Tuesday, November 30, 2010

PA Governor Elect Corbett's Education Transition Team

Hey Folks –

To the best of my knowledge this is a list of the members of the Corbett Education Transition Team.  I am updating this posting as I get more info from you (last updated 12/03).
I have added some notes and scraped some bio info from their websites.  If you have anything to add please let me know.

Here’s my commentary: There are 34 people on the list – to the best of my knowledge, thus far only one of them (Dr. Carolyn Dumaresq) can be characterized as an advocate for public K-12 education.

Thirteen of 34 are strong advocates of school choice - vouchers, charter schools, cyber charter schools and home schooling.

Two are from the Susquehanna International Group, which the Inquirer reported had given "an astonishing $5 million" to support Senator Anthony WIlliams' gubernatorial campaign because of his strong pro-voucher position.  http://www.philly.com/inquirer/home_region/20101201_Corbett_names_huge_cast_to_transition_panels.html

Five are current or former board members of the REACH Foundation or REACH Alliance, described on their website as "Pennsylvania's leading school choice advocacy organization".  http://www.paschoolchoice.org/reach/site/default.asp

Governor Elect Corbett’s Education Transition Team
November 30th, 2010

Co-Chair – Joel Greenberg, Susquehanna International Group
Top donor to State Senator Anthony Williams Gubernatorial campaign and strong advocate for school choice::

Co-Chair – Mark Nordenberg, Chancellor University of Pittsburgh

Jim Agras, CEO of Triangle Tech and State Board of Education;

Jeanne Allen, President of Center for Education Reform
Mission Statement of this National School Choice advocacy group: “The Center for Education Reform drives the creation of better educational opportunities for all children by leading parents, policymakers and the media in boldly advocating for school choice, advancing the charter school movement, and challenging the education establishment.”

Chris Bravacos, President, Bravo Group
President of REACH Alliance, a leading PA school choice advocacy organization
Board member of Universal Institute Charter School, Philadelphia

Matt Brouillette, President, Commonwealth Foundation
The Commonwealth Foundation has been a leading advocate for school choice in Pennsylvania.  Also a Board member, REACH Foundation

PA State Rep. Paul Clymer
Current Minority Chairman of the PA House education Committee

Marie Conley, Chair of the Human Resources Committee, Board of Governors; PASSHE
She is Chairman of the Board of Governors’ Human Resources Committee and also serves as Secretary of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania’s Council of Trustees.

Bill Donahue,Treasurer of Donahue Family Foundation
Chairman of the Reach Foundation, a leading PA school choice advocacy organization

Carolyn Dumaresq, Partner, Dumaresq Consulting;
Board Member at PA Partnerships for Children
Former Executive Director for PSEA
Former Superintendent, Steelton-Highspire School District

Dan Fitzpatrick, President/CEO, Citizens Bank;

Amy Forester, Saul Ewing;

Don Francis, Independent Colleges & Universities;

Dennis Giorno, Malady & Wooten;
From their website: Prior to joining Malady & Wooten Public Affairs served as the Executive Director of the REACH Alliance; Pennsylvania’s leading school choice advocacy organization for five years. During Dennis’ tenure, REACH secured passage of the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) Program, which has been hailed as a national model for providing parents with choices in their children’s education and funding innovative programs in public schools. In 2004, more than 25,000 children are benefiting from EITC scholarships.
Before his work with REACH, Dennis served as a Field Program Coordinator for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s, Office for Public Affairs. In addition to serving as liaison to state legislators in Southeastern Pennsylvania, Dennis supervised a staff whose focus was grassroots mobilization and school choice advocacy, as well as voter registration initiatives throughout the five county Archdiocese. During his tenure, 10,000 new voters were registered in Archdiocesan parishes and schools.
Vahan Gureghian, Founder of Chester County Charter School
Donated $250K to Corbett’s campaign

Larry Jones, President of PA Charter School Association;

Michael Karp, President of University City Housing and charter school founder

Ruth O'Block Grant, Member, Board of Trustees, Seton Hill University;

Pat O'Connor, COB, Temple University, Cozen & O'Connor;

PA State Senator Jeffrey Piccola;
Leading advocate for school choice in the PA General Assembly and Chairman of the Senate Education Committee

David Pollard, Susquehanna International Group;
Susquehanna Group donated a few million dollars to donor to State Senator Anthony Williams Gubernatorial campaign

Ana Puig, Co-Chair of Kitchen Table Patriots;
Kitchen Table Patriots is the Tea Party of Bucks County
accoring to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, "Puig, a mother of four, was chosen for the committee because of her advocacy for home schooling, Harley said."

