Monday, April 15, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for April 15, 2013: PPG Details Pennsylvania’s NCLB Waiver Request

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.

The Keystone State Education Coalition is pleased to be listed among the friends and allies of The Network for Public Education.  Are you a member?

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Anybody out there know what the comparable Pennsylvania numbers are?
tweet from Rita Solnet‏@ritacolleen on April 14, 2013
In 1996, FL spent $4.44 per student on testing. Last yr, $30.59
 - according to #HarpersIndex in the May Harpers.

Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for April 15, 2013:
PPG Details Pennsylvania’s NCLB Waiver Request

Missed our weekend posting? Check it out here……..
Weekend Edition - Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for April 13, 2013: Campbell’s law and Rhee-visiting the DC test cheating scandal
Keystone State Education Coalition Saturday, April 13, 2013

This article provides a good overview of the contents of PA’s NCLB waiver request…
No Child Left Behind gauge may end in Pennsylvania
Education waiver would release Pa. from mandates
By Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette April 15, 2013 12:14 am
Adequate yearly progress has been the assessment measurement for schools and school districts in Pennsylvania since the enactment of the federal No Child Left Behind Law in January 2001.  But this standard, known as AYP, will disappear if an application for a waiver submitted by the state Department of Education to the U.S. Department of Education is granted.

DELCO Hi-Q all-stars excel outside the classroom
Published: Sunday, April 14, 2013
Delco Times By VINCE SULLIVAN @vincesullivan
This year’s All-Delco Hi-Q team members have varying areas of interest and different plans for the future, but a handful share some similar qualities.  Of the 21 students chosen as the best Delaware County has to offer, no less than five will graduate in June at the top of their respective classes. Doug Yamamoto, an Interboro High School senior who has been on the Hi-Q team for three seasons, is his class valedictorian. Grace Chang from Penncrest High School will also finish ranked No. 1. Cardinal O’Hara High School senior Alex Fox is valedictorian as well.

Making It All Add Up – Delco’s Top Educators Share the Secrets of Their Success
By VINCE SULLIVAN @vincesullivan Monday, April 15, 2013
In his 37 years in the classroom, Chichester High School mathematics teacher John Cole has seen many things evolve, but just as many things stay the same.  With the influx of new technology into schools, such as smartboards and graphing calculators, students have much better tools to enhance their learning, Cole said.

Karen Heller: 'Mr. Shutt' guides Masterman's chess champions
Karen Heller, Inquirer Columnist POSTED: Sunday, April 14, 2013, 5:21 AM
The champions gathered in the basement, their haunt, huddled over vinyl chess mats, plastic pieces, and rickety clocks. On a spring day, the place was a sweaty, smelly, noisy, airless, sunless cell. Winter, too. In June? Worse.  And, yet, joy.
The Julia R. Masterman Middle School won the kindergarten-through-eighth-grade U.S. Chess Federation's quadrennial SuperNationals V at Nashville's Opryland last weekend - 5,335 students in attendance - after a substantial drought of 11 years. Masterman, with grades five through 12, has won 10 top titles since 1991. The school's closets are stuffed with oversize trophies, many the same height as younger players.
Masterman was coached to glory by Steve Shutt, 71, who spent four decades inspiring chess players, half at Masterman, before - and this is important - he retired last June.

CHS alumni include PA House Education Committee Minority Chairman Jim Roebuck, Philly School Reform Commission Chairman Pedro Ramos, former PSBA President Bill LaCoff and Keystone State Education Coalition co-chairs Mark Miller and Larry Feinberg….
As Central High School wins Philly's mock trial championship, students find a community and a voice
WHYY Newsworks By Kishwer Vikaas March 22, 2013
Senior Darien Carter, Central High School mock trial team co-captain, will support his team when they compete in the state championship in Harrisburg. (Image courtesy of Gili Getz)
Two years ago, Central High School student Melisa Nelson was terrified of public speaking. She knew she wanted to improve. But how? Enter the Central High School Mock Trial Team, one of over 30 citywide teams.  On Saturday, March 16, the unassuming 17-year old Nelson, now a senior, took the witness stand inside an overflowing simulated courtroom at Temple University Beasley School of Law and put her five-hour-a-day practices to work at the John S. Bradway High School Mock Trial Competition.

