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.
PA Ed Policy Roundup for November 29, 2013: “The concept of educating all people regardless of race, class or socioeconomic status is the engine that has made America a great nation and an economic power”
Daily postings from the Keystone State Education
Coalition now reach more than 3050 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school
directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers,
Governor's staff, current/former PA Secretaries of Education, 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
What the charter and choice
movement has done is sell the line, 'All you have to do is look out for your
own child.' So escape if you can and leave everyone else behind. Public
education is a civic obligation,"
the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) at the University of Colorado
published the fourteenth edition of its report, Profiles
of For-Profit and Nonprofit Education Management Organizations.
According to NEPC’s press release,
“The real growth in the for-profit sector is with companies that operate
virtual schools. The growth of virtual schools, which is fueled by
millions in advertising dollars is astounding because of the sketchy academic
results reported by the schools that operate online.” According to NEPC,
K-12 Inc., the largest for-profit Education Management Organization, now
enrolls 87,091 students in the 57 virtual schools it operates across the
K12 Inc. do with all that money? According to new data, it does not educate children very well
percent of K12 Inc. online schools met state standards in 2010-2011,
compared to 52 percent of public schools), but it does pay its CEO very well.
From 2009-2013, Packard made over
$19 million in compensation, and compensation to his top executives
skyrocketed 96 percent in 2013. Thank you taxpayers!”
for Media and Democracy’s PRWatch Posted by PRW
STAFF on November 19, 2013
Center for Media and Democracy
“Highest Paid Government Workers”
New initiative will expose the CEOs who take
over public services and divert millions of tax dollars out of communities and
into their pockets
WI) – The Center for Media and
Democracy (CMD) today launched “America’s
Highest Paid Government Workers,” a new initiative that will expose the
taxpayer-funded salaries of CEOs whose corporations make billions by taking
control of public services. …Today, CMD
puts the spotlight on Ron Packard, CEO of K12 Inc., America’s highest paid
K12 Inc. is a publicly-traded (NYSE:
LRN) for-profit, online education company headquartered in Herndon, Virginia.
On its own and as a member of
the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), K12 Inc. has pushed a
national agenda to replace bricks and mortar classrooms with computers and
replace actual teachers with "virtual" ones. As K12 Inc. notes in its
most recent 10-K, "most of (its) revenues depend on per pupil funding
amounts and payment formulas" from government contracts for virtual public
charter schools and "blended schools" (combining online with
traditional instruction), among other products.
K12 Inc. took in $848.2 million from its business, with $730.8 million coming
from its "managed public schools" and thus the U.S. taxpayer (10-K,
p. 69). In other words, over 86 percent of the company’s profits are due to
K12 Inc. do with all that money? According to new data, it does not educate
children very well (only 27.7 percent of
K12 Inc. online schools met state standards in 2010-2011, compared to 52
percent of public schools), but it does pay its CEO very well. From 2009-2013,
Packard made over
$19 million in compensation, and compensation to his top executives
skyrocketed 96 percent in 2013. Thank you taxpayers!
Not bad for
a novice “teacher” and former Goldman
Sachs executive who started K12 Inc. with a $10 million
investment from convicted junk-bond king Michael
Milken (his boss at Knowledge Learning) and $30 million more from
other Wall Street investors.
Tom Corbett has never visited Feltonville School of Arts and Sciences, his
presence there looms large. “Our staff
is starting to fall apart,” says teacher Amy Roat, who provides a rapid-fire
audit of her middle school’s condition during a short break between classes.
“We probably have lost about 40 percent of our staff over the last three
years,” even though the city school enrolls about 610 students, nearly the same
number as before, and mostly all of them are poor. Like many teachers, Roat blames the problems
at her school partly on Gov. Tom Corbett’s 2011 budget: It cut more than $865
million in K-12 public education funds. This year, the School
District of Philadelphia,
by far Pennsylvania’s
largest with 135,149 students and 58,643 more enrolled in charters, had to make
deep cuts to close a $304 million shortfall.
