Thursday, January 17, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup For January 17, 2013: Busy day in the ed news/blogosphere folks….

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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup
For January 17, 2013

Busy day in the ed news/blogosphere folks….

School safety initiative to be part of Corbett FY13-14 budget proposal.
Capitol Ideas Blog by John Micek January 16, 2013
There's still a few weeks to go before Gov. Tom Corbett delivers his annual budget address to state lawmakers. But during an appearance in Lancaster on Wednesday, the Republican let a few details slip.

Harrisburg has let go about 300 teachers and closed three buildings over the past three years.”
Harrisburg schools chief recovery officer 'alarmed' by student test scores/graduation rate
Patriot News By Eric Veronikis |  January 16, 2013
Harrisburg School District's Chief Recovery Officer Gene Veno said he is "alarmed" by the district's state standardized test scores and graduation rate.  Academically, Harrisburg ranked 494th out of 501 school districts in Pennsylvania in 2011, according to state reading and math test results.
Only 45 percent of Harrisburg's students graduated from high school during the 2011-12 school year, when the state average was 83 percent, Veno said during his first meeting tonight with the advisory committee organized to help him develop a five-year recovery plan for the district.

PA Budget and Policy Center by Mark Price January 16, 2013
Employment in Pennsylvania's public schools was at a decade low in the 2011-12 school year, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Editorial: Taxpayers should back Gov. Corbett's state pension reform

By Patriot-News Editorial Board  on January 16, 2013 at 10:55 AM
The pension systems for Pennsylvania's state employees finds itself woefully underfunded.
The growing $41 billion shortfall was born of benefit-friendly adjustments made in Gov. Tom Ridge's tenure during sunnier economic times. It was then followed by the decade-long economic downturn. Now the guaranteed retirement for current retirees and state workers planning to retire is only 67.8 percent funded.

Pittsburgh Public schools recommends granting Hazelwood charter school request

By Eleanor Chute  / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette January 16, 2013 7:44 pm
A Pittsburgh Public Schools review committee has recommended the school board grant a request from Propel Schools to open a charter in Hazelwood this fall, but it is not clear the board would agree when it votes Jan. 23.  At an agenda review meeting today, the board heard the recommendation for the K-8 charter school, which plans to open with 300 students in K-6 and grow to 420 in K-8. The proposal calls for housing the school in the former St. Stephen Catholic School building, which closed in 2005.

Hard-hit districts push back against charter schools
TribLive By Daveen Rae Kurutz  Published: Thursday, January 17, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Western Pennsylvania school districts that are losing students and money to charter schools are fighting back.  The Penn Hills school board this week approved spending $3,500 a month for two years of advertising on TV and the Internet. Thirty-second ads will promote the Penn Hills Senior High School that opened last month.  The neighboring Woodland Hills school board awarded a $13,000 contract on Wednesday to develop infomercials to air on public access television.
Districts traditionally have not advertised schools, but their charter-school counterparts have, attracting a growing number of students.
Western PA charter school enrollment (and spending) by district; PDF
Trib Total Media surveyed 50 Western Pennsylvania school districts to determine how many children attend charter schools instead of public schools. When students go to charter schools, state funding goes with them.

Charter schools delivering what they promise?
Allentown Morning Call Commentary by Bill White 7:17 p.m. EST, January 16, 2013
Future Lawyers Academy Charter School Principal Rufus Cartwright said, "Mr. and Mrs. Burns, come in. It's good to see you."  Ed Burns said, "It's good to see you, too, because we have some serious questions."

Related prior posting:
Catasauqua board says Medical Academy doesn't deliver, but charter school says give us time
Allentown Morning Call By Bill Landauer January 12, 2013
Given time, school's administrators say, charter will help students get medical jobs

EPLC Education Notebook Monday, January 14, 2013
Education Policy and Leadership Center

What Education Activism Looks Like
Yinzercation Blog January 16, 2013
Public education advocates come in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes it feels like we are all in a rather large tent, with some fighting school closures, teacher layoffs, and privatization efforts, while others battle for fair state and federal budgets, and still others push for charter school reform, smaller class sizes, and an end to high-stakes-testing. While grassroots movements are messy like this, it may help to remember when this tent starts to feel like a three ring circus, that we are all advocating for the same thing: public education as a public good. At its very essence, that means we are united by the common goal of great schools forall our children, with adequate, equitable, and sustainable public funding. So here is some of what public education activism looks like this week.

Pop quiz on standardized testing

Here’s a short quiz on the latest developments in the world of standardized testing, written by Lisa Guisbond of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, also known as FairTest, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the abuse and misuse of standardized tests.

