Pittsburgh

Pennsylvania Wants YOU to Give Standardized Tests to Your Kids at Home – Education Article

    A multi-million dollar corporation wants to make sure Pennsylvania’s children keep getting standardized tests.  Data Recognition Corporation (DRC) and the state Department of Education are providing the optional Classroom Diagnostic Tools (CDT) assessments for use in students’ homes.     Students are not required to take the CDT in the Commonwealth unless their district decides to give it. The test is encouraged by the state as a way of telling how students will do on the required tests.…

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How Did America’s Schools Cope with Spanish Flu vs. Coronavirus? – Education Article

  They say history repeats itself.   And if you’ve read any accounts of the bygone days of yesteryear, the current crisis certainly appears like a rerun.   Look at all the closed businesses, frightened people venturing out wearing face masks or self quarantined in their homes. It sure looks a lot like 1918.   The Spanish Flu epidemic that swept the nation a little more than a century ago bares more than a passing resemblance to COVID-19, the coronavirus.…

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Bernie Sanders Would Be the First Jewish President – What That Means to Me – Education Article

 Being Jewish is not something I advertise.   Some of my earliest memories are trying to explain to school friends that no, I didn’t kill Jesus – and, yes, I do eat matzo but it isn’t made with baby’s blood – and would they like to come over to my house and play Legos?   I’ve been called “yid,” “kike,” “heeb,” even just plain “Jew” with the lips curled and the word hurled at me like a knife.   Heck.…

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Don’t Fear Summer Lee. Fear the Devil’s Bargain Labor Leaders Are Willing to Make Opposing Her – Education Article

 Cancer or unemployment.   That’s the choice Pennsylvanians are being asked to make in 2020.   Do we allow hydraulic fracking to continue to destroy our environment and increase our risk of cancers and other debilitating illnesses?   Or do we clean things up and risk losing jobs?   Some labor leaders seem willing to chose the former on behalf of their constituencies.   That’s why the Pittsburgh-based Allegheny-Fayette Central Labor Council (PA AFL-CIO) voted to oppose the re-election of…

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Gov. Wolf Proposes Saving $280 Million a Year in PA With Charter School Reform – Education Article

    Charter schools waste taxpayer money.   Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf proposes we stop wasting that money by holding charter schools as accountable as the state’s authentic public schools.   The Democratic governor made his most recent proposal yesterday as part of his 2020-21 budget address.   It’s a common sense proposal that only seems revolutionary because officials have been so blinded with school privatization fantasies.   Charter schools are funded with tax dollars but can be run by…

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Did Rosa Parks Really Support Charter Schools? – Education Article

  They say history is written by the victors.   But fortunes change, and sometimes you can even reclaim a figure from the past who the last round of winners had cast in an unlikely role.   Take Rosa Parks.   She is universally hailed as a hero of the civil rights movement because of her part in the Montgomery Bus Boycott.   Everyone knows the story. Parks, a black seamstress in Alabama, refused to give up her seat to…

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Sixteen Gadfly Articles That Made Betsy DeVos Itch in 2019
 – Education Article

  “Life can only be understood backwards,” wrote Søren Kierkegaard, “but it must be lived forwards.”  I remember reading the Danish philosopher’s “Fear and Trembling” in my philosophy of religion class back in college.   To be honest I was never a big fan of his work – I thought if the only way to truth was taking a leap of faith, how many madmen have already reached enlightenment?     But he had a point when he wrote about…

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Charter Schools, Harrisburg & Mayor Peduto Created Pittsburgh Public Schools’ Budget Deficit – Education Article

 Where did all the money go?     Pittsburgh Public Schools will start 2020 with a $25.1 million budget deficit.     Superintendent Dr. Anthony Hamlet has asked for a 2.3% tax increase to cover the shortfall, but school directors ended up approving his spending plan without approving the tax increase.     The school board will meet on Friday to decide whether to ultimately raise taxes or make cuts including possible staff furloughs.     But in the meantime,…

