Wednesday, November 28, 2012

No Child Left Behind waiver to be sought by 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, 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
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No Child Left Behind waiver to be sought by Pennsylvania

By Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette November 28, 2012 12:11 am
Pennsylvania Education Secretary Ron Tomalis said his department will seek a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind legislation, which in its current form calls for all students to test proficient in reading and math on annual state achievement exams by 2014.
Mr. Tomalis previously had resisted applying for a waiver -- an option made available by the Obama administration in September 2011 when it became apparent that Congress would not be able to agree on a reauthorization of NCLB before the 2014 deadline.

Read more:


Pa. students to take 1st Keystone Exams soon

Education Week by Kathy Matheson (AP) November 27, 2012
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — School districts statewide will begin administering new standardized tests next week in math, English and science, exams that eventually all students will have to pass to earn a high school diploma.
The first wave of Keystone Exams starts Monday. Districts will begin testing all juniors in algebra 1, literature and biology; students in lower grades who have finished courses in those subjects will take the exams as well.
For 11th-graders, the Keystones replace the longstanding tests known as the PSSAs, or Pennsylvania System of School Assessment. Scores will have no bearing on students' academic records.

CUSD receiver could be in cards
Published: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Delco Times By JOHN KOPP @DT_JohnKopp
The Chester Upland School District could soon be placed under the authority of a receiver, the result of the school board voting against adopting the financial and academic recovery plan developed by Chief Recovery Officer Joseph Watkins.
State Education Secretary Ronald Tomalis is required by law to petition the Court of Common Pleas to place Chester Upland under a receiver, according to Tim Eller, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
“In the interest of putting the district back on a financial footing, I’m sure the secretary will do so at short order,” Eller said Monday night.

Shocker: Republicans vote to likely kill off what's left of public education in Chester

Philly Daily News Attytood Blog by Will Bunch Tuesday, November 27, 2012
This summer I wrote about the Corbett administration's fox-guarding-the-henhouse plan of placing a leading advocate for charter schools in charge of drafting a blueprint to "save" public education in the beleaguered Chester-Upland school district. Interestingly, the plan announced by that pick, Joe Watkins, called for radical change and steep cuts but would have kept the district intact until 2015. Except that the, ahem, Republicans on the board rejected this plan, so now it's not clear what happens but you have to think the privatization of schools in the poverty-stricken Delco community will come sooner rather than later. If you didn't know better, you'd almost think the fix was in from Day One.
Of course, there already is the privatized operator of a large charter school in Chester -- his name is Vahan Gureghian, and he just happens to be Gov. Corbett's largest campaign donor. Since Gureghian entered the charter school business, he began building a home in Palm Beach -- rendering at top.
Is this a great country or what?

'Live From the Newsroom' tonight will tackle latest Chester Upland crisis

Delco Times Heron’s Nest Editor’s Blog by Phil Heron Tuesday, November 27, 2012
You’ve probably heard about this ‘fiscal cliff’ thing. Last night the Chester Upland School Board peered into an abyss of their own - and then decided to jump in.  The board rejected the recovery plan crafted by Chief Recovery Officer Joe Watkins. The result is that the district likely will be placed in a state receivership.
You can read all the details - including why several board members decided to vote against the plan, in John Kopp’s story here.  Then tomorrow (Wednesday) night make sure you tune in for a very special ‘Live From the Newsroom.’
We’ll have Watkins here in our offices to talk about the plan and where Chester Upland goes from here. We also hope to be joined a some members of the school board to talk about their decision.
Do you have a question for Watkins? Or for school board members who obviously were torn by 

Stanford Study Upbeat on N.J. Charter Schools
Dan Hardy, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER  Tuesday, November 27, 2012, 7:55 PM
Students in New Jersey charter schools show greater learning gains, on average, than those in comparable traditional public schools, a study released Tuesday by a Stanford University research center shows.  While the report by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) was positive for charters statewide, Camden's charter schools overall did not share in the good news.

Feds Say No to Different Rating System for Pa. Charters

 Andrew Ujifusa  
The U.S. Department of Education has rejected a change to the way that Pennsylvania evaluates charter schools, saying that they have to be evaluated in the same way as traditional public schools, the Associated Press reported Nov. 26.

New Graduation Rate Data Show Large Achievement Gaps

 Michele McNeil  
The U.S. Department of Education today released four-year high school graduation rates for the 2010-11 school year that, for the first time, reflect a common method of calculation for all states.
The state-by-state data show graduation rates that range from 59 percent in the District of Columbia to 88 percent in Iowa. The new method requires states to track individual students and report how many first-time 9th graders graduate with a standard diploma within four years.

American students deserve better than Arne Duncan

MSNBC by Nikhil Goyal 9:58 am on 11/22/2012
Nikhil Goyal is the author of “One Size Does Not Fit All: A Student’s Assessment of School,”and was a panelist during our Education Nation town hall on September 23 (above). Goyal, 17, is also a student at Syosset High School in New York.
As a 17-year-old high school student, I’m both a No Child Left Behind and a Race to the Top baby. I’ve lived through both pieces of failed legislation under former Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and now current Secretary Arne Duncan that have seriously derailed the status of education in this country. But I’m optimistic. Along with millions of frustrated students, educators, and parents, I’m committed to a radical reinvention of the system from scratch.
And while it isn’t official yet, Secretary Duncan has hinted that he will return to President Obama’s cabinet for a second term. I can tell you that isn’t good news.

NSBA supports Louisiana school boards in voucher case

NSBA School Board News by Joetta Sack-Min|November 27th, 2012
A lawsuit filed by school boards will determine the fate of Louisiana’s school voucher plan, which may already be jeopardized after a federal court ruling this week.
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is supporting alawsuit filed in state court by the Louisiana School Boards Association (LSBA), the state’s main teachers’ organizations, and 43 school districts that challenges the constitutionality of a plan to provide vouchers to Louisiana students in low-performing schools. The first hearing on this lawsuit is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, Nov. 28, in the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge, La. LSBA’s Legal Counsel Robert Hammonds will be arguing the case on behalf of LSBA’s members.

Sequestration: A red mark for education

Politico Opinion By C. ED MASSEY | 11/27/12 9:34 PM EST
C. Ed Massey is president of the National School Boards Association and a member of Kentucky’s Boone County Schools Board of Education.
Our recent national election has highlighted many unresolved challenges facing our families and communities, including the economy, unemployment and national security.
Another challenge could devastate our public schools: the budget cuts that are slated to occur on Jan. 2, 2013, because of the sequestration provisions of the 2011 Budget Control Act. As a local school board member, I see firsthand the impact of the planned reductions in federal funding for education. The end result for many of our nation’s public schools would be larger class sizes, fewer course offerings, four-day school weeks, fewer extracurricular activities, less access to intervention programs and teacher/staff layoffs.
In fiscal 2013, these budget cuts would total more than $4 billion

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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