Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ten PA Schools to Share $6.9 Million in Federal SIG Funds/US DOE also announces grants to cover AP test fees for low-income students

“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
Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg

Pennsylvania is slated to receive $487,964 under this grant program
US Dept. of Education announces $21.5 Million in Grants Awarded to 43 States to Cover Fees Charged to Low-Income Students for Taking AP Tests
The U.S. Department of Education today announced the award of more than $21.5 million in grants to 43 states to cover all or part of the fees charged to low-income students for taking Advanced Placement tests.  Based on the anticipated number of test-takers and other factors, the grants under the Advanced Placement Test Fee Program are expected to be sufficient to pay up to $38 per Advanced Placement exam for as many as three exams per student.
"Advanced Placement participation is an important element in creating a college-going culture in our high schools," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "AP courses help students develop the study skills, critical reasoning and habits of mind that prepare them for the transition to college. They give students—particularly first-generation college-goers—the confidence that they can successfully handle college-level work."

PA Department of Education Press Release August 01, 2012
Ten PA Schools to Share $6.9 Million in Federal Funds to Initiate Reform 
Harrisburg – Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis today announced the award of $6.9 million in federal School Improvement Grants to 10 of Pennsylvania’s lowest-performing schools.
Pennsylvania has a rich educational history and is home to some of the best and brightest school leaders, educators and students; but unfortunately there are too many schools that have a history of persistently failing to provide their students with a quality education,” Tomalis said.
“The intent of the School Improvement Grants is to allow low-performing schools to implement innovative educational initiatives that meet the needs of the students they serve and ensure their students receive a world-class education,” Tomalis said.
“I applaud the leadership of these schools for acknowledging the challenges they face and seeking an opportunity to reform their educational programs.”

Below is the list of grantees, the reform model that will be implemented and the award amount for the 2012-13 school year:

Albert Gallatin Area School District, Fayette County
Albert Gallatin High School
, Transformation, $1,008,323

Corry Area School District, Erie County
Corry Area High School
, Transformation, $787,864

Greater Johnstown School District, Cambria County
Greater Johnstown Middle School, Transformation, $989,459

Lebanon School District, Lebanon County
Lebanon High School
, Transformation, $816,133

Philadelphia School District, Philadelphia County
Grover Cleveland School
, Restart, $1,385,140

William Penn School District, Delaware County
Aldan Elementary School, Transformation, $438,700

York City School District, York County
Edgar Fahs Smith Middle School, Closure, $116,116
Hannah Penn Middle School, Closure, $118,237
McKinley Elementary School, Transformation, $563,000
William Penn High School, Transformation, $730,710

Posted: Thu, Aug. 2, 2012, 5:39 AM
Consultant: Philadelphia district needs to close 29 to 57 schools
By Kristen A. Graham Inquirer Staff Writer
Six months into its study of the troubled Philadelphia School District, a global management firm has made public its extensive, game-changing analysis and recommendations for how the system should proceed to overhaul operations and avoid insolvency.
Among the suggestions in the 118-page document, being released Thursday: The district should close between 29 and 57 schools in the next five years. It should be much more selective about charter school growth, which in the last decade has given Philadelphia families more educational options - but at a staggering cost to the district.
It should pursue massive changes in the next teachers' contract, not just reforming the salary and benefits structure but disconnecting seniority from layoffs and possibly extending the school day and year.
Thomas Knudsen, the district's chief recovery officer, stressed that the Boston Consulting Group Inc. was hired to survey the education system and recommend a way out of the district's current financial and academic troubles, with an emphasis on decentralization.

Data suggests Ohio Internet-based education isn't living up to the hype
Cinncinnati CityBeat BY GERMAN LOPEZ · AUGUST 1ST, 2012
…….The for-profit e-schools are a sham and a fraud against children,” Ravitch wrote in an email to CityBeat. “They don’t provide a good education and they rip off taxpayers. The only reason they exist is because of campaign contributions to politicians.”
Ravitch’s claim is supported by a 2011 report by Innovation Ohio on Ohio’s biggest e-schools, which concluded fundraising, not good academic results, is keeping e-schools alive.
The report used the examples of David Brennan and William Lager. Brennan operates the Alternative Education Academy in Toledo, and Lager runs Columbus’ Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), the largest e-school in Ohio. Between 2001 and 2010, Ohio Republicans received nearly $4 million in campaign contributions from Brennan and Lager, according to the report. In 2009 and 2010 alone, Brennan donated more than $412,000 to Republicans and $9,420 to Democrats.  During the same time period, Lager donated $129,488 to Republicans and $62,000 to Democrats.
The Innovation Ohio report took a close look at the seven for-profit statewide e-schools in Ohio, which host 90 percent of students that attend e-schools. The other 10 percent is made up of localized e-schools.

Teacher union boss bends to school reform winds
Chicago Tribune by James B. Kelleher Reuters
6:44 p.m. CDT, July 31, 2012
DETROIT (Reuters) - In the maelstrom of criticism surrounding America's unionized public teachers, the woman running the second-largest educator union says time has come to collaborate on public school reform rather than resist.  Randi Weingarten, re-elected this week for a third term as president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) with 98 percent of the vote, wants her 1.5 million members to be open to changes that might improve public schools.

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

As of July 23, content on EdMedia Commons is viewable to nonmembers.
National Education Writers Association Website
If you're a visitor, welcome! We're glad you're here, and we hope you enjoy clicking around the site. EMC membership is still restricted to members of the Education Writers Association. Interested in EWA? Learn how to join here.

PA EITC 2.0 Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program FAQ
PA Department of Community and Economic Development

Details on Act 85 of 2012, PA’s new EITC 2.0 Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit “Supervoucher” Program.

Pennsylvania’s "Failing Schools" List For the 2012-2013 school year.
Here the list of low achieving schools released by PDE last week


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 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

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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