Friday, February 17, 2012

Jon Stewart to Arne Duncan on RTTT: "What I hear from teachers is that . .its causing schools to teach to the test."

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

FYI, EPLC President Ron Cowell served as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for twenty-four years until 1998.  While in the Legislature, he served as the majority or minority chair of the House Committee on Education for twelve years.  He also served for twelve years as a member of the Pennsylvania State Board of Education and for twenty years as a board member of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA).

Analyst: Schools' options scarcer

By Kari Andren, TRIBUNE-REVIEW, Thursday, February 16, 2012
About the writer: Kari Andren can be reached at or 724-850-2856.
Gov. Tom Corbett's state budget proposal shifts more of the school funding burden onto school districts and could force even wealthier districts to start slicing into programs to balance next year's spending plans, according to one analyst.
Ron Cowell, president of the Harrisburg-based Education Policy and Leadership Center, told Norwin School District officials and business leaders during a roundtable discussion on Wednesday that the proposed 2012-13 spending plan, coming on top of funding cuts last year, puts districts "in a pretty awful situation."

East Penn Board President Says Corbett Fools Public Again

East Penn School Board President Charles Ballard explains what he calls the Governor's latest slight of hand.
Emmaus Patch Opinion By Charles Ballard, President, East Penn School Board
In confidence games, like Three Card Monte, and magic tricks, misdirection is the key to fooling the audience. If you can get people looking at the wrong place at the right time, you can slip something past them. The Governor’s latest budget for education is a case of the use of this old technique by a politician.

HARRISBURG (Feb. 16, 2012) – To help Pennsylvanians understand how two years of Gov. Tom Corbett’s school funding cuts affect their local school districts, the state’s largest school employee union is providing a School Funding Cuts Calculator, now available on two websites.
PSEA President Michael J. Crossey said the calculator, which shows how much state funding for local schools has dropped since Gov. Corbett took office, is available at and
“Pennsylvanians need to understand the harm Gov. Corbett’s massive budget cuts have inflicted on students across the Commonwealth,” Crossey said. “When you see these cuts in black and white, you understand that our students can’t afford another year of devastating cuts.”

State cheating probe was widened to involve more than 50 District schools
by Benjamin Herold on Feb 16 2012 Posted in Latest news
for the Notebook/WHYY’s NewsWorks
Pennsylvania’s inquiry into possible cheating on state standardized tests in Philadelphia recently widened to involve more than 50 District schools, far more than previously believed to have attracted the attention of state officials.

Success amid crisis in Chester
Philadelphia Inquirer Opinion By James T. Harris III, Posted: Thu, Feb. 16, 2012, 3:01 AM
James T. Harris III is the president of Widener University.
The Chester Upland School District's budget crisis has been national news, partly because of underlying fears that a similar fate could befall other districts struggling with reduced local tax revenues and eviscerated state budgets. While the focus on what went wrong in the district is understandable, we shouldn't overlook what's working in Chester.

Spencer: Chester Upland frog is on life support
Published: Friday, February 17, 2012
Delco Times Opinion By GIL SPENCER
As for the state, Persing says, “I really believe their plan is to ‘charterize’ the school district.” And he simply doesn’t believe an all-charter school district will do a better job of educating kids than a reasonably funded, old-fashioned, public school district.

“…children are nearly 10 times more likely to receive an 'effective' education in traditional public school than they are in E- schools." But, quite frankly, sponsors of these schools make huge amounts of money, and where there is money, there are lobbyists and campaign contributions ……..Yet there you have it. The leaders of one of the most economically depressed and racially segregated cities in the nation have decided that the answer to its problems is to fire teachers, close public schools, expand the number of charters, and possibly to expand the voucher program as well.  In the eyes of Ohio's elected officials, evidence about the past performance of charters and vouchers means nothing. “

Desperate Times in Cleveland and Ohio

 Diane Ravitch  
On my drive from the airport with Jan Resseger, the minister for public education for the United Church of Christ, we passed through several neighborhoods. First, Shaker Heights, an elegant suburban enclave with outstanding schools. Then East Cleveland, a very different suburb, marked by blocks of boarded-up apartment houses and sealed homes, as well as empty lots where vacant houses had been demolished. These were once-functional neighborhoods that had died. So devastated was the landscape, I thought I might be in a Third World country. In central Cleveland, many houses had windows covered with plywood, and many retail stores were empty. To put it mildly, this city is economically depressed.

Jon Stewart goes directly at Arne Duncan on Race to the Top: "What I hear from teachers is that . .its causing schools to teach to the test."

Thursday February 16, 2012

Arne Duncan on Jon Stewart

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan discusses the Obama administration's Race to the Top competition and its positive effect on underperforming schools.

School Leaders on iPads & Tablets
“Providing innovative ways to use personal learning devices to enhance teaching and learning ”
Curated by Mel Riddile

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.


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 17, 2011

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