Friday, August 10, 2012

“What we know after 20 years is that overall charter schools are no better than public schools.“

“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

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“What we know after 20 years is that overall charter schools are no better than public schools.“

Charter Schools and Kudzu

Posted: 08/08/2012 5:34 pm
On this, the 20th anniversary of the opening of the first charter school, kudzu comes to mind.
In the 1930s the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) paid farmers $8 per acre to plant this Japanese vine whose deep root structure helps reduce erosion and enrich a depleted soil.  Farmers planted more than 1.2 million acres.  Twenty years later the SCS declared kudzu a virulent, parasitic weed.  Its rapid growth shades the native flora, blocking their access to life-sustaining light. As these plants die, nutrients previously used by them become available to kudzu.

 “Conspicuously absent from the EITC 2.0 bill is language that requires public tax dollars to pay the tuition of students who are attending low-performing schools  Instead, public tax dollars can be used to pay the tuition bills of students who already attend private schools and live in areas served by low-performing schools. In fact, a lot of the $50 million could be used to pay the tuition bills of students who are already in private schools.”

'EITC 2.0' hurts public schools

Published: Friday, August 10, 2012, 12:20 AM
Patriot News OP-ED By Abigail Newburger
State legislators have said over and over again that they had no choice but to make difficult cuts in the 2012-13 budget because there just wasn’t enough money. However, they managed to find $50 million in this budget to fund a brand-new entitlement program related to the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program (EITC 2.0), a program that will use taxpayer dollars to pay students’ tuition at private schools.
EITC 2.0 redirected $50 million business in tax dollars from the general fund budget and much of it will go to private schools in Pennsylvania.  The result? Individual taxpayers will bear the cost of this program. Either Pennsylvania taxpayers will be affected by a $50 million cut in government programs and services or they will be asked to pay more to make up for the $50 million in additional spending our legislators approved this year.

 “In its articles, The Inquirer cited state records showing that the publicly funded charter school was one of the highest spenders among charter schools on business and administrative costs and among the lowest on instruction.”
Posted: Sat, Aug. 4, 2012, 3:01 AM
Appeals court rules for Inquirer in defamation case
By Chris Mondics Inquirer Staff Writer
In a ruling in a defamation lawsuit against The Inquirer, a federal appeals court in Philadelphia found that linking to an allegedly defamatory article on the Internet does not by itself expose a publisher to charges of libel.  The case was filed by the management company of Chester Community Charter School and its chief executive, Vahan H. Gureghian, and alleged that The Inquirer published false, misleading, and defamatory statements about the school and Gureghian.
“One of the project's partners manages the largest charter school in Pennsylvania and is owned by local GOP power broker Vahan Gureghian, a major contributor to Pennsylvania Gov. Corbett's campaign. Corbett has praised Gureghian's school, which the state is investigating for possible test score cheating.”
Posted: Mon, Aug. 6, 2012, 9:55 AM
Camden school board reviewing 'Renaissance' school plans
By Rita Giordano and Claudia Vargas Inquirer Staff Writers
The Camden school board is reviewing proposals from three organizations with track records for educating children in struggling urban districts that seek to open up to a dozen new charterlike "Renaissance" schools.
The proposals - the first of their kind under consideration in the state - could divert millions of dollars and nearly 40 percent of Camden's student population into privately run public schools.

Reforming School Reform 
Philadelphia Writing Project Spring/Summer 2012 by Matthew L. Mandel, NBCT
It’s not about the children.
The education reform movement, at least here in Pennsylvania, may be about a lot of things, but it certainly isn’t about our children.
If it were, efforts to bridge the achievement gap and advance opportunities for all children would look a hell of a lot different.

Hamels and wife make a big difference at Philly elementary school
August 09, 2012 By Alex Lee and Daily News Staff Writer
LESS THAN 12 hours after twirling a five-hit gem against the Braves, Cole Hamels was at Bayard Taylor Elementary in North Philadelphia on Wednesday morning to unveil the latest handiwork of The Hamels Foundation. Such is life for a $144 million ace with an insatiable appetite for philanthropy.  Through their foundation, Hamels and his wife, Heidi, donated $300,000 to the elementary school to transform what was formerly an empty lot into a modern playground complete with a soccer field, greenhouse and iPad/Tech learning center.

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

Education Policy and Leadership Center
EPLC’s Education Issues Workshop for Legislative Candidates, Campaign Staff, and Interested Voters

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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