Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Is Pennsylvania the Worst State?

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


Pa. House Education Committee advances special education funding bill

Published: Monday, June 18, 2012, 12:23 PM    
By JAN MURPHY, The Patriot-News 
Legislation that would lead to a new special education funding formula won House Education Committee approval.
If enacted, it would produce the first new formula for distributing special education funds in two decades.  Senate Bill 1115 now goes to the full House for consideration. It passed the Senate by a vote of 46-1 on June 4 after gaining support of that chamber's education committee. 



Monday Morning Coffee: Entering the budgetary home stretch.

Capitol Ideas Blog by John Micek June 18, 2012
Good Monday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
When state lawmakers return to work Monday, they'll have just 12 days to find agreement with Gov. Tom Corbett on the 2012-13 state budget.
Corbett and legislative Republicans will have to close the gap on at least three substantial areas of debate:



Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign

The Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign’s Letter Urging State Lawmakers to Pass a Budget that Supports Pennsylvania’s Students (6/14/12)


Education Policy and Leadership Center

EPLC Education Notebook – Monday, June 18, 2012


Good News About Pennsylvania Public Schools

Partners for Public Education 2012
Pennsylvania public schools are among the best in the nation, according to many objective measures and research from respected institutions. Student achievement is continuously improving, thanks to the efforts of teachers and education support professionals who work with our children every day.



Economics 101

Yinzercation Blog — 
Governor Corbett might want to get out his old economics textbook for a refresher. There is no evidence that his current economic policy – slashing essential public services while giving away billions to corporations – ever works.
After feeling the heat on his announcement that he would give away $1.7 BILLION to Shell Oil Co., Gov. Corbett went on the offensive last week. (See “Can Shell Educate Our Kids?”) He sent three of his cabinet secretaries to Beaver County Community College to tout the jobs his proposed petrochemical refinery plant would create. It was an ironic setting, given the governor’s simultaneous proposal to slash 30% from higher education.


Philadelphia Vs. Privatizers

Diane Ravitch’s Blog June 18, 2012 //
Philadelphia matters because it is a harbinger of privatization across the state of Pennsylvania. As the letter below notes, some 25 districts in the state would qualify as in need of dramatic action–i.e., privatization–under the terms of a bill now under consideration in the Legislature. This scenario reflects a process we have seen in other states. First, the state cuts the budget, then the districts find that they can’t maintain their programs or meet their budget, then the state declares a fiscal emergency, and the final act in the process is to hand the schools, the students and the tax dollars to entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs will cut still further, replace teachers with computers, and offer a bare-bones schooling which is worse than what was provided before.
How anyone thinks this is good for our nation or our children is beyond me.

Is Pennsylvania the Worst State?

Diane Ravitch’s Blog June 17, 2012 //
When I asked readers to tell me about the reforms in their own state, I received dozens of replies.
It is hard to say which state has the most destructive reforms. By destructive, I refer to legislation that is anti-teacher, anti-public education, anti-education, and anti-child. This means legislation that strips teachers of any job protections and that prohibits them from bargaining collectively, as well as legislation that bases teacher evacuation on student test scores and that hands public school dollars over to private interests, whether for profit or for private management.
This writer describes what is happening in Pennsylvania, under Tea-Party governor Tom Corbett, who seems determined to rid the state of public education:

For charter schools, mixed results at 20-year mark

by Tim Post, Minnesota Public Radio June 18, 2012
MINNEAPOLIS -- In Kitty Taylor's third-grade classroom at Hiawatha Leadership Academy, the pace is quick.  When Taylor hands students a math quiz, they have two minutes to finish before a timer goes off and they have to turn in their papers. Then they must snap to attention and move to the next task. "One, two, three, eyes on me," Taylor calls. "One, two, eyes on you," her students respond.
That's a tiny fraction of a very long day for the south Minneapolis charter school's nearly 400 students in kindergarten through fourth grade. Similar scenes are repeated across the nation in the some 5,000 charter schools that serve 2 million students.
This week, charter school officials will gather in Minneapolis to share notes and discuss the progress of the national charter school movement, which marks its 20th anniversary this year. The first charter school in the country, City Academy in St. Paul, opened in 1992 and is still in operation today.
Leaders of the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools say they expect nearly 4,000 people to attend the conference, which runs Tuesday through Friday.
Despite their growth, the schools' effectiveness is still being debated.

Charter School Reform:
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:

Diane Ravitch on PBS Newshour June 5th, 2012

Here are more than 800 articles since January 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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