Sunday, August 5, 2012

EITC 2.0: Here’s your $50 million voucher program for the 2012-2013 school year Pennsylvania.

“Only public schools, operated by school districts with elected school boards are open to all children and fully accountable to all taxpayers.”
Baruch Kintisch, Director of Policy Advocacy, Education Law Center, in testimony before the PA House Democratic Policy Committee, July 17, 2012

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 1600 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, members of the press and a broad array of education advocacy organizations via emails, website, Facebook and Twitter.

These daily emails are archived at
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EITC 2.0: Here’s your $50 million voucher program for the 2012-2013 school year Pennsylvania.
Funny thing, when State Rep. Jim Christiana was speaking before the House Education Committee urging passage of the “Opportunity Scholarship” program a month ago he insisted that these were not tax dollars….

Pennsylvania Department of Education Press Release August 03, 2012
Public and Nonpublic School Leaders Encouraged to Open Doors to Students Trapped in Low-Achieving Schools
Harrisburg – All of Pennsylvania’s high-quality public and nonpublic schools are invited to sign up to be a receiving school as part of the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program.
Signed into law by Governor Tom Corbett last month, the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program provides the means for low- and moderate-income students, who reside in the attendance boundary of a low-achieving school, to apply for an opportunity scholarship to attend a participating receiving school.
“The Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program is an example of a public/private partnership where the business community recognizes a need in our communities and schools and steps up to meet that need,” Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis said today.

Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Press Release

DCED Publishes Opportunity Scholarship Guidelines; Scholarships to be Available for Upcoming School Year

Release Date: Aug 01, 2012 10:56 am | Author: Steve Kratz, DCED, 717-783-1132
Harrisburg– The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) today published the guidelines for the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program, developed to enhance the educational opportunities for students in low-achieving schools.
In July, Governor Tom Corbett signed into law the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program, making $50 million in tax credits available to businesses that contribute to approved opportunity scholarship organizations.
“The governor is committed to providing students with the best opportunity to access quality educational programs,” DCED Secretary C. Alan Walker said. “This new and innovative program is a win for everyone, as businesses will be able to help students in their communities transfer from low-achieving schools to higher performing schools.”
The guidelines published today outline the application processes for businesses and opportunity scholarship organizations. Organizations that want to be included on the department's list of approved Opportunity Scholarship Organizations may begin applying immediately.

Approved List of Opportunity Scholarship Organizations
Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development August 3, 2012

Lies, Damned Lies and...
PHLMetropolis Blog by Tom Ferrick July 30, 2012 7:19 AM
Mark Twain once observed that there are three kinds of lies:  lies, damned lies and statistics.
Keep that saying in mind as the state investigation into tainted PSSA scores continues.  These are the standardized tests used to measure student performance in public and charter schools statewide.

School takeover bill misses the point
Published: Sunday, August 05, 2012, 12:15 AM
Patriot News Opinion By Adrian Jones
Adrian Jones of Harrisburg is a Patriot-News summer intern and a sophomore at Harvard University.
As a product of an urban education system, I have a genuine concern for its health.
Students, parents and staff members from the Harrisburg School District rally on the Capitol steps to show state legislators and Gov. Tom Corbett the faces of those impacted by cuts to funding. Students delivered boxes filled with thousands of letters requesting more state monies be funneled to the district to the offices of Sen. Jeffrey Piccola, Rep. Ron Buxton and Gov. Corbett. Sen. Piccola, (R-Dauphin), takes delivery of boxes of letters. 05/23/2012 DAN GLEITER, The Patriot-News
I've closely paid attention to the budget discussions of recent years, and it has appeared to me that nationally and locally, when it comes to education - particularly urban education - the Legislature and even the public reveal their callousness.

Philadelphia Charter School Teachers—And Their Union—Stand Up to Management

In These Times by BY JAMES CERSONSKY THURSDAY AUG 2, 2012 10:00 AM
On May 31, Philadelphia’s Delaware Valley Charter High School witnessed teacher turnover in real time.
Between 10:20am and 12:46pm, in the middle of class instruction, eight teachers were handed pink slips. Students soon figured out what was going on and revolted—turning over lockers, throwing trashcans, punching holes through walls, ripping down posters and taping them to their bodies as protest signs, and attempting two walkouts.
When principal and CEO Ernest Holiday entered the room of a popular but freshly terminated math teacher, he saw a crowd of students, accused the teacher of inciting a riot, asked him to leave the premises and docked his pay for the remainder of the year.

