Friday, February 24, 2012

K12 Inc.’s $5M CEO: "For reasons I don't fully understand, there are a lot of people who don't like for-profit companies in education."

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


Thorough analysis of the Governor’s proposed 2012-2013 budget….

Education Law Center Budget Analysis: Cuts for most school districts
Governor Corbett has proposed state funding for public schools in 2012-13 that includes cuts for most school districts. These cuts reflect the loss of $100 million in state funding for Accountability Block Grants, which support kindergarten programs and tutoring for struggling students, as well as 5 percent reductions in Pre-K Counts and Head Start.
"Despite smaller cuts than last year, the Governor’s proposal for education funding is still deeply flawed because it ignores the fiscal and educational inequities between poor and wealthy school districts," said Law Center Policy Director Baruch Kintisch. "The Governor’s budget does not provide every student with an equal opportunity to learn and succeed in school." 


Full report:


“Among industrialized countries, the United States invests the least in early childhood care and education services — 0.5 percent of GDP compared to anywhere between 2 percent and 6 percent in European countries. … At the national and state levels, we need more political will and determination to increase and enhance pre-school education and care.”

WHAT WORKS: Prekindergarten education matters
Published: Friday, February 24, 2012
Delco Times By JOSEPH P. BATORY, Times Guest Columnist
Joseph P. Batory was superintendent of Upper Darby School District from 1984 to 1999; he now works in research and evaluation of educational programs for the state and federal government.
Amidst the endless debate over improving education in the United States, one simple reality about “where the action really is” for educational improvement is not getting enough attention. Prekindergarten education matters and it can make a huge difference for the better.


"At Northeast, we lost shop teachers, art teachers," said Danza, who spent a year teaching at Northeast for a reality show. "That sends a message to the kids that they really don't matter."

At news conference, speakers say budget cuts hitting Philadelphia schools too hard

By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer Posted: Fri, Feb. 24, 2012, 3:01 AM

The speakers came from different backgrounds - an actor-turned-teacher, two union officials, and a state senator - but their message was the same: budget cuts have hit the Philadelphia School District too hard and must stop.


 “….She noted that some schools now do not have a full-time counselor or social worker or lack library services, art, music, advanced classes and dedicated resources for parent and community engagement.”
Pittsburgh City schools planning more cuts
Third phase would produce up to $13 million in savings
By Eleanor Chute, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Friday, February 24, 2012
Pittsburgh Public Schools superintendent Linda Lane addresses questions at a meeting of A+ Schools and the Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network at Bidwell Presbyterian Church in Manchester on Thursday.
Pittsburgh Public Schools superintendent Linda Lane is preparing to recommend $10 million to $13 million in additional cuts that would affect central office, student transportation, middle school sports and high school makeup classes.

Read more:


“Value-added ratings are one important piece of a complete personnel system. But student test scores alone aren’t a sensitive enough measure to gauge effective teaching, nor are they diagnostic enough to identify areas of improvement. Teaching is multifaceted, complex work. A reliable evaluation system must incorporate other measures of effectiveness, like students’ feedback about their teachers and classroom observations by highly trained peer evaluators and principals.”

Bill Gates: Shame Is Not the Solution

New York Times Opinion By BILL GATES, Published: February 22, 2012

LAST week, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled that teachers’ individual performance assessments could be made public. I have no opinion on the ruling as a matter of law, but as a harbinger of education policy in the United States, it is a big mistake.

I am a strong proponent of measuring teachers’ effectiveness, and my foundation works with many schools to help make sure that such evaluations improve the overall quality of teaching. But publicly ranking teachers by name will not help them get better at their jobs or improve student learning. On the contrary, it will make it a lot harder to implement teacher evaluation systems that work.


Posted at 03:00 AM ET, 02/24/2012

A test for politicians on education (with cheat sheet)

Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss
Here are questions that education historian Diane Ravitch posed to politicians who make education policy. Ravitch, a research professor at New York University, is the author of numerous books including the bestselling “ The Death and Life of the Great American School System ,” a critique of the flaws in the modern school reform movement. These questions first appeared on the Neiman Watchdog blog.


Here’s our prior blog posting on K12 from December 2011:

It's all about the kids......K12 Inc. chief executive Ron Packard paid $5 million compensation package in 2011

Fyi, Charles Zogby, PA's Budget Secretary and Former Secretary of Education under Governor Ridge, served as K12's Senior Vice President of Education and Policy prior to being recruited to serve in the Corbett Administration.  In PA, K12’s Agora Cyber Charter has never made AYP.


"I'm a big believer in transparency and accountability. I do think the more visible you are, the easier it is to try and attack you," Mr. Packard said in an interview last week. "For reasons I don't fully understand, there are a lot of people who don't like for-profit companies in education."

K12 Inc.'s Public Status and Growth Attract Scrutiny

Virtual ed. company faces critical press and a recent lawsuit

Education Week February 21, 2012 By Jason Tomassini

In a scant few months, K12 Inc. and its fluctuating performance on Wall Street are proving that the combination of being a publicly traded company and operating in the school marketplace can lead to heightened levels of scrutiny in a growing but controversial sector of education.


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, State Representative Nick Kotik, Education Policy & Leadership Center Director Ron Cowell, 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.

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

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 – Listen Anytime
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 22, 2012

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

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