Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Corbett administration issues pension report; Chester Upland Board rejects recovery plan


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, parent advocates, 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

New Corbett admin report reinforces dire pension picture, offers reforms.
Capitol Ideas Blog by John Micek November 26, 2012
Budget Secretary Charles Zogby's office released its first comprehensive overview of the state's dire public pension crisis this afternoon, concluding that if the problem remains unaddressed the "state's general fund budget is on very predictable path that will force a choice between either fully funding pension obligations or making cuts to the core functions of government."
“With a clear understanding of the crisis and the challenges we confront, it is imperative that Pennsylvania find a workable solution," the budget czar said in a statement.
Here's the full (19 page) report:  Keystone Pension Report 2012

Officials looking to other states to fix Pennsylvania's pension problem
By JAN MURPHY, The Patriot-News  on November 27, 2012 at 5:00 AM
Think of “Pac-Man” gobbling up the little yellow dots as it moves through the maze.
That’s not too far from Gov. Tom Corbett’s description of the pension crisis that the state faces.
The soaring pensions costs are consuming billions in state revenue. The state’s obligations to its two public employee pension funds are eating up money that otherwise could go to fund schools, public safety, transportation, human services and other core governmental programs.
To help Pennsylvanians understand the magnitude of the problem, Corbett’s budget office on Monday issued the Keystone Pension Report

Corbett sets stage for debate on pensions

November 27, 2012 12:09 am
By Karen Langley / Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG -- Faced with a $41 billion unfunded pension liability, the Corbett administration Monday set the stage for negotiations on overhauling the state's retirement systems with a report suggesting current employees could face cuts in benefits they have not yet accrued.

Pennsylvania slapped by U.S. Ed Department over charter schools

While Pennsylvania considers adding eight more cyber charter schools to its roster of 16, it is smarting from a rebuke by the U.S. Department of Education, which slapped down its plan to evaluate brick and mortar charters by a method that is easier than for traditional schools. Confused?

Chester Upland votes against recovery plan
Published: Monday, November 26, 2012
Delco Times By JOHN KOPP jkopp@delcotimes.com @DT_JohnKopp
CHESTER — The Chester Upland School District board voted against adopting the financial and academic recovery plan developed by Chief Recovery Officer Joseph Watkins at a special board meeting tonight.  The 5-4 vote split down party lines with Republicans voting against the plan and the Democrats voting in its favor. By rejecting the plan, the board paved the way for state Education Secretary Ronald Tomalis to place Chester Upland under receivership.

Chester Upland school board rejects recovery plan

Rita Giordano, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
POSTED: Monday, November 26, 2012, 9:21 PM
The Chester Upland school board voted, 5-4, Monday night to reject a recently released financial and academic recovery plan, causing the state to seek to have the troubled district placed in control of a receiver.  Approval of the plan was necessary for the elected board to have a role in implementing it - which several residents implored members to do.

Fair standard for charters

Scranton Times-Tribune  Editorial Published: November 25, 2012
Much as the state Department of Education caught several Pennsylvania school districts cheating on student achievement tests, the U.S. Department of Education has caught the state education agency fudging on behalf of charter schools.
Last week the federal department properly rejected the state DOE's request to assess charter schools differently than conventional public schools, which is good news for taxpayers and parents.

Talking Turkey about Charters
Yinzercation Blog November 26, 2012
Pennsylvania’s education secretary Ron Tomalis may not have been feeling very thankful last week. The feds just slapped down his blatant attempt to change the reporting rules for charter schools that would have made their student achievement rates look better. As you may recall, earlier this fall Tomalis had just been caught lying about the supposed impact of teachers on falling student test scores, when an investigative piece by the Lehigh Valley’s Morning Callrevealed that he was also trying to cheat the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) system, making it easier for charter schools to meet those student-testing benchmarks than traditional public schools.

Following the Voucher Money in Pennsylvania

Diane Ravitch’s Blog November 26, 2012 //
Investigative journalists are beginning to follow the money trail that leads to privatization of public education.  Chris Potter of the Pittsburgh City Paper recently published an excellent examination of the lavish spending by a small group of interlocking organizations promoting privatization in Pennsylvania. Some of these organizations popped up overnight to dispense large sums of money to candidates willing to support vouchers.

