Monday, October 24, 2011

“Let’s fully fund TFA and KIPP initiatives, but only if TFA and KIPP serve top students, releasing the most experienced and well-qualified teachers to teach students living in poverty, students of color, and students speaking languages other than English"

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Voucher Heads Up – SB1 Scheduled for Senate Education  Committee Vote on Tuesday, Oct. 25th
We have been advised that the Senate Education Committee will be considering the voucher bill, SB1 at their meeting scheduled for 10 am on Tuesday morning.  Senators Piccola and Williams are expected to offer an amendment which will be ready for circulation to the committee on Monday.  The meeting will be held in Hearing Room 1, North Office Building.
For more info/background -  PSBA's Tuition Voucher Issue Page

 "Let's fully fund TFA and KIPP initiatives, but only if TFA and KIPP serve top students, releasing the most experienced and well-qualified teachers to teach students living in poverty, students of color, and students speaking home languages other than English.  Currently, the new reformers support TFA and KIPP as long as they serve other people's children. I suspect if TFA and KIPP suddenly become the norm for a different population of children, the tune from the top will change."
Schools Matter Blog, Sunday, October 23, 2011
During the first years of the Obama administration, Secretary Arne Duncan has risen to the forefront of public debates about education reform, paralleling the growing public nature of that debate that includes the entrepreneur reformers such as Bill Gates and Geoffrey Canada along with a harbinger of things to come with the popularity of the documentary Waiting for "Superman."
At the center of the reform debate has been a growing endorsement of two reforms that work against traditional views of teacher preparation, Teach for America (TFA), and public schools, Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) charter schools.

Posted at 12:06 PM ET, 10/23/2011

Why Teach for America isn't 'the answer'

Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss
This was written by educator Anthony Cody, who worked for 24 years in the Oakland schools, 18 years teaching science at a high-needs school and six years as a mentor and coach of teachers. He is a National Board-certified teacher. A version of this post appeared on his Education Week Teacher blog, Living in Dialogue .
"This recent study indicates that fully 57% of TFA interns enter the classroom intending to leave after fulfilling their two-year commitment.….we need to work to create schools that are capable of retaining teachers, through the combination of decent pay, good working conditions, strong collegial support, solid leadership and sound educational policies.
If we have done this, we will build a profession, and not be relying on people recruited to be short term heroes in a flawed system. Instead we will have people who actually want to be teachers as their career filling our classrooms. The schools attended by the wealthy and even the middle class demand this. I do not believe we should accept anything less for schools attended by children in poverty."

NSBA School Board News, October 7, 2011

What Works: Involving families in schools: addressing opportunities and challenges

It is common sense that family involvement in schools is essential to increasing student achievement.  Research also suggests it reduces risky behaviors and improves attitudes about school among students.

YDR Opinion: Politics and schools

York Daily Record 10/21/2011 Opinion
Maybe it was all just coincidental, but there was an interesting succession of events in York schools over the last couple of weeks.  Taking money away from struggling schools - and then taking even more for an unproven voucher program - doesn't seem like a recipe for success.
But relying on federal funding for local schools just seems likely to perpetuate these boom and bust cycles.
And, if the past is any indication, just giving the city school district money to hire teachers won't guarantee student achievement. 

Building One Pennsylvania Public Meeting: Advancing an Agenda for Regional Change, Thursday Oct. 27th in Lancaster

Thursday, October 27 – 11:30 am

More than 500 local elected, faith and civic leaders from the older, financially distressed boroughs, towns and cities in Pennsylvania who have already registered to attend Building One PA's October 27 meeting to call for state and federal policy changes that will stabilize our Main Street communities. 
The Building One Pennsylvania Public Meeting will take place on Thursday, October 27, 2011 from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm at the Bright Side Baptist Church, 515 Hershey Avenue, Lancaster, PA 17603. Doors open at 10:30 for registration.
Leaders from throughout the state will convene to present an agenda for change to state and federal policymakers that will stabilize and revitalize our communities.
This event is free but you must register in advance to reserve your seat.  Register at or by emailing name, title and organizational affiliation (if applicable), address, phone and email to To defray the costs of the event, we are accepting donations. Suggested donation: $15. 

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:

House Education Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Clymer and State Auditor General Jack Wagner are among those who have indicated that they plan to participate in this event.

RSVP for Bucks County PTO Legislative Forum on 10/27

Thursday, October 27, 2011 from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM Warminster, PA

William Tennant High School, 333 Centennial Road, Warminster, PA 18974
Please RSVP at:
All public education stakeholders are invited to this special event.  Join us on Thursday, October 27th at William Tennent High School in Warminster from 7PM to 10PM for an evening with key state legislators from Bucks County.  Every legislator representing the Bucks County school districts is invited to attend and discuss their positions on public education and take questions from audience members.

Education Voters Video Contest - DEADLINE 10/30

Education Voters Institute of Pennsylvania (EVI) is conducting a video project to highlight both the impact of cuts to critical programs that serve kids, and the importance of education to our communities and our economy.

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