Thursday, March 15, 2012

… 253 school districts are being asked to endure cuts of at least $11,694 per classroom; is yours on the list?


Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 1500 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

Report by Harrisburg-based nonprofit calls for more focus on the arts

Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2012, 10:59
Arts education in Pennsylvania is heading in the wrong direction, following a decade of public policies that have eroded opportunities to experience the arts for thousands of students statewide, according to a new report.
The 44-page analysis, titled “Creating Pennsylvania’s Future Through the Arts and Education,” was issued Wednesday by the Education Policy and Leadership Center, a Harrisburg-based nonprofit that promotes educational opportunities for students and citizens statewide.

The full EPLC Arts and Education Report can be found online at www.aei-pa.org

Early Reading Skills Are Focus in More Than 100 Cities

 Lesli A. Maxwell  
More than 100 cities, towns, and counties have pledged to improve literacy among their youngest citizens as part of a national campaign called the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.
To be part of the network, communities had to submit detailed plans for how they will get children on track to be grade-level readers by the end of the 3rd grade, the crucial point at which students shift from learning to read to reading to learn.

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/early_years/2012/03/early_reading_skills_are_focus_in_more_than_100_cities.html

 

“Now, a mounting chorus of school administrators, educators and parents is speaking out against a system in which they say testing has eclipsed teaching.
At least 40 school boards across the state, including those in Friendswood, Clear Creek, Alvin and Dickinson, have taken a public stand by passing a resolution decrying the "over reliance on standardized, high-stakes testing" that is "strangling our public schools." Many others, including Humble and Crosby, plan to consider the resolution at their next school board meeting.
The Texas Parents Opt Out movement is encouraging parents to keep their children home from school on testing days, and the State Board of Education has scheduled an April 18 public hearing on testing.”

Texas School officials: High-stakes tests failing students

Houston Chron.com By Monica Rhor
Updated 07:11 a.m., Tuesday, March 13, 2012
The backlash began brewing long before Texas' top education official called the emphasis on standardized testing "a perversion of its original intent," long before the approach of new, more rigorous end-of-course exams.
For years, murmurs of discontent have stirred among teachers tired of devoting class time to test preparation, school administrators saddled by legislative mandates, parents anxious about an increasing focus on high-stakes assessments.
Now, a mounting chorus of school administrators, educators and parents is speaking out against a system in which they say testing has eclipsed teaching.

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/School-officials-High-stakes-tests-failing-3398501.php#src=fb

 

Gov. Tom Corbett's proposed changes to Keystone Exams gets mostly thumbs down at hearing

Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2012, 2:26 pm
Gov. Tom Corbett's proposal to make passage of three course-specific Keystone Exams a state requirement for high school graduation, starting with the Class of 2017, is drawing opposition from a variety of corners.  Educators fear it will lead to further narrowing of the curriculum to focus predominantly on the subjects to be tested: language arts, Algebra I and Biology.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14, 2012
Commonwealth Common Sense Blog by Rep. Mike Sturla
Does your local school district make the list....
Is your local school district among those cut at least 10x more per student than two of the wealthiest districts in Pennsylvania since Gov. Corbett took office?  All the districts in Bedford, Bradford, Cameron, Clinton, Clearfield, Crawford, Fulton, Greene, Jefferson, Juniata, McKean, Mifflin, Northumberland, Perry, Philadelphia, Potter, Susquehanna, Tioga, Venango and Warren counties are cut by at least 10x more than Tredyffrin-Easttown SD (Chester County) and Radnor Twp. SD (Delaware County), but a total of 253 districts are being asked to endure cuts of at least $11,694 per classroom compared to $1169.

School resources shrinking statewide in Pa.

By Pocono Record Writer March 09, 2012
Staff cuts in the hundreds, the closure of school buildings, the elimination of elective courses and field trips — it's the new reality for Pocono schools, parents and students.
Extreme? Yes.
Unusual? No, not considering recent, unprecedented cuts to education funding, say Pennsylvania education officials.

 

WE'RE NOT ALONE

The Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators and the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials conducted a survey in August of how the state's 500 school districts were affected by budget cuts. Of the 500 districts, 59 percent responded:
  • 70 percent of school districts increased class sizes above what they were in the 2010-11 school year.
  • 58 percent delayed purchases of technology, such as computers.
  • 55 percent indicated they reduced or eliminated student field trips.
  • 44 percent reduced elective courses not required for graduation, such as foreign languages, arts, music, physical education and even some core subjects, such as math, English, sciences and social studies.
  • Nearly 35 percent reduced or eliminated programs providing tutoring for struggling students.
  • Nearly 33 percent indicated they had reduced or eliminated extracurricular activities, including sports programs.
  • Almost 20 percent eliminated their summer school programs, in which students can make up the necessary credits to allow them to graduate on time.
  • Four school districts eliminated full-day kindergarten, and nine reduced their full-day kindergarten programs.

