Thursday, October 25, 2012

No evidence that common core standards or test-based incentives lead to better education for our kids.

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

Today, there is only 1 book for every 300 children living in poverty in the U.S.

Sixty-one percent of low income families have zero books in their households.

In Philadelphia, 83% of schools do not have a library staffed by a certified librarian.  It is now common for a Philadelphia public school student to go through elementary and middle school without ever having access to a certified school librarian.


AP: Critics say Pennsylvania charter school officials inflated their results
Patriot News By Kathy Matheson The Associated Press  on October 25, 2012 at 12:00 AM
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Pennsylvania education officials have asked to measure charter school achievement by a different yardstick than traditional schools, a standard that critics say inflates the success of charters for political reasons.  And while federal officials have not yet approved the request, Pennsylvania has begun using the new standard anyway.
Charter school supporters are championing the change, which this year led to about 59 percent of charters meeting the federal benchmark known as "adequate yearly progress." The ratio for public schools overall was 50 percent. Without the change, only 37 percent of charters would have made the AYP benchmark.
Some public education advocates characterize the request as a stealth move by the state, favoring the charter lobby that supports Republican Gov. Tom Corbett.
"The administration seems to be doing whatever it can to present results in a fashion that facilitate their agenda," said Lawrence Feinberg, founder of the Keystone State Education Coalition.

Libraries (and Librarians) Matter
Yinzercation Blog — OCTOBER 24, 2012
First the good news: Today is the day to celebrate our Manchester Miracle! Just a few weeks ago, Pittsburgh Manchester preK-8 had only 40 books in the fiction section of its library. Now, because of the incredible response of the networks we have built together through this grassroots public education movement, those bare shelves are teeming with books. And because the local community embraced this effort, the Manchester school library now has completely new paint, carpeting, lighting, furniture, circulation desk, and even student computers. The new space will be unveiled today at a ceremony open to the public at 3PM (1612 Manhattan Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15233)…….
……And so the not-so-good-news: Here in Pittsburgh, only 14 out of 51 schools currently have a full time librarian. Most of the district’s librarians have five schools assigned to them, which means that students are only getting a professional librarian at their school one day per week. 

State's inaction frustrates Duquesne schools community
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
By Mary Niederberger, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
It's been four weeks since the state board of control overseeing the Duquesne City School District notified the state Department of Education that it would not oppose the department's decision to place it in a preliminary financial recovery status.
But no further action has been taken to name a chief recovery officer, who, under new state legislation, would be charged with coming up with a financial recovery plan for the district that could include converting it to a charter school or sending the K-6 students who remain in the district to neighboring districts on a tuition basis.
That fact brought out great frustrations at the Tuesday board of control meeting, where members of the elected and state-appointed boards, residents and the president of the teachers union decried the lack of action and information coming from Harrisburg.

Pittsburgh schools superintendent Linda Lane turns down pay raise

October 24, 2012 7:50 pm
By Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Linda Lane tonight turned down a pay raise again.
For calendar 2012, Ms. Lane was awarded a $15,000 pay increase, but she declined it and her pay remained at $200,000. For calendar 2013, she was offered an additional raise of $5,000, which would have brought her pay to $220,000. However, she declined that as well, so she will be paid $200,000 for 2013.
Over the two years, she has given up $35,000 in pay.

Haverford discusses charter school bill
Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Delco Daily Times By LOIS PUGLIONESI Times Correspondent
HAVERFORD — A controversial charter school reform bill is dead, at least for now, Haverford School Board Director and legislative liaison Larry Feinberg reported at a recent meeting.
Although an amended version of Senate Bill 1115 passed 33-16 in the state Senate during the last week of the legislative session, the Republican caucus was not able to muster enough support in the House the following day to call a vote, Feinberg said.

The common core has not by any means been a “voluntary national movement”.
Adoption of the common core was used by the Obama administration as a condition for states to qualify for NCLB waivers.  Where I come from we call that coercion.
Furthermore, there is no evidence showing that common standards will improve academic performance.
Lastly, and not incidentally, who is going to pay for the implementation of these standards – training, new curriculum materials, new text books, etc.?

Education poll finds few voters know of common core standards that Pa. schools are required to implement next year

By JAN MURPHY, The Patriot-News on October 23, 2012
Pennsylvania public schools are less than nine months away from a mandate to implement common core standards but a poll of 600 Pennsylvania voters shows only 20 percent of people know what they are.
The common core standards come out of a voluntary national movement to align the learning requirements at every grade level across the states. The standards are expected to ensure students leave high school ready for college or the workplace, and are hailed by businesses as a way to make the country more globally competitive.

