Thursday, August 11, 2011

Vouchers? Put it into law

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We are faxing copies of this powerful Beaver County Times editorial on voucher legislation to all members of the General Assembly today.  Use these links for contact info to call your  State Senator or State Rep. and ask them if they have seen it. 

Vouchers? Put it into law

Beaver County Times Editorial Posted: Wednesday, August 10, 2011 4:00 am 
Democrats in Harrisburg ought to make state Rep. Jim Christiana put his legislation where his mouth is.  At a hearing last week on a school-choice bill the Beaver Republican is pushing, Christiana said the legislation was about letting parents decide where their children could go to school.  That's a commonplace sentiment. But saying something and actually doing it is a different matter altogether.

"The amendment is basic: Any school that participates in the choice program must admit every child who applies — no ands, ifs, or buts. No screenings; no testing; no exceptions for physical or mental disabilities; no exceptions for athletic ability; no limits on class size; no excuses about not enough physical space to accommodate every child: The parents want the kid in, the kid gets in.
That’s not too much to ask of private, parochial or religious schools. After all, every public school in Pennsylvania operates under those conditions."

Read the full editorial here:

PA Senate Education Committee 8/25/11 Public Hearing on Charter School Legislation SB 904
On Thursday, August 25, 2011 at 10:00 AM Hearing Room 1, North Office Bldg. the Senate Ed Committee will hold a public hearing on Senate Bill No. 904/Charter School legislation
According to the Education Law Center, new charter school bills before the General Assembly (S.B. 904 and H.B. 1348) would repeal Pennsylvania's current charter school/cyber charter school law in its entirety and replace it with language that permits the unfettered expansion of charter schools throughout the state, reduces accountability, and effectively removes all local control of charters, while continuing to redirect millions of dollars of public funding away from traditional public schools – when charters have been shown, on the whole, not to improve student performance any more than traditional public schools and in many charters, students have fared worse.
See ELC's summary and analysis here:

Just about everyone else seems to have a different opinion of such programs.
Investing in early learning will spur economic growth
Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, August 9 2011 Commentary by Joan L. Benso
WHILE PRESIDENT Obama and congressional leaders work to hammer out future spending plans, we cannot lose sight of what is needed to strengthen America's work force and get Pennsylvania's economy growing again. Though early learning advocates (including my organization, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children) have been saying for years that investing in early childhood education is a fiscally responsible way to reduce deficits and generate long-term gains for children and taxpayers, it bears repeating.

Education Week Published Online: August 9, 2011

In Common Core, Little to Cheer About

COMMENTARY By Andew C. Porter
The United States has long resisted a national curriculum, but that's changing. More than forty states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands have signed on to adopt a set of voluntary curriculum standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

School Board Members – Interested in Advocating for Public Education at the Federal Level?
Consider serving in NSBA's Federal Relations Network Program; applications are due by September 2nd. For more info and an online application see this link at PSBA:

Senator Piccola's office has issued this list of Accomplishments & Activity of the Senate Education Committee 2010-2011 Legislative Session

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