Monday, December 10, 2012

Chestnut Hill College professor's mission: Get books on school library shelves

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 1750 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers, PTO/PTA officers, parent advocates, teacher leaders, education professors, members of the press and a broad array of P-16 education advocacy organizations via emails, website, Facebook and Twitter.

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  • Today, there is only 1 book for every 300 children living in poverty in the U.S.
  • Sixty-one percent of low income families have zero books in their households.
  • In Philadelphia, 83% of schools do not have a library staffed by a certified librarian.
  • It is now common for a Philadelphia public school student to go through elementary and middle school without ever having access to a certified school librarian.

Chestnut Hill College professor's mission: Get books on school library shelves

Susan Snyder, Inquirer Staff Writer
POSTED: Monday, December 10, 2012, 3:01 AM
Jessica Kahn remembers how she felt when she learned Emlen Elementary in East Mount Airy had no library.  "It broke my heart," said Kahn, 66, a reading specialist and professor of education at Chestnut Hill College, who loves to read.
Kahn collected 7,000 books and, with the help of her students, cataloged them, attached pockets and cards, and affixed little white squares with call numbers. The college donated book shelves. And Emlen had a library.  Over the last four years, Kahn - now known as "the book lady" - has made it her mission to help other Philadelphia public schools create libraries.
Because of efforts spearheaded by Kahn, Fitler Academics Plus in Germantown and John S. Jenks in Chestnut Hill - both in the school district - and charter school Eugenio Maria de Hostos in Hunting Park, Franklin Towne in Bridesburg, and Antonia Pantoja in North Philadelphia have received thousands of books.

Here are a couple prior KEYSEC postings about getting books into the hands of kids who might not otherwise see them….
Reach Out And Read Greater Philadelphia
Doctors and nurses know that growing up healthy means growing up with books. That’s why 600 primary care doctors and nurse practitioners at 47 Reach Out and Read practices across the Greater Philadelphia region give brand-new books to young children when they get a checkup. By talking with parents and caregivers about the importance of reading aloud, they provide families with the tools they need to put their children on the path to school success.

First Book - Philadelphia
First Book provides new books to children in need, addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy access to books. An innovative leader in social enterprise, each year First Book distributes millions of free and low-cost books to disadvantaged children and the programs that serve them.
In 2009 First Book Philly provided 21,568 books to 3,334 kids in the Greater Philadelphia area.  That’s 8 books for each child to take home – a mini library in neighborhoods where suitable children’s books are simply not available.

At Pennsylvania Society, politicians' eyes are on coming elections

December 10, 2012 12:11 am
By Laura Olson and Karen Langley / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
NEW YORK -- With another presidential election cycle barely in the books, state politicos were already trading gossip -- and potential candidates hitting the reception circuit -- at last weekend's annual Pennsylvania Society gathering.
Much of the buzz focused on the 2014 gubernatorial contest, with Democrats jockeying to become their party's nominee in the effort to make Republican Gov. Tom Corbett the state's first one-term governor in decades.

“…CREDO is in part funded by Pearson, the largest education company in the world, and the Walton Foundation, which donates millions of dollars each year to expand the world of charter schools.”

New Jersey charter schools: What’s real and not real

A new report on charter schools in New Jersey was hailed as proof that charters in the state on average produce better standardized test scores than traditional public schools. Which would be fine, if that’s what the report really said.
It turns out that it shows something far less. Julia Sass Rubin, an associate professor of public policy at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University wrote here on the N.J. Spotlight Web site, about big problems with the report, which was done by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

Auditor general criticizes PA Cyber Charter School surplus, urges changes in state funding

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review By Bill Vidonic  December 6, 2012, 2:20 p.m.
One of Gov. Tom Corbett’s priorities early next year is to examine how the state funds charter and cyber charter schools, the Department of Education said Thursday, responding to Auditor General Jack Wagner, who said an “out of whack” formula left the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter school flush with cash.
Wagner said the audit shows that the Midland, Beaver County, cyber school, the largest in the state with 10,600 students, is receiving much more public funding than it needs, and he criticized how the school spends some of it. The audit showed that at the end of the 2009-10 school year, the cyber school had a $13.8 million surplus, and between 2008 and 2010, it spent at least $3.5 million in taxpayer money for print, TV and radio advertising.

Saturday postings: Why do hedge funds ADORE charters? Pt. II: 39%+ Return/Meet PA new House members

Sunday Postings: Why Is Pennsylvania Mad for Cybercharters?

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