Thursday, March 21, 2013

Keystone State Education Coalition: Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for March 21, 2013: PA 1 of only 2 states in booze biz; 1 of only 3 states without an education funding formula

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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for March 21, 2013: PA 1 of only 2 states in booze biz; 1 of only 3 states without an education funding formula

Pennsylvania closer to toasting liquor sales overhaul
WHYY Newsworks By Mary Wilson, @Marywilson March 21, 2013
A plan to privatize the way liquor is sold in Pennsylvania is nearing an historic step: final consideration in the House Thursday.  Floor debate was expected to drag on Wednesday night.
House Democrats had offered more than 100 amendments making tweaks large and small to a plan to phase out most state wine and spirit stores, allow wine sales in grocery stores and OK beer sales in gas stations.  But they withdrew most of them after one of their largest amendments failed.

PA 1 of only 2 states in booze biz; 1 of only 3 states without an education funding formula

Help spread the message of the Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign for the 2013-2014 State Budget:

Increase state funding for basic education for academic programs and services to students in 2013-2014 by $270 million (first installment of three-year plan to restore nearly $900 million of 2011-2012 cuts).

Distribute funds to districts with a formula that accounts for the number of students, includes “weights” for the additional costs for educating students with special needs (including students in poverty, gifted students, and English language learners), and provides sustainable and predictable funding for districts.

“SB 335: If a public school district offers a cyber-based program equal in scope and content to an existing publicly chartered cyber charter school and a student in that district attends a cyber charter school instead of the district's cyber-based program, the school district shall not be required to provide funding to pay for a student's attendance at a cyber charter school.”
As I See It: A solution to cyber-charter school funding
By Patriot-News Op-Ed  By Don Bell on March 13, 2013 at 12:00 AM
Don Bell is the superintendent of schools for the Northern Lebanon School District.
Next year, Pennsylvania's public school districts will send $1 billion to charter and cyber-charter schools across the state. But what if Pennsylvania taxpayers could save $1 billion next year and every year after that?  A bill now before the state Senate would do just that.

Let’s drop that soundbite pretext of helping poor kids in failing schools.  There’s money to be made, and locally elected school boards are just an inconvenience.
Georgia could become the only state to force local school boards to consider petitions to transform non-failing traditional public schools into charter schools.”
Georgia charter-school law would be different from other states’
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution By Wayne Washington Monday, March 18, 2013
Georgia could become the only state to force local school boards to consider petitions to transform non-failing traditional public schools into charter schools.
Seven states have so-called “parent-trigger” laws on their books, though only one of them, California’s, has been used to change a school.  California, Connecticut, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio and Texas all allow parents to start a process that could change a traditional public school into a charter school. But in each of those states, where the law is fairly new, the parents could trigger that process only if the public school is, in some way, determined to be a failing school.

“Protesters were set to meet outside Houston Hall — where the session was planned to take place — claiming “that since BCG decided to shut down our schools it’s only fair to shut down their meeting,” according to the protest’s Facebook event.”
Boston Consulting Group presentation canceled in face of protest at Penn
Activists claim victory after objecting to firm's involvement with school closings
The Daily Pennsylvanian By WILL MARBLE · March 20, 2013, 12:40 pm
An on-campus information session for the Boston Consulting Group was canceled at the last minute today against the backdrop of planned student protests.
The Student Labor Action Project, a student group for workers’ rights, planned to protest the presentation because of BCG’s involvement with school closings in Philadelphia. The firm was hired by the School District of Philadelphia to prepare recommendations on how to manage the city’s enormous budget deficit. According to the Philadelphia Public School Notebook, an independent news site, BCG identified up to 60 Philadelphia public school buildings as candidates for closure.  Earlier this month, officials voted to close 23 schools.

With parent demand surging, 20 charters seeking to expand in Philadelphia
by thenotebook on Mar 20 2013 Posted in Latest news
by Benjamin Herold for NewsWorks, a Notebook news partner
Chrissy Poper has been trying to get her 8-year old daughter into the popular MaST Community Charter School in Northeast Philadelphia for the last three years.  But with parent demand far outpacing the number of available seats at the school, Poper has been left to play some very long odds.  "I put applications in for her in kindergarten, first, and second grade," Poper said.
"She just hasn't hit the lottery yet."

School District of Lancaster board rejects charter for controversial business school
Lancaster Online Intelligencer Journal Lancaster New Era
By BRIAN WALLACE Staff Writer Originally Published Mar 19, 2013 19:52
Citing "serious and pervasive deficiencies" in its application, the School District of Lancaster board has rejected a charter for the proposed Academy of Business Entrepreneurship Charter School.  Tuesday's 8-0 vote, with one abstention, ended, for now, a months-long debate over the merits of the school, which would have opened in the fall in Lancaster city.

Budget woes could force Bethlehem Area to ax preschool
Officials say they may have no choice in light of $8.2 million budget gap.
By Margie Peterson, Special to The Morning Call 9:25 p.m. EDT, March 19, 2013
A Bethlehem Area School Board discussion over funding pre-kindergarten classes grew heated Monday evening in what might be a taste of things to come as school directors face tough choices for next year's budget.  When it approved its preliminary 2013-14 budget in February, the district was facing a nearly $8.2 million deficit.
The sharp exchanges Monday came after the board voted to apply for a $786,000 state Pre-K Counts grant to run its SPARK pre-school program for at-risk 3- and 4-year-olds.

