Sunday, October 21, 2012

Education Privatizers Gureghian, Greenberg, Dantchik continued their largesse in 2012

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 1700 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

Thank you to the 121 PA House Members who decided to Stand Up For Public Education.  If your State Rep. was one of them please thank them for their support.

If you are one of the many who tell me that you don’t have your morning coffee without that daily fix of Keystone State Education Coalition news -  thanks!
Please be advised that I will be offline on Monday, October 22nd.

Pennsylvania's 10 biggest campaign donors

They've contributed nearly $9 million to their causes since '11
Post-Gazette By Bill Heltzel / PublicSource October 21, 2012 12:07 am
Ten wealthy Pennsylvanians, including a husband supporting his wife for political office and a gay man seeking equality, contributed nearly $9 million to their favorite candidates and issues since 2011.  PublicSource, working with the Investigative News Network, identified the 10 biggest campaign contributors in the state using state and federal campaign databases.
….Most are from the eastern part of the state. Only one, Richard Mellon Scaife, is from Pittsburgh.  Mr. Scaife, the owner of Trib Total Media, is an heir to the Mellon banking and industrial fortune, with an estimated net worth of $1.3 billion, according to Forbes magazine, which lists the richest Americans each year. He is known for supporting conservative and libertarian causes, and this year he is funding pro-Mitt Romney committees.
……Charter school management executive Vahan Gureghian gave $132,035 to the Montgomery County Republican Committee and $110,000 to the Republican Committee of Lower Merion and Narberth.
Joel Greenberg and Arthur Dantchik are partners in Susquehanna International Group, which has used lessons from poker to build a successful broker-dealer firm. The two men spent $446,000 on groups that support vouchers for private schools such as charter schools. In 2010 their Students First political action committee contributed $4.9 million to pro-voucher gubernatorial candidate Anthony Williams, who lost in the Democratic primary election.

Capitolwire: Unions, school boards and House GOP uproar derail charter school reform.
By Peter L. DeCoursey & Kevin Zwick Staff Writers Capitolwire, October 18, 2012
HARRISBURG (Oct. 18) – A deal between Republican legislative leaders and Gov. Tom Corbett to pass a compromise charter reform bill fell apart Wednesday due to suspicions by members of House GOP leaders and aggressive lobbying by education groups.
Administration officials and Senate GOP leaders were at a loss to explain what had happened.

EDITORIAL: Education should be Legislature’s top priority

Now that our illustrious state Legislature has completed its final three-day session before breaking so they can all concentrate on getting re-elected, it might be a good time to a look at what they accomplished.

The Campaign for Our Public Schools: What You Need to Do Now

Diane Ravitch’s Blog October 20, 2012 
The Campaign for Our Public Schools was a spontaneous effort to gather the candid views of educators, parents, students, and concerned citizens about the state of public education policy today. On October 3, everyone reading this blog was invited to write a letter to President Obama expressing their ideas.
In a brief, two-week period, nearly 400 letters were submitted. There were many that were eloquent, many that were heartfelt, many written from personal experience.
No one was paid to solicit letter-writers or to write letters. No one who worked to bring the letters together was paid. This was an earnest and completely volunteer to carry the views of concerned citizens to the President.
Not a single letter of those submitted expressed support for high-stakes testing or for the policies of No Child Left Behind or the Race to the Top.
It was easy for me to ask readers to write letters. Once they began to arrive, I would have been lost without the providential intervention of Anthony Cody, who offered to collect them, bring them together in one place, have them printed, and ship them to the White House. Robert Valiant offered to create a file for the letters.
In short, dear friends, collating and compiling your letters into a single volume would not have been possible without the kindness of strangers. The volume was created by a new community–a community of cyber-friends–and it now exists as a document.
All of the letters that arrived by the end of the day on October 17 are now a pdf file of 430 pages. They may be found here.

A Binder Full of Bad Ideas

Posted: 10/20/2012 4:18 pm
Earlier this year at a roundtable discussion in Colorado, Mitt Romney was talking about education -- extolling the virtues of private schools and vouchers, and criticizing public schools and teachers unions. When a teacher participating in the discussion tried to offer her perspective, Romney shot back: "I didn't ask you a question."
But teachers, like many other Americans, have questions about Romney's policies and proposals. They worry about their impact on the education that kids receive, because he advocates slashing education funding and privatizing public education.

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