Monday, October 31, 2011

Auditor General Jack Wagner: “Whenever you hear an ad on the radio for a charter school, that's your extra taxpayer money at work."

Auditor General Jack Wagner: "Whenever you hear an ad on the radio for a charter school, that's your extra taxpayer money at work."

Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg


Continued Opinions and Reaction to Passage of Voucher Bill SB1 in the PA Senate 10/28/11

Karen Heller at the Inquirer, Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa's Floor Speech video, PSBA Executive Director Tom Gentzel in the Patriot News, Students First PAC Executive Director Dawn Chavous in the Patriot News, Patti Mengers in the Delco Times, Urban school principal Frank Murphy in City School Stories Blog, Westmont-Hilltop School Board member Phyllis Forman in the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat , Jan Murphy at Patriot News, Joy Pullman of the Heartland Institute at


"The average cost for a charter school student's education is $5,000," said Wagner. "Districts on average pay about $10,000. Whenever you hear an ad on the radio for a charter school, that's your extra taxpayer money at work."

Pennsylvania Auditor General Calls for Revamping of Charter School Funding

Warminster Patch by James Boyle October 28,2011

Education vouchers and charter school funding were the top issues discussed at Thursday night's roundtable discussion at William Tennent High School.  Pennsylvania school districts pay too much money to send students to charter and cyber charter schools, said Auditor General Jack Wagner to parents and representatives from all 13 Bucks County school districts who gathered Thursday night at William Tennent High School for a forum about public school funding.


Auditor General Jack Wagner and Pennsylvania's Agora Cyber Charter School are noted in this June 2011 article about K12, the largest operator of taxpayer funded online schools.  If you ever use the internet or listen to a radio you may have heard or seen one of their ads.  Charles Zogby, PA's Budget Secretary and Former Secretary of Education under Governor Ridge, served as K12's Senior Vice President of Education and Policy prior to being recruited to serve in the Corbett Administration.  The article is on the longer side but I think you will find it worth reading.  LAF

Education According to Mike Milken

With K12, the largest U.S. operator of taxpayer-funded online schools, the former junk-bond king has figured out how to make money in education. Is that a good thing?

Bloomberg Businessweek By John Hechinger, June 2, 2011
Ten-year-old Asiko Aderin is wearing headphones and staring into a computer screen, looking very much like an underage call center employee. It's a weekday morning—a school day—and this is what school looks like for Asiko and her two brothers, Ayomiro, 11, and Ayodeji, 8. Holed up in the basement of their family's Poconos, Pa., home, they watch lessons on a screen, typing answers to questions as their mother, Sharon Aderin, a former U.S. Army Reserve sergeant, hovers nearby. The children attend Agora Cyber Charter School, managed by K12 (LRN), the largest U.S. operator of taxpayer-funded online schools and part-owned by billionaire Michael Milken.


Here's an Education News Interview with Charles Zogby about privatization from March 6, 2008

An Interview with Charles Zogby: About Privatization

Michael F. Shaughnessy, Senior Columnist, March 6, 2008


Of the 12 cyber charter schools that are independent public schools and deliver instruction over the Internet, only two made AYP this year.

Hearing Regarding Seven New Cyber Charter School Applications Nov. 29th and Dec. 1st

[Pennsylvania Bulletin Saturday, October 29, 2011] DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Notice

The Department of Education (Department) has scheduled two public hearings regarding seven cyber charter school applications that it received on October 3, 2011. The hearings will be held on Tuesday, November 29, 2011, and December 1, 2011, in Heritage Room B on the lobby level at 333 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA at 10 a.m. The hearings pertain to applicants seeking to operate cyber charter schools beginning in the 2012-2013 school year which include: ACT Academy Cyber Charter School, AKOBEN Cyber Charter School, Education Plus Academy Cyber Charter School, Esperanza Cyber Charter School, Innovate U Cyber Charter School, Mercury Online Charter School of Pennsylvania and Solomon World Civilization Cyber Charter School. The purpose of the hearings is to gather information from the applicants about the proposed cyber charter schools as well as receive comments from interested persons regarding the applications. The applications can be viewed on Department's web site at


"The Governor, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the State Charter School Appeal Board, and local school districts should place a moratorium on authorizing new charter and cyber charter schools until the flawed funding mechanisms are equitable and reasonable for charter and cyber charter schools, for sending school districts and for Pennsylvania taxpayers."

Auditor General Jack Wagner, Bureau of School Audits

September 2010 Special Report

The Commonwealth Should Revise Its Charter and Cyber Charter School Funding Mechanisms



"…our first priority must be to improve access to books among all children, and especially those who live in poverty, and the most obvious first step is to invest in libraries in high-poverty areas."
Need Children Read 'Proficiently' by Grade Three?
By Stephen Krashen, Language Magazine October 2011
A study by Donald Hernandez, titled "Double Jeopardy: How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High-School Graduation," has received a great deal of attention in the media, including a notice in Language Magazine (May, 2011). The study, based on an analysis of 4000 children studied over ten years, concluded that those who don't read "proficiently" by third grade are less likely to graduate high school, and those who live in poverty and also do not read "proficiently" by grade three are even less likely to graduate high school.

"But after more than two decades of these New Reforms—more and more testing, higher stakes, charters, and mayoral control—we do know some things for sure:
(a) Test scores have not risen, and the test-score gap hasn't narrowed. 
(b) We have moved further away from building a profession that retains and uses its experienced teachers well. 
(c) We are witnessing unimaginable hours spent on test-prepping and a narrowing of the rest of the curriculum while cheating is being ignored and teachers are being demoralized. Hardly trivial side effects."

There Are No Quick Fixes

 Deborah Meier   
Dear Diane, If we could clone you and send you everywhere at once, with a few follow-ups from others, would it matter? Yes. Because we definitely don't reach as many people with our message as "they" (the Reformers) do with theirs.
Still, as Democrats Abroad France wrote recently in a proposal submitted to the Democratic Party Platform Committee: "We cannot improve education by quick fixes, by handing over our public schools to entrepreneurs, by driving out experienced professionals replacing them with enthusiastic amateurs, or by closing them and firing ... entire staffs. No country in the world follows such strategies."
We hold the world record in the amount of time devoted to testing—even as we also hold the record for spending less on children's health and welfare.

Use Education Voters PA website to contact your PA State Representatives asking them to oppose taxpayer funded vouchers:

For more info/background -  PSBA's Tuition Voucher Issue Page

Making the Grade – Virtual  Town Hall Meeting on November 1st to Discuss New Teacher Evaluation Process
PA Partnerships for Children and the PA Association of Intermediate Units are hosting a Virtual Town Hall Meeting on the new teacher evaluation process which was piloted by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) earlier this year.   As PDE prepares to commence phase two of the pilot, you might be interested in hearing from the superintendents, principals and teachers who participated in the first phase. The town hall meeting will take place on Tuesday, November 1 at 7:00 pm at one of the Intermediate Units in your area.  The event will be video linked to 28 other locations across the state.
If you are interesting in attending, you can pre-register at the following link
The agenda with panelists can be accessed here:

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