Friday, November 2, 2012

The gang is all here: take a look at just some of the voucher, EITC & charter money influencing next Tuesday’s election: (and don’t forget to vote!)

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, 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

Yesterday, Education Voters Action PA announced their complete bipartisan list of endorsements for next Tuesday’s election.
If you want legislators who support public education then please support these candidates with your time, your money and your votes.

Education Voters Action of PA 2012 General Election Endorsements

Education Voters Action of Pennsylvania Published on September 17, 2012
We are very pleased to announce our endorsements for the 2012 General Election.. Based on a review of available information, including written materials, public statements, voting records and candidate interviews, Education Voters has decided to endorse the following candidates with a goal of having more legislators who support public education in public office.
These candidates recognize that if our economy and our communities are going to improve and remain strong that it starts with our students.  We need strong policymakers in Harrisburg that are willing to stand up for our values, so we ask that you support public education by supporting these candidates on November 6th!

The gang is all here: take a look at just some of the voucher, EITC & charter money influencing next Tuesday’s election:
(and don’t forget to vote!)

For a Better PA Fund PAC Campaign Finance Report from 9/18/12 through 10/22/12
This PAC collected money from 
Fighting Chance PAC (See background here)
Students First PAC (See background here)
and Vahan Gureghian (See background here)

Fighting Chance PAC Campaign Finance Report from 5/15/12 through 9/17/12

Here’s background on the Fighting Chance PAC
Big money behind push for education tax credit program
June 27, 2012|By WILL BUNCH and Daily News Staff Writer
A NEW, big-money political-action committee turned up on the Pennsylvania radar screen this spring — at exactly the same time that the Philadelphia Archdiocese launched a full-court press for legislation in Harrisburg that would pump millions of dollars of scholarship money into its struggling schools.
The new Fighting Chance PA PAC shares a name with a self-described grass-roots campaign launched in March by the Pennsylvania Catholic Coalition, and it shares office space with wealthy King of Prussia developer Brian O'Neill, who spearheaded a drive to raise $12 million from 10 anonymous donors earlier this year to keep open four endangered Catholic high schools.

In case you were offline due to the storm, here’s KEYSEC coverage of carpetbaggers who dumped $400K more into Pennsylvania legislative races in the past month.  Noteworthy were $100K to EITC sponsor State Rep. Christiana (R-15 Beaver), $50K to voucher proponent Senator Anthony Williams (D-8Philadelphia. Delaware) and $50K to Brian Munroe, who is challenging State Rep. Bernie O’Neill (R-29 Bucks), a strong supporter of public education.
PA Students First PAC Campaign Finance Report from 9/18/12 through 10/22/12

Little opposition for incumbent state lawmakers this year

With years of voter anger subsiding, many legislative incumbents face an easy task at the polls this Election Day.

9:29 p.m. EDT, October 31, 2012
HARRISBURG — One level of Pennsylvania government expects to see little change from Tuesday's balloting.
That's the 253-member General Assembly where, thanks to ironclad district lines and a high bar for third-party candidates to get onto the ballot, many incumbents are unopposed.
Nine of 25 state senators up for re-election to the 50-member chamber lack competition. And nearly half (96) of the 203 state House seats up for grabs are also without opposition.

Deficit could close school in North Allegheny

Post-Gazette By Sandy Trozzo November 1, 2012 5:33 am
Closing one of the small elementary schools in the North Allegheny School District would save money and stabilize class sizes throughout the district, school board members said.
But, if they do close a school, "change will be felt throughout the system," said Brian Miller, assistant superintendent for K-12 education. "There is no easy decision; there are just a series of difficult ones.
"If you remove a small school from our system, the entire system will be affected."
Mr. Miller presented a demographics update Oct. 24 that showed there are spare classrooms in each of the seven elementary schools and other rooms that could be converted to classrooms.
A consultant recommended in August that the district close its first and oldest school -- Peebles Elementary in McCandless. Peebles was built in 1952 and renovated in 1999. Last year, another consultant recommended closing Bradford Woods Elementary, which needs major renovations.
The possibility of closing a school is a long process, board president Maureen Grosheider said. Mr. Miller's update was the first of several to come.

School Choice? Bad Choice
Online public schools are the latest proof that “choice” hurts kids
Philadelphia Magazine by Sandy Hingston 12/14/2011
The New York Times had an extensive article yesterday on the crappy-ass performance of for-profit online public schools. The companies that run these schools provide curricula (of sorts) to parents; kids receive assignments online from teachers who oversee as many as 270 students at a time. The biggest player in this particular for-profit, to-hell-with-the-kids scheme is K12 Inc., whose Agora Cyber Charter School will report income of $72 million this year, according to the Times. And who pays for these schools? Why, you do, dear taxpayer. What do you get for your dollars? In a conference in March “sponsored by the investment firm Morgan Stanley,” K12 president Ronald J. Packard told investors that Agora students are “doing as well or better than the average child in a brick-and-mortar school.”
Uh-oh! Data released shortly after that conference showed that only 42 percent of Agora students were performing at grade level or better in math, and only 52 percent in reading. Statewide, 74 percent of the brick-and-mortar kids hit the mark in math, and 72 percent in reading.

Profits and Questions at Online Charter Schools

Published: December 12, 2011 
Nearly 60 percent of its students are behind grade level in math. Nearly 50 percent trail in reading. A third do not graduate on time. And hundreds of children, from kindergartners to seniors, withdraw within months after they enroll.
By Wall Street standards, though, Agora is a remarkable success that has helped enrich K12 Inc., the publicly traded company that manages the school. And the entire enterprise is paid for by taxpayers.

A Chinese Educator Shares His Wisdom about the Goals of Education

Diane Ravitch’s Blog November 1, 2012 //
Yong Zhao is an amazing educator who knows why our current obsession with testing is bad for American society. He spoke recently in Michigan, where he explained why we should focus on creativity and innovation, not test scores. He also explained why we should not be awed by Shanghai’s high test scores, because the Chinese educators are not.

What’s Still Missing in American Education and How to Out-educate China?
Yong Zhao 10 MAY 2012
America has almost caught up with China, and actually in some areas surpassed it. Thanks to No Child Left Behind, America can now claim to have even more frequent high stakes standardized tests than China. It can also be proud to be more serious than China about the test results because it uses test scores to break up schools, fire school leaders, and publicly humiliate teachers, while China does not have the guts to do any of that. China only gives those schools and teachers with high test scoring students some extra money. America has also successfully reduced time on nonsense school activities such as music, arts, sports, science, social studies, lunch time, and field trips, something it has wanted to do since the 1950s when surpassing the former Soviet Union was the aspiration. And the silly Chinese are working hard to push those nonsense activities into schools.

Facts About the No Child Left Behind Waivers

by Shane Vander Hart – Jane Robbins, a Senior Fellow for American Principles Project provided some facts that you should know about the No Child Left Behind waivers.  States apply for these in order, they say, to free themselves from Federal guidelines and standards under NCLB.  What they’re really doing is substituting federal control with more federal control.

American Association of School Administrators

Sequestration Resources

In addition to AASA's sequestration toolkit and economic impact/sequestration reports, here is a compilation of other sequestration-related resources you may find helpful. AASA jas actually made all of these resources available at one time or another, but a special thanks to our friends at CEF for sharing them all in one list.

Education Policy and Leadership Center

Education Policy and Leadership Center

Register Now! 2012 Pennsylvania Education Finance Symposium

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

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