Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A whopping 23.1% of U.S. children under the age of 18 live in poverty, putting us second in the world. Among developed nations, only Romania has a higher relative child poverty rate…..

A whopping 23.1% of U.S. children under the age of 18 live in poverty, putting us second in the world.  Among developed nations, only Romania has a higher relative child poverty rate…..

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A whopping 23.1% of U.S. children under the age of 18 live in poverty, putting us second in the world.  Among developed nations, only Romania has a higher relative child poverty rate…..
Poverty and Public Education
Yinzercation Blog — SEPTEMBER 10, 2012
If we’re serious about public education, we need to get serious about poverty in this country. Too often those who wish to discuss the impact of poverty on children’s educational outcomes are accused of using it as an excuse for poor teaching. The new “reform” movement insists that the only thing poor kids need is a “great” teacher – increasingly defined by student test scores – and that any poor student performance must be the result of bad teachers.
Obviously, we should not tolerate incompetent teachers (though this is another reason good principals are so important, as it is their job to recognize sub-par teaching and offer the right kind of help – and to show truly bad teachers the door). And it goes without saying that all children have the potential to learn and do well in school. Naturally, we want all students to have a “great” teacher. However, we need a much better, and respectful, conversation about teacher evaluations that are based on far more than test scores alone. (Just think about the greatest teachers you ever had. Really. Imagine them for just a moment. You most certainly are not remembering the grades you got, but are thinking about teachers who inspired you, challenged you, nurtured your passions, and planted seeds that took years to mature.) High stakes testing has created a perverse system of teacher evaluation that often has little to do with recognizing great teaching.

City schools' PSSA scores decline

By Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette September 11, 2012 12:38 am
In a year of disappointing results on state math and reading tests, most schools in Pittsburgh Public Schools saw their scores drop in reading, math or both, with six experiencing double-digit dips in the percentage of students proficient or advanced on both tests.
The district Monday released preliminary school-by-school results for the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests in math and reading given in the spring to grades 3-8 and 11.
Last month, the district released preliminary overall results showing that student performance dropped for the first time in five years, putting the district close to where it was two years ago. Statewide results have not yet been released.

Philly SRC adopts 5-year financial plan
The notebook by Paul Socolar on Sep 10 2012
(Updated 3:30 pm) The School Reform Commission approved a five-year financial plantoday by a vote of 4-0 after hearing Chief Recovery Officer Thomas Knudsen's report on the plan and on the District's grim financial situation.
Knudsen said that without further action, the District is facing recurring annual shortfalls of $200 million or more, amounting to $1.35 billion over five years. The austerity measures called for in the 14-page plan, which Knudsen discussed only briefly, include closing "approximately 40" underutilized District schools and concessions from employee unions.
The plan calls for a 16 percent reduction in the District's overall spending on salaries next year  - from $858 million to $720 million - but does not dictate a specific path for achieving that drastic reduction.

“Teachers also clearly saw the strike as a protest not just of the union negotiations in Chicago but on data-driven education reform nationwide, which many perceived as being pushed by corporate interests and relying too heavily on standardized tests to measure student progress.
At Lane Tech College Prep, where many passing motorists honked their support for the teachers, Steve Parsons, a teacher, said he believed the city was ultimately aiming to privatize education through charter schools and computer programs that teach classes online.”

Teachers’ Strike in Chicago Tests Mayor and Union

New York Times By MONICA DAVEY
Published: September 10, 2012 1100 Comments
CHICAGO — This city found itself engulfed on Monday by a sudden public school strike that left 350,000 children without classes, turned a spotlight on rising tensions nationally over teachers’ circumstances, and placed both the powerful teachers’ union and Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a risky, politically fraught standoff with no clear end in sight.

Posted at 02:43 PM ET, 09/10/2012

Chicago teachers strike: The issues

Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss
The teachers strike in Chicago, the third largest public school district in the country with some 350,000 students, is about more than money.
For the first time, teachers in a major school district have walked off 
Teacher Jillian Connolly helps her daughter, Mary, study math problems while picketing outside of the William H.Wells Community High School in Chicago. (Scott Olson/GETTY IMAGES)the job in part to challenge some of the key tenets of modern school reform that have been advanced by the Obama administration and by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was once President Obama’s chief of staff.
In fact, Karen Lewis, the head of the teachers union, said the two sides were close to agreement on financial matters, but other issues remain outstanding.
While no other teachers union has gone on strike in solidarity, they will be watching to see how this turns out.

