Friday, October 19, 2012

PA GOP leaders on why Corbett’s charter bill didn’t get done

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House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R., Allegheny) said Thursday that funding for cyber charters, which currently receive the same amount of money as other charters but do not have many of the same expenses, was a particular concern.
"I think there has to be choice for families, for kids," he said. "But I also think there has to be fairness in how the funding works, particularly for cyber charters."

Rep. Paul Clymer (R., Bucks), chairman of the House Education Committee, said many items in the proposal had broad support, from ethics provisions to setting academic standards.But members "felt there were ways in which the bill was more favorable to the charters and cyber charters than to [traditional] public schools," he said, adding, "There was just not a good feeling." In particular, Clymer said, legislators were concerned that the commission to propose charter funding changes "was too stacked with pro-charter people."
Posted: Fri, Oct. 19, 2012, 3:01 AM
Pa. House skips vote on charter-school bill
By Dan Hardy Inquirer Staff Writer
The clock ran out on the Pennsylvania General Assembly's two-year legislative session Wednesday with a big surprise: It failed to pass changes in charter-school law that had been supported by the Corbett administration and the Senate and House leadership.
The bill had a long list of amendments, including bringing charters under state ethics laws, requiring annual audits, standardizing reporting, and creating a commission to propose funding changes. It had passed the Senate on Tuesday with bipartisan support and by a ratio of more than 2-1.
The measure, however, did not even come to a vote in the House. Some House Republicans and many House Democrats said they felt the bill tilted the playing field toward charters - and away from public schools - and did not immediately address some pressing funding issues.

"In the end, until you have 26, 102 and one, you don't have it done," Mr. Turzai said.
Lingering questions sink GOP charter school bill
October 19, 2012 12:06 am
By Karen Langley / Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG -- As the final voting hours of the legislative session wore on, it became clear to state House Republican leaders that they lacked the votes to pass charter school changes negotiated with the Senate and the governor.
Some members, wanting immediate changes to funding for cyber charter schools, were not satisfied with the bill's creation of a commission to examine funding. Others were concerned by the appearance of a provision correcting a technical error in a budget bill.

"In the last two years, public schools have taken a nearly $1 billion cut in state funding, followed by a second state budget that locked in those cuts. These cuts have led to program cuts, the loss of 20,000 jobs and property tax hikes. We need to stop overpaying some charters at the expense of traditional public schools that have to accept every student."
Roebuck: Charter/cyber school reform bill gets an 'Incomplete' grade
Press Release House Education Committee Minority Chairman James Roebuck
HARRISBURG, Oct. 17 State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, gives a grade of "Incomplete" to the charter and cyber charter school reform bill that's expected to pass the House today and head to the governor's desk.
"While I welcome some of the changes that have been made to this bill, the Republican majorities in the legislature and the governor could have – and should have – done much more to ensure accountability for tax dollars," Roebuck said. "In the last two years, public schools have taken a nearly $1 billion cut in state funding, followed by a second state budget that locked in those cuts. These cuts have led to program cuts, the loss of 20,000 jobs and property tax hikes. We need to stop overpaying some charters at the expense of traditional public schools that have to accept every student."

As Support Dwindles Among Lawmakers of Both Parties, Charter School Bill Stalls in House

Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center October 18, 2012
The much debated charter school reform bill never made it to vote. The bill, which the Senate passed on Tuesday, made its way out of the House Rules Committee and was scheduled to move to the House. An apparent lack of support by House Republicans tabled the bill. Both the House and the Senate agreed to not take any legislative votes after the November election, so the issue won't come back up until the new session in 2013.
The charter school reform bill, Senate Bill 1115, would have been a significant change to the charter law and was seen as a key piece of legislation by Republican leadership and the Governor. However, criticism of certain parts of the bill prevented its passage.

Charter School Champions Hit Uncertainty in Pennsylvania

 Andrew Ujifusa  
There have been a few interesting developments in the last few days regarding charter schools in the Keystone State, both within the state itself and the U.S. Department of Education's view of how the state has handled charters.

Charter school news: PA changes way AYP is measured for charters, legislature doesn’t act on reform legislation

Posted on  by Angie Mason
There have been several reports in the past week or so that Pennsylvania changed the way it measured AYP for charter schools, using a method that makes it easier for the charter schools to make AYP. The reports also say that the state education department made the change without federal approval, which is still pending.

House inaction on charter school bill has charter and district advocates looking for a different bill next year

By JAN MURPHY, The Patriot-News on October 18, 2012 at 11:58 AM
Disappointed that the third time wasn't the charm in getting a charter school reform bill passed through the General Assembly, a coalition representing these independent public schools offered a biting statement about the House's inaction on Wednesday to fix some of the flaws they see in this 1997 law.

Why almost all school reform efforts have failed

Why is it that wave after wave of school reform doesn’t seem to make much of a dent in the problems that they are designed to address? David C. Berliner of Arizona State University offers an answer in this new essay entitled “Effects of Inequality and Poverty vs. Teachers and Schooling on America’s Youth,” which was just published in the Teachers College Record at Columbia University.

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