Friday, March 9, 2012

A New Mantra: “We need sustainable and equitable state funding for public education in Pennsylvania.”

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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A New Mantra: “We need sustainable and equitable state funding for public education in Pennsylvania.”
Yinzercation Blog  MARCH 7, 2012
I’m developing a new mantra. Though it’s a bit of a mouthful, it’s worth repeating regularly: “We need sustainable and equitable state funding for public education in Pennsylvania.” Allow me to take that statement apart and focus on it in reverse order.

Lehigh County residents voice concerns over education funding cuts

Nearly 200 attend Lehigh County panel talk with state legislators.

By Steve Esack, Of The Morning Call 11:08 p.m. EST, March 8, 2012
Nearly 200 residents crowded into a room at Lehigh Carbon Community College on Thursday to hear local legislators and the public debate Gov. Tom Corbett's education priorities.
Residents outnumbered teachers — by a lot.
Residents spanned the economic and demographic spectrum. They were angry and concerned that Corbett, in his second year as governor, is crushing the state's education system by reducing public schools funding by $900 million in 2011-12 and $100 million in his 2012-13 budget proposal. Corbett's budget proposal would also cut higher education funding by $1.4 billion, which comes after a roughly 181/2 percent cut this fiscal year.

Yes, it’s Working! (and here’s how we know)
Yinzercation Blog   — MARCH 8, 2012
We’ve called our legislators, written them letters, and met with them; we’ve hosted house parties, a teach-in, and public forums; we’ve held a rally in a snowstorm, published op-ed pieces, and submitted letters-to-the-editor. But is it working?
The simple answer is yes. But to understand how it’s working, we have to piece together what is going on around the state.

Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children’s March issue of Capitol Watch for Children
Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children’s March issue of Capitol Watch for Children recaps the House and Senate budget hearings on issues that impact kids, explains the benefits of Governor Corbett’s “Fostering Connections” budget proposal to help older foster youth, looks at proposed changes to child care subsidy regulations and special education funding, and more. 

Based on school reform pledges, Corbett earns grade of 'F' Opinion By R. Paul Baumgartner March 8, 2012
Gov. Tom Corbett has completed over one year of his four-year term. A few of his public education statements/pledges are as follows:
·         Will make funding our schools a top priority.
·         Putting students first means ensuring the resources intended to support their education make it to the schools and classrooms they attend.
·         Will begin to cut the strings from Harrisburg, giving greater flexibility to districts to best achieve student learning goals.
·         Enabling schools to focus on results and eliminating barriers that get in the way of achieving them is critical to reforming our education system and making it student-centric.
·         Believes in greater control of resources at the school level, lessening state mandates to schools and directing resources to best achieve student-learning goals.
In his term to date, the governor’s performance is an “F” (failure) based on his campaign pledges. Rather than make funding a top priority, Corbett cut public education over $840 million for the current school year. That reduction is being carried forward again for next year’s budget, with an additional $94 million more in cuts.

Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education
Test scores largely reflect whom a teacher teaches, not how well they teach.

Recent writings on value-added methods from SCOPE and others

Under pressure to meet Race to the Top requirements, more and more states are adopting, or poised to adopt, "value-added" models (VAMs) of teacher assessment required by the federal competition. In this rush for compliance, important findings on the effectiveness of VAMs are being overlooked.

Restoring Civic Purpose in Schools
Education Week Commentary March By James E. Davis, H. Michael Hartoonian, Richard D. Van Scotter, & William E. White, March 6, 2012
Ask most social critics what ails America, and "low-performing public schools" will be high on the list. Pundits offer little supporting data (as if the pronouncement were self-evident), but when they do, they usually refer to test scores, not higher-level thinking skills, creativity, and resourcefulness—the tangible abilities that best serve a democratic society and market economy. K-12 schools, in effect, have become a scapegoat for a society incapable of or unwilling to face deeper problems associated with our education system.

Growing Gaps Bring Focus on Poverty's Role in Schooling

Education Week By Lesli A. Maxwell, March 6, 2012
The fractious debate over how much schools can counteract poverty's impact on children is far from settled, but a recently published collection of research strongly suggests that until policymakers and educators confront deepening economic and social disparities, poor children will increasingly miss out on finding a path to upward social mobility.

New Data from Office for Civil Rights Reveals Vast Inequities in Our Nation’s Schools

WASHINGTON — The Campaign for High School Equity — a coalition of leading civil rights and education advocacy organizations focused on high school reform — points to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights as a tool to draw much-needed attention to severe inequities around teacher experience, disciplinary practices, and high school rigor that negatively impact students of color.

Ed "Reform" in Louisiana. Coming Soon to Your State?

 Nancy Flanagan 
Louisiana 1927, Randy Newman

Diane Ravitch's brilliant, must-read blog, Bobby Jindal vs. Public Education, caused me to pull out an e-mail I got from a teacher buddy in Louisiana a few weeks back. My friend is a National Board Certified Teacher, with a long and distinguished career in education. She wasn't invited to Bobby Jindal's education summit--but a Teach for America corps member she's mentoring was, and urged her to attend, saying that she'd learn about the exciting innovations planned for public education in Louisiana.

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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