Friday, February 8, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup For February 8, 2013: Governor's Budget Does Little to Undo Damage of Last Two Years

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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup
For February 8, 2013

Education Law Center Press Release February 6, 2013
Wealthy School Districts Reap Benefits of Governor's Budget Plan
In a replay of previous budgets, Governor's plan shortchanges poorest communities
Governor Corbett's Feb. 5 proposal to add $90 million to Basic Education Funding distributes larger percentage increases to wealthy school districts, shortchanging the state's struggling communities, according to a budget analysis from the Education Law Center.
The Governor's proposal also shortchanges less wealthy districts with a significant number of students with a disability by taking a portion of special education funding targeted directly to school districts and putting it into a statewide fund that typically benefits only a handful of school districts.

Statement: Governor's Budget Does Little to Undo Damage of Last Two Years
The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center
Learn More about the 2013-14 Budget
HARRISBURG, PA (February 5, 2013) – Sharon Ward, director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, issued the following statement on Gov. Corbett’s 2013-14 budget proposal:
“The governor’s budget does little to reduce the trend of disinvestment in Pennsylvania schools and communities. It relies heavily on speculative and one-time sources of funding, and proposes expensive new corporate tax breaks that will continue to shift costs to local taxpayers. The budget fails to provide sustainable funding to reduce class sizes in public schools, keep college affordable for middle-class students, and ensure working families can obtain basic health care.”

Don't spend that money yet.
Neither the pension reform piece nor the State Store sale assumptions in this budget are by any means definite. The $90 million increase to basic education is at risk if pension reform fails.
Additionally, the budgeted amount for PSERS (pension payments) in this budget is $100 million LESS than required by state law.
While the total special ed budget line is flat, the State's contingency fund would be doubled from $10 million to $20 million by cutting the special ed allocations for each school district by 1/2%.
There are $375 million in new tax CUTS in this budget.
Who gets what from Corbett's education funding plan; Delco districts on board with increase
By JOHN KOPP @DT_JohnKopp Friday, February 08, 2013
Gov. Tom Corbett’s 2013-14 budget proposal includes public education funding increases for the first time since he took office two years ago.  The $28.4 billion spending plan includes almost $5.5 billion for public education, including a $90 million increase in basic education funding. The increased money will be allocated through a student-focused supplement based on each district’s average daily membership and state aid ratio.

Sounds like Consol Energy was pleased with this deal.  Is this a small inkling of the kind of potential state tax revenue that the Governor has left on the table?
Allegheny County reaches $500 million deal for airport drilling
By Mark Belko / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette February 7, 2013 6:16 pm
Consol Energy Inc. will pay an estimated $500 million over the next 20 years for the right to drill for shale gas on land surrounding Pittsburgh International Airport.

Editorial: Now Corbett faces tough job of selling his agenda
Delco Times Published: Thursday, February 07, 2013
Ground Control to Major Tom.
What, is Tom Corbett running for re-election or something? After seemingly making like Punxsutawney Phil for two years, popping out from his burrow in the governor’s mansion from time to time to push his agenda, the Republican is now furiously making up for lost time.
On Tuesday he put the icing on the cake, rolling out a $28.4 billion budget plan that continues – in theory – to stay true to his no-tax-hike pledge, while doing something he has been roundly skewered for not doing the past two years, increasing aid for public education.
But what is most noticeable in Corbett’s spending blueprint is the breadth of the changes he is looking to spark in the Commonwealth.

Gov. Tom Corbett approval numbers worst in F&M poll history
By Robert J. Vickers | 
on February 07, 2013 at 5:00 AM, updated February 07, 2013 at 6:24 AM
A new Franklin & Marshall College poll finds Gov. Tom Corbett's approval rating at the lowest point in his two-year tenure and the worst for a sitting governor in the 18 year history of the poll.
Corbett, who released his new $28.4 billion budget Tuesday, earned good or excellent ratings from 26 percent of Pennsylvania voters polled. That figure improved to 41 percent among commonwealth Republicans, but stayed the same with independents, and dropped to 16 percent among Democrats.

“Bottom line: This year's $90 million bump to education funding is more akin to returning a dollar to someone from whom you took $100 - two years ago.”
Philadelphia Daily News Editorial: CHUMP CHANGE
February 06, 2013
GOV. CORBETT presented his proposed budget to the Legislature on Tuesday and boasted that he was making an "historic investment" in public education.
The only thing that may be historic is how disingenuous this claim is.
The governor's budget calls for a 1.7 percent increase in the state's $5.4 billion basic subsidy to education, raising it by $90 million statewide. Philadelphia's share would be $16.2 million.
To put that in perspective, consider the recent past. In his first budget as governor in 2011, Corbett proposed cutting higher education by 54 percent. He wanted to carve $1 billion out of the basic public-education subsidy, about 20 percent of the total. Ultimately, higher ed was cut by 19 percent, and the basic-ed subsidy was cut by "only" $860 million.
The next year, he proposed a 20 percent to 30 percent cut to higher education and $100 million out of the basic-education subsidy, though much of that was restored.

“A 2011 study published by the Pew Charitable Trusts concluded that “the money saved as the result of closing schools...has been relatively small in the context of big-city school-district budgets.” 
Closing schools: It's not just about money
Inquirer Letter to the Editor by Lisa Haver POSTED: Thursday, February 7, 2013, 6:07 PM
Lisa Haver is a retired teacher and education activist.
The School District of Philadelphia recently issued its list of 37 schools to be closed permanently this year. We just can’t afford them anymore, the district tells us. The deficit is too big, so it’s time for parents and students to make “painful choices.” The financial crisis is one reason neighborhood schools are on the chopping block, but it is not the only one.

