Established in 2006, the Keystone State Education Coalition is a growing grass roots, non-partisan public education advocacy group of several hundred locally elected, volunteer school board members and administrators from school districts throughout Pennsylvania. Our mission is to evaluate, discuss and inform our boards, district constituents and legislators on legislative issues of common interest and to facilitate active engagement in public education advocacy.
postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 1650
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.
COMMENTARY:Should Pennsylvania have a
statewide authorizer for charter schools?
KeystoneState Education Coalition, October 11, 2012
While there are some
great charter schools, sixteen years of charters in Pennsylvania have not shown them to be
systematically more effective than traditional public schools.
Pennsylvania has a long
and valued tradition of local control – locally elected officials, accountable
to local voters, making decisions that they deem to be in the best interests of
their neighbors and communities. Locally
elected volunteer school directors are responsible for local spending and taxing
decisions and for setting local education policy; these may vary considerably
from one school district to another throughout the Commonwealth.
A statewide panel of
political appointees has no obligation or responsibility to local communities
or local taxpayers. It would however, be
beholden to the ideology and whims of a sitting governor.
It comes down to this
Should public education be the responsibility of
locally elected officials who are responsible and accountable to their
neighbors and the communities they live in or should public education be a
business opportunity for friends, political allies and financial supporters of
a sitting governor?
“In fact, Terry Mutchler,
head of the state Office of Open Records, has publicly denounced charter
schools' lack of openness. Since the open-records law was passed four years
ago, she says, charter schools have provided more obstacles to opening their records
to the public than has any other type of agency.
Mutchler says charters
are "one of the top violators across the commonwealth, repeatedly, at
every level. When a citizen appeals, they are flat-out ignored. We order them
to release records, and those orders get ignored. Their response borders on
Of the 1,741 appeals received by the Office of
Open Records for denied information requests, 23 percent pertain to charter
DN Editorial: We need more info, not less, about
Philadelphia Daily News Posted: Thu,
Oct. 11, 2012,
SINCE ACT 22 enabled charter schools in the
state 15 years ago, charters have expanded exponentially; Pennsylvania
taxpayers now spend about $1 billion a year on 73,000 students enrolled in
"bricks and mortar" and cyber-charter schools. With charters
championed by lawmakers as a key alternative to traditional public schools,
expect even more.
Today in Pennsylvania,
105,000 students are getting their education through a charter school.
This is an impressive number — 6 percent of the
school student population — especially considering that the charter school
system has only been around in our state for 15 years.
In that time, 180 bricks and mortar and cyber
charter schools have opened and, according to the Pennsylvania Coalition of
Public Charter Schools, as many as 44,000 students are on a waiting list,
wanting to enroll in one of the schools.
While the expansion overall has been a good
move, giving parents more choices for their children’s education, the law
governing the schools has not been updated significantly since 1997. It
woefully lacks enough oversight for the growing system to make certain there is
consistency and academic and financial safeguards.
COMMENTARY: Public Schools: Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Education Week By
Malbert Smith III, Jason Turner, and Steve Lattanzio
This year, Gallup's
Confidence in Institutions survey revealed a disheartening
lack of faith in U.S.
public schools. The percentage of participants indicating "a great
deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in public K-12 education
fell to an all-time low of around 29 percent—a drop of 29 percentage points
from 1973, when Gallup
first began including public schools in its survey and public confidence in
schools measured 58 percent.
Unfortunately, faith in the public schools has
been steadily eroding since 1973. But are things really this dismal?
Education Business Blog Posted On:October
10, 2012byLee Wilson
Secretary Duncan Calls for Digital Textbooks In Two Years - Four
Last Tuesday theSecretary of Education said: "I think we should be moving
from print to digital absolutely as fast as we can over the next couple of
years. Textbooks should be obsolete."
He was clear that he sees the digital transformation in
schools as a "critical game changer" for the American education