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 6, 2013: American schools with poverty rates of less than 10% led the world on the PISA exams
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Pennsylvania Education Policy
Roundup for December
American schools with poverty
rates of less than 10% led the world on the PISA exams
Poverty is not an accident. Like
slavery and apartheid, it is man-made
be removed by the actions of human beings. - Nelson Mandela.
in Brown's charter school fraud case defend her multiple salaries
MARTHA WOODALL, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER December 5, 2013,
A compensation expert hired by the defense in Dorothy June
Brown's charter school fraud trial told a federal jury Thursday that Brown was
paid more than most local charter leaders when she was a chief executive.
…..Dorf's analysis found that the annual salaries paid to
Brown, including $150,000 from Ad Prima in 2007-08 and $193,597 from the LaboratoryCharterSchool
that same year, were both above the market rate. The average charter CEO in Philadelphia was paid
$115,800 in 2007-08, he said. During
cross-examination, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joan E. Burnes pointed out that
Brown actually was paid a total of $1.4 million that year from the four schools
In addition to the two CEO salaries Brown collected that
year, she also received money from two management firms she controlled. Burnes
said Brown's AcademicQuest L.L.C. received $257,183 from Planet Abacus, and the
AgoraCyberCharterSchool paid her Cynwyd
Group L.L.C. $848,273.
colleges get the keys to drive the state's charter school strategy?
WHYY Newsworks BY KEVIN MCCORRY DECEMBER 5, 2013 NEWSWORKS TONIGHT
There's a game-changer on the horizon, a piece of
legislation rumbling through the halls of Harrisburg
that, if passed, promises to alter forever the landscape of public education in
Pennsylvania. It's called Senate Bill 1085, referred to by
many as, "The Charter Reform Bill."
Proponents say it will raise the standards by which charters
are opened and evaluated, while ensuring the creation of more high-quality
educational options for all Pennsylvania's students.
Opponents say it will create a "wild, wild west"
scenario in which charters be able to "grow unfettered," while bringing
about the "death knell" of traditional public education.
The bill has passed a key Senate committee, but the timing
of a full Senate vote is unclear.
Of the major provisions of the bill, the most contentious
debate surrounds its creation of "university authorizers." This would
allow institutes of higher education to authorize and oversee new charter
schools without the input of local school districts.
SUSAN SNYDER, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER December 5, 2013,
Independence Blue Cross launched a support program to help
its workers without a college degree to get one. The Philadelphia Education Fund worked with
four city high schools to set a college-going culture from the day students
arrive, and now more students are going to college.
And the University
of Delaware's associate-degree program
based at a community college offers a gateway to students who may not be quite
ready for the rigor of the main campus in Newark.
All three entities were recognized Thursday morning at an
award ceremony for their programs to boost college enrollment and graduation.
The two sides are close on salary and benefits. The board says talks are stalled
over graduate course work and phasing out a retirement incentive. Tonight, the
board outlined its positions to a group of about 50 residents, teachers and
worth considering is that the survey didn’t cover the full population of
15-year-olds living in Shanghai.
An estimated 500,000 children of migrant workers live in Shanghai. Without local hukou or household
registration, most can’t attend public schools and often end up in
lower-quality private schools. Their plight is shared by another 20 million or
so migrant children across the country.
“Everyone should place Shanghai’s
scores in proper perspective. Shanghai has an economically and culturally elite
population with systems in place to make sure that students who may perform
poorly are not allowed into public schools,” writes Brookings Loveless in his
blog. “No one will know how well China can perform on an
international test until it participates, as a nation, under the same rules as
all other nations.”
PISA: Want to Look Great on Global Education Surveys?
Test Only the Top Students
students have outperformed their peers around the world, topping tests of
mathematics, reading, and science in the annual OECD PISA survey of global
education. And as before, U.S.
students have scored well below average.
sign of how China
is outcompeting everyone else? Time for more teeth gnashing? Keep this in mind:
While the rest of the data aimed at presenting a countrywide picture of
performance, that was not case with China. Instead, the PISA results covered only school children in one of China’s
richest, most elite cities.
