Established in 2006, the Keystone State Education Coalition is a growing grass roots, non-partisan public education advocacy group of several hundred locally elected, volunteer school board members and administrators from school districts throughout Pennsylvania. Our mission is to evaluate, discuss and inform our boards, district constituents and legislators on legislative issues of common interest and to facilitate active engagement in public education advocacy.
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for September 17, 2013: “Anyone want to see the “crisis in American education”? Come see how the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is denying a thorough and efficient education to the children of Pittsburgh.”
Daily postings from the Keystone State Education
Coalition now reach more than 3000 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school
directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers,
Governor's staff, 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
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for September 17, 2013:
“Anyone want to see the “crisis in American
education”? Come see how the Commonwealth
of Pennsylvania is denying a thorough
and efficient education to the children of Pittsburgh.”
Pennsylvanians Want a School Funding
Press Event Monday September 23rd, Capitol Rotunda, Harrisburg
Every child in Pennsylvania deserves an
opportunity to learn, whether they are from large or small, rich or
not-so-rich, urban, suburban or rural school districts, charter schools or
cyber schools; whether their legislator is a freshman state representative or a
Grassroots Advocacy by
Education Voters PA; Education Matters in the CumberlandValley and the KeystoneState
latest book, she tries to dispel myths that maintain American public schools
and their students are failing. She said high school graduation rates are at an
all-time high, high school dropouts are at an all-time low and test scores on
the National Assessment of Educational Progress are at their highest point.”
Education expert: Tide is turning
New YorkUniversity professor and author counters the
testing and privatization movement
Chute / Pittsburgh
New YorkUniversity professor Diane Ravitch -- once a
supporter of the education overhaul movement and now an outspoken critic of
testing and privatization of public schools -- believes the tide is turning
against a culture reliant on test scores and corporate profit.
spoke Monday to more than 600 people at TempleSinai
in Squirrel Hill where her appearance was hosted by Great Schools Pittsburgh,
which includes Action United, One Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact
Network, Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, Service Employees International
Union and Yinzercation. The event took on the air of a pep rally, with student
musicians performing and a group sing.
was co-sponsored by the education schools or departments at Carlow, Chatham,
Duquesne, Robert Morris and Slippery Rock universities, University
of Pittsburgh and WestminsterCollege
as well as TempleSinai, First Unitarian
Church Social Justice Endowment and Pennsylvania State Education Association.
came on the eve of the release of her latest book, "Reign of Error: The
Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools."
want to see the “crisis in American education”? Come see how the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
is denying a thorough and efficient education to the children of Pittsburgh. Especially
the children of color.”
I had a
wonderful inaugural event in my book tour in Pittsburgh. It was organized by parent
activist Jessie Ramey, who writes the blog Yinzercation, and union activist
Kipp Dawson. It was co-sponsored by seven local universities, the Pittsburgh
Federation of Teachers, and a galaxy of educational justice groups, including
GPS (Great Pittsburgh Schools).
included many elected officials, including the newly elected mayor, school
board members, and Superintendent
“Neither he nor school chief
executive officer Michael Conti knew precisely what the school spent on Mr.
Trombetta's legal representation, led by former U.S. attorney J. Alan Johnson,
but they said it was in excess of $200,000.”
Pa. Cyber board cuts off legal fees for Trombetta
Lord / Pittsburgh
of the PennsylvaniaCyberCharterSchool voted Monday night
to stop footing the bill for founder and former CEO Nick Trombetta's legal
defense, in light of his indictment last month.
president Dave Jaskiewicz said the school's leaders decided in July 2012 to
cover Mr. Trombetta's defense bills, though he had resigned the month before,
because he had not then been accused of wrongdoing. The federal indictment, Mr.
Jaskiewicz told the board, indicates that Mr. Trombetta "had reasonable
cause to believe that his conduct was unlawful."
School Finance 101 by Bruce Baker Posted on September 16, 2013
I just can’t
drop the Philly issue, because of the complete absurdity
of the reformy rhetoric about Philly schools and persistent willful
ignorance regarding the role of equitable and adequate funding for Philly
schools and the Commonwealth’s failure to provide any reasonable level of
support. For what it’s worth – and I’ve
spent a great deal of time critiquing this and similar studies – the Commonwealth
in the mid-2000s took
on the task of determining the “costs” per pupil of what Pennsylvania
school districts needed to get the job done. This cost analysis was then used
to guide development of a new formula intended to drive appropriate levels of
state aid to districts facing substantive gaps between current spending
(2006-07) at the time, and cost estimates developed under state supervision, by
the district contracted during the 2012-13 school year with EnerNOC, an energy
company that works in conjunction with PJM Interconnection, the grid operator
spanning about 13 states. When
there is a high demand for energy across the states, Riker said PJM typically
contacts EnerNOC and requests a shutdown in electricity. All schools with the
exception of NazarethAreaIntermediateSchool, which runs on
solar power, were shut down for the first time this school year on Sept. 9.
