Wednesday, May 9, 2012

York: Eliminate kindergarten, guidance, all sports, art, gym, band and choir. How many programs do you need to cut before it doesn’t look like public education anymore?

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
“The Senate GOP plan would restore half of the $100 million "accountability" grants that helped fund full-day kindergarten, which Corbett has proposed eliminating.
It also would dismantle a proposed new block-grant program into which the governor wanted to fold public school aid with transportation and other costs. Those items would remain as separate line items under the Senate proposal, Pileggi said.”

Pa. Senate GOP plan would add money for education

Pocono Record By Associated Press, May 07, 2012
HARRISBURG (AP) — Republicans who control the Pennsylvania Senate advanced a plan Monday to increase Gov. Tom Corbett's 2012-13 spending proposal by more than a half-billion dollars, saying improved tax collections will make more money available for education, social services and other programs targeted for cuts.
Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi said the plan would provide an additional $245 million for higher education, $73 million more for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade schooling and an $84 million boost to county governments for social services in the fiscal year that starts July 1

NSBA urges action on ESEA and host call-in day

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is urging the U.S. Congress to complete its reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act before it adjourns later this year.
Through its “ESEA Now” campaign, NSBA is urging school board members and other educators to contact their Washington representatives on Wednesday, May 9 to push for an overhaul of the law, which is now five years past due. The House and Senate education committees have passed bills that, while not perfect, would be a large improvement over the existing law. NSBA is calling on both chambers to pass these bills and quickly reconcile their differences.

ESEA Now!: How to Participate in the NSBA Call Your Members of Congress Day May 9, 2012

Voices rise against Pittsburgh Opera's award for Gov. Corbett

May 9, 2012 5:37 am
By Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
When blogger Jessie Ramey of Point Breeze thinks of opera, the governor and arts education together, she said "The Beggar's Opera" comes to mind because "public schools have become beggars, hoping to salvage their arts curriculum with donations."  When the Pittsburgh Opera thinks of opera, the governor and arts education together, it gets ready to award a Lifetime Achievement Award to Gov. Tom Corbett and his wife, Susan, for their support.
The award will be made this Saturday at the opera's annual end-of-season benefit gala, Maecenas XXVII, at the opera headquarters.  Party-goers can expect some extras outside the event. Ms. Ramey -- who said her blog "Yinzercation" has received more than 7,000 hits since the opera notice was posted Monday -- and others are organizing a demonstration.

Pennsylvania Keystone Exams changes moving forward

Published: Tuesday, May 08, 2012, 4:57 AM
Lehigh Valley Live By Sara K. Satullo | The Express-Times 
Pennsylvania's Keystone Exams may again be changing.
Gov. Tom Corbett’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget proposal calls for scaling back the end-of-course exams from 10 to three and axing the mandate that makes the exam count toward one-third of a student’s grade. 
Wednesday, the State Board of Education is scheduled to discuss and act on a draft of the revised testing policy that could make way for Corbett’s plan.

York City schools budget: Sports, art, gym, kindergarten up for cuts
ANDREW SHAW The York Dispatch Updated:   05/08/2012 07:07:10 AM EDT
The York City School District's worst case budget scenario, the nightmare that the last school board president warned of during the last budget crisis, was laid out in blunt terms Monday night.  And it's not just a scenario.  At this point, it's just about the only option.
City school officials plan on eliminating next year's $19 million deficit by slashing administrators, teachers, sports, art, gym and more, according to the most updated budget details.
While some details were previously revealed, business consultant James Duff said the teacher union's decision not to accept wage concessions and the state indicating more funding isn't coming has the district more seriously considering these options:
  • Eliminating half-day kindergarten. The district already had proposed cutting full-day kindergarten to half-day kindergarten. This would cut it entirely, as the state does not require districts to offer that grade.
  • Eliminating all sports. That includes eliminating the athletic director position held by Chaz Green and the athletic staff.
  • Eliminating guidance counselors and the bilingual counselor positions
  • Eliminating K-12 art and K-8 gym; those subjects would have to be taught by classroom teachers.
  • Eliminating the gifted seminar teacher position
  • Eliminating K-12 choir and band
  • Requiring staff to work four-day, eight-hour weeks in the summer, which would save the district $278,500 in salary
  • Eliminating all stipend positions, which includes anything teachers get paid for beyond the classroom York City Superintendent Deborah Wortham repeatedly emphasized the latest proposed budget is not finalized.

Posted: Tue, May. 8, 2012, 5:58 PM
Chester Upland seeks budget help in federal court
The Chester Upland School District, which came within days of running out of money earlier this year, will be back in federal court Wednesday, asking for assurances that it will have enough money to educate 700 special-education students next year.
As things stand now, according to the district, it will have only about $22 million to educate its 3,500 students. That’s tens of millions less than it says it needs to keep the schools open and meet special-education expenses.

Posted: Tue, May. 8, 2012, 6:20 PM
Philly School District goes to Supreme Court in charter case
The Philadelphia School District has asked the state Supreme Court to consider overturning a recent Commonwealth Court ruling about charter schools that could have dire consequences for Philadelphia and other cash-strapped districts.
The lower court ruled in April that the district had illegally capped enrollment at the Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Partners Charter School, upholding Education Secretary Ronald J. Tomalis’ finding that the charter was entitled to $1.3 million that otherwise would go to the district.
The School District had refused to give the Palmer charter that amount for 2008-09 and 2009-10 to pay for students the school enrolled beyond the 675 specified in its charter agreement.

“It is not bold leadership to pass the buck to committed superintendents and force them to enact policies that they know will not aid their students. It is a heartless cop-out.”
Posted: Tue, May. 8, 2012, 6:46 AM
Guv, if you have a heart, show some love for students
Larry Platt, Editor Philadelphia Daily News
Email Larry Platt
Gov. Corbett wasn't a fan of our April 3 cover characterizing him as the Tinman. Here's his chance to prove that he does, indeed, have a heart.

US News 2012 Best High Schools in Pennsylvania
We reviewed 21,776 U.S. public high schools; 193 Pennsylvania schools made our rankings.

Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 05/09/2012

Teacher evaluation: What it should look like

Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss
A new report from Stanford University researcher Linda Darling-Hammond details what the components of a comprehensive teacher evaluation system should look like at a time when such assessments have become one of the most contentious debates in education today.
Much of the controversy swirls around the growing trend of using students’ standardized test scores over time to help assess teacher effectiveness.
This “value-added” method of assessment — which involves the use of complicated formulas that supposedly evaluate how much “value” a teacher adds to a student’s achievement — is considered unreliable and not valid by many experts, though school reformers have glommed onto it with great zeal.

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?


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