Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Another way: Not charters, not vouchers, not tax credits: tailored interventions….

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 1700 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers, PTO/PTA officers, parent advocates, teacher leaders, members of the press and a broad array of P-16 education advocacy organizations via emails, website, Facebook and Twitter.

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

CITY CONNECTS’ MISSION: To have every child engage and learn in school by connecting each student with the tailored set of intervention, prevention, and enrichment services he or she needs to thrive.
Central to City Connects’ work is the belief that addressing the “out-of-school” factors impacting students helps them come to school ready to learn and thrive.  Children living in poverty face especially pervasive and severe out-of-school factors, like hunger, homelessness, and violence.

Not charters, not vouchers, not tax credits: tailored interventions….
City Connects program at a glance:
·         City Connects uses the existing structures of public schools and the resources of local community agencies to deliver tailored supports for students.
·         In 2011-12, across all City Connects sites, 8,900 students were linked to more than 44,500 services and enrichment opportunities, ranging from tutoring to athletic programs.
·         Principals, teachers, and community agency collaborators report a 92% or higher satisfaction rate with our intervention.
·         City Connects is cost-effective— less than $500 per pupil.
·         Results include higher statewide test scores

Special ed funding falls victim to charter reform plan
PhillyBurbs.com By Gary Weckselblatt Staff Writer Posted on November 19, 2012
Changes to the way Pennsylvania funds special education nearly became law last summer, but the legislation died when an amendment supported by Gov. Tom Corbett to reform charter schools and cyberschools co-opted the measure.  House Bill 704 sponsored by state Rep. Bernie O’Neill, R-29, and companion legislation in the Senate, SB 1115, had been gaining support. The Senate version passed 46-1 in June.
…..Once “it got buried with all this charter school stuff ... the whole thing died,” said O’Neill, who ultimately voted against his own legislation.
State Rep. Paul Clymer, R-145, chairman of the House Education Committee, said he worked to keep amendments off O’Neill’s bill but “leadership decided it would be a good time to put in a reform package for cyber and charter schools. This is not new. It’s been sitting on a table.”
O’Neill said he plans to introduce his original bill again in January, when the new session starts. “For sure,” he said. “I’m already working with leadership on moving the bill.”

“Complete versatility” in a public-school setting

SmartBlog on Education By Tom Murray on November 19th, 2012 | Comments (0)
The Quakertown Community School District, winner of the 2011 iNACOL Innovative Program Award, has been highlighted by Michael Horn, author of “Disrupting Class,” on numerous occasions for its self-blend educational model.
QCSD, a K-12 public school in Bucks County, Pa., is a rare breed among public schools, as all students in grades 6-12 have a full menu of both cyber and blended learning options. Some students earn a QCSD diploma as full-time cyber students. Others graduate having taken all of their coursework in a face-to-face, blended setting. The majority of students, however, utilize a combination of blended and cyber courses, promoting “complete versatility” in meeting the needs of all students in this self-blend model.
Some students come to the high-school campus for the full day, some for a handful of class periods and others not at all. Students can choose which learning environment best meets their needs, while being supported by their local public-school staff throughout the process. BYOD and 1:1 initiatives have complemented these cyber options, creating a blended learning environment for all students at the secondary level. Since being implemented four years ago, attendance rates have risen, SAT and AP scores have increased and graduation rates have increased significantly, gaining QCSD national academic notoriety and international accolades.

Chester Upland board postpones vote on recovery plan
Published: Monday, November 19, 2012
By JOHN KOPP jkopp@delcotimes.com @DT_JohnKopp
CHESTER — The Chester Upland School District board postponed its vote on the financial and academic recovery plan prepared by Chief Financial Officer Joseph Watkins until next Monday.
Board President Wanda Mann announced at Monday’s meeting that the board will issue a counterproposal to Watkins before it votes at a special meeting next Monday. The board initially had 10 days to approve or reject the plan, but the state extended the deadline until Monday because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Inquirer Editorial: Chester Upland may not survive new state plan

POSTED: Monday, November 19, 2012, 3:01 AM
Maybe it's time to put the troubled Chester Upland School District out of its misery. A state plan to overhaul the Delaware County system looks more like a slow road to extinction.

Charter schools blast SRC’s move to limit enrollment

POSTED: Monday, November 19, 2012, 8:47 PM
The Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools on Monday blasted the Philadelphia School Reform Commission's decision to suspend part of state law so it could control charter-school growth, and said the move could trigger legal challenges.

Pa. cyber charters still struggle with PSSAs

York Dispatch By ANDREW SHAW 505-5431 / @ydblogwork
Year after year, cyber charter schools in Pennsylvania are not meeting standards on the state's annual exams.  Again this year, their overall marks fall far below those of York County school districts.  Among the eight cyber schools regularly enrolling York County students, only Pennsylvania Leadership and 21st Century Cyber made adequate yearly progress on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment exams.

Pennsylvania lawmakers get automatic 2% pay raises to $83,802/year
By JAN MURPHY, The Patriot-News on November 19, 2012 at 10:18 PM
At a time when private-sector employees’ wages are forecast to remain stagnant, legislators, judges and other top state government officials won’t have that problem.
Their salaries will grow by nearly 2.2 percent.  For legislators, the adjustment — based on the 12-month movement in the Consumer Price Index for urban consumers in the mid-Atlantic states — will raise their base salary to $83,802, starting Dec. 1.  That is up $1,776 from this year’s $82,026 base pay.

