Saturday, March 2, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup For March 2, 2013: Capitalists for Preschool: “for every dollar invested today, savings range from $2.50 to as much as $17 in the years ahead.”

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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup For March 2, 2013: Capitalists for Preschool: “for every dollar invested today, savings range from $2.50 to as much as $17 in the years ahead.” 

Roebuck Seeking Co-sponsors for Comprehensive Charter and Cyber Charter School Reform Legislation

The Institute for a Competitive Workforce, an affiliate of the United States Chamber of Commerce, found in a 2010 report that “for every dollar invested today, savings range from $2.50 to as much as $17 in the years ahead.” 
Capitalists for Preschool
New York Times Opinion By JOHN E. PEPPER Jr. and JAMES M. ZIMMERMAN Published: March 1, 2013
John E. Pepper Jr. is a former chairman and chief executive of Procter & Gamble and a former chairman of the Walt Disney Company. James M. Zimmerman is a former chairman and chief executive of Macy’s.
IN his State of the Union addressPresident Obama called for making preschool available to every 4-year-old in America, opening a welcome discussion on whether and how to make the investments needed to realize this vision.  As two longtime corporate executives who have been engaged in education for decades, we have no doubt about the answer to this question. Children who attend high-quality preschool do much better when they arrive in kindergarten, and this makes an enormous difference for their later success. The data on preschool is overwhelmingly positive. Although some studies suggest that the positive impact decreases over time, this is mainly attributable to differences in the quality of preschool and of the schooling that follows — not a deficiency in preschool itself.

Federal spending cuts: Pennsylvania congressional leaders have heard from constituents
By Ivey DeJesus |  on March 01, 2013 at 5:07 PM, updated March 02, 2013 at 12:28 AM
U.S. Rep. Scott Perry is walking around with two pennies in his pocket.  The Republican freshman congressman uses the coins to illustrate how he feels about the impending mandatory federal spending cuts.  “If anybody asks me, I pull out my two cents and say, ‘Do you think you are really getting every penny’s worth of your taxes that are spent by the federal government and do you think we really can’t take out two cents of a dollar the federal government spends and still operate it?’” Perry said.   ….Perry, like almost every other one of the congressional lawmakers from central Pennsylvania, said calls or messages to his four offices had remained steady if not unchanged from the usual.  “To all of our chagrin it doesn’t seem to be motivating the citizenry one way or another,” said Perry, of the 4th congressional district. “Maybe they are burnt out with the whole sky is falling mantra coming out of Washington D.C. every two months.”

Education consumes the lion’s share of the state budget, yet thus far there has been virtually no press coverage of these hearings…….
Video of February 27th PA House Appropriations Committee Budget Hearing for the Department of Education
Video Runtime: 3:15:59

"I do intend to run for governor in 2014," Ms. Schwartz told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
Schwartz to create PAC for 2014 governor bid
The Associated Press March 2, 2013 12:10 am
U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Philadelphia, said Friday she is preparing to set up a state fundraising committee as her first official step toward a likely 2014 campaign for Pennsylvania governor.  The fifth-term Democratic congresswoman stopped short of declaring her candidacy, but said she will file papers to create a political-action committee "in the next few weeks or a month or so."

Some Dems irked at linking Pa. state store sales to school funding
WHYY Newsworks By Mary Wilson March 1, 2013
Critics see an inconsistency in Gov. Tom Corbett's plan to create education grants with liquor privatization funds.  The Pennsylvania Capitol is where the sausage is made, or so the saying goes.  So perhaps it makes sense that, with so many big proposals to negotiate, there's been a lot of talk about links -- including the Corbett liquor privatization plan that's been linked to education funding. The governor's proposal would put money raised through privatization toward one-time grants for schools -- a program called "Passport to Learning."

Pennsylvania, Texas, Wyoming Apply for NCLB Waivers
Education Week Politics K-12 Blog By Michele McNeil on March 1, 2013 11:00 AM
Three more states, including two with large student populations, have applied for waivers under the No Child Left Behind Act.  Longtime holdouts Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wyoming made the Feb. 28 deadline for the fourth—and possibly the last—waiver application window with the U.S. Department of Education.

