Monday, February 27, 2012

WHAT WORKS: Early Childhood Education, which Gov. has cut overall by $90M in his first two budgets


Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 1000 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, members of the press and a broad array of education advocacy organizations via emails, website, Facebook and Twitter.

Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg

 

With the apparent exception of presidential hopeful Rick Santorum, just about everybody acknowledges the importance and value of high quality early childhood education programs, both in terms of the long term payback and the critical aspect of having kids on grade level by third grade.

 

“If you exclude state funding for a federally mandated early intervention initiative, Corbett has cut early childhood education by $90 million overall in his first two budgets — a nearly 20 percent reduction”

WHAT WORKS: Early Childhood Education

Pennsylvania's children deserve better from Corbett budget plan

Allentown Morning Call Opinion by Joan Benso February 25, 2012

Joan L. Benso is president and CEO of PA Partnerships for Children

In the coming weeks, Lehigh Valley taxpayers will hear plenty of debate about how Gov. Tom Corbett's budget plan affects the commonwealth's long-term competitiveness.  Before we look ahead to that discussion, let's rewind to 2010, when candidate Corbett attended a public forum on education and was asked if, despite the challenging economy, he would "continue to increase state investments in early childhood development programs?"

Corbett responded with an unconditional yes. "We are going to find the money," he declared.

Two years and two budgets later, Pennsylvanians are still waiting for the governor to act on this campaign pledge.

Corbett's latest budget proposal cuts early childhood education by $30 million. If you exclude state funding for a federally mandated early intervention initiative, Corbett has cut early childhood education by $90 million overall in his first two budgets — a nearly 20 percent reduction.

http://www.mcall.com/opinion/yourview/mc-corbett-pa.-budget-children-benso-yv-20120225,0,851762.story

 

WHAT WORKS: Community Involvement

Greater involvement by community and staff fills gaps at Phila. school

By Kristen A. Graham Inquirer Staff Writer Posted: Mon, Feb. 27, 2012, 12:05 AM

Tilden Middle School lost teachers to budget cuts this year. It lost a secretary, noontime aides, and money to pay staffers for before- and after-school programs.

But the school at 66th and Elmwood in Southwest Philadelphia picked up a grief-counseling program. It maintained extracurriculars, mentoring and truancy-prevention programs, tutors, and a host of other "extras" that help teachers focus on instruction and keep students coming to school.

http://www.philly.com/philly/education/20120227_Greater_involvement_by_community_and_staff_fills_gaps_at_Phila__school.html?page=1&c=y

 

Here it comes again: Chaput, Pileggi, Williams: disregard PA Constitution; taxpayers should bailout financially struggling parochial schools with vouchers

During Friday’s press conference, joined by Senator Piccola and Senator Williams, Archbishop Chaput repeatedly called for vouchers that would have taxpayers bailout financially struggling parochial schools, ignoring the PA Constitution’s explicit provisions stating otherwise.

"Enrollments have to increase and we need school vouchers approved by the commonwealth in order to ensure success over the long term," Chaput said during the press conference.

 

Philadelphia Weekly PhillyNow Blog by Randy LoBasso, Feb 24, 2012     

Archbishop Chaput Uses Catholic School Savings to Push School Vouchers

Four Philadelphia-area Catholic schools previously targeted for closure—Bonner-Prendie, Saint Huberts, West Catholic and Conwell-Egan—were saved today, due to large anonymous donations and the creation of an independent foundation to help raise money. The announcement came early this afternoon and a press conference was held at 3 p.m. to discuss what was widely heralded as good news for the Archdiocese.

Archbishop Charles Chaput, who made the announcement, acknowledged early that the decision to keep the schools open was a risky one, and that there is essentially no long-term plan. Chaput said without a voucher system, the school system will end up exactly where it was a month ago. “We need expanded EITC (education-incentive tax credits) funds and opportunity scholarships to help our schools survive,” he said.

http://blogs.philadelphiaweekly.com/phillynow/2012/02/24/archbishop-chaput-uses-catholic-school-savings-to-push-school-vouchers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=archbishop-chaput-uses-catholic-school-savings-to-push-school-vouchers

 

“As the PA Auditor General has stated on numerous occasions, millions of dollars could be saved if the flawed funding formula for charter schools was corrected. For example, online schools in Colorado are funded at a flat rate of $ 6,228 annually, significantly less than Pennsylvania’s rate. “

Corbett turns his back on education

Pottstown Mercury Opinion by George Bonekemper Posted: 02/25/12 12:01 am

The proposed Commonwealth 2012-13 budget continues Gov. Tom Corbett’s radical approach toward the funding of public and higher education as the administration turns its back on families who depend upon good schools and affordable college tuition. Every school district has started a slow, steady dismantling of its education system and a student’s opportunity for a college education becomes more challenging.

http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20120225/OPINION02/120229669/-1/opinion/corbett-turns-his-back-on-education

 

Sen. Hughes to School Parents: 'Make Some Noise'

State senator talks education at Cook-Wissahickon School

Roxborough-Manayunk Patch By Sam Fran Scavuzzo Feb 24, 2012

In front of a mural that read "It takes a village to a raise a child," state Sen. Vincent Hughes posed for a photo with the Cook-Wissahickon Elementary School Village.

That village supplied its student with paper.

That village paid for two lunchroom aides out of its own pocket.

That village has had enough.

http://roxborough.patch.com/articles/sen-hughes-to-school-parents-make-some-noise

 

Could government leaders be as accountable as public schools?

Published: Sunday, February 26, 2012, 1:10 AM

Patriot-News Op-Ed BY DON BELL

DON BELL is superintendent of Northern Lebanon School District.

We constantly hear “public schools must be more accountable.”

