Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Privatizing Public Education in Philadelphia?

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

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
Read More: Auditor General’s October 2010 special report and March 2012 testimony

$75 million in taxes diverted to discretionary EITC program funding private and religious schools

READ More: What is Pennsylvania’s EITC program and which organizations received contributions through this tax credit program for FY 2011?


Privatizing Public Education in Philadelphia?

 Diane Ravitch  
Dear Deborah,
Philadelphia is about to take a fateful step. Thomas Knudsen, the recently retired chief executive officer of the Philadelphia Gas Works and now temporary CEO of the school system, has released a plan that will lead to the dismantling of public education in Philadelphia. The plan, or "blueprint," was written by a business strategy organization called Boston Consulting; it recommends the closing of 40 of the city's 249 schools in the coming year, with additional school closings in the years to come. The goal is to have a school district where the central district is phased out and a large portion of the students are enrolled in privately managed charter schools.
The most comprehensive (and alarming) account of the disestablishment of public education in Philadelphia is Daniel Denvir's article "Who's Killing Philly Public Schools?" As Denvir concludes, "If Knudsen's proposal goes through, the country's eighth-largest school district, in its fifth-largest city, will no longer exist in any meaningful sense. And neither will any remaining pretense that America offers everyone, regardless of race or class, an equal shot."

Posted: Wed, May. 16, 2012, 3:00 AM
Philly School plan widely misunderstood, SRC officials say
Appearing before City Council for another day of grilling on the Philadelphia School District’s budget and proposals to transform operations and close dozens of schools, officials Tuesday said there were widespread misunderstandings about a plan to revamp the district.

60 Minutes:U.S. charter schools tied to powerful Turkish imam
May 13, 2012 4:00 PM Video Runtime 13:32
Over the past decade, followers of the mysterious Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen have opened scores of charter schools in the U.S., inspired by a man who is as powerful as he is reclusive. Lesley Stahl reports.

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.

Posted: Wed, May. 16, 2012, 12:02 AM
Penn to team up with KIPP charters
By Martha Woodall Inquirer Staff Writer
The national network of KIPP charter schools last spring announced plans to more than double the number of its low-income students who graduate from college, by partnering with colleges and universities that encourage KIPP students to apply and support those who enroll.
Officials are set to announce Wednesday that the University of Pennsylvania will become the KIPP Foundation's 10th higher-education partner and its first Ivy League school.

Updating prevailing-wage law is common sense

Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2012, 5:44 AM
Patriot-News Op-Ed By Rep. Ron Marsico
One of the first issues that I began to tackle when I took office was updating Pennsylvania’s antiquated Prevailing Wage Act with the underlying motive of saving Pennsylvania taxpayers millions of dollars.   And since I became a legislator 23 years ago, I have spent a great deal of time talking to my colleagues about the need to lessen the burden of property taxes, which goes hand in hand with overhauling the prevailing-wage law in the commonwealth.
Current law requires that all public bodies — including municipal and county governments, school districts and authorities created by the General Assembly — pay a prevailing wage on all public works projects exceeding a total estimated cost of $25,000.

State Rep. Proposes Bill to Do Away with Property Tax Funding For School Districts
Ambler Patch By James Myers May 15, 2012
Berks County state Rep. Jim Cox's bill would fund school districts with earned income and sales tax increases and new taxes on food, clothing, TV and air transportation.
Several media outlets are reporting on state Rep. Jim Cox (R-129th District – Berks County) and his HB 1776 – the "Property Tax Independence Act."

Posted: Wed, May. 16, 2012, 3:00 AM
Obama to meet with Center City high school's seniors
By Valerie Russ Philadelphia Daily News
At first, Douglas Wallace, a senior at the Science Leadership Academy, thought it was a prank when he heard President Obama plans to meet with the school’s graduating seniors when he comes to the Franklin Institute for a fundraiser on June 12. “We were very excited,” Wallace, 18, said of hearing the news from Frederic Bertley, the vice president of science and innovation at the Franklin Institute.
Science Leadership Academy, 22nd Street near Arch in Center City, is a small magnet school with less than 500 students that focuses on science and engineering. A spokeswoman for the Franklin Institute, which helps operate the public high school, declined to comment on the president’s appearance.

Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 05/15/2012

A radical idea to transform what kids learn in school

Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss
This was written by Marion Brady, veteran teacher, administrator, curriculum designer and author.
By Marion Brady
Exxon-Mobil is airing education-reform television ads. In the one I’ve seen most often, implicit and explicit messages are simple and clear: (a) We live in a dangerous, technologically complex world. (b) Our lives, liberties, and happiness hinge on our ability to cope with that world. (c) Coping requires mastery of math. (d) On standardized math tests, America ranks 25th in the world. (e) Be ashamed and afraid. (f) Get behind corporate education reform efforts.

“There’s no reason on earth for common core standards and these tests that we’re wasting billions of dollars on,” said Stephen Krashen, an emeritus education professor at the University of Southern California. “The problem is poverty, poverty, poverty. Middle-class children who go to well-funded schools do very well, but even the best tests, the most inspiring teachers, won’t mean anything if the kids don’t have enough to eat.”
Backer of Common Core School Curriculum Is Chosen to Lead College Board
David Coleman says the College Board’s mission goes beyond measuring and testing to “designing high-quality curriculum.”
New York Times By TAMAR LEWIN Published: May 16, 2012
David Coleman, an architect of the common core curriculum standards that are being adopted in nearly all 50 states, will become the president of the College Board, starting in October.
The College Board, a membership organization of high schools and colleges that administers the SAT, the Advanced Placement program and other standardized tests, helped design the standards — an outline of what students should learn in English and math from kindergarten through high school — meant to ensure that all high school graduates are prepared for college.

Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 05/16/2012

Meet the ‘worst’ 8th grade math teacher in NYC

Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss
This was written by Aaron Pallas, professor of sociology and education at Teachers College, Columbia University. He writes the Sociological Eye on Education blog — where this post first appeared — for The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, non-partisan education-news outlet affiliated with theHechinger Institute on Education and the Media.
By Aaron Pallas
For 10 months, Carolyn Abbott waited for the other shoe to drop. In April 2011, Abbott, who teaches mathematics to seventh- and eighth-graders at the Anderson School, a citywide gifted-and-talented school on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, received some startling news. 

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

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
Please RSVP Today!   
Registration is free, but everyone must RSVP at
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?

1 comment:

  1. I prefer to view them as opportunities to rethink a more comprehensive and efficient way of living. In hindsight, it's probably fortunate that none of these projects were commercially successful, as it could have distracted from Fuller's idealism.

    institute of design


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.