Tuesday, August 14, 2012

“Middle-class American students who attend well-funded schools rank at the top of the world on international tests.”

“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, legislative and congressional staffers, 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

“Middle-class American students who attend well-funded schools rank at the top of the world on international tests.”

Poverty's role in bad U.S. test scores

Pittsburgh Post Gazette Letter to the Editor by STEPHEN KRASHEN August 12, 2012
The writer is professor emeritus of the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California
Educators are always interested in improving teacher evaluation, and Anne Faigen's comments ("Evaluating Teachers Is Not So Easy," Aug. 5 Forum) are helpful. Her essay also, unfortunately, contributes to the impression that there is a crisis in teacher quality in the United States.
Our international test scores are low, we're often told, and the problem is bad teaching. Hence, we need better methods of evaluating teachers.
Our international test scores are unspectacular, but the reasons are not related to teacher quality (or parents or unions or schools of education): Middle-class American students who attend well-funded schools rank at the top of the world on international tests.

Ana Puig was a member of Governor Corbett’s education transition team….
CBS Moneywatch Associated Press August 13, 2012 9:10 AM
Tea party evolves, achieves state policy victories
ATLANTA — Tea party activists in Georgia helped kill a proposed sales tax increase that would have raised billions of dollars for transportation projects. In Pennsylvania, tea partyers pushed to have taxpayers send public school children to private schools. In Ohio, they drove a referendum to block state health insurance mandates.
“Ana Puig, the FreedomWorks state director, said she put 34,000 miles on her car building public support for the grants. She visited tea party groups and anyone else who would listen, while also using conventional lobbying of legislators.  After the fall elections, Puig said, FreedomWorks will push to raise the $50 million program cap to $100 million. The long-term goal is traditional tuition vouchers paid directly by state tax money. "Change happens slowly," Puig said. "We understand the value of incrementalism."

Mastery poised to expand its influence around teacher coaching
The notebook by Dale Mezzacappa on Aug 10 2012
Mastery Charter and its methods for training and supporting teachers may soon exert greater influence in schools all over the city, a development that promises to cement the organization’s influence on educational practice well beyond its own schools.
The Philadelphia Great Schools Compact is asking the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for $2.5 million, some $650,000 of which would pay for Mastery to train teacher coaches to work in District and Catholic schools and other charters.
Some have criticized Mastery for promoting a style of teaching that is suited to test prep but not deeper learning. The compact’s proposal to Gates says that Mastery wants to use part of the grant to align its training with the soon-to-be implemented Common Core standards and help teachers run classrooms that are more student-centered and inquiry-based.

“Future historians (if there are any) are going to shake their heads in disbelief. They’ll wonder how, in a single generation, the world’s oldest democracy dismantled its engine — free, public, locally controlled, democratic education.”
Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 08/13/2012

Eight problems with Common Core Standards

Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss
This was written by Marion Brady, veteran teacher, administrator, curriculum designer and author.
By Marion Brady
……Variously motivated corporate interests, arguing that the core was being sloppily taught, organized a behind-the-scenes campaign to super-standardize it. They named their handiwork the Common Core State Standards to hide the fact that it was driven by policymakers in Washington D.C., who have thus far shoved it into every state except Alaska, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia.
This was done with no public dialogue, no feedback from experienced educators, no research, no pilot or experimental programs — no evidence at all that a floor-length list created by unnamed people attempting to standardize what’s taught is a good idea.

Back to School 2012-13: Giving Our Schools More Hope
August 13, 2012 - Larry Myatt
Forum for Education and Democracy Blog by Forum Convener Dr. Larry Myatt
It's back-to-school time for many over the next few weeks.  What do most public teachers and students across the nation have to look forward to as they head back for the 2012-13 school year?

Study Links Healthier Weight in Children With Strict Laws on School Snacks

New York Times By SABRINA TAVERNISE Published: August 13, 2012
Adolescents in states with strict laws regulating the sale of snacks and sugary drinks in public schools gained less weight over a three-year period than those living in states with no such laws, a new study has found.  The study, published Monday in Pediatrics, found a strong association between healthier weight and tough state laws regulating food in vending machines, snack bars and other venues that were not part of the regular school meal programs. Such snacks and drinks are known as competitive foods, because they compete with school breakfasts and lunches.

Too Many Carrots, Too Many Sticks
Four Fallacies in Federal Policies for Low-Achieving Schools
Education Week By Arthur H. Camins
Under the leadership of U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan, the federal Department of Education has achieved a remarkably high level of policy consistency. From its application guidelines for Race to the Top, Investing in Innovation, Teacher Incentive Fund, and Title I School Improvement grants, to the proposed blueprint for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the department has chosen to address the challenge of improving persistently low-achieving schools by means of externally imposed competition, rewards for success, and prescriptive dictates to correct insufficient progress.

$400 Million Race to Top Contest for Districts Starts Now

 Michele McNeil  
The U.S. Department of Education today is kicking off the $400 million Race to the Top competition for districts after making big changes to the contest rules to assuage school board members and prod more large districts to apply.
Federal officials threw out a proposal to require competing districts to implement performance evaluations of school board members, and raised the maximum grant amount for the largest districts to $40 million, from $25 million. In a nod to rural districts, the department lowered the number of students that must be served to 2,000 from 2,500 and is allowing a group of 10 districts to apply regardless of the number of students.

2012 PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference Oct. 16-19, 2012
Registration is Now Open!
Hershey Lodge & Convention Center, Hershey, PA

EPLC’s 2012 Arts and Education Symposium: Save the Date, Thursday, October 11

Education Policy and Leadership Center

Please mark your calendars and plan on joining EPLC, our partners, and guests on October 11 in Harrisburg for a full day of events.  Stay tuned to aei-pa.org for information about our 2nd Arts and Education Symposium.  Scholarships and Act 48 Credit will be available.  Outstanding speakers and panelists from Pennsylvania and beyond will once again come together to address key topics in the arts and arts education and related public policy advocacy initiatives.  This is a networking and learning opportunity not to be missed!


PSBA 2013 Officer Candidates Slated
If you are not planning to attend the October Leadership Conference and would like to vote for any of these candidates please see the absentee ballot information below and note the August 15 deadline for absentee ballot requests
At its May 19 meeting at PSBA Conference Center, the PSBA Nominating Committee interviewed and selected a slate of candidates for officers of the association in 2013.
They are:
Marcela Diaz Myers, Lower Dauphin SD, Dauphin County
President (automatically assumes the office of president)
Jody Sperry, Conneaut SD, Crawford County
Richard Frerichs, Penn Manor SD, Lancaster County
Mark B. Miller, Centennial SD, Bucks County
First Vice President
Larry Breech, Millville Area SD, Columbia County
Second Vice President
Edward J. Cardow, Chichester SD, Delaware County
Second Vice President

Absentee ballot procedures for election of PSBA officers
Absentee ballot requests must be received no later than August 15
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 home 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.

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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