Monday, January 16, 2012

“Statewide, 39.4 percent of Pennsylvania’s 1.8 million students were eligible for free or reduced school lunches in 2010, up from 35.36 percent in 2007, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Education.”

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“Statewide, 39.4 percent of Pennsylvania’s 1.8 million students were eligible for free or reduced school lunches in 2010, up from 35.36 percent in 2007, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Education.”

Schools step in to alleviate stress poor students face

Published: Saturday, January 14, 2012, 8:43
Every public school district in the midstate saw an increase in the percent of children living in poverty 2007-2010 and some saw percents nearly double, according to a report recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau.  In Harrisburg, almost half the school-age children are living in poverty. That’s a higher percentage than in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh or Reading.
This year’s state budget made drastic cuts to the state’s poorest schools. The neediest 150 school districts, or 30 percent of the state’s total, lost $537.5 million, or $581 per student, according to an Associated Press analysis of the budget data. The wealthiest 150 school districts, as measured by the number of children who qualify for subsidized school lunches, lost $123 million, or $214 per student.

Pennsylvania seeks No Child Left Behind waiver
Published: Sunday, January 15, 2012, 7:31 PM
By JAN MURPHY, The Patriot-News
Superintendents are welcoming efforts by the state’s top education official to seek relief from the No Child Left Behind law.
Tomalis said he spoke to Duncan about tweaking the state’s plan for implementing No Child Left Behind to keep the targets at this year’s level until a new federal education law is passed, which is expected within the next two years.
The state also is asking the federal government to allow the state to replace the 11th-grade Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests. The state wants to move to with the subject-specific Keystone Exams, which are in various stages of development.

Negotiations ongoing between Chester Upland School District and state

CHESTERChester Upland School District officials continued to negotiate with their counterparts from the state Saturday in an effort to reach a solution to the district’s financial crisis, district spokesman Joel Avery said.
Avery said negotiations began as early as 9 a.m. Saturday and continued beyond 5 p.m.

Long-struggling schools in Chester, Pa., running out of money, may not be able to make payroll
The Republic (Columbus, Indiana) by PATRICK WALTERS  Associated Press
First Posted: January 15, 2012 - 11:44 am
CHESTER, Pa. — Nearly two decades after being declared financially distressed, the school system in this struggling Philadelphia suburb faces a new and even more daunting crisis: It may run out of cash.

School voucher program, earned income credit cap both on table

January 15, 2012
By Russ O’Reilly (, The Altoona Mirror
Although state House education committee member Rep. Mike Fleck, R-Blair/Huntingdon, opposes taxpayer vouchers, he said he anticipates the House passing another aspect of school choice that would fund scholarships for students to choose a school outside of their home district.
"The vast majority of the legislators support expanding the state's Earned Income Tax Credit program (EITC)," Fleck said.
The EITC program allows businesses that make a profit to direct some of their earned income taxes to private or public education scholarship funds. The maximum for businesses to redirect to scholarship funds was $75 million in 2011. Proposals could raise the limit to more than $100 million.  "Right now we're working on a compromise bill that has that component. We hope to have a hearing on the bill by mid-January and present it to the full House soon after," said Fleck.

Study on Teacher Value Uses Data From Before Teach-to-Test Era

New York Times By MICHAEL WINERIP, Published: January 15, 2012
That 1998/2004 divide — what happened in the interim was the 2002 No Child Left Behind law — should be kept in mind when analyzing a new, widely publicized study that closely tracked 2.5 million students over 20 years to determine whether teachers who helped raise children’s test scores have a lasting effect on their lives. The researchers conclude that having such a teacher improved students’ odds of going to a good college, the quality of the neighborhoods where they lived and their lifetime earnings.

US House wants law to pressure schools to mandate gym

By Craig Smith, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, Monday, January 16, 2012
"First and foremost, exercise and better health help children learn more effectively," said U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills. "But promoting exercise and healthy lifestyles also increases the likelihood that they will be healthier as adults. We owe that to our kids."
Doyle is among a bipartisan group of 85 House members who say that sending kids back to gym class could help the fight against overweight youngsters. The group plans to include language in an overhaul of federal education law that would pressure schools to offer more PE.
School officials said that if the government wants more physical education, it will have to ante up because their budgets cannot be stretched much further.

Philadelphia Archdiocese considers creating "mission schools"
By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer, Posted: Mon, Jan. 16, 2012, 6:19 AM
The commission that called for closing scores of Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia also created a new category called "mission schools" it said would ensure Catholic education survives in poor inner-city neighborhoods.
Saying there was no way tuition alone could sustain such schools, the commission came up with a concept for these mission schools that will explore strategies for alternative funding from corporations, private donors, and foundations. The commission designated eight schools scattered across Philadelphia neighborhoods for the initial group.
Although there are no "mission schools" in the area now, the archdiocese said some could be modeled after two similar programs in North Philadelphia and Chester.
Officials from the nonprofit Business Leadership Organized for Catholic Schools (BLOCS), which has been working closely with a small group of urban schools, applauded the mission concept. They said they look forward to working closely with those schools and joining with foundations to help sustain all remaining Catholic schools.

For FT2011 the BLOCS program received  $  2,546,224.00 for scholarships thru the state’s EITC program, which allows businesses to contribute directly to state approved educational organizations of their choice instead of paying those funds as taxes into the general fund.

PSBA officer applications due by March 31 1/8/2012
School board members seeking election to PSBA officer posts in 2013 must file an expression of interest for the office desired to be interviewed by the PSBA Nominating Committee. Deadline for filing is March 31.  The committee meets and acts upon such interested candidates prior to June 10. The results of the committees deliberations, with appropriate background information on each candidate, are published in a PSBA publication prior to the annual conference each year. Voting for officers is by printed ballot at the associations annual conference and an absentee ballot process (see PSBA Bylaws, Article IV, Section 4).

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