Wednesday, July 27, 2005

News from the educational front

Several stories today about schools in the Philadelphia area:
  1. The National Constitution Center is planning to run a high school with the Philly school district.
    The project, which will stress democracy and citizenship, is the latest new high school venture between the increasingly entrepreneurial school district and an outside organization.

    Seven other new or remade high schools are set to open in the next few years, with big-name partners such as Microsoft, the University of Pennsylvania, the Franklin Institute, and the College Board, the creator of the SAT and Advanced Placement program.
    . . .
    Each partnership works a little differently, but usually the groups provide expertise and time, help customize the curriculum, and participate in selecting a principal.
    This one will be downtown; the Microsoft one will be in West Philly; both hope to open in 2006. It looks like they'll run a bit like magnet schools, with a mix of students from their neighborhoods and the rest of the city.

  2. That story also ties in with the announcement that Philadelphia's city high schools will be getting smaller, something that Education CEO Paul Vallas has made a priority (see previous announcement here). They hope it will improve learning and enable a wider array of offerings.

  3. Meanwhile, an African-themed charter elementary school which planned to open this fall in West Chester, is apparently still looking for accommodations. Their lease negotiations failed because the school group and proposed facilities were headed by the same guy. They now have only a few weeks to meet a planning deadline.

  4. In higher education news, Tom Ferrick reports a kerfluffle at Drexel over a group of one-year MBAs whose program was supposed to include a trip to China, which was then canceled due to SARS concerns (and, to add insult, replaced with a one-day seminar and Chinese dinner. heh.). They're now appealing a lawsuit that awarded each student the value of the intended trip. Ferrick relates their lack of diplomacy in this matter to their handling of the Powelton Village development dispute.


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