Thursday, March 8, 2012

Follow the Money: WALMART: Save More, Live Better, Eradicate Public Education: 159,049,864 reasons to shop someplace else.

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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.

As Renaissance match process gets underway in Philly, intrigue begins
by Benjamin Herold for the Notebook and WHYY/NewsWorks, March 7,2012
In a new twist on the District’s process for converting low-performing schools to charters, six pre-approved turnaround teams have publicly declared at the outset of the Renaissance match process which schools they will – and will not – be competing to manage.

Here’s another study, funded by Gates and the Waltons (see below) that shows no significant effects of attending a charter school managed by a Charter Management Organization.  That being said, why are the Walton’s continuing to spend over $150 million per year funding this type of education policy?

This longitudinal study is being conducted by Mathematica Policy Research and the University of
Washington’s Center  on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE). It was commissioned by
NewSchools Venture Fund, with the generous support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
and the Walton Family Foundation.  The study reported that, on average, there were no statistically significant effects of attending a CMO-operated school on state assessments in math, reading, science, or social studies among middle school youth. There were also no statistically significant impacts on high school graduation and college enrollment rates.
Charter-School Management Organizations: Diverse Strategies and Diverse Student Impact
By The National Study of Charter Management Organization (CMO) Effectiveness
What is the study about? The study examined the effect of non-profit charter-school management organizations (CMOs) on middle school academic achievement, rate of high school graduation, and rate of post-secondary enrollment. Within eight geographically diverse states, the authors matched each charter school student with similar students attending conventional public schools. The sample included nearly 14,000 students attending 68 middle schools operated by 22 CMOs and nearly 3,000 students who attended 13 high schools operated by six CMOs.
What did the study report? The study reported that, on average, there were no statistically significant effects of attending a CMO-operated school on state assessments in math, reading, science, or social studies among middle school youth. There were also no statistically significant impacts on high school graduation and college enrollment rates. The study reported substantial variation in both the magnitude and level of statistical significance of the impacts across the participating CMOs.

What if the Waltons spent their $150M per year on programs for poor kids that are actually effective, like early education and making sure that they are reading on grade level by third grade?

Follow the Money:

WALMART: Save More, Live Better, Eradicate Public Education: 159,049,864 reasons to shop someplace else.

List of K-12 Education Reform and other education grants given by The Walton Family Foundation in 2011. Total:  $159,049,864

Today the Walton Family Foundation announced investments totaling more than $159 million in education reform initiatives for 2011 – the largest single-year investment in education reform. Grants were made to organizations and programs that empower parents, particularly in low-income communities, to choose among quality, publicly funded schools for their children

Posted at 09:17 PM ET, 03/07/2012

Who won millions in Walton Foundation grants in 2011

Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss
The pro-charter Walton Foundation handed out more than $159 million in 2011 in 16 metropolitan areas around the country to promote school choice. It also committed to giving $49.5 million to Teach for America over five years to double its teaching corps and $25.5 million over the same period to the KIPP charter school network to double the number of students it educates.
The foundation’s strategy is clear from the grants: It is funding organizations that it thinks can help scale charter schools quickly and rapidly increase the pool of voucher students.

Posted at 10:48 AM ET, 03/07/2012

Ravitch: A war on public education in Louisiana

This was written by education historian Diane Ravitch for her Bridging Differences blog, which she co-authors with Deborah Meier on theEducation Week website. The item was first published on March 6. In their blog, Ravitch and Meier exchange letters about what matters most in education. Ravitch, a research professor at New York University, is author of “The Death and Life of the Great American School System,” a critique of the flaws in the modern school reform movement that she just updated.
By Diane Ravitch
I went to Lafayette, La., last week to speak to the Louisiana School Boards Association. These men and women, representing their local schools from across the state, are trying to preserve public education in the face of an unprecedented onslaught by Gov. Bobby Jindal and the state’s Republican-dominated legislature. Jindal has the backing of the state’s corporate leaders, the nation’s biggest foundations, and some powerful out-of-state supporters of privatization for his sweeping attack on public education.

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

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:

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