Councilman Green among
top picks to lead Phily SRC
KRISTEN A. GRAHAM, INQUIRER
STAFF WRITER Friday, November 29, 2013,
Councilman Bill Green and former Convention Center head Al Mezzaroba are Gov.
Corbett's top choices to lead the School Reform Commission, multiple sources
SRC seat becomes vacant in January, and the top contenders for that post, the
sources say, are Farah Jimenez, who leads the People's EmergencyCenter,
and Keith Leaphart, a doctor and entrepreneur.
Few details are known about the views of most of the likely nominees,
who would all be subject to confirmation by the state Senate. But Green has
made no secret of his stance - that he has "radical and
transformative" ideas for the ailing PhiladelphiaSchool
PittsburghEnvironmentalCharterSchool wants to offer high school classes
TribLive.com By David
Conti Published: Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013,
In a pair of Regent Square
schools built at the beginning of the last century, students are learning
through a 21st century model of education.
Teams of educators teach second-graders about community service. Every
student gets at least 80 minutes of science instruction a day. Instead of
separate social science and English classes, eighth-graders learn cultural
literacy through group projects. The EnvironmentalCharterSchool
has no textbooks.
building the creative brain to be a flexible thinker,” said Jon McCann, CEO of
the charter school that opened in 2008 and is looking to expand.
The Heron's Nest: Delco's
version of ‘The Hunger Games,' 21,000 kids living in poverty
By Phil Heron,
is it that just a few days before we sit down to a feast in which he recount
the things we are grateful for, we learn that is not exactly the case for lots
of needy children in DelawareCounty. Call it Delco’s own version of the ‘The
from the child advocacy group Public Citizens for Children and Youth issued
their second troubling report about DelawareCounty in two weeks.
Pa. senator plans to unveil education-reform bills
By Myles Snyder Posted: Nov 26,
HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) - A Pennsylvania lawmaker
plans to introduce a package of legislation to address issues involving charter
schools, teacher certification, and the need for high-quality prekindergarten. Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland)
said part of his proposal would require all teachers at charter schools to be
certified, instead of having 75 percent of teachers certified. Brewster said his legislation also would
implement a moratorium on state approval of new charter schools. He said until changes are made in
accountability at the local level, Pennsylvania
should focus on the charters that are already established and not be involved
in approving charters that have been denied by the local school board.
MIDLAND — The new chief administrator at
Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School must be “fiscally transparent,”
according to a job description posted on the school’s website.
Former Lincoln Park chief executive officer Rebecca Manning
resigned in September, after it was revealed that she was involved in a
business venture with former PennsylvaniaCyberCharterSchool director Nick
is facing federal charges related to tax fraud and his relationships with
various educational entities.
The Gates Foundation that helped sponsor the
Common Core also funded public relations campaigns for it nationwide through
organizations including $260,000 to the Pennsylvania
Business Council and $700,000 to thePennsylvaniaPartnerships for Children
Benso: We can’t afford to
wait on raising standards
Benso is the president and CEO of Pennsylvania
Partnerships for Children.
been a lot of much-needed discussion about Pennsylvania’s academic standards – known as
Core Standards – and the related Keystone Exams for high school
students. Much of that talk has focused on school funding issues, the notion of
“over testing” students, and fears of unfunded state mandates being pushed on
arguments have clouded the main reason the Pennsylvania Core Standards and
Keystone Exams are badly needed. For too long, Pennsylvania schools have been graduating
tens of thousands of students each year who failed to show proficiency in core
subjects like reading and math. In 2012 alone, one-third of all Pennsylvania public high
school graduates - about 44,000 kids statewide - did not score proficient or
advanced on the 11th grade PSSAs or the 12th grade retake, but they
were handed a diploma anyway.
And if you
think these unprepared students come from only a handful of high-poverty or
low-performing school districts, you’re wrong. These students come from all
types of schools throughout the state, not just our most distressed ones. In
fact, 428 of Pennsylvania’s
500 school districts and 74 charter schools and career and technical centers
graduated at least 20 percent more students in 2012 than scored proficient or
advanced on the 11th grade PSSAs.
