Friday, August 3, 2012

Privatizing Public Schools: Big Firms Eyeing Profits From U.S. K-12 Market


“Only public schools, operated by school districts with elected school boards are open to all children and fully accountable to all taxpayers.”
Baruch Kintisch, Director of Policy Advocacy, Education Law Center, in testimony before the PA House Democratic Policy Committee, July 17, 2012

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 1600 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, members of the press and a broad array of education advocacy organizations via emails, website, Facebook and Twitter.

These daily emails are archived at http://keystonestateeducationcoalition.org
Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg

Privatizing Public Schools: Big Firms Eyeing Profits From U.S. K-12 Market
Reuters  |  Posted: 08/02/2012 10:16 am 
Huffington Post By Stephanie Simon
NEW YORK, Aug 1 (Reuters) - The investors gathered in a tony private club in Manhattan were eager to hear about the next big thing, and education consultant Rob Lytle was happy to oblige.
Think about the upcoming rollout of new national academic standards for public schools, he urged the crowd. If they're as rigorous as advertised, a huge number of schools will suddenly look really bad, their students testing way behind in reading and math. They'll want help, quick. And private, for-profit vendors selling lesson plans, educational software and student assessments will be right there to provide it.
"You start to see entire ecosystems of investment opportunity lining up," said Lytle, a partner at The Parthenon Group, a Boston consulting firm. "It could get really, really big." Indeed, investors of all stripes are beginning to sense big profit potential in public education.

Posted: Thu, Aug. 2, 2012, 3:00 AM
The past should inform school district reform
Philadelphia Daily News Opinion by Kate  Shaw
Kate Shaw is executive director of Research for Action. More information can be found at www.researchforaction.org.
With a nearly $300 million deficit, a leadership transition, and rapidly-unfolding plans for a comprehensive governance overhaul, the School District of Philadelphia faces challenges that are unprecedented in its nearly 200-year history. The "Blueprint for Reforming Philadelphia's Public Schools" proposes one course for navigating the rough seas ahead by focusing on two major goals: safe, high-achieving schools for all kids, and the elimination of the district's deficit by 2014. The Blueprint's suggested remedies include a decreased reliance on the district's central office; new providers of educational services; an expansion of nontraditional public-school options, including charters; and an accountability system intended to expand high-performing schools and shutter bad ones.
This proposal has been hotly debated since its release in April, and rightly so: we can't afford to get it wrong. The good news is that Philadelphia needn't look far for important lessons learned. The district embarked on a similar reform in the early 2000s that was, at the time, the nation's largest experiment in decentralizing public education. Forty-five of the district's lowest-performing schools were managed by seven for-profit and nonprofit organizations, including two universities; and an additional 21 low-performing schools were "restructured" by the district. All schools involved in the reform received additional resources.
Results from that era of school reform were mixed.

Report detailing Boston Consulting Group findings and recommendations released
Submitted by Dale Mezzacappa on Thu, 08/02/2012
The Notebook by Dale Mezzacappa and Benjamin Herold
The School District released a 119-page document on Thursday that summarized the analyses and recommendations of the Boston Consulting Group, an outside firm retained at private expense to help the District avert a financial meltdown by radically overhauling its business operations and delivery of education. 

Transforming Philadelphia’s Public Schools
Key findings and recommendations
The Boston Consulting Group, August 2012
118 page consultant’s report; 10 page executive summary

Guest column: ‘Failing’ schools list shows state is out of touch
Published: Friday, August 03, 2012
Delco Times Opinion By JOSEPH BATORY Times Guest Columnist
Joseph P. Batory of Philadelphia is a retired Upper Darby School District superintendent.
The latest fiasco of the Pennsylvania Department of Education in publicizing its list of “allegedly” failing schools pretends that public schools exist in some vacuum. With this list of “failing” schools, the state’s political establishment has offered a simplistic and worthless appraisal of educational quality across the commonwealth.
To begin, Pennsylvania government continues to ignore the sad reality it has created of tremendous funding inequities among its schools statewide. By underfunding public education, literally hundreds of the state’s schools are sorely lacking in educational resources, personnel, facilities and instructional materials. Of course, none of this matters to state officials.

Capitolwire.com — Under The Dome™ Thursday, August 2, 2012
DCED published guidelines for EITC 2.0 scholarships.
The Department of Community and Economic Development published guidelines Wednesday for the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit program, also known as EITC 2.0. The program, which was passed as a component to the state budget, made $50 million in tax credits available for businesses that contribute to an approved opportunity scholarship organization. Tax credits may be applied against the tax liability of a business for the tax year in which the contribution was made. The tax credits awarded to businesses will be equal to 75 percent of their contribution amount, which can be increased to 90 percent upon the business committing for two years. The total may not exceed $400,000 per taxable year, according to the press release. Students who live in the districts of the lowest-performing 15 percent of secondary schools and the lowest-performing 15 percent of elementary schools can apply for the scholarship. Only a few kids per class in 414 failing schools could get an EITC 2.0 scholarship of up to $8,500 to attend another private or public K-12 school .CLICK HERE (paywall) to read a Capitolwire story from July 26 about that breakdown.

