Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup For February 19, 2013: ...state law does not allow cyber charter surpluses to be returned to school districts

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 1850 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 regulatory agencies, professional associations and education advocacy organizations via emails, website, Facebook and Twitter.

These daily emails are archived at http://keystonestateeducationcoalition.org
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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup
For February 19, 2013

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

Philadelphia Daily News Editorial: IN THE RED ZONE
POSTED: Monday, February 18, 2013, 3:01 AM
GOV. CORBETT was wise to step back from the threat he made to tie any increase in state aid for public schools to the Legislature passing the pension reforms he is seeking.  That line in the sand was drawn by the governor and his top aides before he presented his budget. Last week, the governor erased that line. He said he wouldn't presume to tell the Legislature what to do.

“At the time, superintendents of those districts believed they could provide a more cost-efficient cyber alternative by reimbursing to their districts any surpluses that existed in the cyber program. However, after the school was formed, it was determined that state law did not allow money to be transferred from the cyber program to the school districts.”
Parents seeking to keep STREAM Academy cyber charter school
By Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette February 19, 2013 12:15 am
When the board of the STREAM Academy cyber charter school voted in December to close its program as of June 30 after just four months of operation, officials blamed a projected budget deficit and low enrollment for the decision.  The closing means that 333 students will have to find a new school next year and 52 employees will lose their jobs.

Parent Leaders in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Oppose Gulen Charter School
Diane Ravitch’s Blog By dianerav February 18, 2013 //
Two parent leaders in Lancaster, Pennsylvania–John MGrann and Dennis Deslippe–are organizing opposition to a Gulen charter in their community. The Gulen charters are the largest charter chain in the nation. They are associated with a reclusive Turkish imam who lives in the Poconos but has a powerful political movement in Turkey.

Allentown teachers propose plan to boost elementary school arts education
District looks to best utilize specialist teachers; staff cut from 56 to 20.
By Katrina Wehr, Special to The Morning Call 10:01 p.m. EST, February 17, 2013
Two Allentown teachers say elementary school students can get far more education in art, music, gym and library science at no additional cost.  Lisa Miller and Debbie Tretter's plan would keep library and gym classes going year-long, and have music and art taught for a half a year each despite reductions in the district's arts staff, which went from 56 to 20 teachers last year.
With only five music, five art, five physical education and five library teachers to service the 15 elementary schools in the district, students went from seeing their specialist teachers 36 times a year to nine times, Superintendent Russell Mayo said.

Scranton teachers now evaluating principals
Scranton Times-Tribune BY SARAH HOFIUS HALL (STAFF WRITER) February 15, 2013
Scranton teachers are grading more than papers. Some are now grading their principals.
The Scranton Federation of Teachers, the district's union, is circulating principal evaluation forms in two buildings: John F. Kennedy and Frances Willard elementary schools.  After principals in those schools are evaluated, the union plans to expand the effort to all schools and to other administrators, including the superintendent.  Union President Rosemary Boland said she believes Scranton is the only district in the region, and perhaps beyond, to implement such an evaluation program.

No More Whoohoo
Yinzercation Blog February 18, 2013
“Whoohoo!” Curb your enthusiasm kids and under no circumstances should you ever start a sentence like that. In another sign that high-stakes-testing is out of control and hurting our children, students are now being told to follow rigid writing guidelines that have nothing to do with real learning and everything to do with how they will be measured on tests.

Kin in district may be hindering teacher talks in Carbondale
Scranton Times-Tribune BY REBEKAH BROWN (STAFF WRITER) February 17, 2013
Eight months after the Carbondale Area Education Association's contract with the school district lapsed, negotiations could be stalled because two-thirds of the school board are unable to participate.  Six board members have a conflict of interest, such as a direct relative involved in the teachers union, that prevents them from serving on the negotiating committee.

Vacant schools in Philadelphia a cautionary tale for Chicago
WBEZ91.5 Chicago By: Becky Vevea February 18, 2013
WBEZ and Catalyst-Chicago analysis showed most schools closed over the last decade have been filled by new specialty schools or privately run charters.
But this year, Chicago Public Schools officials say they will not hand over buildings to charters or make them into new schools. Instead, they want to do something they’ve never tried before: sell the schools on a large scale. They say that would help shrink their massive budget deficit.

ROSEN: Say no to charter schools
Looking Left
Yale Daily News BY DIANA ROSEN STAFF COLUMNIST February 13, 2013
The News reported three weeks ago on plans to open new charter schools in New Haven (“State may get new charter schools,” Jan. 23). Over the past several years, charters have been expanding in the Elm City, as well as across the country. My hometown of Chicago has already opened 59 charter schools and has plans to open many more over the next few years. But these paradoxically publicly funded, yet privately operated, institutions need to be critically examined.
Charter schools, freed from the regulation of the public school system, were supposed to fix public education through innovation. Instead, lack of regulation has led to a variety of problems, including hiring inexperienced teachers, failing to serve difficult-to-educate students and using taxpayer dollars corruptly. What charters haven’t created, though, are better-educated students.

