Friday, March 29, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for March 29, 2013: Gureghian takes his formula to Camden, NJ

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 1900 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
Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg                                                                     

Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for March 29, 2013:
Gureghian takes his formula to Camden, NJ

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

Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School FAST FACTS
Quakertown Community School District

Camden announces new charter school to open in September
By Jason Laday/South Jersey Times  on March 21, 2013 at 5:58 PM
CAMDEN — Officials on Thursday announced a newly approved public charter school in North Camden, scheduled to begin serving up to 300 elementary school students beginning as early as September.  Students at the new Camden Community Charter School — which will soon break ground at what has long been an empty lot near the intersection of 8th and Linden streets — will be provided with free laptops and at-home Internet access through a partnership between Comcast and a local charity.  The new charter school will be managed by CSMI Education Management LLC, which operates Chester Community Charter School in Pennsylvania, and whose founder and CEO, Vahan Gureghian, is one half of the foundation providing the free laptops and Internet access to students. The other half, Danielle Gureghian, serves as executive vice president and general counsel for the group.

Jersey Jazzman is a great New Jersey education blogger; he did his homework on this….
Jersey Jazzman Blog THURSDAY, MARCH 28, 2013
The Selling Out of Camden's Schools: Part I
Now that the state has officially taken control of Camden's schools, what changes are we likely to see? What's in store for the city's children and their schools?
The best place to find an answer may be right down the Delaware RiverA charter school made famous in Chester, PA is setting up shop in Camden.

Debate continues on Chester Upland school closures
Published: Thursday, March 28, 2013
Delco Times By JOHN KOPP @DT_JohnKopp
The financial and academic recovery plan designed to boost the Chester Upland School District requires the district to restructure its schools, a process that includes consolidations and closings.
Receiver Joseph Watkins held a hearing Wednesday to consider proposals to close several buildings by the beginning of next school year.

Gov. Tom Corbett announces Lehigh Valley effort to promote manufacturing jobs - UPDATE
By Precious Petty | The Express-Times  on March 28, 2013 at 8:24 PM
As a 1960s high school kid, Gov. Tom Corbett said he associated manufacturing with the "dirty jobs" found in Pittsburgh's steel mills.  Steel mills haven't changed -- they're still dirty -- but manufacturing jobs have, and some of the best one are found in tidy, high-tech equipment-filled labs like the one Corbett toured today at Lehigh Career & Technical Institute, he said.

Lehigh Valley officials criticize state education, human services funding
By Lynn Olanoff | The Express-Times  on March 28, 2013 at 6:28 PM
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed minor increase in state funding will do nothing to make up two years of severe cuts to education and human services, Lehigh Valley officials told a Corbett representative today in Bethlehem.

“But the district's chances for getting more money from Harrisburg do not look good.
Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R., Delaware) said Thursday that the state is facing "a very tight budget" and that "there is no surplus waiting to be allocated."
Philly School Reform Commission passes $2.7B preliminary 2013-14 budget
Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer POSTED: Friday, March 29, 2013, 4:45 AM
Already in dire financial straits, the Philadelphia School District must now find ways to plug a hole of as much as $304 million next year.  The School Reform Commission on Thursday night passed a $2.7 billion preliminary 2013-14 budget with few details and multiple question marks.
Its current gap-filling plan requires $120 million in new money from the state, $60 million in new city funding, and pay cuts of roughly 10 percent from all employees, including teachers and other unionized workers.  Each of those line items will be a tough sell, to say the least.

Philly budget banks on $180M in new aid, 10% pay cuts
by thenotebook on Mar 28 2013 Posted in Latest news
by Benjamin Herold for NewsWorks, a Notebook news partner
[Updated, 10:15 p.m.] The struggling Philadelphia School District, hoping to close a $242 million budget shortfall for next school year, plans to slash labor costs by 10 percent more and hope for a huge influx of cash from the state and city.
The School Reform Commission voted Thursday evening to approve this so-called "lump-sum budget," which totals $2.66 billion. The 2013-14 school year will be the third in a row in which the District, staggered by sharp reductions in state and federal aid as well as poor financial planning, has had to make deep and painful cuts to balance its books.
In a press briefing Thursday afternoon, Superintendent William Hite told reporters the District would ask for $120 million from Harrisburg and $60 million from City Hall, part of a painful effort to fix the District's "structural deficit" without again resorting to borrowing money to pay its bills.

Pa. budget chief Zogby: Some pension changes needed by June
By PETER JACKSON, Associated Press Published: Thursday, March 28, 2013
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Lawmakers need to reduce taxpayers' share of payments into Pennsylvania's major state pension funds in the next few years even if the rest of Gov. Tom Corbett's pension-overhaul proposals bog down, the governor's top budget adviser said Wednesday.  Budget Secretary Charles Zogby said Corbett's $28.4 billion state budget plan for the year starting July 1 includes $175 million in savings from a proposed short-term reduction in taxpayers' contributions to the pensions of hundreds of thousands of state and school employees. Similar deferrals would avert sharp increases in the following two years.
Failure to approve the changes would require cuts elsewhere in the budget, he said.