Sen. Jeffrey Piccola's attorney says charges are unwarranted, surprising

Published: Thursday, August 02, 2012, 3:07
By ERIC VERONIKIS, The Patriot-News 
State Sen. Jeffrey Piccola's attorney Bob Davis said that the charges the state Supreme Court Office of Disciplinary Counsel has lodged against his client are "an embarrassment" and that Piccola is extremely disappointed by the charges. 

A Well Deserved Shout Out to KIPP
Huffington Post Blog by Kevin P. Chavous Attorney, author and national school reform leader
Posted: 08/02/2012 10:06 am
….The KIPP schools -- all 124 of them -- have emerged as the gold standard model for non-traditional public education in the country. Following the example laid by educators like Marva Collins, Jaime Escalante, Nannie Helen Burroughs, Harriett Ball and others, KIPP continues to prove that zip code, income and ethnicity does not need to be determinative of your educational attainment. Indeed, the KIPP results by any measure, are nothing short of remarkable. Nationally, more than 90 percent of KIPP middle school students have graduated high school, and more than 80 percent of KIPP alumni have gone on to college. And 100% of high school seniors classes on average consistently out-perform their district-wide SAT scores.

2012 PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference Oct. 16-19, 2012
Registration is Now Open!
Hershey Lodge & Convention Center, Hershey, PA
www.psba.org/workshops/school-leadership-conference/

As of July 23, content on EdMedia Commons is viewable to nonmembers.
National Education Writers Association Website
If you're a visitor, welcome! We're glad you're here, and we hope you enjoy clicking around the site. EMC membership is still restricted to members of the Education Writers Association. Interested in EWA? Learn how to join here.

PA EITC 2.0 Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program FAQ
PA Department of Community and Economic Development

Details on Act 85 of 2012, PA’s new EITC 2.0 Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit “Supervoucher” Program.

Pennsylvania’s "Failing Schools" List For the 2012-2013 school year.
Here the list of low achieving schools released by PDE last week

 

EPLC’s 2012 Arts and Education Symposium: Save the Date, Thursday, October 11

Education Policy and Leadership Center
Please mark your calendars and plan on joining EPLC, our partners, and guests on October 11 in Harrisburg for a full day of events.  Stay tuned to aei-pa.org for information about our 2nd Arts and Education Symposium.  Scholarships and Act 48 Credit will be available.  Outstanding speakers and panelists from Pennsylvania and beyond will once again come together to address key topics in the arts and arts education and related public policy advocacy initiatives.  This is a networking and learning opportunity not to be missed!

http://www.aei-pa.org/


PSBA 2013 Officer Candidates Slated
If you are not planning to attend the October Leadership Conference and would like to vote for any of these candidates please see the absentee ballot information below and note the August 15 deadline for absentee ballot requests
At its May 19 meeting at PSBA Conference Center, the PSBA Nominating Committee interviewed and selected a slate of candidates for officers of the association in 2013.
They are:
Marcela Diaz Myers, Lower Dauphin SD, Dauphin County
President (automatically assumes the office of president)
Jody Sperry, Conneaut SD, Crawford County
President-Elect
Richard Frerichs, Penn Manor SD, Lancaster County
President-Elect
Mark B. Miller, Centennial SD, Bucks County
First Vice President
Larry Breech, Millville Area SD, Columbia County
Second Vice President
Edward J. Cardow, Chichester SD, Delaware County
Second Vice President

Absentee ballot procedures for election of PSBA officers
Absentee ballot requests must be received no later than August 15
PSBA website 6/1/2012
All school directors and school board secretaries who are eligible to vote and who do not plan to attend the association's annual business meeting during the 2012 PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference in Hershey, Oct. 16-19, may request an absentee ballot for election purposes.
The absentee ballot must be requested from the PSBA executive director in accordance with the PSBA Bylaws provisions (see PSBA Bylaws, Article IV, Section 4, J-Q.). Specify the name and home mailing address of each individual for whom a ballot is requested.
Requests must be in writing, e-mailed or mailed first class and postmarked or marked received at PSBA Headquarters no later than Aug. 15. Mail to Executive Director, P.O. Box 2042, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055 or e-mail administrativerequests@psba.org.

NSBA Federal Relations Network seeking new members for 2013-14
School directors are invited to advocate for public education at the federal level through the National School Boards Association’s Federal Relations Network. The National School Boards Association is seeking school directors interested in serving on the Federal Relations Network (FRN), its grass roots advocacy program that brings local board members on the front line of pending issues before Congress. If you are a school director and willing to carry the public education message to Washington, D.C., FRN membership is a good place to start. 
Click here for more information.

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