There were two shutdowns over the summer.
BucksCounty Intelligencer by Gary
Weckselblatt staff writerSeptember 13,
showed up Thursday night to hear about the merits of legislation to fund schools
in ways other than property taxes. State
Rep. Tina Davis, D-141, Bristol,
set up the town hall to help inform constituents who have complained to her
that the taxes on their homes have escalated to a point they can no longer
the problems I deal with almost daily are with someone who can’t pay their
property taxes,” Davis
said. “People are being forced to forgo their prescriptions to pay their tax
bill. I don’t believe anyone deserves to have that worry at this time of life.”
Week Finding Common Ground Blog By Peter DeWitt on September
of the most disheartening aspects of the current reform movement is its disdain
for the education profession. In many states, governors and mayors have sought
out non-educators, or people with meager experience in education, for positions
It is often
said that lightning doesn't always strike twice, meaning that a writer who
writes a best seller may never write a best seller again. In Diane's case,
lightning has very much struck twice, and her critics don't have the
intelligence nor the energy to keep up with her.
money, Ravitch counsels. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has spent over a hundred million
dollars to create and promote the Common Core. Joanne Weiss, Secretary of
Education Arne Duncan's chief of staff, says that the initiative "means that education
entrepreneurs will enjoy national markets." America spends over 500 billion dollars a year educating children between
the ages of 5 and 18. The Common Core, like charter schools or vouchers, helps
public schools, in this case, by empowering educational vendors such as Pearson
to "enjoy national markets."
Ravitch argues, follow a different logic than businesses. Businesses control
their inputs and discard elements that don't produce. Public schools, to the
contrary, must accept and educate all children.”
Ravitch to the Rescue
Huffington Post by Nicholas
Professor of Political Science, FordhamUniversity Posted: 09/16/2013
…. How did
parents lose the right to educate our own children or, at least, have a
meaningful role to play in our school districts? How can we reclaim this right?
foremost historian and theorist of education policy. In her new book, Reign
of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's
Public Schools (2013), Ravitch explains how foundations, venture
capitalists, and politicians have seized control of America's schools. She also
highlights how parents and citizens may fight back against the corporate reform
Ravitch’s Reign of Error:
My Review (for teachers)
Mercedes Schneider’s Edublog September 16, 2013
considering my review of education historian Diane Ravitch’s latest book, Reign
of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s
Public Schools, I decided to write with traditional public
school teachersin mind as my audience.
For one, I
am a genuine public school teacher, the kind that makes a career of
classroom teaching for love of the students and the profession.
began to directly experience the results of corporate reform when in November
2011 our state board of education (BESE) was officially bought
and privatization officially reigned there and, in spring 2012, in the
state legislature, so I am keenly aware of the pain privatization brings
to my profession.
find that traditional public school teachers in general know that something is
happening “to” them, some war has been declared upon them, but they are unaware
of the details.
once traditional public school teachers become aware of the details of this
war, they will need some concrete advice on the courses of action to follow in
order to take back their profession from those who have grabbed it and are
systematically handing it over to corporations.
the reasons I advise all traditional public school teachers to read Ravitch’s
And now, I
write expressly to my traditional public school teaching colleagues nationwide:
winter, my husband and I almost moved back to Brooklyn
with our only child. We got as far as hiring movers and boxing up our home.
Instead, we stayed in Washington,
D.C., and achieved my
long-nagged-at dream of having child No. 2. A big reason for this turnaround?
Universal preschool. Not just pre-K for
4-year-olds, as in Oklahoma’s
widely praised program, or for poor children, as President Obama has proposed.
Preschool that is (at least theoretically) for everyone, starting at age 3.
That’s what we get in D.C.: five days a week, for nearly 10 months a year, from
8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., my taxes pay for my toddler’s education.
public school requires AP or IB courses for all students
Washington Post By Jay
Mathews, Published: September 15
Two ArlingtonCounty ninth-graders told Washington-Lee
High School Principal Gregg Robertson they had made a mistake. Advanced
Placement world history, a college-level course, was too much for them. They
wanted to switch to the regular world history course.
pointed to a banner in his office: “The only way out is through,” it said,
inspired by an Alanis Morissette song. He made a deal with the students. If
they stuck with AP through the end of the first semester, they could switch if
they still wanted to. When the time came, they had adjusted to the heavy
writing and reading load. They stayed and did well in the course.
stories in mind, Washington-Lee teachers, counselors and administrators are
attempting something never done in any non-magnet suburban Washington school. If they succeed in their
efforts, next spring every Washington-Lee graduating senior will have taken at
least one AP or International Baccalaureate course and test.
