Thursday, April 19, 2012

304 school districts have adopted the Resolution Concerning High Stakes, Standardized Testing of Texas Public School Students.

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Don’t let state off the hook

The Altoona Mirror – Editorial April 18, 2012
Like a Democratic strategist's comment about Ann Romney never working, Gov. Tom Corbett telling a talk radio audience to complain to school boards, not state government, about rising school taxes could leave him with egg on his face.
Last week, Corbett was asked on Philadelphia's Talk Radio 1210 WPHT what can be done to ease the education burden on taxpayers. The governor said small class sizes and overly generous contracts are factors in why schools are struggling, The Associated Press reports.
Undoubtedly, there is a degree of truth in that, but despite what the governor might imply, the situation is not that simple, and it's only fractionally the fault of school boards. They were only playing under the conditions largely set by government.

Allegations raised over N. Phila. charter school run by followers of Turkish imam
By Martha Woodall Inquirer Staff Writer Posted: Thu, Apr. 19, 2012, 3:01 AM
Truebright Science Academy Charter School in North Philadelphia is one of more than 130 charter schools nationwide run by followers of the Turkish imam M. Fetullah Gulen, and federal officials have put it under a microscope.
Not only are the FBI and the Departments of Labor and Education looking into allegations of kickbacks by Turkish teachers at the charters nationwide, according to knowledgeable sources, but at least nine American teachers and administrators at Truebright have filed complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. All allege that they were being paid less than noncertified Turkish staffers.

Here’s a related posting from the NY Times last June…..
Charter Schools Tied to Turkey Grow in Texas
New York Times By STEPHANIE SAUL Published: June 6, 2011
TDM Contracting was only a month old when it won its first job, an $8.2 million contract to build the Harmony School of Innovation, a publicly financed charter school that opened last fall in San Antonio.  It was one of six big charter school contracts TDM and another upstart company have shared since January 2009, a total of $50 million in construction business. Other companies scrambling for work in a poor economy wondered: How had they qualified for such big jobs so fast?

Her educated answer isn't about money
By Brian O'Neill / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette April 19, 2012 12:00 am
To save more than a million bucks, the city schools will run some school buses an hour earlier next year. That got me wondering. We closed 22 city schools in 2006 and are set to bid adieu to seven more in June. So why, with the local economy relatively good, do the schools remain in perpetual fiscal crisis?

“The parents of 70 students (and counting) at one elementary school are refusing to have their kids take the standardized tests mandated by the feds under No Child Left Behind.”
Disgusted with standardized tests, group of parents shunning them
A rebellion over standardized school testing in the Seattle Hill neighborhood southeast of Everett echoes a larger uprising around the country.
Danny Westneat, Seattle Times staff columnist April 3, 2012
The folks in the sprawling suburban developments near Mill Creek and Snohomish insist they are usually rule-following types.  "We didn't go into this looking to start some big rebellion," says Michelle Purcell, a mom of three in the Seattle Hill neighborhood southeast of Everett.
But a rebellion it has become. One that echoes a larger uprising around the country.
The parents of 70 students (and counting) at one elementary school are refusing to have their kids take the standardized tests mandated by the feds under No Child Left Behind.

“And what do the kids get from all of this? Not a damn thing. None of their grades will be impacted by how they perform on THE TEST. This is all about trying to reach unrealistic goals set by No Child Left Behind that declares that all children in this country will be above average by 2014. In other words, Lake Wobegon here we come.”
Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 04/18/2012

Testing day: ‘More like lockdown than an elementary school’

Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss
This was written by Larry Lee of Montgomery, Alabama, former executive director of the Covington County Economic Development Commission and the West Central Partnership of Alabama. Lee, who writes often about education, sent the following email to friends and other people whom he thought would be interested.

Texas Association of School Administrators
As of April 17, 2012, 304 school districts have adopted the Resolution Concerning High Stakes, Standardized Testing of Texas Public School Students.

Cui Bono? The Question Rarely Asked, Let Alone Investigated

By Anthony Cody on April 17, 2012 1:43 AM
As our public schools are systematically re-engineered for dubious reasons, with questionable results, by people of uncertain motives, there is a disturbing lack of skepticism on the part of our watchdogs for the public good, journalists. One of the basic principles of reporting is to ask "cui bono" - who benefits? In the Watergate scandal, the key informant whispered to reporters Woodward and Bernstein, "Follow the money." But very few reporters today seem to be "following the money" in the field of education.

Here are more than 400 articles since January 23rd detailing budget cuts, program cuts, staffing cuts and tax increases being discussed by local school districts
The PA House Democratic Caucus has been tracking daily press coverage on school district budgets statewide:


Tuesday, April 24 is Primary Election Day in Pennsylvania.

Polls open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m. Click here to find your polling place. During the Primary, registered members of the Republican and Democrat parties are eligible to vote to nominate the candidates that will represent their party on the ballot in the November General Election. ALL voters will be required to show a photo ID before voting at a polling place in the November 2012 Election. Click here for more information on the new Voter ID law.


Stand Up for Public Education!
East Penn Education Forum on April 25th 7:00 – 9:00 pm
What’s at Stake?  Discover how high-stakes testing and funding cuts are impacting our kids and schools.
Hosted by: East Penn Invested Citizens (EPIC), Salisbury Parent Advisory, Allentown Parent Groups and a coalition of Lehigh Valley Parents
Where: East Penn Administration Building School Board Meeting Room, 800 Pine Street, Emmaus

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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