Friday, June 8, 2012

As Pa. budget deadline nears, GOP legislators vow action on thorny school issues


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

Legislative leaders meet with Pa. Gov. Tom Corbett to discuss 2012-13 budget and related issues
By JAN MURPHY, The Patriot-News Published: Thursday, June 07, 2012, 1:46 PM
Legislative leaders emerged from a two-hour meeting with Gov. Tom Corbett today reporting progress on the budget front but saying an agreement on a spending level for next year remains an area of discussion.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jake Corman, R-Centre County….said the discussion focused on "the world of issues" that the governor and leaders would like to get done in connection with the budget…..He and House Speaker Sam Smith, R-Jefferson, said among the items on the table for discussion are education reform ideas including possibly school vouchers and cyberschool funding reform among others, and a tax credit for the proposed Shell Oil petrochemical refinery plant in western Pennsylvania.

Corbett, GOP lawmakers press school-related bills
By MARC LEVY Associated Press Updated:   06/07/2012 01:57:01 PM EDT
HARRISBURG, Pa.—Gov. Tom Corbett and his fellow Republicans who lead the state Legislature are working to develop a package of public school and education-related legislation that they can complete this month.
Corbett and top lawmakers discussed the subject Thursday in a closed-door meeting as part of broader talks on a $27 billion-plus budget plan.
Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi says there's broad agreement to pursue legislation that overhauls the charter school law, reconfigures the special education funding formula and boosts a tax credit on contributions for private school scholarships and other education groups.
A spokesman says Corbett also wants a private school voucher bill. But House Speaker Sam Smith says there isn't support in his chamber for a Senate-passed voucher bill and that there's no agreement to pursue an alternative.

As Pa. budget deadline nears, GOP legislators vow action on thorny school issues
June 07, 2012 By Angela Couloumbis and INQUIRER HARRISBURG BUREAU
HARRISBURG -- They don't have a state budget deal yet, but Gov. Corbett and top Republican legislators appear to be in agreement on one matter: that a number of so-called education reform bills will finally come up for a vote before the legislature breaks for the summer.
Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R., Delaware) said Thursday that "there is broad agreement" on moving several pieces of legislation to Corbett's desk before the budget's July 1 deadline, including a bill that would change the way charter schools are regulated; one that would expand a state program that gives tax breaks to companies for underwriting scholarship programs; and yet another that would establish a legislative commission to develop a new distribution formula for some special-education funding.

PLEASE NOTE!  Introducing CORE: Lehigh Valley Coalition for Public Education
A group of Lehigh Valley parents and citizens have united on behalf of our local schools.  Realizing that though each Lehigh Valley School District may have its own unique needs and issues, there are CORE issues impacting public education about which we must all be united.  The current funding challenge is a great example.

We are proud to introduce CORE.  We believe that education is the foundation upon which the promise of the future rests.  Made available to all, education enriches and civilizes our society and helps secure the path to opportunity and mobility, which are the hallmarks of our nation's genius.  As parents and citizens committed to our children, communities, and future, we champion efforts that ensure all children receive a high-quality, well-rounded public education.  We are raising the leaders, doctors, educators, scientists, entrepreneurs, parents and citizens of tomorrow.  Our country depends on their success. As a coalition of committed citizens, we will give voice to the cause of education so that our nation will continue to prosper, lead, innovate, create, and achieve for generations to come.  Education: A Core Value! 

Let your friends and neighbors know about CORE, Lehigh Valley Coalition for Public Education!  Email us at lvcorecoalition@ptd.net to join our email list and help spread the word and unite in our cause: Value tomorrow, educate today!

FreedomWorks Airs School Choice Radio Ad
PoliticsPA June 6, 2012
Conservative PAC FreedomWorks is launching an intensive ad campaign costing between $500,000 and $1 million and aimed to “pressure state lawmakers…to pass a school choice bill” this June

Study Reviews Academic Benchmarks Of Cyber School Students

KDKA Reporting Andy Sheehan June 6, 2012 9:52 PM
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Cyber school is a way of learning that seems foreign to those of a certain age, but proponents says it’s right for certain students of a new generation.
“Is that the right environment for everybody? No,” Robert Fayfich with the PA Coalition of Charter Schools said. “Do certain students learn differently now than when you and I were in aschool? Absolutely.”

