Monday, February 18, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup For February 18, 2013: “..between 2005 and 2011….Pennsylvania has experienced a 15.5 percent increase in children living in poverty”

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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup
For February 18, 2013

SPECIAL EDITION EPLC Education Notebook Monday, February 11, 2013
EPLC: Summary of Governor Corbett's Proposed 2013-2014 Education Budget

Here’s a link to our weekend posting in case you missed it….
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup For February 16, 2013: Budget/Charters/Preschool

Letters: A defense of Corbett school spending
Patriot News Letters to the Editor  by Tim Eller February 17, 2013
TIM ELLER, Press Secretary, Pennsylvania Dept. of Education, Harrisburg
on February 17, 2013 at 12:00 AM, updated February 17, 2013 at 12:06 AM
Pennsylvania State Education Association President Mike Crossey seems unable to recognize the advancements promised by Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed budget and, instead, retreats to the discredited claim that the governor “cut” basic education by $1 billion.

Op-ed: Gov. Corbett needs to change his budget priorities
Patriot-News Op-Ed  by Jim Burn on February 18, 2013
Jim Burn is the chairman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party
Earlier this month Governor Tom Corbett released his 2013-2014 budget proposal and for the third time he has revealed that his priorities are not in line with the needs of Pennsylvania

“Also dampening enthusiasm for the increase in basic education aid is a $10,143 cut in state funding for special education, a cut which comes on top of five years with no increase.
The special education cut was made to fund an increase in the state’s special education contingency fund, but since Pottstown already extracts the maximum allowed from that fund, “other districts will be able to access additional money, but we lose $10,000.”
Corbett’s budget plan takes it easier on local schools
Pottstown Mercury By Evan Brandt 02/16/13 11:50 pm
The annual budget dance began in earnest, as it always does, with the governor’s budget presentation in February.  In it, Corbett proposed a $90 million increase in state funding for the “basic education subsidy” line, the backbone of state education funding and the largess portion.
However, several key elements of his plan — pensions and the selling of state liquor stores — are an open question in Harrisburg and may result in severe changes before the final product is adopted.

Pittsburgh Public Schools superintendent Linda Lane sees room for growth
Increasing student achievement tops Linda Lane's agenda as she enters final contract year
By Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette February 18, 2013 12:06 am
This is what Pittsburgh Public Schools superintendent Linda Lane thinks is like heaven: a class taught with energy and urgency.  "It is so engaging, so packed in terms of teaching ... intense teaching, teachers using every minute, every second, every opportunity, and when you see that, it's like, oh yeah, this is like heaven, right?
"But I don't always see that."

Inquirer Editorial: Hite right to adjust plans
POSTED: Sunday, February 17, 2013, 3:01 AM
Philadelphians have gotten used to rallying to save public schools targeted for closure - typically to no avail.  In the face of the latest round of proposed closings, they made the familiar arguments that some of the 37 schools on the list should not be. Only this time, someone at the top listened.
In a refreshing and welcome change of leadership style for the district, Superintendent William R. Hite has shown flexibility and a willingness to embrace alternative proposals.

“The key here, though, is it will need legislative approval,” she said. “But the governor’s budget does not include funding PSERS at the current levels. The cut is already out of his budget, so something has to give.”
Wallingford-Swarthmore plays waiting game on budget
Published: Monday, February 18, 2013
Delco Times By NEIL A. SHEEHAN Times Correspondent
NETHER PROVIDENCE — Like other school districts throughout the state, Wallingford-Swarthmore will remain in wait-and-see mode when it comes to one of its largest line items: Employee pension costs.  Gov. Tom Corbett, during his yearly budget address on Feb. 5, proposed structural changes to the state Public School Employees Retirement System (PSERS). If the legislature endorses the plan, significant costs looming for districts could be reduced to more manageable levels.

“..between 2005 and 2011….Pennsylvania has experienced a 15.5 percent increase in children living in poverty”
When reading, writing and arithmetic collide with poverty
Chambersburg Public Opinion Online By AMBER SOUTH and LAUREN CAPPUCCIO
Pennsylvania has experienced a 15.5 percent increase in children living in poverty.
When poverty hits at home, it also hits at school.  For a child with few resources at home, attending school - in mind and body - can be difficult.  What if there was no dinner last night or breakfast this morning? What if Mom's job made bedtime late? What happens when conditions at home make it hard to focus on school work? What if, in winter, there are only shorts to wear?
These are just some of the issues an increasing number of children face as they walk into their classrooms each day.
All but one school district in Franklin County saw a significant increase between 2005 and 2011 in the number of students who live in poverty, according to data compiled by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and U.S. Census Bureau.

