Why corporations want our public schools

from Nation of Change, 2/22/14:


Anticipation: November WCASD Board meeting

Two excerpts from A View from the Cheap Seats, 28 Nov 2013

Approval of a Resolution Opposing High School Graduation requirements: The resolution to oppose Keystone Exams in Algebra, Biology and English Composition as a graduation requirement was officially approved and will be sent to the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA), PA Department of Education and the PA General Assembly. As most of you are aware, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) voted, 3-2, on 11/21 to approve the use of Keystones as graduation requirements, but WCASD will go on record as voicing their opposition to these requirements and we salute them for doing so. Thanks to everyone who heeded the call and contacted the IRRC to voice their concerns. Special thanks to WCASD Board member Sue Tiernan for hauling herself to Harrisburg for the 4 hour plus meeting to provide public comment on behalf of our district.

Noting the overwhelming amount of public comment on the IRRC website conveying opposition to the use of Keystones as graduation requirements – not to mention those opposed to PA Core Standards- you may be asking yourself how this happened. How is it that five people, two appointed by House and Senate Democrats, two appointed by House and Senate Republicans, and one Governor-appointee, have the final word on using the Keystone Exams as graduation requirements? How is it that parent/taxpayer letters, school board resolutions, and superintendents’ position letters carry such little weight for these five people? How is it that the PA Department of Education/State Board of Education can confidently promise producing a new and improved college-and-career ready student, yet cannot come up with a more creative and equitable way to assess our schools, teachers and students than through the continued use of high-stakes testing? Discouraged? In times like these, we recommend finding some comfort in the inspiring national grassroots movements to end high-stakes testing at United Opt Out. …

Charter School report: Mrs. Tiernan takes the hints dropped by Mrs. Snook, fleshes them out and leads us from the tunnel of obscurity to the light of clarity. In recounting her attendance at the 11/21 IRRC hearing, she reminds us that the costs of remediation associated with the Keystone Exams for WCASD are between $366-498,000/year. Mrs. Tiernan continues, informing us that SB 1085 is out of committee and PSBA continues to work with legislators to attempt to craft a better version of this charter/cyber reform bill. During its time in the Appropriations Committee, SB 1085 did see some changes to the pension piece and (surprise) added a provision to form a commission to study the issue. Opposition to the bill still exists from public education and charter/cyber advocates. Check out Education Law Center and PA Families for Public Cyber Schools for arguments and keep an eye out for action/inaction in Harrisburg in the few session days left before the holidays….

read the full WCV post on the November 25 WCASD board meeting at A View from the Cheap Seats