Corbett gears up for court fight over pension reform
Governor seeks to get around 1934 precedent that protects public pensions.
By Steve Esack, Call Harrisburg Bureau 9:08 p.m. EDT, March 27, 2013
HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Corbett's legal chief said Wednesday that the administration is ready for a court battle over pension reform plans that are tied to the governor's proposed 2013-14 budget.  "This is something we can handle in-house," General Counsel Jim Schultz said.
Winning, however, is another matter.
Since 1934, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has held that pension benefits are contractual obligations that cannot be taken away as long as workers abide by the terms of their employment. The precedent has withstood numerous challenges over the decades. But the administration first has to persuade the Legislature to back the pension plans in a law before Schultz can attempt to change precedent with his legal argument he plans to use against lawsuits that have been promised by state workers and teachers unions.

‘Hybrid learning’ ahead, says Pa. Department of Education Secretary Tomalis
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review By Bill Zlatos  Published: Friday, March 29, 2013, 12:13 a.m.
With help from the Internet, schools one day will tailor education to individual students, who might choose from among 100 languages to learn, the state's top education official predicted on Thursday.  “I think the new parents will drive that conversation,” Ronald Tomalis, secretary of the state Department of Education, said during a wide-ranging discussion with Tribune-Review editors and reporters.
South Side celebrates middle school honor
By Abdul Al-Nakhli For The Times | Posted: Friday, March 29, 2013 12:15 am
GREENE TWP. — It was an afternoon of celebration Wednesday as students, faculty and guests gathered at South Side Middle School to acknowledge being named a “School to Watch.”
“We get to celebrate our young people, their achievements, their perseverance and their successes,” said acting Superintendent Tammy Adams. “Students, you should know your teachers, your counselors and principals and entire staff are very proud of you today.”
South Side was one of four middle schools statewide to receive the honor from the Pennsylvania Association for Middle Level Education through its Don Eichhorn: Schools to Watch program.

Schwartz poll: Leads primary and general for guv
Post=Gazette Early Returns by Tim McNulty on Thursday, 28 March 2013 3:34 pm.
U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz's nascent gubernatorial campaign did polling two weeks ago claiming the MontCo congresswoman is the leader in the ever-expanding Democratic field clamoring to take on Tom Corbett next year, and would be the top vote-getter out of the crucial Philadelphia media market.  Schwartz would lead a three-way Dem race among Treasurer Rob McCord and businessman/Rendell cabinet member Tom Wolf with 31% to their 12 and 5% respectively. Once voters are read bios of the trio (listed in pdf below) her lead is 58% to their 14 and 8%. In a wide field including Joe Sestak, former DEP Secretary John Hanger and others she's still squeaks by as the leader, with 18% to Sestak's 15%

The Keystone State Education Coalition is pleased to be listed among the Friends and Allies of the Network for Public Education
Network for Public Education NPE News Issue #3 March 28, 2013

“The real lesson to draw from these facts is that the future of the country is directly linked to how well the 90 percent of American students in public schools are being educated. The nation's future workers, military troops, scientists, doctors, and political leaders will be drawn mostly from children now being educated in public schools. If we want a bright future, we must focus national attention on making public schools as good as they can be.”
Proportion of U.S. Students in Private Schools is 10 Percent and Declining
Huffington Post by Jack Jennings Posted: 03/28/2013 12:31 pm
Founder, and former President, Center on Education Policy
One in 10 U.S. students in grades preK-12 attends a private school, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Education. Surprised it's not a higher share?
Perhaps even more surprisingly, the private school share of total enrollments has decreased over the past 15 years, from about 12 percent to 10 percent. This trend seems unlikely to reverse. The U.S. Department of Education projects that in 2021, private schools will enroll about 9 percent of preK-12 students, while public schools will enroll 91 percent.

10th Period Blog by Stephen Dyer SUNDAY, MARCH 24, 2013
3 out of 4 Ohio Charters get Fs on New Report Card
I was stunned to read this weekend that 3 out of 4 Charter Schools in this state will receive Fs under the new state report card. However, I was even more stunned by the response of Bill Sims, president and CEO of the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools.  Here was his answer to why 3 out of 4 of his schools are failing, (according to the Gongwer (subscription only) story):

In Maine, More Advanced Placement classes to be offered online
Thanks to a funding increase, a program providing universal access to advanced classes can also take more students.
By Noel K. Gallagher  Staff Writer March 25,2013
Maine is increasing funding and expanding courses for a program that provides free online Advanced Placement courses to students who can't get them at their local high school.
"I firmly believe that it's a very, very important program," said Dave Patterson, who oversees AP4ALL for the state Department of Education. The department is currently accepting applications for this fall.  This year, there are about 200 students in the 17 AP courses. Next year the state will offer 21 courses and could have as many as 420 students enrolled.

Education Voters PA ACTION ALERT – Call to action day April 10th

Mark your calendar for the next Call to Action Day on Wednesday April 10th - where thousands of Pennsylvanians will take 10 minutes to call their State Senators and House members.

A group from the Penn Graduate School of Education is visiting Finland to see their education system.  Follow their blog…..

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.

1 comment:

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.