Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chester Upland teacher to sit in First Lady's box during State of the Union

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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Education Voters PA Statewide Call to Action for Public Education Wednesday January 25th
Please consider taking a few minutes tomorrow and forward this to other public education stakeholders.
On Wednesday, January 25, Education Voters of Pennsylvania will be sponsoring a Statewide
Call to Action for Public Education Click here to tell the Governor and your state legislators that Education is important to you!

Chester Upland teacher to sit in First Lady's box during State of the Union
By Colby Itkowitz, Morning Call Washington Bureau
8:05 p.m. EST, January 23, 2012
A Delaware County elementary school teacher who said this month that she'd continue working without pay in the face of budget cuts has been invited to sit with First Lady Michelle Obama during Tuesday night's State of the Union.
Sara Ferguson, a teacher at Columbus Elementary in the Chester Upland School District for more than 20 years, was featured in a Philadelphia Inquirer story on Jan. 5 after her teacher's union passed a resolution that teachers would stay on after the district said it could no longer pay its staff.

NSBA to host Twitter chat on education issues during State of the Union

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) will be hosting a Twitter chat during President Obama’s State of the Union address,  starting at 9 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Jan. 24.
Join the Twitter chat by using hashtag #EdSOTU and share your thoughts about the president’s speech and his plans for K-12 education.
By using #EdSOTU in your tweets, you will become a part of this virtual conversation. To see the entire conversation stream just go to Twitter and search #EdSOTU.

Ongoing Chester Upland Financial Situation Updates
Updated Daily

PA Senate Education Committee to hold a public hearing on fiscally distressed school districts
Tuesday, January 24, 2012 10:00 AM, Hearing Room 1 North Office Bldg.
Media Advisory with agenda here: http://piccola.org/press/2012/0112/012312.htm

PA House Education Committee to hold informational meeting on cyber charter school funding and operating issues
Thursday, January 26, 2012 10:00 AM, Room 60 East Wing

Education Policy and Leadership Center
EPLC Education Notebook Monday, January 23, 2012

Study: Early Education for Poor Students Carries Long-Term Benefits

 Julie Rasicot  
Right on the heels of last week's news that some states are cutting back on prekindergarten programs because of budget woes comes a new study that proves exposure to quality early childhood education can transform lives.
The study, published in the journal Developmental Psychology by researchers at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, shows that adults who received high-quality child care starting as babies were still reaping benefits even 30 years later.
Those benefits include achieving a higher level of education, having a greater likelihood of being consistently employed and less likelihood of using public assistance. Study participants also showed a tendency to delay parenthood.
The new data comes from the long-running Abecedarian Project led by the university's FPG Child Development Institute, which began following 111 infants (who were mostly African-American) in 1972. The kids were from low-income families and were considered to be at risk of developmental delays or academic failure.

Staff, kindergarten may be cut at Shamokin Area School District

(STAFF WRITERERIC_S@NEWSITEM.COM) Published: January 23, 2012
COAL TOWNSHIP - Kindergarten and other elementary programs face possible elimination in the Shamokin Area School District as it confronts a $4.6 million budget shortfall.
An estimated 25 professional and non-professional positions could also be eliminated, some through attrition.
Projected revenues for 2012-13 total $27.5 million while expenditures are at $32.1 million, leaving school board directors the unenviable task of making up the difference

Publics' edge: Districts can make AYP even if a school fails
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
When Ron and Tina Gamble's twin daughters, Jessica and Lauren, considered leaving public school for cyber school after sophomore year, several factors influenced their decision. The family from Murrysville liked the flexible cyber school schedule and lack of "busy work."
Standardized test scores and state requirements did not factor into the decision.
"They don't seem that important to me," said Lauren Gamble, 17.
Since the charter school movement began in Pennsylvania nearly 15 years ago, most of the state's charter schools continue to struggle to meet state standards. Yet, charters in Western Pennsylvania keep growing.
More than 90,000 students are enrolled in 142 public charter schools, including 12 cyber charter schools, according to the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools. An estimated 30,000 students are on waiting lists.
Data show traditional charters fare better academically than their virtual counterparts.
In Pennsylvania, 94 percent of school districts met adequate yearly progress under the federal No Child Left Behind law in 2010-11. Sixty percent of charter schools and 17 percent of cyber charter schools met the standard.
Read more: Publics' edge: Districts can make AYP even if a school fails - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/pittsburgh/s_777831.html#ixzz1kN8K8T9p

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 01/24/2012

The facts that school reformers ignore

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 to broaden the discussion about economic policy to include the interests of low- and middle-income workers. From 1999 to 2002 he was the national education columnist of The New York Times, and he is the author of several books, including “Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right” and “Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic and Educational Reform to Close the Black-White Achievement Gap.” This appeared on the institute’s website.
By Richard Rothstein
Education “reformers” have a common playbook. First, assert without evidence that regular public schools are “failing” and that large numbers of regular (unionized) public school teachers are incompetent. Provide no documentation for this claim other than that the test score gap between minority and white children remains large. Then propose so-called reforms to address the unproven problem — charter schools to escape teacher unionization and the mechanistic use of student scores on low-quality and corrupted tests to identify teachers who should be fired.

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