Monday, September 17, 2012

Removing the "double dip" for pension costs in the charter school reimbursement formula would create an estimated savings of $510 million for PA school districts and taxpayers by 2016-17





How do we, as a nation, create scalable, sustainable models for effective public schools in high poverty communities?


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 http://keystonestateeducationcoalition.org
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Eliminate the pension double-dip reimbursement that PA taxpayers pay to charter schools
June 15, 2012 Letter to Secretary Tomalis from PASBO, PARSS, PSBA, PLUS, PASA
Removing the "double dip" for pension costs in the charter school reimbursement formula would create an estimated savings of $510 million for school districts and taxpayers by 2016-17.  Currently, a school district's cost for retirement is not subtracted from expenditures; thereby setting up a "double dip" for charter schools since state laws guarantees them state reimbursement for their retirement costs.

Posted: Mon, Sep. 17, 2012, 5:18 AM
Penna. voters give state schools a 'C'
An Inquirer poll found higher regard for local schools and optimism for urban school improvement.
By Martha Woodall Inquirer Staff Writer
Pennsylvania voters give the state's public schools a low "C" grade and rate their local schools slightly higher, according to the Inquirer Pennsylvania Poll.
Seventy percent of the 600 likely voters who participated in the statewide Inquirer poll last week said they were optimistic urban schools can be improved.
But despite the recent push by Gov. Corbett and the General Assembly, there was a division on charter schools and vouchers between statewide respondents and those in the five-county area.

EITC 2.0: Pittsburgh tax credit plan to fund scholarships starts slow

September 17, 2012 12:20 am
By Karen Langley and Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The first day of school has come and gone, but Pittsburgh groups raising money for a tax-credit scholarship program enacted this summer say they are just beginning to solicit donations.
The Opportunity Scholarship tax credit, which takes the concept behind an existing tuition-subsidy program and targets it at students who live near low-performing schools, became law along with the state budget, and commonwealth agencies began authorizing businesses and schools to take part. The $50 million in tax credits allowed under the law could provide tuition at private or public schools for more than 40,000 students in grades K-12, a spokesman for the Department of Community and Economic Development said last month.

Pa. teachers don't want to strike, despite expired contracts

September 17, 2012 12:19 am
By Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
School started in the region this fall without the threat of teachers strikes, despite the fact that contracts have expired in a number of districts.  That reflects the situation statewide as well, and some experts think the economy may be a factor.
"The unions have recognized that the public is financially in a difficult position and now is not necessarily a good time to go on strike and look for sympathy from the voter/taxpayer. The economy is bad. It's tough everywhere right now," said David Davare, director of research for the Pennsylvania School Boards Association.  Mr. Davare said this is the second year that school opened across the state without talk of teacher walkouts.

Teachers Union in Chicago to Extend Strike Into 2nd Week

New York Times By MONICA DAVEY and STEVEN YACCINO Published: September 16, 2012
CHICAGO — The Chicago Teachers Union extended its strike into a second week on Sunday, after significant divisions emerged among union delegates over a deal that only a day before had been described by the union’s leader as “a good contract.”
The announcement came after nearly 800 union representatives, the House of Delegates, convened for several hours to decide whether to end a strike that has drawn national attention in the debate over teacher evaluations, job security and the length of a school day.

How the Chicago Public School District Compares

New York Times By MIKE BOSTOCK and KEVIN QUEALY Published: September 14, 2012
Delegates from the Chicago Teachers Union declined to vote Sunday, extending the strike into its second week. Below, an overview of some of the main issues in Chicago public schools this year and a table comparing the Chicago public school district to others across the country.

In Search of Excellent Teaching

New York Times Editorial Published: September 16, 2012
The Chicago teachers’ strike was prompted in part by a fierce disagreement over how much student test scores will weigh in a new teacher evaluation system mandated by state law. That teachers’ unions in much of the country now agree that student achievement should count in evaluations at all reflects a major change from the past, when it was often argued that teaching was an “art” that could not be rigorously evaluated or, even more outrageously, that teachers should not be held accountable for student progress.
Traditional teacher evaluations often consist of cursory classroom visits by principals who declare nearly every teacher good, or at least competent, even in failing schools where few if any children meet basic educational standards.

“Our most important investment would be in creating well-paying jobs so that families have stability. In addition, the security of universally available health care, pre-school, after-school and summer programs would bring to poor students, what is a natural part of the lives of their wealthier, and typically more successful, peers. The systemic success of these supports depends not just upon their individual quality, but rather upon their purposeful coherent implementation though community-wide collective action. “
Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 09/17/2012

Why schools alone can’t cure poverty

Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss
School reformers often say that great teaching can overcome the effects of poverty. Here, Arthur H. Camins, director of the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., discusses problems with this reform narrative.
By Arthur H. Camins
President Obabma and other supporters of current education reform policies often speak about high quality education as students’ only chance to escape from poverty. They also want to promote science and engineering literacy. However, their singular focus on schools as the cure for poverty violates a central crosscutting concept of science and engineering, understanding systems. The National Research Council’s Framework for K-12 Science Education makes the point clearly:

Forbes by Parmy Olson, Forbes Staff 9/06/2012 @ 12:24PM |11,415 views

Why Estonia Has Started Teaching Its First-Graders To Code

Estonia wants its kids to be "smarter users of technology."
Estonia, a small country with a population of 1.3 million people, punches above its own weight when it comes to advancements in tech. It was the birthplace of Skype, one of the first countries to have a government that was fully e-enabled, and now it has launched a nationwide scheme to teach school kids from the age of seven to 19, how to write code. The idea isn’t to start churning out app developers of the future, but people who have smarter relationships with technology, computers and the Web .

Happy Birthday H.A. Rey
Sunday’s KEYSEC postings…..

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
www.psba.org/workshops/school-leadership-conference/

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/

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