Monday, November 12, 2012

Pennsylvania school districts plan for Keystone Exams


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

“…officials with the U.S. Education Department said Pennsylvania has not received official approval to replace the PSSAs with the Keystones. Nor has the department approved standards submitted by the Pennsylvania Education Department for determining whether districts, schools or subgroups achieve AYP on the Keystones.
This marks the second time in recent months state education officials have moved forward with changes in state tests without official approval from federal officials. In September, the state Education Department eased achievement rules for charter schools without waiting for necessary federal approval, resulting in an increase of 44 schools achieving AYP.
Nevertheless, the state is moving full steam ahead.”

Pennsylvania school districts plan for Keystone Exams

New tests to replace PSSAs for state's high school students
By Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette November 11, 2012 12:27 am
Next month, secondary students across the state will sit for the first Keystone Exams, which are intended to be the state's new achievement barometer for high school students, eliminating the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment exams.
Keystone Exams in Algebra 1, biology and literature will be given to students in grade 11 starting on Dec. 3. Districts can choose from four testing windows: Dec. 3-14; Jan. 9-23; May 13-24; and July 29-Aug. 2. The July-August window is for students attending summer school.
The Keystone Exams are expected to be significantly harder than the old 11th-grade PSSA tests and are based on the new Common Core State Standards. The standards are built on the idea that all elementary and secondary students should learn certain skills and information no matter where they live.

Commentary: Testing! Testing! 1 2 3! Detouring away from meaningful education
The Notebook Guest Blog by Joseph P. Batory Nov 09 2012
Joseph Batory was superintendent of schools in Upper Darby from 1984 to 1999.
During the past 12 years, since the adoption of No Child Left Behind, elected officials at state and national levels have been consumed with using test scores as a panacea for American education. This political pressure has crumbled the educational resistance from many school districts, which have now bought into test preparation rituals and teaching to the test as the top priorities for public education.
This frenzy over testing has led schools away from meaningful teaching and learning. Getting students to answer a few more multiple choice questions correctly each year, after months of test preparation and rehearsals, hardly means that they are better educated. Worse yet, the amount of time devoted to teaching to the test has shrunk learning activities that foster higher-order skills like in-depth analysis, synthesis, and discussion and deliberation. An unfortunate effect of this devotion has been a narrowing of the curriculum. The more time spent on standardized testing, the less attention given to other subject areas.

Revolt against high-stakes standardized testing spreads

Even as policymakers find new ways to use standardized tests as a measurement tool, a rebellion against the high-stakes assessments is growing. Here is the latest on where the revolt stands, from Lisa Guisbond, a policy analyst for the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, known as FairTest. It is a Boston-based organization that aims to improve standardized testing practices and evaluations of students, teachers and schools.

Ravitch blog does Keystone State Education Coalition…..
A Local School Board Member in Pennsylvania Is a Hero of Public Education
Diane Ravitch’s Blog November 10, 2012
“Established in 2006, the Keystone State Education Coalition is a growing grass roots, non-partisan public education advocacy group of several hundred locally elected, volunteer school board members and administrators from school districts throughout Pennsylvania. Our mission is to evaluate, discuss and inform our boards, district constituents and legislators on legislative issues of common interest and to facilitate active engagement in public education advocacy.”

Obama Education Policy: Second Term Direction Still Not Clear

Huffington Post by Joy Resmovits Posted: 11/08/2012 7:23 pm EST 
In Rick Hess's eyes, President Barack Obama has a big choice to make.
"The president campaigned with a different face of education reform than what he championed during the first term," Hess, an influential education scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, said in an interview. "I'm curious as to whether what he said on the campaign trail is more reflective of what a second term will be or whether the first term will be reflected in the second term."

Californians Not Yet Ready to Give Up on Public Schools

 Walt Gardner  
Despite pronounced disaffection with the academic performance of students, 53.9 percent of voters in California approved Proposition 30, a ballot measure that is expected to raise an additional $6 billion a year in taxes to protect public schools and colleges. To achieve this goal, the sales tax will rise to 7.5 percent - a quarter of a percentage point - until 2016, while individuals making more than $250,000 annually will see their income-tax-rate increase by one to three percentage points until 2018. The money will go into the general fund, with the lion's share earmarked for schools.

Jon Stewart focuses on public education

On “The Daily Show” Thursday night, Jon Stewart did a segment that focused on public education — the impact of budget cuts, how kids learn, teachers. This was all in his discussion with director Katie Dellamaggiore and student Pobo Efekoro about their documentary  film “Brooklyn Castle,” which details how budget cuts affected a highly successful chess program at a New York City middle school.

Sandy destroyed Bellevue Hospital Reach Out & Read books

Via tweet from Susan Ohanian @susanoha

Help them buy more (They get them @ $2.75 per book)

STEM Educators: Apply Now for the 2013-14 Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship

Deadline December 5, 2012
The Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program is now accepting applications for the 2013-2014 Fellowship Year. The Einstein Fellowship Program is available to current K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educators with a demonstrated excellence in teaching and leadership.
Selected teachers spend 11 months in Washington, D.C., sharing their expertise with STEM program directors or policy makers. Einstein Fellows may serve in a Congressional office or in one of several government agencies such as the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).  Fellows receive a monthly stipend and an allowance for professional travel and relocation. The fellowship year begins in late August 2013.
For more information about the program and to learn how to apply, visit www.einsteinfellows.org. Applications for the 2013-14 Fellowship program are due by 11:00 pm (EST) December 5, 2012.

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

PENNSYLVANIA EDUCATION POLICY FORUM
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
SPEAKERS:
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
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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