Tuesday, November 6, 2012

“The state should use the same method to assess individual public charter schools that it uses to assess individual conventional public schools."

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


Education Voters Action PA bipartisan list of endorsements for 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

“The state should use the same method to assess individual public charter schools that it uses to assess individual conventional public schools.  The objective isn't simply to affirm a policy favored by the administration and legislators, it's to determine whether charters actually do any better than conventional public schools.”

Editorial: No curve for charter schools

Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice Editorial Published: October 25, 2012
State education officials haven't finished their investigation into alleged cheating on standardized tests in some public school districts, including Scranton. But they have found their own side door to increase test results for charter schools, which the Corbett administration and legislative Republicans aggressively have promoted as alternatives to conventional public schools.
This page also has been an advocate of charter schools and other alternative schools that could free at least some students from failing public schools and provide meaningful competition for conventional public schools, thus forcing better performance. Charter schools, so far, have had mixed results.
But last summer, without so much as a public notice, the state Department of Education filed a request with the U.S. Department of Education to adopt a protocol for charter schools that would give them a far better chance of meeting the federal standard for "adequate yearly progress."
According to the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools, which had lobbied for the change in method, the change would increase charter schools' success rate by as much as 30 percent.

Pittsburgh public school parents like their kids' schools, survey shows

By Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette November 5, 2012 6:14 pm
About two-thirds of Pittsburgh Public Schools parents surveyed would recommend their child's school, according to the district's 2012 parent survey released tonight.
Parents of more than 4,000 students responded to the mailed survey, which puts the response rate at about 15 percent, a few points higher than in recent years. The survey was taken in May and June.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Philly School District hopes for $40m RTTT from feds

Philly School Files blog by Kristen Graham
Philadelphia School District officials have their eye on millions in federal funds they hope to earn through grants to be awarded in December.
The Race to the Top program, administered by the U.S. Department of Education, has previously awarded funds to 21 states and the District of Columbia, for programs aimed at boosting student achievement.  Now, the feds are offering money to individual school districts that plan to "personalize learning, close achievement gaps and use 21st century tools to prepare students for college and careers."

Pro-voucher group gives $100,000 to Christiana in October
Posted: Saturday, November 3, 2012 11:00 pm | Updated: 9:42 pm, Sat Nov 3, 2012.
Beaver County TimesOnline.com By J.D. Prose jprose@timesonline.com | 8 comments
A political-action committee that has spent millions promoting school vouchers and charter schools in Pennsylvania gave state Rep. Jim Christiana, a leading proponent of their cause, $100,000 just in October, according to recently filed state campaign finance records.
Students First PA, based in Wynnewood, Pa., gave Christiana -- a member of the House Education Committee -- $10,000 on Oct. 9; $25,000 on Oct. 12; $15,000 on Oct. 14; $25,000 on Oct. 15 and $25,000 on Oct. 22.
Earlier this year, the group gave $25,000 to Christiana, R-15, Beaver.

Gentzel interviewed during PCN's 'On the Issues'
PSBA’s website 11/5/2012
An interview with outgoing PSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel will air on November 14 at 8 p.m. on PCN's 'On the Issues.'
During the interview, Gentzel talks about state funding for education, recent charter school legislation, looking back on his tenure, and his future at the national level as executive director of the National School Boards Association.
Check local listings for details or go to www.pcntv.com

“We are not arguing the merits or demerits of charter schools,” said Herb Garrett, the executive director of the Georgia School Superintendents Association. “We’re just saying that decisions about new schools in a community ought to be made by elected officials who represent those citizens, not a bunch of political appointees in Atlanta who have no idea what’s going on in a local school district.”

Georgia’s Voters Will Decide on Future of Charter Schools

New York Times By MOTOKO RICH Published: November 5, 2012
ATLANTA — Staff members in the charter school division of the Georgia Department of Education keep notepads in their offices inscribed with a mantra: “Is it best for students? Then do it.”  But when it comes to charter schools, parents, teachers, education officials and legislators are deeply divided over what exactly would be best for students.
Here in Georgia, the future of charters, which are publicly financed but privately operated, could be determined Tuesday by a ballot measure that asks voters to amend the State Constitution so that an appointed statewide commission could authorize new schools.
Along with high-stakes testing and tenure changes, legislative efforts to expand charter schools are among the most contentious issues in education circles. Proponents say charters can experiment with new teaching strategies to help struggling students or those stuck in failing public schools. Detractors say the charters drain precious public money and energy from neighborhood schools.

Record Number in US Complete High School and College

New York Times By TAMAR LEWIN Published: November 5, 2012
Although the United States no longer leads the world in educational attainment, record numbers of young Americans are completing high school, going to college and finishing college, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of newly available census data.
This year, for the first time, a third of the nation’s 25- to 29-year-olds have earned at least a bachelor’s degree. That share has been slowly edging up for decades, from fewer than one-fifth of young adults in the early 1970s to 33 percent this year.
The share of high school graduates in that age group, along with the share of those with some college, have also reached record levels. This year, 90 percent were high school graduates, up from 78 percent in 1971. And 63 percent have completed some college work, up from 34 percent in 1971.

Sequestration: Boehner Expects 'Bridge' On Fiscal Cliff

National Journal By Reid Wilson November 4, 2012
MAYFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio -- House Speaker John Boehner doesn't expect a grand bargain avoiding the fiscal cliff to materialize in a lame duck session of Congress, but that doesn't mean the country is headed over the edge. Instead, Boehner said Sunday, he thinks Congress and the White House will find a way to punt the looming deadlines on the debt ceiling, the Bush tax cuts and the budget sequester into 2013.
"Lame ducks aren't noted for doing big things. And frankly I'm not sure that lame ducks should do big things. So the most likely outcome would be some type of a bridge," Boehner said in an interview with National Journal Sunday, aboard a campaign bus taking him around Ohio in a final sprint before Election Day. "But the impact of the election is certainly going to have an impact on how this plays out."

Respite on Ed. Issues Unlikely for Election Winners

Education Week By Alyson Klein Published Online: November 5, 2012
From the White House to Capitol Hill, the winners in this week's elections won't have much time to savor their victories.
Even as federal policymakers sort out the political landscape, the remainder of 2012 and the early months of 2013 are likely to be dominated by divisive, unresolved issues with broad consequences for K-12 and higher education—some of which require immediate action.
Chief among them: sequestration, a series of planned, across-the-board budget cuts that are set to hit almost every federal agency Jan. 2, including the U.S. Department of Education, unless the president and a lame-duck Congress act to stop them.

William Penn Foundation Fall 2012
Capitalizing Change: Our Strategic Vision and Priorities for the Next Decade
Since 1945, the William Penn Foundation has expressed Haas family values through its grantmaking. Our strategic plan, entitled Capitalizing Change, charts a vision and strategies consistent with the Foundation’s enduring values of respect, integrity, stewardship, collaboration, and accountability.
Capitalizing Change is designed to help Greater Philadelphia seize the opportunities of a rapidly changing world. Our grantmaking is driven by the passionate belief that Philadelphia can be one of America’s great cities.
We approach this work with urgency, pragmatism, transparency, and inclusivity. We leverage our philanthropic assets in highly focused ways for maximum impact in the Foundation’s three traditional areas of concern: children, creativity, and the environment.

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

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
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
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


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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