August 29, 2005 |
FOR MANY parents, the start of the school year poses challenges far more serious than getting their kids to choose back-to-school clothes. Many have to worry about their children making it to school at all. Truancy continues to be an obstacle in the city's efforts to improve life for all young people. On any day, 12,000 Philadelphia children are truant. The Department of Human Services uses a network of services to reduce the truancy rate. In the last year, 97 percent of the youth served by these programs have been removed from the School District's chronic truancy list.
August 18, 2005 |
You'd almost think they didn't want to leave. Yesterday was the Philadelphia School Reform Commission's last regularly scheduled meeting ever at its stately headquarters on 21st Street off the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, home to the Board of Education since 1932. And it was a long one, three hours and 15 minutes. The reason? Contentious debate over Advanced Placement courses, truancy, university partnerships, to name some of the issues. Several of the items were tabled and are to be taken up again in September at the district's new headquarters at 440 N. Broad St. One of the longest discussions was over an item not even on the agenda: whether to require students who enroll in AP courses to take and pass the AP exam if they want to pass the course.
October 31, 2004 |
Wearing baseball caps and long T-shirts, about 20 students wedged themselves behind desks in a classroom on a Saturday afternoon. One girl wearing a corduroy jacket admitted to the group that she liked to watch other students fight. "So I can see who gets beat," she said. But when asked whether they wanted to go to school in a peaceful environment, nearly all their hands went up. These students were not in detention but had given up a day off to attend the Philadelphia School District's second annual student antiviolence conference at Drexel University.
September 11, 2004 |
A Superior Court judge upheld City Council subpoenas yesterday for top school officials on the issue of violence and truancy in Camden schools. Yet school officials and council leaders both declared victory. "The judge gave us the green light," Camden City Council President Angel Fuentes told a group of about 20 demonstrators outside court after the hearing. They had gathered to support the subpoenas. School district representatives said they were pleased as well. "This is a victory for the Board of Education," Board President Phil Freeman said, adding that the decision upheld the separation of powers between council and the board.
August 6, 2004 |
Camden City Council President Angel Fuentes said last night that he would subpoena the school district's superintendent and board president to testify before a Council committee examining school violence. Fuentes made the announcement at the start of the fifth in a series of hearings on violence, truancy and the dropout rate. He said the subpoenas will go out today because he is frustrated that neither Board President Philip E. Freeman Sr. nor Superintendent Annette Knox had attended the hearings.
July 9, 2004 |
Camden School Superintendent Annette Knox will be among those subpoenaed to appear before a special ad hoc committee of Camden City Council that will begin investigating violence and truancy in the public school district next week. Knox, who declined to comment yesterday, is one of a number of local officials expected to be called before the committee. Such action by a council is rare in New Jersey, but authorities said a municipal provision permits it. The committee will hold four public meetings in Council chambers July 14, 19, 21 and 28 between 5 and 7 p.m., according to a news release issued yesterday by City Council President Angel Fuentes.
November 9, 2003 |
Donnita Washington wasn't afraid of the violence at Audenried High School in South Philadelphia. But after three years, she was fed up with it. "Things happened last year that aren't happening this year," said Washington, a senior. "Like last year there were fights, a lot of fights. " This year, she said, the principal is in charge, not the students. This year, Washington said, she is enjoying school. Washington, 18, was among more than 300 Philadelphia students attending the School District's "Knock Out the Violence With Peace" conference at the Hyatt Regency on Penn's Landing yesterday.
September 6, 2003 |
Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham offered the city's public school students a carrot yesterday. And then she and Philadelphia schools chief executive Paul G. Vallas showed off a great big stick. At a Center City news conference, Abraham and Vallas announced a donation of school supplies - including pens, calculators, notebooks and crayons - for more than 500 needy students funded by Abraham's Urban Genesis nonprofit corporation. But, flanked by three City Council members, prosecutors, and a school law enforcement official, the pair devoted most of their appearance to touting anti-truancy measures aimed at reducing absenteeism among the system's 200,000 students.
March 19, 2003 |
It took a day before her father was able to post bail, leaving her to spend an uncomfortable night in the Delaware County prison. She still faces fines and more time in court. Her travails result not so much from what she has done, but what she has failed to do: ensure that her child goes to school. The woman's 15-year-old son, the oldest of four children, is a chronic truant from Upper Darby High School. Through February, he had missed 66 days. That's a dangerous thing to do in the Upper Darby School District, where truancy is taken very seriously.
March 12, 2003
IF TODAY is a typical day, 15,000 desks in the city's public schools will be empty, because of students playing hookey. That's right: Fifteen thousand. And these empty desks and chairs represent a lot more than a whopping waste of taxpayer money - based on per- pupil spending, daily truancy represents over a half million dollars a day, thrown out the window. These truants are also potent pictures of something far more disturbing: too many absentee parents who don't care enough to make sure their kids get to school.