Thursday, April 11, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for April 11, 2013: Obama Proposes $75 Billion for Universal Preschool over 10 years

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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for April 11, 2013:
Obama Proposes $75 Billion for Universal Preschool over 10 years

Twelve Philly schools under 'quarantine' during PSSA exams
WHYY Newsworks By Benjamin Herold @BenjaminBHerold April 10, 2013
Forty-two Philadelphia District schools are under heightened security during the administration of this year's state standardized tests, including a dozen schools that are under "quarantine" conditions.  The intensive monitoring comes in the midst of ongoing investigations into the possibility of widespread adult cheating on the exams at 53 district schools in 2009, 2010, and 2011. After similar security measures were put in place during the administration of last year's exams, test scores plummeted at 160 schools across the district, in some cases by 30 percentage points or more.

Bethlehem Area School District wants to boost number of 4-year-olds in high quality child care
By Sara K. Satullo | The Express-Times  on April 09, 2013 at 5:51 AM
The Bethlehem Area School District hopes to boost the number of district 4-year-olds in high quality child care by 10 percent next school year.
The district wants to supplement SPARK, its grant-funded prekindergarten program for at-risk students, without costing district taxpayers so it's trying to get creative and work with partners, Assistant Superintendent for Education Jack Silva said.
If Bethlehem Area is awarded a state grant SPARK will serve 100 4-year-olds next year while there are 55 4-year-olds enrolled in district child care. Lehigh Valley Child Care and Head Start serve about another 300 4-year-olds.

Perkiomen Valley School Board backs pension, charter school funding reforms
By Mark D. Marotta Journal Register News Service Tuesday, 04/09/13 04:55 pm
PERKIOMEN—The Perkiomen Valley School Board has given its OK to three resolutions calling for reform in funding for charter schools, cybercharter schools and the pension system for school employees.  …..According one of the resolutions, Perkiomen Valley has spent a total of $3.93 million on charter and cybercharter school expenditures over the past five years, with state reimbursement amounting to $496,169. The resolution asserted that “the current state funding formula for regular and special education in charter and cyber charter schools bears no relationship to” their actual instructional costs. Language in the resolution said that “the state’s flawed charter school funding formula is costing taxpayers hundreds of millions in additional tax dollars.”

U. Darby residents assail planned cuts in high school arts and sports programs
Rita Giordano, Inquirer Staff Writer  Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 12:33 PM
They could swallow cutbacks in transportation and school administration, and even tolerate an increase in property taxes - within limits.  But residents of the Upper Darby School District gave a resounding "no way" to the hacking of beloved music and arts programs and high school sports.
Those were some of the findings in a report released Tuesday night by the University of Pennsylvania Project for Civic Engagement.

North Pocono School Leaders Negotiate into Wednesday night, still hope to avoid strike
Scranton Times-Tribune BY KYLE WIND (STAFF WRITER) Published: April 11, 2013
North Pocono district and teachers union leaders negotiated for four hours on Wednesday night, but the president of the union said afterward that it is too early to say if a strike will happen.
Jeanne Yazinski, president of the North Pocono Education Association, said "some progress" was made during the session, during which she estimated there were two dozen people in the room including school and union representatives plus a mediator.

Group wants Philly teacher, principal reforms
Inquirer Philly School Files by Kristen Graham Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 1:02 PM
A newly-formed umbrella group of many of the city’s leading education nonprofits hopes to affect the upcoming Philadelphia teachers’ contract.    The “Coalition for Effective Teaching,” made up of the Aspira Association, Congreso de Latinos Unidos, Education Voters of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Education Fund, Public Citizens for Children and Youth, the Urban League of Greater Philadelphia and the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey has studied the current Philadelphia Federation of Teachers contract and is today announcing recommendations for changes, both for teachers and the Philadelphia School District management.   The Coalition says this is a critical moment for Philadelphia, an “opportunity to adopt reforms that will improve the capacity of the district’s teachers and principals to make a more signifcant contribution to student success and achievement.”
 The highlights of what the Coalition is recommending for the PFT contract, which expires in August:

Why I opted out of the PSSA circus
By Tomika Anglin thenotebook on Apr 10 2013 Posted in Commentary
This is a reprint of an article that originally appeared on Parents United for Public Education's website. 
….I have chosen to exercise my option to have my daughter excused from the state’s two-week-long, one-size-fits-all assessment of her ability. According to Pennsylvania code, parents have the right to opt out of state standardized tests. Most of us do not know this because the explanation about the PSSAs and our rights under it is not distributed to parents. The School District, however, must honor the request of parents who wish to opt out according to religious reasons.  I am not alone. Across the country, an increasing number of parents have joined a national opt-out movement. In Seattle, Pittsburgh and New York City, parents are standing against the corrupting and corrupted role that testing has taken in our children’s lives and in our schools.

Masterman students make all the right moves to win national chess title
WHYY Newsworks By Aaron Moselle @awmoselle April 11, 2013
Masterman chess coach Stephen Shutt instructs members of the Masterman Chess Club. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
Students at a Philadelphia public school recently maneuvered their way to a national chess championship title.  Seven students from Julia R. Masterman Middle School in Fairmount competed in the SuperNationals in Nashville, Tenn., the Super Bowl of chess.
On Sunday, the team took home the middle school title.

