Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dear Mr. President.....

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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WHAT WORKS: Students Learn Better with Engaged Parents
US News and World Report By LAURA MCMULLEN February 20, 2012
Even if parent engagement in academics is hard, it's incredibly important, says Sherri Wilson, senior manager of family engagement at the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA)...Wilson cites a report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) that surveyed the same 25,000 students, once in 8th grade, again in 10th, and lastly in 12th. The students' responses—along with surveys of their parents and educators, and academic data—showed that parental involvement in school correlates with higher grade point averages.

Chester Upland SD slated to lose an additional $980K under Governor’s proposed 2012-2013 Budget

Corbett budget leaves poor schools with less, rich with more
Pottstown Mercury By Evan Brandt, ebrandt@pottsmerc.com Posted: 02/19/12 12:01 am
They say the devil is in the details and when some state and local education leaders began to pick apart Gov. Tom Corbett’s latest budget proposal, it had them seeing red — literally.
When he announced his proposed budget last week, Corbett said he was “level funding” school districts and combining several budget lines into a single block grant — in essence providing the same amount of state funding as the current year. But an apples-to-apples comparison by the Republican House Caucus shows that it doesn’t quite work out that way.

SUN FEB 19, 2012 AT 06:26 AM PST
Dear Mr. President,
DailyKOS blog by Kenneth J. Bernstein, a 65 year old DC Metro area teacher

New York Times EDITORIAL Published: February 20, 2012
Shuttering Bad Charter Schools
The charter school movement has expanded over the last 20 years largely on this promise: If exempted from some state regulations, charters could outperform traditional public schools because they have flexibility and can be more readily tailored to the needs of students. Another selling point is that these schools are supposed to be periodically reviewed when they renew their operating permits — and easily shut down if they fail.
It has not worked out that way. Despite a growing number of studies showing that charter schools, financed with public money and operating in 40 states, are often worse than traditional schools, the state and local organizations that issue charters and oversee the schools are too hesitant to shut them down. That has to change if the movement is to maintain its credibility.

New Federal Guidelines Planned on School Vending Machines
New York Times By RON NIXON Published: February 20, 2012
WASHINGTON — The government’s attempt to reduce childhood obesity is moving from the school cafeteria to the vending machines.  The Obama administration is working on setting nutritional standards for foods that children can buy outside the cafeteria.

“ALEC seeks to "influence teacher certification, teacher evaluation, collective bargaining, curriculum, funding, special education, student assessment, and numerous other education and education-related issues. Common throughout the bills are proposals to decrease local control of schools by democratically elected school boards while increasing access to all facets of education by private entities and corporations.  Privatization takes many forms, the authors note, including vouchers, tax incentives for sending kids to private schools and charter schools operated by for-profit organizations.”
Campus Connection: UW profs shed light on ALEC's threat to public education
TODD FINKELMEYER | The Capital Times | tfinkelmeyer@madison.com Posted: Monday, February 20, 2012 6:30 am
University of Wisconsin-Madison professors Julie Underwood and Julie Mead are expressing concern over the growing corporate influence on public education in an article published Monday.
In particular, they are highly critical of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which connects conservative state legislators with like-minded think tanks, corporations and foundations to develop "model legislation" that can be enacted at the state level

The main mechanism of school reform today is to identify teachers who can raise their students’ test scores every year.  If the scores go up, reformers assume, then the students will enroll in college and poverty will eventually disappear. This will happen, the reformers believe, if there is a “great teacher” in every classroom and if more schools are handed over to private managers, even for-profit corporations.  …. No nation in the world has eliminated poverty by firing teachers or by handing its public schools over to private managers; nor does research support either strategy.”
New York Review of Books, March 8, 2012 by Diane Ravitch
Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?
by Pasi Sahlberg, with a foreword by Andy Hargreaves 

Help update our county list.  If you are receiving KEYSEC emails and your county is not on the list below please let us know.  Thanks!
The Keystone State Education Coalition was originally established in 2006 as the Southeastern Pennsylvania School Districts’ Education Coalition (SPSDEC). It is a growing grass roots public education advocacy group comprised of several hundred locally elected, volunteer school board members (no salaries, no benefits, no pensions) and administrators from over 300 Pennsylvania school districts in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Berks, Bradford, Bucks, Butler, Cambria, Centre, Chester, Crawford, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Indiana, Jefferson, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, McKean, Mercer, Montgomery, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union and Washington Counties.


February 23: 9 am to 3 pm Harrisburg Hilton 2012 Budget Summit: Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center

Join the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center for our 2012 Budget Summit on Thursday, February 23, 2012 for an in-depth look at the state and federal budget plans and what they mean for communities and families across Pennsylvania. The Summit will also feature workshops on how to talk about budgets, government and state services and lessons from successful budget campaigns in other states.

Time: February 23, 2012 from 9am to 3pm
Location: Harrisburg Hilton
Website or Map: 

Click here to RSVP


February 29th: Partners for Public Education 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.



SAVE THE DATE: March 8, 7 pm Lehigh County Legislative Forum on Public Education
Thursday, March 8th, 7:00 pm at Lehigh Carbon Community College, Community Services Center
All public education stakeholders are invited to this special event.  Join us on Thursday, March 8th at Lehigh Carbon Community College at 7PM for an evening with several key state legislators from Lehigh County and other education experts who will help explain local impacts. 
State Representatives and Senators representing surrounding school districts have been invited to attend and discuss their positions on public education as they head into negotiations over next year’s budget.  This event will be moderated by the League of Women Voters.

The Education Committee of the League of Women Voters of Chester County
March 19th LWV Chester County Public Meeting: The Real Impact of the Proposed State Budget on Public Education
PA Auditor General Jack Wagner
Monday March 19th 6:30 pm at Stetson Middle School, West Chester
Location: Stetson Middle School Auditorium
The Auditor General will speak to the public followed by Q & A Session.

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, friends, neighbors and co-workers are all registered to vote in the April 24th Pennsylvania Primary.  Ask your incumbent state representative and state senator for their positions on public education.  Let them know how important these issues are to you.  Forward this reminder to any and all public education stakeholders.

Budget Hearing - Department of Education
Monday, February 27, 2012  9:30 AM  Hearing Room 1 North Office Bldg.

10:00 AM Department of Education
1:00 PM State System of Higher Education
Monday, March 5, 2012 10:00 AM  Room 140 Main Capitol

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?

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.

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 20, 2011

District is slated to lose an additional $980,000 under the Governor’s proposed 2012-2013 budget

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