Thursday, May 3, 2012

1,000 gather to protest proposed school cuts in Upper Darby School District

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
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Mark Your Calendars…

Education Voters PA Call-to-Action for Public Education - May 23rd

Posted by Ian Moran on May 1, 2012 at 12:36pm
Education Voters will be coordinating another statewide Call to Action for Public Education on May 23rd. This will really be crunch time for state budget negotiations and it's more important than ever that our policymakers in Harrisburg are hearing from us about why we NEED them to support public education. Please share this with your friends, family, neighbors, colleagues and networks!
Full details HERE:

Email from Senator Andy Dinniman, April 25, 2012
Rally in Support of Public Education on Thursday, May 3 at 7 p.m.
on the steps of the Chester County Courthouse (corner of High and Market Streets) in West Chester. The rally is rain or shine.

1,000 gather to protest proposed school cuts in Upper Darby School District
Published: Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Delco Times By LINDA REILLY Times Correspondent,
UPPER DARBY — A crowd of almost 1,000 people filled the courtyard outside the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center as a show of solidarity in their quest to restore special courses in elementary schools and foreign language and technology in middle schools.

Guest Column: The Upper Darby School District Should Not Bow To Corbett’s Inadequate Budgeting
Published: Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Delco Times Opinion By Joseph Batory Times Guest Columnist
Joe Batory is a former Upper Darby Superintendent
The drastic reduction of instructional subsidy funding initiated by Governor Corbett for this current year and as proposed for next year are without any sense of vision or leadership. Corbett’s budgets will ultimately create long term negative impacts for hundreds of Pennsylvania schools and thousands of the children they serve. Ironically, the Constitutional responsibility of government to thoroughly and efficiently fund public education is being ignored in Harrisburg.

 Philadelphia Inquirer Posted by Joseph N. DiStefano
The $40 billion+ Pennsylvania Public School Employees' Retirement System has cut its investment-profits target to 7.5%, from its previous 8%, in an admission that the bull markets of the 1980s and 1990s aren't likely to come back anytime soon.
Press Release May 2, 2012 State Rep. Phyllis Mundy, D-Luzerne
Browne, Mundy lead call to adequately fund early childhood education programs
HARRISBURG, May 2 – State Rep. Phyllis Mundy and state Sen. Pat Browne today co-hosted a news conference where legislators, a business leader, a law enforcement official and advocates discussed the importance of early childhood education and the need for the state to adequately fund those programs.  Mundy, who serves as co-chair of the 102-member bi-partisan, bi-cameral Early Childhood Education Caucus along with Browne, said programs that ensure children get a good start on life are too important to be cut.

The Triadvocate
Business Tax Cuts vs. Spending Cuts
The Department of Revenue had barely gotten the words “improving revenue collections” out to the masses when talk at the State Capitol immediately turned to what kind of budget cut restorations lawmakers could make in the coming two months.  The budget proposed by Governor Tom Corbett was based upon an assumed fiscal year shortfall of $700 million.
That number now looks to be a little closer to $350 million, which is a much more manageable figure for budget analysts to handle when cobbling together the fiscal year 2012-2013 state budget.  We know where the proposed cuts are, and we know how much they are worth.  And very soon, we’ll know how much money the state will have to spend.

“In its 2011 report, the National Academy of Sciences committee that Congress commissioned to review the nature and implications of America’s test-based accountability systems concluded that the tests “have not increased student achievement.” An author of the report summarized its findings this way: “There are little to no positive effects of these systems overall on student learning and educational progress, and there is widespread teaching to the test and gaming of the systems that reflects a wasteful use of resources and leads to inaccurate or inflated measures of performance.”
A testing culture out of control 
The joy of learning is gone from our kids' schools
Wednesday, May 2, 2012, 4:51 AM
After months of studying, stressing and — yes — some crying, our kids are finally done with this year’s state English Language Arts and math exams. This happens every year, and each year seems more intense than the last.
But after all the fuss and agony to rate our kids, their teachers and their schools, what have our children really learned?  If your kids are anything like our kids, they’ve learned more about pressure and bureaucracy than math and English.