I agree, but just for fun, what if Pennsylvania government leaders had to follow their own words and apply what they mandate upon public schools to their own house?

http://www.pennlive.com/editorials/index.ssf/2012/02/could_government_leaders_be_as.html

 

FROM PENNSYLVANIA - PBS Newshour AIR DATE: Feb. 23, 2012

PBS Newshour: Online Public Schools Gain Popularity, but Quality Questions Persist

Full-time public cyber schools are now an option in 30 states, allowing some 250,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade to press buttons to raise their hands and message their teachers. John Tulenko of Learning Matters Television reports from Pennsylvania where the demand for online charter schools is high. Video runtime 13:21

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/education/jan-june12/cyberschools_02-23.html

 

“Online schools were popular in small rural districts, which typically get higher per-pupil funding. That changed in 2007 and online students are now funded at a flat rate of $6,228, slightly less than average per-pupil funding statewide.
Schools get that set amount of per-pupil funding based on student counts taken at the beginning of October each year. This year, Colorado expects to spend $100 million in state funds for some 18,000 students to attend online schools.  In each of the past three years, however, half the online students have left their schools within a year.”

In Colorado, Troubling questions about online education

Written by Burt Hubbard and Nancy Mitchell on Oct 4th, 2011. EdNewsColorado.org
Colorado taxpayers will spend $100 million this year on online schools that are largely failing their elementary and high school students, state education records and interviews with school officials show.  The money includes millions in tax dollars that are going to K-12 online schools for students who are no longer there.
The result: While online students fall further behind academically, their counterparts in the state’s traditional public schools are suffering too – because those schools must absorb former online students while the virtual schools and their parent companies get to keep the state funding.

http://www.ednewscolorado.org/2011/10/04/25310-analysis-shows-half-of-online-students-leave-programs-within-a-year-but-funding-stays

 

Of 12 PA cyber charters only 2 made AYP for 2011, while 8 were in corrective action status.

http://keystonestateeducationcoalition.blogspot.com/2011/11/pa-cyber-charter-pssa-ayp-2007-2011.html

 

Video of Senator Dinniman’s February 9, 2012 Chester Co. Coalition for Public Education Meeting

Video from this public meeting which was held at Downingtown East High School

Part 1 - Video Runtime 51:16: http://www.senatordinniman.com/contusvideo?vid=42

Part 2 - Video Runtime 52:21: http://www.senatordinniman.com/contusvideo?vid=41

 

NCLB Reauthorization:

Advocates Have Long Wish List for House Panel on ESEA Bills

 Alyson Klein  
It's official: On Tuesday, the House education committee will consider a pair of bills aimed at remaking key elements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
If this sounds a little anticlimatic, that's because it is. Right now, few Capitol Hill observers seem to think the legislation will go to the floor of the House anytime soon. And even fewer folks expect that ESEA reauthorization will actually make it to prime time (get passed) this year. So most advocates see next week as a dress rehersal, not the final performance.

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2012/02/theres_not_a_lot_of.html

 

NYC Teacher Quality Widely Diffused, Ratings Indicate

New York Times By FERNANDA SANTOS and ROBERT GEBELOFF

Published: February 24, 2012

The controversial ratings of roughly 18,000 New York City teachers released on Friday showed that teachers who were most and least successful in improving their students’ test scores could be found all around — in the poorest corners of the Bronx, like Tremont and Soundview, and in middle-class neighborhoods of Queens, like Bayside and Forest Hills.  …….“The purpose of these reports is not to look at any individual score in isolation, ever,” Shael Polakow-Suransky, the No. 2 official in the city’s Education Department, said Friday. “No principal would ever make a decision on this score alone, and we would never invite anyone — parents, reporters, principals, teachers — to draw a conclusion based on this score alone.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/25/education/teacher-quality-widely-diffused-nyc-ratings-indicate.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=education

 

Posted at 06:17 PM ET, 02/24/2012

NYC releases teachers’ value-added scores — unfortunately

Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss
This takes some kind of special nerve: New York City’s Education Department publicly released the rankings of 18,000 public school teachers based entirely on student standardized-test scores — after pleas from educators not to do it because it would be unfair and disparaging. And then it told the news media not to use the results to disparage teachers.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/nyc-releases-teachers-value-added-scores--unfortunately/2012/02/24/gIQAtbVXYR_blog.html


In Teacher Ratings, Good Test Scores Are Sometimes Not Good Enough

New York Times By SHARON OTTERMAN and ROBERT GEBELOFF
Published: February 25, 2012
The New York City Education Department on Friday released the ratings of some 18,000 teachers in elementary and middle schools based on how much they helped their students succeed on standardized tests. The ratings have high margins of error, are now nearly two years out of date and are based on tests that the state has acknowledged became too predictable and easy to pass over time.
But even with those caveats, the scores still provide the first glimpse to the public of what is going on within individual classrooms in schools. And one of the most striking findings is how much variation there can be even within what are widely considered the city’s best schools, the ones that each September face a crush of eager parents.

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

 

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.

http://partnersforpubliced.org/  

http://www.facebook.com/SouthFayettePPE


March 5, 2012 10:00 AM  PA HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE
BUDGET HEARINGS: EDUCATION
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
2:30 PM PHEAA

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.
THIS EVENT IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC 

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.

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
UPDATED DAILY – STATEWIDE PRESS COVERAGE OF SCHOOL DISTRICT BUDGETS
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:

http://www.pahouse.com/school_funding_2011cuts.asp?utm_source=Listrak&utm_medium=Email&utm_term=http%3a%2f%2fwww.pahouse.com%2fschool_funding_2011cuts.asp&utm_campaign=Crisis+in+Public+Education

 

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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