Tuesday, January 22, 2013

PA Ed Policy Roundup For January 22, 2013: National public high school graduation rate at a four-decade high

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 1800 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers, PTO/PTA officers, parent advocates, teacher leaders, education professors, members of the press and a broad array of P-16 education advocacy organizations via emails, website, Facebook and Twitter.

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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup
For January 22, 2013

Corbett, lawmakers outline new agendas for Pa.
HARRISBURG -- The governor's annual budget address is traditionally when the state's chief executive lays out priorities for the coming year, a speech that is scrutinized closely for what it says about the state's direction.

If you are a Pennsylvania educator, Teachers Lead Philly would like to know what you and your colleagues think about teacher evaluation (survey)
To what extent should teachers be involved in determining what an effective teacher is?
On Jun 30, 2012, Pa Governor Corbett signed HB1901 (3885), a law that requires teachers to be evaluated by multiple measures including student achievement, graduation rates and locally-designed rubrics.
Teachers Lead Philly would like to know what you think about teacher evaluation. TAKE THE SURVEY, and share it with a friend! 

“What we are having now is private control of public schools…”
Charter schools now big business nationwide
Pottstown Mercury By Eleanor Chute For The Associated Press  Monday, 01/21/13 
….Charter schools are public schools that have their own boards and are chartered by a local school district in the case of a bricks-and-mortar charter or by the state for a cyber charter. School districts pay a fee set by the state for their residents to attend.
Increasingly, locally elected school officials are finding their districts competing against charter schools allied with big organizations with big money and their own ideas for students.
“It’s had a large impact on the growth of charter school reform,” said Gary Miron, an education professor at Western Michigan University who studies charter schools.

York County school districts brace for increased pension costs
Some school officials say retirement expense is one of biggest challenges for next year.
By ANGIE MASON York Daily Record/Sunday News 01/19/2013
A large increase in what school districts are required to pay in retirement contributions is putting pressure on school officials as they prepare budgets for the next school year.
School officials locally and around the state have been talking for years about looming increases in the required employer contribution to the Public School Employees' Retirement System (PSERS), caused by years of underfunding and declining investments.

Many Alle-Kiski school districts challenge private charter, cyber schools
TribLive by R.A. Monti Freelance Reporter Valley News Dispatch Sunday, January 20, 2013
Many Alle-Kiski school districts are tired of footing the bill for students who decide to go to private charter and cyber schools, so they‘re fighting back.  During the last few years, many districts have started their own online schools to try to keep many of their students in the district and lure back some who left.  Districts are required to pay tuition for students who leave the district to go to a private charter school, and that can be expensive.
“Sending a kid to a private charter school costs us between $9,000 and $10,000 a year,” said Matt Connor, Burrell School District‘s assistant superintendent. “That‘s even higher for a special education student.
“Salaries will go up $1.7 million while the cost of benefits will be raised $3.1 million.”
ASD ponders fiscal unknowns
TribLive By Tim Karan  Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
While uncertainty looms over Armstrong School District‘s immediate fiscal future, the board of directors decided not to make any decision regarding its 2013-14 budget or a potential tax increase until later in the year.  District business manager John Zenone presented the board with a preliminary budget of $97 million — up $11 million from this year — during a special meeting on Monday night in an effort to decide whether or not ASD foresees a need to exceed the state inflationary tax index before the Jan. 31 deadline.
Emerging trend toward bookless libraries in a digital age
Chris Palmer, Inquirer Staff Writer  January 21, 2013
The last time a student at Archbishop Wood High School borrowed Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finnwas 1997. Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island has fared even worse: No student has checked out the adventure novel since 1991.
It could be they are simply dated and unappealing to today's high school students, or it could be because they are, well, books in an age of proliferating digital information.
Either way, these titles may not be on Archbishop Wood's shelves much longer: By the end of the school year, the number of volumes in the school's library will be whittled from 47,000 to about 1,000 to make room for a new bank of computers, projection equipment, and collaborative space.

“Principals are generally considered to be the main factor in the success or failure of breakfast service, especially in elementary school. If the principal makes the effort, experts say, more kids eat.”
Study in Philly finds a wide range of school-breakfast participation
Alfred Lubrano, Inquirer Staff Writer  January 21, 2013, 6:31 AM
Although school breakfast is universally considered to be vital for health and learning, there is a wide disparity in the number of students who get served these meals in Philadelphia schools.
At Moffet Elementary School in Kensington, for example, 92 percent of the students eat breakfast, the highest percentage in Philadelphia. But at Pastorius Elementary School in Germantown, just 12 percent of students eat breakfast, the lowest number in the city.
The findings are part of an analysis released to The Inquirer last week by Public Citizens for Children and Youth, a Philadelphia children's advocacy group.

