Thursday, December 27, 2012

Happy Holidays!!! Keystone State Education Coalition 10 Popular Posts 2012


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.

These daily emails are archived at http://keystonestateeducationcoalition.org
Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg


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HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

Keystone State Education Coalition 10 Popular Posts 2012
A collection of our postings that garnered the most traffic and interest during 2012:

Here are a few other end of year education policy lists:

Top 10 Success List
Yinzercation Blog December 22, 2012
It’s that time of the year for Top 10 lists. Today is also the winter solstice, the shortest and darkest day of the year, and the day when we celebrate the return of light. In 2012 we continued to see real threats to public education, and plenty of frustration and disappointment, but it has also been a year full of light – the kind that shines when people pull together and work for equity, social justice, our children, and the public good. This is a good time to remember our successes and achievements….

Education Week: Anthony Cody’s Dozen Favorite 2012 Posts from Living In Dialogue

Top 10 education policy wishes

Here are the top 10 items on an education wish list for the holiday season and the New Year. It was written by Greg Kaufmann, who reports on poverty for the Nation, and Elaine Weiss, the national coordinator for the Broader Bolder Approach to Education. This appeared on  The Nation’s website and was also picked up by Valerie Strauss on her Answer Sheet blog at the Washington Post.

Common Core standards hitting school districts

By fall, school districts will implement tough educational standards, the Common Core.

By Steve Esack, Of The Morning Call 6:39 p.m. EST, December 25, 2012
…..Unifying the nation's 50 states, 13,600 public school districts and roughly 98,800 public schools behind a common set of standards has been bandied about for decades.
Proponents argued American students were losing ground in math and literacy, resulting in high school graduates lacking skills to earn college degrees or land jobs in a global economy.
The concept started to gel in about 2008 when the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers started working with educational experts, principals and teachers to pick the best curriculum standards from among the states.
After more than a year of development, including 10,000 public comments, the Common Core was finalized in June 2010.
So far, 45 states have signed onto the initiative, including Pennsylvania, which has tied the Core's standards to the new Algebra I, biology and literature exit exams — known as the Keystone Exams — that students began taking this month.

Lawmakers prepare to tackle state pension shortfalls

GOP senators review 401(k)-style defined contribution plan
By Karen Langley / Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau December 24, 2012 12:14 am
HARRISBURG -- As policy makers look for Gov. Tom Corbett's pensions proposal early next year, top Republican senators are renewing an effort to enroll new state and school employees in a 401(k)-style defined contribution plan.  With pension payments set to consume Increasing portions of the state budget, Mr. Corbett, a Republican, has made a priority of overhauling the state and public school employee retirement systems. His budget office recently released a report saying the governor plans to address pensions in his February budget speech.

Education Policy and Leadership Center Notebook

Call For Moratorium on New Cyber Charter Schools in PA

Public News Service - PA by Tom Josephs December 17, 2012
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Some Pennsylvania groups say cyber charter schools in the state aren't making the grade, and they're urging state education officials to impose a moratorium on any new ones. Rhonda Brownstein, the executive director of the Education Law Center, says only one of the cyber charters operating in Pennsylvania in 2011 made adequate yearly progress.
"And, a Stanford University study found that both in reading and math all eight of the cyber charters that were operating at the time, a couple of years ago, performed significantly worse than public schools."

Chester Upland receiver ready to begin implementing recovery plan
Published: Thursday, December 20, 2012
By JOHN KOPP jkopp@delcotimes.com, @DT_JohnKopp
CHESTER — Now that Joseph Watkins is in place as the receiver for the Chester Upland School District, it’s time for him to begin implementing the financial and academic recovery plan he designed to reinvigorate the struggling district.
That plan calls for school closures, staff cuts and tax increases, but also seeks to restore arts and music programs and establish summer school, after-school and day care programs.  It is designed to win back students who fled the district for charter and cyber charter schools and requires the district meet Adequate Yearly Progress by the end of the 2014-15 school year.
So, where does Watkins start?

Two new charter schools proposed in Chester
Published: Friday, December 21, 2012
By JOHN KOPP jkopp@delcotimes.com @DT_JohnKopp
CHESTER — A county businessman is proposing to start two new charter schools within the Chester Upland School District, which already has lost more than half of its students to charter schools.  James P. Duffy, a longtime real estate developer and salesman, formally submitted applications for two charter schools Thursday at a hearing held by district Receiver Joseph Watkins.

The Notebook is hiring!
by thenotebook on Dec 23 2012
The Notebook is looking to hire an accomplished nonprofit administrator for a new position - Associate Director for Operations (part-time).

Sequestration: Senators to Return With 5 Days Left and No Clear Fiscal Path

New York Times By JONATHAN WEISMAN and JENNIFER STEINHAUER
Published: December 26, 2012
WASHINGTON — With just five days left to make a deal, President Obama and members of the Senate were set to return to Washington on Thursday with no clear path out of their fiscal morass even as the Treasury Department warned that the government will soon be unable to pay its bills unless Congress acts.  Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, adding to the building tension over how to handle a year-end pileup of threatened tax increases and spending cuts, formally notified Congress on Wednesday that the government would hit its statutory borrowing limit on Monday, raising anew the threat of a federal default as the two parties remained in a standoff.

TRENDING: Republicans not jumping onto NRA's gun plan

Posted by CNN's Kevin Liptak December 23rd, 2012
(CNN) – Republicans on Sunday were reticent in voicing support for the National Rifle Association's scheme to place guards with firearms in American schools, though they also appeared to find little common ground with Democrats, who want tighter restrictions on purchasing assault weapons.  Lawmakers from both parties have agreed that some changes are needed following the Newtown, Connecticut, shooting on December 14 that left 28 people dead, including 20 children. But while Democrats advocate new legislation making it harder to obtain military-style firearms, Republicans claim such measures have proved ineffective in the past.

Fear of For-Profit Schools Is Well Founded

 Walt Gardner  
The argument that the business model is the way to improve schools is hardly new. At the beginning of the 20th century, reformers made the same claim, with little to eventually show for it. That's why I was surprised to read Rick Hess's essay in The Wall Street Journal ("The Irrational Fear of For-Profit Education," Dec. 18).
Hess begins by maintaining it is not true that for-profit schools are "distracted by the demands of investors, while public systems can focus solely on the children." He points to the bulk of K-12 spending going to employee benefits and salaries. Does he believe that teachers are not worth the money spent on their services? I wonder if he would like to revise that statement in light of the supreme sacrifices made by educators at Sandy Hook Elementary.
Hess then asserts that for-profit schools are more efficient than traditional public schools because of the "watchful eye of investors." They demand cost efficiencies. Of course, they do. But at what price?

City Connects Year in Review: SpringfieldMA
2012 marked the second year of City Connects implementation in Springfield (MA) Public Schools.
City Connects DECEMBER 21, 2012
The engagement began in five of Springfield’s turnaround elementary schools and this year, expanded to three turnaround middle schools. This marks City Connects’ first expansion to freestanding middle schools; we are now reaching about 2,800 students in Springfield! Some highlights include:

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