Thursday, March 22, 2012

“I want the public to understand those numbers.” Cyber charter actual costs to deliver quality services are significantly less than what they are charging school districts.

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
Monday 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.


Montgomery County Lawmakers spar on budget issues at Colonial Elementary forum


WHITEMARSH — Four local lawmakers from the Commonwealth traded ideas during a special legislative forum on education and the governor’s budget issues at Colonial Elementary School Tuesday night.

Agreeing on ‘philosophical differences’ from the standpoint of the state budget, state representatives Kate Harper (R-61st of Montgomery County) and Mike Gerber (D-148th of Montgomery County) and state senators Daylin Leach (D-17th of Montgomery and Delaware counties) and Vincent Hughes (D-7th of Montgomery and Philadelphia counties) gave their explanations of the education cuts in Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget.


“Burnett said the district is spending (a total of) $26,000 for 16 students enrolled in 48 courses through Brandywine Virtual Academy.
School director Larry Feinberg called attention to the difference between that figure and what the district pays for students to attend other cyber charter schools-- $28,000 per special education student and $9,360 per regular education student.
“I want the public to understand those numbers. One of the concerns with cyber charters is they’re getting a lot of money from school districts,” while “costs to deliver quality services is significantly less than what they are charging. This bears that out,” said Feinberg.”

Haverford School District opens blended cyberschool
Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Main Line Times By Lois Puglionesi, CORRESPONDENT
HAVERFORD TWP. — School officials were briefed last week on the district’s “blended school program,” currently providing online learning opportunities for Haverford students.
Director of Pupil Services Valerie Burnett said officials began noticing in 2008-09 that students were leaving the district for emerging cyber charter schools. The development caused concern, partly because the district must reimburse cyber charters to the tune of $9,360 per regular education student, and $28,000 per special education student, annually.

Brandywine Virtual Academy website:


Deputy Auditor General testifies before House Education Committee

Charter school funding formula under review in Pa.

WHYY Newsworks By Mary Wilson March 20, 2012
State House lawmakers are looking into reforming laws that govern Pennsylvania's charter and cyber charter schools throughout the state.  Part of the reform plans focus on the funding rules for those facilities.  In a House Education Committee hearing Tuesday, testimony from the state auditor general's office detailed the problems with how charter and cyber charter schools get paid.


Money at center of New Hope charter renewal hearings

District probes finances of school, management company. A decision on New Hope's future could be a month away.
By ANGIE MASON York Daily Record/Sunday News Updated:   03/18/2012

 The York City School Board will soon wrap up hearings about the fate of a charter school and hundreds of students, as well as whether millions of dollars will continue to flow to New Hope Academy Charter School or remain in the school district.


Education supporters hosting mock bake sale to draw attention to budget cuts

Public Opinion Online BY MORGAN YOUNG, 03/20/2012 05:25:34 PM EDT
SHIPPENSBURG -- Area parents are hoping to bring awareness to the impact of Gov. Tom Corbett's proposed budget cuts to public education one cookie at a time.
There are 20 days left until parents and community groups opposing the governor's proposed budget host their second annual state-wide mock bake sale to protesting funding cuts to public education. The budget stagnates funding to state public school districts and forecasts an $82 million cut in state funding for Shippensburg University and the 13 other universities in the state system.

The website for the event is:


What Works Clearinghouse
A central and trusted source of scientific evidence of what works in education.
The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) was established in 2002 by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) to provide educators, policymakers, researchers, and the public with a central and trusted source of scientific evidence of what works in education.  To subscribe to WWC email updates, visit to send us an email. Please select “Other” as the subject and type in “Subscribe” in the message box.



“When I see studies like Fryer’s, I wonder what kinds of academic gains would be realized if, instead of spending $166 per student on cash payouts, those funds were provided to teachers and schools to do more of what my colleagues often spend their own time and money doing (and what our administrators work overtime trying to squeeze school funds to pay for). Like:
* Having reluctant readers choose books of their own which we then purchase for them.
* Buying multiple copies of books students want to use in a student-led independent discussion group.
* Supplying all classrooms with a collection of high-interest books.
* Having a well-stocked school library and flexible librarian.
* Training teachers in effective, engaging literacy strategies, including free voluntary reading.
* Having counselors spend enormous amounts of time tracking down ways students can get needed eyeglasses, medical check-ups, and dental work done.
* Providing computers and home internet access to immigrant families to use for language development.
* Going on field trips to neighborhood libraries and other enriching destinations.
None of these kinds of efforts come with the baggage of extrinsic motivation programs.”
 Posted at 01:00 AM ET, 03/20/2012

Bribing students: Another ‘magical solution’ that doesn’t work

Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss
This was written by Larry Ferlazzo, who teaches English and Social Studies at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, California. He writes a popular blog for teachers and a weekly advice column for Education Week Teacher, as well as several books on education.
By Larry Ferlazzo
This use of “magical solutions” that end up making things worse is a hallmark of many school reform efforts — value-added measurementteacher evaluation, the parent trigger, and merit pay proposals are just a few that come to mind.


Religious Fundamentalism and Public Schools

 Walt Gardner  
Although the presidential election is still seven months away, voters are already hearing arguments in support of allowing religion in public schools. "The labor behind the initiatives may be local, but the ideas, the money, and the legal firepower that make them possible are national," as Katherine Stewart makes clear in The Good News Club(Public Affairs, 2012).


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.

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

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 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:

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