Friday, November 4, 2011

Coming Soon to a Lawn Near You

Coming Soon to a Lawn Near You

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PCN Call-In Program on Vouchers Monday, Nov. 7 at 7:00 pm

On Monday, Nov. 7, PCN will host a Call-In Program on tuition vouchers at 7 p.m. Sen. Anthony Williams, a main sponsor of SB 1, will be one of the guests during the program. Opposing SB 1 will be a representative from the NAACP.  PCN is not yet listing the program on its schedule, but we have confirmed today that it is taking place. For information on how to call in with your questions see this link:


Program aims to revamp how teachers are rated

Friday, November 4, 2011

…."What we're trying to accomplish in this effort ... is to find out those successful practices that are having the greatest impact on student achievement and find those areas where we might be coming up a little short," said state Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis.

Speaking at a statewide virtual town hall meeting this week, Tomalis said finding the areas where teachers need to improve will help officials target about $500 million spent in the state annually on professional development .

Read more: Program aims to revamp how teachers are rated - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Piccola didn't address claims about vouchers

Published: Friday, November 04, 2011, 1:19 AM
By THOMAS J. GENTZEL Executive Director, Pennsylvania School Boards Association
Sen. Piccola's op-ed on Nov. 2, which attacked the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, is regrettable for two reasons: It unfairly attacks an organization that has worked tirelessly on behalf of public education and, more importantly, it fails to respond to the serious arguments PSBA has made in opposing tuition vouchers --- namely, that they are unproven (based on experience in other states), unaccountable (in their use of tax dollars), unconstitutional (in light of three separate sections of the Pennsylvania Constitution), unpopular (based on multiple statewide polls) and unaffordable (based on the projected costs by proponents themselves).
We have provided extensive evidence and arguments for each of these contentions and offered positive, research driven alternatives to vouchers. What we have not done, and will not be goaded into doing, is attack people who disagree with us.
This is a policy debate. We respect honest differences of opinion. It is unfortunate that some on the other side of the issue feel a need to attack their opponents rather than respond thoughtfully to what we have to say.


Harrisburg Catholic bishop: School choice is a social justice issue

Published: Friday, November 04, 2011, 5:00 AM
Patriot-News Op-Ed By Bishop Joseph P. McFadden
….To say that only public schools have a claim on educational tax dollars or that allowing a monopoly in education is the best way to use these funds flies in the face of the American ideal of freedom of expression and ideas.   ….The voucher program appropriately starts small to help the neediest students in the lowest-performing schools first. This school choice legislation will be an important first step in establishing social justice for all.

The power of reading and the role of school
Sent to the Taipei Times, November 3, 2011
Schools Matter Blog, By Stephen Krashen, Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California
…..School can either encourage or discourage the development of a reading habit. The over-emphasis on testing, a disease that seems to spreading world-wide, inhibits intellectual development by not allowing time or opportunity for students to develop their own interests by reading widely. But school could help students by exposing them to many different ideas, allowing them time to explore their interests, and by providing access to a print-rich environment.

PR Newswire: Virtual Strategy Magazine

PA Cyber Charter School Receives Middle States Accreditation

Tuesday, November 1st 2011
"Some of us were skeptics and I was one of them. ... To come in as a skeptic and come out as a supporter, as I did, is pretty impressive." - Dr.John Plesha, Associate Director, Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
MIDLAND, Pa., Nov.1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools has conferred upon the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School full accreditation status for all grades K-12.  PA Cyber is the first public cyber charter school in the nation to successfully go through the Middle States accreditation process, according to Dr. Nick Trombetta, CEO.


Sen. Casey Calls For HS Computer Courses Directive Wednesday, 02 Nov 2011 06:23 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. Bob Casey says the nation's students aren't prepared for the more than 140,000 computer science jobs that become available every year, so he is pushing for a bill requiring U.S. schools to make computer courses part of their core curricula.

"We're not getting enough young people involved in this course of study," Casey said Tuesday during a rollout of the Computer Science Education Act. According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Casey spoke at the Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy, a public magnet school.

Read more on Sen. Casey Calls For HS Computer Courses Directive

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 11/03/2011

Ravitch updates best-selling book on ed reform

Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss
Critics of Diane Ravitch like to say that the education historian talks a lot about what is wrong with the modern school reform movement but doesn't offer solutions about how to fix anything. Historians, of course, by definition spend their time looking to the past, not making policy pronouncements about what should be. That said, Ravitch, the leading voice in the country speaking out against standardized-test based school reform, does what her critics say she doesn't in an important new chapter at the end of the new paperback edition of the best-selling "The Death and Life of the Great American School System."
No doubt those critics still won't like what she has to say.


Re-evaluate Pennsylvania teachers
Gov. Corbett's education proposals would help kids succeed
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Opinion Tuesday, November 01, 2011
By Michelle Rhee and State Sen. Anthony H. Williams
Gov. Tom Corbett's bipartisan proposal to improve schools in Pennsylvania would go a long way toward giving all children in the state equal access to the kind of high-quality 21st-century education they need.

Read more:


Use Education Voters PA website to contact your PA State Representatives asking them to oppose taxpayer funded vouchers:

For more info/background -  PSBA's Tuition Voucher Issue Page

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