Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pushing vouchers: For some, it's about tax dollars for church schools

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.

Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg

 

"No child should be trapped in a failing school system, and the Legislature should fund alternatives and reforms that work. But lawmakers must keep in mind that for some of the biggest backers of vouchers, the movement is about channeling public dollars into religious education -- in opposition to the will of Pennsylvania's founders."
Pushing vouchers: For some, it's about tax dollars for church schools
Saturday, December 03, 2011
Editorial Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
No one should be surprised that leaders in the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh want families served by its schools to push for passage of a tuition voucher bill in Harrisburg. The legislation is in the schools' interest, and it's the right of parents to speak out.
But an email last month to Catholic school principals from Ronald T. Bowes, the diocese's assistant superintendent for policy and development, revealed a coercive attempt to tie a family's tuition aid to its degree of lobbying. As reported Tuesday by the Post-Gazette's Mackenzie Carpenter, Mr. Bowes wanted parents not only to contact their legislators but also to complete a form describing their efforts.

Pro-voucher group hits Harrisburg airwaves

MONDAY, 05 DECEMBER 2011 09:19
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE EARLY RETURNS BLOG WRITTEN BY LAURA OLSON
The boys are back in town, and with limited days left on the 2011 state legislative calendar, the pro-voucher movement met them with a message as they entered the media market.
A radio ad from Students First, one of the most active groups lobbying for a measure to create school vouchers, began airing this morning in Harrisburg. 

Originally Published: 12/4/2011  
Pa. cyber charter schools not passing test
Their proponents say growth of individual students is not being assessed accurately
By David Meekeel. Reading Eagle
Most cyber charter schools in Pennsylvania failed to make the grade on state standardized tests during the last school year, fanning the flames for critics who say they siphon money from traditional public schools.
But supporters of cyber charters say the tests do not show an accurate reflection of the programs.

Media Advisory from Education Committee Chairman Senator Piccola's office December 5, 2011
Senate Education Committee to Consider SRC Nominee, Receive Update on Teacher Evaluation Proposal & Briefing by Philadelphia Mayor
 HARRISBURG – The Senate Education Committee will meet on Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 8EA-EW for the following purposes:
Informational briefing by Mayor Michael Nutter, City of Philadelphia, on Senate Bill 1303, sponsored by Senator Anthony Williams.  (The committee will not be voting upon Senate Bill 1303 at this meeting.)
Update on the Corbett Administration's teacher evaluation overhaul with a presentation by the Pennsylvania Department of Education Secretary Ron Tomalis.
Consideration of Governor Corbett's nominee to the Philadelphia School Reform Commission, Feather Houstoun.

From the Education Policy and Leadership Center
On November 9, the PDE issued Referendum Exception Guidelines for 2012-2013 for school districts that may seek approval for referendum exceptions to increase tax rates above theadjusted index.  Section 333 of the Taxpayer Relief Act, as amended by Act 25 of 2011
allows for certain exceptions (school construction, special education expenditures and retirement contributions) that require PDE approval.  Detailed information about each referendum exception and submission procedures are contained in the guidelines.  These regulations reflect changes in the state law enacted earlier this year that have the effect of further restricting the ability of school districts to increase property taxes without voter approval.

OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Why School Choice Fails

New York Times Opinion By NATALIE HOPKINSON, Published: December 4, 2011
IF you want to see the direction that education reform is taking the country, pay a visit to my leafy, majority-black neighborhood in Washington. 

MONDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2011

Billionaire Education Policy (Guest Post)

The Education Optomists Blog Posted by Sara Goldrick-Rab
The word "policy" makes us think of politicians and bureaucrats. But what happens when powerful policy-makers aren't elected or appointed? Today, billionaires are shaping education policy in the United States. Buying political influence—-even legally—-feels dirty, so let me try again: 
Philanthropists are saving our schools! 

If you are in the Camp Hill, Cumberland Valley, East Pennsboro, Mechanicsburg or West Shore School Districts please consider attending this legislative forum.
Reps. Grell, Delozier to Co-Host Town Hall Meeting on Education Reform
Wednesday, December 7th 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Press Release 11/30/2011
HARRISBURG – Rep. Glen Grell (R-Hampden Twp.) and Rep. Sheryl Delozier (R-Lower Allen Twp.) announced today that they are co-hosting a special town hall meeting on educational reform legislation currently under consideration in the General Assembly. The event will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 7, from 7 -9 p.m. at Good Hope Middle School, 451 Skyport Road in Hampden Township. Residents of the 87th and 88th Legislative Districts are invited and encouraged to attend. 
Among the speakers expected to attend are Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis, and representatives from the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, the Education Law Center of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools, the Pennsylvania State Education Association, the Pennsylvania-American Civil Liberties Union, and the Commonwealth Foundation

The Southeastern Pennsylvania First Suburbs Project's
Second Annual Fundraiser and Inaugural Awards Ceremony
Thursday, December 8, 2011 – 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Twentieth Century Club, 84 S. Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne, PA 19050
Join the Southeastern Pennsylvania First Suburbs Project to celebrate our organization's progress in realizing our collective vision to make southeastern Pennsylvania a fair, stable, and prosperous place to live.
Keynote Speaker — Estelle Richman, U.S. HUD Acting Deputy Secretary
HONOREES:
U.S. Congressman Jim Gerlach
State Senator Ted Erickson
Rev. Ed Crenshaw, Victory Christian Fellowship
Kirby Hudson, City of Coatesville Assistant Manager
For tickets and info: http://firstsuburbsproject.org/


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