Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Please don’t drink the “Voucher Lite” Kool-Aid; we don’t need a pilot program.

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 1000 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators and members of the press via emails, website, Facebook and Twitter.

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Commentary: Please don’t drink the “Voucher Lite” Kool-Aid; we don’t need a pilot program.

·         Vouchers will not help our kids, our schools or our taxpayers.

·         Two thirds of our taxpayer constituents don’t want them.

·         Vouchers do not improve student academic performance.

·         You don’t make a “dangerous school “safer by taking away even more funding for its safety officers, counselors and nurses.

·         Pennsylvania education policy should focus on helping all of our students, not on creating a new unconstitutional entitlement program or a bailout for unaccountable private and religious schools.

·         Pennsylvania courts have never upheld the use of taxpayer dollars to fund religious education, and instead have made it clear that the state constitution prohibits such a regime.

·         There has been no vote taken on any voucher or charter school proposal by the House Education Committee this year.

·         Please oppose vouchers in any form.


Pro-voucher editorial puts blame on wrong party

Patriot News Published: Tuesday, December 13, 2011, 1:23 AM
By Letters to the Editor JILL S. BARTOLI

I was disappointed in the narrow viewpoint of the Dec. 7 editorial "Case for vouchers." Blaming public schools --- again --- instead of looking systematically at the dire health, education and welfare conditions of millions of U.S. children and youth is disappointing and short-sighted.


Investigation into Virtual School Prompts Concern

 Katie Ash  
The New York Times today paints a bleak picture for teachers, students, and parents in online schools, particularly run by the online learning giant K12 Inc.
A story in the paper highlights overall lower student performance in online schools, specifically in the Agora Cyber Charter School in Pennsylvania run by K12 Inc. The article criticizes the school for failing to screen students effectively for success in an online environment and high teacher-to-student ratios that drive the operation costs down while increasing profit. It also suggests cyber schools usurp money from public school districts by keeping public money for students that end up dropping out shortly after enrolling, and collecting money for students that rarely or never log in and spend little time on online coursework.


Report: dollars over education at online charter schools

Posted: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 2:41 pm by PATRICK BERKERY
Fascinating piece in today's New York Times about the business of online charter schools. Emphasis on thebusiness part.
The story looks at the two major players in the online education business, K12 and Connections Education. As a business model, both companies are wildly successfully, bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars while being subsidized by taxpayers.


From Finland, an Intriguing School-Reform Model
Post-Gazette Tuesday, December 13, 2011
By JENNY ANDERSON, The New York Times
Pasi Sahlberg, a Finnish educator and author, had a simple question for the high school seniors he was speaking to one morning last week in Manhattan: "Who here wants to be a teacher?"

Read more:


In Massachusetts, he wrote, “We have set the nation’s highest standards, been tough on accountability and invested billions in building school capacity, yet we still see a very strong correlation between socioeconomic background and educational achievement and attainment. It is now clear that unless and until we make a more active effort to mitigate the impediments to learning that are commonly associated with poverty, we will still be faced with large numbers of children who are either unable to come to school or so distracted as not to be able to be attentive and supply effort when they get there.” 
Why Are the Rich So Interested in Public-School Reform?

They want to remake America's students in their own high-achieving image, but they're overlooking socioeconomics
Time Magazine By JUDITH WARNER | @judithwarner  

It was perhaps inevitable that the political moment that has given birth to the Occupy movement, pitting Main Street against Wall Street and the 99% against the financial elite, would eventually succeed in making some chinks in the armor of the 1%’s favorite feel-good hobby: the school reform movement.
Read more:

Great Schools for America
Excellent website tracks connections between the wealthy, new education non-profits, & education policy.


"The original [US] Department of Education was created in 1867 to collect information on schools..."

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