Father Ed Quinlan, Secretary of Education, Harrisburg Diocese;

Cynthia Richey, Director of Mt. Lebanon Library System;

Richard Sand, Managing Partner of Sand & Saidel Law Firm;
contributed $27,000 to Mr. Corbett.

Dave Schulik, Shulick Law Offices;
President of the Board of Directors: As the President of DVHS, a private licensed, accredited and “approved” alternative high school for “at-risk” youth
Delaware Valley High School – Bustleton

Carl Singley, Counsel, Ciardi, Ciardi and Astin;

Karen Stout, President of Montgomery County Community College;

Bob Taylor, Trustee, Slippery Rock University;

Paul Taylor, Executive Director Archabbey, St. Vincent's College;

Ron Tomalis, Director of Dutko Worldwide;
From their website: “Ron Tomalis brings a wealth of high level operational experience in the private and public sector education space, as well as corporate board perspective of education companies. Prior to joining Dutko, he was a director at The Chartwell Educational Group, an international education consulting firm that served private, non profit and governmental organizations focusing on pre-K, K-12 and post-secondary education.

Ron has held various senior management, policy, and operational positions in state and federal government, including the United States Department of Education, where he managed the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Law as well as the $25 billion Title I/II programs. Ron also served as counselor to the United States Secretary of Education and as Acting Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Prior to joining the United States Department of Education, he was the Executive Deputy Secretary of Education for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, where he took on the role of Chief Operating Officer for the department.”

Dennis Tulli, Cyber Charters;
former superintendent of the Lebanon School District and now the CEO of Commonwealth Connections Cyber School

PA State Senator Anthony Williams;
Leading advocate for school choice in the General Assembly and member of the Senate Education Committee

Charles Zogby, K12 Inc. (Knowledge Universe).
Board member, REACH Foundation
From K12 Inc’s website: “Charles Zogby, senior vice president of education and policy, served as secretary of education for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania prior to joining K¹² in 2003. In this position, Mr. Zogby managed the agency that oversaw kindergarten through college education with a $10 billion budget and more than 800 personnel. During his tenure, Mr. Zogby won passage of a first-in-the-nation virtual charter school law, implemented the state’s plan for the federal No Child Left Behind Act, and led the state’s takeover of the Philadelphia School District. Prior to his position as secretary of education, Mr. Zogby served as director of the Office of Policy for Governor Tom Ridge. There he was responsible for coordinating policy development and initiatives across 18 executive branch agencies. Mr. Zogby also helped to put in place several education reforms, including the state’s charter school law, performance-based education funding, a value-added assessment pilot program, and high-stakes academic accountability systems for Pennsylvania school districts. Mr. Zogby holds a B.A. in economics from St. Lawrence University and a J.D. with distinction from the George Mason University School of Law.”

Ravitch answers Gates/Keystone State Education Coalition blog site additions

Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog 11/30/10
Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 11/30/2010
Ravitch answers Gates
By Valerie Strauss
In a paean to Bill Gates, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter calls Diane Ravitch the Microsoft founder's "chief adversary."
It's the world's richest (or second richest) man vs. an education historian and New York University research professor.
Gates, through his philanthropic foundation, has invested billions of dollars in education experiments and now has a pivotal role in reform efforts. Ravitch, the author of the bestselling The Death and Life of the Great American School System, has become the most vocal opponent of the Obama administration's education policy. She says Gates is backing the wrong initiatives and harming public schools.

