Thursday, February 7, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup For February 7, 2013: Budget with a But

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 education advocacy organizations via emails, website, Facebook and Twitter.

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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup
For February 7, 2013

“Democrats sought to use a parliamentary move to amend the bill to include privately operated charter and cyber schools, but it failed by a five-vote margin.”
Pa. House OKs school exploitation-awareness bill
The Associated Press POSTED: Wednesday, February 6, 2013, 4:12 PM
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A bill to require exploitation-awareness programs in Pennsylvania public schools has been approved by the state House of Representatives.
The bill sponsored by Rep. Mauree Gingrich, a Lebanon County Republican, was approved 177-18 and sent to the Senate for consideration.

Program launched to make students Pittsburgh Promise-ready
By Alex Zimmerman / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette February 6, 2013 12:03 am
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced a new initiative Tuesday that he hopes will enable more students to take advantage of The Pittsburgh Promise, a $40,000 scholarship designed to enable students to attend college.  In front of about 65 people at the Mount Ararat Baptist Church in Larimer, Mr. Ravenstahl said 500 "Promise coaches" will be trained to mentor young people and help make them "Promise ready."

Enon Tabernacle seeks to counter 'top-down' approach to Philly school closings
WHYY Newsworks February 6, 2013 By Benjamin Herold
Add Alyn Waller, the influential pastor of the 15,000-member Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in Northwest Philadelphia, to the growing chorus of critics questioning the School District's plan to close 37 city schools by next fall.  "I am not in favor of school closings without merit and without data to support such a drastic decision," said Waller.
Waller believes that some "rightsizing" of the city's public school system is necessary. But he doesn't think the district has made its case for many of the specific school closings that have been proposed.  He's upset saying the communities that will be affected by the dramatic changes have not been properly consulted.  So for the past several weeks, volunteers from Enon have hosted "school-based community meetings" at more than two dozen of the 44 Philadelphia schools targeted for closure or relocation.

Test boycott puts Seattle teachers in national spotlight
by thenotebook on Feb 06 2013 by Ross Brenneman
Since a group of Seattle high school teachers decided to boycott administration of a computerized exam in December, their protest has been embraced by opponents of high-stakes testing as a call to nationwide action.  Teachers at Garfield High School, however, portray their protest as narrowly focused against one particular test used by their district—the Measures of Academic Progress, or MAP—not against assessments in general, high-stakes or otherwise.


Celebrating education technology innovations through Digital Learning Day

NSBA School Board News Today, February 6, 2013 by Alexis Rice

School boards across the country will take part in Digital Learning Day today by promoting their district’s educational technologies in classrooms and at school board meetings.

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is proud to be a core partner in Digital Learning Day, which celebrates innovative teaching practices that make learning more personalized and engaging and encourages school leaders to explore how digital resources can provide more students with enhanced opportunities to get the skills they need to succeed. Now in its second year, the event is a project of the Digital Learning Policy Center, a division of the Alliance for Excellent Education, which promotes the effective applications of technology in schools.


Listen to Recording of EPLC's February 6 Analysis of Governor Corbett's Proposed Education Budget (runtime 25 minutes)
Education Policy and Leadership Center, February 7, 2013
Below  are instructions to listen to the Wednesday, February 6 11:00 a.m. conference call recording of EPLC's analysis of Governor Corbett's Proposed Education Budget.  The call recording is 25 minutes in length.
1. Paste the URL into your browser:
2. At the prompt, enter your name and email address.
3. Click "Submit". The playback will begin.


Gov. Tom Corbett's budget: The three biggest challenges

By Charles Thompson |  on February 06, 2013 at 9:20 PM

Gov. Tom Corbett belatedly declared himself a striver in his budget address Tuesday.

The governor asked the General Assembly to join with him in accomplishing three big lifts that some around Harrisburg have been expecting since his term began in 2011.


Pa. lawmakers wary, Corbett takes plan on the road

PA State Wire by MARC LEVY February 6, 2013

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Gov. Tom Corbett has hit the road to sell an ambitious spring agenda, toting a message honed to win over popular opinion. In his rear-view mirror is a skeptical Legislature.Audiences on Wednesday began hearing the sales pitch, a day after the Republican governor revealed the full scope of his plans to increase transportation funding, rein in pension costs and boost spending next year. Those blueprints are accompanied by his recently announced strategy to liberalize sales of beer, wine and liquor in Pennsylvania.

It helps that, for the first time in his three years of presenting budget plans, Corbett has floated one that does not advance stiff cuts to at least some area of state government aid. That allows him to play up his proposed new spending on public schools and social services, not to mention his third year of seeking business tax cuts.

