Monday, June 25, 2012

In Palm Beach, Mr. and Mrs. G could use some new white shoes; let’s form a committee to study the PA charter funding formula for another year

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


Capitol insiders predict Gov. Tom Corbett will deliver an on-time budget

By JAN MURPHY, The Patriot-News  Published: Sunday, June 24, 2012, 10:22 PM

Although state budget negotiators spent the weekend trying to work through unresolved issues in the 2012-13 budget agreement, many Capitol insiders predict that Gov. Tom Corbett will be able to deliver an on-time budget for the second consecutive year.

Budget negotiators on Friday were haggling over proposed changes to the charter-school law. Corbett wanted to establish a state panel to approve and oversee brick-and-mortar schools. Some lawmakers balked at this idea. They argued it would force districts to foot the bill to educate students attending charter schools without any control over the education those students receive.

House Republican spokesman Steve Miskin said a proposal was taking shape over the weekend on a compromise that would meld the two ideas, but he was not familiar with the details.

Negotiators also were fine-tuning a proposed tax credit program, a spin-off of the state’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit program, that would be targeted to students in the worst-performing public schools.

It would provide $50 million in tax credits to businesses that donate to organizations that provide scholarships to attend another public or private school to income-eligible students.

Still being worked out Sunday were the number of failing schools to be included in the program and whether it would be targeted to lower-income students, Miskin said.


Michigan Amway heiress Betsy DeVos’ American Federation for Children and main-line mega millionaires Jeff Yass, Arthur Dantchick and Joel Greenberg spent $1.7 million in 2012 to bring vouchers to Pennsylvania.  HB2468 appears to be an integral part of the budget negotiations.

Who’s sponsoring (and who’s funding) the EITC/EISC Supervoucher bill HB2468?

Jim Christiana (R-15, Beaver County) is the lead sponsor for HB2468, which would divert millions in tax revenue to private and religious schools.  Rep, Christiana and “Commonsense for the Commonwealth” a PAC that shares the same address as his district office, received $170,000 during 2012 from the Students First PAC and Fighting Chance PAC.  All the money came from the $1.7 million contributed by Michigan Amway heiress Betsy DeVos’ American Federation for Children and from main-line mega millionaires Jeff Yass, Arthur Dantchick and Joel Greenberg via the Students First PA PAC and the new Fighting Chance PA PAC aligned with the Philadelphia Archdiocese.



Should we make it easier for the State to authorize charters without local school boards’ involvement representing the local taxpayers who will pay the bills?

Back in 2007 I testified before the Governor’s Task Force on School Cost Reduction that the 21st Century Charter School operating out of the Chester County IU and formed by the four suburban Philadelphia County Intermediate Units was able to provide a cyber education for about $4000 per regular education student.  Should we form a committee to spend another year studying the charter school funding formula?

Rep. Killion's HB2352 contains such provisions and it also appears to be part of the budget negotiations.
Pennsylvania Couple Building 20,000 Square Foot Palm Beach Mansion
Homes of the Rich Posted by Kenny Forder on January 27th, 2012 
Philadelphia attorney and entrepreneur Vahan Gureghian and his attorney wife, Danielle, are planning to build a 20,000 square foot mansion at 1071 N. Ocean Boulevard in Palm Beach, FL. The plans were submitted late last year to the town for review. If built, the house will stand on two lots, with a total of nearly 240 feet of oceanfront, which they acquired last year for $28.9 million (the year’s second-largest Palm Beach residential purchase by a single buyer). The most amazing part? The Gureghian’s main house is even BIGGER than this! They live in a 30,000 square foot mega mansion in Gladwyne, PA. Pennsylvania-based architect Frederick L. Bissinger Jr. designed the Palm Beach house as well as their Pennsylvania house. Smith and Moore Architects of West Palm Beach are also involved in the project, and Lang Design Group of West Palm did the landscape plan.

Check out the plan:


'Critical' time for education in Pennsylvania, secretary says

Scranton Times-Tribune BY SARAH HOFIUS HALL (STAFF WRITER)Published: June 24, 2012

Pennsylvania is in a "critical" time for education, according to state Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis.

Teachers must be evaluated.

Curriculum must be aligned.

Students must be prepared.

