About this blogEducation reporter Angie Mason looks at York County school happenings, education trends and other issues from the classroom to the cafeteria.
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Gov. Tom Corbett announced Monday that he wants continued review of the state’s academic standards in order to “ensure that any final influence of the national Common Core State Standards is eradicated from Pennsylvania.”
A news release from the state education department says Corbett wants “continued public review” of the state’s academic standards. The release says it’s “the final phase in his nearly three-year effort to permanently roll back the national Common Core plan implemented by his predecessor, Gov. Ed Rendell.”
Corbett says in the release that Common Core has become “nothing more than a top-down takeover of the education system” and calls it “Obamacare for education.”
The release says he will send acting education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq to the state Board of Education to ask for immediate statewide hearings to continue to review improvements in the standards.
Last year, the state House of Representatives held hearings to address concerns over the state’s academic standards, which became known as the Pennsylvania Core Standards. At the time, officials said the state had adopted the Common Core and later added to those standards to make them Pennsylvania-specific.
Some expressed confusion at the announcement.
— Wythe Keever (@WytheKeever) September 8, 2014
Aument, Grove Puzzled by Governor’s Decision to Muddle Implementation of His Own State-Specific Education… http://t.co/llQZNQwbvA
— Rep. Seth Grove (@RepGrove) September 8, 2014
State Reps. Seth Grove (R-Dover Township) and Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster) issued a statement Monday afternoon saying as “strong advocates” for the standards put in place, they were puzzled and frustrated by the governor’s announcement.
“We are extremely disappointed the Corbett administration is considering reversing its own policy and opting to further convolute public understanding of our statewide academic standards. As a result, we have lost total confidence in this administration’s ability to manage implementation of these state-specific academic standards,” the statement says.
The legislators’ news release says they will ask for House hearings on the subject. In a letter sent to House Education Committee Chair Paul Clymer, they suggest the governor’s actions have political motives.
Read the state’s news release here.
Read the legislators’ news release and letters they sent to Corbett and Clymer here.
Many schools have been working for years to adjust their curriculum to meet the new standards.
Read here about how some local teachers said they’ve been changing their classrooms.
From the Morning Call: Is Corbett doing an about-face on Common Core?
And it looks like someone was wondering the same thing I was, about the proposal that came from Executive Education Schools.
Did the operator submit its Allentown charter school application after using “find and replace” to change every Allentown reference to York?
Executive Education Schools just opened its first charter school in Allentown. In its York proposal, there are some references to the “York School District” followed by the abbreviation “ASD.” There are references to people from York that are incorrect. (The proposal noted former state Rep. Jennifer Mann being elected to serve her hometown of York, when she was a representative for her hometown of Allentown.)
So, a community member asked Executive Education Schools why they used the same application and just changed the references using Microsoft Word.
“Our model has had proven success in urban areas and various academic settings. We apologize for the oversight on the WORD errors,” the operator responded.
Parents, are you secretly celebrating the return of your kids to school?
Well, here’s a family so happy they’re rapping about it.
The Holderness family is known on the Internet for a “Xmas Jammies” video that I somehow missed but 14 million other people watched. And now they’re back, with “Baby Got Class,” set to the tune of the Sir Mix A Lot song.
My fave part: “Make it! Make it! Make that healthy lunch!”
It’s pretty fun.
Well, summer’s pretty much over.
School buses began rolling this week, and students are heading back to their classrooms around York County. (A few districts don’t have to return until next week.)
As your kids head back to school, be sure to share any photos you take in our online gallery!
Find back-to-school information, including what’s new in your districts, here.
As always, feel free to get in touch with news from your districts. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The National Retail Federation has released its back-to-school survey and – suprise! – people are expected to spend more this year on supplies, clothing and electronics.
Here’s a quick look at some of the results:
- Average family with K-12 kids will spend $669.28 on clothes, shoes, supplies and electronics, up from $634.78 last year.
- Shoppers will spend about $212.35 on electronics – an increase from just under $200 last year.
- School supply spending will increase about 12 percent, while clothing spending remains about the same.
Check out the full details here, and see what you think.
Is there something at the top of your back-to-school shopping list? Anything unusual your schools ask you to purchase? Post in the comments and let me know.