Wydo, a teacher in North Carolina, sent this
analysis of 2012 PISA:
the mainstream media will NOT tell you about 2012 PISA. When comparing U.S. schools with less
than 10% of students qualifying for free/reduced lunch, here’s how U.S.
students (of which almost 25% are considered poor by OECD standards and of
which nationally on average about 50% qualify for free/reduced lunch) rank
compared to all other countries including one I chose to purposely compare –
Finland (of which about 5% are considered poor by OECD standards):
of the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment should come as no
surprise to anyone ("U.S. High-School Students Slip in Global
Rankings," The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 3). They confirm
what study after study has shown about the link between performance and
poverty. Yet PISA
will be used by privateers as evidence of the need to dismantle public
education in this country. That's why I think it's worthwhile taking a
PISA is widely considered the most
important of all tests of international competition because it measures whether
students can apply their knowledge to real-life situations. This is all
the more reason to put the results into proper context. The U.S.
has the highest rate of childhood poverty in the industrialized world,
according to UNICEF. Only Mexico
is worse, but I hardly consider it to be industrialized. When more than
20 percent of children in the U.S.
come from impoverished backgrounds, it's predictable that they will not perform
as well as children from other countries.
Blog 4th Dec 2013 posted inEducation
came early this year. The new PISA
results are out. (PISA
= a relatively sophisticated test of critical thinking administered to half a
million 15 year-olds every three years in 65 countries.) This year is
especially intriguing for the US
because the focus is on math—our biggest weakness. So I’ve been hunkered down, reading through
the 3,000-some pages of analysis and data—which go far beyond what you read in
the headlines—to see what we can learn.
obvious (and least interesting) result: Our teenagers remained below average in math for the
developed world—and average in reading and science. No change over past 13
years, since PISA
began. Could be better, could be worse.
American Federation of Teachers union is unveiling a seven-figure advertisement
campaign ahead of Dec. 9, a day that the group has billed as a "national day of
action" against the education reform movement and push alternative
solutions. “Public education is under
attack and underfunded throughout our country," the advertisements read, according to materials AFT, the
nation's second-largest teachers union, provided to The Huffington Post.
"Now, communities are coming together for our schools and our children to
champion great public schools as the heart of our neighborhoods. … Together, we
can make sure our schools are places where all kids can thrive and the voices
of those closest to the classroom are heard.”
“State education officials are particularly
concerned about the number of students who didn’t show up to retake tests this
Texas students still
struggling on slashed battery of state exams
The Dallas Morning News By
TERRENCE STUTZ Austin Bureau 04 December 2013
AUSTIN — The Legislature scuttled 10 of
the state’s 15 high school end-of-course exams that students must pass to
graduate. But for many students, test results from this fall indicate that
might not have been enough. Scores on
the exams in English and Algebra I were abysmal for students retaking the tests
after failing the first time. And at least a third of the students who were
supposed to retake the exams didn’t even show up on the testing dates.
I writing, less than a third of the 94,000 high school sophomores retaking the
tests passed the second time. That didn’t include more than 41,000 who were
reported as absent. That leaves nearly 182,000 students who still haven’t
passed — about 45 percent of the group.
were similar in English I reading. Just a quarter of students who were retested
passed, while at least a third of all students needing to pass were absent on
the testing dates. More than 120,000 still haven’t passed — about a third of
indicate that the Legislature’s sweeping changes to the state’s testing regime,
the STAAR, may not alleviate concerns about high-stakes tests in Texas schools. Parents,
teacher groups and others pushed for the lower number of tests, warning that
schools were too driven by test results. Now, students are struggling despite
the fact that the required scores to pass the tests are fairly low and the
students are at risk of not graduating.
Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s Liberator as Prisoner
and President, Dies at 95
Times By BILL KELLER Published: December 5, 2013
Nelson Mandela, who led the
emancipation ofSouth Africa from
white minority rule and served as his country’s first black president, becoming
an international emblem of dignity and forbearance, died Thursday night. He was
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 email@example.com.
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
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