Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thursday Mix/Chester Upland Public Meetings/Couple Technology Items

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Senator Pileggi to Host Open Forum for Parents in the Chester Upland School District

Delco Times By JOHN KOPP,
State Sen. Dominic Pileggi, R-9, of Chester announced that he will host a public forum for parents in the Chester Upland School District to provide an update on the district’s financial crisis and answer questions from concerned residents.
Pileggi, the Senate majority leader, will hold the meeting Jan. 27 from 8:30-9:30 a.m. at the Chester Upland administration building.
“I have heard from many parents who have deep concerns about the situation in Chester Upland and how it is impacting their children,” Pileggi said in a statement. “I share those concerns. This is an unprecedented situation, and I am hosting this forum so that I can hear directly from as many people as possible.”
Pileggi is the latest Delco legislator to schedule a community forum.
State Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland, D-159, of Chester, has a meeting slated for 6 p.m. Thursday night at the Chester Fine Arts Center.
State. Rep. William Adolph, R-165, of Springfield will hold a House Appropriations Committee hearing Jan. 27 at Widener University at 10 a.m.


Our view: Someone deserves blame for Erie school mess
The Erie School District's financial woes appear nearly as dire as they were in 2011, when school administrators and the Erie School Board told the public that the district faced a shocking $26 million deficit.
Superintendent Jay Badams has revealed that, by March, the district will run out of money to pay vendors and creditors. The district projects a $10.1 million shortfall for this fiscal year, which ends June 30. Teachers and other district employees will be paid, but creditors will likely have to wait until July 1 to get what's owed them, Badams said.

Education Policy and Leadership Center

January 17, 2012
Sacramento Bee Capitol Alert Blog Posted by Kevin Yamamura
Gov. Jerry Brown will call for less statewide testing and expanding classroom focus beyond math and English in his annual State of the State address tomorrow, according to his top education adviser.  Sue Burr, executive director of the State Board of Education, told hundreds of school finance officials today that Brown will seek to reduce student testing and push districts to focus on a broader array of subject areas. She spoke at an annual workshop produced by School Services of California, which advises districts on how to budget for the next school year.

How California can save a half billion every year
Sent to the Santa Monica Mirror, January 18, 2012
In his State of the State Address (January 18), Gov. Brown made the sensible suggestion that California should reduce the number of tests students have to take. Here is a place to start that will result in instant savings of about a half billion dollars a year: Eliminate the High School Leaving Exam. Analyst Jo Ann Behm has estimated that the combined state and local costs of California's high school exit exam exceed $500 million per year.
The most recent review of research on exit exams, done by researchers at the University of Texas, concluded that high school exit exams do not lead to more college attendance, increased student learning or higher employment.
In fact, researchers have yet to discover any benefits of having a High School Exit Exam.
Stephen Krashen, Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California
Most recent review: Holme, J., Richards, M., Jimerson, J., and Cohen, R. 2010. Assessing the effects of high school exit examinations. Review of Educational Research 80 (4): 476-526.

Duncan: It's Time to Create Race to Top for Districts

Education Week Politics K-12 Blog  January 18, 2012

Flush with $550 million in new Race to the Top money, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said he intends to use the vast majority of it to design a new competition just for school districts.
In an interview with Education Week yesterday, Duncan for the first time foreshadowed what the department's next Race to the Top competition will look like.
"I think we'll use it for the districts," he said. "You can do different things. You can do early childhood as a piece of that, or STEM as a piece of that. ... I don't want to commit, but the bulk of the money will go through districts...what we'll be asking of districts is still very much up for consideration."  Duncan, in a 30-minute, wide-ranging interview, also addressed what he sees as the strength of his department's waiver plan, the weaknesses of congressional attempts to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and his desire to stay on as secretary through a second term if President Barack Obama is re-elected.

Romney’s K-12 education agenda based on standardized tests, school choice

By Marcos Restrepo | 01.05.12 | 11:18 am
Mitt Romney, the GOP presidential candidate who edged out an eight-vote victory over Rick Santorum in the Iowa caucuses, has a long track record on education that includes standardized testing and accountability, charter schools and school vouchers.

Robot allows spina bifida student to attend school from home
Video runtime 8:35, WQED Pittsburgh January 12, 2012
14-year-old Cris Colaluca hasn't been able to attend school since the 2nd grade. Spina bifida and rare seizures left him too weak to tolerate the day. The 7th grader in the Mohawk School District in Bessemer, Lawrence County is a homebound student. But now, a robot called VGO is letting him experience school without leaving his room. The robot allows him to talk with classmates and teachers and participate in class exercises as if he was right there in school. And this little machine has made a big difference in his life.

How Is a Bad Radio Station Like Our Public-School System?
A Freakonomics Radio Podcast Encore; Runtime 30:35
Freakonomics Blog by STEPHEN J. DUBNER, 12/21/2011
Our recent podcast “Weird Recycling” looked at ways to reuse things that most people don’t think are reusable, like chicken feet and nuclear waste. This week, we’re taking our own advice, and updating a program we did a while back. It’s called “How Is a Bad Radio Station Like Our Public-School System?” and it focuses on what you might call the thrill of customization — that is, how technology increasingly enables each of us to get what we want out of life. (You can download/subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed, listen live via the media player above, or read the transcript below.)
The main focus of the episode is a fascinating New York City Department of Education pilot program called School of One, which customizes the classroom experience for each student.

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