From The Philadelphia Inquirer: The Philadelphia School Reform Commission has adopted a strategic plan with a $126 million price tag in the first year. That money will pay for smaller classes in kindergarten through third grade citywide, more guidance counselors, new early-childhood education centers, more spots in preschool programs, expanded summer-school opportunities, and more special-education staff. Officials say they don't have an estimate of what the total tab for Superintendent Arlene Ackerman's Imagine 2014 will be over five years.EARLIER...From The Philadelphia Inquirer: The final draft of Superintendent Arlene Ackerman's five-year, $50 million vision for the Philadelphia School District is out, and it is even more ambitious than the last version. Ackerman first introduced her strategic plan in February. She proposed shutting down up to 35 failing schools and reopening them as charters or schools run by outside managers; reducing class size; and adding counselors at the middle- and high-school level. The new version adds a call for more counselors in elementary schools; more school libraries and textbooks; and increased opportunities for middle-schoolers to learn world languages....FOLLOWUP: Questions have emerged on the cost of Superintendent Arlene Ackerman's ambitious five-year blueprint. Ackerman has said the tab would be $50 million, but now is signaling that it would actually cost much more. During a School Reform Commission meeting, Ackerman said "Imagine 2014" would cost $160 million over five years. Later, she backed away from that figure and said it was too soon to say how much the plan would cost.
FROM FEBRUARY 2009: Philadelphia Schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman is recommending that the school district shut down 30 to 35 of its worst-performing schools over the next three years and reopen them as charters, or under some other form of district or outside management. The proposal, part of a five-year strategic plan, is based in part on Chicago's controversial Renaissance 2010 plan, which provides for the opening of 100 new schools by 2010 and the closing of dozens of underachieving schools. Read The Philadelphia Inquirer article.