Legislators give $30.3M to 21 school districts behind closed doors
The glorious sound of bells marked the start of another school year in the district that is struggling mightily to reverse decades of declines. A small group of school officials and dignitaries were on hand to greet students as they headed back to the classroom. Among them was new Superintendent Gregory Shannon. If the new boss was smiling, it was with good reason.
CSMI, the firm that runs the Chester and Camden schools, is a for-profit company founded by Vahan Gureghian, a politically connected Gladwyne lawyer who donated more than $300,000 to Gov. Corbett's gubernatorial campaign and served on the education committee of his transition team. CSMI has fought to prevent public disclosure of its finances - including how much taxpayer money ultimately goes to company officials. The company has argued that, unlike public schools or some other charter schools, its finances are a "trade secret" or "confidential information," because CSMI is a private company managing a school, and not a school itself. In 2009, Gureghian attorney Edmond George - listed in public records as a founder of the Camden Community Charter School - sought to silence the Inquirer by asking a judge to order the paper to "refrain from public comments" about the company, the school or Gureghian. The motion was denied. In a separate matter, a CSMI lawyer tried unsuccessfully to bar a reporter from an arbitration hearing in open court.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/education/20130905_Can_for-profit_education_rescue_Camden_s_kids_.html#YVROcSIqysY3hbDl.99
The NAACP mailed a statement Tuesday to the Pennsylvania Board of Education, urging it to reject a proposal requiring that students pass a series of Keystone Examinations before graduating. The board is expected to vote Sept. 12 on the proposal, which mandates students pass state exams in algebra, biology and English literature in order to graduate.
“One examination cannot identify whether or not a human being has learned well,” said Joan Duvall-Flynn, chair of the state NAACP Education Committee. “One test cannot do that. Some people don’t do well on paper and pencil tests, but they can demonstrate knowledge and they can use the information.”
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October 15-18, 2013 | Hershey Lodge & Convention Center