Saturday, May 18, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for May 18, 2013: Virtual School Profits Far Exceeding Performance

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 1900 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 regulatory agencies, professional associations and education advocacy organizations via emails, website, Facebook and Twitter.

The Keystone State Education Coalition is pleased to be listed among the friends and allies of The Network for Public Education.  Are you a member?

These daily emails are archived at
Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg

….the 10 largest cyber school providers spent roughly $100 million dollars the last five years on advertising—taxpayer money that came from the same coffers that fund public schools.

Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for May 18, 2013:
Virtual School Profits Far Exceeding Performance

“I believe some proponents of the school choice agenda are sincere in their belief that competition will help all schools to be better. Unfortunately, those people are not driving this debate. To be blunt, certain interests that stand to make a lot of money are the ones most actively promoting the privatization agenda. If they were sincerely interested in ensuring that every child in America had access to a great public school where they live, they would be supporting early childhood education, mentoring programs for new teachers, and other investments that have been demonstrated to be effective. That they so steadfastly refuse to do so speaks volumes about what they really want – and that has a lot more to do with them and their own bottom lines than it does with children receiving a great education.”
NSBA Director writes about “Debunking the ‘reform’ agenda’” for ASBJ
In the June issue of American School Board Journal, National School Boards Association Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel writes about the importance of a strong public education system and the forces that make false promises  through “reforms” such as vouchers. Read his “Last Word” column here:

“It now appears that early adopters of the virtual school model were largely home-schoolers who were used to studying alone and who generally had lots of parental guidance. As virtual schools have expanded, it appears that their performance has slipped dramatically.”
Virtual School Profits Far Exceeding Performance
NEAtoday By Edward Graham May 17, 2013 by twalker  
While proponents of for-profit virtual schools argue that cyber classrooms provide students with greater access to a high-quality education, a new report released by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC)Virtual Schools in the U.S. 2013: Politics, Performance, Policy, and Research Evidence—finds that virtual schools often receive little to no oversight and seem more concerned with profit margins rather than their students’ lackluster performances.
…..Only 23.6 percent of virtual schools made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in 2010-2011, the measurement that determines whether schools have met the minimum academic standards under the No Child Left Behind Act.  52 percent of traditional and charter schools made AYP in the same academic year, more than double the success rate for virtual schools.
….The report profiles a study done by Kantar Media that shows that the 10 largest cyber school providers spent roughly $100 million dollars the last five years on advertising—taxpayer money that came from the same coffers that fund public schools.

Amid financial crisis, Pearson a winner
The notebook by Helen Gym on May 17 2013 Posted in Commentary
Are we in a financial crisis? For the thousands of students who organized a massive walk-out today, yes. But not for a certain sector of contractors who are benefiting from the School Reform Commission’s decisions lately.
The same day that elementary school parents flooded City Council to rally for school funding and a sizeable crowd attended a panel on the destructive impact of high-stakes testing, the SRC on Wednesday approved nearly $1.3 million in contracts related to assessment and accountability, including a million-dollar contract to Pearson for high-stakes teacher and principal evaluations.

Students raise voices for Phila. school funding
Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman, Inquirer Staff Writer Posted: Friday, May 17, 2013, 7:25 AM
Shayla Evermon-Muniz, a student at Nebinger School, was vocal in more ways than one at City Hall on Thursday morning.  After singing Mariah Carey's "Hero" outside City Council chambers, Shayla, 10, talked about how education has accommodated her love for arts and music.
If those programs were cut from the Philadelphia public schools, "I would never come back to school," she said. "Music is a big part of my life, and so is drawing."
Shayla and two other students joined civic activists to push for more funding for the Philadelphia School District.  School Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. last month introduced what many described as a "doomsday budget" that would cut music and art programs, among other things. In an attempt to avoid cuts, the School District is seeking additional money from the city and state to cover a $304 million budget shortfall.

Pottsgrove OKs New Textbooks As Standards Debated
The Sanatoga Post, Posted on 16 May 2013
POTTSTOWN PA – A series of nine new mathematics textbooks and accompanying materials that Pottsgrove School District students will use from kindergarten through their senior year was approved for purchase Tuesday (May 14, 2013) at a cost of $309,453 by the Board of School Directors, primarily because it will help the district adhere to new state guidelines on what math concepts must be taught in schools.  But apparently not all lobbying groups at the capitol in Harrisburg – and they are said to include teachers’ unions – support the guidelines, called Common Core Standards. Several, The Pennsylvania Independent online news service reported Tuesday, are actively opposing their July 1 statewide implementation.
The Common Core is touted as a national attempt to ensure that, no matter where they live, students receive and learn the same information deemed to help them succeed in their futures. Pottsgrove has spent more than two years studying and preparing its teachers for the standards and some of the novel ways they will be asked to teach them.

