Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Op-ed: State should call time-out on cyber charters

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

Op-ed: State should call time-out on cyber charters

Patriot News Op-Ed by Adam Schott  January 01, 2013, 12:35
Adam Schott is Senior Policy Analyst at Research for Action, and a former executive director of the State Board of Education.
The Department of Education has the opportunity to make a meaningful New Year’s resolution in raising standards for performance and accountability
Across Pennsylvania, school districts face unprecedented financial and structural challenges, leading many—including Harrisburg, Lancaster, York, and other mid-state communities—to drain reserves, furlough staff, and end proven, research-based programs.  Yet one sector of public education is burgeoning, due in part to a lack of sufficient regulation by the state and a funding system that creates incentives for rapid growth.
More than 30,000 students attend Pennsylvania’s 16 cyber charter schools, up from 12 earlier this year.  With eight more cyber charter applications currently before the Department of Education, the sector’s footprint is set to double in the span of just six months.  In a state where education policy change normally assumes a cautious pace, this rapid growth should be reason enough for leaders to tap the brakes.  But given the questions concerning the academic and operational performance of cyber charter schools, the imperative for a time-out on further approvals is clear.

PA State legislators begin new session

Post Gazette Early Returns by Laura Olson on Tuesday, 01 January 2013 10:37 am.
It's New Years Day morning, and your faithful Harrisburg correspondents and state lawmakers are back in action as a new legislative session is about to get underway. 
(If you're wondering why the rush to kick off the 2013-14 session when the noisemakers and empty glasses from last night's parties are still visible, well, the state constitution says they must convene on the first Tuesday of January.)

Updated January 1, 2013, 3:26 a.m. ET
U.S. Budget Compromise Deal Reached in Senate
WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama and Senate leaders Monday reached a New Year's budget agreement that would let income-tax rates rise for the first time in nearly 20 years, maintain unemployment benefits for millions of people and blunt the impact of spending cuts that were looming as part of the fiscal cliff.
The long-sought compromise, which will raise taxes on income over $450,000 for couples, was approved by the Senate in the early morning hours Tuesday. The House was expected to consider it later in the day.

America awaits House action on cliff

Politico By JAKE SHERMAN, CARRIE BUDOFF BROWN and KATE NOCERA | 1/1/13 2:58 AM EST Updated: 1/1/13 9:29 AM EST
Congress lost a mad, New Year’s Eve dash to beat the fiscal cliff deadline, cinching a deal with President Barack Obama to raise taxes on the wealthy and temporarily freeze deep spending cuts but failing to get it through both chambers before midnight.
So over the cliff the country went — though perhaps for only a day or two and, assuming no snags, without incurring the double whammy of another recession and higher unemployment.
The measure, which would raise tax rates for families making more than $450,000 and delay deep across-the-board spending cuts for two months, cleared the Senate by an overwhelming 89-8 vote shortly after 2 a.m. The Republican-controlled House could take up the pact in a rare New Year’s Day session, though the timing of that chamber’s vote was not clear.

Senate Passes Legislation to Allow Taxes on Affluent to Rise

New York Times By JONATHAN WEISMAN Published: January 1, 2013 104 Comments
WASHINGTON — The Senate, in a pre-dawn vote two hours after the deadline passed to avert automatic tax increases, overwhelmingly approved legislation on Tuesday that would allow tax rates to rise only on affluent Americans while temporarily suspending sweeping, across-the-board spending cuts.  The deal, worked out in furious negotiations between Vice PresidentJoseph R. Biden Jr. and the Republican Senate leader, Mitch McConnell, passed 89 to 8, with just three Democrats and five Republicans voting no. Although it lost the support of some of the Senate’s most conservative members, the broad coalition that pushed the accord across the finish line could portend swift House passage as early as New Year’s Day.

Toomey, Casey vote for fiscal cliff deal
By Colby Itkowitz Morning Call Washington Bureau 9:28 a.m. EST, January 1, 2013
In the wee hours of the new year, Pennsylvania's two U.S. senators joined 87 of their colleagues to overwhelmingly approve a deal to avoid most of the fiscal cliff that haunted Congress and the nation's fragile economy and cast a shadow over the holiday season.

FISCAL CLIFF News, Analysis and Opinion from POLITICO

Wall Street Journal
Fiscal Cliff Status January 1, 2013

The Best of 2012

Diane Ravitch’s Blog January 1, 2013
2012 was a year in which supporters of public education–parents, educators and concerned citizens–won some huge victories against the privatization movement.

Education stories that resonated in 2012 — and will matter in 2013

Here’s a baker’s dozen of posts, in no particular order, that generated great interest among readers and help tell the story of public education in 2012. Many of the subjects are certain to take center stage in the education debate in 2013.

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