"We have pockets where students are doing very well, and we applaud that. That's what we want to see happen," Mr. Tomalis said in an interview with The Sunday Times. "In other areas, students are struggling."


Editorial: Pension system time bomb just keeps ticking

Delco Times Published: Sunday, June 24, 2012

…This week word started filtering down from Harrisburg that there was a deal for a spending plan in the neighborhood of $27.65 billion.  There is renewed hope that funding for districts such as Upper Darby will be restored, hence taking the unpopular cuts and curriculum changes, such as elimination of “special” classes in art and music for elementary kids, off the table.
There is only one problem.  No one yet wants to talk about the elephant in the room.
That would be the nearly $40 billion unfunded liability run up by the state’s two large public employee pension systems.


Posted: Sat, Jun. 23, 2012, 9:31 AM

Philly District has 2 finalists for top job


Two finalists for the Philadelphia School District's top job - the leader of the Prince George's County, Md., system and the Las Vegas school deputy - are scheduled to meet the public early next week.  Pedro Martinez, deputy superintendent in Clark County, Nevada, arrived in the city on Friday in advance of a series of public meet-and-greets on Monday.

William Hite, from Maryland, will be here Tuesday, School Reform Commissioner Wendell Pritchett said in an interview.


Pedro Martinez is a product of the Broad Superintendent Academy

A Parent Guide to the Broad Foundation’s training programs and education policies

Parents Across America website April, 2011

This guide can also be downloaded as a pdf fact sheet.

The question I ask is why should Eli Broad and Bill Gates have more of a say as to what goes on in my child’s classroom than I do? – Sue Peters, Seattle parent

In recent months, three prominent school district superintendents resigned or were fired, after allegations of mismanagement, autocratic leadership styles, and/or the pursuit of unpopular policies. All three were trained by the Broad Superintendents Academy: Maria Goodloe-Johnson (class of 2003) of the Seattle school district, LaVonne Sheffield (class of 2002) of the Rockford, Illinois school district, and Jean-Claude Brizard (class of 2008) of the Rochester New York school district. Brizard resigned to take the job as CEO of Chicago schools, but his superintendency in Rochester had been mired in controversy. Another Broad-trained Superintendent recently announced his resignation: Tom Brady(class of 2004) of Providence, Rhode Island.

Three more Broad-trainees have been recently placed in new positions of authority: John Deasy (class of 2006), as Superintendent of the Los Angeles United School District, John White (class of 2010), Superintendent of the Recovery School District in New Orleans,  and Chris Cerf (class of 2004), New Jersey’s Acting Education Commissioner. Tom Boasberg was appointed Denver’s Superintendent in January 2009, shortly after taking an “Intensive” training at the Broad Academy.   (See map below from the Broad website, showing where until recently their trainees served.)


Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 06/25/2012

Ravitch: Will school choice kill public education?

Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss
This was written by education historian Diane Ravitch on her blog. Ravitch is a research professor at New York University and author of the best-selling “The Death and Life of the Great American School System.” She is the leading opponent of the school reform movement based on test-based accountability and the privatization of public education.
By Diane Ravitch
A reader posted a comment that I think is profound. The more that people begin to see education as a consumer choice, the more they will be unwilling to pay for other people’s children. And if they have no children in school, then they have no reason to underwrite other people’s private choices.


Budget Mix-Up Provides Nation's Schools With Enough Money To Properly Educate Students

THE ONION MAY 9, 2011 | ISSUE 47•19

Members of Congress say they are “mortified” to be associated with a bill that gives more money to schools.

WASHINGTON—According to bewildered and contrite legislators, a major budgetary mix-up this week inadvertently provided the nation's public schools with enough funding and resources to properly educate students.

Sources in the Congressional Budget Office reported that as a result of a clerical error, $80 billion earmarked for national defense was accidentally sent to the Department of Education, furnishing schools with the necessary funds to buy new textbooks, offer more academic resources, hire better teachers, promote student achievement, and foster educational excellence—an oversight that apologetic officials called a "huge mistake.",20350/


Is your State Rep. on the cosponsor list for HB 2364? If not, why not?
If they tell you that we should make it easier to authorize charters or that they are already accountable enough have them read this:

PA Charter Schools: $4 billion taxpayer dollars with no real oversight

More details 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:

Here are more than 800 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.

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

No comments:

Post a Comment

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