Monday, November 26, 2012

Moratorium Needed on New Cyber Charters

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
Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg

Seeing your neighbors, who elect you and whose local property taxes you are responsible for, at the supermarket, the bank and the barbershop, 365 days per year.
Holding public budget preparation meetings, several times each year.
Operating under sunshine laws and right-know-laws.
Public salary information and check registers.

Pa. charter schools lose ruling on achievement evaluations

Pocono Record By November 23, 2012
PHILADELPHIA — Federal education officials have denied Pennsylvania's request to evaluate charter school achievement using more lenient criteria, saying they must be assessed by the same standard as traditional schools.
The rejection means Pennsylvania cannot substitute a less stringent method for measuring "adequate yearly progress," the federal benchmark known as AYP. Critics said the formula artificially inflated charter schools' performance for political reasons.
"I cannot approve this ... because it's not aligned with the statute and regulations," U.S. Assistant Education Secretary Deborah Delisle wrote in a letter released by the state Wednesday.
The issue surfaced in September when Pennsylvania's latest standardized test scores were reported. For the first time — and without approval from federal officials — state Education Secretary Ronald Tomalis treated charter schools as districts, not individual schools.

“Interesting that the announcement was made on the day before the long holiday weekend, which meant that someone decided to bury it.”

US DOE: Pennsylvania Can’t Inflate Charter Scores

Diane Ravitch’s Blog November 23, 2012 //
The U.S. Department of Education ruled invalid Pennsylvania’s effort to inflate the scores of charter schools by treating them as local school districts.

This week PDE will hold hearings on applications for 8 more cyber charter schools.  Under the US Dept. of Education ruling noted above, none of the 12 existing cyber charters made AYP for 2012; most have never made AYP.
Education Law Center November 21, 2012
Education Law Center: Moratorium Needed on New Cyber Charters
The Pennsylvania Department of Education is in jeopardy of violating state law if it approves eight new cyber charter schools in the coming weeks, according to the Education Law Center.

Cyber Charter School Application Hearings Nov 26, 28, 29 and 30th
The Department of Education (Department) has scheduled four public hearings regarding eight cyber charter school applications that it received on October 1, 2012. The hearings will be held on Monday, November 26, 2012, Wednesday, November 28, 2012, Thursday, November 29, 2012, and Friday, November 30, 2012, beginning at 9:15 a.m. in Heritage Room B, lobby level, 333 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA. The hearings pertain to applicants seeking to operate cyber charter schools beginning in the 2013-14 school year which include: Urban Cyber Charter School, Akoben Cyber Charter School, Mercury Online Charter School of Pennsylvania, 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. The purpose of the hearings is to gather information from the applicants about the proposed cyber charter schools as well as receive comments from interested persons regarding the applications. The applications can be viewed on the Department's web site at www.

PA Cyber Charter PSSA AYP 2005 - 2012 from PDE

School lockdown: PA Cyber Charter owes the public some answers

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette November 25, 2012 12:34 am
Just because one facet of a public school is under investigation doesn't mean its officials are off the hook on answering questions about other operations.
Yet that's the attitude of Robert E. Stewart, the attorney representing the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School in a federal grand jury investigation believed to be focused on former executives of the school. He has barred its spokeswoman from responding to questions from the Post-Gazette about paid consulting work done by PA Cyber's CEO.

Study: Students with access to full-time librarians do better

November 26, 2012 12:24 am
By Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
As school districts look for ways to save money, supporters of school libraries point to a recent study showing Pennsylvania students do better on state tests in reading and writing if they have access to strong school libraries.  The study found students with access to a better-staffed, funded, equipped, stocked and accessible school library are more likely to score advanced and less likely to score below basic on the state reading and writing tests.

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


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
Registration begins at 11:30
Hon. Gene DiGirolamo & Hon. Thomas Murt
Voter ID Plaintiff Legal Team
The Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia (PILCOP)
The ACLU of Pennsylvania
The Advancement Project
Arnold and Porter
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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