Friday, January 4, 2013

Hafiz, 14th century Sufi poet, comments on the Common Core

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SchoolsMatter Blog Posted by Stephen Krashen Thursday, January 03, 2013
a comment on the Common Core from the 14th century
Hafiz, 14th century Sufi poet, comments on the Common Core:

"Dropping Keys

The small person
Builds cages for everyone

Instead, the sage,
Who needs to duck her head,
When the moon is low,
Can be found dropping keys, all night long
For the beautiful,

(For this and other great quotes, see

Education Week Spotlight Published Online: January 3, 2013

Ind. lawmakers seek decentralized school choices

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Two Republican state senators announced Wednesday they will push measures to decentralize school leadership in Indiana and pull the state out of a national education initiative.  Some high-performing schools would be allowed to choose their own curriculum under a plan from Sen. Mike Delph of Carmel. A separate proposal from Sen. Scott Schneider of Indianapolis calls for ending Indiana's participation in the national Common Core Standards, a set of uniform benchmarks for math and reading.

Indiana State Senator Delph Proposes Bill to Reward High-Performing Schools
Indiana Senate Republicans website Jan. 2, 2013
State Sen. Mike Delph (R-Carmel) has filed Senate Bill 189 to reward academic excellence in Hoosier schools. This is the second year he has brought this idea before the Indiana General Assembly, but the first time as a stand-alone bill proposal.  Delph’s proposal would grant high-performing districts, such as Carmel and Zionsville, state regulatory relief from rigid requirements generating new and improved academic innovation in the classroom

Senator Wants State to Withdraw From Common Core
IndyPolitics January 3, 2012
Republican State Senator Scott Schneider of Indianapolis has filed legislation that would force Indiana to withdraw from the Common Core State Standards.
In 2010, the State Board of Education voted to adopt the Common Core State Standards as Indiana’s new academic standards for K-12 schools. Many states began implementing the Common Core Standards after the Obama administration included their adoption as one of the criteria it would consider in determining which states receive federal “Race to the Top” grant money.

Anti-Common Core Legislation Coming From Indiana Lawmaker

 Andrew Ujifusa  
Ever since the defeat of a resolution opposing the Common Core State Standards at the American Legislative Exchange Council, a Washington-based conservative think tank which ideologically might have been sympathetic with common standards foes, the question for those foes has been where they would go from there. Without the stamp of ALEC's influential approval, what would be their strategy?
Indiana Sen. Scott Schneider, a Republican, has one straightforward strategy—he has proposed legislation that would require Indiana to withdraw from the common standards in English/language arts and math, the Associated Press has reported. "I am worried that common core was pushed on Indiana without proper review of what it will mean for students and teachers," Schneider said in a press statement Wednesday. His bill is scheduled for a committee hearing Jan. 16.  The legislation, if approved, would mean that Indiana would become the first state to withdraw from the common standards altogether, and a move that would sting for common core proponents and those working on the assessments.

The Backlash Against Common Core

American School Board Journal By Lawrence Hardy, January 2013
"Fewer. Clearer. Higher."
Those are the types of academic standards the Common Core State Standards Initiative has promised since its founding in 2009 by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). With 46 states participating, the math and language arts standards are being adopted with enthusiastic support -- and considerable funding -- from the Obama administration.
By the 2014-15 school year, technologically sophisticated assessments -- developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium -- will be introduced in schools across the country. And finally, the U.S. will have, if not a national curriculum, a common set of state-endorsed standards and assessments to prepare students for college and 21st century careers.
At least, that’s the plan. But today, the path to implementing the Common Core is looking far more complicated than the vaunted “fewer, clearer, higher” standards themselves. Scholars, politicians, and educators are arguing about what impact, if any, they will have on student achievement.

Hite will present his blueprint for Philly schools Monday

POSTED: Thursday, January 3, 2013, 9:09 PM
Coming Monday: a blueprint for the William R. Hite Jr.-era Philadelphia School District.
Expect a focus on early literacy, a call for more art and music classes, more students in advanced math by middle school, and more and higher-quality spots in vocational programs.
Count on "more prescriptive" strategies in teaching reading in struggling schools, though not a return to the reviled scripted curriculum the district used in prior years, the superintendent said.
Get ready for an emphasis on better training for teachers and principals, and a real framework for just how Philadelphia schools should be implementing new national curriculum standards, which has so far been missing.
Hite said his "action plan," to be released on his 111th day on the job, will focus on two goals that must be the backbone of every decision the school system makes going forward: improving academics for students in both district-run and charter schools, and ensuring fiscal sustainability.

Governor Corbett is slated to present his budget on February 5th, 2013

PBPC Revenue Tracker: Strong December Puts State $172 Million Ahead of Estimate Midway Through Fiscal Year

PA Budget and Policy Center December 3, 2012
The commonwealth collected $2.4 billion in General Fund revenue in December. Fiscal year-to-date collections are $12.2 billion, exceeding projections by $171.5 million, or 1.4%.  Midway through the 2012-13 Fiscal Year, overall revenue collections are 5% above where they were at the midpoint of the 2011-12 Fiscal Year.
Below is a summary of overall General Fund revenue and tax only collections for the first six months of the 2012-13 Fiscal Year compared to estimate and to year-to-date collections for 2011-12. Check back later for a full analysis of the latest revenue numbers.

