Thursday, June 9, 2011

Teacher Ratings/ FreedomWorks Flop

"FreedomWorks will release a "comprehensive report" of political donations that lawmakers have accepted from teachers' unions on July 1 if the bill (SB1) has not become law."

Big deal – all of the political donations are already public information available on the PA Dept. of State's Campaign Financing website at:

In August 2010, our good friends at the Commonwealth Foundation published this info on their website at:  It showed that up to that point, PSEA-PACE, (which, BTW represents 191,000 middle class Pennsylvania taxpayers) had contributed $492,460 in the 2009-2010 election cycle.   For comparison's sake, during 2010 the Students First PAC, a voucher advocacy PAC funded by a handful of Main Line millionaires and out-of-state billionaires, contributed $5,956,913.07 to Pennsylvania candidates.

John Micek Morning Call Capitol Ideas Blog June 8, 2011

Pro-Voucher Event Doesn't Make The Grade.

If This Afternoon's much-hyped pro-school voucher rally by the Washington D.C.-based astroturf group FreedomWorks was a TV show, it would likely be joining "Manimal," "Cop Rock," "Galactica '80," other noted flops in the cancellation pile.  The event, which promised via press release to expose "corruption and abuse" by the Pennsylvania State Education Association offered little in the way of specifics or, for that matter, people who weren't on  FreedomWorks' payroll or an actual audience to hear the charges.

School-choice supporters vow primary challenges for lawmakers if they don't pass Senate bill on school vouchers

Published: Wednesday, June 08, 2011, 7:29 PM
FreedomWorks again threatened to build campaigns against state lawmakers if they don't passschool-choice legislation Senate Bill 1 by the end of the month.  Staffers from the national conservative organization — backed by a handful of volunteers and voucher supporters — held a news conference on the steps of the Capitol Wednesday. They said they are committed to the voucher legislation and will find primary challengers if current legislators aren't. 

Pa. Education Secretary: School districts can't blame charters

ANDREW SHAW - The York Dispatch, Updated: 06/08/2011 04:16:15 PM EDT
"I don't see how the success of a program like this threatens a traditional K-12 district," Tomalis said. "What you see in this building is what public education should really be about."
The education secretary was there shoulder-to-shoulder with Sen. Jeffrey Piccola, a Republican representing a portion of York County, a charter school advocate. Also on hand was Michelle Rhee, the CEO of a national grassroots organization, School First, that advocates for school choice and saving the best teachers' jobs. Rhee said her organization and its thousands of members are supporting the state's efforts on those fronts.


Teacher ratings unrealistic, state education secretary says

By Jodi Weigand, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW Thursday, June 9, 2011
Pennsylvania's education secretary on Wednesday called for changes in a system of rating public school teachers and principals, saying results showing that 99 percent are "satisfactory" suggest they do not sufficiently reflect what goes on inside classrooms.
Video/Audio (2:02), Agenda and Testimony from yesterday's Senate Education Committee Hearing on Teacher Evaluation/Effectiveness
Wednesday, June 8, 2011 at 9:30 a.m.

Senate Bill 1087, amending the PA School Code to provide for a rating system
Related to yesterday's Senate Ed Committee hearing, Senators Piccola and Dinniman have introduced legislation dealing with teacher ratings.

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