How many ineffective teachers are actually out there?
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog by Valerie Strauss on February 19, 2013 at 4:00 am
Getting rid of ineffective teachers is pretty much the focus of school reform these days but pinpointing who really should go isn’t as easy as it seems. Aaron Pallas, professor of sociology and education at Teachers College, Columbia University, looks at the issue here. He writes the Sociological Eye on Education blog — where this post first appeared — for The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, non-partisan education-news outlet affiliated with the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media.

“Charter schools on the other hand, — especially those operated by national Charter Management Organizations like KIPP and National Heritage Academies – tend to reinforce geographic racial patterns in their marketing appeals. On their websites and in their printed materials, these charter chains invariably promote their abilities to educate “underserved” communities and “close achievement gaps,” even though there is no evidence that charters in general are any better at this than traditional public schools. In fact, many of them are worse.”
Is Segregation The New School Choice
By Jeff Bryant | January 6, 2012
I remember the day that the poor kids showed up at our school. It was in 1964.  Classes had already started, and I was in second grade, surrounded by my familiar friends from my mostly white, mostly well-to-do, suburban neighborhood in North Dallas.  Their bus showed up after the last bell had rung. That in itself was a little odd because most of us walked, biked, or were driven to school by parents.

From Portfolios to Parasites: The Unfortunate Path(ology) of U.S. Charter School Policy
National Education Policy Center by Bruce D. Baker February 18, 2013 School Finance 101 Blog
I recall several years ago attending an initial organizing meeting for a special interest group on Charter Schools at the American Educational Research Association. Note to outsiders – AERA has several special interest groups, some research oriented, some advocacy oriented…  many somewhere in between. These are member organized groups and many are very small. If I recall correctly, there were a handful of us at that meeting, including Gary Miron, Katy Bulkley and a few others. If memory serves me, I think Rick Hess may have paid a visit to the meeting to argue that this new group should really just be a part of the school choice special interest group. All of that aside, I and others attended this meeting out of our interest in studying this relatively new concept of charter schools. Most of us were intrigued by the possibilities of alternative governance structures that might provide opportunity for innovation (what might now be referred to a disruptive innovation).
I didn’t spend a whole lot of time researching charters in my first few years after that, but eventually I did start to explore charter schooling and teacher labor markets – specifically the recruitment/retention of teachers based on different academic backgrounds – specifically college selectivity. My perspective was that some creative, energetic leadership (which might now be referred to as Cage-busting leadership) that might be associated with a mission-driven start-up school, coupled with an ounce or two of deregulation, and applied in the right context, might provide opportunities to recruit an academically talented pool of teachers. Our research largely supported these assertions.

Schools matter Blog posted by Judy Rabin Sunday, February 17, 2013
A Kindergarten Teacher Stands Up to Bill Gates
An Open Letter to Bill Gates, By Ruth Rodriguez-Fay

Some charters make it hard for poor, disabled to get admitted
'Significant barriers,' some of them illegal, found in 18 of 25 schools, part of national trend.
Allentown Morning Call By Stephanie Simon, Of Reuters 10:01 p.m. EST, February 17, 2013
Getting in can be grueling.
Students may be asked to submit a 15-page typed research paper, an original short story, or a handwritten essay on the historical figure they would most like to meet. There are interviews, exams. And pages of questions for parents to answer, including: How do you intend to help this school if we admit your son or daughter?
These aren't college applications. They're applications for seats at charter schools.
Charters are public schools, funded by taxpayers and widely promoted as open to all. But Reuters has found that across the United States, charters aggressively screen student applicants, assessing their academic records, parental support, disciplinary history, motivation, special needs and even their citizenship, sometimes in violation of state and federal law.

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.

Edcamp Philly 2013 at UPENN May 18th, 2013
For those of you who have never gone to an Edcamp before, please make a note of the unusual part of the morning where we will build the schedule. Edcamp doesn’t believe in paying fancy people to come and talk at you about teaching! At an Edcamp, the people attending – the participants - facilitate sessions on teaching and learning! So Edcamp won’t succeed without a whole bunch of you wanting to run a session of some kind! What kinds of sessions might you run?
What: Edcamp Philly is an"unconference" devoted to K-12 Education issues and ideas.
Where: University of Pennsylvania  When: May 18, 2013  Cost: FREE!

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