Monday, May 23, 2011

Choice and Cuts

Debate rages over formula for funding 'choice' (With Video)
Gov. Tom Corbett paid a visit to Chester Community Charter School late last month to tour a school he considers an embodiment of the school-choice education model he supports.

Speaking to assembled parents, the Republican urged them to tell others of the asset they had in their community.  "Let them know that a school like this, where you had a choice to send them here, made a difference to your children," Corbett said. "Because we have to make that difference all across Pennsylvania."


Schools of Hard Knocks: Legislation aims to expand school choice for low-, middle-income families (With Video, Graphic)

By Alex Rose
One of the more controversial plans to improve education in the state — at least for some students — is a school voucher proposal that would expand school choice for low- and middle-income families in poorly performing school districts.

"Pennsylvania's Failing Public Schools"
The media does a good job of keeping up a steady refrain on "our failing public schools"  Here are a couple items to the contrary:
See the list of Pennsylvania School Districts that are on the 2011 College Board AP Achievement list; Pennsylvania had the third largest number of districts behind only California and Michigan.
See the list of Pennsylvania schools on this week's new Washington Post High School Challenge list (formerly Newsweek's Top Schools).

Schools to slice education programs

By Amy Crawford
Saturday, May 21, 2011

More than three-quarters of school districts will eliminate instructional programs for the 2011-12 school year, and two-thirds will lay off teachers, according to a survey released this week by the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators.
The survey found:
• About one in three school districts are considering eliminating full-day kindergarten.
• Nearly 90 percent of districts may increase class sizes.
• Three-fourths plan to eliminate elective courses.
• Two-thirds will cut tutoring for struggling students and half will eliminate summer school.
• Two-thirds will lay off teachers and 70 percent will lay off support staff. More than 90 percent will not fill vacant positions.
• More than 80 percent of districts have frozen wages for next year or are considering doing so.

Read more: Schools to slice education programs - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Behind Grass-Roots School Advocacy, Bill Gates

New York Times By SAM DILLON
Published: May 21, 2011
INDIANAPOLIS — A handful of outspoken teachers helped persuade state lawmakers this spring to eliminate seniority-based layoff policies. They testified before the legislature, wrote briefing papers and published an op-ed article in The Indianapolis Star.  They described themselves simply as local teachers who favored school reform — one sympathetic state representative, Mary Ann Sullivan, said, "They seemed like genuine, real people versus the teachers' union lobbyists." They were, but they were also recruits in a national organization, Teach Plus, financed significantly by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


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