Monday, January 30, 2012

Erie SD to open online charter school/ Easton Area SD considers charging charter, cyber schools a fee for sports participation

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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Obama SOTU: stop teaching to the test
In his State of the Union message President Obama encouraged teachers to stop teaching to the test.  Here’s a way you can help him operationalize that.

Not concerned about budget cuts to public education?
Then you are NOT paying attention
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette By Judy Wertheimer Sunday, January 29, 2012
As mandated by state law, districts are in the process of drafting their proposed budgets for the 2012-13 fiscal year. So, too, is Gov. Tom Corbett, who will announce his proposed budget Feb. 7.
Read more:

Posted: Sun, Jan. 29, 2012, 3:01 AM
Inquirer Editorial: Public schools facing crisis
His fans are calling Gov. Corbett courageous for ignoring impassioned pleas to drop his pledge not to raise taxes.  The governor would show more courage if he admitted the state's financial situation without new revenue is becoming untenable - especially when it comes to all the public schools across Pennsylvania in financial trouble.

Erie School District to open online charter school BY SEAN MCCRACKEN, Erie Times-News
Erie school officials are tired of paying millions of dollars each year and losing hundreds of students to online charter schools.  But they believe they can get those students back by offering a similar program in the district.  School officials announced on Friday the creation of the Erie Public Schools Online Campus. The new program will offer online courses to students at the district's four high schools.
"The Erie School District is now wholehearted in the 21st century," Erie schools Superintendent Jay Badams said.  Students can choose to take just some courses or they can enroll as full-time online students at no cost to their families other than property taxes already paid to the district.

Easton Area School District considers charging charter, cyber schools a fee for sports participation

By Samantha Marcus, Of The Morning Call, 11:29 p.m. EST, January 29, 2012
Many a young Eastonian has aspired to one day be part of Easton Area School District's storied football and wrestling programs — bright spots in a school system battling economic and academic shortfalls.
Even those students who leave the public school district for charter or cyber schools have the right to call themselves Red Rovers. Pennsylvania school code prohibits home districts from closing their rosters to cyber, charter and home-schooled students.
The Easton Area School Board, in turn, is exploring its right to charge charter and cyber schools a fee for their students to join district athletics and other activities.

Duquesne schools examine survival strategies
Idea of a takeover by a charter floated
By Mary Niederberger, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Sunday, January 29, 2012
Connie Lucas, an elected school board member in the Duquesne City School District, holds little power.  A state board of control has overseen the academically and financially failing school district since November 2000, and last year announced the district's single school would close after the 2011-2012 year. But in the absence of any formal plan from the state on how to educate the district's children, Ms. Lucas and fellow board members are working to save and, more importantly, improve their K-8 school.

With no new taxes, Cumberland Valley School District may face program, teacher cuts
By ED KOMENDA, The Patriot-News Published: Friday, January 27, 2012, 3:29 PM
Many people won’t be happy with the news coming out of the Cumberland Valley School District.
Faced with dwindling funds, increasing costs and new school board members that campaigned on hard lines against raising taxes, the CV board may have to slash programs and staff, raise taxes or a combination of the two to balance the budget.

Archbishop Chaput: Catholic school crisis shows need for vouchers
Philadelphia, Pa., Jan 28, 2012 / 06:13 pm (CNA).- The “unique value” of Catholic education in Philadelphia is being threatened by a shortage of resources, and Pennsylvania Catholics should encourage their legislators to create vouchers to sustain them, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput says.  “We can honor Catholic Schools Week this year by actually doing something about the fiscal problems hurting our schools. We need to press our lawmakers, respectfully but vigorously, to pass school choice,” the archbishop wrote in his Jan. 26 Catholic Standard & Times column.

SPENCER: Not all public schools failing students
Published: Sunday, January 29, 2012
Delco Times Opinion By GIL SPENCER,
“Most of our schools are doing an OK job,” he asserts. “U.S. schools that have less than a 25 percent poverty rate at doing pretty well internationally.” 

Vollmer’s List: The Increasing Burden Placed on America’s Public Schools

PISA: It's Poverty Not Stupid

Latest Updates on Chester Upland - January 30, 2011

PA House Democratic Caucus Website
As districts consider their preliminary budgets and we await the Governor’s February 7th budget announcement, the PA House Democratic Caucus has begun daily tracking of press coverage on school district budgets statewide:

County Legislative Guides by Education Voters PA
These legislative guides list contact information, committee assignments and school districts for PA State Representatives and State Senators.  They also include tips on being an effective advocate for public education: contacting your elected officials and writing letters to the editor

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