Wednesday, September 28, 2011

104 PA Entities Participating in new Teacher and Principal Evaluation Pilot Program

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Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 09/27/2011

A bet on No Child Left Behind

Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss
This was written by Richard Rothstein, a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, a non-profit organization created in 1986 to broaden the discussion about economic policy to include the interests of low- and middle-income workers. This appeared on the institute's website.

Four and a half years ago, we surveyed the damage being done to American education by NCLB, the No Child Left Behind iteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act:
·         conversion of struggling elementary schools into test-prep factories;
·         narrowing of curriculum so that disadvantaged children who most need enrichment would be denied lessons in social studies, the sciences, the arts and music, even recess and exercise, so that every available minute of the school day could be devoted to drill for tests of basic skills in math and reading;
·         demoralization of the best teachers, now prohibited from engaging children in discovery and instead required to follow pre-set instructional scripts aligned with low-quality tests;
·         and the boredom and terror of young children who no longer looked forward to school but instead anticipated another day of rote exercises and practice testing designed to increase scores by a point or two.

Public Meeting/Panel Debate: School Vouchers – Necessary Education Reform or the Destruction of Public Education?
Get Informed!  Join the Conversation!
Wednesday, October 26, 2011 7:00 PM
Moral Issues Series at Unitarian Church of Harrisburg
1280 Clover Lane, Harrisburg, PA 17113
717.564.4761    Child Care Provided
School Voucher Debate Panelists:
Otto V. Banks, Executive Director, REACH (Road to Educational Achievement through CHoice)
Dr. Jill Sunday Bartoli, Ph.D., Elizabethtown College
Matthew J. Brouillette, Commonwealth Foundation
Dr. Joan Duvall-Flynn, Ed.D., NAACP
Senator Mike Folmer (R), PA Senate District 48
Andrew (Andy) Hoover, ACLU of PA
Dick Komer, Esq., Institute of Justice
Dr. Timothy Slekar, Ph.D., Penn State, Altoona Campus
The debate will be moderated by Scott Gilbert

Support public education by opposing vouchers

Posted: 12:01am on Sep 27, 2011
In June, despite a state surplus, the governor cut $860 million from the state's funding for public schools. And even though there is strong public support for taxing the Marcellus Shale industry, Gov. Tom Corbett refused to consider it. These additional funds could have covered the education budget gap.
And now the governor and some legislators are trying to push legislation to spend up to $1 billion on a private school voucher program that would take even more money away from our public schools and our students.

From EPLC Newsletter:  104 PA Entities Participating in new Teacher and Principal Evaluation Pilot Program
On September 21, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) announced that 104 K-12 entities (including nine career and technical centers, nine charter schools and nine intermediate units) have agreed to participate in the new teacher and principal evaluation pilot program The PDE began developing a new comprehensive educator assessment system two years ago with a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Beginning in January 2012, participating pilot schools will use the new evaluation method and provide feedback to the PDE. However, the new evaluation tool will not be used to determine an educator's official 2011-2012 assessment.  Under this proposal, fifty percent of an educator's evaluation will be comprised of multiple measures of student achievement.  The remaining parts of the evaluation (considered traditional practices) would include such areas as classroom observations.  Once the pilot program has been completed, the PDE will review the feedback and make any necessary changes before being implemented in the 2012-2013 school year.

Can Teachers Opt Out?

Huffington Post by Timothy D. Slekar, Head of the Division of Education, Human Development and Social Sciences, Penn State Altoona, Posted 9/24/11
It needs to be clearly stated that all the credible research conducted over the past 15 years does not support the testing movement as a positive reform (Unless you own Pearson or McGraw Hill or receive campaign contributions from these companies.). Testing has not closed the achievement gap. Testing has decimated the idea and practice associated with a liberal arts education. Testing has reduced overall learning. Testing has created intolerable teaching and learning conditions. The "least among us" are hit hardest by the high stakes testing regime.

Posted on Tue, Sep. 27, 2011
New option for New Jersey parochial schools advances
By Maya Rao and Claudia Vargas, Inquirer Staff Writers
TRENTON - High-performing private and parochial schools in failing districts, including Camden, could become taxpayer-funded charter schools under a bill that won final legislative approval Monday.  The Senate voted, 25-13, for the legislation, which Gov. Christie is expected to sign.
The proposal would let parochial schools, which have long struggled financially, avoid closure by eliminating all religious symbols and classes, and adopting a secular name. Existing faculty and staff would be given preference for jobs, and current students would avoid the charter-school lottery process.

Northampton Area School District rests its case against Lehigh zoners, who rejected application for a solar array.

By Arlene Martínez, Of The Morning Call, 9:14 p.m. EDT, September 27, 2011
Whether Northampton Area School District can build a solar farm to power Lehigh Elementary School is now in the hands of a judge.
Reiner Jaeckle, MetroTek's chief operating officer, said Koury's decision is critical and will extend beyond the Northampton Area School District, which also is going to court over plans to build a solar system in Moore Township
The case "could be a precedent," Jaeckle said, paving the way for districts throughout the state to put up solar systems.

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