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 December 30, 2013: Advocating for policies that support quality public education
Daily postings from the Keystone State Education
Coalition now reach more than 3060 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
Advocating for policies that support quality public education
links to grass-roots organizations that see public education as a public good
and a public responsibility. Are you and
your colleagues involved with any of them?
Public Education is a Public Good – Help Save
Yinzers care about public education. We know
that public schools are a public good. But Pennsylvania schools are now missing $2.3
BILLION due to historic state budget cuts in 2011. Those cuts continue to have
a devastating impact on our schools in Southwestern PA
since they were carried forward in the 2012 and 2013 budgets as well. The
de-funding of our public schools has gone hand in hand with a national
“corporate-style-reform” movement that pushes a damaging agenda of
privatization, competition, choice, high-stakes-testing, and school closures –
all disproportionately affecting our poorest students and communities of color.
School districts across Pennsylvania are struggling to cope with
devastating state budget cuts and crippling cyber charter school tuition bills.
Now, more than ever before, Pennsylvanians need to speak out loudly and
together in support of our public schools.
Join parents and community members from across Pennsylvania to advocate for policies that
support public education.
Education Voters Pennsylvania is dedicated to
informing the public about the needs and importance of our public schools,
ensuring our political leaders adopt and implement a pro public education
agenda, and holding those leaders accountable if they fail to do so.
Helen Gym advances, and Mayor Nutter inches
warily back. She waves a thick stack of papers at him, each sheath a complaint
lodged by parents lamenting the calamitous conditions in Philadelphia’s reeling public schools.
There’s the kid with dangerous asthma at the school without a nurse on hand.
The dyslexic, orphaned high-school senior applying for colleges with no
counselor to lean on. The bullying victim who fled Overbrook High only to find
it impossible to enroll at another school.
“This is what we’re fighting against,” Gym tells Nutter. The Mayor is
just a few yards from his office door, but he’s the one shifting his feet,
looking to get away.
Parents United for Public Education is a
citywide group of Philadelphia
parents that focuses on budgeting and accountability in order to ensure
resources get to the classroom level. We got started in Spring 2006 when a
budget crisis forced parents from multiple schools out to school board
meetings. We shared common concerns around supporting academically rich
environments, equity across populations, and accountability for money spent.
Since then, we have engaged an active and diverse group of parents across
neighborhoods to successfully advocate for classroom-focused budget priorities
and improved funding from local and state agencies, as well as the broader Philadelphia community.
Today, the work of Parents United is more important than ever. An independent,
organized and engaged parent body has proven we can clarify budget priorities
to keep a focus on children and classrooms. We invite all people concerned
future to join us in this effort for our public schools.
Save Our Schools NJ is a nonpartisan,
grassroots, volunteer led and powered organization of parents and other
concerned residents who believe that all New Jersey children should have access
to a high quality public education. Save
Our Schools NJ began as a successful effort to pass a local school budget. It
quickly became clear that it will take many voices across the entire state to
ensure that our children’s education is not compromised to political or
ideological objectives. Thus, what was an ad hoc movement has grown
into Save Our Schools NJ, and our membership has grown to include almost
12,000 public school supporters, across all of New Jersey’s 40 legislative districts.
Our Mission: The Network for
Public Education is an advocacy group whose goal is to fight to protect,
preserve and strengthen our public school system, an essential institution in a
democratic society. Our mission is to protect, preserve, promote, and
strengthen public schools and the education of current and future generations
of students. We will accomplish this by networking groups and organizations
focused on similar goals in states and districts throughout the nation, share
information about what works and what doesn’t work in public education, and
endorse and rate candidates for office based on our principles and goals.
Daily postings from
the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 3060 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 and Twitter
districts face uphill battle in reversing declines
Gazarik Published: Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013, 10:30 p.m.
The WilkinsburgSchool District struggles in just about
every way that matters — financially, academically and with enrollment. Superintendent Lee McFerren knows that
merging with another district could help, but no district is willing to take on
the challenge, he said.
It's a common cry from distressed districts
that essentially have “lost their right to exist,” said Maureen McClure,
associate professor of administration and policy studies at the University of Pittsburgh. “There's no tax base to hold them,” said
McClure, a school director in RiverviewSchool District. “They
just don't have enough of a tax base to do the basic things it needs to do, and
those are the districts nobody wants.”
Starting Jan. 1, earning a GED in Pennsylvania will become
a whole lot harder.
The Graduate Equivalency Diploma -- now
administered by the for-profit group Pearson -- is being revamped in ways
proponents say will give the test greater credibility and better prepare
students for work and college. But for
high school dropouts hoping to claw their way back into the job market, the New
Year is bringing about not happiness, but anxiety.
The new GED test, to be aligned with the new
Common Core state standards, will be purely computer-based. It will also cost
60 percent more, jumping from $75 to $120.
"It's a disaster," said Bonnie
Kaye. "They're holding high school dropouts to an educational
standard that high school students aren't being held to."
“Although the narrow impact of this ruling is very important, and
could lead to more sensible fracking practices across the state, the court's
broader reasoning seems to open other. just-as-important legal doors. Many have
argued that the other defining policy legacy of the Corbett era -- the
relentless undermining of public schools in a push for more charters and
voucher-like benefits -- is also fundamentally unconstitutional. Just as Pennsylvania's bedrock document promises a
clean environment, it also mandates "the maintenance and support of a
thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the
Commonwealth." The state Constitution also bars using public dollars to
support "sectarian schools," yet the Corbett-backed "voucher
lite" program known as EITC does exactly that. It would be great to see
the high court rule on these matters, too.”
Philly Daily News Attytood Blog by Will Bunch THURSDAY,
Gov. Corbett may
have taken a shuffle-step to his left on gay rights this week, but he
continues to pay the price for his past sins. Today, the Pennsylvania Supreme
Court smacked down -- or maybe fracked down -- a key section of the 2012 law on
gas-drilling that was signed by Corbett after it was pushed through the
legislature by his GOP allies. In a 4-2
vote, with Republican Justice Ronald Castille, the former Philadelphia DA, crossing
over to vote with the three Democratic state Supremes, the
state's highest court rulled that Act 13's key provision, preventing
local governments from using their zoning laws to prevent or regulate fracking
activities, is unconstitutional.
part of a post that Julian Vasquez Heilig, an award-winning researcher
and associate professor of educational policy and planning at the University of Texas
wrote on his Cloaking
Inquality blog. The piece, entitled “Tell-All From A TFA and KIPP Teacher:
Unprepared, Isolation, Shame, and Burnout,” is largely about a former student
of Heilig’s who came to him to tell him about her experience in TFA. The
student is still teaching at a KIPP school as a TFA corps member so asked not
to be identified.
PA Gubernatorial Candidate Plans for Education and Arts/Culture in PA
Policy and LeadershipCenter
Below is an alphabetical list of the 2014 Gubernatorial Candidates and
links to information about their plans, if elected, for education and
arts/culture in Pennsylvania. This list will be updated, as more information becomes available.
DELAWARECOUNTY INTERMEDIATE UNIT - GOOGLE SYMPOSIUM
FEBRUARY 1ST, 2014
The DCIU Google Symposium is an opportunity for teachers,
administrators, technology directors, and other school stakeholders to come
together and explore the power of Google Apps for Education. The
Symposium will be held at the Delaware County Intermediate Unit. The
Delaware County Intermediate Unit is one of Pennsylvania’s 29 regional educational
agencies. The day will consist of an opening keynote conducted by Rich Kiker followed
by 4 concurrent sessions.
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
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