Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for April 2, 2013: ALEC approach to charters:“No accountability, no oversight, no transparency, no laws, no regulations. Just money for the taking.”


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Education Voters PA – Statewide Call to Action day April 10th

Download 1 page pdf with information about the April 10th call-in day.


Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for April 2, 2013:
ALEC approach to charters:“No accountability, no oversight, no transparency, no laws, no regulations. Just money for the taking.”


Atlanta cheats -- did it happen here?
Philly Daily News Attytood Blog by Will Bunch POSTED: Monday, April 1, 2013, 9:26 PM
So what happened in Atlanta's public schools was this: The superintendent told the prinicipals (allegedly, allegedly) that they'd be fired if they didn't bring up test scores. So they all worked overtime to make the kids smarter and better prepared for the working world, overcoming indifferent parents and numbing poverty and cruel budget cuts and.....just kidding.

A Plague of Cheating
Yinzercation Blog April 1, 2013
With Passover ending tomorrow, perhaps we should add another plague to the list that gets repeated at this time of year. You know: frogs, locusts, hail, boils, and now cheating on high-stakes-tests. On Friday, the superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools was indicted along with 34 others, including teachers and principals, for widespread cheating – by adults – on the state’s standardized state tests. Investigators found 178 Atlanta educators had worked to change student answers, among other things, to increase the district’s performance. Eighty-two people have already confessed and the superintendent now faces up to 45 years in jail. 

“The state's pension systems currently face an unfunded liability of more than $41 billion, and it's growing; in addition, and in the near-term, the state budget is facing added pension costs of more than half a billion each year for the next three years.”
Probing the constitutional crux of Corbett's pension plan: news & analysis
By Donald Gilliland | dgilliland@pennlive.com  on April 01, 2013 at 7:00 AM
From the moment Gov. Tom Corbett announced his proposed pension reform for teachers and state employees, his administration has acknowledged the measure would be heading straight to court if it passed the legislature.  One key element of the reform - changing the pension benefits of current employees - is railed against by union leaders as being simply and straightforwardly unconstitutional.

93,000 fewer kids enrolled in CHIP under Corbett
By Don Sapatkin, Inquirer Staff Writer POSTED: Tuesday, April 2, 2013, 3:01 AM
For years, the Philadelphia region has been among the best places for a child to get sick.
Pennsylvania's Children's Health Insurance Program, dating to 1992, was a model for what Congress expanded to all the states five years later. New Jersey set one of the easiest income thresholds for SCHIP and has aggressively enrolled children into Medicaid as well.
New Jersey still has a top reputation, with more than 25,000 children added to the public insurance rolls since July 1, 2011. It has won more than $50 million in federal "bonus" grants for its performance.  There have been no bonuses for Pennsylvania. Since Gov. Corbett's first budget took effect in mid-2011, enrollment has dropped by 93,000.
Children's advocates are now awaiting the outcome of a meeting Tuesday between Corbett and Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. secretary of health and human services, to discuss why the governor rejected the federal health-care overhaul's expansion of Medicaid for low-income adults and, perhaps, conditions that would change his mind.

City claiming that two Brown-linked charters owe back taxes
Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer POSTED: Tuesday, April 2, 2013, 3:01 AM
Two of the three Philadelphia charter schools founded by Dorothy June Brown, who is under federal indictment, have some new legal headaches.  The Ad Prima Charter School and the Laboratory Charter School have separate tax issues with the city.

“No accountability, no oversight, no transparency, no laws, no regulations. Just money for the taking.”
How ALEC Is Changing the Face of Charters
Diane Ravitch’s Blog By dianerav April 2, 2013 
When the charter school movement began in the early 1990s, the promise of advocates was that charters would be held accountable for results. There were two promises, really: one was that there would be accountability; the other was that there would be results. If the results didn’t happen, the schools would close.
Now there is a new approach to charters, sponsored by ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council). To learn more about ALEC and to see its model legislation for education and other issues, look here.  It is a tenet of ALEC that charter schools should be completely unregulated, unsupervised, and unaccountable. The goal is choice, not accountability or results.

New York Times national K-12 education reporter
Where your (federal) tax dollars go: 3.5 cents of every $1 goes to education

“We want to see democracy, not capitalism, survive as the root, stem, leaves, and fruit of American education.”
We're All Stakeholders in Public Education
Education Week Independent School Blog By Peter Gow on April 1, 2013 8:40 AM
A while ago I had a reader suggest that I lay off my expressions of empathy for public school teachers and the burdens that various policies and reform efforts have laid upon them: so-called valued-added evaluation, endless rounds of standardized testing for their students, and public excoriation at the hands of politicians and pundits on all sides.
I guess my thoughts sounded like crocodile tears. How could someone from schools like ours--independent schools: tuition-driven, self-governed, self-funding--know or care about the daily travails of public schools and their teachers and students?

“These schools already receive tax-exempt status as non-profit organizations. Companies that want to donate scholarship dollars already receive the benefit of charitable tax deductions. Giving them New Hampshire tax credits on top of the federal tax deductions they already benefit from gives these donors a most-favored status that donors to other non-profit organizations do not receive, while draining tax dollars from the public school system that is educating the majority of the state's children.”
There is a broad campaign afoot to undermine support of public schools
New Hampshire Union Leader Opinion By Kathy Sullivan April 1, 2013
The most important job of government is to insure that the next generation is educated. It isn't just because it is the right thing to do for kids, it also is the right thing for society, to preserve and protect our national security, insure a thriving economy and continue the tradition of American leadership. To do the job, we need a strong public school system.
That concept should not be difficult to grasp, and at one time it was promoted by people of all political stripes. Unfortunately, the idea that a strong public school system is important is under siege.  There are several threats to public schools. One is from the neglect caused by elected officials who are more interested in their tax-cutting records than they are in education (see, e.g., Ted Gatsas, mayor of Manchester). Another is from the far right, which has a palpable contempt for public education. 

Should Public Money Be Used for Private Schools?
PBS Newshour AIR DATE: April 1, 2013 mp3 runtime 9:50
The Indiana Supreme Court upheld a law allowing taxpayer money to be used for private schools through vouchers. Hari Sreenivasan examines the implications with Kevin Chavous, executive counsel for American Federation for Children, which promotes vouchers, and Dennis van Roekel, president of the National Education Association.


Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School FAST FACTS
Quakertown Community School District

Keystone State Education Coalition Prior Posting from Monday, May 21, 2012
PA Charter Schools: $4 billion taxpayer dollars with no real oversight
Charter schools - public funding without public scrutiny
Proposed statewide authorization and direct payment would further diminish accountability and oversight for public tax dollars

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