Keystone State Education Coalition blog site additions
In addition to the email news archive, we have added pages for education links and government links.
If you have any suggestions for additions please pass them along.

Corbett may find $4B in education, welfare/PA Cyber reaches milestone; 10,000 students now enrolled/Pa., N.J. legislators blast loss of charter aid/U.S. School Graduation Rate Is Rising

11//29 Observer-Reporter
Corbett may find $4B in education, welfare
Associated Press
By Marc Levy, Associated Press
HARRISBURG - Good luck.
That's the message that Gov. Ed Rendell gave to his successor, Gov.-elect Tom Corbett, as he gets to the business of cutting a $28 billion approved state budget that is projected to be out of balance by more than $4 billion after July 1.

11/30 Beaver County Times

Posted on Tue, Nov. 30, 2010

Pa., N.J. legislators blast loss of charter aid

New Jersey and Pennsylvania legislators criticized the Christie and Rendell administrations on Monday for their states' failures to win federal aid for charter school start-ups.

NY Times 11/30

U.S. School Graduation Rate Is Rising


Published: November 30, 2010
The nation’s high school graduation rate, which declined in the latter part of the 20th century, may have hit bottom and begun to rise, according to a report to be issued Tuesday by a nonprofit group founded by former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Transition teams beginning to assemble Corbett administration

Transition teams beginning to assemble Corbett administration
By Brad Bumsted
Monday, November 29, 2010
HARRISBURG -- Gov.-elect Tom Corbett on Tuesday will address members of his transition committees, which are meeting for the first time to help shape the direction of his administration and recommend key staffers.
“The transition committees are made up of business leaders, former Ridge officials, ex-legislators, lobbyists and apparently one Democratic lawmaker -- Sen. Anthony Williams of Philadelphia, according to the memo distribution list. Williams is expected to play a key role in the General Assembly on Corbett's plan to implement tuition vouchers for school choice. He was an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for governor, who heightened awareness of school choice through TV ads.
Also invited were former PennDOT Secretary Brad Mallory, who served as a member of Ridge's Cabinet, University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg, former Allegheny County Executive Jim Roddey, former Rep. Paul Clymer of Bucks County, former Sen. Joe Uliana, a lobbyist, and Matthew Brouillette, president of the Commonwealth Foundation.”

What Tom Friedman got wrong/5th in a series on Vouchers/Cyber schools take budgetary bite/Pa., N.J. miss out on federal charter school start-up money

Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 11/29/2010
What Tom Friedman got wrong about schools and why it matters
By Valerie Strauss
The great New York Times columnist Tom Friedman wrote in a recent piece that if he were a cub reporter today, he’d want to be “covering the epicenter of national security -- but that would be the Education Department.”

Ongoing Background on Vouchers – 5th in a series
One of the other proponents of school vouchers testifying at the PA Senate Education Committee hearing of October 13th was the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO). 
Their mission is “To increase access to high-quality educational options for Black children by actively supporting parental choice policies and programs that empower low-income and working-class Black families.”
According to NSBA, BAEO was established in 2000 by a former Superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools, with financial backing from groups like the Walton Family Foundation and the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation.
Members of their Board of Directors include former House Appropriations Chairman Dwight Evans and Dawn Chavous, Chief Executive Assistant and Director of Education for Senator Anthony Williams.
Senator Williams is also a member of BAEO’s advisory board.

Cyber schools take budgetary bite

Williamsport Sun Gazette
November 28, 2010 - By AMANDA ALEXANDER - aalexander@sungazette.com
Pennsylvania cyber schools are growing - in number of students, in popularity and in cost - but the strain on the budgets of local school districts may become too much if changes aren't made to the system.

Posted on Mon, Nov. 29, 2010

Pa., N.J. miss out on federal charter school start-up money

New Jersey's proposed charter schools, hailed by Gov. Christie as part of his school-choice agenda, are at record numbers. But the state has no new start-up money for them because it failed to win another federal education grant.
Pennsylvania, where Gov.-elect Tom Corbett has likewise expressed support for charters among school-choice options, also was one of five states turned down for the funds. Twelve states were successful.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mandate Relief Feedback Attached/SPSDEC Name Change/NY Chancellors

Mandate Relief

Back on November 17th I asked for your input on mandate relief to follow-up on interest expressed by Senators Dinniman and Williams. 