Back to 1965: Evaluating the District’s contract proposal
The Notebook by Ron Whitehorne on Mar 01 2013 Posted in Commentary
The Philadelphia School District has made a package of teacher contract proposals that are extreme, far-reaching, and downright mean-spirited.  
  • Wage cuts of up to 13 percent next year and no raises for five years. Step increases eliminated.
  • Benefits cut. Health and Welfare Fund eliminated.
  • Seniority eliminated. District can transfer teachers at whim. Principals will have discretion to hire, fire, and lay off.
  • Class-size caps gone. District's obligation to provide supplies gone. All but a handful of certified librarians gone. Even teachers' lounges gone.
This would essentially take teachers and school employees back almost 50 years, to 1965, before there was a union contract. The gains that Philadelphia Federation of Teachers members worked so hard to get would be wiped out. 

Philadelphia school superintendent defends teacher contract proposal
Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer POSTED: Friday, March 1, 2013, 6:01 AM
William R. Hite Jr. wants you to know: He does not want to drive teachers out of the Philadelphia School District.  The superintendent says he doesn't want to take away their water fountains, desks, or privileges to leave the building during their lunch periods. He's not after students' books and he doesn't want to increase class sizes.
"We believe teachers are professionals, just like architects, lawyers, doctors," Hite said Thursday in an interview. "We want a contract that reflects that. I truly believe that in order for teachers to be effective, there needs to be some flexibility, and we need to treat them as professionals."

Hite: Contract proposals are not anti-teacher
The Notebook by Dale Mezzacappa on Feb 28 2013
Superintendent William Hite wants to make it clear: He is an educator, a former teacher, and principal himself. "I have the greatest respect for teachers and the teaching profession because we know the incredible impact teachers have on student outcomes," he said.
So the details of the District's opening position in its contract talks with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers -- leaked out over the last few days -- have caused a lot of "misconceptions" of his and the District's intentions, he said.

“He said his group believes Catholic schools are an important component of the partnership's effort to increase the number of seats in high-performing schools for city children.  "This is a significant grant, in that Catholic schools are part of the solution," he said. "Not the solution, but they need to be part of the solution."
Partnership to offer grant for independent Catholic elementary schools
Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer POSTED: Friday, March 1, 2013, 3:01 AM
The Philadelphia School Partnership will announce a $500,000 grant Friday to help a new network of independent Catholic elementary schools in low-income neighborhoods.

“If everyone is looking for a way to avoid paying, that is just not going to happen,” Jeff Clay, executive director of PSERS, told members of the General Assembly. ”It’s about figuring out how to pay it.”
Pa. lawmakers have to face pension pain sooner or later
Pottstown Mercury By Eric Boehm PA Independent Posted: 02/27/13 06:45 pm
HARRISBURG — There is no easy way out of Pennsylvania’s pension labyrinth.
The state’s two public pension systems — the State Employees Retirement System, or SERS, and the Public School Employees Retirement System, or PSERS — are a combined $41 billion in the red, thanks to years of underfunding by the state coupled with historic investment losses in the 2008 financial collapse.  And while attempts at overhauling the system can create savings down the road, that $41 billion has to be paid one way or the other.

