Thursday, November 8, 2012

A call for President Obama to change course on education

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“I conclude that, as with the Vietnam War, eventually some combination of unrelenting organized opposition and the weight of the failure of the policy itself will eventually bring the folly to an end… but not before inflicting considerable damage on students and their teachers.  President Obama, what education legacy do you want to leave?”

A call for President Obama to change course on education

 Arthur H. Camins is director of the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education at the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey.
With the election behind us, it is time for the Obama administration to step back from its education policy and access whether its foundation is sound and supported by evidence. It is a moment to summon the courage to change course.
 We have had wars on drugs, poverty and terrorism. Now, depending on perspective, we have a war either for or on education. Certainly, many educators feel under siege. Popular slogans like, “Whatever it takes,” sound like battle cries.  This brings to mind the documentary film, “The Fog of War,” as a metaphor for education reform.

Perhaps the goal for DOE’s What Works Clearinghouse should be to provide the President and the Secretary of Education with the information they need to make evidence-based decisions.

Evidence for What Works in Education

US Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences What Works Clearinghouse
We review the research on the different programs, products, practices, and policies in education.  Then, by focusing on the results from high-quality research, we try to answer the question “What works in education?”
Our goal is to provide educators with the information they need to make evidence-based decisions.

Faced with changed topography, PA legislative Republicans say they're ready for the next term.
Capitol Ideas Blog by John Micek November 7, 2012
With their margins eroded in the state House and Senate, senior Republicans said this afternoon that they won't be taking their eye off the ball in the new session that starts in January.
In the House, GOP leaders say they expect to make a renewed push on finding a way to pay for $2.5 billion in infrastructure repairs and reconstruction and to deal with a multibillion-dollar liability in public employee pensions.
As of Wednesday afternoon, House Republicans controlled 110 of 203 seats in the chamber, with at least two races, those of Rep. Tom Quigley, R-Montgomery, and Rick Saccone, R-Allegheny, still to be resolved.
In the Senate, Democrats picked up three open seats to narrow the GOP majority to 27-23 in the 50-member chamber.

Not familiar with satirist Andy Borowitz?  You should be……
“Acknowledging that the $2.5 billion spent this year was a “tidy sum,” Mr. Klugian says, “If we took all the money we spend on political ads and used it to educate our children and feed the poor, we wouldn’t be America.”


The New Yorker Posted by Andy Borowitz November 7, 2012
NEWS ANALYSIS (The Borowitz Report)—One day after the costliest Presidential election in U.S. history, Americans awoke to the ugly realization that the nation had spent $2.5 billion with absolutely nothing to show for it.

Education Victories
Yinzercation Blog November 7, 2012
We had several significant election wins for public education in Southwest PA last night. And it’s a good thing, because we just got more dire school budget news, meaning these folks are going to have their work cut out for them. But first the good news.

Handful of votes separate Saccone-Levdansky in 39th district race

Post-Gazette November 7, 2012 10:39 am
The Associated Press
Unofficial election returns show western Pennsylvania Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone with a 36-vote lead over Democratic challenger David Levdansky.  Absentee and provisional ballots must still be counted next week in the district which includes parts of Allegheny and Washington counties.

Rep. Tom Quigley (R-Montgomery) was elected the majority chair of the House Select Committee on Property Tax Reform during their first meeting this past August.  He also serves on the House Education Committee as Subcommittee Chair on Basic Education.

Rep. Quigley: Still in it; 146th District

Pottstown Mercury By Frank Otto Posted: 11/07/12 02:20 pm
POTTSTOWN — With possibly more than a thousand absentee votes to be counted by Montgomery County election officials, Rep. Tom Quigley is not ready to concede his close race for the state’s 146th District.
“We have information that because of the extension due to the hurricane that ballots received by the county were held at the county,” Quigley said Wednesday. “My understanding is the official count will start Friday and go into next week.”

Votes still being counted in Simmons-Deely 131st District race
Incumbent Republican state House member holds a 167-vote lead over Dem challenger.
By Patrick Lester, Of The Morning Call 8:45 p.m. EST, November 7, 2012
The outcome of the tight 131st District state House race between Republican state Rep. Justin Simmons and Democratic challenger Kevin Deely was still in question Wednesday, a day when Lehigh County election officials were confirming returns and counting absentee votes.
Simmons, 26, of Upper Saucon Township, held a 167-vote advantage over Deely, 36, of Upper Saucon Township, with both counties still confirming the results.