Jeb Bush, with cash and clout, pushes contentious school reforms

Reuters By Stephanie Simon Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:32am EST
(Reuters) - Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush soared to rock star status in the education world on the strength of a chart.
A simple graph, it tracked fourth-grade reading scores. In 1998, when Bush was elected governor, Florida kids scored far below the national average. By the end of his second term, in 2007, they were far ahead, with especially impressive gains for low-income and minority students.
Those results earned Bush bipartisan acclaim. As he convenes a star-studded policy summit this week in Washington, he is widely regarded as one of the most influential education reformers in the U.S. Elements of his agenda have been adopted in 36 states, from Maine to Mississippi, North Carolina to New Mexico.
Many of his admirers cite Bush's success in Florida as reason enough to get behind him.
But a close examination raises questions about the depth and durability of the gains in Florida. After the dramatic jump of the Bush years, Florida test scores edged up in 2009 and then dropped, with low-income students falling further behind. State data shows huge numbers of high school graduates still needing remedial help in math and reading.
And some of the policies Bush now pushes, such as vouchers and mandatory online classes, have no clear links to the test-score bump in Florida. Bush has been particularly vigorous about promoting online education, urging states to adopt policies written with input from companies that stand to profit from expanded cyber-schooling.
Many of those companies also donate to Bush's Foundation for Excellence in Education, which has raised $19 million in recent years to promote his agenda nationwide

What Happened to Public Education on Election Night?
Dissent Magazine By Joanne Barkan - November 26, 2012 
Barack Obama’s K-12 “reform” policies have brought misery to public schools across the country: more standardized testing, faulty evaluations for teachers based on student test scores, more public schools shut down rather than improved, more privately managed and for-profit charter schools soaking up tax dollars but providing little improvement, more money wasted on unproven computer-based instruction, and more opportunities for private foundations to steer public policy. Obama’s agenda has also fortified a crazy-quilt political coalition on education that stretches from centrist ed-reform functionaries to conservatives aiming to undermine unions and privatize public schools to right-wingers seeking tax dollars for religious charters. Mitt Romney’s education program was worse in only one significant way: Romney also supported vouchers that allow parents to take their per-child public-education funding to private schools, including religious schools.
After the November 6 elections, public school supporters speculated about (hoped for) a change in direction in Obama’s second term. Unfortunately, there’s no reason to expect a shift

“…first and second places are taken by Finland and South Korea… successful countries give teachers a high status and have a "culture" of education.”

Pearson: UK education sixth in global ranking

27 November 2012
The UK's education system is ranked sixth best in the developed world, according to a global league table published by education firm Pearson.  The first and second places are taken by Finland and South Korea.
The rankings combine international test results and data such as graduation rates between 2006 and 2010.  Sir Michael Barber, Pearson's chief education adviser, says successful countries give teachers a high status and have a "culture" of education.


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
HONOREES:
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

PLEASE RSVP TO ATTEND


CELEBRATE Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center’s 5th Anniversary!
Friday November 30th 12 pm1:30 pm
Join us in celebrating 5 years of providing a strong, independent voice for working Pennsylvanians and their families in the halls of the state Capitol and beyond.
Friday~November 30th, 12 pm - 1:30 pm
Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel
201 N. 17th Street | Philadelphia PA 19103
www.pennbpc.org/5thanniversary
Registration begins at 11:30
LEGISLATIVE LEADERSHIP AWARD
Hon. Gene DiGirolamo & Hon. Thomas Murt
BE THE CHANGE AWARD
Voter ID Plaintiff Legal Team
The Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia (PILCOP)
The ACLU of Pennsylvania
The Advancement Project
Arnold and Porter
HOST COMMITTEE
Hon. Edward G. Rendell | Hon. Vincent Hughes
Hon. Blondell Reynolds Brown | Hon. Maria Quiñones Sánchez | Hon. W. Wilson Goode II
Hon. Diane Ellis-Marseglia | Willig, Williams, & Davidson | Dianne & Ted Reed | Donna Cooper
Public Citizens for Children and Youth | Women Against Abuse
Education Policy and Leadership Center | Education Voters of Pennsylvania
Project H.O.M.E | Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania

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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