& Melinda Gates Foundation spent more than $20 million this year in grants
to institutions and organizations to support the implementation of the Common
Core State Standards, continuing the hefty support it has provided since the
initiative began more than five years ago, according to its Web site. The foundation has spent well
over $170 million to support the creation and implementation of Common
Core State Standards, and has been praised by supporters for its philanthropy
and questioned by critics who worry about wealthy private citizens using their
personal fortunes to impact public policy.
ESchool News By Meris Stansbury, Associate Editor, November 25th, 2013
Duncan, stakeholders launch
new national campaign on how teaching is more than a paycheck. Will it work?
it: Being a teacher doesn’t sound all that glamorous to many of today’s
students. However, with many teachers facing retirement in the next few years,
as well as the lack of youth interest in teaching, the U.S. may face a
significant teaching shortage. That’s where Make More comes
in. Make More is an
integrated campaign to recruit “the next great generation of teachers.” The
campaign was inspired by recent data revealing that half of the nation’s
teachers will retire over the next decade, but only nine percent of top
students consider the profession a viable career.
concept of educating all people regardless of race, class or socioeconomic
status is the engine that has made America a great nation and an
economic power,” Robles said in a statement. “Society has asked public
schools to carry a heavier load, to cut back their budgets, to pass all
the tests, to feed the hungry, to minister to the sick, to be all things to all
people. And you know what? They are doing a pretty amazing job.”
Business Leaders help San Antonio Districts Launch
"Go Public" Campaign
influx of new charter schools to the area and coping with state-level
budget cuts, BexarCounty's 15 school
districts have united behind a campaign to emphasize the benefits of
traditional public schools. The "We Go Public" effort, which will
feature social media outreach along with radio and TV ads, will focus on what
it calls the "core strengths" of local public schools, including
the experienced teaching corps, a variety of extracurricular
activities, diversity in learning experiences and the sense of community
the schools provide. The initiative is co-chaired by three of San Antonio’s business leaders: USAA CEO
Josue Robles, Toyota Manufacturing President Chris Nielsen, and CST Brands
CEO Kim Bowers.
PISA - The full story: How U.S. students compare
Center for Public Education - The
Edifier by Jim Hull November 27, 2013
2012 PISA results
set to be released on Tuesday you will probably hear a lot of doom and gloom
about how the U.S.
doesn’t fair well on international assessments. You’ll probably be bombarded
with references to the 2009 PISA results showing
students ranked 24th and 19th in math and
science respectively. Such statistics
are true but you should be warned such statistics don’t tell the whole truth.
results should not be ignored they only tell part of the story
of how U.S.
schools compare to schools around the world. There are a myriad of other
indicators that are useful in comparing U.S. schools internationally. Yet, PISA results get all the
headlines because of our mediocre performance especially in math and science.
But when you take a broader look at how U.S.
schools perform, you’ll see our schools compare more favorably to other
countries than PISA
results would suggest.
Arne was the new sheriff in town, with big boxes of ammunition and a shiny new
gun,” said Frederick Hess, an education analyst at the conservative American
Enterprise Institute. “Now, it’s later in the movie and he’s all out of bullets
and he’s trying to scare states by shaking a stick at them.”
clear evidence that Duncan’s
prescriptions are helping.”
brought the most ambitious reform agenda in years to the Department of
Education — and a determination to use every lever of power to accomplish it.
were stunning: In barely a year, more than 100 state laws were passed to open
public schools to competition and set tough new standards for students and
won allies on the right and the left, becoming one of the few Cabinet members
with bipartisan support.
