Thursday, April 12, 2012

Don’t be shy – have a cookie, then get out there and join the budget dance…

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 House Appropriations Chairman Rep. Adolph's Legislative Report: The 2012-13 State Budget
YouTube 29:59 Uploaded by PABudgetNews on Apr 11, 2012
Rep. Bill Adolph joins Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi to discuss the 2012-13 state budget.  K12 education funding comments begin at about 8:00 into the video.

Gov. Tom Corbett blames local school boards for rising school taxes

Lehigh Valley Live Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2012, 3:52 By Associated Press 
Pennsylvanians who are concerned about rising school taxes should take their complaints to local school boards, not the state government, Gov. Tom Corbett said today.

PA House Democratic Appropriations Committee
Education Funding Facts NEW! POSTED: 04/04/2012

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:

Find a Bake Sale for Public Education in Pennsylvania:

Harrisburg Bake Sale for Public Education
Monday, April 9th, 12pm Capitol Rotunda, Harrisburg

Munhall Bake Sale
Monday, April 16th, 3pm-6pm
Munhall Vol. Fire Company, located along Main Street in Munhall (across the street from CoGos).
Learn more at:

Philadelphia Bake Sale
Thursday, April 12th, 2pm
Meet on the north side of City Hall to hand-deliver cookies along with a message to City Council members
4pm – Rally outside on the north side of City Hall

Pittsburgh Bake Sale
Saturday, April 14th, 10am2pm
Pittsburgh Children Museum, 10 Children’s Way, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

Shippensburg Bake Sale
Monday, April 9th at 12pm King Street, in front of the Shippensburg Post Office

Squirrel Hill Bake Sale
Tuesday, April 17th, 4pm to 5:30pm
Squirrel Hill Post Office, Corner of Murray Avenue and Darlington
To add your local bake sale to this list, email the details to

“About 150 people, including school district representatives from 15 of the 17 school districts in the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit, plus area parents, and teachers, crowded into the Elaine Langone Forum, an auditorium on the Bucknell University campus, to better understand the issues, and talk with Valley legislators about the funding crisis.”

Pensions driving education crisis

The Sunbury Daily Item By Rick Dandes  April 11, 2012
LEWISBURG — Escalating teachers’ pensions, increased health-care costs and mandated cyber-charter school funding have created a crisis that threatens the very core of public education, Valley school district officials warned at a Wednesday meeting conducted by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association.  “You’ve heard about the crisis in funding,” Mark DiRocco, Lewisburg Area School District superintendent, said a few minutes before the meeting began. “It’s very real and it’s not going to get better for a few years to come, mostly because of federal- and state-mandated obligations.”

Charter Schools Spend More On Administration, Less On Instruction Than Traditional Public Schools: Study

Huffington Post Posted: 04/10/2012 4:49 pm
Public schools are often criticized and scrutinized for perceived administrative bloat, tied to concerns that those sitting behind desks in district offices are diverting funds away from investment in students. Conversely, charter schools are touted for successes through their leaner administrative model, allowing for more resources to go directly to classrooms.
But a new study by the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education debunks this belief. By looking at charter and traditional public schools in Michigan, where both receive about the same operational funding, researchers found that charter schools actually spent more per-student on administration and less on instruction than non-charter public schools.
Controlling for factors that determine school resource allocation like student enrollment and school location, Michigan State University's David Arsen and the University of Utah's Yongmei Ni found that charter schools spend on average $774 more per student on administration and $1,140 less on instruction than do traditional public schools.

….Among other things, the survey asked teachers what they believe will have the greatest impact on improving academic achievement.  This is what teachers said were the most important factors:
1. Family involvement and support (84 percent said it would have a “very strong impact”);
2. High expectations for all students (71 percent said it would have a “very strong impact”);
3. Fewer students in each class (62 percent said it would have a “very strong impact”);
4. Effective and engaged principals and building-level leaders (57 percent said it would have a “very strong impact”).
Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 04/12/2012

What teachers know vs. what education policymakers do

Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss
By Diane Ravitch
We heard a lot last month about the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher. It showed that teachers across the nation are demoralized and that their job satisfaction has dropped precipitously since 2009. The proportion thinking of leaving teaching has gone from 17 percent to 29 percent, a 70 percent increase in only two years. If this is accurate, it would mean the exit of one million teachers. I hope it is not true.
Another survey, released about the same time, has not gotten the attention it deserves. This one conducted by Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is called Primary Sources: 2012. It contains valuable information about what teachers think.

Number of Texas districts to adopt testing resolution continues to grow

Texas Association of School Administrators Submitted by arivas on April 11, 2012
As of Tuesday afternoon, TASA had received confirmation from 250 districts across the state that have adopted the Resolution Concerning High Stakes, Standardized Testing of Public School Students. Several more are anticipated to pass the resolution at meetings this week. View the list of districts that have adopted the resolution listed alphabetically and by region. When your district adopts the resolution or if you need information about it, contact TASA's director of communications and media relations, Jenny LaCoste-Caputo.

Finland shows US what equal opportunity looks like
American Educator, Spring 2012 by Pasi Sahlberg



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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