“A real commitment to student improvement in reading and science and to improved security at our schools would be funded with real and certain dollars, not a budget gimmick.”
Gov. Corbett's budget built like a 'house of cards'
Morning Call Opinion by Sharon Ward February 05, 2013
Shortly before Gov. Tom Corbett presented his first state spending plan, Budget Secretary Charles Zogby promised there would be "no more gimmicks, no more use of one-time funds."
What a difference two years makes.
In the budget unveiled on Tuesday, Gov. Corbett has proposed modest increases in popular programs — increases that rely on budget gimmicks and changes that will have to pass both legislative and legal muster. In doing so, he has built a budget that is a house of cards, which may well crumble in the months to come.

“To help you sort through the $28.4 billion spending plan, here’s a concise rundown on how the governor’s budget proposal would impact Pennsylvania’s kids and their families in several key areas..”
What Gov. Corbett’s Proposed 2013-14 Budget Means for Kids
PA Partnerships for Children February 2013
There is clearly a lot to absorb in Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget plan for fiscal 2013-14, in part because this budget – unlike the previous two the governor proposed – increases funding for several proven programs that benefit children.  On the whole, this latest spending plan represents a smart step toward increasing our investments in the commonwealth’s 2.7 million children. As we pointed out in our news release issued on budget day, the governor is seeking to put more money into programs that will build our commonwealth’s human capital by investing in our greatest resource – our children.

Corbett reaches into the grab bag of ideas for Pa.
Karen Heller, Inquirer Columnist POSTED: Wednesday, February 6, 2013, 3:01 AM
Booze for books! Expanded lottery for geezers! You can't say Gov. Corbett doesn't think outside the Capitol dome. The governor reiterated his promise to privatize the lottery and liquor businesses during his third budget address Tuesday, which may also be viewed as the start of his reelection campaign.

“We’re putting less money into already underfunded plans and calling it reform,” he said. “Those debts have to be paid off eventually.”
PA governor wants pension ‘reform’ now in return for huge costs later
By Eric Boehm | Commonwealth Foundation’s PA Independent February 5, 2013
HARRISBURG – Proposed pension reforms in Pennsylvania save about $175 million next year at a cost of billions in the long run.  During his budget address on Tuesday, Gov. Tom Corbett called on lawmakers to pass his multi-level pension reform proposal with this year’s state budget. The plan would move new employees to a 401(k)-style pension system, would reduce future benefits for current employees and would reduce the state’s payments into the state’s two pension systems for the foreseeable future.

Budget With a But
Yinzercation Blog February 6, 2013
This budget has a big but. Yesterday, Governor Corbett proposed a new state budget that includes a tiny increase for education funding, but he tied those funds to pension reform and threatened to withdraw the increase. Then he proposed a new block grant program for schools, but he tied that funding to the sale of liquor stores. That’s actually two big buts, and there’s even more trouble packed into the caboose of this education train.

Governor Corbett’s Proposed 2013-14 Budget: Modest Program Increases Reliant on Precarious Funding Sources
By Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center Staff February 5, 2013
Governor Tom Corbett proposed a 2013-14 budget of $28.4 billion — up $400 million, or 1%, from when he took office in 2010-11. The budget proposes expensive new corporate tax breaks that will continue to shift costs to individuals and local taxpayers, while failing to restore deep cuts to public schools, keep college affordable for middle-class students, or ensure working families can obtain basic health care.  The budget does little to reduce the trend of disinvestment in Pennsylvania schools and communities, while providing modest increases in several areas, notably services for children and for people with disabilities. The program improvements may be hard to retain, as they rely on funding from reductions in pension spending that are by no means certain.
Read more:


Missed Live from the Newsroom talks booze and schools? Here is the replay

Delco Times Published: Wednesday, February 06, 2013

The governor reiterated his call to get the state out of the booze business, selling off 600 state stores and auctioning as many as 1,200 licenses to sell wine and spirits to private stores, supermarkets and other private entities.  But here’s the interesting part. Corbett is dangling a carrot to the Legislature in an area that is always a sore point. The governor says he will take that $1 billion windfall and plow it into education.


PA Senate Democrats Respond to Budget Proposal


PA House Democratic Leaders React to Budget Proposal

YouTube video runtime 1:59 Published on Feb 5, 2013
Pa. House Democratic Leaders say that after two years of putting the burden on working Pennsylvanians it's time for Gov. Corbett's budget to make common sense investments in schools, road & bridge repairs and a plan to help working families and the middle class. 

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup For February 6, 2013: Statewide Coverage and Reactions to Governor Corbett’s Budget Address

Pittsburgh Feb. 10th Rally for Public Education!
Yinzercation Blog January 28, 2013
Come RALLY FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION on Sunday, February 10, 20133PM at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty (5941 Penn AvenuePittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15206). This is about equity, social justice, and a great public education for all our children.

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.  
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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