Monday, January 7, 2013

Philly School Chief unveils plan to 'reset' the district

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 1750 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.

These daily emails are archived at
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One Page Primer on the Education Reform Debate
From Education Week, Anthony Cody, Living in Dialogue Blog January 1, 2013

KEYSEC PA Education Policy Weekend Update
Here’s what you missed if you were offline over the weekend……

Philadelphia schools chief unveils plan to 'reset' the district

January 6, 2013
WHYY Newsworks By Dale Mezzacappa and Benjamin Herold
Saying it's time to "reset our district," new Philadelphia School Superintendent William Hite this weekend released a reform blueprint.  It is based on consolidating scarce resources in the hopes of strengthening Philadelphia's traditional public schools and reducing the flow of students and dollars to city charters.  "That's what this work is about: developing better options and better opportunities for parents in District schools," said Hite. "We can become more competitive as a District."

Philadelphia's schools superintendent lays out a "call to action"

Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer January 7, 2013, 3:56 AM
It is William R. Hite Jr.'s "call to action," a 25-page document that maps out strategy for the future of the Philadelphia School District.
And, despite the school system's brutal budget picture - a projected $1 billion deficit over five years, preparing to close one in six schools - Hite's blueprint, just released, is ambitious.
He wants to create a virtual school to compete with cyber charter schools that now take district students. He wants to "professionalize teaching," in Philadelphia, rework outdated graduation policies, improve student nutrition, boost the number of students who score well on the SAT and Advanced Placement exams, and increase the percentage of graduates who earn college degrees within six years.
He aims to fix outdated business practices "that put the whole district at risk," and to insist on better customer service across the system, no small feat in a large bureaucracy historically slow to embrace change.  Yet, Hite knows he lacks the infrastructure to make the plan work.

In June 2012 the PA legislature passed HB 761 which effectively serves as a bailout for Pennsylvania’s parochial schools.  It expanded the annual tax-diverted funding of the existing EITC program from $75 million to $100 million.  It also created a new $50 million annual “supervoucher” EITC 2.0 program that applies to the lowest performing 15% of elementary and secondary public schools (charter and cyber charter schools and career and technical centers were excluded from the list).

Catholic Education, in Need of Salvation

Published: January 6, 2013
CATHOLIC parochial education is in crisis. More than a third of parochial schools in the United States closed between 1965 and 1990, and enrollment fell by more than half. After stabilizing in the 1990s, enrollment has plunged despite strong demand from students and families.
……As in other areas, the church has lost its way, by failing to prioritize parochial education. Despite the sex-abuse scandals and two recessions, church revenue — which flows from parishes via Sunday donations, bequests and so on — grew to $11.9 billion in 2010, an inflation-adjusted increase of $2.2 billion from a decade earlier. Yet educational subsidies have fallen; the church now pays at least 12.6 percent of parochial elementary school costs, down from 63 percent in 1965.

Texas school districts seek testing waivers

There’s something almost poetic about this: In Texas, the state where the high-stakes standardized testing era began, a consortium of school districts is asking officials to grant them exemptions from both state and federal testing requirements.  Twenty-three members of the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium have asked state officials for waivers from testing mandates, the Dallas Morning News reported, so they can have flexibility as they create a new accountability system.

Similar initiative in Indiana…..
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

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.

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