Cliffhanger: Nick Micozzie vs. Sheamus Bonner 163rd race comes down to provisional, absentee ballots
Published: Thursday, November 08, 2012
By VINCE SULLIVAN @vincesullivan
The race for the 163rd District of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives will come down to a tally of provisional and absentee ballots, even though one candidate has already claimed victory.
Incumbent Republican state Rep. Nick Micozzie issued victory statements on Tuesday and Wednesday in his bid to be elected to an 18th consecutive term, but Democratic challenger Sheamus Bonner remained silent Wednesday, declining to comment on the race.
Unofficial voting tallies were reported Wednesday afternoon with all of the 163rd’s precincts in. Micozzie received 14,003 votes to Bonner’s 13,649 for a 354-vote margin of victory. Before the final machines were counted, Micozzie led by just 119 votes.

Common Core: Pittsburgh Public Schools face tougher curriculum

By Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette November 7, 2012 8:44 pm
Common Core State Standards, which are being phased in in schools across the country, are going to require major shifts in the math and English language arts curriculum in Pittsburgh Public Schools.

Public education becomes center of discussion on eve of election
Penn Institute for Urban Research and Graduate School of Education to sponsor panel discussion
Daily Pennsylvanian By VIRGINIA WALCOTT · November 6, 2012, 1:23 am
With public education being an issue that could potentially be influenced by the election, members of the Penn community came together Monday to discuss the future of the city’s school system.  Monday night, the Penn Institute for Urban Research collaborated with the Graduate School of Education to sponsor a panel discussion on community and education challenges in Philadelphia. Focusing specifically on research and reform, the panel presented a detailed analysis of the underlying problems in Philadelphia’s public education system.

Charter Schools Win Support in Georgia Vote

New York Times By MOTOKO RICH Published: November 7, 2012
Two ballot measures concerning charter schools, which are publicly financed but privately operated, spawned fierce battles in Georgia and Washington StateGeorgia’s measure, which passed handily on Tuesday, asked voters to amend the State Constitution to allow for a commission that would approve new schools that had been rejected by local school boards.
Opponents, who said that the Constitution did not need to be amended and that charter schools already had routes of appeal, pointed to heavy spending by out-of-state donors, including Alice Walton, the daughter of the founder of Walmart, Sam Walton; Americans for Prosperity, the Tea Party group founded by the billionaire Koch brothers; and several companies that manage charter schools. Supporters of the amendment outspent opponents by about 15 to 1.
“Unfortunately, our side of the issue couldn’t be explained to the public on a bumper sticker,” said Herb Garrett, the executive director of the Georgia School Superintendents Association, which opposed the measure, saying it could divert much needed financing from traditional public schools. “That was a pretty steep hill to climb.”
In Washington, supporters of a measure to allow charter schools in the state also raised amounts that far outstripped their opponents. Donors included Ms. Walton, the Bezos foundation, and Bill Gates and Paul Allen, the co-founders of Microsoft. They raised millions of dollars to promote the ballot initiative, the fourth time in 16 years that Washington voters had been asked to approve charter schools.

Idaho Voters Repeal Online Learning, Performance-Pay Measures

 Jason Tomassini  
A set of sweeping measures looking to drastically change teachers' collective bargaining rights and how students use technology in the classroom were overwhelmingly voted down by Idaho voters Tuesday.

Postelection, Kline Talks ESEA Renewal, Fiscal Cliff, and Bipartisanship

 Alyson Klein  
One big election, and not much has changed. President Barack Obama will be back for four more years, the U.S. Senate is still in Democratic hands, and the U.S. House of Representatives is still GOP-controlled. That means, of course, that U.S. Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., is still at the helm of the House education committee.
So what does Kline envision for the next couple years? Can there be bipartisanship on K-12 and other issues?

Five Issues Facing Arne Duncan in a Second Term

 Michele McNeil  
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has maintained that he would stick around for a second term if President Barack Obama is re-elected and asks him to stay on. Now, Duncan has that chance. During the next four years, Duncan—and any successor—will confront some significant issues.

Why do hedge funds ADORE charters?