The Old Divide and Conquer Tactic
Yinzercation Blog — MARCH 14, 2012
 “We are reducing the funding in education because we do not have the money — it’s that simple,” Governor Corbett said Monday. He was speaking about the cuts to public higher education, but he could have just as easily been speaking about the draconian cuts to pre-K and K-12.
We’ve heard precious little about the state education budget crisis from Governor Corbett himself. Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis and others have been quoted frequently of late trying to explain how, in their view, the $1 BILLION reduction to public schools has actually been an increase. (To which we say, “Enough with the Spreadsheet Debates.”) But now Gov. Corbett appears to be trying a new (very old) tactic: divide and conquer.

Shell games

Intelligencer Journal, Lancaster New Era Mar 13, 2012 04:31
Opinion By Intelligencer Journal
Shell games
If you've ever been to a carnival or fair, you've undoubtedly seen the shell-game sideshow. You know, the one in which the peanut is placed beneath a shell and the handler moves it quicker than the eye can follow.
The shell game is a good analogy for Gov. Tom Corbett's education budget although, as you will read, it's not all his fault.
The governor hiked state funding by $338.1 million, or 3.7 percent. Given the state of Pennsylvania's economy, it looked like he managed to do more for education than anyone thought possible.
But a closer look reveals that most of the money — $319 million of the $338.1 million — is designated to cover mandated increases in teacher retirement costs. That leaves a paltry $19 million increase for instructional purposes to be split among 500 school districts.

Cyber-school kids truant, failing, and teachers have been dumped
BY DAVID GAMBACORTA Daily News Staff Writer Posted: Wed, Mar. 14, 2012, 3:01 AM
IT ALL SOUNDED so good on paper: a "global high school of the 21st century," a cyber school that would teach about 300 students two languages and keep them constantly engaged in learning.
That was how John Craig pitched the Frontier Virtual Charter High School to state education officials two years ago.  The state approved the Philadelphia-based charter, hoping that the school would prove to be a model for both cyber and traditional high schools.
Frontier opened in the fall. It fell apart before the spring.

No Funds Left Behind

As states slash education budgets, private foundations have picked up the slack—and pushed some controversial reforms.  It’s a story being repeated across the country. With most states cutting school funding, Gates and other private foundations are wielding outsize influence over public education, using their much-sought-after millions to fund and shape a top-down reform agenda. Like the other major (but smaller) players, the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation, Gates uses its funds to encourage public schools to adopt a more corporate approach. The three foundations, which in 2009 gave around $560 million in education-related grants, support creating charters to foster competition between local schools, rewarding or punishing teachers for their students’ performance on standardized tests, and replacing local curricula with national standards. 

Listen! Youth Produced Radio about Public Education

On Blast is the youth-produced radio show of the Philadelphia Student Union. This show is created by high school students who are actively organizing to improve public education. Subscribe to the On Blast podcast to have the latest shows sent to your iTunes.
On this month's 30-minute show:
Students from across PA unite against education budget cuts.
Experts share insights on how to create nonviolent schools.
Philly teachers banned from administering PSSA test to their own students.
Young people are growing the Food Justice movement in Philly.
Plus music and other news.

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 

Arcadia University's Education Department presents:
Panel: Unpacking the PA School Budget: What Does This Mean for Me?
March 29, 2012 from 5:30pm to 8pm at Arcadia University
Website or Map: http://www.arcadia.edu/direct…
Join us for a panel discussion that will delve into details of the Commonwealth's School Budget as announced by the Governor in February 2012.  This event will tell you how the budget will affect your schools, community, and children.
Host:  Dr. Bruce Campbell, Coordinator, Educational Leadership Master's Program, Arcadia University
Moderator: Baruch Kintisch, Director of Policy Advocacy and Senior Staff Attorney, Education Law Center
Panelists:
Christopher McGinley, Superintendent, Lower Merion School District
Art Haywood, President, Board of Commissioners, Cheltenham Township
Nofre Vaquer, Director, ARC of Philadelphia
Hiram Rivera, Executive Director, Philadelphia Student Union
Dale Mezzacappa, Contributing Editor, Philadelphia Public School Notebook 
Dan Hardy, Contributing Editor, Philadelphia Inquirer
Please RSVP by March 12 to dressm@arcadia.edu

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?

 

PSBA Sample Board Resolution regarding the budget

Please consider bringing this sample resolution to the members of your board.

http://www.psba.org/issues-advocacy/issues-research/state-budget/Budget_resolution-02212012.doc

 

PSBA officer applications due by March 31
PSBA Website 3/12/2012
Candidates seeking election to PSBA officer posts in 2013 must file an expression of interest for the office desired to be interviewed by the PSBA Nominating Committee. Deadline for filing is March 31.  For more info and forms:

 

PA House Democratic Caucus Website
UPDATED DAILY – STATEWIDE PRESS COVERAGE OF SCHOOL DISTRICT BUDGETS
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

1 comment:

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