Tuesday, July 24, 2012

So you think you can teach? Murdoch to do for education what he’s done for TV, news and publishing…….

“Only public schools, operated by school districts with elected school boards are open to all children and fully accountable to all taxpayers.”
Baruch Kintisch, Director of Policy Advocacy, Education Law Center, in testimony before the PA House Democratic Policy Committee, July 17, 2012

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 1600 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

Posted: Mon, Jul. 23, 2012, 7:03 AM
Education firm linked to Fattah's son lays off all its teachers, administrators
By Martha Woodall Inquirer Staff Writer
Without warning, Delaware Valley High School - a for-profit education firm whose records were recently subpoenaed by a federal grand jury - has laid off all 50 teaching and administrative employees at the four alternative schools it operates in the region.
Staffers said lawyer David T. Shulick, whose company operates the schools, owes them each thousands of dollars for work during the 2011-12 academic year. They had been expecting back pay last week but got furlough notices instead.
In late February, the FBI raided Shulick's Logan Square law office, searching for documents related to Delaware Valley's relationship with Chaka "Chip" Fattah Jr., 29, whose father is U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, a Philadelphia Democrat. They also interviewed Shulick.

State should fix charter funding

Scranton Times Tribune Editorial Published: July 23, 2012
Federal investigators said last week that raids by the FBI, IRS and the Department of Education at Beaver County offices of the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School and several related entities were not aimed at the school itself.
Still, the development should further alert state lawmakers of the need to revise funding formulas for public charter schools.
Charter schools in Pennsylvania are public schools. Payments to schools are based on local school districts' per-pupil costs, even though the charters' costs typically are lower. That's especially true of Internet charter schools, which do not bear the costs of physical facilities.

“….which provides curriculum, teachers, hardware and tech support for half the cost districts pay when a student enrolls in one the state’s 13 cyber charter schools.”
Partnership encourages districts to launch their own cyber schools
Johnstown Tribune Democrat by Kelly Urban kurban@tribdem.com  July 22, 2012
— In an effort to help school districts recoup money and keep students in the district, two local parties have recently teamed up to offer districts the ability to launch their own cyber schools.
The Learning Lamp and In-Shore Technologies, a Johnstown-based technology support company, are offering Blended Learning Technologies, which provides curriculum, teachers, hardware and tech support for half the cost districts pay when a student enrolls in one the state’s 13 cyber charter schools.
Currently, when parents enroll their child in a cyber charter school, the resident district no longer has any responsibility for the education of that child, but is responsible for paying that child’s tuition. That can range from $10,000 to $18,000 depending on the needs of the child.

Pension gap lowers Pennsylvania credit rating

July 23, 2012 12:12 am
By Laura Olson / Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG -- Ahead of this week's refinancing of $363 million in state bonds, a major credit-rating agency downgraded Pennsylvania's rating in the face of its looming pension liabilities.
That decision, which will affect interest rates on the state's future debt, was attributed to what Moody's Investor Services described as "the expectation that large and growing pension liabilities and moderate economic growth will challenge [Pennsylvania's] return to structural balance."
Moody's last week lowered its rating for the state one notch to Aa2 from Aa1, two levels below its top-grade triple-A rating.

In Philly, William Penn Foundation bankrolling $160,000 communications campaign for District
By Benjamin Herold for the Notebook/NewsWorks 7/23/2012
The William Penn Foundation has paid more than  $160,000 for work being done by two private communications firms to support the School Reform Commission’s much-debated  “transformation blueprint.”
It's just one of several efforts undertaken by the city's civic leaders on behalf of the cash-strapped District that was revealed by a review of William Penn's recent grants.
The organizations doing the communications work, Sage Communicationsand the Bravo Group, are being paid through William Penn funds that have been passed through the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, respectively.  Each grant was for $82,500, the maximum allowable without the approval of William Penn’s board, which meets three times a year.

Interview with Jeremy Nowak
By Benjamin Herrold thenotebook on Jul 23 2012
This is an edited transcript of Benjamin Herold's interview with William Penn president Jerermy Nowak.

So you think you can teach?
Murdoch to do for education what he’s done for TV, news and publishing…….
On Sunday, Mr. Murdoch said in a Twitter message: “Only way to restore American dream and have real meritocracy is fix terrible public K-12 education.”
July 23, 2012, 12:03 PM

News Corporation Forms New Brand for Education Division

New York Times Media Decoder Blog By AMY CHOZICK
News Corporation said Monday that its education division would operate under a newly formed brand called Amplify. In partnership with AT&T, the division will offer digital learning tools to K-12 children, part of the media company’s strategy to tap into the multibillion public education market.
The announcement is part of a larger restructuring by News Corporation as it prepares to split into two separate publicly traded corporations. The education division, led by the former New York City schools chancellor, Joel I. Klein, will join News Corporation’s newspapers and its HarperCollins book division in a newly formed publishing company. The more lucrative entertainment assets like cable channels and movies and television will form another, larger company.
Amplify will begin piloting its digital learning tools in the 2012-2013 school year, News Corporation said. AT&T will provide 4G tablets, Wi-Fi service and technical assistance.