Mt. Pleasant elementary students salute Seuss, appreciate reading
TribLive By Marilyn Forbes Freelance Reporter Daily Courier  March 2, 2013, 1:41 a.m.
In recognition of the birthday of children's author Theodor Seuss Giesel — better know as Dr. Seuss — children across America are participating in Read Across America.
Elementary schools in Mt. Pleasant were no exception.  Students spent the this week taking part in fun projects, events and special lunches all focused on the author and his many works of literature.  “We did special things all week,” Norvelt teacher Paula Walker said. “We dressed differently on different days and even the cafeteria made special things.
“They made red and blue Jello for ‘One Fish, Two, Red Fish, Blue Fish' Day. They also made green eggs and ham on Thursday for ‘Green Eggs and Ham' Day. It didn't look very appetizing, but the kids just loved it.”
Chester beats Lower Merion, wears district crown for third straight year
Published: Saturday, March 02, 2013
Delco Times By MATT CHANDIK, @MattChandik
RADNOR — Take a step into the hallowed halls of the Chester’s famed Clip Joint and take notice of the overwhelming amount of black and orange championship banners that adorn its walls.  For most sports, there’s the year of any championship of any sort listed as a way to almost bring back the memories to the present day.  With one notable exception, though. For the most decorated basketball program in the state, there are no championship banners commemorating the 21 District One championships that Chester had claimed prior to Friday night’s date with Lower Merion at Villanova’s Pavilion, this time with No. 22 on the line. There’s a good reason for that.

Why Are Walmart Billionaires Bankrolling Phony School 'Reform' In LA?
Huffington Post by Peter Drier Posted: 02/28/2013 9:46 am
For years, Los Angeles has been ground zero in an intense debate about how to improve our nation's education system. What's less known is who is shaping that debate. Many of the biggest contributors to the so-called "school choice" movement -- code words for privatizing our public education system -- are billionaires who don't live in Southern California, but have gained significant influence in local school politics. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's recent contribution of $1 million to a political action committee created to influence next week's LAUSD school board elections is only the most recent example of the billionaire blitzkrieg.
For more than a decade, however, one of the biggest of the billionaire interlopers has been the Walton family, heirs to the Walmart fortune, who have poured millions into a privatization-oriented, ideological campaign to make LA a laboratory for their ideas about treating schools like for-profit businesses, and treating parents, students and teachers like cogs in what they must think are education big-box retail stores.

School boards look for more ways to cut budgets as sequester becomes reality
NSBA School Board News Today by Joetta Sack-Min March 1, 2013
With across-the-board federal cuts taking effect today through sequestration, school boards will need to make tough budget decisions to account for the decrease in federal education funding. As school boards begin to craft budgets for the 2013-14 school year, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) is calling for Washington leaders to work out a deal to ensure schools are able to continue programs and avoid teacher and staff layoffs.
“Congress and the Obama administration must act now to alleviate these cuts to education before school districts have to issue pink slips and inform parents that vital programs and resources are going to be cut,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, NSBA’s Executive Director. “These new federal cuts to education will push back the progress our school districts have made in student achievement. School districts are going to have to make difficult choices as they develop their budgets for the next school year, and for years to come as the cuts continue.”

A Review of the Latest Gates’ MET Study
Diane Ravitch’s Blog By dianerav March 2, 2013 
Jesse Rothstein, one of our premier economists and an experienced analyst of teacher evaluation studies, reviewed the latest MET study.  MET (Measures of Effective Teaching) is the Gates Foundation’s premier effort to show that someone has finally figured out a formula to measure teacher quality.  Rothstein says that the MET study did not succeed at its stated task.

Public hearing - Cyber Charter Funding Reform
Thursday, March 14, 201310:00 AM Room 140 Main Capitol
HB 618 (Emrick) and HB 759 (Reese)
Here’s some background on these two bills:
Charter and Cyber Charter Funding Reforms Proposed
House Majority Leader Mike Turzai’s website 1/25/2013
HARRISBURG – The House Republican Caucus today unveiled a legislative package aimed at reforming charter and cyber charter school funding.

PhilaSoup March 2013 - Sunday Get together
Sunday, March 3, 2013 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM (EST) Philadelphia, PA
Teachers Institute of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania, Houston Hall (2nd Floor)
3417 Spruce Street, PhiladelphiaPA 19104
Philasoup is a monthly microgrant dinner meant to bring innovative and dynamic Philadelphia-area educators together, highlight the great work they are doing and fund some terrific projects. The vision for PhilaSoup is to be a monthly microgrant dinner that starts and ends with educators but is an access point to education for the whole city.

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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