“The fact that many state charter laws and federal regulatory references to charter schools refer to them as “public” is a hollow proclamation that has little legal or practical bearing on the more nuanced distinctions I address here.  Those who casually (belligerently & ignorantly) toss around the rhetoric that “charters are public schools” need to stop. This rhetoric misinforms parents, teachers and taxpayers regarding their rights, assumptions and expectations.”
Charter Schools Are… [Public? Private? Neither? Both?]
School Finance 101 Blog by Bruce D. Baker Posted on May 2, 2012
…Directly Publicly Subsidized, Limited Public Access, Publicly or Privately Authorized, Publicly or Privately Governed, Managed and Operated Schools

Betsy Devos’ American Federation for Children contributed $1.2 million to the Students First PA PAC for Pennsylvania 2012 primary races.  Students First, in turn, contributed $350,000 of that to the Citizens Alliance for Pennsylvania (CAP).  According to their campaign finance report, CAP spent $382,000, primarily on mailers and media buys, GEIST, MILLER, SAYLOR, SACCONE, CHAPMAN, VANCE, ARGALL
Knowles Seeks to Rally GOP Against CAP
PoliticsPA Written by Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor
The reports are still out, but the Citizens Alliance for Pennsylvania probably spent between $30,000 and $50,000 to defeat Rep. Jerry Knowles (R-Schuylkill). It’s not new; CAP has been targeting moderate Republicans and incumbents signed on to the state pension plan for years. Now, Knowles is hoping to rally his colleague against the group.

Rahm Emanuel Considers Closing 100 Chicago Public Schools
Chicago Daily Observer STEVE BARTIN 30 APRIL 2012
[This article was syndicated via RSS from . The views represented do not necessarily represent those of the Chicago Daily Observer.]
A source with close ties to Chicago's public education establishment has confirmed that Rahm Emanuel may close 100 Chicago public schools. Along with the closures will come a vast expansion of charter schools.

“Wherever you see states expanding vouchers, charters, and other forms of privatization, wherever you see states lowering standards for entry into the teaching profession, wherever you see states opening up new opportunities for profit-making entities, wherever you see the expansion of for-profit online charter schools, you are likely to find legislation that echoes the ALEC model.”
Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 05/02/2012

Ravitch: A primer on the group driving school reform

This was written by education historian Diane Ravitch for her Bridging Differences blog, which she co-authors with Deborah Meier on the Education Week website. The item was first published on May 1. In their blog, Ravitch and Meier exchange letters about what matters most in education. Ravitch, a research professor at New York University, is author of “The Death and Life of the Great American School System,” a critique of the flaws in the modern school reform movement.
Dear Deborah,
Since the 2010 elections, when Republicans took control of many states, there has been an explosion of legislation advancing privatization of public schools and stripping teachers of job protections and collective bargaining rights. Even some Democratic governors, seeing the strong rightward drift of our politics, have jumped on the right-wing bandwagon, seeking to remove any protection for academic freedom from public school teachers.

Published on Sunday, April 29, 2012 by Common Dreams
How to Destroy Education While Making a Trillion Dollars
by Robert Freeman
The Vietnam War produced more than its share of iconic idiocies. Perhaps the most revelatory was the psychotic assertion of an army major explaining the U.S. bombing of the provincial hamlet of Ben Tre: “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.” If only such self-extinguishing claims for intelligence were confined to military war.

PA Senate Education Committee to Hold Hearing on Non-Partisan School Board Elections in Downingtown Friday May 4 at 1:00 p.m.
HARRISBURG – The Senate Education Committee will hold a public hearing on Friday, May 4, 2012 beginning at 1:00 p.m. at the Downingtown STEM Academy (located at 333 Manor Avenue in Downingtown) on the subject of non-partisan school board elections. SB 327

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.

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?

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