Educators anxious about switch to Keystone Exams

Pittsburgh Tribune Review By Bill Zlatos  Tuesday, November 20, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Students across Pennsylvania begin taking the much-anticipated Keystone Exams next month, but many educators worry whether they will take the tests as seriously as they should.
That’s because passing the standardized tests won’t be required for graduation until the Class of 2017.  “If I were a principal ... I would be working hard to motivate (my students),” said Linda Hippert, executive director of the Allegheny Intermediate Unit.
Why Care About State Politics?
Yinzercation Blog November 19, 2012
Why should we here in Southwest Pennsylvania care about what happens in state politics? That’s the question put to me by the editor of the Pittsburgh City Paper last week during an interview for a forthcoming story they are doing on our old friends at the Students First PA super PAC. It’s a good question, and the answer has everything to do with how we are going to save our public schools.

Report: Pension costs to wreck balanced budget in coming years
By Eric Boehm, PA Independent Published: Sunday, November 18, 2012
HARRISBURGPennsylvania can expect modest economic growth over the next five years, but it will be surpassed by a surge in state pension costs that begin this year.  Projections from the Independent Fiscal Office say pension costs will far outpace revenues in coming years.
An annual economic and budgetary projection from the state’s Independent Fiscal Office, a state equivalent of the Congressional Budget Office, forecasts 0.8 percent revenue growth this year and 3 percent annual growth for the state’s revenues in the next five year.  Pension costs are projected to climb by 46 percent in this year’s budget and 42 percent in next year’s budget.
“The increase in pension contributions is estimated to be about $500 million per year for the next several years,” said Mark Ryan, deputy director of the IFO.

Pennsylvania PSERS returns 11.45% for year

Pensions and Investments BY ROB KOZLOWSKI | NOVEMBER 15, 2012 3:47 PM
Pennsylvania Public School Employees' Retirement System, Harrisburg, returned 11.45% in the year ended Sept. 30, confirmed spokeswoman Evelyn Tatkovski.

D.C. vouchers: What you need to know

Here are some things you should know about the D.C. school voucher program that House Majority leader John Boehner took on as a personal mission to save. According tothis important investigation by my colleagues Lyndsey Layton and Emma Brown:

Advisory Panel Issues Recommendations for Head Start

 Lesli A. Maxwell  
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has just released a long reportfrom a group of early-childhood experts who two years ago were tapped by Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to advise the agency on how to improve the nearly $8 billion Head Start program.
The report—which, to be clear, is not the much-delayed national evaluation I wrote about yesterday—is a thorough discussion of recommendations for improving the effectiveness of Head Start that is based, in part, on the panel's review and interpretation of previous studies of the program for low-income 4-year-olds and its sister program for younger children, Early Head Start.
Committee members made recommendations in three major areas: using data to improve school readiness and other key outcomes, using evidence-based practices, and improving the coordination of services from prenatal to age 8.

Building One Pennsylvania – Fundraiser November 29th
Join us at our first fundraiser and awards ceremony to celebrate our progress in promoting inclusive, sustainable and economically prosperous communities.
Austin Room at IBEW Electrical Union 654
3729 Chichester Avenue, Boothwyn PA 19061

Thursday, November 29th from 6:00 – 8:00 PM
$100 per person • $75 for Building One Pennsylvania Member
U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.
U.S. Congressman Patrick Meehan
Estelle Richman, Senior Advisor to the Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Isaac Dotson, Yeadon Economic Development Corporation
Tom Gemmill, St. James Episcopal Church, Lancaster
Rev. Marlon Millner, Norristown Municipal Council and McKinley Memorial Baptist Church


CELEBRATE Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center’s 5th Anniversary!
Friday November 30th 12 pm1:30 pm
Join us in celebrating 5 years of providing a strong, independent voice for working Pennsylvanians and their families in the halls of the state Capitol and beyond.
Friday~November 30th, 12 pm - 1:30 pm
Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel
201 N. 17th Street | Philadelphia PA 19103
Registration begins at 11:30
Hon. Gene DiGirolamo & Hon. Thomas Murt
Voter ID Plaintiff Legal Team
The Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia (PILCOP)
The ACLU of Pennsylvania
The Advancement Project
Arnold and Porter
Hon. Edward G. Rendell | Hon. Vincent Hughes
Hon. Blondell Reynolds Brown | Hon. Maria Quiñones Sánchez | Hon. W. Wilson Goode II
Hon. Diane Ellis-Marseglia | Willig, Williams, & Davidson | Dianne & Ted Reed | Donna Cooper
Public Citizens for Children and Youth | Women Against Abuse
Education Policy and Leadership Center | Education Voters of Pennsylvania
Project H.O.M.E | Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania

Education Law Center invites you to a special evening December 5th
Honoring Len Rieser
Welcoming Rhonda Brownstein
And celebrating public education champions
Mary Gay Scanlon, Harold Jordan, Arc of PA, The Bridges Collaborative and School Discipline Advocacy Services
Food, Drink and Silent Auction
December 5, 2012 , 5:30 PM
Crystal Tea Room The Wanamaker Building
100 Penn Square East, Philadelphia

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