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.
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.
grew like a wildfire in the 2010 school year. A total of 7,578 students were
signed up through the course of the school year, of whom 4,718 were in place in
September. Throughout the year, a total of 2,688 dropped out for a student
turnover, or churn rate, of 35.5%.”
growth of the student bodies themselves are a clear testament to the popularity
of the school choice and charter school movement, as well as K12’s
comprehensive online marketing and enrollment advisory efforts. Just as evident, however, is another reality:
the fact that these cyber schools might as well have a turnstile as their logo
for the volume of withdrawals they experience. “
K12: A Corporate Destiny Manifested
An April 23, 2010 E-mail from
Kevin Corcoran to a host of his colleagues is likely the sort that, in one form
or another, millions of Americans deal with regularly during the work day.
Bluntly noting “We
have not made the progress we need to in this area,” Corcoran adds, “More than
$1[million] in funding” is in the balance.”
“Anyone who has not
fulfilled their obligation in this area should not be surprised….when it’s time
to discuss performance evaluations, bonuses and raises.”
The $1 million in
question isn’t from a customer but represents tuition and fees from Pennsylvania’s various
school districts to an online public charter school called Agora. In turn Agora
pays Corcoran’s employer, K12 Inc. many millions of dollars annually to provide
the curriculum and administer the school. There is a lot at stake in collecting
this money since Agora and a sister school in Ohio,
represent about 26% of K12′s annual revenues.
The ReadingSchool District
is planning to lay off as many as 364 employees to balance its nearly $220
million 2012-13 budget, district officials announced Wednesday.
In a room filled with
dozens of district employees - and even more listening from outside the board
room in the district administration building - the Reading School Board voted
7-2 to pass a $219.6 million tentative budget. Members Harry P. Storch Jr. and
Rebecca Acosta voted against the spending plan.
For the first time in
nearly a decade, the budget would raise school property taxes in Reading. The tax rate
would be hiked 2.8 percent to 16.92 mills, the maximum the district can raise
taxes by state law. The tax rate would still be the lowest for BerksCounty
“… there is no prohibition on EITC scholarships going to students already
attending private schools; middle-class families are eligible to receive
scholarships (the income limit for a family of four is $84,000); and there is
no evidence that even this income limit is enforced.
lack of definitive evidence on who receives scholarships under Pennsylvania's EITC program is consistent with the
overall lack of accountability in the program, which has now cost Pennsylvania taxpayers
more than a third of a billion dollars”
EDUCATIONAL TAX CREDITS ARE OFTEN A BAIT-AND-SWITCH
in Monday'sNew York Timesexplores the use of state tax credit programs to
pay for "scholarships" for students who attend private schools. The
story suggests that many of the students who receive such scholarships already
attend private school and are not low-income.
extent that this is true, the political marketing of these programs as
alternatives (for a select few students) to public schools in distressed
communities is a "bait and switch." Educational tax credits actually
siphon taxpayer dollars to subsidize private schools, reducing state revenues
available for public schools.
how the scholarships to attend private schools work under Pennsylvania's Educational Improvement Tax
Credit (EITC) program?
A number of states have or are considering
scholarship tax-credit programs to finance private school tuition. Some of
these programs, which offer state tax credits to corporations and individuals
who donate to nonprofit scholarship organizations, have been criticized for
abuses. A comparison of tax-credit scholarship programs from Florida,
which offers three separate programs.
NYT Article »
HARRISBURG - A Republican-penned
bill that would pave the way for state takeovers of Pennsylvania school districts veering toward
financial collapse has the support of Gov. Tom Corbett and began advancing in
the Legislature Tuesday over the objections of Democrats.
The Senate Education
Committee voted along partisan lines to send it to the full Senate in the hopes
the bill will reach the governor's desk before the Legislature takes its
traditional two-month summer break from Harrisburg.
The legislation is being spurred by fears of a
wave of collapsing districts and is being fast-tracked so it can receive
quicker consideration in the House if it passes in the Senate.
By Angela Couloumbis
and Thomas Fitzgerald Inquirer Staff Writers
HARRISBURG - He is being picketed almost
daily by demonstrators in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh - a tin man
without a heart, they call him. His
Facebook page teems with complaints from angry Pennsylvanians. And his poll
numbers have started to sag.
Enough, say top
political advisers, supporters, and fund-raisers to Gov. Corbett.
Though they have
anxiously watched for months as Corbett has fielded political hits on
everything from policy to personality, they are now encouraging the governor to
shake things up in hopes of shaking off what they think is turning into a
growing image problem.
and charter school founder Kenny Gamble: "I always look at the Democrats
and the Republicans as sort of like the Crips and the Bloods," he said.
"My interest is what is going to happen in education."
Posted: Thu, May. 24,
Romney talks class size at W. Philly charter school
By Miriam Hill INQUIRER
presidential candidate Mitt Romney brought his plan to improve the American
educational system to a West Philadelphia
charter school Thursday, and suggested class size mattered little to pupils'
achievement. Whereupon the teachers in
the room immediately questioned his stance.
This isn't just about the Upper
All over Pennsylvania
and in many other states as well, WAR has been declared on Public Education, on
children. Our children deserve the very
best that we can give them, no matter what test scores say. Help us take a
stand and stop school districts from being forced to cut programs which
cultivate who our children become.
We will be in Harrisburg
on June 6th, 2012 to gather support for the proper funding of education. All
are welcome to join us!
Please visit www.saveudarts.org to learn more and join the fight.