agenda he began to advance in 2009 has now hit serious roadblocks, highlighting
the limits of federal power over education. States are balking at reforms they
pledged to implement in exchange for grants and waivers from federal law. An
unprecedented $5 billion intervention in the nation’s worst schools has yielded
incremental results, at best. A noisy opposition to Duncan’s
reforms has emerged — and it only grew noisier this month when Duncan dissed “white
suburban moms” for opposing the new Common Core academic
standards because the tough tests made their kids look bad. To top it off, there’s no clear evidence that
prescriptions are boosting student achievement, though his backers say it’s
still too early to tell
have a lot to learn from business about how to improve performance, Bill
Gates declared in
an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal in 2011. He pointed to his own company as a
worthy model for public schools. “At
Microsoft, we believed in giving our employees the best chance to succeed, and
then we insisted on success. We measured excellence, rewarded those who
achieved it and were candid with those who did not.”
the Microsoft model means public schools grading teachers, rewarding the best
and being “candid”—that is, firing those who are deemed ineffective. "If
you do that,” Gates promised Oprah
Winfrey, “then we go from being basically at the bottom of the rich countries to
being back at the top."
The Network for Public Education November 24, 2013
The Network for Public Education is pleased to announce our
first National Conference. The event will take place on March 1 & 2, 2014
(the weekend prior to the world-famous South by Southwest Festival) at The University of Texas
at Austin. At the NPE National Conference 2014, there
will be panel discussions, workshops, and a keynote address by Diane Ravitch.
NPE Board members – including Anthony Cody, Leonie Haimson, and Julian Vasquez
Heilig – will lead discussions along with some of the important voices of our
New Board Member Training: Great Governance, GreatSchools!
You will need a wealth of information quickly as
you jump out of the starting block and hit the ground running as a newly
elected member of the board of school directors. New board members, as well as
veterans who might like a refresher, will want to make the most of the
opportunity to attend PSBA's New Board Member Training Program: Great
Governance, GreatSchools! .
EPLC is recruiting current undergraduate or graduate students
to serve as part-time interns
EPLC is recruiting current undergraduate
or graduate students to serve as part-time interns beginning January
or May of 2014 in the downtown Harrisburg
offices. One intern will support education policy work including the PennsylvaniaSchool Funding Campaign. The second
intern position will support the work of the Pennsylvania Arts Education Network. Ideal
candidates have an interest/course work in political science/public policy,
social studies, the arts or education and also have strong research, communications,
and critical thinking skills. The internship is unpaid, but free parking is
available. Weekly hours of the internship are negotiable. To apply or to
suggest a candidate, please email Mattie Robinson for further
information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Last Waltz Philly benefit for PhiladelphiaSchool
Children at the Trocadero on Saturday, November 30th
On Saturday, November 30th the Trocadero Theatre hosts The Last Waltz Philly, a benefit
school children. Producers of the event Fergus Carey (owner of Fergie’s, Monk’s
Cafe, Belgian Cafe and Grace Tavern), Bryan
Dilworth (of Bonfire Booking), singer-songwriter Andrew Lipke, and musician and
producer Kevin Hanson. The Last Waltz, a concert by rock group The Band and featuring numerous
guest musicians including Neil Young, Muddy Waters, Van Morrison, Joni
Mitchell, Dr. John, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond and others, was held on
Thanksgiving in 1976. The Last Waltz Philly will celebrate the music of The
Band’s farewell show all for an excellent cause.
The National School Boards Association 74th Annual
Conference & Exposition April 5-7, 2014 New Orleans
The National School Boards Association 74th Annual
Conference & Exposition will be held at the ErnestN.MorialConvention Center in New Orleans, LA.Our
first time back in New Orleans
since the spring of 2002!
Session speakers include education advocates
Thomas L. Friedman, Sir Ken Robinson, as well as education innovators Nikhil
Goyal and Angela Maiers.
We have more than 200 sessions planned!
Colleagues from across the country will present workshops on key topics with
strategies and ideas to help your district. View our Conference
Brochure for highlights on sessions and
now! – Register for both the conference and housing using our online
Questions? Contact NSBA at 800-950-6722 (NSBA) between the hours of 9:00 a.m. - 5:00
Join the NationalSchoolBoardsActionCenterFriends of Public Education
Participate 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