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.
Gov. Corbett's administration,
supported by the charter school lobby, is seeking to pass a change in the charter school law that would
effectively remove control of charter schools from local communities in favor
of a statewide commission of political appointees. The proposed law would also
ease requirements for prospective charter school operators, increase the term
for renewals from five to 10 years, and dramatically increase the ability of
local school boards to convert existing public schools to charters.
Under the revisions, any
district-run school, regardless of its performance, could be targeted for
conversion to a charter, and the requirement that some parental and community
support be demonstrated is dropped. The law would also exclude the records of
some charter school vendors from the “right to know” law.
A review of PSSA math and reading scores shows
charter schools outperformed traditional public schools in 2012. That's because state Education Secretary Ron
Tomalis, at the behest of charter school advocates, changed the testing rules
in a way that makes it easier for charter schools to meet state benchmarks.
But the change Tomalis quietly instituted was
done so without receiving the required approval from the federal Department of
“As a result, 44 of the 77 charter schools that
PDE has recently classified as having made AYP for 2011-12 in fact fell short
of the targets for academic performance that other public schools had to meet,
some even declining in proficiency percentages rather than making gains.”
PDE using unapproved formula to artificially inflate charter
school AYP numbers
The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE)
has implemented a new way of determining whether charter schools have met
student achievement milestones for Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) under the
federal No Child Left Behind law.
The new method is less stringent than the
standards that must be met by traditional public schools, and which until this
year were also applied to charter schools. As a result, 44 of the 77 charter
schools that PDE has recently classified as having made AYP for 2011-12 in fact
fell short of the targets for academic performance that other public schools
had to meet, some even declining in proficiency percentages rather than making
My spies tell me that guests for this discussion
may include MatthewJ.
Brouillette, President and CEO of the Commonwealth
Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives and Helen Gym, former Notebook
editor and a co-founder of Parents United for Public Education
Radio Times discusses
parent trigger Monday October 8th at
Are you familiar with the 'parent trigger' laws?
And how do you feel about parents taking schools into their own hands to ensure
the outcome of the children's education and safety? Some states have enacted
such laws, and there's a bill in the Pa legislature to move this along in the
commonwealth. Join us Monday morning at 10 to hear a debate on the
The new film, “Won’t
Back Down,” is a thinly-veiled propaganda piece produced by ultra-right
ideologues bent on privatizing one of our most cherished public goods. It’s a
blatant attempt to inject “parent trigger laws” into the national conversation
on education, laws pretending to give parents and teachers control over
struggling schools that in reality strip away local control and hand schools
over to private corporations. But you wouldn’t have known any of that from the
panel discussion after a private screening of the movie held Wednesday night.
Hosted by A+Schools
along with the PittsburghPublicSchool
district and the Pittsburgh Federation of
Teachers, the film screening played to a packed theater of parents, teachers,
and community members. Perhaps sensing the mood of the audience, we were told
not to boo during opening remarks by Randy Testa (Vice President of Education
at Walden Media which produced the film) who was inexplicably invited to this
event. Despite essentially having a two-hour infomercial to tell his story,
complete with Hollywood stars and a
tear-jerking soundtrack, Testa was also infuriatingly given the majority of
Last night I attended my
local school board meeting to use my three minutes of public comment time to
address the board. I was there to continue my comments from last school
year on teacher evaluations and why the board should at least think about the
consequences when our teachers and principals will be forced to have 50% of
their evaluation determined by the invalid high stakes test scores of the
children taking these invalid measurements.
Philadelphia charter high school is set to add a 635-pupil middle
school to its burgeoning population by next year, thanks to a $2 million grant
from the Philadelphia School Partnership.
founded in 2000, already serves 750 students in North Philadelphia's HuntingPark neighborhood. About 17 percent of
the majority-Hispanic student body speaks English as a second language, and
while anyone in the city can apply to attend Esperanza, the school largely
serves lower-income students in and around HuntingPark.
….The high school's grant comes
less than a month after another expansion grant PSP awarded to Powel
Elementary, a K-4 public school in West Philadelphia.
That $215,000 grant, which will allow the school to add a fifth grade and 500
more students, marked the first time PSP had funded a Philadelphia public school as opposed to a
charter or private school.
ByNora FlemingonOctober 4, 2012
Schools in North Carolina may be lengthening their
calendar in an effort to improve high school graduation rates, but footing the
bill with at least $55 million in donated dollars, according to an article inThe Charlotte Observer.
According to the article, the North
Carolina legislature authorized nine schools in the Charlotte area to
lengthen their school days, but didn't authorize any additional funding to pay
for the extra costs accrued with more time in school.
In response, a coalition of foundations, local
businesses, and other donors has pooled resources—amounting to $55 million—that
they want to use to lengthen the calendar at the local high school and the
eight schools that feed into it in an initiative called Project LIFT:
Leadership and Investment For Transformation
local tax bases, aging infrastructure, unfair state and federal policies are
undermining our communities. It's time to stand together to support our
diverse, middle class communities.
local elected, faith and civic leaders from across Pennsylvania for a public meeting to call on
state and national policy-makers to act on bi-partisan solutions to the
pressing problems impacting our communities.
·Reduce our local
property tax burdens
·Invest in our schools
infrastructure while creating local jobs
·Promote more balanced
event is free but you must register in advance to reserve your seat. Register
at www.buildingonepa.orgor by emailing name, title, organizational
affiliation, address, phone and email email@example.com. To defray the cost of the event, we are
accepting donations. Suggested donation: $5-$10.
EPLC’s 2012 Arts and Education Symposium:Save the Date, Thursday, October
Policy and LeadershipCenter
Please mark your calendars and plan on joining EPLC, our partners, and
guests on October 11 in Harrisburg
for a full day of events. Stay tuned toaei-pa.orgfor information about our 2nd Arts and Education
Symposium. Scholarships and Act 48 Credit will be available.
Outstanding speakers and panelists from Pennsylvania
and beyond will once again come together to address key topics in the arts and
arts education and related public policy advocacy initiatives. This is a
networking and learning opportunity not to be missed!