Also of interest:
In full-page ads in our newspaper, state Sen. Scott Wagner has said that public sector unions are the No. 1 reason “why nothing gets done in Harrisburg” and singles out the Pennsylvania State Education Association as the most powerful among the unions.
He criticized the teachers’ union for sending out an email “claiming victory over the defeat” of measures like Rep. Mike Tobash’s pension reform bill.
The ad includes an email blast from the teachers’ union, which says pension experts said the bill would not save much money but would make drastic cuts to retirement benefits for younger employees. The email credits teachers for contacting their lawmakers to tell them the bill doesn’t address the “real problem.”
Wagner says the email is a “slap in the face for every taxpayer” and criticizes unions for using “dues for politics.”
We’ve received one letter from a reader who disagrees with Wagner.
You can see the ad below (click the square with four arrows to make the document larger). What do you think?
York College’s president – who has now been on the job a year, so I can’t call her “new” anymore – has a Facebook page, where you can typically see photos of her out and about on campus or attending sporting events.
But in recent weeks, the page offered a chance to see Pamela Gunter-Smith off campus – way off campus.
Gunter-Smith went to Cambodia and Vietnam with David Fyfe’s Cultures and Environments Field Series class.
The geography class is offered every summer and Fyfe has taken students to Peru, Egypt, China, Turkey, Greece and other destinations, he said in an email. Faculty and staff are invited, too.
Students focus on the cultural or physical geographies of the region they are visiting, and Fyfe incorporates some readings on tourism. The students write research papers connected to their majors and some reflective essays when they return.
This summer, students visited “several places throughout Vietnam, from Saigon in the south where we visited the Cu Chi Tunnels, to Huay and Hoi An and DaNang in the central part of Vietnam where the demilitarized zone is located as well as the former US air base at China Beach and the UNESCO world heritage site of Hoi An,” Fyfe wrote. “We then went to the north of Vietnam to Hanoi and Halong Bay (another world heritage site) and then spent three days in Mai Chau, a rural village in the mountains west of Hanoi. We finished the trip by flying into Siem Reap to see Angkor Wat before flying home.”
An airline change allowed them a day in Dubai, too.
“Spartans on elephants in Cambodia,” Gunter-Smith wrote when she posted photos from Cambodia. “What’s next? Spartans on camels in Dubai? Maybe.”
Court filings keep coming in the lawsuit filed against the York City School District by New Hope Academy Charter School families.
When last I reported, Sean Summers, the attorney for the families, was seeking to amend the complaint a second time, adding allegations against the district and more defendants.
Here’s what’s new:
- The district’s attorney, David Brown, filed a motion opposing Summers’ request to amend the lawsuit. He argues that affidavits filed with Summers’ request contain false information and that the plaintiffs don’t make a case for fraud, among other things.
- Brown also sent a letter to the judge asking permission to file a motion for a protective order and to strike the affidavits. The letter says Summers has been providing documents from the discovery process to reporters, which Brown says violates a professional conduct rule and should stop. Brown says the affidavits should be struck because they contain false information. He requested oral arguments on the motion.
- Summers sent a letter in response, suggesting a conference to discuss the matter. He said there would be a “lengthy and detailed response to the baseless accusations.” He also claims the district is withholding information and telling witnesses not to answer questions based improperly on attorney-client privilege.
The judge has scheduled a conference for July 8. The documents are below if you want to take a look.
York City School District continues to move through a financial recovery plan that includes the possibility of someday converting schools into charters, if internal reform doesn’t work as the plan requires.
Officials have said new collective bargaining agreements are necessary for internal reform to work financially, and the city teachers’ union recently rejected a contract proposal. So the all-charter option seems to loom larger.
Given that, I thought York-area folks might want to read more about what’s happening in New Orleans, where the Recovery School District will become the first district in the country to be completely made up of charter schools next year. The move has advocates and critics.
This isn’t to say that if York went all-charter, it would work the way it does in New Orleans, where the takeover of schools kicked into higher gear after Hurricane Katrina. But it’s interesting to look at the issues at play in another district. Continue reading “Will York City follow in New Orleans footsteps?” »