“Your local schools are about to start implementing standards and assessments developed by Washington-based interest groups and pushed by the federal government. These standards, known as the Common Core, have never been field-tested, and your local school board has been unable to put them to a public hearing or vote.
“The national standards provide no process for states or localities to amend them. They will require students to take four federally subsidized tests a year, all of them via computer, and the results will be a factor in evaluating local teachers.”

Obama quietly implements Common Core

Federal funds buy control of school curriculum

Washington Times By Robert Holland Monday, July 23, 2012
New standards for math and English called Common Core are poised to hit public schools across the nation. Some schools will begin implementing them as early as this fall, before parents have any inkling what has happened to their children’s classroom instruction.  Parents will not know how or why the nationally prescribed curriculum came about or how to change it if they don’t like it.



No Choice But Success

Educational Leadership, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development by Dick Corbett, Bruce Wilson and Belinda Williams, 2005

Great urban teachers share a common belief: It's their job to make sure that all students achieve.

If we allow students to fail, some will. The only way to ensure that all students succeed, therefore, is to remove failure as an option. That's the message we heard from teachers and students in several urban classrooms in which all students did appear to succeed. The teachers, whom we met as part of a three-year research project, believed that the responsibility for student success rested on educators' shoulders. As one explained,

My philosophy is that “All students can learn,” not “All students can learn, but. . . .” The key is giving them enough time and support.



US poverty rate projected to hit highest level since ’60s

Boston Globe By Hope Yen  ASSOCIATED PRESS  JULY 23, 2012

WASHINGTON — The ranks of America’s poor are on track to climb to levels unseen in nearly half a century, erasing gains from the war on poverty in the 1960s amid a weak economy and fraying government safety net.  Census figures for 2011 will be released this fall in the critical weeks ahead of the November elections.
The Associated Press surveyed more than a dozen economists, think tanks, and academics, both nonpartisan and those with known liberal or conservative leanings, and found a broad consensus: The official poverty rate will rise from 15.1 percent in 2010, climbing as high as 15.7 percent. Several predicted a more modest gain, but even a 0.1 percentage point increase would put poverty at the highest level since 1965.
Poverty is spreading at record levels across many groups, from underemployed workers and suburban families to the poorest poor.

30% of Americans without a high school diploma and 26% of kids from 0 - 5 years old live in poverty.

PISA, Poverty and Policy
Posting from January 2011

Enrollment Off in Big Districts, Forcing Layoffs

New York Times By MOTOKO RICH Published: July 23, 2012
Enrollment in nearly half of the nation’s largest school districts has dropped steadily over the last five years, triggering school closings that have destabilized neighborhoods, caused layoffs of essential staff and concerns in many cities that the students who remain are some of the neediest and most difficult to educate.
While the losses have been especially steep in long-battered cities like Cleveland and Detroit, enrollment has also fallen significantly in places suffering through the recent economic downturn, like Broward County, Fla., San Bernardino, Calif., and Tucson, according to the latest available data from the Department of Education, analyzed for The New York Times. Urban districts like Philadelphia and Columbus, Ohio, are facing an exodus even as the school-age population has increased.

Sally Ride, first American woman to fly in space, dies at age 61

 Sally Ride, the first American woman to fly in space, has died, according to Sally Ride Science.  She died peacefully Monday after a courageous 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 61.
According to Sally Ride Science, her historic flight into space captured the nation's imagination and made her a household name. She became a symbol of the ability of women to break barriers and a hero to generations of adventurous young girls.
After retiring from NASA, Sally used her high profile to champion a cause she believed in passionately--inspiring young people, especially girls, to stick with their interest in science, to become scientifically literate, and to consider pursuing careers in science and engineering.

60+ Top Articles On Blended Learning
Getting Smart Blog July 23, 2012 - by Jaclyn Norton
Blended learning buzzed at conferences this year and across the education market. iNACOL, the leader in the blended learning space, created a new definition for the term. We’ve seen it in classrooms, heard it from teachers, and talked about it at Getting Smart. Featured in the articles below, Getting Smart highlights the new ideas and innovations surrounding blended learning.

NSBA Federal Relations Network seeking new members for 2013-14
School directors are invited to advocate for public education at the federal level through the National School Boards Association’s Federal Relations Network. The National School Boards Association is seeking school directors interested in serving on the Federal Relations Network (FRN), its grass roots advocacy program that brings local board members on the front line of pending issues before Congress. If you are a school director and willing to carry the public education message to Washington, D.C., FRN membership is a good place to start. 
Click here for more information.

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