Archive

Mixed messages making school budgets a challenge

March 26, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

Imagine sitting on Santa’s lap and telling him everything you want for Christmas. Then, imagine Santa removing his beard and telling you, Don’t count on it.

In a way, that’s what’s happening in Pennsylvania.

NAUGTY

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Nine of Pennsylvania’s 10 largest cities have more pensioners than workers

March 24, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Eric Boehm | Watchdog.org

Meet the new poster child for Pennsylvania’s municipal pension problems.

York is a mid-sized city of 43,000 residents in central Pennsylvania near the state’s southern border that’s facing more than $64 million in pension-related debt.… Read the rest

Despite high marks, Pennsylvania charter schools still under attack

March 24, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

PHILADELPHIA — A national education reform organization charges school choice and education freedom are under siege in the City of Brotherly Love.

NO CHOICE: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has taken an adversarial position against charter

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Bills aim to protect Pennsylvania’s best teachers

March 19, 2015 | By | Posted in Legislature

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

Twin bills seek to eliminate the fat-cat mentality protecting weak Pennsylvania teachers from layoffs because they’ve been on the job longer than some of their more talented peers.

HIGH STANDARDS: Rep. Stephen Bloom, R-Cumberland, introduced

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Are Philly school reformers the silent majority?

March 17, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

PHILADELPHIA — Union-financed activists are drowning out the voices of parents who want better opportunities for their kids, some believe.

Last month’s well publicized School Reform Commission meeting tested this theory. Anti-charter groups repeatedly shouted … Read the rest

Former School Reform Commission chairman backs off lawsuit

March 11, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

Bill Green won’t sue Gov. Tom Wolf to get his old job back, but the former chairman of the School Reform Commission is not backing off his critical claims against the governor’s perceived alliance with … Read the rest

Lawsuit aims to bust Philadelphia ‘ghost teachers’

February 27, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

A lawsuit filed in Philadelphia County Court is taking aim at the practice of using so-called “ghost teachers” to work for the local teachers union on school time.

GHOST BUSTERS: Fairness Center lawyers are challenging

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SRC taking teachers to Pennsylvania Supreme Court

February 26, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

The School Reform Commission and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers are going back to court.

The SRC, which controls the cash-strapped School District of Philadelphia, will appeal a Commonwealth Court decision that blocked it from … Read the rest

Philly gets 5 more charter schools during wild SRC meeting

February 20, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

Five charter schools were approved, four people were arrested and both sides of Philadelphia’s thorny education debate left a marathon meeting Wednesday feeling a sense of loss.

“From the perspective of who lost, it was … Read the rest

Commentary: Wolf’s death penalty moratorium forces conservatives to confront their views on the subject

February 17, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Many conservatives will be familiar with — and most will likely agree with — Grover Norquist‘s view that government should be small enough to be drowned in a bathtub.

Yet many who … Read the rest

Liquor board: No Palcohol in Pennsylvania

February 12, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Powdered alcohol won’t be available for purchase in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board voted unanimously Wednesday to deny powdered alcoholic products from having a place on the shelves of state-owned liquor stores. The … Read the rest

Donation for Philadelphia charter schools ignites skirmish

February 10, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

No good deed goes unpunished.

This is especially true in Philadelphia, where the offer of a $35 million gift ignited the latest skirmish in the city’s hostile education debate.

CHECK MARK: PSP Executive Director Mark

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Smaller district schools Philly in collective bargaining

February 6, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

The Pennsylvania cities of Bethlehem and Philadelphia are about 70 miles apart, but in some respects they may as well be on separate planets.

RISING COSTS: One of three districts in the state that does

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Teachers’ contract raises transparency issues

February 5, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

When Pennsylvania’s Bethlehem Area School Board approved a new three-year deal with the local teachers union last week, it did so without taxpayers knowing the details of the contract until after they were bound to … Read the rest

How the Philadelphia teachers contract impacts charter schools

February 4, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

School choice advocates in Philadelphia are unfazed.

SCHOOL CHANGE: Terminating the expired teachers contract in Philadelphia could have saved schools $44 million this year.

Shaking off a recent court decision that will make funding anything … Read the rest

Philadelphia sizes up more charter schools

January 29, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

The School District of Philadelphia could be on the verge of a historic expansion of the city’s charter school program.

Accepting applications for the first time since 2007, the district received 40 proposals in October … Read the rest

Challenges piled high for new PA secretary of education

January 22, 2015 | By | Posted in Governor

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

Gov. Tom Wolf is counting on Pedro Rivera to usher in a fresh start for Pennsylvania’s Department of Education.

Pending Senate approval, Pedro Rivera will have his hands full as Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Education.

Rivera … Read the rest

High price of free tuition goes beyond dollars and cents

January 20, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Evan Grossman │Watchdog.org

Free tuition will be expensive.

President Obama in Tuesday night’s State of the Union address layed out a proposal, introduced earlier this month, offering interested students free community college tuition. Obama made the announcement in a … Read the rest

Does No Child Left Behind nurture a culture of cheating?

January 20, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

With millions in federal money and jobs at stake, has No Child Left Behind created an incentive for teachers to cheat on standardized tests?

The high-stakes testing required by NCLB has been one of the … Read the rest

New website opens school finances for public review

January 19, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Evan Grossman / Watchdog.org

It’s one small click for man and one giant leap for government transparency.

Pennsylvania Rep. Jim Christiana (R-Beaver) introduced a new online tool Wednesday that gives the public greater access to school finances, how the … Read the rest