Super payout for school superintendent
Scranton Times-Tribune BY SARAH HOFIUS HALL (STAFF WRITER) February 17, 2013
When Candis Finan, Ed.D., retired as Delaware Valley superintendent last year, she left with the respect of the school board, a legacy of high expectations and a payout of more than $500,000.
That's on top of annual payments for unused vacation, sick and personal days since 1998, bringing her total payout to more than $800,000.  Dr. Finan, who spent 14 years as superintendent and 13 years as assistant superintendent of the Pike County school district, led the district through major expansion and building projects and into an era of increased accountability and higher standards.

Reading, math, respect and accountability: charter school works intensively with tough students
WHYY Newsworks by Maiken Scott February 18, 2013
Download Audio File » (runtime 4:16)
Disruptive classroom behavior, truancy, a fight with a fellow student or a teacher; these offenses typically earn a student suspension or even expulsion from school.  One Philadelphia charter school has a different model, where trouble students receive extensive behavior support.

10 GOP lawmakers forgo their Pa. pension
By Brad Bumsted State Capitol Reporter Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Published: Monday, February 18, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
HARRISBURG — With Pennsylvania facing a state pension crisis, at least 10 Republican lawmakers are refusing pensions that could mean giving up tens of thousands of dollars in retirement, records show.
Students urged to finish GED; changes due in 2014 by CAROLYN THOMPSON , The Associated Press February 17, 2013, 11:53 AM
BUFFALO, N.Y. - Adults who've begun working toward their GED are being urged to finish up this year, before the test for a high school equivalency diploma changes and they have to start all over.  GED Testing Service will introduce a new version of the test, given nationwide, on Jan. 1, 2014. Developers say the first major changes since 2002 will align the test with the new Common Core curricula adopted by most states to increase college and career readiness. It also will shift test-taking from pencil and paper to computer.  ….There is also financial incentive to complete the GED this year. At $120, the computer-based version is double the cost of the current test.

How charter schools choose desirable students
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog by Valerie Strauss on February 16, 2013 at 6:00 am
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools says this about charter schools on its Web site:
Charter schools are always public schools. They never charge tuition, and they accept any student who wants to attend. Charter laws require that students are admitted by a random lottery drawing in cases too many students want to enroll in a single charter school. Charter schools must also meet the state and federal academic requirements that apply to all public schools.
new story about charter schools admissions by Stephanie Simon at Reuters details how the reality of admissions at many charter schools is far different from the above rhetoric. 

“All the parents in the village want their children to go to college, because only knowledge changes your fate,” Mrs. Cao said.”
In China, Families Bet It All on College for Their Children
New York Times By KEITH BRADSHER Published: February 16, 2013
HANJING, China — Wu Yiebing has been going down coal shafts practically every workday of his life, wrestling an electric drill for $500 a month in the choking dust of claustrophobic tunnels, with one goal in mind: paying for his daughter’s education.  His wife, Cao Weiping, toils from dawn to sunset in orchards every day during apple season in May and June. She earns $12 a day tying little plastic bags one at a time around 3,000 young apples on trees, to protect them from insects. The rest of the year she works as a substitute store clerk, earning several dollars a day, all going toward their daughter’s education.
Many families in the West sacrifice to put their children through school, saving for college educations that they hope will lead to a better life. Few efforts can compare with the heavy financial burden that millions of lower-income Chinese parents now endure as they push their children to obtain as much education as possible.

Schools Ask: Gifted or Just Well-Prepared?
New York Times By JENNY ANDERSON Published: February 17, 2013
When the New York City Education Department announced that it was changing part of its admissions exam for its gifted and talented programs last year, in part to combat the influence of test preparation companies, one of those companies posted the news with links to guides and practice tests for the new assessment.  The day that Pearson, a company that designs assessments, announced that it was changing an exam used by many New York City private schools, another test prep company attempted to decipher the coming changes on its blog: word reasoning and picture comprehension were out, bug search and animal coding were in.
If you did not know what to make of it — and who would? — why not stop by?

Education Policy and Leadership Center
SUBJECT: Governor Corbett's Proposed Education Budget for 2013-2014
"Southeastern Region Breakfast Series" Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Continental Breakfast - 8:00 a.m. Program - 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel - 201 North 17th St., Philadelphia, PA 19103
SPEAKERS: An Overview of the Proposed 2013-2014 State Budget and Education Issues Will Be Provided By:
Sharon Ward, The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center
Ron Cowell, The Education Policy and Leadership Center
State and Regional Perspectives Will Be Provided By:
 Mark B. Miller, School Director, Centennial School District
Joe Otto, Chief Operations Officer, William Penn School District
Michael Churchill, Of Counsel, Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia
Dr. Stephen D. Butz
, Superintendent, Southeast Delco School District
While there is no registration fee, seating is limited and an RSVP is required.

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.  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.  
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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