Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Charter reform still on Corbett's fall shopping list.

A whopping 23.1% of U.S. children under the age of 18 live in poverty, putting us second in the world.  Among developed nations, only Romania has a higher relative child poverty rate…..

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 1650 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers, members of the press and a broad array of education advocacy organizations via emails, website, Facebook and Twitter.

These daily emails are archived at
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Tuesday Morning Coffee: Charter reform still on Corbett's fall shopping list.
Allentown Morning Call Capitol Ideas Blog by John Micek September 11, 2012
Good Tuesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
Gov. Tom Corbett says he's looking for state lawmakers to pass his delayed charter school reforms during this fall's abbreviated legislative session. But when it comes to transportation funding and selling Pennsylvania's state-owned liquor stores, this year is fine and next year is just as good.

Here are a few prior postings on the need for charter school reform:

Eliminate the pension double-dip reimbursement that taxpayers pay to charter schools

Critics say Auditor General Jack Wagner's Charter School Funding Special Report on PA charter funding is misguided; what do you think?

PA Charter funding formula is great for CEO whose cyber never made AYP

York City School Board contesting preliminary 'takeover' law declaration
By ANGIE MASON York Daily Record/Sunday News
Updated:   09/11/2012 09:43:33 AM EDT
The state education department has preliminarily declared the York City School District in financial recovery, and the York City School Board has requested a hearing to contest the declaration, according to a state education spokesman.
A new state law allows the state education secretary to declare school districts in financial recovery, paving the way for state intervention, for certain reasons. York City would qualify because it requested an advance on its state funding.
The state has not "officially" made the declaration for York City, spokesman Tim Eller said in an email. The preliminary status allows the district to contest the declaration and ask for a hearing before the state education secretary, he said.
Once a district is declared in financial recovery, the state would appoint a chief recovery officer to implement a financial recovery plan.

“The school district’s payments to cyber schools has dropped from $772,583 in the 2009-10 school year to what is projected to be less than $500,000 this school year…”

Greater Latrobe School District’s cyber school demand growing

TribLIVE By Joe Napsha Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
The Greater Latrobe School District’s cyber school is growing in popularity and saving the district money by attracting some cyber school students who had been enrolled in other programs, a district administrator said Tuesday.  Greater Latrobe’s eCat Online Academy, named for the district’s Wildcat mascot, has an enrollment of 14 full-time high school students, 43 part-time high school students, four full-time junior high school students and one elementary school student, said Gennaro R. Piraino, assistant superintendent of instruction and curriculum. Only 58 of Greater Latrobe’s students are enrolled in outside cyber schools, Piraino said.
The school district’s payments to cyber schools has dropped from $772,583 in the 2009-10 school year to what is projected to be less than $500,000 this school year, Piraino said.

Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 09/11/2012

The real problem with Rahm’s school reforms in Chicago

Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been pushing a school reform agenda backed by the Obama administration that is at the center of the strike that the Chicago Teachers Union is now waging in the third largest school district in the country.
This is not about whether or not you think the union should have called a strike as it did on Monday, but rather about the central problem with the reforms that Emanuel has been advocating: There’s no real proof that they systemically work, and in some cases, there is strong evidence that they may be harmful.
The reforms championed by Emanuel, a former chief of staff to President Obama, have been pushed by Obama’s education secretary, Arne Duncan, and implemented in a number of states.
These include merit pay, an expansion of charter schools, teacher and principal assessment systems that are linked to student standardized test scores, a longer school day and job security for veteran teachers.
The union is also striking for financial reasons, but even the union president, Karen Lewis, said the two sides were very close on those. It’s the other issues that are proving to be bigger problems.
Here are some things you should know about some of the major issues:

Chicago's teachers, and a time for choosing
Philadelphia Daily News Attytood Blog by Will Bunch
It's always Chicago, isn't it?
You've probably heard by now that 25,000 school teachers walked off the job in Chicago this morning. That is undeniably true -- but probably close to everything else you've heard in the last 24 hours about what's going down in the Windy City is complete and utter baloney.
This should be a "tell": The speed with which both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan were willing to jump into to bed with Mayor Rahm Emanuel  (whom I thought was "the Godfather" of "Chicagoland" -- at least that's what Matt Drudge told me). By that I mean it's a "tell" that they are desperate to change the conversation about their fast-sinking campaign, and what better boogeyman than "greedy teachers" -- in President Obama's hometown, no less!