The Portland Press Herald By Colin Woodard cwoodard@pressherald.com Staff Writer
Full-time virtual schools -- which are coming to Maine and are the subject of a Maine Sunday Telegram investigation -- have a dubious track record.
A study released in July by researchers at Western Michigan University found that only 27.7 percent of the full-time virtual schools run by the nation's largest online education company, K12 Inc., met federally mandated Adequate Yearly Progress goals, compared to 52 percent of public schools.
Students at its schools scored lower in both reading and math and had a graduation rate of only 49 percent, compared to a 79 percent average among comparable students at public schools in the 24 states where the virtual schools are located.
"Across a wide variety of school measures they do very poorly, even though their demographics looked to us like suburban schools," says the study's lead author, Gary Miron, who is also a fellow at the National Education Policy Center. "We didn't see high poverty or a lot of (English as a Second Language) students."

Seven More States, Puerto Rico and Bureau of Indian Education Request NCLB Flexibility

44 States Have Now Requested or Been Approved For Waivers; Other States Can Still Apply
US Dept. of Education Press Release SEPTEMBER 10, 2012
The Obama Administration today has received requests from seven new states, Puerto Rico and the Bureau of Indian Education for flexibility from No Child Left Behind (NCLB) in exchange for state-developed plans to prepare all students for college and career, focus aid on the neediest students, and support effective teaching and leadership.
The latest requests, filed by Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Puerto Rico, West Virginia and the Bureau of Indian Education, bring to 44 the number of states that have either requested waivers or already been approved to implement next-generation education reforms that go far beyond No Child Left Behind’s rigid, top-down prescriptions.
The 6 states that have not yet requested a waiver include: Montana, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont (request withdrawn), and Wyoming.

Politics can still work: Rhode Island's treasurer forged bipartisan pension reform

Post-Gazette By Fred Hiatt September 11, 2012 12:22 am
At the Democratic convention in Charlotte last week, a delegate from Rhode Island walked up to Gina Raimondo and said, "You cost me $300,000."
Ms. Raimondo, the state treasurer who had quarterbacked a major pension reform, steeled herself for abuse. Instead, the delegate, a retired schoolteacher and wife of another retired schoolteacher, thanked Ms. Raimondo and gave her a big hug.
"This system was going to blow up," she said. "Thank God you fixed it."

PSBA Leadership Institute Oct 16th  at the PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference in Hershey
Opportunities for engagement in your association at the regional and state levels
Target audience: PSBA liaisons, assistant regional directors, regional directors, and all school board members who want to learn, network, and get more involved in public education leadership locally, regionally and at the state level. 
When and where: Tues., Oct. 16, 2- 3:30 p.m. in Trinidad Room at the PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference in Hershey, PA
Panel of speakers: PSBA members currently serving in leadership roles at the local, region and state level.
Facilitator: Tom Gentzel, PSBA executive director
Why attend? Make the most of your membership by learning about the current and proposed governance structure of your state association and the many ways in which you can become more involved in public education leadership locally, regionally and at the state level. If you are already engaged in the work of the association, learn more about how you can enhance your role and make it most meaningful for you, your local board, region, and at the state level. You will be hearing from a panel of “experts” who are already serving in various governance positions for the association. 
Regional Cabinet Meetings/ Region “Meet and Greets” are being held in the Trinidad Room and Wild Rose A&B following the institute from 4-5:30 p.m.
Refreshments will be served and registration is free!
 To register for the Leadership Institute and Region Meetings, contact Becky Mehringer atrebecca.mehringer@psba.org by Oct. 9.
 Contact Karen Devine at karen.devine@psba.org for further information about the institute and region meetings.


Education Voters PA Statewide Advocate Leadership Session Sept. 22nd
Added by Ian Moran
Time: September 22, 2012 from 8:30am to 4:30pm
Location: Temple University Harrisburg, 234 Strawberry Square
Education Voters of Pennsylvania will be holding a day-long summit for public education advocates across the state on Saturday September 22 in Harrisburg, PA. 
With public education coming under attack on multiple levels, the goal of this event is to bring together community members who are standing up for public schools in their own communities for training, planning and coordinating statewide efforts to maximize the impact that we all have.  We'll have a chance to brush up on and learn more about key policy issues, get training on effective advocacy tools and techniques and share stories and idea about local effort and how we bring this work together in a unified way.  Breakfast and lunch will be provided.
Click HERE for more details on parking, directions, etc.

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!


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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