Thursday, November 1, 2012

April 2011 Stanford/CREDO study: “whatever cyberschools are doing in PA is definitely not working and should not be replicated.” November 2012: State considering 8 more cyber charters


Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 1700 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers, PTO/PTA officers, teacher leaders, 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 http://keystonestateeducationcoalition.org
Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg


If you want legislators who support public education then please support these candidates with your time, your money and your votes.

Education Voters Action of PA 2012 General Election Endorsements

Education Voters Action of Pennsylvania Published on September 17, 2012
We are very pleased to announce our first of two rounds of endorsements for the 2012 General Election.  Based on a review of available information, including written materials, public statements, voting records and candidate interviews, Education Voters has decided to endorse the following candidates with a goal of having more legislators who support public education in public office.
These candidates recognize that if our economy and our communities are going to improve and remain strong that it starts with our students.  We need strong policymakers in Harrisburg that are willing to stand up for our values, so we ask that you support public education by supporting these candidates on November 6th!


It’s Raining – Money
Yinzercation Blog — OCTOBER 31, 2012
It’s still raining in Pennsylvania – campaign money, that it. As the elections have heated up, candidates pushing school privatization efforts such as vouchers have received a windfall from some well-organized and extremely wealthy out-of-state pockets. While we’re mopping up and rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy, we better take a look at what else has blown into our state, and the consequences we could be dealing with for years to come.

April 2011 Stanford/CREDO study: “whatever cyberschools are doing in PA is definitely not working and should not be replicated.”

The Pennsylvania Cyber Gold Rush

Diane Ravitch’s Blog October 31, 2012 //
Pennsylvania has 16 full-time cyber charter schools. Of the twelve that have been around long enough to report on test scores, only one made AYP this year. Last year, two made AYP. Eight are in corrective action status. None has ever been closed. The other four were authorized earlier this year.

Cybercharters Grow, Despite Evidence

Diane Ravitch’s Blog April 27, 2012 //
When I spoke at NCTM, I talked about the common thread that unites mathematicians and historians: We believe that evidence matters. No matter how much we speculate, or theorize, or predict, what matters most is: Show me your work, where is the evidence.

Questions:
·         Charter schools were intended to be laboratories for best practices that could in turn be shared and replicated.  With the dismal performance of almost all PA cyber charters over the past several years, why are we considering authorizing more of them?
·         Who will be on the panel that decides which of these new cyber charter applications will be granted?
·         Are any members of that panel school board members, who are responsible for taxing their neighbors to pay the cyber charter tuitions that will fund these schools?
·         If these programs were being run in a school district, the locally elected school board and administration, who are directly responsible to local taxpayers footing the bill, would have the option to discontinue them if they were not found to be effective.
·         School districts seem to be able to provide cyber programs for about half of the cost that cyber charters are charging.  How much of our tax dollars are going to advertising, corporate bonuses and corporate profits?
·         What is Budget Secretary Zogby’s current relationship to K12, Inc.?

Eight more cyber charter schools apply to Pennsylvania

By Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette October 22, 2012 12:16 am
With 16 full-time cyber charter schools, Pennsylvania already has one of the highest concentrations of such schools in the nation, but now the state has received applications for eight more for the 2013-14 school year.
The state Department of Education has scheduled hearings in Harrisburg on the proposals on Nov. 26, 28, 29 and 30.
Two of the organizations submitting proposals previously were rejected for this school year: Mercury Online Charter School of Pennsylvania and Akoben Cyber Charter School.
The other six are Urban Cyber Charter School, Insight PA Cyber Charter School, V3 Cyber Charter School, PA Career Path Cyber Charter School, MB Resiliency Cyber Charter School of Pennsylvania and Phase 4 America Cyber Charter School.

PA Budget Director Charles Zogby Statement of Financial Interests form SEC-1 for 2011
On his Statement of Financial Interests Form SEC-1 for 2011 filed with the PA State Ethics Commission on June 30, 2012, Budget Secretary Zogby listed “Senior Vice President of Education and Policy” at K12, Inc. as a source of direct or indirect income.  In addition to managing Pennsylvania’s Agora cyber charter, K12, Inc. provides curriculum services to cyber charters.

Common Core State Standards and Library of Congress Teacher Resources: Find Lesson Plans (and More) That Meet Your CCSS Needs

Library of Congress October 24, 2012 by Stephen Wesson
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are on many teachers’ minds this school year, and the Library of Congress is ready to help. The Library’s teacher resources are a great fit for teachers trying to meet key CCSS goals, including critical thinking, analyzing informational texts, and working with primary sources. They’re all free, and finding them is as easy as going to www.loc.gov/teachers.
Hundreds of Library of Congress lesson plans, primary source sets, presentations and more—all based on authentic primary sources from the Library’s online collections—are now aligned to the CCSS, to state content standards, and to several national organizations’ standards.

School superintendent to Thomas Friedman: Why you are wrong about Race to the Top

In a recent column, New York Times writer Thomas Friedman declared that the Race to the Top federal education competition is one of his two favorite initiatives undertaken by the Obama administration. After reading the column, Sacramento City Unified School District Superintendent Jonathan Raymond wrote the following post,  which challenges Friedman’s depiction of the Race.

Technology Changing How Students Learn, Teachers Say

New York Times by MATT RICHTEL Published: November 1, 2012
There is a widespread belief among teachers that students’ constant use of digital technology is hampering their attention spans and ability to persevere in the face of challenging tasks, according to two surveys of teachers being released on Thursday.
The researchers note that their findings represent the subjective views of teachers and should not be seen as definitive proof that widespread use of computers, phones and video games affects students’ capability to focus.  Even so, the researchers who performed the studies, as well as scholars who study technology’s impact on behavior and the brain, say the studies are significant because of the vantage points of teachers, who spend hours a day observing students.

Some districts letting students bring smartphones, tablets, devices to class

By Molly Born / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette November 1, 2012 5:47 am
For all the years educators have spent trying to curb the use of cell phones and other devices in school, these days they are finding meaningful ways for them to coexist with students in the classroom.
Starting this month, Bethel Park High School will permit districtwide student use of laptop computers, cell phones, tablets and other electronics in the classroom. After a weeks-long pilot program and teacher training, Peters Township School District will roll out a policy for use this month at the high school, and Mt. Lebanon School District is celebrating a year with a similar initiative.

Education Policy and Leadership Center

Education Policy and Leadership Center

Register Now! 2012 Pennsylvania Education Finance Symposium

The registration fee is $25 if paid by November 12, and $30 if paid after November 12 or on-site. Click here to register for the symposium.
Wildwood Conference Center Harrisburg Area Community College
Friday, November 16, 2012

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