The VAM Sham
Yinzercation Blog January 3,2013
It’s a new year, but for public education it looks like we may be seeing more of the same old thing. Tonight the Pittsburgh School Board will be reviewing a new teacher evaluation plan developed by the District based on highly problematic data drawn from all those high-stakes-tests our kids have been taking. Not only is the data bad, but the uses to which it is being put should be setting off alarm bells in every parent’s head as it actually damages our schools, our teachers, and even our children’s education. To understand why, Yinzercation talked to Dr. Tim Slekar, an education researcher and Head of the Division of Education, Human Development and Social Sciences at Penn State Altoona.

Give teachers, administrators right to bear arms in schools, two Pa. lawmakers say
By Eric Boehm, PA Independent Published: Thursday, January 03, 2013
HARRISBURG – Armed guards may soon patrol outside Pennsylvania’s public schools, and the teachers may be armed, as well.  A pair of Republican lawmakers in the state House are working on legislation to make Pennsylvania schools safer. But while all sides agree on the need to improve school safety, some worry about bringing guns into schools, regardless of the lawmakers’ intent.

Chicago charter school subject to private-sector labor laws
Labor board decision that school is "private entity" may set precedent
WBEZ By: Becky Vevea January 2, 2013
Teachers at a Chicago charter school are now subject to private-sector labor laws, rather than state laws governing public workers. The move could impact how public schools are run down the road.  The ruling, made by the National Labor Relations Board last month, said the Chicago Math and Science Academy is a “private entity” and therefore covered under the federal law governing the private sector.

Does the 14th Amendment Apply to Charters?
10th Period Blog by Stephen Dyer
Charter Schools are a fascinating creature legally. They take state money. Yet they are exempted from about 200 state regulations. Their advocates call them "public", yet any money given to for profit operators is shielded from public view.
So what are Charters anyway? Are they really public schools or not? This matters tremendously because if they are not considered public schools, then they could be exempt from protections afforded by the 14th Amendment; protections afforded to minorities and other traditionally discriminated against groups. The 14th Amendment only applies to "state actors", not private entities.


The Education Policy and Leadership Center, with the Cooperation of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) and Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO), will conduct A Series of Regional Full-Day Workshops for 2013 Pennsylvania School Board Candidates.  Registration is $45 and includes coffee/donuts, lunch, and materials.  
Philadelphia Region Saturday, February 2, 2013 – 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Montgomery County Intermediate Unit, 1605 W. Main Street, Norristown, PA 19403
Harrisburg Region Saturday, February 9, 2013– 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Pennsylvania School Boards Association Headquarters, 400 Bent Creek Boulevard, Mechanicsburg, PA 17050
Pittsburgh Region Saturday, February 23, 2013 – 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Doubletree Hotel Pittsburgh/Monroeville, 101 Mall Blvd., Monroeville, PA 15146
To register, please click here.

Pennsylvania Congressmen Glenn Thompson and Lou Barletta are returning members of this committee.  I have not seen a press release from the Democrats thus far.
Chairman Kline Welcomes New and Returning Republican House Committee on Education and the Workforce Members
WASHINGTON, D.C. | January 2, 2013
U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN) today announced the Republican committee members for the 113th Congress.

Rokita stood out as one of the most conservative members of a very conservative bunch of lawmakers. ….What's more, he put forth—then withdrew—a game-changing provision that would have basically repealed the entire decades-old ESEA law—not just the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The legislation would have essentially allowed states to opt out of federal education programs and return the money to taxpayers.

Conservative Rep. Todd Rokita Named Chairman of K-12 Panel

 Alyson Klein  
Rep. Todd Rokita, a conservative Republican from Indiana, has been tapped to oversee the House education subcommittee on K-12 policy.  That puts him in a powerful position for education policy—particularly if Brokedown Congress surprises everyone and somehow makes significant headway on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act this year.

January ASBJ online now with Change Agents, Common Core backlash

NSBA’s School Board News Today by Kathleen Vail, January 3, 2013
The January issue of American School Board Journal  is online now. 

About City Connects
City Connects addresses the academic and out-of-school factors impacting students, enabling them to come to school ready to learn and thrive. As a Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Priority Partner for Turnaround, City Connects is committed to revitalizing student support in high-poverty urban schools and is currently working in 16 Boston and 8 Springfield, Mass., schools (grades K-8). Pilot efforts are also underway in early childhood and high school settings. Recent education reform efforts have largely concentrated on improving instruction, a core function of schools. Districts have adopted successful evidence-based curricula and teaching strategies that are continuously informed by data. At the same time, research shows that a significant portion of the achievement gap is attributable to non-academic factors that impact learning. To close the achievement gap, we must develop the same rigorous practices for another core function of schools–student support.

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