Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mandate Relief/Keystone Exam Briefing/Darling-Hammond/Budget Cuts in Bangor/Green Building Workshop on 3/30 @CCIU/Sen. Williams DN OP/ED [TLG LC/SB/BCC]

Pa. senators unveil legislative package to provide mandate relief to school districts
Published: Tuesday, March 22, 2011, 5:53 PM
With the more than $1 billion cut in state aid to school districts, "if we fail to relieve school districts of some of the cost drivers that they face, we will see local property taxes increase. This is unacceptable," said Sen. Jeffrey Piccola, R-Dauphin County, at a Capitol news conference.Piccola chairs the Senate Education Committee, which is scheduled to take up the package of bills at its April 5 meeting.
Piccola vowed to not introduce any new legislation imposing mandates on districts, but Christopher Wakeley, executive director to the Democratic House Education Committee, noted Piccola's school choice bill, Senate Bill 1, is rife with mandates on districts. Among those he cited is a mandate for districts to transport children to the school they choose to attend, and one requiring them to pay for full-day kindergarten at a private school even if the public school offers only a half-day kindergarten program.  (Thanks Chris!)

Bills in State Senate aim to help schools on budget cuts
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
By Laura Olson, Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG -- With state funding to public schools set to be slashed under the governor's budget, a group of senators is aiming to also shrink the number of requirements dictating how districts operate.

Yesterday afternoon’s coverage of the mandate relief package and press conference:

Keystone Exam Briefing/PVAAS Senate Education Committee Public Hearing of Tuesday, March 22nd
Informational Briefing from the Department of Education on status of: The Keystone Exams (17 page PDF), Implementation of Pennsylvania's Value Added Assessment System (PVAAS) disclosure via Act 104 of 2010, Capabilities of PVAAS system in evaluating student achievement and the new 4-year cohort graduation rate .
Team Pennsylvania Foundation coverage of Senate Keystone Exam Briefing
(Team PA was a strong proponent for the adoption and implementation of the Keystone Exams) Senate Education Committee members were assured by department officials at a public hearing Tuesday that the one-year moratorium on the implementation of the Keystone Exams was a temporary move designed to accomplish two things.

(Read this post by Linda Darling-Hammond and then send it to your state and federal policymakers…)
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog, Posted at 10:20 AM ET, 03/22/2011

Darling-Hammond: U.S. vs highest-achieving nations in education

By Valerie Strauss
This post was written by Linda Darling-Hammond, Charles E. Ducommun  Professor of Education at Stanford University, where she was founding director of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future. She now directs the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education. A former president of the American Educational Research Association, Darling-Hammond focuses her research, teaching, and policy work on issues of school restructuring, teacher quality and educational equity. 
By Linda Darling-Hammond
The first ever International Summit on Teaching, convened last week in New York City, showed perhaps more clearly than ever that the United States has been pursuing an approach to teaching almost diametrically opposed to that pursued by the highest-achieving nations.

Bangor could lose 22 teachers, classes, activities

With $2.5 million deficit, district says it has no choice but to balance budget with staffing cuts.

By Andrew McGill, OF THE MORNING CALL, 11:01 p.m. EDT, March 22, 2011
What does a $2.5 million budget deficit look like in the Bangor Area School District?
By the administration's calculations, more than 20 teachers, full-day kindergarten and the high school's block scheduling system, all of which could be on the block — even with a tax increase

Delaware Valley Green Building Workshop
March 30, 2011 at the Chester County Intermediate Unit
Manage Your Energy: The Energy Management Workshop for Schools

Philadelphia Daily News Opinion, Posted on Wed, Mar. 23, 2011

Pennsylvania school vouchers: Your child, your choice!

THE CONCEPT of school choice is simple. You, the parent, decide where your child goes to school. It's very basic, and the time has come to embrace it. That's why state Sen. Jeffrey Piccola (R-Dauphin/ York) and I have introduced Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), the Opportunity Scholarship and Education Improvement Tax Credit Act.

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