Monday, September 3, 2012

Our failing public schools: 104 of 141 members of JPL’s Mars team graduated from public schools

U.S. 15-year olds in schools with fewer than 10 percent of kids eligible for free or cut-rate lunch "score first in the world in reading, outperforming even the famously excellent Finns."  U.S. schools where fewer than 25 percent are impoverished (by the same lunch measure) beat all 34 of the relatively affluent countries studied except South Korea and Finland.

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 1650 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
Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg

Our failing public schools: 104 of 141 members of JPL’s Mars team graduated from public schools
“The overwhelming proportion of the Mars exploration team came from America's public high schools. A JPL website, "Zip code Mars," carries brief bios of the Mars team. When this article was written, 141 names were posted.  Of those, 104 graduated from public high schools.”
Our public schools still launch Earth's best, brightest thinkers
Los Angeles Daily News By Ralph E. Shaffer Posted:   09/01/2012 04:49:46 PM PDT
CRITICS of American education ought to be holding their tongues these days. The almost unbelievable success of the Curiosity mission to Mars should have silenced them.
But despite the brilliant achievement of America's space pioneers, the uninformed and opportunistic continue to make our public school system a whipping boy. That they are wrong is demonstrated by the educational background of the engineers and scientists at the Jet Propulsion Lab in La Ca ada Flintridge - men and women who built Curiosity and landed it on Mars. Their efforts convincingly demonstrate that America's public schools still nurture Earth's finest minds.
The critics won't be interested, for the facts interfere with their agenda. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, in his keynote speech to the Republican convention last week, charged that American education is not competitive with the rest of the world. Without saying it, Christie was comparing America's Olympic medal collection to what he believes is our dismal performance in educating our children.
However, if the space race was an Olympic competition, the team at JPL would have won more gold, silver and bronze than the rest of the nations combined.  The overwhelming proportion of the Mars exploration team came from America's public high schools. A JPL website, "Zip code Mars," carries brief bios of the Mars team. When this article was written, 141 names were posted.  Of those, 104 graduated from public high schools.


When Pennsylvanians Went to White House

Notes from August 30th meeting at the White House and links to additional weekend postings
So there we were at the White House. Forty “education leaders” from Pennsylvania invited to meet with President Obama’s senior policy advisors as well as top staff at the U.S. Department of Education (USDE).

Posted: Mon, Sep. 3, 2012, 3:01 AM
EITC 2.0: Pa. tax credit aid for schools off to a slow start
By Dan Hardy Inquirer Staff Writer
Gov. Corbett's education agenda and Pennsylvania's school-choice movement got a big boost in late June when the legislature targeted up to $50 million in business-tax credits to help students living near low-achieving public schools attend private schools or public schools in other districts.
But the new Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program has gotten off to a slow start. As most schools prepare to open this week, only $10 million in tax credits have been snapped up by businesses.


Posted: Mon, Sep. 3, 2012, 5:55 AM

PhilaSoup gives teachers a chance to share ideas

By Kristen A. Graham Inquirer Staff Writer

In a pretty garden set against the city skyline, a spirited cadre of young educators sipped donated wine from plastic cups and talked about the big things:

How to change young peoples' lives and connect with their families.

How tough it is to be a new teacher, and how isolating being in a classroom can feel.

How, regardless of what else is happening in the world - budget cuts, violence, widespread mistrust of educators - their job is to show up every day and give their all.

Joe Bruni is a champion for kids in an inner ring Philadelphia suburb with a declining tax base, 98% minority/85% poverty student population.

A Superintendent in Pennsylvania Joins the Honor Roll

Diane Ravitch’s Blog September 2, 2012
To the honor roll of superintendents who stand up for public education and their students and communities, I add the name of Joe Bruni, superintendent of the William Penn School District in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania.  He was nominated by Charlotte Hummel, who was president of the local school board.