White House announces plans on school safety, gun control
NSBA School Board News by Joetta Sack-Min January 16, 2013
President Barack Obama issued 23 executive actions today that he says will strengthen school safety and prevent gun violence. He also called on Congress to pass tougher gun-control measures, including banning some assault rifles and magazines and requiring  background checks for purchasing all guns, one month and two days after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Conn.
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) was represented by Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel at the White House event. Obama announced a campaign entitled “Now is the Time” that outlines his plans for preventing gun violence.

The President’s plan to protect our children and our communities by reducing gun violence
The White House January 16, 2012

The 23 executive actions

By POLITICO STAFF | 1/16/13 9:28 PM EST
President Barack Obama’s gun policy executive orders

Teachers don’t want to carry guns in the classroom, poll says

The Washington Times By Ben Wolfgang Tuesday, January 15, 2013
As Vice President Joseph Biden’s gun violence task force readies its recommendations, a new poll Tuesday shows the nation’s teachers aren’t interested in carrying guns into the classroom to protect themselves and their students.
A survey by the National Education Association, a labor union representing about 3 million educators, found that only 22 percent of teachers “favor a proposal to allow teachers or other school employees to receive firearms training and allow them to carry firearms in schools.”
More Questions about the Common Core: Response to Marc Tucker
Yong Zhao’s Blog 17 JANUARY 2013
I have been waiting for a serious conversation about the sensibility of the Common Core State Standards Initiative with its staunch supporters. I am thus very pleased to read Marc Tucker’s response to my five questions about the Common Core. I am honored that Tucker considers my questions worth responding to. His response, while thoughtful and more nuanced than the usual slogan-shouting, emotion-arousing, and fear-mongering evidence-deprived commercials put forth by some instigators and supporters of the Common Core like this one, did not really answer my questions.  But it did give me the opportunity to come up with more questions. I hope Marc and or other Common Core proponents would find these new questions worth responding to again.

Stanford Report, January 15, 2013
Poor ranking on international test misleading about U.S. student performance, Stanford researcher finds
A comprehensive analysis of international tests by Stanford and the Economic Policy Institute shows that U.S. schools aren't being outpaced by international competition.
Socioeconomic inequality among U.S. students skews international comparisons of test scores, finds a new report released today by the Stanford Graduate School of Education and the Economic Policy Institute. When differences in countries' social class compositions are adequately taken into account, the performance of U.S. students in relation to students in other countries improves markedly.

MA Governor Proposes Universal Access to Early Education
Eye On Early Education Blog January 15, 2013 by Irene Sege
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick today announced a bold proposal to provide universal access to high-quality early education for the state’s young children. It is part of his plan to invest almost $350 million in early education over four years, starting with $131 million in fiscal year 2014. In addition, Governor Patrick proposed changes to the state’s Chapter 70 school funding to encourage more school districts to offer pre-kindergarten for 4-year-olds.

The Missing Memo
Taking Note Blog by JOHN MERROW on 15. JAN, 2013 
What follows is the story of a missing memo, numerous attempts to unearth it using the Freedom of Information Act, confidential sources, apparently lost email, and new questions about Michelle Rhee’s decision not to investigate widespread erasures on an important standardized test during her first year in Washington, DC.
Readers of this blog know that our Frontline film, “The Education of Michelle Rhee,” has stirred up the conversation about Chancellor Rhee’s tenure in Washington, DC. Debate continues about the ‘wrong to right’ erasures on the DC-CAS, and about the quality and depth of the investigation of those erasures. (Read more about these reactions, including my response, here.)

“Look at this way: if you were on a BOE and the Superintendent came in and said that in a couple years he wanted to change all K-12 curricula, change the entire K-12 teacher and staff evaluation process, change the entire testing process (and oh by the way your current operating systems all have to be replaced), and restructure the leadership model for the district, would you want that individual to forge ahead despite widespread concerns?”

NJ Superintendent: Reforms could ‘wreak havoc’ on great schools

Here is a letter sent to the New Jersey State Board of Education from Michael A. Rossi Jr., superintendent of Madison Public Schools, about the state’s school reform agenda and problems that officials have created for educators and administrators who are charged with implementing policy.

National Awards for Education Reporting

National Education Writers Association January 16, 2013
The Education Writers Association is now accepting submissions for its annual National Awards for Education Reporting.
Twenty-three first-place finishes are at stake, with each winner or set of winners receiving a $200 cash prize. First-place winners are eligible for the Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting, which carries a cash award of $1,500.
After reviewing the contest categories, FAQs and rules, create a username and password on our contest portal, follow the instructions, and upload your submissions. 
The deadline for submissions is 4:59 p.m. on Friday, February 1.

Urban Sustainability Forum - Next Generation Green
Drexel's Engineers Week & the Academy of Natural Sciences
Thursday, January 17, 2013 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM (EST)
Philadelphia, PA
In case you haven’t noticed, there are a whole bunch of young people in Philadelphia doing great sustainability work. At our January Urban Sustainability Forum, come hear from several of these leaders about their projects and initiatives.

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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