Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Teacher layoffs, larger class sizes, no more elementary music classes, no more French, German or Latin, pay to play sports.

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 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.


Tip of the iceberg: Pensions, mandates are shackling schools

Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2012, 6:06 AM
Teacher layoffs, larger class sizes, no more elementary music classes, no more French, German or Latin, pay to play sports.
These are not typical discussion topics in many of Pennsylvania’s suburban school districts.
These are school districts that by and large have solid tax bases and good test scores. People move to these districts so their children can go to school there. 
Yet the cuts and pain have hit suburbia, too.
And Gov. Tom Corbett and the Republican Legislature do not seem to have a clear answer about what school districts should do.


PA Auditor General criticizes education spending priorities

Chester County Daily Local By JIM CALLAHAN, Staff Writer 3/20/12

WESTTOWN — Auditor General Jack Wagner said some charter and cyber-charter schools replacing public schools are being run for profit and the state legislature should end this practice.

Wagner spoke Monday at Stetson Middle School during a forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters about public education funding.


Chester County Daily Local News to host education discussion

Staff Report Posted: 03/19/12 07:44 am

The Daily Local News will host a State of Education discussion at 7 p.m. Thursday in its Community Media Lab.

The roundtable discussion will include local education leaders and officials answering questions from a live audience and from those watching remotely via a live stream on the Daily Local News website. The event is free to the public. The Community Media Lab is upstairs at the Daily Local News offices at 250 N. Bradford Ave. in West Chester. While topics will come from those in attendance or watching at home, the focus will likely be about where education stands in Pennsylvania and nation, how education is or should be funded, and what options exist for students who may be entering school or looking for an alternative. The discussion will be moderated by Daily Local News staff writer Eric S. Smith.

The panel will include home-school parent Lynne Burkholder; Coatesville Area School Board President J. Neil Campbell; state Sen. Andy Dinniman, minority leader of the state Senate Education Committee; Downingtown Area Education Association President Craig Krusen; West Chester Area School District Superintendent James Scanlon; Director of Career, Technical and Customized Education for the Chester County Intermediate Unit Alan Slobojan; state Rep. Dan Truitt, a member of the state House Education Committee; and Collegium Charter School CEO Bill Winters.


“According to Gary Miron, a professor at Western Michigan University's College of Education, the report is selective in its use of data to bolster charter schools. "The selection of researchers they cite is misleading," he said. "They only select papers that show choice is working, when most reports say it's not."

Schools Report: Failing To Prepare Students Hurts National Security, Prosperity

Huffington Post by Joy Resmovits Posted: 03/19/2012 5:18 pm Updated: 03/19/2012 7:23 pm

Thirty years ago, a Reagan administration report warned of "a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a nation and a people." The report, "A Nation at Risk," tied that mediocrity to the alleged failure of America's schools.
Fast forward to 2012, and the story hasn't changed, former New York City schools chief Joel Klein and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice wrote in a report provided to The Huffington Post slated to be released Tuesday. "The sad fact is that the rising tide of mediocrity is not something that belongs in history books," said the report produced by a Council on Foreign Relations task force they co-chaired.
The report, called the U.S. Education Reform and National Security report, argues for treating education as a national-security issue, noting that deficiencies in areas like foreign languages hold back America's capacity to produce soldiers, diplomats and spies. It calls for increased standards, accountability and school choice -- charter schools and vouchers -- to increase America's international educational standing.


Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 03/21/2012

Best part of ‘schools-threaten-national-security’ report: The dissents

Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss
The most interesting part of the new Condoleezza Rice-Joel Klein report, which bemoans how American national security is threatened by the poor state of public education, is not in the body of the document itself. The real story is in the dissents at the end of the report.
You can read the report here, and then find out all of the many problems with it in the dissenting views attached at the end of the report, which was written by several members of the Council of Foreign Relations task force.
Some of the dissenters — including Linda Darling-Hammond and Randi Weingarten — express such broad disagreement with the actual thesis that national security is threatened by our public schools, as well as with some of the recommended solutions, that one could wonder why they agreed to stay on the commission and put their names to the document. Here’s why: To ensure that their viewpoint was at least included somewhere in the document.
The report, after attacking public schools for failing to educate students to become involved in the diplomatic corps, military and intelligence services of the country, makes three major recommendations. They are expanding the Common Core State Standard initiative to include subjects beyond math and English Language Arts; expanding charter schools, vouchers and the choice movement; and an annual “national security readiness audit” that would look at how schools are addressing the country’s needs through increased foreign language programs, technology curriculum and more.
Here are some excerpts from the dissents, which you can read in their entirety at the report’s end. The people I have included are: Carole Artigiani, Global Kids, Inc; Linda Darling-Hammond, Stanford University professor; Randi Weingarten, president of the American of the Federation of Teachers; and Stephen M. Walt, Harvard University professor.


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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