Video: PA Senate Education Committee May 15 hearing on Common Core standards
Video runtime 233 minutes

EPLC Education Policy Fellowship Program – Apply Now
Applications are available now for the 2013-2014 Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP). The Education Policy Fellowship Program is sponsored in Pennsylvania by The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC).
With more than 350 graduates in its first fourteen years, this Program is a premier professional development opportunity for educators, state and local policymakers, advocates, and community leaders.  State Board of Accountancy (SBA) credits are available to certified public accountants.
Past participants include state policymakers, district superintendents and principals, school business officers, school board members, education deans/chairs, statewide association leaders, parent leaders, education advocates, and other education and community leaders.  Fellows are typically sponsored by their employer or another organization.
The Fellowship Program begins with a two-day retreat on September 12-13, 2013 and continues to graduation in June 2014.

“They understand that for every dollar spent on high-quality early education, we save more than seven dollars in the long run by boosting kindergarten readiness, graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, and even reducing violent crime. They also understand that providing our children with the best start possible in life is not only a moral imperative, but an economic imperative that will benefit our communities and our nation far into the future.”
Meeting with Mothers and Advocates for Our Children
The White House Blog by Cecilia Muñoz May 14, 2013 10:11 AM EDT
“In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children, like Georgia or Oklahoma, studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, form more stable families of their own. We know this works. So let’s do what works and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind. Let’s give our kids that chance.”
Yesterday, I had the pleasure to meet with mothers, leaders, and tireless advocates that understand that the best investment we can make as a country is in our children’s future.
The coalition came to the White House to deliver 30,000 letters and art work thanking thePresident for his proposal to make high-quality preschool available for all children – and I used the opportunity to thank them for all their hard work, and to hear from them about the work they continue to do advocating for children.

Network for Public Education Newsletter Volume 1, Issue #8, May 16, 2013
Welcome to the eighth edition of our newsletter. We bring you news from Chicago, where teachers, parents and students are preparing for a historic march to protest the devastation of neighborhood schools. NPE Board member Phyllis Bush reminds us why our children need us to change the narrative guiding school reform. And the Crazy Crawfish, in his wry style, shares some advice on fighting corporate reform.
Thanks for all you are doing out there! The Network for Public Education is your support network, your learning network, and your organizing network.If you haven't joined yet, you can do so here.

GAO: 40 states have suspected cheating on K-12 tests
By Lyndsey Layton, Friday, May 17, 2:58 PM E-mail the writer
In the past two school years, 40 states detected potential cheating on standardized exams given to public school students in grades 3 to 12, according to a new report released by the Government Accountability Office.  Of those states, 33 confirmed at least one instance of cheating, and 32 states canceled or invalidated test results from individual students, schools or districts as a result of either suspected or confirmed cheating, the GAO found. The GAO collected data from the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 academic years.

Navigating School Funding Decisions in Harrisburg |
Webinar for School Boards & Superintendents Wed, May 22, 2013 3:00 PM - 3:30 PM EDT
Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center
This spring marks the third year that superintendents and school boards are struggling to put together budgets with deeply reduced state funding levels. So what is Harrisburg doing about it?
Join the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center on Wednesday, May 22nd at 3pm for a webinar on the latest in the state budget debate and what it means for education funding in Pennsylvania

Search underway for PSBA Executive Director
The Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) is a nonprofit statewide association of public school boards, pledged to the highest ideals of local lay leadership for the public schools of the commonwealth.  Founded in 1895, PSBA has a rich history as the first school boards' association established in the United States. Pennsylvania's 4,500 school directors become members by virtue of election to their local board -- the board joins as a whole. Membership in PSBA is by school district or other eligible local education agency such as intermediate unit, vocational school or community college……..
Search by Diversified Search, 1990 M St NW, Suite 570, Washington, DC. Questions may be directed to Interested parties should email their resume and cover letter to Please apply by June 1, 2013 for best consideration.

Sign Up Today for PILCOP Special Ed CLE Trainings
Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia
Spots are filling up for the final two trainings in our 2012-2013 Know Your Child’s Rights series with seminars on ADAAA, Pro Se Parents and Settlement Agreements.
May 29, 2013: PRO SE Parents: Doing It on Your Own
May 30, 2013: Settlements: Signing on the Dotted Line (OR NOT)

Turning the Page for Change celebration, June 11, 2013
Please join us for the Notebook’s annual Turning the Page for Change celebration on June 11, 2013, from 4:30 - 7 p.m. at the University of The Arts, Hamilton Hall, 320 S. Broad Street. We will be honoring a member of the Notebook community for years of service to our mission as well as honoring several local high school journalists. Help us celebrate another year of achievement that included two awards from the Education Writers Association and coverage of other critical stories like the budget crisis and the school closing process.

Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School FAST FACTS
Quakertown Community School District March 2013

PA Charter Schools: $4 billion taxpayer dollars with no real oversight Keystone State Education Coalition (updated May 2, 2013)
Charter schools - public funding without public scrutiny; Proposed statewide authorization and direct payment would further diminish accountability and oversight for public tax dollars

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.