Wednesday, October 31, 2012

PA Students First PAC Campaign Finance Report From 9/18/12 through 10/22/12

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
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If you want legislators who support public education then please support these candidates with your time, your money and your votes.

Education Voters Action of PA 2012 General Election Endorsements

Education Voters Action of Pennsylvania Published on September 17, 2012
We are very pleased to announce our first of two rounds of endorsements for the 2012 General Election.  Based on a review of available information, including written materials, public statements, voting records and candidate interviews, Education Voters has decided to endorse the following candidates with a goal of having more legislators who support public education in public office.
These candidates recognize that if our economy and our communities are going to improve and remain strong that it starts with our students.  We need strong policymakers in Harrisburg that are willing to stand up for our values, so we ask that you support public education by supporting these candidates on November 6th!

Western Pa. school districts hit Web to lure students, save money

TribLive by Rossilynne Skena Monday, October 29, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
In addition to their daily work teaching in front of rooms full of students, Norwin School District teachers Peggy Bryan and Brian Fleckenstein have adopted online classrooms.
They’re two of many local educators who are teaching virtual classes as school districts grapple with a costly exodus of students to cyber schools. The districts are pitching in-house online courses in an effort to lure students back, retain the ones they have and save money.
Every school district in Westmoreland County offers some e-learning component, and that commitment is “pretty unique,” said Tim Hammill, supervisor of educational technology integration services at the Westmoreland Intermediate Unit. Almost every district has established programs through the intermediate unit, a countywide education consortium.
“If we Race to The Top, then we compete. We do not collaborate.
If we work only on teacher practice, and not children’s full lives, then we – at best – only improve a small percentage of a child’s day.
If we blame educators, then we demoralize the very people we claim to want to help.
If we blame educators, we drive people away from the critical profession.”

Education Has It’s Own “47%” Scapegoat

Christopher Lehmen’s Blog October 29, 2012
Education has been having it’s own dramatic “47%”ing for sometime now.  You see, as the story goes, the reason why education is “failing” is because educators just “don’t care enough.” A small percentage of amazing teachers believe in kids, the tale continues, but most, especially those who work in high poverty schools, do not believe in the children they serve, their expectations are too low, and they in fact do not know how to teach. 

“If you don’t count the chamber of commerce and the three rich guys (Marcus, Gaby and Cousins), Georgians contributed $30,615 to the cause. That’s 1.4 percent — by any measure, hardly a groundswell of in-state support for the charter amendment.”
Carpetbaggers dump $1M more into Georgia charter-school campaign
Atlanta Unfiltered By JIM WALLS Oct. 26, 2012
Just this month, Walmart heiress Alice Walton and other out-of-state interests dumped more than $1.1 million into the campaign to allow more state-chartered public schools in Georgia, new campaign finance filings show.
Families for Better Public Schools, the largest of the pro-charter committees, filed papers at noon today showing it had sunk another $1.28 million in October into the campaign for the proposed amendment to Georgia’s constitution. Voters will decide Nov. 6 whether to accept or reject Amendment One, which would allow the state to charter schools over the objections of local school systems.
Walton, the committee’s largest single donor, kicked in $350,000 on top of the $250,000 she’d given previously.  Other big donors disclosed in the committee’s latest filing were:
  • San Francisco billionaire Doris Fisher, widow of The Gap founder Donald Fisher, $250,000
  • Students First, a Washington advocacy group, $250,000
  • Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, $250,000
  • Peter Islands Resort CEO Richard Gaby of Atlanta, $100,000
  • J.C. Huizenga, founder of a national charter-school management firm, $25,000
  • Wall Street investment manager Joe Bridy, $25,000
  • Atlanta developer Tom Cousins, $20,000