Hey, Teach !!! — Dear Students

Paradigm Magazine Written by Jason Finn  on Mar 20, 2013
Jason Finn, Ed.D., is a former U.S. Fulbright recipient, an author and English teacher of adolescent youth where he crafts lessons full of sublime stupidity with whimsical abandon since 1994.

Attention! Students!

I am sorry to inform you that your public school is closing. After an intensive study done by an outside consulting firm at great cost involving money we don’t have, we have found that public education’s benefits simply no longer outweigh the costs.

Can They Fly Our Kids to School?
Yinzercation Blog March 20, 2013
What on earth is going on with our state legislators? Yesterday the House Finance Committee voted, 18 to 6, to give away $14 million in our taxpayer money to exempt the super-wealthy from paying sales tax on the purchase of their private jets. House Bill 1100 will also keep corporate aircraft, jet parts, maintenance, and repair all tax free. Of course, you and I will still have to pay sales tax on our cars. [Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, “Kids or Tax Breaks”]
Seriously? Eighteen Pennsylvania state representatives voted for this bill when school districts across the state are still slashing programs, furloughing teachers, and closing entire buildings?


State Board of Education adopts new revision to Chapter 4 regulations:
Common Core Standards, Keystone Exams, PSSA Alignment
PSBA’s website March 14, 2013
On March 14, the State Board of Education approved extensive changes to its draft revisions of the Chapter 4 regulations for academic standards and assessment that received the board's initial approval last May. The regulations apply to school districts, charter and cyber charter schools, and area vocational technical schools. The final form version of Chapter 4 changes will now move the second stage of the formal approval process and be transmitted to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission and the Senate and House Education Committees for consideration. The changes approved by the State Board in March will not be final and effective until the review is complete and the new Chapter 4 is published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
Key provisions under the Chapter 4 proposal as adopted March 14, 2013:


PDE PRESS RELEASE March 20, 2013
PA Secretary of Education Tells Committee Governor Corbett’s Digital Learning Proposal Expands Educational Opportunities for Students
Harrisburg – Governor Tom Corbett’s proposal to expand digital learning to all students across Pennsylvania is an important component to the future of education in Pennsylvania, said Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis today during testimony before the House Education Committee.  “Digital learning is not just a short-term trend, it is quickly becoming the new model for education across the state and throughout the country,” Tomalis said.  “The higher education and business communities as well as our day-to-day lives have adapted to the digital environment and our public education system must follow the same path to make sure that students are provided with additional high-quality learning opportunities.”

 The committee’s focus was Rep. Ryan Aument’s (R-Lancaster) proposal, House Bill 983, which would require the Department of Education to create a clearinghouse for online courses to be made accessible to school entities, including school districts, charter and cyber charter schools, intermediate units, and career and technical centers.

 Read more


Gay-Straight Alliance Club gets temporary okay at CASHS

Chambersburg Public Opinion Online By BRIAN HALL @bkhallpo March 20,2013
Chambersburg Area Senior High School has a Gay-Straight Alliance club - for now.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania was notified Wednesday that the Chambersburg Area School District would grant the club all the same rights and responsibilities as other clubs immediately, and at least until the school board meets again.
The school board meets at 7 p.m. March 27 in the CAMS North auditorium.

Elvis has left the building; maybe not….
Where’s Voyager 1? That Depends.
The two Voyager spacecrafts are now approaching the edge of the solar system.
New York Times By KENNETH CHANG Published: March 20, 2013
For about three hours on Wednesday, Voyager 1 had left the solar system — before a rewritten news release headline pulled it back in.Voyager 1, one of two spacecraft NASA launched in 1977 on a grand tour of the outer planets, is now nearly 11.5 billion miles from the Sun, speeding away at 38,000 miles per hour. In a paper accepted by the journal Geophysical Review Letters, William R. Webber of New Mexico State University and Frank B. McDonald of the University of Maryland reported that on Aug. 25 last year, the spacecraft observed a sudden change in the mix of cosmic rays hitting it.

PSBA opens nominations for the Timothy M. Allwein Advocacy Award
PSBA website 3/15/2013
The nomination process is now open and applications will be accepted until June 21, 2013.
In 2011, PSBA created a new award to honor the memory of its long-term chief lobbyist, who died unexpectedly. The Timothy M. Allwein Advocacy Award may be presented annually to the individual school director or entire school board to recognize outstanding leadership in legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of public education and students that are consistent with the positions in PSBAs Legislative Platform. The nomination process is now open and applications will be accepted until June 21, 2013. The award will be presented during the PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference in October.

PSBA officer applications due April 30
PSBA’s website 2/15/2013
Candidates seeking election to PSBA officer posts in 2014 must file an expression of interest for the office desired to be interviewed by the PSBA Leadership Development Committee.
This new committee replaces the former Nominations Committee. Deadline for filing is April 30. The application shall be marked received at PSBA headquarters or mailed first class and postmarked by the deadline to be considered timely filed. Expression of interest forms can be found online at

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!
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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