Obama Proposes $75 Billion for Universal Preschool over 10 years BY: DYLAN SCOTT | NATION | APRIL 10, 2013
Following up on his pledge to expand early education to all American children, President Barack Obama proposed pumping $75 billion over the next 10 years into a “Preschool for All” initiative introduced in his fiscal year 2014 budget released Wednesday. 
The program would start with a $1.3 billion investment in FY 2014, increasing in future years to total $75 billion by FY 2023. The goal would be to enroll all low- and moderate-income four-year-olds into high-quality preschool programs, while incentivizing states to extend access to middle-income families and above.  The White House expects 15 states to participate in the initiative in the first year, with all states joining by the third year. Twenty-eight percent of four-year-olds and only 4 percent of three-year-olds attended a public preschool program in 2011.

President’s budget proposed flat funding for Title I and IDEA; $295 million to expand choice/charters
An Economy Built to Last and a World-Class Education for Our Children
The White House Office of Management and Budget April 10, 2013
Education factsheet

Obama Budget Would Invest in Pre-K, High School Overhaul
Education Week Politics K-12 Blog By Alyson Klein on April 10, 2013 11:49 AM
President Barack Obama's budget unveiled today proposes new money for a big expansion of prekindergarten programs, a new competitive-grant program for high school improvement, a new Race to the Top competition focused on higher education—and level funding for the two formula grants school districts depend on most: Title I grants for disadvantaged students and special education.

No increases proposed for Title I or IDEA in President’s budget; keep in mind the estimated impact of sequestration on Pennsylvania education….
Teachers and Schools: Pennsylvania will lose approximately $26.4 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 360 teacher and aide jobs at risk. In addition about 29,000 fewer students would be served and approximately 90 fewer schools would receive funding.
 Education for Children with Disabilities: In addition, Pennsylvania will lose approximately $21.4 million in funds for about 260 teachers, aides, and staff who help children with disabilities.
Sequestration: Impact of March 1st Cuts on Middle Class Families, Jobs and Economic Security: Pennsylvania
The White House March 1, 2013
Unless Congress acts by March 1st, a series of automatic cuts—called the sequester—will take effect that threaten hundreds of thousands of middle class jobs, and cut vital services for children, seniors, people with mental illness and our men and women in uniform.

Texas Considers Backtracking on Testing
New York Times By MOTOKO RICH Published: April 10, 2013
AUSTIN, Tex. — In this state that spawned test-based accountability in public schools and spearheaded one of the nation’s toughest high school curriculums, lawmakers are now considering a reversal that would cut back both graduation requirements and standardized testing.  In the state that spawned test-based accountability in public schools, some parents and educators believe it has resulted in limited flexibility.
The actions in Texas are being closely watched across the country as many states move to raise curriculum standards to meet the increasing demands of employers while grappling with critics who say testing has spun out of control.

CER, ALEC, Rhee on same page…..
'Parent Power Index' Puts Familiar States in Top Policy Spots
Education Week State Ed Watch Blog By Andrew Ujifusa on April 10, 2013 2:02 PM
The Center for Education Reform, a group with a relatively long tenure advocating for charters, vouchers, and test-based teacher evaluations, has released its state rankings on its "Parent Power Index." The center classifies such power as when parents have "access to quality educational options and are provided with good information to make smart decisions about their children's education." No. 1 on the index is Indiana, which scores an 87 out of 100.
Who else gave Indiana top marks among states for its education policy in 2013? The American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC gave the state a 3.49 GPA in its latest "Report Card on American Education" (just .01 points short of an A-, if you want to be technical) and, perhaps more importantly, has model legislation that seeks to replicate key portions of Indiana's major education policy changes, including vouchers and changes to teacher evaluations. And who else ranked the Hoosier State very highly on education policy, if not quite at the top? Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst advocacy group, which ranked the state third overall.

Jon Stewart ridicules Tennessee bill linking welfare to good grades
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog by Valerie Strauss on April 10, 2013 at 12:35 pm
I recently wrote a post about a Tennessee state senator who has advanced legislation that would cut welfare payments to families whose kids get really bad report cards and test scores.
The senator is Stacey Campfield, a Republican, who was quoted in the Knoxville News Sentinelas saying this was a great way to “break the cycle of poverty.”
Here’s Jon Stewart’s new take on this from “The Daily Show.”

Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School FAST FACTS
Quakertown Community School District

Keystone State Education Coalition Prior Posting from Monday, May 21, 2012
PA Charter Schools: $4 billion taxpayer dollars with no real oversight
Charter schools - public funding without public scrutiny
Proposed statewide authorization and direct payment would further diminish accountability and oversight for public tax dollars

Network for Public Education
Webinar: How to Organize a Grassroots Group; Saturday, April 13 at 2:30 pm EDT
Many of those who have joined our network want to get involved in grassroots work to change the direction of education in our communities. We are now planning a series of web forums to share concrete ways to do just that. The first will focus on how to organize grassroots groups.
Phyllis Bush and members of the North East Indiana Friends of Public Education will share their experiences in getting organized. Formed just two years ago, this group helped elect teacher Glenda Ritz as state superintendent of education.
The webinar will take place on Saturday, April 13, at 2:30 pm Eastern time, 11:30 am Pacific time. You can register here. You will be emailed a link to the webinar a day or two before the event.

1 comment:

  1. NICE BLOG!!! Education is the process of bringing desirable change into the behavior of human beings. It can also be defined as the “Process of imparting or acquiring knowledge or habits through instruction or study”. Thanks for sharing a nice information.
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