Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Hershey CEO Kleisner: Early learning costs are worth it

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 http://keystonestateeducationcoalition.org
Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg

Here’s $282 million in additional sources of PA Revenue with no new taxes:
$121 million surplus in the Legislature’s leadership accounts.
(That’s a reserve that amounts to $478,000 for each of our 253 lawmakers.)
$86 million in windfall overpayments to cyber charter schools
$75 million in taxes diverted to discretionary EITC program funding private and religious schools

According to PA Partnerships for Children, the governor’s proposed budget calls for more than $30 million in cuts to high-quality early learning programs, despite Corbett’s campaign pledge in 2010 to double the number of children who benefit from these proven programs. 
The Governor’s proposed budget would also eliminate the $100 million Accountability Block Grant program, which many school districts use to fund kindergarten programs.  The version passed by the Senate would keep the program but cut funding in half.

Early learning costs are worth it

Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2012, 5:00 AM
By Patriot-News Op-Ed By Ted J. Kleisner
Ted J. Kleisner is chairman of the board & CEO of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Co. He also is a member of the Pennsylvania Early Learning Investment Commission.
In my 17 years of experience with Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Co., I have heard many people begin a conversation with the simple phrase “My first job was at Hersheypark.” Those are thrilling words to hear, especially because they come from people from such a diverse background who have progressed, professionally, into so many areas.

Pennsylvanians can expect heated negotiations over proposed state budget

By CHARLES THOMPSON, The Patriot-News  Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2012, 5:00 AM
Millions of Pennsylvanians have a stake in the outcome of the negotiations over the 2012-13 state budget.  Colleges, public schools and human service programs face cuts under Gov. Tom Corbett’s spending plan. Lawmakers, even some of Corbett’s fellow Republicans, say some cuts go too far.  This sets up heated negotiations in the coming weeks.

Arts leader resigns post over honor to Corbett
By Marylynne Pitz / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette May 15, 2012 5:32 am
Charlie Humphrey resigned Monday from the board of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, a move prompted by GPAC's explanation for the Pittsburgh Opera's honoring of Gov. Tom Corbett and his wife, Susan, with lifetime achievement awards at a dinner over the weekend.
The tribute at the opera's Strip District headquarters Saturday night drew 200 protesters -- including Pittsburgh Public School marching band students -- to voice their opposition over the award because they believe Mr. Corbett has undermined arts education in Pennsylvania.

Encore! Encore!
Yinzercation Blog — MAY 14, 2012
We have a new smash hit on our hands. Outraged over the Pittsburgh Opera’s decision to honor the Governor with a lifetime achievement award for his “support” of arts education, over 350 people gathered Saturday for an “Operatic Rally.” As gala attendees arrived in fancy cars and even fancier gowns for the $750 per plate event, the crowd of parents, students, teachers, and community members made it clear that Gov. Corbett has actually gutted arts education with his cuts to our public schools.

Budget Woes Could Close Philly's Problem Schools
NPR Morning Edition by JEFF BRADY
Morning Edition [3 min 18 sec]
Philadelphia's school district plans to close a quarter of its school buildings in coming years to eliminate a huge budget hole. But parents and activists don't trust the decision-makers. Many of them suspect the plan is a ruse to force charter schools and privatization on the district.

Delco Times online ‘Live From the Newsroom’ Wednesday, May 16th from 7:00 – 8:00 pm will be focusing on education funding; in particular the cuts in Upper Darby.
Coming Wednesday: Another view of the Upper Darby school crisis on Live from the Newsroom
Delco Times Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Last week's Live from the Newsroom brought together the Upper Darby school officials tasked with figuring out the budget crisis.  This week, we'll offer another view as we are joined by Larry Feinberg of the Keystone State Education Coalition and a member of the Haverford School Board; Joe Batory, a former Superintendent of Upper Darby; and State Senator Ted Erickson.
It should be a lively and informative debate, so make sure you are right here at 7 p.m.

“Despite their frequent protestations that charter schools are public schools, charters are, in reality, private schools taking public dollars. They are run by private citizens and corporations who have little accountability to the citizens of Philadelphia who pay for them. Taxpayers are not permitted to know the salaries of their CEOs or staff, whether they have the required level of certified teachers, or whether those teachers are assigned to teach the subject in which they are certified.”
Posted: Mon, May. 14, 2012, 3:00 AM
The end of public education in Philadelphia
Philadelphia Daily News Opinion by Lisa Haver
If the School Reform Commission and Chief Recovery Officer Thomas Knudsen have their way, we may witness the end of public education in Philadelphia. A five-year plan proposed by Philadelphia School District officials calls for the overhaul of virtually every element of the system — from finances to academics to central management. These drastic changes suggest to many that the district is intent on expediting the privatization of its schools, despite its promises to stay the traditional route and invest in neighborhoods and communities.

Schools dealing with charter challenge (1st of 2 parts)
Pottsville Mercury By Frank Otto fotto@pottsmerc.com Posted: 05/13/12 02:05 pm
PHOENIXVILLE — At the Phoenixville Area School District budget meeting March 21, Joe Antonio, the district’s director of continuous improvement, laid out the shift in the educational landscape that many school districts are now trying to combat.
“For over 100 years, public education has had a monopoly,” he said. “That changed 15 years ago.” Antonio’s presentation at that meeting centered around the district’s new turn in strategy, something that was almost unthinkable in many schools just a decade ago: competing directly with charter and cyber schools for students.

