Saturday, September 1, 2012

When Pennsylvanians Went to White House

Middle-class American students who attend well-funded schools rank at the top of the world on international tests. Stephen Krashen, professor emeritus of the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California August 12, 2012 

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 1600 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
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When Pennsylvanians Went to White House

Diane Ravitch’s Blog September 1, 2012

From the Yinzercation Blog


The Elephant at the White House

— AUGUST 31, 2012
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).  The room contained district superintendents, school board members, principals, college presidents, education professors, representatives from a host of education associations, a super-PAC school privatizer, educational consultants, and various non-profit directors. And one elephant.

Here’s the link to the Yinzercation Blog and a list of the White House, US Dept. of Education and DHHS personnel who participated in the forum:
White House policy advisors and USDE/DHHS senior staff participants:
Kyle Lierman, White House Office of Public Engagement
Roberto Rodriguez, Special Assistant to the President for Education Policy
David Bergeron, Acting Assistant Secretary, USDE
Miriam Calderon, Senior Advisor, White House Domestic Policy Council
Lexi Barret, Senior Policy Advisor, White House Domestic Policy Council
Richard Gonzales, Senior Advisor for Early Childhood Development and Education, US Dept. of Health and Human Services
Massie Ritsch, Deputy Assistant Secretary for External Affairs and Outreach, USDE
Deborah Delisle, Assistant Secretary, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, USDE
Brenda Girton-Mitchell, Office of the Secretary, Director, Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, USDE
Brenda Dann-Messier, Assistant Secretary, Office of Vocational and Adult EducationUSDE
Steven HicksSpecial Assistant for Early Learning, USDE
Betsy Shelton, Director of Public Engagement, USDE

“What seems to be underappreciated in this country is how actively the Asian systems are trying to embrace the values and outcomes that we appear to be so willing to abandon: specifically, the American penchant for promoting creativity, individualism, innovation, and nonconformity. In other words, for developing and nurturing the diverse talent that can result from an ethos of coloring outside the lines.”
February 5, 2012
U.S. Education in Chinese Lock Step? Bad Move.
Jon Krause for The Chronicle of Higher Education
By Brian P. Coppola and Yong Zhao
The education systems in China and the United States not only are headed in opposite directions, but are aiming at exactly what the other system is trying to give up.
In the United States, through programs such as No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, as well as calls for more standardization and accountability in higher education, we are embracing the sort of regimented, uniform, standards-based, and test-driven education that has dominated Asian education systems for thousands of years.
What seems to be underappreciated in this country is how actively the Asian systems are trying to embrace the values and outcomes that we appear to be so willing to abandon: specifically, the American penchant for promoting creativity, individualism, innovation, and nonconformity. In other words, for developing and nurturing the diverse talent that can result from an ethos of coloring outside the lines.

This year, it’s Philly charter schools’ turn to wrestle with budget cuts
By Benjamin Herold for NewsWorks, a Notebook news partner Aug 30 2012
Like a hurricane predictably making its way up the coast, the financial storm that battered the Philadelphia School District last year is now taking its toll on the city’s 80 charter schools.
Some charter leaders are now speaking out about the damage.
In the wake of a billion-dollar drop in state funding over the past two years and the hundreds of millions in District cuts that followed, all of Philadelphia’s charters were hit this year with a more than 7 percent reduction in the per-pupil payment that sustains them. That comes out to roughly $700 per child, or a loss of about $400,000 for a typical school of 600 students.

Charters still growing, still have naysayers
Charter schools are public schools, meaning they are funded by public money and cannot discriminate on the basis of race or religion.   The number of charter schools in Philadelphia has grown dramatically since the state first authorized them with the Pennsylvania Charter School Law in 1997. Almost a quarter (23.8 percent) of Philadelphia public-school students attended charter schools in the 2011-2012 school year. If present trends continue, that proportion could reach 40 percent in five years, according to a recently released study by Boston Consulting Group. 

Seniors now outnumber students in more than 900 counties across the U.S., Census data show

Education Week By Sarah D. Sparks August 28,2012
The 1,000-student Allegheny Valley district in Pennsylvania boasts generations of alumni and a community so involved with the schools that high school graduation becomes an open celebration in downtown Springdale Borough. Yet the district hasn't asked for a tax increase in three years, and it is pushing out a message to older residents about energy conservation, equipment reuse, and other cost savings.

No conclusive achievement difference in voucher, MPS schools
By Jim McLaughlin of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Aug. 30, 2012
A five-year longitudinal study found students in voucher schools on average improved slightly more on state tests than those in Milwaukee Public Schools. But a state audit of the study released Thursday said no conclusion could be reached on voucher schools' impact on test scores because of a recent change in test data reporting requirements.

Early Childhood Education: In This World Ranking, We Are #24

Diane Ravitch’s Blog August 31, 2012 //
The survey establishes the importance of early childhood education, which is supported by extensive research.  It says: “This Index assumes that all children, regardless of their background, legal status and ability to pay, have a right to affordable, quality preschool provision.”
Then, it ranks 45 nations by their provision of early childhood education.
The United States is #24, tied with the United Arab Emirates.

Our First Hero Superintendent

Diane Ravitch’s Blog August 31, 2012 
John Kuhn, superintendent of the Perrin-Whitt Independent School District in Texas,  is a hero superintendent. He has been a voice of reason and at the same time an exemplar of passion and courage since he burst onto the national stage a year ago at the national Save Our Schools rally in Washington, D.C. 
That is when many people discovered this fearless advocate for education and children.
He has said loud and clear that schools must serve the neediest children and raise them up, not avoid them for fear of dragging down the school’s ranking and scores.
He has taken to the national arena to oppose high-stakes testing.

Jeb Bush Sells School Choice at GOP Convention

 Sean Cavanagh  
School choice, along with most other education issues, has spent a lot of time on the sidelines during a Republican National Convention dominated by economic themes. But for a slice of prime-time television last night, Jeb Bush was able to push his vision of choice into the spotlight.
The former two-term Florida governor spoke on the final night of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.

Weekly Update: Come aboard as Education Drives America 

The Department’s “Education Drives America” back-to-school bus tour is less than two weeks away. In the coming week, details of each event will be released. To stay connected on all things bus tour, sign up for Education Drives America email updates. You might also find the following updates useful:
·         Engaging Families - A quarterly newsletter encouraging support of family engagement to improve student achievement.
·         Office of Early Learning - Keep up to date on information that is relevant to programs and activities serving children birth through 3rd grade.
·         Teaching Matters - A periodic newsletter created by teachers at ED, celebrating teachers and the teaching profession.

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.

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