Monday, March 5, 2012

Districts say Corbett's budget jeopardizes future of school busing. School officials fear voters will have to choose between ending rides or raising taxes.

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.

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Monday March 5th – Call to Action – Take 5 minutes today.

Please forward this information to any and all public education stakeholders.

Education Voters Pennsylvania, joined by several education advocacy groups, will hold a "Statewide Call to Action for Education" on Monday, March 5.  Tell the Governor and your state legislators "No more cuts to education!"  For more information on how you can participate, visit


Action Alert: Special Education Votes in March

Make a phone call today to improve special education for students with disabilities in Pennsylvania!  Call or e-mail your state senator before March 6 and ask for a vote in favor of Senate Bill 1115.  Even in this tough year, we are close to making historic progress for children with disabilities.

Additional info:

Districts say Corbett's budget jeopardizes future of school busing
School officials fear voters will have to choose between ending rides or raising taxes.
By Steve Esack, Of The Morning Call
11:38 p.m. EST, March 4, 2012
With state limits on how much they can hike taxes, school leaders say they will have no choice but to ask voters to go to the polls to choose between ending busing or raising property taxes above the caps.  "Someday most districts are going to referendum for budgets in general, not just transportation. That day is going to come, and we are already talking about how to handle it," said Parkland Business Manager John Vignone.
The House will begin hearings Monday on Corbett's education funding proposals.

Policy experts warn proposed state budget hurts kids, taxpayers

By Sara K. Satullo | The Express-Times  Published: Friday, March 02, 2012, 4:00 AM
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett's proposed budget and the current year's spending plan represent a huge step backward in state education funding, according to state policy experts.
And the backlash will hit the wallets of citizens across the state when local school districts in turn hike real estate taxes, said Ron Cowell, president of The Education Policy and Leadership Center, a nonpartisan Harrisburg based nonprofit.
"The state continues to shift the responsibility to school districts," Cowell said.
Cowell, along with Sharon Ward, executive director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, on Thursday spoke about the impact of the proposed 2012-13 state budget on Pennsylvania children and families during Moravian College's Family Policy Summit.

“UC Berkeley professor Robert Reich said it well, “Public education isn’t just a private investment. It’s a public good. Our young people—their capacities to think, understand, investigate, and innovate—are America’s future” (Huffington Post).  Finally, a system that provides widespread access to higher education reinforces a societal commitment to social mobility and fairness (Huffington Post). It communicates that everyone has value and everyone has a meaningful chance to succeed. There is no better antidote to snobbery.”
UCLA Themes in the News Week of Feb. 27-March 2, 2012
Snubbing Snobbery
“President Obama once said he wants everyone in America to go to college. What a snob.”
-Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum
Santorum is wrong. He insults not only the President, but also all those who hold similar aspirations for America’s youth.

Midstate school districts again face tough budget choices

Published: Thursday, March 01, 2012, 11:44 PM     Updated: Friday, March 02, 2012, 9:23 AM
By DAVID WENNER, The Patriot-News 
Beset by rising pension and operating costs as well as state funding reductions, school districts across the midstate are once again finding themselves in the midst of a tough budget cycle.
Most are projecting budget deficits to one degree or another as they attempt to balance costs and revenue before the end of the fiscal year.  Last year, several districts sought concessions from the unions that represent their teachers, and it appears they are again reaching out to try to trim personnel costs.
On Wednesday night, teachers in theCentral Dauphin School District, the largest on the East Shore, met to discuss a proposal from the school board that would freeze their salaries for the second year in a row.


Legislators, school directors to meet March 15 at BLaST IU in Canton

The Daily review BY ERIC HRIN (STAFF WRITER), Published: March 1, 2012
TROY - School officials in Bradford, Sullivan, and Tioga counties will be able to share their concerns and interests with area legislators in a county legislative meeting March 15 at BLaST Intermediate Unit in Canton.  It's being sponsored by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association.
The meeting is held each year, and gives school officials a chance to get face-to-face with area legislators.  At its last meeting, the Troy Area School Board was reminded about the upcoming session by board member Ursula Fox.
Board member Michael Olsyn said he was "absolutely" planning on attending. Others also expressed an interest in showing up.
District business manager Kirsten Bagley said registration was at 6 p.m. with dinner at 6:30 p.m.
According to Steve Robinson, Director of Publications and Public Relations for PSBA,
all legislators in the three counties have been invited.
"The purpose of the meetings is to provide the opportunity for open, informal discussion between school directors, superintendents, business managers and legislators about public school successes and the critical issues affecting public education today," he said.


Chester Community Charter School contracts with Charter School Management Company, a private firm, to manage and operate the state’s largest brick and mortar charter school.  Charter School Management Company is owned by Vahan Gureghian, who was Governor Corbett’s largest individual campaign contributor and a member of his education transition team.

Court says Chester Community Charter School required to disclose financial records

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania affirmed a ruling of the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas requiring Chester Community Charter School to disclose financial records requested by The Philadelphia Inquirer in January 2009.


A Look At The Education Programs Of The Gates Foundation

Shanker Blog Posted by Ken Libby on March 2, 2012
Our guest author today is Ken Libby, a graduate student studying educational foundations, policy and practice at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest philanthropic organization involved in public education. Their flexible capital allows the foundation to change course, experiment and take on tasks that would be problematic for other organizations.
The purpose of this post is to provide descriptive information about programmatic support and changes between 2008 and 2010. These are the three years for which information is currently available.

Viewpoints: For California schools, we need less testing and more assessing

Sacramento Bee By Linda Darling-Hammond, Special to The Bee
Published: Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012 - 12:00 am
There is a saying that American students are the most tested and the least examined of any in the world. Nowhere is that more true than in California, where students take 35 tests before they hit the SAT and AP exams.

How, and How Not, to Improve the Schools
New York Review of Books MARCH 22, 2012 by  Diane Ravitch
Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland? by Pasi Sahlberg, Teachers College Press, 167 pp., $34.95 (paper)
A Chance to Make History: What Works and What Doesn’t in Providing an Excellent Education for All by Wendy Kopp with Steven Farr PublicAffairs, 229 pp., $25.99  
In his 2012 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama proposed that teachers should “stop teaching to the test” and that the nation should “reward the best ones” and “replace teachers who just aren’t helping kids learn.” This all sounds sensible, but it is in fact a contradictory message. The president’s signature education program, called Race to the Top, encourages states to award bonuses to teachers whose students get higher test scores (they are, presumably “the best ones”) and to fire teachers if their students get lower test scores (presumably the teachers “who just aren’t helping kids”). If teachers want to stay employed, they must “teach to the test.” The president recommends that teachers stop doing what his own policies make necessary and prudent.

National Education Writers Association - ED BEAT
Mayors and school chiefs from Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York talk education reform
The mayors and school chiefs of the three largest cities in the United States joined U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today in Washington, D.C. to share their views on school reform.

Got 1000 channels and there’s still nothing on TV?  Here’s a link to the one hour video…..
US Department of Education March 2, 2012: Education Now - Cities at the Forefront of Reform
Education Secretary Arne Duncan joins mayors and superintendents from NYC, LA, & Chicago for a panel on education.  Video runtime 60:49

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:…
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
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

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

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.

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.


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:

1 comment:

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