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Top 10 Lessons From the 2020 Public Education Forum – Education Article

The school bell chimed and the class shuffled home.   But the students weren’t little children.   They were Democratic Presidential candidates!   And boy-oh-boy did they get sent packing with a ton of homework!   Teachers, students, parents and community members from all over the country sat them down with instructions on how to improve the public education system.   Kudos to the candidates for agreeing to listen.   It was billed as the MSNBC “Public Education Forum 2020:…

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Public School Teacher Questions for 2020 Dem Presidential Candidates – Education Article

      What happens when you give a microphone to a public school teacher?     That’s not a rhetorical question. I really want to know, because we so rarely let educators speak in any context other than the classroom.     Maybe that’s why it’s so refreshing that MSNBC is hosting “Public Education Forum 2020: Equity and Justice for All”on Saturday, Dec. 14, in my hometown of Pittsburgh.     Public policy is usually made by billionaires who…

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Demand Reform to Pennsylvania’s Charter School Law – Before It’s Too Late – Education Article

  If no one answers a question, was it even asked?  Way back on August 24, 2019, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) quietly posted a little notice on the PA Bulletin Website asking for public comment on the state’s charter school law.   This is not exactly a high traffic site.     It’s a state-run page that includes proposed rules, notices, proclamations, court rulings, actions and executive orders.  Unless you work for the state, are a journalist or…

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Pittsburgh Mayor’s Tantrum About School Finances Proves He Doesn’t Understand Education or Equity – Education Article

  Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is steaming mad and he doesn’t care who knows it.   On Tuesday he raved that Pittsburgh Public Schools’ finances should be taken over by the state – the same fate the city had suffered during its own economic troubles from 2004-18.   The reason Peduto thinks the school should submit to a financial recovery plan overseen by a state appointed board? School Superintendent Dr. Anthony Hamlet is proposing a 2.3% tax increase in 2020…

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Vulture Voucher Bill Latest in Mike Turzai’s Quest to Please Betsy DeVos in PA – Education Article

 The best way to help a struggling public school is to cannibalize it.     At least that’s what Betsy DeVos thinks – and so does her Pennsylvania puppet Mike Turzai.     The Republican Speaker of the state House is expected to propose a school voucher bill Monday that will treat Harrisburg Schools as nothing more than carrion fit for plunder by school privatization vultures.     Sure the district is in state receivership after decades of neglect and…

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The Stink of Segregation Needs to End in Steel Valley Schools – Education Article

 I am a teacher at Steel Valley Schools.   I am also an education blogger.   In order to belong to both worlds, I’ve had to abide by one ironclad rule that I’m about to break:   Never write about my home district.   Oh, I write about issues affecting my district. I write about charter schools, standardized testing, child poverty, etc. But I rarely mention how these things directly impact my school, my classroom, or my students.   I…

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Who’s Trading Public School Funding for a Tax Credit? – Education Article

  Ever wonder why our roads and public school buildings are crumbling?   Ever wonder why schools can’t afford books, buses and nurses?   Ever wonder why classroom teachers are forced to buy paper, pencils and supplies for their students out of pocket?   Because businesses like Giant Eagle, American Eagle Outfitters, and Eat’n Park aren’t paying their fair share.   It’s a simple concept – you belong to a society, you should help pay for the roads, bridges, schools,…

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Gov. Wolf Tries to Stop Charter Schools Gorging on Public School Funding – Education Article

  Sooey! Here Pig Pig Pig!   No one minds that healthy call at the hog farm when it’s time to feed the sows.   But taxpayers do take issue with it when it’s the call of the state legislature gathering a different kind of swine around public tax dollars.   Pennsylvania’s 180 charter schools gobbled up $1.8 billion last year from the Commonwealth’s public schools.   And Gov. Tom Wolf is refusing to let them continue to gorge on…

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