Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The PA Legislature has spent hours in hearings and deliberations on vouchers, charter schools and EITC expansion this session but not one minute on safe schools or best practices.

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Latest on Chester Upland January 18, 2012

SRC hears about school violence
by Benjamin Herold on Jan 18 2012 for the Notebook and WHYY/Newsworks
A new committee of the School Reform Commission (SRC) attempted Tuesday evening to tackle an old issue – school violence.

It's official: Report says Philadelphia schools fall short on dealing with crime
By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer, Posted: Wed, Jan. 18, 2012, 3:01 AM
The facts are sobering, if not surprising - the Philadelphia School District has failed to report crime consistently, offers too little help for students traumatized by violence, and fails to implement the most effective methods citywide.
The promises are lofty - more focus on violence prevention, more transparency concerning violence data, improved reporting, more and better training.

The PA Legislature has spent hours in hearings and deliberations on vouchers, charter schools and EITC expansion this session but not one minute on safe schools or best practices.  School choice evangelists propose to take 8% of the kids out of dangerous schools and leave 92% behind with fewer resources for counselors, nurses, social workers and safety officers.  Vouchers represent a total abdication of responsibility, not a solution.  They would do nothing to help our kids left behind, our schools or our communities.
A Blueprint for Action – Report by Philadelphia Blue Ribbon Commission on Safe Schools presented at the School Reform Commission meeting of January 17, 2012
The Blue Ribbon Commission was convened in November 2010 as a result of the citywide concerns about the safety of our schools, commercial areas, and residential streets, in order to address a surge in youth homicide, school violence, ethnic intimidation, flash mobs, and assaults on citizens involving Philadelphia youth.
Convened by the Superintendent of Schools and the Mayor, the BRC’s membership is comprised of students, teachers, principals, school officials, police, youth leadership organizations, government leaders, parents, and neighborhood activists.
The Commission created three committees to focus on specific issues impacting school safety: 1. The Safe Schools Audit/School Visit Committee, 2. The Policy Implementation Committee, and 3. The Attendance, Truancy, and Bullying Prevention Committee.

Our schools are in a world of hurt, and it's our fault

WHYY Newsworks Opinion By Chris Satullo January 16, 2012
What are we doing?
The Philadelphia schools just laid off another 1,400 people, on top of more than 1,800 last year.
The Chester-Upland schools are flat broke. Teachers there are working for free right to keep classrooms open. Repeat, for free.
And the Catholic school system announced closings of nearly 50 schools in the Philadelphia region. 
What in the world are we doing?

WHAT WORKS: New program shows the promise and possibilities for parent engagement

By Carol Kocivar, Carol Kocivar is president of the California State PTA.
Have you ever taken a peek into the future? A quick snapshot into tomorrow?
I did recently at a small elementary school in South San Francisco.
Twenty-nine parents walked into the school’s multipurpose room to the sound of Pomp and Circumstance. Families grinned. Children clapped. Moms and dads marched to the folding chairs in the front of the room: graduates of the PTA School Smarts Parent Academy. The principal handed out certificates and words of praise. Parent speeches in Spanish and English demonstrated new communication skills.  A graduation. A promise of the future … not only for these parents but for their children and their school.

Seneca Valley to seek state approval for tax increase
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette By Laure Cioffi
Seneca Valley school board members will be asking the state to allow the district to raise taxes above the current inflationary index.
"I don't like to see a tax increase, but I've got an obligation as a board member to maintain a quality education," board member Jim Nickel said.

FORBES James Marshall Crotty 12/22/2011 @ 5:56PM |3,223 views

No Educator Left Behind: Pearson, Leading Scorer of Standardized Tests, Subpoenaed

Publicly Traded Pearson Education Subpoenaed
The New York Attorney General’s office launched an investigation this week into whether or not the education and testing of the state’s school children was sold to the highest bidder. A cloud of suspicion surrounds the Pearson Foundation, a nonprofit subsidiary of publicly traded Pearson Education Inc.(NYSE:PSO), the nation’s largest educational publisher and subject of a previous Crotty on Forbes column. The Pearson Foundation is being investigated for potentially lobbying state education officials improperly and footing the bill for those officials to take trips to numerous international locales.

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