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In Response To Lawsuit, State Orders Phila. School District To Correct Curriculum Deficiencies At 4 Schools

By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The state has ordered the Philadelphia school district to correct deficiencies in the curricula at four schools, in response to a lawsuit by parents.

After deep budget cuts two years ago, Philadelphia parents filed more than 800 complaints with the state education department -- saying schools failed to provide music, art, gifted, or foreign language courses.  Getting no action, seven parents sued.  In response to that suit, the state education department has declared the curricula deficient at four schools:  Bodine High School of International Affairs, The Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, the Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush and the C.W. Henry School.  Parents United for Public Education founder and City Councilwoman-elect Helen Gym called the four, the tip of the iceberg.

"You must have arts and music in schools.   There's a very clear mandate for that.  So if there's a school that isn't delivering arts and music for their children, we're going to be knocking at their door.  The state's going to be knocking at their door, and we're going to demand that the school district prioritizes that," said Gym.

The finding gives the Philadelphia School District 45 days to come up with a corrective plan.

District spokesman Fernando Gallard in a statement said the district will work with the state education department to address the findings.

He said the issue highlights the lack of resources at all Philadelphia schools due to cuts in state funding.

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