Thanks for your responses – I am attaching them for your review and will also forward them to PSBA.

We will use them to prepare a collated list to give to Senator Williams when he meets with  the Delaware County School Boards Legislative Council on December 7th and to pass along to Senator Dinniman.


SPSDEC is not just “Southeastern” anymore.   

We’re  145 school board members and administrators from 71 districts in  Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Berks, Bucks, Butler, Centre, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lehigh, Mercer, Montgomery, Susquehanna, Tioga and Washington Counties.  We will be changing our name to reflect that.  Check out our new email archive at http://keystonestateeducationcoalition.org/



NY Times 11/23

Education Chief Raises Doubts on Pick by Bloomberg


Published: November 23, 2010
The candidacy of Cathleen P. Black, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s choice to be chancellor of the New York City schools, was in jeopardy on Tuesday as both a panel weighing her credentials and the state official who will determine her fate expressed deep doubts about her readiness for the job.

NY Times 11/23

News Corp., After Hiring Klein, Buys Technology Partner in a City Schools Project


Published: November 23, 2010
Greg Gunn and Larry Berger met as Rhodes scholars at Oxford University and, after stints teaching computer skills and mathematics to children in Harlem and Stamford, Conn., they came upon an idea: create a business that would put technology in the hands of teachers and into classrooms.

Tom Friedman covers education for the second day in a row…..
NY Times Op-Ed Columnist

U.S.G. and P.T.A.


Published: November 23, 2010
“Our unemployment today is not only because of the financial crisis. There are some deeper problems. If we’re going to get more Americans back to work, we will need more stimulus from the U.S.G. — the U.S. government — from the top down. But we will also need more stimulus from the P.T.A.’s — the Parent Teacher Associations — from the bottom up.”

By Paul Thomas, The Guardian Nov. 16th

The corporate takeover of American schools

The trend for appointing CEOs to the top jobs is symptomatic of a declining commitment to public education and social justice

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Nov. 23, 2010 NYT Thomas Friedman: Teaching for America/Sen. Williams elected Dem. Caucus Chairman/NSBA publication: Keep Public Education Public: Why Vouchers are a Bad Idea

This 2003 publication by NSBA examines the most controversial education policy issue of our time. It focuses on the evidence from existing programs, and delves into tuition tax credits as well. You can access the book's chapters and appendices below.
To purchase a hard copy of the entire publication, please visit NSBA's online bookstore and order.

“Three countries that outperform us — Singapore, South Korea, Finland — don’t let anyone teach who doesn’t come from the top third of their graduating class.” – Arne Duncan
NY Times Op-Ed Columnist

Teaching for America

Published: November 20, 2010
When I came to Washington in 1988, the cold war was ending and the hot beat was national security and the State Department. If I were a cub reporter today, I’d still want to be covering the epicenter of national security — but that would be the Education Department.

The noteworthy item in this article is that Senator Anthony Williams, the leading proponent of vouchers in the General Assembly, has also been elected as Caucus Chairman by Senate Democrats this week.
Delco Times 11/22 - By Alex Rose
Costa tapped as minority leader in Pa. Senate
Pennsylvania Senate Democrats elected state Sen. Jay Costa, D-43, of Pittsburgh, as their new Democratic floor leader this week.
Costa, who was elected minority chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee last year, said in a release that he intends to provide "strong, aggressive and unified" leadership in the next session.

Even though it was published in 2003 this NSBA publication is still an excellent resource on the issue. NSBA’s website has links to pdf’s by chapter.
Ongoing Background on Vouchers – 4th in a Series
NSBA: Keep Public Education Public: Why Vouchers are a Bad Idea

Vouchers - state and federal

Scranton Times Tribune 11/22/10
GOP push to revive school choice
by robert swift (harrisburg bureau chief)
Published: November 22, 2010
HARRISBURG - Supporters of school choice in Pennsylvania see the best opportunity in more than a decade to advance proposals to increase educational options for students.
The last time a concerted effort was made on behalf of a school-choice program was during Republican Gov. Tom Ridge's administration, when the GOP held sway in Harrisburg.