How America's Losing The War On Poverty August 4, 2012
While President Obama and Gov. Romney battle for the hearts and minds of the middle class this election season, there's a huge swath of Americans that are largely ignored. It's the poor, and their ranks are growing.  According to a recent survey by The Associated Press, the number of Americans living at or below the poverty line will reach its highest point since President Johnson made his famous declaration of war on poverty in 1964.
Close to 16 percent of Americans now live at or below the poverty line. For a family of four, that's $23,000 a year. On top of that, 100 million of us — 1 out of 3 Americans — manage to survive on a household income barely twice that amount. How is this poverty crisis happening?

Olympics: With relay gold, Hansen grabs a piece of history
Published: Saturday, August 04, 2012
Delco Times By JOHN LOHN Special to the Times
LONDON — Front-row seats at historic events are hard to secure, or can’t be predicted. How many people can say they attended Don Drysdale’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series? How many individuals can say they saw Wilt Chamberlain drop triple digits in Hershey?
From a more modern standpoint, how many people can say they saw Tiger Woods obliterate the field at Augusta National for the first of his Masters titles? How many can say they watched Michael Jordan capture the last of his NBA championships?
More than 17,000 fans were in the London Aquatic Centre Saturday night when Michael Phelps contested the last race of his storied career. Ticket stubs from the event will become sports memorabilia, and a Haverford High school product was there for the festivities. Actually, his story will be better than most. He was part of the Phelps Pharewell.

2012 PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference Oct. 16-19, 2012
Registration is Now Open!
Hershey Lodge & Convention Center, Hershey, PA

As of July 23, content on EdMedia Commons is viewable to nonmembers.
National Education Writers Association Website
If you're a visitor, welcome! We're glad you're here, and we hope you enjoy clicking around the site. EMC membership is still restricted to members of the Education Writers Association. Interested in EWA? Learn how to join here.

PA EITC 2.0 Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program FAQ
PA Department of Community and Economic Development

Details on Act 85 of 2012, PA’s new EITC 2.0 Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit “Supervoucher” Program.

Pennsylvania’s "Failing Schools" List For the 2012-2013 school year.
Here the list of low achieving schools released by PDE last week


EPLC’s 2012 Arts and Education Symposium: Save the Date, Thursday, October 11

Education Policy and Leadership Center
Please mark your calendars and plan on joining EPLC, our partners, and guests on October 11 in Harrisburg for a full day of events.  Stay tuned to for information about our 2nd Arts and Education Symposium.  Scholarships and Act 48 Credit will be available.  Outstanding speakers and panelists from Pennsylvania and beyond will once again come together to address key topics in the arts and arts education and related public policy advocacy initiatives.  This is a networking and learning opportunity not to be missed!

PSBA 2013 Officer Candidates Slated
If you are not planning to attend the October Leadership Conference and would like to vote for any of these candidates please see the absentee ballot information below and note the August 15 deadline for absentee ballot requests
At its May 19 meeting at PSBA Conference Center, the PSBA Nominating Committee interviewed and selected a slate of candidates for officers of the association in 2013.
They are:
Marcela Diaz Myers, Lower Dauphin SD, Dauphin County
President (automatically assumes the office of president)
Jody Sperry, Conneaut SD, Crawford County
Richard Frerichs, Penn Manor SD, Lancaster County
Mark B. Miller, Centennial SD, Bucks County
First Vice President
Larry Breech, Millville Area SD, Columbia County
Second Vice President
Edward J. Cardow, Chichester SD, Delaware County
Second Vice President

Absentee ballot procedures for election of PSBA officers
Absentee ballot requests must be received no later than August 15
PSBA website 6/1/2012
All school directors and school board secretaries who are eligible to vote and who do not plan to attend the association's annual business meeting during the 2012 PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference in Hershey, Oct. 16-19, may request an absentee ballot for election purposes.
The absentee ballot must be requested from the PSBA executive director in accordance with the PSBA Bylaws provisions (see PSBA Bylaws, Article IV, Section 4, J-Q.). Specify the name and home mailing address of each individual for whom a ballot is requested.
Requests must be in writing, e-mailed or mailed first class and postmarked or marked received at PSBA Headquarters no later than Aug. 15. Mail to Executive Director, P.O. Box 2042, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055 or e-mail

NSBA Federal Relations Network seeking new members for 2013-14
School directors are invited to advocate for public education at the federal level through the National School Boards Association’s Federal Relations Network. The National School Boards Association is seeking school directors interested in serving on the Federal Relations Network (FRN), its grass roots advocacy program that brings local board members on the front line of pending issues before Congress. If you are a school director and willing to carry the public education message to Washington, D.C., FRN membership is a good place to start. 
Click here for more information.

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