School districts think outside the classroom to compete with charters (2nd of 2 parts)
Pottsville Mercury By Frank Otto fotto@pottsmerc.com Posted: 05/14/12 12:01 am
(Second of two parts)
As technology has advanced in the past decade, the concept of a classroom has changed dramatically.  With the arrival of charter schools, the way was paved for their Internet-based equivalent, cyber-charter schools.

Virtual Learning: Growing but untested, NSBA report says

NSBA School Board News, May 14, 2012
Do K12 students benefit from taking some or all of their classes online? A new report by NSBA’s Center for Public Education, Searching for the Reality of Virtual Schools, says that while online education holds promise for 21stcentury learning, researchers know relatively little about the performance of virtual schools, and the studies that have been done are troubling.

New Advocacy Groups Shaking Up Education Field

Their sway over policy and politics appears to be growing, especially at the state and local levels.
Education Week By Stephen Sawchuk Published Online: May 14, 2012
A new generation of education advocacy groups has emerged to play a formidable political role in states and communities across the country. Those groups are shaping policy through aggressive lobbying and campaign activity—an evolution in advocacy that is primed to continue in the 2012 elections and beyond.  Bearing names meant to signal their intentions—Stand for Children, Democrats for Education Reform, StudentsFirst—they are pushing for such policies as rigorous teacher evaluations based in part on evidence of student learning, increased access to high-quality charter schools, and higher academic standards for schools and students.

Why rating teachers by test scores won’t work

Washington Post By Jay Mathews Posted at 01:39 PM ET, 05/13/2012
I don’t spend much time debunking our most powerful educational fad:value-added assessments to rate teachers. My colleague Valerie Strausseviscerates value-added several times a week on her Answer Sheet blogwith the verve of a Samurai warrior, so who needs me?
Unfortunately, value-added is still growing in every corner of our nation, including D.C. schools, despite all that torn flesh and missing pieces. It’s like those monsters lumbering through this year’s action films.We’ve got to stop them! Let me fling my small, aged body in their way with the best argument against value-added I have seen in some time.

Parents sign petition against use of FCAT 
The petition, gaining traction in parts of Florida and around the country, urges education administrators to rely less on standardized tests and use other measures to evaluate students, schools and teachers.
For years, students and teachers have dreaded the FCAT, Florida’s standardized exam.
Parents like Dalia Blumstein of Miami Beach see their children worried and anxious because so much rides on their success or failure on the exam. Blumstein said the testing dictates her children’s schedules in school and believes it’s unfair when children with high passing scores are singled out for rewards.  Fed up, Blumstein recently signed a petition calling for less reliance on such exams.
The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test affects a school’s state-issued letter grade, student graduation and, starting this year, teacher evaluations and ultimately, their pay.
The petition is gaining traction in parts of Florida and around the country, in particular Texas. It urges education administrators to rely less on standardized tests and use other measures to evaluate students, schools and teachers.

A Dozen Education Policy Questions the Press Should Ask
Nieman Watchdog ASK THIS | February 07, 2012
By Diane Ravitch gardendr@gmail.com                                  

Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign Education Funding Advocacy Week May 21-25
Education Funding Advocacy Week is not a single event but a series of activities sponsored by individuals and organizations that oppose the Governor’s proposed Budget for 2012-2013 because it reduces learning opportunities for students in Pennsylvania 
·         Education Voters of PA “Call to Action for Public Education” Day  on May 23rd.  Get involved! Learn how, click here.
·         Harrisburg public school supporters will hold a rally for increased state funding for public schools at the State Capitol on May 23 at 10:00 AM.
·         The Media Area NAACP and CU Keystone Honors Program is hosting 2012 Conference on the State of Education in Pennsylvania “Calling for a Trauma-Informed Education System” on Friday, May 25.  Click here for registration details.

The Education Policy and Leadership Center is pleased to invite you to attend the PENNSYLVANIA EDUCATION POLICY FORUM Western Pennsylvania Breakfast Series Thursday, May 17, 2012
Continental Breakfast - 8:00 a.m. Program - 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Holiday Inn Pittsburgh University Center, (100 Lytton Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213)
SUBJECT: College Completion Agenda
·         Gregg Fleisher, National AP Training and Incentives Program Director, National Math+Science Initiative 
  • Marcus S. Lingenfelter,  Director, State Government Relations, The College Board
  • Dr. Peter H. Garland, Executive Vice Chancellor, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education 
The College Board's College Completion Agenda Report is available at http://completionagenda.collegeboard.org/sites/default/files/reports_pdf/Progress_Report_2011.pdf
Please RSVP Today!   
Registration is free, but everyone must RSVP at http://www.eplc.org/events-calendar/western-pennsylvania-breakfast-series/.
Please share this invitation with your friends and colleagues.

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?
s; � t r h � pѣ ocess, 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?


Lawrence A. Feinberg
Keystone State Education Coalition
Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg

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