National Schools Debate Is on Display in Chicago

New York Times By MOTOKO RICH Published: September 11, 2012
CHICAGO — What started here as a traditional labor fight over pay, benefits and working conditions has exploded into a dramatic illustration of the national debate over how public school districts should rate teachers.  At stake are profound policy questions about how teachers should be granted tenure, promoted or fired, as well as the place standardized tests will have in the lives of elementary and high school students.
One of the main sticking points in the negotiations here between the teachers union and Mayor Rahm Emanuel is a new teacher evaluation system that gives significant and increasing weight to student performance on standardized tests. Personnel decisions would be based on those evaluations.  Over the last few years, a majority of states have adopted similar systems, spurred by the desire to qualify for the Obama administration’s Race to the Top education grants. 

Sequestration: Fiscal cliff: All talk, no deal-making
Politico By JAKE SHERMAN and JONATHAN ALLEN | 9/10/12 11:45 PM EDT
President Barack Obama wants to fix the debt problem and stop the nation from falling off a fiscal cliff. So does Mitt Romney. And John Boehner. And Paul Ryan. And Joe Biden, too.
They all said as much at the Republican and Democratic national conventions and accused their opponents of lacking the guts to pick a plan and make it stick.
So it would make sense that while they were talking, their aides and allies were meeting behind the scenes to steer away from that fast-approaching cliff, right?

PSBA Leadership Institute Oct 16th  at the PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference in Hershey
Opportunities for engagement in your association at the regional and state levels
Target audience: PSBA liaisons, assistant regional directors, regional directors, and all school board members who want to learn, network, and get more involved in public education leadership locally, regionally and at the state level. 
When and where: Tues., Oct. 16, 2- 3:30 p.m. in Trinidad Room at the PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference in Hershey, PA
Panel of speakers: PSBA members currently serving in leadership roles at the local, region and state level.
Facilitator: Tom Gentzel, PSBA executive director
Why attend? Make the most of your membership by learning about the current and proposed governance structure of your state association and the many ways in which you can become more involved in public education leadership locally, regionally and at the state level. If you are already engaged in the work of the association, learn more about how you can enhance your role and make it most meaningful for you, your local board, region, and at the state level. You will be hearing from a panel of “experts” who are already serving in various governance positions for the association. 
Regional Cabinet Meetings/ Region “Meet and Greets” are being held in the Trinidad Room and Wild Rose A&B following the institute from 4-5:30 p.m.
Refreshments will be served and registration is free!
 To register for the Leadership Institute and Region Meetings, contact Becky Mehringer by Oct. 9.
 Contact Karen Devine at for further information about the institute and region meetings.


Education Voters PA Statewide Advocate Leadership Session Sept. 22nd
Added by Ian Moran
Time: September 22, 2012 from 8:30am to 4:30pm
Location: Temple University Harrisburg, 234 Strawberry Square
Education Voters of Pennsylvania will be holding a day-long summit for public education advocates across the state on Saturday September 22 in Harrisburg, PA. 
With public education coming under attack on multiple levels, the goal of this event is to bring together community members who are standing up for public schools in their own communities for training, planning and coordinating statewide efforts to maximize the impact that we all have.  We'll have a chance to brush up on and learn more about key policy issues, get training on effective advocacy tools and techniques and share stories and idea about local effort and how we bring this work together in a unified way.  Breakfast and lunch will be provided.
Click HERE for more details on parking, directions, etc.

2012 PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference Oct. 16-19, 2012
Registration is Now Open!  Hershey Lodge & Convention Center, Hershey, PA

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 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!

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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