Saturday, September 29, 2012

Our Failing Public Schools

Education Voters PA County Legislative Guides Available

Great resource – for each county they list your state senators and state representatives along with their contact information, committee assignments and the school districts that they represent.
A full list of legislative guides can be viewed and downloaded HERE:

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 1650 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers, PTO/PTA officers, teacher leaders, members of the press and a broad array of P-16 education advocacy organizations via emails, website, Facebook and Twitter.

These daily emails are archived at
Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg

“Mr. Tomalis said "well over 100" disciplinary complaints will be filed against public education officials over the cheating issue. There were more than 148,500 professional personnel -- including administrators and teachers -- in Pennsylvania last school year.
Test scores analyst challenges interpretation of panel findings

State's presentation made assessment appear conclusive
By Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette September 29, 2012 12:14 am
When state Education Secretary Ron Tomalis issued statewide test scores last week, he noted that a technical advisory committee had analyzed three possible reasons for drops in student performance: funding, changes in test content and tighter test security.
But the head of the committee of outside testing experts says it didn't analyze funding. Nor was the committee's analysis quite as conclusive as it appeared in the secretary's PowerPoint and comments.

Posted: Fri, Sep. 28, 2012, 6:49 AM
Parents from two charters urge SRC to keep schools open
By Martha Woodall and Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writers
Parents from two charter schools whose founder and former top administrators are under federal indictment urged the Philadelphia School Reform Commission on Thursday to keep their schools open.  "We want our school to continue with a new administration," said Noel Bauman, who has three sons at Planet Abacus Charter School. "There is no other way for our school to continue without that happening."

Gil Spencer is known for his” take no prisoners” approach as a Delco Times staff commentary columnist.
SPENCER: No excuse for a failing education system
Published: Friday, September 28, 2012
Delco Times Opinion By GIL SPENCER
The state’s education establishment is still smarting from last week’s release of standardized test scores that show student performance getting worse instead of better.
Across the state, test results showed one in four Keystone State kids are not up to snuff in math, while three in 10 cannot read at grade level. Only 60 percent of our 500 school districts made “Adequate Yearly Progress” as defined by our education experts (compared to nearly 90 percent last year).
In Delaware County, over half our school districts failed the AYP test.
Of course, public education activists and union leaders had a ready excuse for this failure: Money.

Our Failing Public Schools
Here's my response to his commentary:
Hey Gil –
Nice seeing you again at Live from the Newsroom the other day.
Priya is certainly entitled to her opinion.  Here’s another:

Friday Morning Coffee: Official says Ed Sec'y Tomalis overstated cheating.
Capitol Ideas Blog by John Micek September 28, 2012
Good Friday Morning Fellow Seekers.
The chairwoman of an advisory group is disputing Pennsylvania Education Secretary Ron Tomalis' claim that his efforts to stop cheating had caused a statewide drop in standardized test scores, our Mothership colleague Steve Esack reports this morning.

NSBA creates Action Center to boost lobbying and advocacy in Washington
NSBA Joetta Sack-Min|September 28th, 2012
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) has launched the National School Boards Action Center (NSBAC), a 501(c)(4) organization that will enable NSBA to expand its advocacy efforts and to increase its lobbying to include public advocacy activities not previously available. NSBAC is also designed to serve local school board members as an important resource for grassroots advocacy and for information on the political process and candidates.
Although NSBAC will not endorse specific candidates, it will analyze information and identify differences among the political candidate positions so that local school board members will be able to determine what candidates best serve the interests of our public school students.
As part of its mission to raise awareness of school boards’ top issues to candidates for federal offices, NSBAC has released an analysis of President Obama’s and Gov. Mitt Romney’s K-12 proposals. For more information, go to

Building One Pennsylvania 2012 Statewide Public Meeting
Promoting sustainable, inclusive and economically prosperous communities
Saturday, October 13, 2012 10 am to 11:30 a.m.  (doors open at 9:30 for registration)
Franklin Commons, 400 Franklin Avenue, Phoenixville, PA
Declining local tax bases, aging infrastructure, unfair state and federal policies are undermining our communities. It's time to stand together to support our diverse, middle class communities.
Join local elected, faith and civic leaders from across Pennsylvania for a public meeting to call on state and national policy-makers to act on bi-partisan solutions to the pressing problems impacting our communities.  
·         Reduce our local property tax burdens  
·         Invest in our schools  
·         Redevelop our infrastructure while creating local jobs 
·         Promote more balanced housing markets 
 The event is free but you must register in advance to reserve your seat. Register at or by emailing name, title, organizational affiliation, address, phone and email to   To defray the cost of the event, we are accepting donations. Suggested donation: $5-$10. 

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!

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