Friday, December 7, 2012

New NAACP report urges education reform/PA Auditor General issues report on PA Cyber


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


What Works: an informal collection of strategies and programs to inform the public discussion of how to improve student learning for high poverty populations of students.


“Overall, the administration believes it will see $1.3 billion in additional costs from medical assistance, pensions, debt service payments and corrections without any changes to current programs, and that's before any increase in aid to public schools or colleges.”

PA State budget at mid-year: Calm before the storm

CHARLES THOMPSON, The Patriot-News  on December 05, 2012 at 6:00 PM,
Pennsylvania's 2012-13 budget is pretty much meeting all of its important benchmarks, Corbett Administration officials said Wednesday.
Call it the calm before the storm.
Because state Budget Secretary Charles Zogby, pointing to continued growth in projected medical assistance costs and another big step up in mandated public pension costs, said the upcoming 2013-14 budget has the potential to be Gov. Tom Corbett's toughest yet.

"It is time for the Pennsylvania Department of Education, along with the General Assembly and the Corbett administration, to fix Pennsylvania's flawed funding formula for charter and cyber charter schools and restore fairness to the system."

Pennsylvania auditor general: PA Cyber Charter School part of 'broken system'

By Rich Lord / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette December 6, 2012 12:52 pm
The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School built a savings account of $13 million by mid-2010, despite spending about $2 million a year on advertising, state Auditor General Jack Wagner announced today as his office prepared to release a review it said highlighted problems in the state's education funding system.
The online education giant, with about 11,000 students statewide, amassed the largest budget surplus of any charter school in the state, according to a summary of the audit, expected to appear on the auditor's website today.
"While I have long supported alternative forms of education, as the state's independent fiscal watchdog, I cannot look the other way and ignore a broken system in which charter and cyber charter schools are being funded at significantly higher levels than their actual cost of educating students," Mr. Wagner said in a press release.

PA Auditor General NEWS RELEASE Contact: Steve Halvonik 717-787-1381 
Auditor General Jack Wagner Says Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School’s Reserve Funds Highlight Need to Fix Funding Formula
HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 6, 2012 – Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, the state’s largest charter school, held a $13 million budget surplus at the end of the 2009-10 school year, highlighting the commonwealth’s flawed funding formula that is permitting charter and cyber charter schools to receive far more in taxpayer money than their true cost of educating children, Auditor General Jack Wagner said today after issuing a performance audit of the Beaver County-based school.
Read the full report here: PA Cyber Charter Audit Report Text

Ethics complaint questions legitimacy of BCG reform plan, school closures
by thenotebook on Dec 06 2012 by Bill Hangley, Jr.
With the shadow of dozens of possible school closures looming in the background, a group of public school advocates has formally filed an ethics complaint challenging the legitimacy of the dramatic reform plan developed for the School District of Philadelphia by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and the William Penn Foundation.  The complaint was filed Wednesday with the Philadelphia Board of Ethics by members of Parents United for Public Education, the Philadelphia Home and School Council, and the Philadelphia branch of the NAACP.
The group alleges that because the William Penn Foundation contracted privately with BCG to develop a reform plan for the District, the two private organizations were effectively lobbying the District, and should have formally registered with the city as a principal and lobbyist, respectively.

Why we filed with the Ethics Board: The public deserves to know what’s happening here

Yesterday, Parents United for Public Education, the Philadelphia Home and School Council and the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP filed a complaint with the City Ethics Board requesting an investigation into whether the Boston Consulting Group, private donors, and the William Penn Foundation acted as lobbyists and principals to influence the School District of Philadelphia.
This was not an easy or hasty decision. We requested a thorough legal analysis by the venerable Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia. We took action only after long and considered thought on the shady activities of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and those who paid for it. Just a week before the District is expected to announce dozens of school closings which will throw our city into turmoil, we believe the public deserves to know the full influence of private money and access on decisions that impact us all.

NAACP report urges education reform

PhillyTrib.com Written by  Damon C. Williams  Thursday, 06 December 2012 19:55
The NAACP, in confronting the myriad debilitating issues facing public education nationwide, has released a report that contained four core areas in which the education sector should concentrate its efforts.  Those four areas are pre-kindergarten preparation, increased effective teaching, longer school days and school years and, finally, targeted education spending, where the proceeds from smart investments would go to the neediest students.

NAACP Education Agenda Posted on December 06, 2012
Finding Our Way Back to First: Reclaiming World Leadership by Educating All America’s Children
“Finding Our Way Back to First: Reclaiming World Leadership by Educating All America’s Children” identifies the best practices for educating all of America’s children. The report highlights the solutions needed for our children to succeed in today’s global economy.  This is the first comprehensive agenda from the NAACP in almost 10 years.
“If America is going to lead the world in this century the way we did the last, we must lead the world again in education,” stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “'Finding our Way Back To First' is the road map for our activists, the communities they serve, and the nation as a whole. Our proposition is simple: if every public school does what the best schools do, every child will be able to get a great education. The NAACP has pushed America towards greatness before, and with this plan as our guide our army of advocates will do it again."
The report highlights four areas for proactive education reform to ensure that, upon graduation, all American students are college ready and/or career ready.  These areas of reform are:
·                     Effective teaching
·                     Prekindergarten preparation
·                     Targeted spending
·                     Expanded time for learning

"If you are low-income, you would on average be more likely to score better in a public school than a charter school," said Scott Wittkopf, chair of the Forward Institute, based in Madison. "In schools with high poverty enrollment, the data from the report cards shows that public schools statewide had higher report card scores than charter schools."

Wisconsin study: Poverty less damaging to public schools' scores than charters', report finds

By Erin Richards of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Dec. 5, 2012
Poverty is strongly tied to schools' rankings in a new state report card system, but among low-income schools, traditional public schools have higher achievement scores than charter schools, according to an analysis from a new nonprofit.
The report by the Forward Institute, a nonpartisan, progressive public policy and educational research think tank formed in August, was released at a news conference Wednesday hosted by state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma).
It reinforces what many educators already know and have said in response to Wisconsin's new school report cards: Poverty matters. A lot.
The school report cards are mostly based on state test score data - where achievement patterns generally trend downward for students who are low-income and/or minority - so the picture of school achievement is about the same as it was under pre-existing measures of school performance, also known as No Child Left Behind.
The study's more controversial finding is that among public schools serving mostly low-income students, the effects of poverty on achievement were less damaging in traditional public schools than in charter schools.

The Save Our Schools News
December 2012.  Volume 1. Number 1
Welcome. We would like to take a moment to introduce you to The Save Our Schools News.
Through the first edition of this “newsletter” we hope to [re] familiarize you with Save Our Schools mission, vision, and Guiding Principles. Our intent is also to give voice to our national and local Actions.  In this preface we will look back on past accomplishments. We hope you find this
periodical informative and interesting.  We look forward to your comments and suggestions.
Save Our Schools [SOS] vision is to build a national grassroots, people-powered movement, which preserves and transforms public education as the cornerstone of a democratic society. We work to ensure that education is a civil and human right granted to all children.

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