Is your State Rep. on the cosponsor list for HB 2364? Charter school funding, accountability and transparency
The bill is now posted on the General Assembly’s website:
Here’s more info on HB 2364 from PSBA:

Education Voters PA ‏@EdVotersPA
Please take 2 minutes to send an email to your state reps, ask them to restore public ed funding:

Parents and Students Say 'Enough' to More Testing
June 7, 2012, 4:22 p.m.
New York Times By HITEN SAMTANI
It resembled a street carnival. Excited children in bright colors, holding up scarecrows and blowing bubbles, were being serenaded by the raucous sounds of the Rude Mechanical Orchestra.  But the scarecrows were christened “Bloomberg,” “Tisch” and “Cuomo.” The children held up placards that said things like “No More Testing. My Brain Is for Learning!” And sprinkled throughout the crowd were posters and cutouts of pineapples.
This was no celebration. These children and their parents, several hundred in all, were gathered in Midtown to protest the “field tests,” which are experimental tests that Pearson, the state-contracted test-maker, uses to develop future tests.
The rally was organized by a coalition of groups, including ParentVoicesNYTime Out From Testing and Change the Stakes. Since children had the day off, the organizers had urged their parents to bring them to what they called a “field trip against field tests.

THU JUN 07, 2012 AT 12:48 AM PDT
DailyKOS by misharFollow
Today at 11 AM - Thursday June 7 - hundreds of New York parents and kids are taking to the streets to protest:
* High-stakes testing which crowds out meaningful learning, e.g., critical thinking, complex writing, reading actual books, exploring ideas, research, experiments.
* The excessive power and influence billion dollar for-profit company Pearson has over our NYS Education Department - the tests are eating up resources and taking up children's time. Meanwhile, NY SED and Pearson have no accountability as they refuse to ever release the tests, which had nearly 30 questions invalidated this spring due to errors and poor quality.
Come join us today if you're in midtown Manhattan - we're protesting in front of Pearson HQ at 53rd and 6th avenue - more info at www.parentvoicesny.org or below

Diane Ravitch on PBS Newshour June 5th, 2012

NSBA asks for flexibility for local Race to the Top grants

NSBA’s School Board News Today Blog by Joetta Sack-Min|June 7th, 2012
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is concerned that the federal government’s proposed criteria for a new, $400 million Race to the Top (RTTT) district competition could stifle innovation and local control.
“Several of the draft requirements threaten to diminish the program as an [local education agency] grant in name only, including first time requirements that represent alarming precedents for the future,” NSBA wrote in a June 8 letter to the U.S. Department of Education.

STATEWIDE PRESS COVERAGE OF SCHOOL DISTRICT BUDGETS
Here are more than 700 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:

June 29 is deadline to submit proposals for PSBA’s 2013 Legislative Platform
Your school board is invited to submit proposals for consideration for PSBA’s 2013 Legislative Platform. The association is accepting proposals now until Friday, June 29, 2012.  Guidelines for platform submissions are posted on PSBA’s Web site.  The PSBA Platform Committee will review proposals and rationale submitted for the platform on Aug. 11. The recommendations of the committee will be brought before the Legislative Policy Council for a final vote on Oct. 18.

PSBA accepting nominations for the Timothy M. Allwein Advocacy Award
Last year, PSBA created a new award to honor the memory of its long-term chief lobbyist, who died unexpectedly. The Timothy M. Allwein Advocacy Award may be presented annually to the individual school director or entire school board to recognize outstanding leadership in legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of public education and students that are consistent with the positions in PSBA's Legislative Platform. The nomination process is now open and applications will be accepted until June 22, 2012. The award will be presented during the PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference in October. For more information and criteria details, see the Allwein Advocacy Award page. To obtain an application form, see the Allwein Advocacy Award Nomination Form. Completed forms should be returned no later than June 22 to: Pennsylvania School Boards Association, Advocacy Award Selection Committee, PO Box 2042, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-0790.

Absentee ballot procedures for election of PSBA officers
PSBA website 6/1/2012
All school directors and school board secretaries who are eligible to vote and who do not plan to attend the association's annual business meeting during the 2012 PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference in Hershey, Oct. 16-19, may request an absentee ballot for election purposes.
The absentee ballot must be requested from the PSBA executive director in accordance with the PSBA Bylaws provisions (see PSBA Bylaws, Article IV, Section 4, J-Q.). Specify the name and mailing address of each individual for whom a ballot is requested.
Requests must be in writing, e-mailed or mailed first class and postmarked or marked received at PSBA Headquarters no later than Aug. 15. Mail to Executive Director, P.O. Box 2042, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055 or e-mail administrativerequests@psba.org.

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