(June10) Phila. Funding Crisis Threatens Spread of Innovation

By Benjamin Herold
Published Online: June 10, 2014

Philadelphia

Nearly a year after Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. committed millions of dollars to expand Science Leadership Academy and two other pioneering district schools here, the investment in hands-on, technology-rich instructional models has stirred hope and experimentation across the city.

But the tentative flourishing of innovation is at risk of being overwhelmed by a massive funding shortfall that has cast doubt on the superintendent’s ability to safely open schools in September, let alone spread promising new models across the 131,000-student system.

“It’s frustrating as hell,” Mr. Hite said in an interview last month. “We’re trying to show that we know what works, and here we are a year later, still begging for the status quo.”

Fueled by strong parent demand, SLA’s new second campus is poised to double in size, to 250 students. Final preparations are also underway to bring three unconventional new high schools on line, and small bands of educators are soaking up the new ideas and bringing them back to their neighborhood schools.

Full story: Phila. Funding Crisis Threatens Spread of Innovation Benjamin Herold, Education Week 6/10/14

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