Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bucks County lawmaker wants constitutional amendment on campaign finance

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.

Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg

Book Review: Schools We Can Envy
MARCH 8, 2012 The New York Review of Books by Diane Ravitch
Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?
by Pasi Sahlberg, with a foreword by Andy Hargreaves
Teachers College Press, 167 pp., $34.95 (paper)

(Pittsburgh) City students ask governor to make education a priority
Budget reductions to school districts called worrisome
Tuesday, February 14, 2012 By Kaitlynn Riely, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Several Pittsburgh students are in Harrisburg for Valentine's Day, but it's not so they can deliver chocolate and flowers to Gov. Tom Corbett.  Instead, it's so they can send him a message: that the governor's proposed education budget is breaking students' hearts.
"We're trying to get the love back for education," said Tia Torres, 17, a University Prep senior who lives in the Hill District.  Tia, a member of student leadership organization Teen Bloc, and about 50 other Pittsburgh Public Schools students, parents and community advocates will discuss education funding today with legislators including state Rep. Paul Clymer, R-Bucks, chairman of the House Education Committee.

Butkovitz report warns of Philadelphia School District's funding problems
By Martha Woodall Inquirer Staff Writer Posted: Wed, Feb. 15, 2012, 3:01 AM
As expected, City Controller Alan Butkovitz included a warning Tuesday about the Philadelphia School District's finances in a report that could result in higher borrowing costs for the district.
The comprehensive annual report, sent to bond-rating agencies and bondholders, includes a paragraph expressing reservations about the district's financial viability.

School construction could be on hold in NEPA
Scranton Times tribune BY SARAH HOFIUS HALL (STAFF WRITER) February 14, 2012
Area school districts are owed millions in construction reimbursements from the state, superintendents say.  The delay in promised payments comes at the same time Gov. Tom Corbett is proposing a moratorium on reimbursements for any new construction projects, as well as a review of the program.

Mechanicsburg schools enact fees for extracurricular activities

Patriot News By Roger Quigley  Published: Tuesday, February 14, 2012, 9:14
Booster groups for extracurricular activities in the Mechanicsburg Area School District are going have to pay more for the activities starting in the next school year.
The school board Tuesday night approved a plan under which booster groups for sports, music and other activities that receive more than $1,000 of their operating funds from the district will have to contribute 10 percent of the costs of their operations.
The plan is part of a belt-tightening based on flat or reduced levels of state funding and higher costs for energy, personnel and many products and services used by the district.

Education Voters PA – Take action on the Governor’s Budget
The Governor’s proposal starts the process, but it isn’t all decided: our legislators can play an important role in standing up for our priorities.  Last year, public outcry helped prevent nearly $300 million in additional cuts.  We heard from the Governor, and we know where he stands.  Now, we need to ask our legislators: what is your position on supporting our schools?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 9:00 am Room 39 East Wing
Informational meeting - presentations from cyber charter school administrators regarding cyber charter school funding and other operating issues.

Bucks County lawmaker wants constitutional amendment on campaign finance
WHYY By Dave Davies February 13, 2012
Bucks county State Representative Steve Santarsiero is so troubled by the influence of money in American elections that he's asking the state legislature to start a movement to amend the U.S. Constitution.  Satarsiero said U.S. Supreme Court decisions have effectively nullified federal campaign laws, opening the door to unlimited special interest money in elections.
He said it will take a constitutional amendment permitting Congress to limit contributions and spending to change the system, and he notes that action by two-thirds of the states can convene a convention for amending the constitution.  He wants the Pennsylvania legislature to get the movement started, and he's introduced a resolution in Harrisburg formally petitioning Congress to act and calling on other states to follow.

President Ronald Reagan’s former Budget Director David Stockman speaks with Bill Moyers on money and politics and the need for a constitutional amendment like that being proposed by Rep. Santarsiero above.
Moyers and Company January 20, 2012 Runtime 56:47
Stockman speaks candidly with Bill Moyers about how money dominates politics, distorting free markets and endangering democracy. “As a result,” Stockman says, “we have neither capitalism nor democracy. We have crony capitalism.”
Stockman shares details on how the courtship of politics and high finance have turned our economy into a private club that rewards the super-rich and corporations, leaving average Americans wondering how it could happen and who’s really in charge.

“teachers are penalized for choosing to work with the students who are most in need”
NCLB waivers: Where's the beef?
By Paul Frysh, CNN February 14, 2012
 (CNN) The Obama administration's announcement that 10 states are being granted waivers from some demands of the federal government’s controversial No Child Left Behind policy has some experts asking: Where's the beef?  "It's not that different from the previous policy," said Tina Trujillo, an education policy expert at University of California.
School and teacher assessment for the waiver-versions of NCLB "still centers on standardized test scores because it mandates that teacher evaluations be based largely on test scores." This can be destructive because by focusing on test scores, teachers are penalized for choosing to work with the students who are most in need - encouraging teachers, even those who want to work with more at-risk kids, to move to higher scoring districts, said Trujillo.

Obama Budget Touts Selective Boosts in Ed. Funding
Education Week By Alyson Klein Published Online: February 14, 2012
Education takes a marquee spot in President Barack Obama’s last, otherwise austere, election-year budget request, with his spending plan calling for new investments in community colleges, money to prevent teacher layoffs, investment in school facilities, and funds to spur state action on teacher quality.

$5 Billion in Grants Offered to Revisit Teacher Policies
New York Times By WINNIE HU Published: February 15, 2012
The Obama administration will propose a $5 billion competitive grant program to encourage states to overhaul the teaching profession, federal education officials said Tuesday, using its Race to the Top school improvement competition as a model.

“When they go to public school, they’re in a whole new world, a whole world of different people and different values, which is what the world is like,” said Lyn Bollen, who grew up in Birmingham, England, and attended — and taught at — state-run schools. “Shielding them from that is doing them a disservice.”

Affluent, Born Abroad and Choosing New York’s Public Schools

New York Times By KIRK SEMPLE Published: February 14, 2012
Miriam and Christian Rengier, a German couple moving to New York, visited some private elementary schools in Manhattan last spring in search of a place for their son. They immediately noticed the absence of ethnic diversity, and the chauffeurs ferrying children to the door.

At The Chalk Face.  Education Talk Radio
Educated Educators Talking Education.
A new one hour talk show dedicated to education.  Hosts Tim Slekar and Shaun Johnson cover the biggest issues in education.  From standardized testing to No Child Left Behind.

February 16: EPLC Philadelphia Budget Panel Breakfast 8:00 am
(note: there will be additional EPLC budget events throughout the state; details as they become available)
Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel - 201 North 17th Street
Subject: Governor Corbett's Proposed Education Budget for 2012-2013

RSVP Required:


February 29th: at 6PM in the South Fayette High School Theater

Statewide kickoff meeting of PSEA's Partners for Public Education (PPE) Program

PPE is all about connecting parents, community leaders, elected officials, and teachers together for one goal - the support of public education.  State Senator Wayne Fontana, State Representative Jesse White, PSEA President Mike Crossey, along with members of the SFEA Representative Council, SF School Board, SF Administration, and SF Student Government will stand together to recruit parents and other interested parties add their voices to the chorus of those who care about public education.


March 26th: Last day to register to vote in the April 24th PA Primary Election
You do have the power to change the direction of education policy in Pennsylvania
The last day to REGISTER before the primary is March 26 , 2012.  Make sure that you, your family and friends are all registered to vote in the April 24th Pennsylvania Primary.  Forward this reminder to any and all public education stakeholders.

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:


Latest Updates on Chester UplandFebruary 13, 2011

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