Thursday, April 26, 2012

"Books Will Soon Be Obsolete in the Public Schools" Thomas Edison July 1913

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.

These daily emails are archived at
Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg

PA Senate Education Committee
Public hearing on non-partisan school board elections
Friday, May 4, 2012 at 1:00 PM
Downingtown STEM Academy
335 Manor Avenue, Downingtown

Support Non-Partisan School Boards in PA
Why Non-Partisan School Boards?
Posted on April 12, 2012
School board elections are non-partisan in 47 states.
In its October 2010 Legislative Platform, the Pennsylvania School Boards Association “supports  legislation calling for the nonpartisan election of school directors” (Section G, #3).
PA Senate Bill ( SB 327 ) is a bill that would take the office of school board director off the primary election ballot in Pennsylvania, thus abolishing the need for party endorsement of that position.

Posted: Thu, Apr. 26, 2012, 3:00 AM
U.S. vs. the world in education reform
Inquirer Opinion By Christopher Moraff
Last week, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed the nation’s most expansive school voucher program into law. Since the GOP sweep of statehouses in 2010, similar measures have been introduced by the legislatures of more than 30 states — including Pennsylvania, where a bipartisan school voucher bill was defeated in the House in December.
Few doubt that there is a crisis in America’s public schools. But focusing so much attention on where money is spent — instead of how — oversimplifies a complex problem.

PA Primary Results Mixed for Education
Yinzercation Blog — APRIL 25, 2012
The primary results are in and it’s a mixed bag for public education.

The plan: Travesty or opportunity?
The notebook by Dale Mezzacappa on Apr 24 2012
It is a new day, a bold experiment, an opportunity for innovation.
Or, it is a travesty, the end of public education as we know it, a cynical right-wing ploy. Not to mention a new twist on the decision a decade ago, for which the District has little to show, to turn over schools to education management organizations.
Sixty-four closed school buildings. A skeletal central office. “Achievement networks” of affiliated schools, at least some led by current District educators, perhaps by universities, that operate on performance contracts. More charter schools and charter networks. Renegotiated, or abrogated, labor contracts.

Posted: Wed, Apr. 25, 2012, 5:30 AM
BY KRISTEN A. GRAHAM Inquirer Staff Writer
THE REALITIES are ugly, leaders said Tuesday - the Philadelphia School District is nearly insolvent, lags most other urban districts in academics and loses students to charters because parents believe it doesn't keep their children safe.
"What we do know through lots of history and evidence and practice is that the current structure doesn't work," School Reform Commission Chairman Pedro Ramos said. "It's not fiscally sustainable and it doesn't produce high-quality schools for all kids."
So, at the SRC's direction, Chief Recovery Officer Thomas Knudsen announced a plan that would essentially blow the district up and start with a new structure.

The day that Helen Gym socked it to...the Philadelphia SRC
Philadelphia Daily News Attytood Blog by Will Bunch
No I wouldn't put you on because it really did, it happened just this way/The day Helen Gym socked it to the Philadelphia S.R.C:
  • “I believe in the possibility of school transformation and the role that community and parent voices play in concert with schools and districts. I believe in the value of the public sphere and the responsibilities it owes to the most marginalized of communities -- our immigrant students, special needs populations, and young people struggling with disciplinary issues.
  • I believe in choice options that co-exist to supplement, not destroy, a public school system. I believe in real, creative innovation in our classrooms, not the "drill-and-kill" test prep replicated in too many of these “high-performing” charters you tout. I believe in a vision of schools that is aspirationally led rather than deficit-based. Your focus on the bottom brings everyone down.
  • I believe our communities have always been there to pick up the pieces after administrations of hubris pass on. And I believe our public schools are worth fighting for.”

Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 04/24/2012

National resolution against high-stakes tests released

Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss
A national resolution protesting high-stakes standardized testing was released Tuesday by a coalition of national education, civil rights and parents groups, as well as educators who are trying to build a broad-based movement against the Obama administration’s test-centric school reform program.
This is the latest in a series of recent initiatives taken around the country by academics, educators, parents and others to protest the use of student standardized test scores for high-stakes decisions, including teacher and principal evaluation, student grade promotion and high school graduation.

The Keystone State Education Coalition has endorsed this resolution
Organizations and individuals are encouraged to publicly endorse it (see link below). Organizations should modify it as needed for their local circumstances while also endorsing this national version.

PBC School Board votes to oppose FCAT

A petition against standardized testing is making its rounds across the nation and the Palm Beach County School District is the first in Florida to sign it. Lynn Hatter reports the move is an expansion of a Texas effort, where more than 300 of that state’s school districts have signed off on their opposition to high-stakes testing.

Education Talk Radio: At the Chalkface
Listen online; One hour talk show dedicated to education.  SUNDAY MORNINGS AT 9am
Hosts Tim Slekar and Shaun Johnson cover the biggest issues in education, from standardized testing to No Child Left Behind.
If you want a text reminder send "CHALK" TO THE NUMBER 60193." 
Audio clips of prior shows are available too.

Stephen Krashen Pulls the Rug Out From Under the Standards Movement

 Anthony Cody  
Some Comments on Paul Farhi's "Flunking the Test"
Guest post by Stephen Krashen.
…….Poverty is, in fact, the issue. While American students' scores on international tests are not as bad as critics say they are, they are even better when we control for the effects of poverty: Middle-class students in well-funded schools, in fact, score at or near the top of world. Our average scores are respectable but unspectacular because, as Farhi notes, we have such a high percentage of children living in poverty, the highest of all industrialized countries. Only four percent of children in high-scoring Finland, for example, live in poverty. Our rate of poverty is over 21%.
The implications of this fact are enormous: It means that the "problem" of American education is not ineffective teaching, not teachers' unions, not lack of national standards and tests, and not schools of education: It is poverty.

Books Will Soon Be Obsolete in the Public Schools

Thomas Edison published in The New York Dramatic Mirror in July 1913

Yoctometers and yettameters!!!  Is this going to be on the test?
Need an excuse not to get any work done for awhile?  Click on any object for more info.

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:


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?

1 comment:

  1. Is there a place to get a breakdown of how pro and anti-voucher legislative candidates did in Pennsylvania? How many of the candidates funded by Student First and other wealthy benefactors won their primary?


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