Wednesday, January 11, 2012

NCLB: The Death Star of American Education

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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New york times EDITORIAL

Troubled Online Charter Schools

Published: January 10, 2012
Charter schools, which receive public money but are subject to fewer state regulations, are operating in 40 states. A growing body of research shows that charter schools generally perform no better than traditional schools and are often worse as measured by student test data. This is particularly true of online charter schools, which educate more than 200,000 full-time students and are spreading quickly across the country.
The need for closer scrutiny of these schools by state officials is underscored in a report published last week by the National Education Policy Center, a research center at the University of Colorado in Boulder. The study found that only 27 percent of privately managed online schools achieved adequate yearly progress on standardized tests, as defined by the federal government, in the 2010 school year as opposed to 52 percent of privately managed brick-and-mortar charter schools.

NCLB: The Death Star of American Education

 Diane Ravitch  
Dear Deborah,
I know you are touring schools in Japan and soaking up lessons for us as you travel. Since you have Internet access, I'd like to share some thoughts about a momentous occasion: the 10th anniversary of No Child Left Behind, which occurred on January 8.
After 10 years of NCLB, we should have seen dramatic progress on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, but we have not. By now, we should be able to point to sharp reductions of the achievement gaps between children of different racial and ethnic groups and children from different income groups, but we cannot. As I said in a recent speech, many children continue to be left behind, and we know who those children are: They are the same children who were left behind 10 years ago.
In my travels over the past two years, I have seen the wreckage caused by NCLB. It has become the Death Star of American education. It is a law that inflicts damage on students, teachers, schools, and communities.

No easy answers to financial woes of Chester Upland schools
By Dan Hardy Inquirer Staff Writer, Posted: Wed, Jan. 11, 2012, 3:01 AM
The Chester Upland School District is tapped out.
It is now open for classes only so long as its creditors remain patient and its employees are willing to forgo pay.
The district's biweekly payroll last Wednesday was the last one it could meet; it will not be able to pay its employees next week. And Chester Upland is already millions in debt to vendors and the state, with only about $100,000 left in the bank.
So, if the schools are closed, what would happen to the district's 3,700 students?
Education law experts say there is no precedent and no clear answer for how the children would receive an education.

Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial: State helped make this mess
Posted: Tue, Jan. 10, 2012, 3:01 AM
The latest meltdown in the Chester Upland school system is a sweeping indictment of the State Department of Education, which has allowed the Delaware County district to persistently remain one of the worst in Pennsylvania.

EPLC Education Notebook
Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Stroudsburg Area School District facing $9.8 million deficit

By Pocono Record Writer, January 10, 2012
Larger class sizes, staff reductions, eliminating elective courses for students or a wage concession are possible remedies to close a projected $9.8 million deficit in the Stroudsburg Area School District budget, said Business Manager Don Jennings.

Seneca Valley schools face projected shortfall of $4.8M
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Thursday, January 05, 2012, By Laure Cioffi
Seneca Valley School board members are in for another tough budget season.
The district has a projected shortfall of about $4.8 million in the proposed preliminary budget introduced Wednesday night at the school board work session meeting.

Preliminary Somerset school budget would allow for tax increase
Somerset County Daily American by MICHELLE GANASSI, Daily American Staff Writer
January 9, 2012
The Somerset school board passed a preliminary $34.8 million budget Monday evening and left the door open for tax increases above the Act 1 index.

Twin Valley SD tax increases pass initial hurdle
Reading Eagle Press by Becca Gregg, 1/10/12
Berks County residents in the Twin Valley School District might see a 2.7 percent tax increase for the 2012-13 school year.  At Monday's meeting, the school board voted to adopt a $51.5 million preliminary budget that would increase taxes for Berks residents to 22.6 mills from 22.0.
That would boost the annual tax tab for a home assessed at $100,000 to $2,260 from $2,200.
Chester County residents would see a 5.2 percent increase - to 24.4 mills from 23.2 mills - boosting the tab for a property assessed at $100,000 to $2,440 from $2,320.

Hamburg SD proposed budget includes tax increase
Reading Eagle by Kate Wilcox, 1/10/12
The Hamburg School District's proposed 2012-13 budget currently contains a deficit of $405,253, Business Manager Stuart C. Whiteleather announced at Monday night's school board meeting.
Projected revenues are based on a 0.56-mill increase. That is the maximum increase allowed under state Act 1 index without seeking exceptions and would bring the total tax to 26.02 mills, or $2,602 on a property assessed at $100,000.

Northern Lehigh looks to stem charter school costs

One option would be to form its own charter school, a move that would keep students in district.

11:06 a.m. EST, January 10, 2012
Statewide cuts to education funding have Northern Lehigh School District officials seeking ways to make up a shortfall in reimbursements for the district's charter school students.
Co-director of business affairs Rhonda Frantz stated at Monday night's school board meeting that because Gov. Corbett's budget provides no reimbursement for the 38 district students who currently attend charter schools, Northern Lehigh would face a $327,000 gap in charter reimbursement for the upcoming year.
To address the funding crunch, Superintendent Michael Michaels said that he along with other superintendents from districts in Carbon and Lehigh counties have been meeting to discuss alternatives.

Charter schools under microscope

Bethlehem Area School District officials unveil new review policy.

 11:22 p.m. EST, January 9, 2012
The Bethlehem Area District plans to watch the academic and financial performances of local charter schools through a newly created evaluation tool.
Jack Silva, the district's chief academic officer, presented a four-step plan to the school board's Curriculum Committee that for the first time will give the district written guidelines on how to review charter facilities, student records, teacher evaluation forms, technology plans and financial documents.

Lawrence A. Feinberg
Keystone State Education Coalition
Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg

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