Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ridge, Casey respond to Newtown school shootings: both would support ban on assault weapons and high capacity ammunition clips

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 1750 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers, PTO/PTA officers, parent advocates, teacher leaders, education professors, members of the press and a broad array of P-16 education advocacy organizations via emails, website, Facebook and Twitter.

These daily emails are archived at
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First Book works through existing community programs, literacy efforts and schools to provide an ongoing supply of new books and reading materials – at low or no cost.
Your tax-deductible donation to First Book will fund new books for children in need and help knock down the greatest barrier to literacy development in the United States and beyond — access to books. 97% of donations go directly to programming, providing new books for children in need.

Ex-Gov. Tom Ridge on gun control: 'It's a little more complicated than just bans and background checks'
By ROBERT J. VICKERS, The Patriot-News  on December 19, 2012 at 3:27 PM
Former Gov. Tom Ridge added his voice to the growing chorus calling for more protective gun control laws Wednesday, as legislators and activists across the country continued to reacting to last week's mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.
But while Ridge agreed that assault weapons and high capacity ammunition clips should be banned, the former expert Army marksman and first Homeland Security Secretary warned that any efforts to better protect the public should include measures related to mental health and privacy.

Sen. Bob Casey changes stance, supports new gun laws

POSTED: Wednesday, December 19, 2012, 8:47 PM
WASHINGTON - Sen. Bob Casey, who has long opposed new gun laws, said Wednesday that he had changed his views in the aftermath of last week's shootings in Newtown, Conn., and would support bills to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips.
In an interview in his office, the ordinarily staid Casey (D., Pa.) told The Inquirer that he was "haunted" by the images and reports of children killed in their school, and teachers slain trying to protect them. He said his wife confronted him as he reassessed the issue over the weekend.

PA Senate Standing Committee Chairs for the 2013-14 Legislative Session

Senator Scarnati’s website December 19, 2012
Today Chair assignments have been announced for each of the 22 Senate Standing Committees, according to Senator Joe Scarnati (R-25).  “We are fortunate to have members from various backgrounds and regions across our Commonwealth who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to Harrisburg,” Scarnati said. “Membership of committees will be announced prior to the reconvening of the Senate on January 22, 2013.”

Speaker-Designate Smith Announces PA House Committee Chairs for the 2013-14 Session
PA House Republican Caucus 12/19/2012
HARRISBURG – Speaker-Designate Rep. Sam Smith (R-Jefferson County) today announced the appointments of both Republican and Democratic committee chairmen for the 2013-14 Legislative Session, which begins in January. 
House committees study each bill and determine which proposals will go to the full House. They conduct public hearings on key issues, allowing citizens and interested groups to have a say in the legislative process, and they serve as a resource for members and others. 
“These House committees will tackle the serious issues facing Pennsylvania and, through public hearings and meetings, vet those issues and proposed solutions with public,” Smith said. “These men and women of both caucuses will lead the way in preparing legislation for the full House to consider.”   Committees are outlined in the House Rules that are enacted for each session. 
Smith made the following appointments, which are unofficial until announced on the House floor:

Armstrong SD plans hearing on Elderton charter school

Tribune-Review By Tim Karan  Wednesday, December 19, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Elderton is one step closer to breathing life into its proposed charter school.
Armstrong School District has announced a public hearing to discuss the possible opening of Everlasting Elderton Charter School at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 27 at Lenape Elementary School in Ford City.  The school‘s founding board filed a formal application with ASD on Nov. 14, and ASD board president Joe Close said the district was mandated to conduct a hearing before Dec. 29.

Cyber plans represent progress

Observer-Reporter Opinion published dec 18, 2012 at 11:48 pm
The whole idea of taking a course while perched in front of a computer is, admittedly, a little alien to those who spent their primary and secondary educations in classrooms where they could directly interact with a teacher a few feet away.
But in our wired world, more students are retreating to computer-based charterschools, which have drained students and taxpayer dollars away from traditional classrooms. Under Pennsylvania law, if a student decamps to a charter or cyberschool, his per-pupil state funding goes with him. That’s the case even if the school is based in, say, California. Another sore point for educators is that these online schools often operate under a looser set of mandates than traditional schools do.
Rather than trying to beat cyberschools, however, three area school districts have decided to join them.  In a move not unlike the bookseller Barnes & Noble setting up its own online retail site to compete with the behemoth, the Washington, Trinity and Western Beaver school districts are forming a partnership they’re calling the Collaborative Online Academy, which will allow students in their districts to be cyberschooled while keeping per-pupil funding within the district.

Wm Penn Foundation Launches Strategic Vision With $3.2 Million In Grants

William Penn Foundation Publication Date: December 19, 2012
Today, Helen Davis Picher, interim president of the William Penn Foundation, announced more than $3.2 million in new grants to launch the implementation of the Foundation’s 10-year strategic vision.  The grants will go to: the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe ($1.5 million); the Children’s Literacy Initiative ($1 million); and a group of organizations working for environmental stewardship ($715,500 among four organizations).
The Foundation’s strategic vision focuses on three principal objectives: closing the achievement gap for low-income children; protecting the region’s water quality; and making Greater Philadelphia an even more vibrant and creative community.

Early Literacy Program Helps to Close the Achievement Gap for Philadelphia’s Children

William Penn Foundation By Anna Guarneri, Program Associate Publication Date: 12/19/2012
Children’s Literacy Initiative (CLI), created in Philadelphia and now nationally recognized as a leader in early literacy, has been working for 24 years to right the imbalance in early literacy achievement. CLI works with Pre-K to third grade educators to transform instruction so that children can become powerful readers, writers, and thinkers. Their approach promotes and sustains quality teaching, which research consistently shows is the number one in-school factor in increasing student achievement. 

Teacher Evaluations & Student Achievement: A Progress Report
Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children December 19, 2012
Pennsylvania has taken critical steps this year to improve teacher effectiveness, but more work remains. As part of our “Making the Grade” initiative on teacher effectiveness, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children is pleased to share with you our latest policy report in this area, “Teacher Evaluations & Student Achievement: A Progress Report.” This report provides a status update on Pennsylvania’s efforts thus far to help teachers become more effective in the classroom and looks at the work that lies ahead. CLICK HERE to read it.

More Teachers 'Flipping' The School Day Upside Down

NPR All Things Considered by GRACE HOOD December 07, 2012 5:46 PM
All Things Considered 3 min 47 sec
Welcome to the 21st century classroom: a world where students watch lectures at home — and do homework at school. It's called classroom flipping, and it's slowly catching on in schools around the country.

Philadelphia Education Fund ‏@PhilaEdFund
The mission of the Philadelphia Education Fund is to improve the quality of public education in Philadelphia and the region, so that youth are prepared for college and careers.
The Philadelphia Education Fund works with school districts and partners, including businesses, universities and non-profit organizations, as well as community stakeholders to:
·         Increase the number of public secondary schools (grades 6 – 12) that are high performing;
·         Increase the number of public school students who access postsecondary education and persist to completion;
·         Position the Philadelphia region as central to state and national dialogues about improving public education.

City Connects Year in Review: Boston

City Connects DECEMBER 19, 2012
Mission: To have every child engage and learn in school by connecting each student with the tailored set of intervention, prevention, and enrichment services he or she needs to thrive.

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