Cloaking Inequity Julian Vasquez Heilig's Education and Public Policy Blog October 23, 2012
If we are to believe Jonathan Alter and others, hedge funds like loaning to charters because it is just the right thing to do and they have big hearts. I took issue with this off-stage at MSNBC’s Education Nation and Alter was dumfounded that hedge fund managers might actually be investing in charters because they can make some serious $. On camera, he said he was concerned about “the profit motive,” but off-camera he still disputed that hedge fund managers have a vested interested in fleecing the public (again!) in the education sector.
In a meeting with the Texas Charter School Association this morning, they related that the average rate that charters in Texas are paying for bonds is about 8% compared to about 3% for traditional public schools. That can mean the difference between debt service of $19 million and $29 million dollars over a 20-year term— ~$10 million. Now if you were a hedge fund manager, would you find that level of return inviting?

Cursive Dropped From Pitt County Schools Curriculum In North Carolina

Huffinton Post Posted: 11/06/2012 11:28 am EST Updated: 11/06/2012 11:28 am EST
Joining school systems in Hawaii, Indiana and elsewhere across the country, Pitt County Schools in North Carolina will no longer require its students to learn cursive writing.  North Carolina is one of 46 states and the District of Columbia to adopt the newCommon Core State Standards, a set of national education standards that, among other things, omits cursive but includes keyboard proficiency.
According to Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Olmstead, the schools had previously been teaching cursive writing starting in third grade, reports the Daily Reflector. Now, students will transition from finishing learning how to print in second grade, to keyboarding skills in third grade.
With teachers having so much other material to cover, they are left with no time for cursive, the district officials say, according to WNCT.

“But despite the significant momentum behind the effort (in 1994), the idea of establishing national standards and tests was ultimately rejected. States and local school districts understood that Washington was overstepping its bounds to an unprecedented extent and chose instead to retain their educational sovereignty.
The eulogy of the Common Core national standards initiative could read just the same. If state and local leaders, school superintendents and teachers, parents, and taxpayers fight against this latest—and perhaps greatest—federal overreach into what is taught in schools across America, it just might.”

Common Core: National Education Standards: It’s Not Too Late for States

Education News by Lindsey Burke -
While 46 states have jumped on the national education standards bandwagon, it’s not too late to hit the brakes. We’ve been down this road before.
During the 1990s, the push to nationalize standards and testing reached a fever pitch. There were the infamous national history standards, which were so poor (no mention of the Apollo 11 moon landing; not a single mention of the Constitution; the absence of Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and the Wright brothers) that the U.S. Senate rejected the resolution 99–1.

There's still time to register for the Pittsburgh school library briefing on November 15th!
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, and learn about the investments in school library programs needed to prepare 21st-century learners:

Education Policy and Leadership Center

Register Now! 2012 Pennsylvania Education Finance Symposium November 16th

The registration fee is $25 if paid by November 12, and $30 if paid after November 12 or on-site. Click here to register for the symposium.
Wildwood Conference Center Harrisburg Area Community College
Friday, November 16, 2012

Why Investing in Early Education Matters, Even in These Difficult Economic Times - "Erie Region Breakfast Series" Monday, November 19, 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
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
Darlene Kovacs, VP Administrative Services, 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.
Building One Pennsylvania – Fundraiser November 29th
Join us at our first fundraiser and awards ceremony to celebrate our progress in promoting inclusive, sustainable and economically prosperous communities.
Austin Room at IBEW Electrical Union 654
3729 Chichester Avenue, Boothwyn PA 19061

Thursday, November 29th from 6:00 – 8:00 PM
$100 per person • $75 for Building One Pennsylvania Member
U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.
U.S. Congressman Patrick Meehan
Estelle Richman, Senior Advisor to the Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Isaac Dotson, Yeadon Economic Development Corporation
Tom Gemmill, St. James Episcopal Church, Lancaster
Rev. Marlon Millner, Norristown Municipal Council and McKinley Memorial Baptist Church


Education Law Center invites you to a special evening December 5th
Honoring Len Rieser
Welcoming Rhonda Brownstein
And celebrating public education champions
Mary Gay Scanlon, Harold Jordan, Arc of PA, The Bridges Collaborative and School Discipline Advocacy Services
Food, Drink and Silent Auction
December 5, 2012 , 5:30 PM
Crystal Tea Room The Wanamaker Building
100 Penn Square East, Philadelphia

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