Thursday, September 27, 2012

PA Cyber Charter PSSA AYP 2005 - 2012. Of 12 PA cyber charters only 1 made AYP for 2012; only 2 made AYP for 2011, while 8 were in corrective action status. Pennsylvania has authorized four new cyber charters that are scheduled to open this year.

“Tuition free online public schools” are not free.
They take significantly more of your local tax dollars than it costs them to educate their students, accumulating large balances of excess funds, spending your local tax dollars on advertising and corporate bonuses while achieving lackluster academic results.  Only one of 12 Pennsylvania cyber charter schools made AYP for 2012.  Most have never made AYP.

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

PA Cyber Charter PSSA AYP 2005 - 2012 from PDE
Updated September 26, 2012
Of 12 PA cyber charters only 1 made AYP for 2012; only 2 made AYP for 2011, while 8 were in corrective action status.  Pennsylvania has authorized four new cyber charters that are scheduled to open this year.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett bombing public education into Stone Age
Allentown Morning Call Opinion by Bill White 7:17 p.m. EDT, September 26, 2012
The late Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay once famously proclaimed, "We should bomb Vietnam back into the Stone Age."  He'll never say it quite so colorfully, but I would argue that Gov. Tom Corbett is engaged in bombing public education in Pennsylvania into the Stone Age, and doing a pretty darned good job of it.
I've been trying for weeks to come up with a good vehicle for writing a satirical column on Corbett, his state budget cuts for education, Pennsylvania's charter school mess, dropping test scores and other manifestations of his carpet-bombing campaign. I've discovered that the reality of what is happening to public education in Pennsylvania is wackier than anything I could make up.

These legislative guides from Education Voters PA are a 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.
Education Voters PA  September 26, 2012

Education Voters PA County Legislative Guides Available

Dear Friends and Allies,
We have now created, and have made available on our website, Legislative Guides for all of Pennsylvania's 67 counties!  These Legislative Guides can be extremely helpful tools in engaging your constituents around legislative education advocacy.  They include pictures, contact information (local and Harrisburg offices), committee appointments and a list of school districts within each legislative district.
Please feel free to share this resource with your networks and email lists and post on your social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.).  We'd like as many people as possible to have access to this information, because after all, the more people know how to communicate with policymakers the more they will, and the closer we'll come to our shared goal of providing a quality education for every child in Pennsylvania!  Please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments.
A full list of legislative guides can be viewed and downloaded HERE:

Philly District: Closings could mean end of neighborhood assignment, middle schools
thenotebook on Sep 25 2012 By Benjamin Herold for NewsWorks, a Notebook news partner
In order to close up to one-fifth of the city's traditional public schools by the fall of 2013, Philadelphia District officials are considering some dramatic steps, including a move away from assigning students to schools based on their home address.
Also on the table are eliminating traditional middle schools and closing some poor-performing schools located in adequate facilities in order to preserve stronger academic programs elsewhere. All told, as many as 57 schools could be shuttered over the next few years.

Philly district seeks input on which schools to close
By Kristen A. Graham Inquirer Staff Writer Posted: Wed, Sep. 26, 2012, 8:05 AM
The Philadelphia School District is preparing to close roughly 40 schools in June, and officials want your opinion on how they should pick which ones to shutter.

Missed the Delco Times Live from the Newsroom webcast  tackling the trouble with PSSA numbers? Here is the replay

School districts around the state get hammered this time of year when the PSSA numbers come through.  What are the solutions to using standardized testing to measure how students are progressing? Are these tests culturally biased?
We welcomed Upper Darby Assistant Superintendent Dan McGarry and Haverford School Board member Larry Feinberg and Liam Carey, a student at Haverford Middle School, to the big table to talk all things PSSA.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 26, 2012 
Contact:Anne E. Casey Foundation Sue Lin Chong

Child Poverty Rates Increase in 44 of 50 Largest U.S. Cities Between 2005 and 2011

New American Community Survey data available in the Annie E. Casey Foundation's KIDS COUNT Data Center
BALTIMORE – The 2011 American Community Survey (ACS) data show an increase in the rate of children living in poverty in the United States between 2005 and 2011. Among the 50 largest U.S. cities, 44 experienced increases in child poverty rates. Detroit, Cleveland, Miami, Milwaukee and Memphis, Tenn., had the highest rates of children living in poverty, while Virginia Beach, Va., San Jose, Calif., San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego, Mesa, Ariz., and Colorado Springs, Colo. had the lowest rates, according to an analysis by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Population Reference Bureau.
Over the same period, the national percentage of children living in poverty — or below 100 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) — rose from 19 to 23 percent, or an increase of about 3 million children from 2005 to 2011. The 2011 federal poverty level was about $23,000 for a family of four.

Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 09/26/2012

A people’s education platform

Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss
With the presidential election approaching and the recent Chicago teachers strike, it seems like a good time for the following post, a “people’s platform” for education, or what Americans really want from their public schools. It was written by Nancy Flanagan, an education consultant and blogger at Education Week Teacher, and Don Bartalo, a retired superintendent who now works as an instructional coach and is also an author.

Are the untested Common Core Standards an homage to Soviet style central planning?
Who’s backing the standards push?  The Gates Foundation is funding common core parent outreach; the Walton Foundation is funding press coverage of “parent empowerment issues”

COMMON CORE: Standards Backers Seek Out Support of Parents

Education Week By Sean Cavanagh Published Online: September 25, 2012
Backers of the common-core academic standards have worked for years to secure the support of a diverse collection of elected officials, academic scholars, and school employees. Now they're ramping up efforts to court a different and potentially critically important audience: parents.
A number of national organizations are churning out written and online materials, videos, and even public service announcements aimed at explaining the Common Core State Standards to parents, in plain language, and building support for the new guidelines, which have been adopted by 46 states and the District of Columbia.

With this huge uniform national Common Core market we can re-brand those laid-off Dell tech support workers in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chandigarh and Gurgaon as “Common Core Content Associates” put them under contract to Walmart and give them all the online scripts that they will need to coach our students….heck, we won’t even need teachers…

COMMON CORE: Preparing for Common Core, Firm Acquires School Improvement Companies

 Jason Tomassini  
Schools aren't the only entities gearing up for the Common Core State Standards. Weld North, a private equity firm founded by a former Kaplan executive, purchased two school-improvement and professional-development companies, Editure and JBHM Education Group, the company announced Monday. The deal, worth around $50 million and for a 100 percent stake in each company, will create a national school consulting group that will compete for an increasing flow of money dedicated to school improvement and preparation for the Common Core State Standards adopted by all but four states.

NPR’s Movie Review: 'Won't Back Down' Takes A Too-Easy Way Out Movie Review  by ELLA TAYLOR September 26, 2012
……All cynicism aside, the movie taps a rich vein of accumulated public frustration at the continued failure of government to provide decent access to public schools for all American children. Aside from religion itself, no subject lends itself more to arm-waving entrenched positions than education. And perhaps a movie aimed at a mainstream audience can't help but distill the discussion into culture-war sound bites.
For all its strenuous feints at fair play, though,Won't Back Down is something less honorable — a propaganda piece with blame on its mind. Directed with reasonable competence by Daniel Barnz from a speechifying screenplay he co-wrote with Brin Hill, the movie is funded by Walden Media, a company owned by conservative mogul Philip Anschutz, who advocates creationist curricula in schools. Walden also co-produced the controversial pro-charter school documentaryWaiting for Superman, so the outfit is not without axes to grind.
…..But if you were to wave a magic wand that replaced unions and bureaucrats with a rainbow coalition of local parents and educators coming together to create the kind of school they want, the result would be chaos, not to mention an end to the tattered remains of our common culture

In Texas, Hudson ISD embracing a new vision
By MARY ANN WHITEKER/For The Lufkin News September 12, 2012 1:15 am
Hudson ISD has embraced a “New Vision” for the district. This vision will focus on five key goals: digital learning, 21st century learning standards (academic and career), multiple forms of assessment, accountability that is not focused on one state test, and transforming our school into a 21st century learning organization.
We will no longer purchase banners or plaques that imply we are a state recognized or exemplary campus based on one state mandated test! Parents will not see STAAR worksheets or test preparation materials. Teachers will not be referencing the tests in their classrooms. Rigor, purpose, interest, talent, creativity, problem solving, innovation, real-world application, digital access, collaboration will transform classrooms into centers that promote students owning their learning rather than learning for a test!

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. 

Public Forum in Delaware County: What State and Federal Budget Changes Mean for DelCo Service Providers
Thursday, Sept. 27th at 1pm Media Borough Hall Community Center; 3rd & Jackson, Media, PA
The SEPA Budget Coalition will join with Family and Community Service of Delaware County and PathWays PA to host a forum on the state and federal budgets.   Experts from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center will offer a look ahead.  Congress faces dramatic budget choices that will have a deep impact on our ability to provide services DelCo families depend on.  Governor Corbett is also at a choice point, and there are some signs of a course correction in PA this coming year.  Please RSVP for the forum:
Click here to RSVP.

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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