Tuesday, October 23, 2012

There's gold in them cyberschool hills. Have you sent in your application yet? No experience or results needed..........

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 http://keystonestateeducationcoalition.org
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.

Researchers estimate that strong preschool programs provide $11 in benefits for every $1 invested - $5 of which comes from less money spent on crime and corrections.
Posted: Tue, Oct. 23, 2012, 3:01 AM
City leaders: Path to safer Philadelphia starts in preschool
By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
Law enforcement, city, and school officials think they know a way to reduce crime in Philadelphia: Invest more in high-quality preschool programs.
"If we're going to be serious about stopping the gun violence in our city, not only do we have to arrest the people who pull the triggers, we have to do all that we can to start kids from starting along that path," Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said Monday.
Williams, Philadelphia School Superintendent William R. Hite Jr., and other local officials are expected to underscore that point Tuesday, when they gather at the Penn Alexander School to read to Head Start students and tout a just-released report about the connection between preschool programs and crime reduction.
The report was produced by Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Pennsylvania, a nonprofit organization of police chiefs, sheriffs, and prosecutors. Williams sits on the group's board.

PA Charters are Cash Cows
Yinzercation Blog — OCTOBER 22, 2012
Charter schools are cash cows feeding at the public trough. Oh, there are a few good ones here and there, to be sure. But if there was ever any doubt that charter schools have become Big Business, take a look at the list of the largest campaign contributors in Pennsylvania. Three of the top ten on a new “Power Players” report are throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars into state politics to gain favorable legislation for charter schools and we need to be asking why. [Public Source, Power Players report]
Weighing in at #5 is Van Gureghian, who founded Charter School Management Inc. back in 1999 to run a school in Chester, PA, a struggling former industrial town near Philadelphia. Today Gureghian’s company operates 150 charter schools in nine states, and that first school now has half of the district’s student enrollment and is the state’s largest charter school. Gureghian was Gov. Corbett’s single largest campaign donor and served on his education transition team. This is the same guy who is fighting the state’s Right to Know laws to keep from disclosing his salary – which is public knowledge for other public school administrators – while he recently bought two Florida beachfront lots for $28.9 million. He and his wife, another Charter School Management Inc. employee, plan to build a 20,000 square foot “French-inspired Monte Carlo estate.” [Palm Beach Daily News, 2011-11-18Also see “Soaking the Public”]

Eight more cyber charter schools apply to Pennsylvania

By Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette October 22, 2012 12:16 am
With 16 full-time cyber charter schools, Pennsylvania already has one of the highest concentrations of such schools in the nation, but now the state has received applications for eight more for the 2013-14 school year.
The state Department of Education has scheduled hearings in Harrisburg on the proposals on Nov. 26, 28, 29 and 30.
Two of the organizations submitting proposals previously were rejected for this school year: Mercury Online Charter School of Pennsylvania and Akoben Cyber Charter School.
The other six are Urban Cyber Charter School, Insight PA Cyber Charter School, V3 Cyber Charter School, PA Career Path Cyber Charter School, MB Resiliency Cyber Charter School of Pennsylvania and Phase 4 America Cyber Charter School.

April 2011 Stanford CREDO research manager Devora Davis, "What we can say right now is that whatever (virtual schools are) doing in Pennsylvania is definitely not working and should not be replicated."
Keystone State Education Coalition Posting July 10, 2012
April 2011 study: "whatever cyberschools are doing in PA is definitely not working & should not be replicated." July 2012: State approves 4 new cyber charter schools

PA Cyber Charter PSSA AYP 2005 - 2012 from PDE
Of 12 PA cyber charters reporting for 2012 - only 1 made AYP for 2012, only 2 made AYP for 2011; while 8 were in corrective action status.  Most have never made AYP

"The state funding formula's 16 percent cap on school district special education population does not apply to charter schools. An official of Bensalem Township High School in Bucks County testified last year that this results in paying $3,425 more per charter school special education student than Bensalem is paying for its own special education students.”
"We need to stop overpaying some charters at the expense of traditional public schools that have to accept every student.”
PA House Democratic Policy Committee looks at special education reimbursement in Pa. charter schools
HDPC Press Release, PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 22
Members of the House Democratic Policy Committee heard from education and disability advocates today at a public hearing at the University of the Sciences’ Wilson Student Center to look at the issue of special education funding for the state’s charter and tradition public schools, said committee chairman Rep. Mike Sturla.
State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila. and Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, served as the hearing’s co-chair. Roebuck introduced legislation (H.B. 2661) that would reform charter and cyber charter schools in Pennsylvania. His bill includes a provision that would limit the amount of special education funding that a charter or cyber charter school receives per student to the school district's total per-pupil spending for special education services.
Sturla said, "Since the Corbett administration thundered into office, funding for education has been scarce. That is why we need to be even more careful in how we allocate the limited dollars to be sure they are being distributed in an equitable and accountable way, especially in regards to costly, specialized services for students enrolled in special education."

Advocates fire back after charter school reform bill stalls in House
By JAN MURPHY, The Patriot-News on October 22, 2012 at 12:00 AM
For charter school advocates, there’s no truth in the saying “the third time’s the charm.”
Not after watching their third effort in a year’s time to get the Legislature to pass a bill that would fix some of the concerns they have with the state’s 1997 charter school law fall apart on Wednesday.  The House failed to consider the bill before ending the legislative voting session for the year.
“This lack of action by the House continues to deny hope to our most vulnerable children,” read a harsh statement released Thursday by the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools.

Pa. Clashes With Feds Over Charter Evaluations

 Mike Bock   
Though the U.S. Department of Education criticized the Pennsylvania Department of Education for making changes on how charter schools are evaluated without federal approval, an official decision by the federal government will not be made for at least a few weeks,The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
The U.S. Education Department's criticism stems from Pennsylvania's attempt to change rules on how charter schools are evaluated. According to the No Child Left Behind Act, states that want to adjust how they compute academic progress need to get approval from the federal agency. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported:
"In an e-mail last week, a U.S. Education Department official said: "The [Pennsylvania Department of Education] does not have the authority to apply this methodology... until the federal department has had an opportunity to review and approve its expanded application." The official said the federal department was still reviewing the request."
Under the proposed rules, the average test scores for charter schools will be grouped by grade levels to meet state benchmarks (which is how districts are evaluated,) rather than the scores of all tested students (like individual public schools do.)

State won't take over Vitalistic charter school
Bethlehem Area Superintendent Joseph Roy had asked state to step in.
By Steve Esack, Of The Morning Call 6:04 p.m. EDT, October 21, 2012
The state Department of Education has rejected a request to take over jurisdiction of the financially troubled Vitalistic Therapeutic Charter School.  The denial stemmed from Bethlehem Area Superintendent Joseph Roy's request that the state assume legal and financial responsibility for the troubled charter school and take charge of revocation hearings the Bethlehem and Allentown school districts plan to hold on Vitalistic's charter.

Texas Schools Head To Trial Over School Finance, Claim System Is Unconstitutional

Huffington Post By WILL WEISSERT 10/22/12 06:48 PM ET EDT
Austin, Texas — Attorneys representing around 600 school districts argued Monday that Texas' school financing system is so "hopelessly broken" that it violates the state Constitution while keeping students from being prepared for the well-paying jobs of tomorrow.
The state countered that, even though the system is flawed, it's nowhere near a crisis point.
Six lawsuits have been filed on behalf of about two-thirds of school districts, which educate about 75 percent of the state's roughly 5 million students. They have been rolled into a single case which opened before state District Judge John Dietz in Austin. The trial is expected to last into January.
The Texas Constitution guarantees an "efficient system of public free schools," but the plaintiffs say many schools can't provide an adequate education because the way they are funded is inefficient and unfair.

Posted: Tue, Oct. 23, 2012, 3:01 AM
Schools need long-term fix
Philadelphia Inquirer Letter to the Editor By Joseph P. Markham
Last summer in Harrisburg, without much fanfare, House Bill 1776 was tabled by a state House committee. The measure was the legislature's latest attempt to reform Pennsylvania's property taxes and school funding. The idea was to create a revenue-neutral shift away from real estate taxes as a funding source for the state's public schools.

School Library Information Briefings on Latest PA Research

Join the Education Law Center, the Health Sciences Library Consortium, and the PA School Librarians Association for the release of findings of the Pennsylvania school library impact study on student achievement conducted by Keith Curry Lance and his associates.  
The year-long project examined the investments in school library programs needed to prepare 21st-century learners and the perceptions of administrators, teachers, librarians, and other interested stakeholders. 
There are two remaining briefings: Oct. 25 in Philadelphia; and Nov. 15 in Pittsburgh.
It's free to attend. Register online now!
Administrators, school board members, teachers, librarians, parents, community members, education organizations, and other stakeholders are welcome and encouraged to attend.

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.

Candidates’ education policies separated by notion of vouchers
Chicago Post-Tribune By Christin Nance Lazerus cnance@post-trib.com
October 21, 2012 8:36PM
President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have tossed barbs back and forth about the economy, foreign policy and Medicare for months.
Their differences are many, but on the topic of federal K-12 education policy, the two are mostly in agreement. Priorities such as reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind law, rewarding great teachers, and expanding charter and online education options are supported by each candidate, though the devil is in the details.
Obama has focused his energy on spurring states to raise standards and hold teachers to tougher accountability measures through the Race To The Top initiative, and advocates hiring 2 million new science and math teachers. Romney suggested schools create detailed report cards on student progress and proposed giving states block grants if they pass legislation reforming or eliminating teacher tenure.
The major difference seems to be Romney’s proposal that the federal Title I and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act funds be portable for students, so they can be used as a voucher if they choose to attend a private school. Obama is opposed to private school voucher programs.

Letter-writing campaign shows frustration with Obama education policies

CNN by Donna Krache, CNN, October 22,2012
(CNN) Earlier this month, Education Secretary Arne Duncan delivered his state of education speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., which was part self-review of his department’s goals and achievements and part campaign speech for his boss, President Obama.
But not all educators are ardent supporters of the president’s policies, and they are letting him know.

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.

1 comment:

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