Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Follow the Voucher Money: AFC/Students First PAC funding 2 week media blanket targeting Senator Vance who voted against SB1

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Follow the Voucher Money: AFC/Students First PAC funding 2 week media blanket targeting Senator Vance who voted against SB1
According to their campaign finance report, the pro-voucher Students First PAC received $1 Million during February and March from Betsy Devos’ American Federation for Children, and contributed $350,000 to the Citizens Alliance for Pennsylvania PAC on Feb. 28th.  Here’s how it is apparently being used to target Republican Senator Pat Vance who dared to vote against voucher bill SB1:
PoliticsPA reported in their March 15th Morning Buzz:
SD-31: Conservative group Citizens Alliance for Pa. is making good on a threat against Pat Vance (R-Cumberland). They’re up for the next 2 weeks, 39 times per day, with a 60-second spot on WHP 580, the conservative talk radio station in the midstate (listen to the ad here). It smacks Vance for voting for compromise budgets during the Rendell administration. She faces a primary challenge from attorney Andrew Shaw of North Middleton, who the York Daily Record interviewed.

Senator Vance represents the following school districts:


Lycoming County: Jersey Shore School board may cut 7 from staff; raise taxes and still be looking at a $111K deficit

March 27, 2012
By JOSEPH STENDER - , Williamsport Sun-Gazette
JERSEY SHORE - Facing a deficit of about $875,000, the Jersey Shore Area School Board was informed of a recommendation to cut seven district positions at Monday's meeting.
The district also would raise property taxes to the Act 1 index of .339 mills - a property assessed at a value of $100,000 would pay an additional $33.90.
After all of the cuts and tax increase recommended by Emery, the district still would be looking at a deficit of about $111,000.

Pa. Senate Education Committee shows its disapproval to Gov. Tom Corbett's proposed changes to the Keystone exams

By JAN MURPHY, The Patriot-News  Published: Tuesday, March 27, 2012, 2:30 PM
The Senate Education Committee showed how serious its opposition is to Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposal to change the Keystone Exam state testing program.
The committee passed two bills intended to give lawmakers some leverage in ongoing talks with the Corbett administration, which wants to trim the number of course-specific Keystone exams being developed from 10 to 3. It is proposing to keep the Keystone exams in Algebra I, biology and literature, but drop the ones proposed in social studies

Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 03/27/2012

Largest charter network in U.S.: Gulen Schools tied to Turkey

Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss
This was written by Sharon Higgins, an independent researcher and blogger based in California. She is also a founding member of Parents Across America.
By Sharon Higgins
The largest charter school network in the United States is operated by people in and associated with the Gulen Movement (GM), a secretive and controversial Turkish religious sect. With 135 schools enrolling more than45,000 students, this network is substantially larger than KIPP, the well-known charter management organization with only 109 schools. A lack of awareness about this situation persists despite it being addressed in anational paper and in articles about Gulen charter schools in Utah (alsohere), Arizona, (also here), Illinois, Tennessee, Pennsylvania (also here),Indiana, Oklahoma (and here), Texas (also here), Arkansas, Louisiana(also here), New Jersey, Georgia, and North Carolina. It was alsoreported that the FBI and the Departments of Labor and Education are investigating practices at these schools.

“….without regulation, transparency, and accountability, private charter schools are free to soak up enormous public resources with stunningly poor educational results.”
Soaking the Public
Yinzercation Blog — MARCH 27, 2012
At the White House education policy session on Friday, the Superintendent of the Lancaster School District, Pedro Rivera, offered an idea that received immediate support from those in the room. “Put a cap on for-profit charter schools,” he said, “just like the federal government is now doing with insurance companies.”

The PA House Democratic Caucus has been tracking daily press coverage on school district budgets statewide:

Stand Up for Public Education!
Wed., April 11, 2012 7:00 pm Town Hall Meeting on Education at Bucknell University
Meeting with legislators from Columbia, Northumberland, Montour, Snyder & Union counties
Where: The Forum, Room 272, Elaine Langone Center Bucknell University 701 Moore Avenue Lewisburg, PA 17837
7 p.m. – School directors and administrators meet with legislators (PSBA Legislative Meeting)
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Meeting on Education – Please invite your PTO/PTA and other parent/ community groups to join us!
The purpose of the 7 p.m. meeting is for school directors and administrators to discuss the impact of the governor’s 2011-12 budget proposal on their school districts. At 7:30 p.m., the meeting will be open to all interested parents and other members of the community who would like to come out in support of their public schools and ask their legislators to take their message back to Harrisburg.
Please RSVP By April 4, to Kathy Swope, PSBA Region 6 director, at (570) 523-3336 or email

Stand Up for Public Education!

Thursday April 12th, 7:00 pm Allegheny County Legislative Forum

WHERE: North Hills Senior High School 53 Rochester Road Pittsburgh, PA 15229
WHEN: Thursday, April 12, 2012 @ 7:00pm
REGISTER for this event:
All public education stakeholders are invited to this special event, which will be moderated by the League of Women Voters. Join us on Thursday, April 12th at North Hills Senior High School at 7PM for an evening with several key state legislators from Allegheny 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.

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.
Please RSVP by March 12 to

Has your board considered this draft resolution yet?

PSBA Sample Board Resolution regarding the budget

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

PA Partnerships for Children – Take action on the Governor’s Budget
The governor’s budget plan cuts funding for proven programs like Child Care Works, Keystone STARS and the T.E.A.C.H. scholarship program, Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts and the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program. These are among the most cost-effective investments we can make in education.  Gov. Corbett’s budget plan also runs counter to a pledge he made when he ran for governor in 2010. He acknowledged the benefits of early childhood education and promised to increase funding to double the number of children who would benefit from early learning opportunities.
We need your help to tell lawmakers: if you cut these programs – you close the door to early learning! Click here to tell your state legislators to fund early childhood education programs at the same level they approved for this year’s budget.

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?

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