In case you have been offline due to the storm, here’s KEYSEC coverage of carpetbaggers who dumped $400K more into Pennsylvania legislative races in the past month.  Noteworthy were $100K to EITC sponsor State Rep. Christiana (R-15 Beaver), $50K to voucher proponent Senator Anthony Williams (D-8 Philadelphia. Delaware) and $50K to Brian Munroe, who is challenging State Rep. Bernie O’Neill (R-29 Bucks), a strong supporter of public education.
PA Students First PAC Campaign Finance Report  From 9/18/12 through 10/22/12

Powerful Coalition Opposes NCLB Waivers in New Jersey
Education Week Living in Dialogue Blog By Anthony Cody on October 30, 2012 7:30 AM
A remarkable coalition of individuals and organizations, many of them with deep roots in the African American and Latino communities, is calling upon the Department of Education to abandon plans to implement new policies associated with NCLB waivers in the state of New Jersey.
In the past, some leaders in the African American and Latino communities have supported NCLB, believing it would result in improved outcomes for students. The Department of Education has relied on this support to press its case that closing schools on the basis of test scores is in the interest of students. This letter reveals a different stance on the part of these leaders.
Rosie Grant, Program Director at the Paterson Education Fund, explained their stance in a press release issued two weeks ago: 
“We understand that the waivers were an effort to free states from the impossible targets set by NCLB. Unfortunately, here in New Jersey, it is clear that the NCLB waiver is being used by the NJDOE to apply measures that are much more damaging than NCLB would have been, particularly for low-income Black and Latino children.”
Dozens of civil rights and community organizations joined Ms. Grant in signing a letter that explained their concerns. Here is the letter, complete with the latest list of signatures.

Caution Urged in Using 'Value Added' Evaluations

Education Week By Sarah D. Sparks Published Online: October 25, 2012
Top researchers studying new “value added” or “growth index” models for measuring a teacher’s contribution to student achievement completely agree on one thing: These methods should be used in staff-evaluation systems with more caution than they have been so far.
That area of agreement emerged in an Aug. 9 meeting that drew together a who’s who of a dozen of the nation’s top education researchers on value-added methods—in areas from education to economics—to build, if not consensus, at least familiarity within a disparate research community for value-added systems. The U.S. Department of Education’s research agency, which organized the forum, today released the proceedings of the meeting, as well as individual briefs from each of the experts.


Education Week October 30, 2012
Blended learning—the mix of virtual education and face-to-face instruction—is evolving quickly in schools across the country, generating a variety of different models. This special report, the second in an ongoing series on virtual education, examines several of those approaches and aims to identify what is working and where improvements are needed.

Which state has the best public schools?

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has boasted repeatedly that the public schools of Massachusetts, the state where he was once governor, are “ranked number one of all 50 states.” Yet an annual state ranking by Education Week has given the top spot to Maryland for four straight years. So which state has the best schools? Matthew Di Carlo, senior fellow at the non-profit Albert Shanker Institute in Washington, D.C., takes a look at this question. A version of this post originally appeared on the institute’s blog.

Kalamazoo economist Tim Bartik offers TEDx talk on 'Can preschool save the economy?' (video runtime 15 minutes)

Michigan Live By Julie Mack | 
on October 29, 2012 at 4:44 PM, updated October 29, 2012 at 4:45 PM
KALAMAZOO, MI -- A new 15-minute TEDx video features Tim Bartik, a senior economist for the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Researchin Kalamazoo, summarizing the arguments on why early childhood programs can build stronger local economies. 

National Education Policy Center

Charter Sponsor is Very Successful

Diane Ravitch October 30, 2012
Vavan Gureghian runs a successful charter school called the Chester Community Charter School. The school is nonprofit, but Mr. Gureghian supplies its good and services through his for-profit company and collects millions of dollars as a management fee. Meanwhile the local Chester Upland public schoolswhose funds pay for the students in the charter school–is in bankruptcy and under the control of a Governor-appointed “chief recovery officer.” Poor Chester Upland has been controlled by the state for most of the past decade,  yet gets blamed for the fiscal insolvency that the state has deepened and may now use as an excuse to eliminate its public schools.

1 comment:

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