The Philadelphia School District has issued layoff notices to 211 nonteaching assistants and secretaries. The cutbacks are fallout from the decision to privatize some low-performing schools. The large number of layoffs this year is attributed primarily to the decision of Edison Schools Inc. to eliminate aides in favor of more teachers.
ALSO: Teachers at a few schools in Philadelphia will have the chance to win an "academy award" for good technique and earn $2,500 stipends for mentoring the lowest academic performers. They also will see class sizes shrink to 17 in the lowest grades, receive a full-time "community builder" to involve businesses and other groups in the schools, and be part of an aggressive effort to bring in parents. That's all part of the plan laid out by Foundations Inc., one of seven outside groups that will manage or advise a number of city public schools.