Matching funds open governor's school at CMU

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette January 22, 2013 12:16 am
The Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Sciences will enroll students this summer at Carnegie Mellon University, three years after state budget cuts prompted the commonwealth to eliminate it and other governor's schools around the state.
An agreement between the state and Carnegie Mellon to offer the instruction has been signed, Timothy Eller, a spokesman for the state Department of Education, said Tuesday.

Obama’s three education references in inaugural speech

Here are the three references to education that President Obama made in his inaugural speech today:

National public high school graduation rate at a four-decade high
Washington Post By Lyndsey LaytonTuesday, January 22, 12:01 AM
The percentage of students at public high schools who graduate on time has reached its highest level in nearly 40 years, according to the most recent federal government estimates released Tuesday.  Based on data collected from the states for the Class of 2010, the National Center for Education Statistics estimated that 78 percent of students across the country earned a diploma within four years of starting high school. The graduation rate was last at that level in 1974, officials said.

Leading Educators Support Seattle Teacher Test Boycott
PRESS RELEASE January 21, 2013
Brian Jones, Teacher and Doctoral Student, bjones2@gc.cuny.edu 
Wayne Au, Professor of Education, wayne@rethinkingschools.org
In a public statement released today, more than sixty educators and researchers, including some of the most well-respected figures in the field of education, pledged support for the boycott of the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test initiated by the teachers at Garfield High School in Seattle, calling the action a “blow against the overuse and misuse of standardized tests.”

At the Chalk Face: Seattle Opt Out
blogtalk radio by Chalk Face Sun, January 20, 2013 runtime: 33:02
We're all over the Seattle Opt Out. For the next installment, 1.20.13, we'll be talking to Seattle parent Sue Peters about the Garfield MAP opt out. Sue is a founding member of Parents Across America. For the second half, Heather Snookal, a Garfield HS teacher, is up. 

“We are circumventing our own public policy with public money,” said State Representative Stacey Abrams, the leader of the Democratic minority in the House. “In our public schools, we do not disallow a child from attending on the basis of their sexual orientation.”
“If this were to be happening at any public school,” she said, “the lawsuit would be great and the settlement extraordinary.”
Backed by State Money, Georgia Education Tax Credit Scholarships Go to Schools Barring Gays
New York Times By KIM SEVERSON Published: January 20, 2013
ATLANTA — As the nation works its way through the debate over vouchers and other alternatives to traditional public education funding, a quieter battle over homosexuality, religious education and school tax money is under way in Georgia.  At issue is an increasingly popular tax credit program that transforms state money into private school scholarships, some of them used at religious-based schools that prohibit gay, lesbian or bisexual students to attend.
The policies at more than 100 such schools are explicit.

Reading the tea leaves for Newbery, Caldecott winners

Post-Gazette By Karen MacPherson / Scripps Howard News Service January 22, 2013
It's that time of year, when lovers of children's literature start betting on which books will win the prestigious Caldecott Medal and Newbery Medal on Jan. 28.
It's a big deal and not just for children's literature fans. The Caldecott Medal is given annually by the American Library Association to the best illustrated children's book published the previous year. The Newbery Medal is given annually to the best written children's book.

Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center
SAVE THE DATE: 2013 Pennsylvania Budget Summit Feb. 21st
Many Pennsylvanians have sent a clear message to Harrisburg in recent months: The state budget cuts of the past two years were too deep. It is time to once again invest in classrooms and communities.  Next month, Governor Tom Corbett will unveil his 2013-14 budget proposal. Join the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center for an in-depth look at the Governor's proposal and an update on the federal budget -- and what they mean for communities and families across Pennsylvania.
2013 Pennsylvania Budget Summit
Thursday, February 21, 2013, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Hilton Harrisburg, 1 North Second Street, Harrisburg, PA
Registration is free and lunch is included.


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.

2013 PSBA Leadership Symposium on Advocacy and Issues
April 6, 2013 The Penn Stater Convention Center Hotel; State College, PA
Strategic leadership, school budgeting and advocacy are key issues facing today's school district leaders. For your school district to truly thrive, leaders must maintain a solid understanding of these three functions. Attend the 2013 PSBA Leadership Symposium on Advocacy and Issues to ensure you have the skills you need to take your district to the next level.

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