Monday, July 9, 2012

Double-dip funding formula provides PA charters with 150% of pension costs/Charter schools not included in new PA teacher evaluation plan


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Public school groups decry formula for funding charters
Pittsburgh Tribune Review By Debra Erdley Published: Monday, July 9, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Pennsylvania charter schools are reaping a multimillion-dollar, taxpayer-funded bonus on pension reimbursements at the expense of public school districts, a coalition of school groups contends.
The associations, representing urban and rural schools, school boards, business managers and administrators, say the state’s calculation for the tuition that districts must pay for charter school students requires them to pay double the amount they should for employee pensions.
The problem, according to those who have studied it, is that school districts pay 50 percent of their pension costs and the state pays the rest. Charter schools, likewise, are reimbursed 50 percent of their pension costs from the state.
But in addition, school districts must include the state and the local pension payments in their calculations for charter school tuition, a formula that theoretically provides charter schools with 150 percent of pension costs.

Pennsylvania changing teacher evaluations
As of now, student tests scores do not factor into a teacher's evaluation. Soon, that will change.
By Marion Callahan, Of The Allentown Morning Call 11:32 p.m. EDT, July 8, 2012
For years, success in school has been measured by how well students perform on standardized tests.  Now the target in the debate about educational accountability has shifted to teachers.
For the first time in more than four decades, Pennsylvania is changing its method for evaluating teachers as part of a measure adopted with Gov. Tom Corbett's budget package. It's a change in public education sought by the governor and approved by state lawmakers.
As of now, student tests scores do not factor into a teacher's evaluation. Soon, that will change.

Charter schools are not included in the new teacher evaluation plan…..

“If charter schools are just like public schools when it comes to important matters of funding and student achievement, they also must be just like public schools when it comes to assuring their teachers make the grade.”

Charter omission: All public teachers should be held accountable
Editorial by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette July 9, 2012 12:08 am
The idea behind charter schools in Pennsylvania is that they're just another form of public school, offering choices for parents and programming for students that's not available in schools run directly by elected boards of education. As such, the charters are entitled to funding comparable to traditional district schools, their students must take the same standardized assessment tests and the results are available to the public, which pays for their operations through tax dollars.
But in the final hours before their summer recess, the Legislature adopted and Gov. Tom Corbett signed a measure that gives charters a pass on new statewide standards for evaluating teachers. And that's not right.

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR: Education funding: Jim Crow in disguise?
Published: Monday, July 09, 2012
Delco Times Editorial By PHIL HERON editor@delcotimes.com
This is a tale of two school districts. Both are in the eastern end of the county. Both are facing daunting budget problems. Both are saddled with an eroding tax base, leaving nowhere for school board members to go to make the numbers add up, aside from property taxes. Both are loathe to do that, knowing full well that homeowners already are facing an enormous tax burden.
Both struggle to meet statewide testing mandates.
They are the poster children for what has been debated for years in Pennsylvania, the so-called uneven playing field that is public education funding in this state.

Citypaper SUNDAY, JULY 8, 2012
Republican Gov. Tom Corbett's administration has signed a $249,660 contract with a company run by Mitt Romney fundraiser, former state GOP party executive director, pharmaceutical lobbyist, and school voucher advocate Chris Bravacos to direct a media campaign promoting the state's Voter ID law.
…..The contract details are interesting.
Bravo is making a $24,900 subcontract to the Skyler Group, a consulting outfit run by the African-American former Harrisburg City Councilman Otto V. Banks. Banks is also the head of the pro-school voucher REACH Foundation, a recipient of funding from the right-wing group American Federation for Children (yes: the same group that helps fund campaigns against anti-voucher politicians like state Rep. James Roebuck).  Bravacos also sits on the REACH executive committee―along with a who's who of conservative state religious and business figures in REACH leadership.
This is perhaps what passes for minority contracting under the Corbett Administration: the state Request for Quotation (RFQ) promises “greater consideration” to projects that include a “Minority Business Enterprise.”
The webs of power and money, as usual, run thick: Bravacos also sits on the board of the pro-charter Philadelphia School Partnership, which City Paper last week reported is set to receive a $15 million grant from the William Penn Foundation―the same foundation that funded the Boston Consulting Group's proposal to dismantle and potentially privatize Philly public schools.

IN DEFENSE OF CURSIVE
The New Yorker Posted by Judith Thurman July 5, 2012
As of Independence Day, 2012, forty-five of the fifty United States have adopted the Common Core curriculum in their public elementary schools. Those states are now in the process of phasing out the teaching of cursive writing, which, apparently, does not accord with the mission statement of the curriculum’s framers: to impart skills that are “robust and relevant” to the modern world.

PSBA: Key Provisions of New EITC 2.0 Scholarship Program

National Institute for Early Education Research
State of Preschool 2011 – Pennsylvania State Profile

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