Yong Zhao to Commissioner King in NY: There Is No Evidence to Support Common Core

Diane Ravitch’s Blog October 24, 2012 
As readers of this blog know, I am agnostic about the Common Core standards, because they have never been tried anywhere.  We don’t know whether they will improve academic learning, whether they will increase the achievement gap, whether they will make any difference.

No evidence that common core standards or test-based incentives lead to better education for our kids.

Is There Evidence to Support the Common Core: My Questions to New York Education Commissioner King

By Yong Zhao 7 OCTOBER 2012
A number of people have asked me about my brief encounter with New York Commissioner John King at the NYSCOSS Fall Leadership Summit on September 24, 2012. Here is my recollection.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the honor to listen to New York Education Commissioner Dr. John B. King, Jr. at the 2012 Fall Leadership Summit New York State Council of School Superintendents(NYSCOSS) in Saratoga Springs. Addressing a standing-room only audience of NY school leaders, Dr. King covered a wide range of topics from the Common Core to APPR to data-driven instruction to vocational and technical Education to equity and equality as elements of his vision for the next five to 10 years in NY education (watch his presentation).
I was very touched by his conviction to equity. He passionately spoke of the moral responsibility our nation has for providing excellent education to all students. “All students are entitled to equal educational opportunities,” said King and we must recognize the “wisdom of investing in all young people.” Cannot agree more!
But I am skeptical of his faith in the Common Core and test-score based teacher and principal evaluation as a way to bring equal opportunities to all students and make all young people globally competitive.

This combination of Tom Gentzel and Marie Bilik will provide a very strong and experienced public school advocacy presence at the national level.
NJSBA director named Chief Operating Officer of NSBA
NSBA’s School Board News Today by Joetta Sack-Min October 24, 2012
Marie S. Bilik will join the National School Boards Association (NSBA) as its Chief Operating Officer in December, incoming Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel has announced. Bilik is retiring as the executive director of the New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA).

How the world’s longest-running school voucher program fared

 Though Gov. Mitt Romney and President Obama agree on some education issues, there are important differences, including the extent of federal involvement in local school issues and voucher programs. Romney supports the use of tax money to pay for tuition at private schools, including religious schools, while President Obama opposes vouchers, saying that public dollars should be used to improve public schools. Here is a new look at the world’s longest-running and most heavily researched voucher program, in Chile, written by Michael Pons, a Colorado based policy analyst who spent 25 years reading voucher studies

Sequestration: Fiscal cliff approaches and concerns mount

The Hill On the Money Blog By Ian Swanson - 10/24/12 05:00 AM ET
Economists, budget hawks and business groups are growing more and more concerned that Washington will allow the nation to go over the fiscal cliff by doing nothing to prevent looming spending cuts and tax increases.
Earlier this year it seemed impossible that Congress could allow the nation to slip over the cliff, given predictions it could spark a new recession, and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has repeatedly warned lawmakers of dire economic consequences. 
In Monday’s debate, President Obama said automatic spending cuts would not happen.
Yet two weeks before a presidential election that is razor-close, there is new skepticism that any deal will be reached in lame-duck Washington

Teach for America’s Deep Bench

The education nonprofit is also training the next generation of politicians, who have very specific ideas on school reform.
“Is this our Egypt moment? Will we seize the moment?”
Former New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein spoke those words at Teach for America’s 20th anniversary summit last summer. Coming fromKlein, who is now a divisional leader at Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, incitements to political uprising might raise some eyebrows. But at the summit for the nonprofit, which recruits college graduates to be teachers in poor school districts around the country, Klein was onto something that Nicholas Kristof and Thomas Friedman have ignored in their eight pro-TFA columns: behind the veil of well-fundeddebate-worthy idealism, TFA is coordinating a political revolution.

You Are Invited to Attend
"Erie Region Breakfast Series" Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Continental Breakfast - 8:00 a.m. Program - 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.  
 Ambassador Center (I-90 & Peach Streets in Erie, next to the Courtyard by Marriott)
Sponsored by the Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children and The Education Policy and Leadership Center
Why Investing in Early Education Matters, Even in These Difficult Economic Times
Ron Cowell, President, The Education Policy and Leadership Center
Diane Robbins, Principal, Early Childhood Learning Center, Titusville Area School District
Jill Simmons, Vice President, Early Care and School-Age Enrichment, Greater Erie YMCA
Dr. James Tracy, Superintendent, Girard School District
Nancy Kalista, Executive Director, Early Connections - Success by 6 Kindergarten Readiness Program

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *  
Share school district successes and challenges in supporting quality learning experiences. Hear from local school districts and early learning providers about how they have worked together to maintain early learning as an integral part of the school districts' overall goals. Learn how quality early learning can contribute positively to a community's economic success.
 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
While there is no registration fee, seating is limited and an RSVP is required.

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