Monday, October 29, 2012

Pennsylvania teacher evaluations will be tied to schools' test scores

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!

"Everybody is responsible in that building for the achievement of the child," Ms. Dumaresq said.  "Everybody participates in setting a good learning environment, having children wanting to come to school. ... We feel it really should be more of a team sport," she said.
For most schools, about 80 percent of the current version is based on state test scores in one form or another.  Other factors include Advanced Placement achievement, SAT college entrance exam results, industry certification exams, graduation rates and attendance.”

Pennsylvania teacher evaluations will be tied to schools' test scores

October 29, 2012 12:13 am
By Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
When the new statewide teacher evaluation system takes effect next fall, teachers will be judged not only on how they do in their own classrooms but on how their school does as a whole.
Each school will be awarded a numerical rating using a formula the state Department of Education is developing.
The building rating, which will be made public, will account for 15 percent of an individual teacher's evaluation.
The department last week presented its draft of what it will count to superintendents and other school officials at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit. Other presentations seeking feedback are being made around the state.

Posted: Mon, Oct. 29, 2012, 3:01 AM
More info for parents means better choices, better schools
Philadelphia Inquirer Opinion BY MARK GLEASON
Mark Gleason is executive director of Philadelphia School Partnership.
THERE'S NOW a website that puts information on nearly every school in the city at the fingertips of parents, caregivers and students - . Developed by the Philadelphia School Partnership in partnership with other nonprofit groups, puts all of this information in one place; before, parents might have had to visit half a dozen websites and make a few phone calls to gather as much.

Slow motion: Pennsylvanians get late access to political reports

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Editorial October 29, 2012 12:14 am
In these times of instant communication, Pennsylvania's Department of State still has a place for someone like Bartleby the Scrivener, the title character of the Herman Melville short story who was charged with penning legal documents by hand.
Although many states require political candidates to file their campaign finance reports electronically, Pennsylvania allows those who wish to file on paper. Most of them do.
In the primary, two-thirds of the filings were on paper, which meant state employees had to scan them into the computer system and send the information to an outside contractor, which had 72 hours to enter the data and return it in a form that could be posted on the department's website.
The same process is in place today and that four-day delay means it is probable that citizens eager to see who is donating to candidates won't have up-to-date information before they vote on Nov. 6.

Vitalistic Therapeutic charter school to close
Financial issues force the troubled charter school to plan to shut down in January.
By Steve Esack, Of The Morning Call 11:07 p.m. EDT, October 28, 2012
Vitalistic Therapeutic Charter School will close its doors in January, officials announced Sunday.
The troubled small charter school's financial crunch is forcing it to shut down, said Joyce Thompson, president of the board of trustees. She also said the negative publicity surrounding the money problems has hampered Vitalistic's ability to secure grants and loans.

Make Kids Matter in the Fall Elections
Public Citizens for Children and Youth
Sign Our Petition - Urge Candidates to Make Children a Priority
• Support our nation’s forward progress in improving access to health care by ensuring the resources necessary for all children to receive quality health care
• Protect child nutrition programs that are being threatened by deep cuts to ensure no child goes hungry.
• Expand opportunities for high-quality early learning experiences so all children are prepared for success in school and in life.
• Fulfill the promise of a high quality education for all children, because an educated public is the key to our nation’s future prosperity.

Digital Notebook Blog by Evan Brandt SUNDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2012

Access to Information and Training in its Use Means Better Test Scores and Informed Citizens? Well We Can't Have That Can We?

“I’ve been a First Lady of the State. I have seen what happens to people’s lives if they don’t get a proper education. And we know the answers to that. The charter schools have provided the answers. The teachers’ unions are preventing those things from happening, from bringing real change to our educational system. We need to throw out the system.”

Ann Romney: ‘We need to throw out’ public school system

The magazine Good Housekeeping has a new interview with Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann, in which she reveals “the answers” to ensuring that all  students get “a proper education.”

The Global Search for Education: The Education Debate 2012 – Linda Darling-Hammond

Posted by C.M. Rubin Education Views Contributor on October 28,
More than 8 in 10 Americans say education is an issue that is extremely or very important to them, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll earlier this year. Only the economy ranked higher. While the primary responsibility for education lies with state and local governments, the federal government awards billions of dollars in education aid. During the past four weeks in the Global Search for Education – The Education Debate 2012, Howard Gardner, Richard Riley, Diane Ravitch and Andy Hargreaves have shared their perspectives on the issues the next President will face.  Today it is my honor to introduce the fifth and last education luminary in our Education Debate 2012 series, Linda Darling-Hammond.

Common Core Mandates Will Harm Critical Thinking

Posted by Contributor on October 28, 2012  by Sandra Stotsky -
Jay Mathews is one of the few education reporters who gets it. He understands that the heavy diet of informational reading Common Core mandates at every single grade level for the language arts or English class may decrease, not increase, “critical” or analytical thinking. But how are teachers and parents to know that black is white and freedom is slavery?  No one tells us how reading “informational” texts could necessarily stimulate “critical” thinking better than literary reading–or stimulate it at all.  

First Book: A Book in Every Home, and Then Some
First Book: Tapping a vast potential market of young readers too poor to buy books.
New York Times By DAVID BORNSTEIN FIXES May 16, 2011, 9:30 PM 75 Comments
When we imagine people without books, we think of villagers in places like Afghanistan. But many families in the United States have no children’s books at home. In some of the poorest areas of the country, it’s hard to find books for sale. A study (pdf) of low-income neighborhoods in Philadelphia, for example, found a ratio of one book for sale for every 300 children. Tens of millions of poor Americans can’t afford to buy books at all.
At Fixes, we like to highlight creative ways that markets can be harnessed to extend access to vital services like electricitycredit, orwater. Today, I’m focusing on a nonprofit organization called First Book, which is spearheading a new market mechanism that is delivering millions of new, high quality books to low-income children through thousands of nonprofit organizations and Title I schools.

First Book - Philadelphia
First Book provides new books to children in need, addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy access to books. An innovative leader in social enterprise, each year First Book distributes millions of free and low-cost books to disadvantaged children and the programs that serve them.
In 2009 First Book Philly provided 21,568 books to 3,334 kids in the Greater Philadelphia area.  That’s 8 books for each child to take home – a mini library in neighborhoods where suitable children’s books are simply not available.

Publishers as Partners in Literacy
New York Times By DAVID BORNSTEIN FIXES May 19, 2011, 9:00 PM 19 Comments
This week, I reported on the First Book Marketplace, which sells new books at steep discounts to schools and reading programs serving low-income children. Based on sales growth, First Book, which is a nonprofit, anticipates that the marketplace will be financially self-sustaining within a few years. It’s hard to find fault with a social-purpose business that makes quality books more affordable for underprivileged children. But, surprisingly, many readers responded to the idea by suggesting that the problem of book access can be adequately addressed through rummage sales, thrift shops, used book outlets and libraries. This reflects a misunderstanding of the problem, which I’d like to clarify.

Reach Out And Read Greater Philadelphia
Doctors and nurses know that growing up healthy means growing up with books. That’s why 600 primary care doctors and nurse practitioners at 47 Reach Out and Read practices across the Greater Philadelphia region give brand-new books to young children when they get a checkup. By talking with parents and caregivers about the importance of reading aloud, they provide families with the tools they need to put their children on the path to school success.

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