This is PCN’s coverage (running time about 70 minutes, requires QuickTime player) of the Nov. 15th  Commonwealth Foundation forum devoted mostly to school choice which was noted in the Scranton Times Tribune article above. 
The forum included former Democratic Pennsylvania House Speaker Bob O'Donnell, Chairman of the Senate Education Committee Sen. Jeff Piccola, Sen. Anthony Williams (D-Philadelphia).and incoming House Speaker-Elect Rep. Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny).

This is Senator Piccola’s 25 minute November cable show focusing entirely on his choice agenda for the coming session:


and at the federal level…….

American Independent 11/11/10

Kline to push for controversial religious school vouchers

By Andy Birkey | 11.11.10 | 12:55 pm |
Republican Rep. John Kline is likely to chair the powerful House Education and Labor Committee in the new Congress and already he’s drawing fire from both sides of the aisle. Kline caught praise from religious conservatives when he expressed his support for educational vouchers for Washington, DC, parents that will allow them to spend taxpayer money on religious schooling. But he also has drawn the ire of fiscal conservatives by saying he doesn’t intend to push for the elimination of the Department of Education.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pittsburgh Teacher Residency Program/Buxmont Region draws a crowd/NAEP Scores

City trying new ways of certifying nontraditional teachers
Friday, November 19, 2010
By Eleanor Chute, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
In Pennsylvania, nearly every public school teacher takes a similar path to certification: a teacher preparation program at a college or university.
But for the first time since 2002, the state board Thursday approved an alternative route, this time a year-long residency program to be offered by Pittsburgh Public Schools.

PSBA BuxMont Regional Cabinet Meeting held at Middle Bucks Institute of Technology Nov 18th
Kudos to Region Director-Elect Mike Paston and Region Director Paul Baumgartner and their Assistant Region Directors who mustered a crowd of 50+ (including 14 board presidents) for their Regional Cabinet Meeting last evening.
The meeting featured a discussion of Collective Bargaining and Labor Relations initiated by remarks from incoming Region Director, Mike Paston.  After setting the stage, he turned the program over to Dave Davare of PSBA to facilitate a candid discussion lead by a panel of veteran school directors who have endured the process. Panelists were Denise Ashe (Norristown SD), Dan Sattler (Methacton SD), Richie Webb (Neshaminy SD), Christine Yardley (Pennridge SD) and Vince Sherpinsky (North Penn SD).

Posted on Fri, Nov. 19, 2010

NAEP test scores show modest improvement in reading and math over 2005

High school seniors around the country showed improvement in reading and math, according to national test results released Thursday. But even with the gains, the outcome suggests many students graduate without mastering those subjects.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Nov. 18th - PIMS and Vouchers/PA Senate GOP Leadership/Philly Grads/Superman Feedback/Voucher Background Info

News of Delaware County Nov 17th

Student data collection debated in Haverford and School Vouchers May be Back on the Table

Nov 17th, at 2:20pm
HAVERFORD — Director of Technology Jane Greenspun recently informed school officials and the public about the Pennsylvania Information…Read More

Delco Daily Times 11/17
Pileggi re-elected to Pa. Senate GOP leadership post
HARRISBURG, Pa. November 17th
Delco Sen. Dominic Pileggi has been re-elected to his leadership by his Republican brethren in the Senate.
Senate Republicans Wednesday elected their leadership team for the 2011-12 legislative session, and in addtition to the Pileggi move nominated Sen. Joe Scarnati (R-25) to once again serve as President Pro Tempore. The full Senate will vote on Scarnati's nomination when it reconvenes on Jan. 4. As President Pro Tempore, he will be responsible for appointing the chairpersons and members of the standing committees of the Senate. He will also play a significant role in negotiations with the Administration and House of Representatives.

