a stellar 12-year professional basketball career that included eight seasons, two all-star berths and one championship with the 76ers. But he earned his first major exposure as a member of the 1972 U.S. Olympic men's basketball team. And of the 12 members, Jones was among the least likely to earn a spot - because he was not initially invited to try out. Back then, the team was made up of college players, and 59 participated in two weeks of Olympic trials at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.
August 17, 2012 |
LAST SUMMER, Chris Wilson arrived on the Saint Joseph's campus, started classes, spoke with his coaches, met his new teammates and promptly got ignored. Well, ignored regarding basketball, which was why he got a scholarship to St. Joe's in the first place. The NCAA, in its infinite wisdom, mandated that coaches could have no basketball interaction with players, new or old, during the summer. Coaches could not even walk through the gym when players were there with a basketball. So, Wilson was left to figure it out on his own. So what was Wilson, along with some of his teammates, doing on the St. Joe's practice court this summer, surrounded by Hawks coach Phil Martelli and some of his assistants?
July 23, 2012
By Jerry Jordan It's blockbuster season at the movies, the time of year when many of us allow ourselves to suspend reality, munch on over-buttered popcorn, and get lost in a world of superheroes, alien attacks, and outrageous plot lines. Philadelphia has its own far-fetched story line this summer. It's about a school district that, even though it's so cash-strapped it can't afford summer school, decides to spend $139 million over the next five years for an education reform strategy that won't improve student achievement.
July 12, 2012 |
Cassie Harris had a problem: her niece was struggling with math and reading and needed summer school classes, but the nearly broke Philadelphia School District wasn't offering them. Enter Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church, where on Tuesday 20 students bent over worksheets, summarized passages, and worked one-on-one with teachers on word problems. All free. "It's like a miracle," said Harris, whose niece and daughter are both attending the Mother Bethel summer school, which began this week and will last through Aug. 3. Niece Sabrina Harris is catching up, Harris said, and her daughter, Briana, is soaking up enrichment activities.
July 10, 2012 |
WE ALL KNOW the problems of the city's schools: the thousands of kids who drop out, or the thousands who are failing, or those who do graduate but with a subpar education that prepares them neither for college nor the workplace. Why don't we hold those responsible for this situation more accountable? We're not talking about teachers or administrators, unions or management, or even students and parents. We're talking about the 100,000 people who own properties but aren't paying their property taxes, and thus robbing the schools of the money they need.