Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Call it whatever you want to Secretary Tomalis – here are 252 articles since January 23rd from newspapers all over Pennsylvania detailing shrinking school budgets, program cuts, staffing cuts and local tax increases.


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

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.

Call it whatever you want to Secretary Tomalis – here are 252 articles since January 23rd from newspapers all over Pennsylvania detailing shrinking school budgets, program cuts, staffing cuts and local tax increases.

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


Pa. Senate Education Committee unanimously approves SB 1115,.bill to overhaul special education funding distribution formula

By JAN MURPHY, The Patriot-News  Published: Tuesday, March 06, 2012, 2:27 PM
The Senate Education Committee approved legislation that would establish a 12-member House-Senate commission to develop a distribution formula for new state special education funding.  The bill, sponsored by Sen. Pat Browne, R-Lehigh County, would direct the commission to establish a formula that separates special education students into three cost categories based on their need for services. More funds would be allocated for students requiring higher levels of service.

Public education supporters ramp up rallies with call-ins
By Eleanor Chute, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Monday, March 05, 2012
As the state House Appropriations Committee today conducts a hearing on state education spending, parents, students and other taxpayers will be calling legislators and the governor to urge them to spend more on public education.
"It's a statewide call to action," said Susan Gobreski, executive director of Education Voters of Pennsylvania, which set the date for what she called a "pretty broad, grass-roots effort."
"Our big point here is we want our legislators to find a way to sustainably and equitably fund public education," said Jessie Ramey of Point Breeze, parent of two Pittsburgh Colfax K-8 students and a founder of the blog Yinzercation.

Clymer wants gamblers to ante up for state pensions

Phillyburbs.com By Gary Weckselblatt Staff Writer Posted: Tuesday, March 6, 2012 10:00 am
State Rep. Paul Clymer has never liked casinos. He was against giving them a home in Pennsylvania and felt they weren’t charged enough of a fee to operate once they were allowed to set up shop.  Now the Upper Bucks Republican is after them to help bail out the state’s underfunded pensions.
Clymer’s House Bill 2225, introduced last week, would institute a $2 per patron admission fee for all casinos in the Commonwealth.

Pa. senators target school superintendent buyouts
MARC LEVY The Associated Press, March 6, 2012
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A bill designed to limit the taxpayer cost of buyouts for public school superintendents and expose the terms to greater public view took a first step in the Pennsylvania Senate on Tuesday in the wake of a couple of heavily criticized payouts.

Guest Column: Catholics need to fight for school choice
Delco Times Commentary By ARCHBISHOP CHARLES CHAPUT
Published: Monday, March 05, 2012 Special to the Times
One of the best moments in the recent life of our church happened last Friday, Feb. 23, as students at West, Conwell Egan, Bonner Prendie and St. Hubert's learned that their high schools, originally slated to close, would remain open.
I made the judgment to keep these high schools open just a few hours before the press conference announcing the final decision. That little "miracle" happened because a great many people - from the Blue Ribbon Commission, the Office of Catholic Education, the individual school communities and Philadelphia's business and philanthropic leadership -- worked heroically. They raised new money and created the seeds of a new education foundation to assist our archdiocesan high schools, and eventually all our archdiocesan schools.

Response to Guest Column: PA Constitution and Vouchers

Pittsburgh schools propose next round of cuts
By Eleanor Chute, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Pittsburgh Public Schools superintendent Linda Lane Monday night presented to the city school board her plan to save $10 million to $13 million.  Her list includes cutting 20 to 25 central office positions; eliminating middle school softball and baseball; and closing night school and next year's summer school. It helps, but it doesn't solve it," Ms. Lane said, referring to the district's deficit.

“A resolution to be sent to all members of the state government of Pennsylvania urging that the Commonwealth’s General Assembly “ensure that every student in Delaware County and Pennsylvania continue to have access to public education without threat of school closure during the academic year” was approved after discussion.”
Radnor School Board Passes Resolution to Ensure Funding of Public Education
Main Line Suburban Life by Alan Thomas February 29, 2012
The text of the board resolution is on pages 8-9 of this Feb. 28th meeting agenda posted on the Radnor SD website:

PSEA Response to Sec’y Tomalis testimony before the House Appropriations Committee
From PSEA’s website March 5, 2012

PDE Secretary's testimony ignores impact of nearly $1 billion in public school cuts

Pennsylvania Dept. of Education Secretary Ron Tomalis’ testimony before the House Appropriations Committee on March 5 ignored the fact that school districts across Pennsylvania are cutting programs that work for their students because of nearly $1 billion in state funding cuts.
PSEA President Mike Crossey pointed out that school districts across the state are increasing class sizes and cutting programs that work for students in response to Gov. Tom Corbett’s unprecedented public school funding cuts, a reality that stands in stark contrast to the Corbett administration’s claim that these cuts are really historic increases.

"These test scores largely reflect whom a teacher teaches, not how well they teach."

Value-Added Evaluation Hurts Teaching

Education Week Commentary By Linda Darling-Hammond, March 5, 2012
Here’s the hype: New York City’s “worst teacher” was recently singled out and so labeled by the New York Post after the city’s education department released value-added test-score ratings to the media for thousands of city teachers, identifying each by name.
The tabloid treatment didn’t stop there. Reporters chased down teacher Pascale Mauclair, the subject of the “worst teacher” slam, bombarding her with questions about her lack of skill and commitment. They even went to her father’s home and told him his daughter was among the worst teachers in the city.
Now the facts: Mauclair is an experienced and much-admired English-as-a-second-language teacher. She works with new immigrant students who do not yet speak English at one of the city’s strongest elementary schools. Her school, PS 11, received an A from the city’s rating system and is led by one of the city’s most respected principals, Anna Efkarpides, who declares Mauclair an excellent teacher. She adds: “I would put my own children in her class.”

New AP Courses to Emphasize Critical Thinking and Research

Education Week College Bound Blog By Caralee Adams on March 5, 2012 5:47 PM
The College Board is piloting two new Advanced Placement courses designed to focus on research skills that admissions counselors say are too often missing in high school graduates.
The new program for juniors and seniors, developed in collaboration with Cambridge International Examinations, will be tested over three years in 15 to 18 high schools starting this fall, the College Board announced today.

Roadblocks to Reading

 Peter DeWitt  
In the recent issue of Educational Leadership (March 2012), Dick Allington and Rachael Gabriel wrote an article called Every Child, Every Day. They laid out six simple steps that all educators can do to get students reading. These action steps take very few resources but they do take the effort of the teachers in the classroom, which ultimately involves a supportive administrator who will look past test scores and focus on what students really need.

Thank President Obama for cutting DC voucher funding out of the budget.
If you are so inclined, Americans United for Separation of Church and State has a website link to thank President Obama for cutting DC voucher funding out of the budget.

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

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?

 

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

 

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

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