Posted on Thu, Nov. 18, 2010

Report: Less than half of Phila. high graduates go to college

Just under half of Philadelphia's public high school graduates ever go to college.
And those who attend right after high school are more likely to succeed and to earn either two- or four-year degrees.
Those are among the findings of a report being released Thursday, based on data for more than 73,000 students who graduated from city schools from 2003 to 2009. Those numbers do not include the 29 percent of students who drop out of district schools each year.
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog Nov 18th
Teachers give 'Superman' director an earful 

Ongoing Background on Vouchers – 3rd in a Series
Pennsylvania’s REACH Foundation also testified at the October 13th Senate Ed Committee hearing on vouchers
The REACH (Road to Educational Achievement Through CHoice) Foundation and its sister organization, the REACH Alliance, are Pennsylvania's grassroots coalitions dedicated to ensuring parental choice in education.


Nov 17th - Senate overrides Rendell Veto of HB101/Senate Officer Elections/Torsella to UN/Voucher Bill Coming

Posted on Wed, Nov. 17, 2010

State Senate overrides veto of school-code bill

HARRISBURG - The state Senate on Wednesday voted to override Gov. Rendell's veto of a school-code bill that he contended gave unfair tax breaks to certain charter-school landlords.
Inky Commonwealth Confidential Blog Wednesday, November 17, 2010
With the ouster of Rep. Dwight Evans as House Appropriations Chairman yesterday came an instant hue and cry about Philadelphia losing influence in the General Assembly.
But the city gained back some influence over in the Senate today when Sen. Vincent Hughes was elected by fellow Democrats to chair the Appropriations Committee. He prevailed over Sen. Mike O'Pake of Berks County.
Of course, the Democrats are the minority party in the Senate, where the Republicans hold a 30-20 majority, but they will soon be the minority in the House too.
At the top of the Democratic leadership ranks, a new era begins today with the selection of Sen. Jay Costa - the current ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee - of Allegheny County as the floor leader. He replaces Robert Mellow of Lackawanna County who is retiring after 16 years. Costa defeated Philadelphia Sen. Mike Stack for the post. 
The last Philadelphian to hold the appropriations post was Sen. Vincent Fumo, who is serving a federal sentence for corruption.
Also today, Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione became the first woman in the history of the Senate Democratic caucus to be elected to a leadership position when she was named caucus secretary.
In a separate election, Republicans re-elected their current leadership team: Sen. Joe Scarnati of Jefferson County as President Pro Tempore, Sen. Dominic Pileggi of Delaware County as Majority leader and Sen. Jake Corman of Centre County, as appropriations chairman. 
Sen. Pat Browne of Lehigh County was elected to the post of majority whip. He replaces Jane Orie of Allegheny County who had to give up her leadership position after she was charged with using public money for political purposes.
Posted by Amy Worden @ 1:29 PM

So Joe goes to the UN, Donna goes to Washington and we get  the Keystone Exams they left behind………….

Philadelphia Business Journal - by Jeff Blumenthal

Torsella nominated by Obama for U.N. post

Date: Tuesday, November 16, 2010, 2:01pm EST
Joseph M. Torsella, who served two stints as president and CEO of the National Constitution Center and currently serves as chairman of the Pennsylvania State Board of Education,
has been nominated by President Obama to serve as U.S. representative to the United Nations for U.N. Management and Reform.
Read more: Torsella nominated by Obama for U.N. post | Philadelphia Business Journal

Great comment from Lynn Foltz who forwarded the following one: “As one of my board members paraphrased Star Trek - Why does the choice of a few outweigh the education of the many?”

Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Two lawmakers pledged yesterday to introduce legislation early next year to authorize tuition vouchers for school choice in Pennsylvania.
Republican Sen. Jeffrey Piccola, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, and Democratic Sen. Anthony Williams of Philadelphia, who touted the issue in his unsuccessful run for governor, plan to co-author a bill they say would help parents and students fed up with public education.
Click here for full story: