Saturday, October 20, 2012

Will Governor Corbett fight for charter reform that benefits ALL the taxpayers and students of Pennsylvania?


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.


If you are one of the many who tell me that you don’t have your morning coffee without that daily fix of Keystone State Education Coalition news -  thanks!
Please be advised that I will be offline on Monday, October 22nd.

Corbett will take up charter reform again in January

October 19, 2012 5:10 pm
By Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Gov. Tom Corbett today said he is ready to roll up his sleeves and fight for a charter reform bill when the new legislative session opens in January.
He made those remarks this afternoon at South Allegheny Middle School in McKeesport, in the wake of failed charter legislation this week. He was at the school to cut the ribbon on a new fitness facility created with $100,000 in grant money from the National Foundation for Governor's Fitness Councils.

Vahan Gureghian was Governor Corbett’s largest individual campaign donor at $384,000.  His Charter School Management Company runs the Chester Community Charter School, Pennsylvania’s largest brick and mortar charter.  Chester is one of Pennsylvania’s poorest urban school districts. 
Does the $28.9 million noted below represent taxpayer funds that were NOT spent in the classrooms of Chester Upland?  We don’t know, because Mr. Gureghian has been fighting a Right-to-Know request for the past several years.  A controversial provision that would have exempted him from the Right-to-Know law was removed from SB1115, the charter school bill that was defeated last Wednesday.
Pennsylvania Couple Building 20,000 Square Foot Palm Beach Mansion
Homes of the Rich Posted by Kenny Forder on January 27th, 2012
Philadelphia attorney and entrepreneur Vahan Gureghian and his attorney wife, Danielle, are planning to build a 20,000 square foot mansion at 1071 N. Ocean Boulevard in Palm Beach, FL. The plans were submitted late last year to the town for review. If built, the house will stand on two lots, with a total of nearly 240 feet of oceanfront, which they acquired last year for $28.9 million (the year’s second-largest Palm Beach residential purchase by a single buyer). The most amazing part? The Gureghian’s main house is even BIGGER than this! They live in a 30,000 square foot mega mansion in Gladwyne, PA. Pennsylvania-based architect Frederick L. Bissinger Jr. designed the Palm Beach house as well as their Pennsylvania house. Smith and Moore Architects of West Palm Beach are also involved in the project, and Lang Design Group of West Palm did the landscape plan.

Failed attempt at Pennsylvania charter school reform leaves collateral damage
by Benjamin Herold, for WHYY/NewsWorks, a Notebook news partner Oct 18 2012
When Pennsylvania House Republicans were unable to muster the necessary votes Wednesday night to pass a controversial package of charter school reforms, an unrelated attempt to fix special education funding ended up as collateral damage.

A Victory
Yinzercation Blog — OCTOBER 19, 2012
Put this down as a victory for our grassroots movement! The proposed charter “reform” that Governor Corbett tried to ram through the legislature this week had died, in no small part because of the loud protest we mounted. The bill passed through the Senate last week and appeared to be ready to sail through the House this week, until public education advocates all over the state raised serious questions about many of its pieces. Most egregiously, the bill in its original would have exempted charter school operators from Pennsylvania’s Right to Know law, taken away local control and accountability, and concentrated power in a state committee stacked with political appointees. (See “Where are the Real Republicans?” for all the details.)
Remember the story about the boiled frog? If a frog jumped into hot water, he’d hop right back out again, but a frog sitting in a pot slowly brought to a boil doesn’t realize until it’s too late that he’s cooked. The devil is in the details of these bills, and it’s these incremental legislative changes that will slowly boil our frog (and our schools). That’s why it was so important that we pay attention to those policy details and take action, like we did this week.

“The challenge of school enrollment is greatest at the high school level. Parents must navigate the maze of 26 district-run neighborhood schools, 17 district-run magnet schools, 11 district-run citywide schools and 35 charter schools.”
Commentary: Philadelphia should adopt common enrollment, starting with high school
by thenotebook on Oct 19 2012 by Susan Gobreski
Susan Gobreski is the executive director of Education Voters of Pennsylvania and a parent of children attending public schools in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia is in transition again. District leaders have said that they want to create more high-quality seats and more choices for families, and give schools more autonomy in how they structure academic programs and culture. There is discussion about reorganizing schools -- re-aligning grade configurations, closing some places and expanding others -- and the role of charter schools in the district’s future.
We need to prioritize the elements of this reform that address unmet needs for children, are supported by research, and draw upon and improve the practice and experience in other places.
Education Voters of Pennsylvania is calling upon the School Reform Commission and Superintendent William Hite to adopt an equitable, system-wide common enrollment system, starting with high school. A common enrollment system would allow a student to apply to all public schools – both district and charter -- through a single application. And there would be just one timetable for enrollment.

Commentary: In education reform plans, poverty has been left out of the picture
by thenotebook on Oct 19 2012 Posted in Blogger commentary
Guest Bog by Isabelle Sun
Something is missing in the debate over education reform. The growing chorus of well-intentioned calls to close the achievement gap leaves out one critical issue: poverty.
It might be surprising to learn that two out of every five children in Philadelphia live in poverty. But it’s even more shocking to realize that poverty is the number one predictor of student achievement. Research shows a stout correlation between the income gap and the achievement gap.

The False Promises of "School Choice”
National Education Policy Center by Barbara Miner October 19, 2012
Milwaukee Politics School Choice Vouchers
When I hear Mitt Romney’s seductive rhetoric about school choice, I think back to the beginning of Milwaukee’s voucher program — the country’s largest and oldest voucher initiative.
In particular, I remember Nov. 14, 1990. On that day, I learned an important lesson on the difference between rhetoric and reality.
I dropped my two daughters off at day care and began my job at he Milwaukee Journal. The city editor, a gray-haired Irishman who filled every stereotype of the gruff newshound, called me over. I was to do an on-the-scenes report at a private school receiving publicly funded tuition vouchers.

Parkland School District board member receives PSBA Advocacy Award
PSBA’s website 10/19/2012
The Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) recently awarded Roberta M. Marcus, school director at Parkland SD (Lehigh Co.) with the second Timothy M. Allwein Advocacy Award at the PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference in Hershey, Oct. 17.
The award was established in 2011 by PSBA in honor of Tim Allwein, the association's former assistant executive director for Governmental and Member Relations who passed away unexpectedly. It is presented annually to an individual school director or entire school board to recognize outstanding leadership in legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of public education and students that are consistent with the positions in PSBA's Legislative Platform.

PSBA members elect officers for 2013
PSBA’s website 10/19/2012
Members of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association elected new officers for 2013 at the recent PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference, the joint annual conference of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association and the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators, Oct. 16-19 in Hershey. The officers elected were specifically for the PSBA Board of Directors.
The 26-member Board of Directors consists of five officers, 15 regional directors and representatives from five specialized departments. In addition, the Pennsylvania minority delegate to the National School Boards Association convention sits on the board in an ex-officio role. Regional directors are members from local boards within their regions and are elected at annual spring meetings within each region. Officers elected at the annual conference are as follows:
As president-elect, Marcela Diaz Myers, Lower Dauphin SD (Dauphin Co.), automatically assumes the office of the president. Richard L. Frerichs, Penn Manor SD (Lancaster Co.), was elected president-elect. Mark B. Miller, Centennial SD (Bucks Co.), was elected first vice president and Larry B. Breech, Millville Area School Board (Columbia Co.), was elected second vice president. Robert Lumley-Sapanski, Bellefonte Area SD (Centre Co.), will assume the title of immediate past president in January 2013 when his term comes to an end.

School board members receive accreditation
PSBA’s website 10/19/2012
The Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) recently awarded Master School Board Member accreditation to a select group of school board directors across Pennsylvania. This recognition is both for school boards and individual members who have demonstrated exceptional accomplishments in attaining the goals of effective governance and meeting the needs of students for the 21st century through educational excellence and equity of all students.
This is the fifth year PSBA has awarded such accreditation to members. Those who were selected completed a detailed application process through which they highlighted their board service, community engagement, advocacy and teamwork skills. The final selections were made anonymously by a panel of past presidents of PSBA, and the winners were announced at the PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference in Hershey on Oct. 17.

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