Established in 2006, the Keystone State Education Coalition is a growing grass roots, non-partisan public education advocacy group of several hundred locally elected, volunteer school board members and administrators from school districts throughout Pennsylvania. Our mission is to evaluate, discuss and inform our boards, district constituents and legislators on legislative issues of common interest and to facilitate active engagement in public education advocacy.
Voucher advocate Finn: Six good reasons to pass on vouchers
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.
Education Week Charters and Choice Blog BySean CavanaghonApril 16, 2012
Even amid asurge
of pro-voucher lawsaround the country, a
number of educational and political forces are likely to complicate and
possibly impede the future growth of private school choice, a leading supporter
of those policies predictsin a new essay.
…..a number of other complex factors are likely
to skew and possibly undermine the private school choice landscape going
forward, writesChester Finn, a former Reagan
administration official and widely published author. Among them:
·Resistance among some
private school operators, who are wary of sacrificing their independence and
individual standards as they have testing-and-accountability requirements
placed on them as a condition of receiving vouchers;
·Provisions in state
constitutions—often called Blaine amendments—that block or restrict public
funding from going to religious institutions;
·A lessening of influence
among "what was for decades the strongest lobby in favor of
vouchers," Finn says—the Roman Catholic Church. He says the church is "neither nearly as
strong as it once was nor nearly as committed to revitalizing its own schools.
It seems to have lost most of the wind from its sails."
·Overall worries about
private schools having selective admissions processes and excluding minorities,
or students with disabilities;
·The poor performance and
secrecy of some private education entities, including charter operators, who
tend to damage the reputation of the entire industry. "The word 'private'
has grown even more suspect in American education circles today than it was
yesterday," the Fordham official writes. And:
Governor Corbett: “Taxpayers need to help themselves.”
In an article released Wednesday, Governor Corbett blames
local tax increases on local school boards and states “taxpayers need to help
For two decades, the
state has ignored its responsibility to fund education and has transferred that
burden on to local taxpayers. Currently, Pennsylvania
ranks 4th in the Nation in our dependence on local property taxes to fund
education and ranks the 8th highest in cuts to education.
District could ax 6th grade social studies classes
Combining social studies with English would free up more time to learn
April 13, 2012 By Steve Esack, Of The Morning Call
Just the other week,
the Allentown School Board learned that some DieruffHigh School students have such weak
knowledge of U.S. history
and geography they have asked teachers if the Revolutionary War was fought over
slavery and if New Jersey is part of Pennsylvania.
But with state math
scores that crash after fifth grade like the stock market of 1929, the AllentownSchool District is considering ending
social studies as a free-standing course for sixth-graders.
these outstanding teachers. I had an
opportunity to meet with most of them along with Congressman Pat Meehan last
week. If you are a legislator and would
like to know what’s actually going on in our public schools, ask these folks….
Sara Ganim, Patriot-News staff win Pulitzer Prize for Jerry
Published: Monday, April 16, 2012, Updated: Monday, April 16, 2012,
By The Patriot-News
Sara Ganim and The
Patriot-News staff have won journalism's top prize, a Pulitzer, for local
reporting. Ganim spent months dogging
what became one of the top international stories of 2011 - the sexual abuse
allegations against Jerry Sandusky, a former PennState
assistant football coach and founder of the charity The Second Mile.
Luzerne County Citizen’s Voice by Robert Swift Published: April 15, 2012
HARRISBURG - The $27 billion state
budget is such an encompassing piece of legislation that it's often talked
about in terms of its main components such as the "education" budget
and "welfare" budget. A
Capitol activist is focusing attention on what he calls the
Three state offices that are supposed to
investigate, prosecute and prevent public corruption are taking huge budget
cuts, said Tim Potts, founder of the advocacy group Democracy Rising.
A year ago, few people
outside the world of state legislatures had heard of the American Legislative
Exchange Council, a four-decade-old organization run by right-wing activists
and financed by business leaders. The group writes prototypes of state laws to
promote corporate and conservative interests and spreads them from one state
capital to another.
The council, known as
ALEC, has since become better known, with news organizations alerting the
public to the damage it has caused: voter ID laws that marginalize minorities
and the elderly, antiunion bills that hurt the middle class and the dismantling
of protective environmental regulations.
Skewers Teaching of Evolution in Schools — Is Your State Next?
Thanks to ALEC, the VolunteerState has adopted a law
intended to undermine the teaching of evolution in public schools. Just don't
expect them to stop there.
AlterNet by Katherine
Stewart April 14,
Four score and seven
years ago, a Tennessee
high school biology teacher named John Scopes was charged with teaching
evolution. At the time, Tennessee
had a law called the Butler Act, in honor of John W. Butler, the leader of the
World’s Christian Fundamentals Association, that turned Scopes’s efforts to
educate his students into a criminal offense. The enemies of Darwin won in court but suffered a nearly
catastrophic loss in the public sphere. The press portrayed them as
anti-intellectual and un-American in their opposition to science and progress.
They were the “sharpshooters of bigotry,” according to Scopes’ celebrated
attorney, Clarence Darrow. “I knew that education was in danger from the source
that has always hampered it — religious fanaticism,” he said. The fallout was
so toxic that Christian fundamentalism retreated as a political force for
We now have compelling
evidence that evolution doesn’t happen — at least not in Tennessee. As of April 10, 2012, Tennessee has on its
books a new law intended to undermine the teaching of evolution and promote the
teaching of creationism in public schools.
"The Department of
Education: I will either consolidate with another agency, or perhaps make it a
heck of a lot smaller. I'm not going to get rid of it entirely," Romney
said, explaining that part of his reasoning behind preserving the agency was to
maintain a federal role in pushing back against teachers' unions. Romney added
that he learned in his 1994 campaign for Senate that proposing to eliminate the
agency was politically volatile.
Romney offers policy details at closed-door fundraiser
MSNBC By NBC's Garrett
PALM BEACH, FL — Mitt Romney went well beyond his standard stump speech at a
closed-door fundraiser on Sunday evening, and offered some of the most specific
details to date about the policies he would pursue if elected.
“….school autonomy and
teacher professionalism are often mentioned as the dominant factors explaining
strong educational performance in Finland. The school is the main
author of curricula. And the teacher is the sole authority monitoring the
progress of students.
In Finland, there is a strong sense of
trust in schools and teachers to carry out these responsibilities. There is no
external inspection of schools or standardized testingof
all pupils in Finland.
For our national analysis of educational performance, we rely on testing only a
small sample of students.”
Posted at 03:00 AM ET,
What the U.S. can’t learn from Finland about ed reform
The future of the fight
over public schools has a fresh, highly visible face, and it’s called
StudentsFirstNY. But the new
school-reform supergroup, founded by former New York City Schools Chancellor
Joel Klein and ex-D.C. schools chief Michelle Rhee, is in fact not that new at
all. It builds directly one of the biggest lobbying forces in New YorkState,
called Education Reform Now.
April 24is Primary Election Day
Polls open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m.Click hereto 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 thenew Voter ID law.
Stand Up for Public Education!
East Penn Education Forum on April 25th
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,
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.
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?