Teachers Lead Philly Endorses Worthwhile Assessments
Teachers Lead Philly website 02/07/2013
Teachers Lead Philly is committed to teachers' stewardship of our profession. We understand that dynamic assessments engage students and foster their sense of life-long learning. We support assessment systems that are designed by teachers to meet the needs of students within their classroom, school or community.
Some teachers may opt to use standardized testing as a means of assessment. However, high stakes standardized testing de-skills teachers and shifts the locus of educational value away from what is most essential: a love of learning, critical and creative thinking and democratic civic engagement.
Teachers Lead Philly calls on colleagues, parents, students and the larger school communities to support worthwhile assessments that are developed by teachers and address the developmental needs of children. 

Sen. Toomey Invites State Senator Anthony Hardy Williams To State Of The Union Address
Senator Toomey’s website Thursday, Feb 7 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) has invited Pennsylvania Senator Anthony Hardy Williams (D-8th District) to be his guest at the State of the Union address on Tuesday, Feb.12. Senator Williams has accepted the invitation to witness President Obama's speech.  Each member of Congress may have a guest sit in the gallery that overlooks the House of Representatives chamber. Traditionally, the First Lady sits in the House gallery with heroes and other Americans who exemplify the messages in the President's remarks

Investing in Our Children
A Plan to Expand Access to Preschool and Child Care
Center for American Progres By Cynthia G. BrownDonna CooperJuliana HermanMelissa LazarínMichael Linden, Sasha Post, and Neera Tanden | February 7, 2013
Download the report: PDF
Read it in your browser: Scribd
Endnotes and citations are available in the PDF version of this issue brief.
After a hard-fought re-election campaign, President Barack Obama and his team now turn to the work of developing their second-term agenda. Since the election there has been widespread recognition that America’s changing demography helped drive the president’s victory, and this recognition has helped propel immigration reform to the top of Congress’s agenda. But the country has been slower to recognize the critical impact of women voters. The fact is that women voters decided the outcome of this election—despite losing the male vote, President Obama was reelected because he won the support of 55 percent of women voters. The resulting 10 percent gender gap was one of the largest in recent decades. So as the president seeks to forge a lasting legacy, he should seize this opportunity to take action on policies that will positively impact women’s lives.

Chicago parents pass petitions at 37 schools against district testing programs
Chicago Examiner BY: JULIE WOESTEHOFF FEBRUARY 6, 2013
Demanding fewer standardized tests in their children's schools, and more test transparency from the district, parents of children in 37 Chicago public schools gathered signatures before and after school today on a new petition created by the parent, teacher, student and community coalition, “More Than a Score.”  The event is also a show of support for the Feb. 6 National Day of Action to Support Seattle MAP Test Boycott.The petitions ask CPS and the Chicago Board of Education to limit standardized testing and provide more transparency about the cost, amount and stakes of the 22 tests now being used in the district. The group intends to present the completed petitions all together to the Board in the near future.

“…traditional reform strategies “will not, on average, enable us to overcome the barriers to student learning posed by the conditions of poverty.” Reformers also need to take concrete steps to address the whole range of factors that hold poor students back. That doesn’t mean sitting around hoping for utopian social change. It means supplementing classroom strategies with targeted, evidence-based interventions outside the classroom: working intensively with the most disadvantaged families to improve home environments for young children; providing high-quality early-childhood education to children from the neediest families; and, once school begins, providing low-income students with a robust system of emotional and psychological support, as well as academic support.”
No, Seriously: No Excuses
New York Times By PAUL TOUGH Published: July 7, 2011
In the early days of the education-reform movement, a decade or so ago, you’d often hear from reformers a powerful rallying cry: “No excuses.” For too long, they said, poverty had been used as an excuse by complacent educators and bureaucrats who refused to believe that poor students could achieve at high levels. Reform-minded school leaders took the opposite approach, insisting that students in the South Bronx should be held to the same standards as kids in Scarsdale. Amazingly enough, those high expectations often paid off, producing test results at some low-income urban schools that would impress parents in any affluent suburb.
Ten years later, you might think that reformers would be feeling triumphant. Spurred in part by the Obama administration’s Race to the Top initiative, many states have passed laws reformers have long advocated: allowing for more charter schools, weakening teachers’ tenure protections, compensating teachers in part based on their students’ performance. But in fact, the mood in the reform camp seems increasingly anxious and defensive.

NSBA joins state and local government groups to push for ESEA reauthorization
NSBA School Board News Today by Joetta Sack-Min February 7, 2013
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) has signed on to aletter urging key members of Congress to pass a comprehensive reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) this year.  The Feb. 4 letter was coordinated by the National Governors Association (NGA) and was signed by nine groups representing state and city leaders and elected officials. It was sent to leaders of the House and Senate education committees.

Dan Rather Reports, "Teaching to the Test" Promo for February 12, 2013
HDNET·309 videos YouTube runtime 31 seconds Published on Feb 6, 2013
Saying it's a waste of time, teachers in Seattle are refusing to give standardized tests to high schoolers because the tests don't effectively assess students and educators don't want their evaluations tied to a faulty test. The move is receiving widespread support across the nation. Dan Rather Reports airs Tuesdays at 8pm ET on AXS TV. "Teaching to the Test" airs February 12, 2012.

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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