Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Week May 7th – 11th: Incubate this……

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

“The Senate plan would restore $50 million in (the Accountability Block Grant) a zeroed-out line to school districts to provide full-day kindergarten or reduced class sizes.”

PA Senate Republicans prepare budget with additions for colleges, schools and social services

Published: Monday, May 07, 2012, 7:35 PM
By CHARLES THOMPSON, The Patriot-News 
As the legislature begins to lay down its markers for the new state budget, Pennsylvania's public colleges and universities look to be among the big winners.
A Senate Republican plan set to be considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee Tuesday would keep 2012-13 state funding for all state-owned, state-related and community colleges at current-year levels, erasing deep cuts proposed by Gov. Tom Corbett.

School funding burden should go on Gov. Corbett

Published: Monday, May 07, 2012, 12:29 AM
Patriot News By Letters to the Editor 
As a taxpayer and grandmother of children in the West Shore School District, I am upset with the crisis that Gov. Tom Corbett has caused in our public schools. 
Now, as our school board furloughs many of our teachers and staff in response to his cuts, he says he wants local taxpayers like us to solve the crisis for him. His plan to fund schools with block grants would turn the problem he created into our problem. 
After cutting nearly $1 billion from public schools, his new idea is to collapse four state-funding programs that work into one that doesn't, shifting away from students' actual needs in favor of distribution based on political factors. 

Education Policy and Leadership Center

Arts Education an Operatic Tragedy
Yinzercation Blog — MAY 7, 2012
Believe it or not, this Saturday the Pittsburgh Opera is planning to honor Gov. Corbett with a lifetime achievement award for his contributions to … wait for it … EDUCATION! I kid you not. The Opera announced that Corbett “will be honored for his early work as a teacher as well as his long-standing protection of the public interest” and that, “as Governor, he has recognized the economic, educational, and social value of the arts.”
Is the Opera so out of touch that it doesn’t realize Gov. Corbett has actually devastated public education, cutting $1 BILLION from Pennsylvania’s schools these past two years? These cuts have crippled local school districts, which have been forced to slash arts education.
The Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators and the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials conducted a survey of the impact of those cuts last fall and found that 44% of the state’s school districts have already eliminated courses — the first to go? Arts, music, and foreign languages. The very things students need to become educated citizens who will appreciate the arts, be patrons of the arts, and become future artists themselves.

Petri pushing pension reform
PhillyBurbs.com Posted: Monday, May 7, 2012 5:55 am
By Gary Weckselblatt Staff Writer
Lawmakers from Bucks and Montgomery counties are pushing for an end to pensions for new lawmakers and school and state employees, while advocating for a 401(k)-style retirement vehicle to get taxpayers off the hook for years when the stock market suffers huge losses.
State Rep. Scott Petri, R-178, is the primary sponsor for HB 551 and 552 to establish a defined contribution plan for both the Public School Employees’ Retirement System and State Employees’ Retirement System.

Nonpartisan school board elections discussed in Downingtown

Chester County Daily Local By ERIC S. SMITH esmith@dailylocal.com, Monday, May 7,2012
DOWNINGTOWN — The state Senate education committee held a hearing Friday on a bill  (SB327) that would make school board elections in Pennsylvania nonpartisan and eliminate primary elections for those offices.
State Sen. Andy Dinniman, D-19th of West Whiteland, minority chairman of the committee, proposed the bill and hosted the hearing at the STEM Academy.  Committee Chairman Jeffrey Piccola, R-15th of Dauphin County, cosponsored the bill and was the only other committee member besides Dinniman at the hearing.

What the research says about portfolio management models
Research for Action Posted by Alison Murawski on May 7, 2012
The School District of Philadelphia recently announced its intention to dramatically reform its school governance model in an effort to improve public school performance. The District’s plan calls for major elements of a portfolio management model to be put in place, including:
  • a reduced central management structure that delegates most operational control to the school-level; and
  • increased accountability and school choice by closing poor performing schools and assembling diverse groupings of public and charter schools into “achievement networks.”
As the School District of Philadelphia examines this management approach and the public debates its strengths and weaknesses, RFA has produced a brief that draws on rigorous, reputable research. It provides a summary of what is known and what is not known, and poses a set of basic questions for Philadelphia policymakers, school officials, parents, students and members of the education community to consider.

Philadelphia City Council grills District on its budget today
Daily News Editorial, Philadelphia Daily News Posted: Tue, May. 8, 2012
Today, the City Council budget hearing for the school district starts at 10 a.m. Given what’s at stake and the complexity of the changes the district is proposing, by our reckoning, the hearing should end ... sometime next month.
The district recently announced a massive restructuring plan that will close schools, create “achievement networks,” push more students into charters, and rely on major concessions from the unions to get $156 million in savings, while coping with a deficit of more than $200 million for next year. Any one of these is worth at least a day of questioning. But the main “ask” of the Council during the hearings is $94 million more from the city.

Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY)
Philadelphia City Budget Advocacy

The Forum for Education and Democracy
Recent postings:
Education and the Income Gap, April 28, 2012 - Linda Darling-Hammond
Sign the National Resolution on High Stakes Testing, April 24, 2012 - George Wood
What U.S. Can't Learn From Finland, April 23, 2012 -by Pasi Sahlberg

“it has been said that reductions could be as high as 9.1% per year over the next ten years”
Sequestration could be coming soon to your federal education dollars
Missouri Department of Education website
Sequestration is defined as a procedure by which automatic spending cuts are triggered.  Sequestration is set to be applied to federal discretionary funds, which include education, starting in January 2013. This has occurred due to the failure of the Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to develop a plan for budgetary savings.

Teacher Appreciation Week May 7th – 11th: Incubate this……

“Incubators of Innovation?”
Diane Ravitch’s Blog May 8, 2012
To mark National Charter School Week, President Obama issued a proclamation hailing charter schools as “incubators of innovation.”
I began wondering what exactly he was thinking about.

Practical Theory Blog by Chris Lehmann

2012 Conference on the State of Education in Pennsylvania
The Media Area NAACP and CU Keystone Honors Program will host 2012 Conference on the State of Education in Pennsylvania "Calling for a Trauma Informed Education System" at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania (Marcus Foster Student Union, 2nd floor) on Friday, May 25 from 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM.  For agenda and registration details, click here

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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