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss, Published:
September 17 at
the 226th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution — and that means
it is also Constitution Day. What’s Constitution Day, you ask? It’s a
congressionally mandated moment in which schools — from kindergarten through
college — must focus in some fashion on the country’s founding document.
The law, which passed in 2004, requires all schools that get federal
funding to offer an “educational program” on the Constitution, but doesn’t
define what that is. Here’s a quiz about
our Constitution, which was drafted and signed during the Constitutional
Convention held in Philadelphia
from May 14 to September
17, 1787. Take it and see how much you know — or don’t, as the case
Is the ‘charter school
gravy train’ running ‘express to fat city’?
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss, Published:
September 17 at
you find things in unexpected places, like
this story, in Forbes magazine. The story, headlined “Charter School
Gravy Train Runs Express To Fat City,” was written by a financial publisher and
writer, not exactly the first person you’d think would take a hit at charter
is Addison Wiggin, executive publisher of Agora Financial, LLC, described in his biography as
“a fiercely independent economic forecasting and financial research firm based
in Baltimore, Md.” Wiggin is also the creator and
editorial director of Agora Financial’s daily 5 Min. Forecast and editorial
director of Agora’s flagship publication The Daily Reckoning. He is the founder
of Agora Entertainment and a best-selling author.
does he have to say about charter schools and the people who invest in them? A
The Colbert Report hosts Arne Duncan September 17th
10:00c Arne Duncan. U.S.
Secretary of Education, TEACH Campaign.
Event Sept. 18th, 2013
Morris Dees and honoring education advocates Barbara Minzenberg and the
Philadelphia Student Union. Wednesday,
Sept. 18th at 5:30 p.m., Crystal Tea Room, Wanamaker Building 100 Penn Square East, Philadelphia
PA Special Education Funding Formula Commission
Public Meeting Sept 26th at AlverniaCollege in Reading from – 3:00 p.
charter and cyber special education funding
Diane Ravitch will be speaking in
Philly at the Main Branch of the Philadelphia
Free Library onSeptember
17 at .
Diane Ravitch |Reign
of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's
Public Schools When:Tuesday,
2013 at Where:Central Library Cost: $15 General Admission, $7 Students Ticket and
Subscription Packages Tickets on sale here:
Join the NationalSchoolBoardsActionCenterFriends of Public Education
in a voluntary network to urge your U.S.
Representatives and Senators to support federal legislation on Capitol Hill
that is critical to providing high quality education to America’s schoolchildren
PSBA members will elect
officers electronically for the first time in 2013
in 2013, PSBA members will follow a completely new election process which will
be done electronically during the month of September. The changes will have
several benefits, including greater membership engagement and no more absentee
Below is a
quick Q&A related to the voting process this year, with more details to
come in future issues of School Leader News and at
www.psba.org. More information on the overall governance changes can be found
in the February 2013 issue of the PSBA Bulletin:
Electing PSBA Officers:
2014 PSBA Slate of Candidates
Details on each candidate, including
bios, statements, photos and video are online now
PSBA Website Posted 8/5/2013
The 2014 PSBA Slate of Candidates is being officially published to the
members of the association. Details on each candidate, including bios,
statements, photos and video are online at http://www.psba.org/elections/.
PASA-PSBASchool Leadership Conference
October 15-18, 2013 | Hershey Lodge
& Convention Center
Important change this year: Delegate Assembly (replaces the
Legislative Policy Council) will be Tuesday Oct. 15 from 1 – 4:30 p.m.
PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference is the largest gathering of elected
officials in Pennsylvania
and offers an impressive collection of professional development opportunities
for school board members and other education leaders.
The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, State College, PA
conference is PAESSP’s premier professional development event for principals,
assistant principals and other educational leaders. Attending will enable you
to connect with fellow educators while learning from speakers and presenters
who are respected experts in educational leadership.
Keynote Speakers: Charlotte Danielson, Dr. Todd Whitaker, Will Richardson &
David Andrews, Esq. (Legal Update).
Conference ~ A Whole Child Education Powered by Blendedschools Network
November 3-4, 2013 | Hershey Lodge & Convention Center
you to join us for the Annual Conference, held at an earlier date this year, on
Sunday, November 3rd, through Monday, November 4th, 2013
at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center. The Pre-Conference begins on
Saturday with PILAcademies and Common Core
sessions. On Sunday and Monday, our features include
keynote presentations by Chris Lehmann and ASCD Author Dr. Connie Moss, as well
as numerous breakout sessions on PA’s most timely topics.