Ask Obama, Romney How To Help Every Kid Complete High School
Huffington Post by Tony Smith, Ph.D.Superintendent, Oakland Unified School District
Posted: 09/01/2012 3:27 pm
Now that the presidential campaign is entering the home stretch, I'll 'fess up to my own fantasy.
I'd like to ask President Obama and Mitt Romney a question about education on one of their nationally televised debates.
In the three nationally televised debates during the fall of 2008, there was only one question about education, and it was the final question in the final debate. This time, I'd like to ask President Obama and Governor Romney: How would you make sure that every young person graduates from high school, ready for college and career?

Reverse the cuts to early education funding

Published: Sunday, September 02, 2012, 1:31 AM
Patriot News By Letters to the Editor 
Kent Chrisman is Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education in the Teacher Education Department at Shippensburg University.
In the 2011-12 budget, funding for TEACH scholarships were cut from the budget. This cut affected hundreds of child care providers who relied on these funds to further their education in child development, family engagement, early literacy, math, science, etc.
There will be long-term consequences to maintaining quality in child care if this funding continues to be eliminated. Ongoing professional development is one of the components, identified in research, as essential for effective early education.

Cyber charters in Pennsylvania growing despite issues

First of a three-part series covering cyber schools in the Pittsburgh area
By Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette September 2, 2012 12:07 am
In the fall of 2000, the Pittsburgh area was introduced to a new, though largely unwelcome, educational venue when Western Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School opened, allowing students to attend school online from home.
That statewide school -- now known as Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School and based in Midland, Beaver County -- attracted 505 students, and another cyber charter, Susq-Cyber, more localized around Bloomsburg, Columbia County, enrolled 77.
This fall, enrollment in 16 cyber charter schools -- including four new ones -- is expected to grow beyond last year's 32,000, demonstrating the increasing popularity of online education among families of children in grades K-12.

Franklin Park home is a cyber schoolhouse
First (Second?) of a three-part series covering cyber schools in the Pittsburgh area
By Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette September 3, 2012 12:18 am
On weekday mornings, school buses transporting neighborhood children to North Allegheny schools rumble up and down the Franklin Park street where the family of Jill and Rick Buffalini lives.  Instead of scrambling for buses, the Buffalini children sit comfortably with laptop computers inside their home, already deep into their school work for the day.


What's A Charter School If Not A Game Changer?

Listen to the Story Weekend Edition Saturday [6 min 17 sec]

September 1, 2012
The charter school movement is now at a crossroads. More than 2 million students will be enrolled in charter schools in the fall — a big number for a movement that's barely 20 years old. The publicly funded, privately run schools have spread so fast, they operate more like a parallel school system in some places.
The intention was to create labs for education experimentation. But the quality of charters and their record of success are mixed. Sometimes, the results aren't much different from their public counterparts. Original arguments against the business model have never dissipated, and now there are questions about whether charters are serving their initial purpose.

Quality and Equity in Finnish Schools
A Finnish education ambassador shares how his country’s school system ensures all students have access to quality instruction, sans constant testing
School Administrator September 2012 BY PASI SAHLBERG 
My work for the Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation at the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture allows me to visit schools around the world. Based on those visits, I have concluded that schools everywhere vary little with regard to the subjects they teach, the classrooms where students learn and the students’ opinions about school.
Schools do differ significantly in one area, however: the way they address the inequalities and diversity their students bring to school. 
I recently visited the Hiidenkivi Comprehensive School in Helsinki, Finland, to see how the educators provide special education. It is a typical suburban public school that serves 760 students in grades 1-9. More than 10 percent are from immigrant-background homes.

School Finance 101 Blog by Bruce Baker
Data and thoughts on public and private school funding in the U.S.

If you have received an absentee ballot it must be postmarked by September 10th
Bios of candidates slated for 2013 PSBA offices 8/15/2012
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.

Upcoming PSBA Professional Development Opportunities
To register or to learn more about PSBA professional development programs please visit:

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 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.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.