No shortage of opinions when it comes to Upper Darby school budget
Delco Times By LINDA REILLY Times Correspondent Published: Sunday, April 14, 2013
UPPER DARBY — Upper Darby School District officials received an overview of findings gathered from community focus groups regarding handling the $9.7 million gap in the district’s $169 million preliminary budget at Tuesday’s board meeting.  Harris Sokoloff, director of the Penn Project for Civic Engagement, presented opinions of the 484 people who attended the four public forums in February and March, double the number expected.  “Our goal was first to inform the public about the school budget and our second goal was to get input from the community about choices and the kinds of things the community would or would not support,” Sokoloff said.

“Beyond a break on rent, D3 hopes to create a community where young teachers can find support. The developers are partnering with Teach for America, which will move its regional headquarters into office space at Oxford Mills.”
Changing Skyline: Cool affordable housing for young teachers
Inga Saffron, Inquirer Architecture Critic POSTED: Monday, April 15, 2013, 5:15 AM
It's easy to imagine the sprawling 19th-century brick mill on South Kensington's Howard Street as just another high-end apartment complex for twentysomething professionals, the newest outpost on Philadelphia's ever-advancing frontier of gentrification.
Situated a few blocks north of Fishtown's hipster bars and BYOB food shrines, Oxford Mills preserves the kind of authentic architectural details that make young, and not-so-young, renters swoon: high ceilings, huge windows, thick wooden beams. The amenities hail straight from the wired generation's handbook. Plans call for an office incubator that rents desk space by the day and a public cafe that spills onto a sliver park furnished with outdoor tables and a fire pit. You know, for those cool, late summer nights when you want to linger with friends.
But Oxford Mills, which will hold a ceremonial groundbreaking Wednesday, ventures down an uncharted path. It is being built by a private company, D3 Real Estate, which intends to market the units as affordable housing to teachers, especially novices working in programs like Teach for America, and others who fall into the growing category known as "the working poor."

If 'teaching to the test' bugs you, don't blame the test
WHYY Newsworks By Chris Satullo @chrissatullo April 14, 2013
Some parents have begun pulling their kids out of statewide standardized testing. They say its stresses out their kids, for no good reason.  This is part of a growing rebellion against so-called high-stakes testing. Many feel these batteries of test are harmful to kids and to education, leading to evils such as cheating and teaching to the test.  Well, I agree that the status quo on testing is disgraceful – but not for exactly the same reasons.
I think testing kids to generate useful data a on their progress, and b) on the performance of the adults charged with educating them is not only defensible, but in fact necessary.

“This more assertive stance is particularly important at a time, Gentzel said, when critics of public education are negatively influencing public opinion and there are supporters of school choice whose interests are anything but altruistic.”

The New NSBA: ‘We will make our presence felt’

NSBA School Board News by Del Stover April 13th, 2013
The “new NSBA” will take the battle to those who look to dismantle the nation’s public education system—and its leaders intend to play a more influential role in future policy debates over school reform and local school board governance.  That was the message delivered by Thomas J. Gentzel, NSBA’s new executive director, at NSBA’s annual conference First General Session Saturday.  The NSBA Board of Directors and state school boards association leaders have spent the past year working on a new strategic direction for NSBA, and Gentzel offered conference attendees a brief outline of the organization’s future plans.
“NSBA intends to make its presence felt—in our services to state school boards associations, and in our advocacy for public education … in Congress, in the courts, in the media, and in the public arena,” he said.

Hearing Set on Cheating Claim in Capital
New York Times By MOTOKO RICH Published: April 12, 2013
The City Council in Washington will hold a hearing next week after a memo warning officials of cheating on standardized tests during the chancellorship of Michelle A. Rhee surfaced Thursday night.  Allegations of cheating have dogged Ms. Rhee — now a lightning rod in education circles for her advocacy through StudentsFirst, a nonprofit group she founded — since an investigation by USA Todayfound high rates of erasures on standardized tests at a Washington elementary school.  Although subsequent investigations by both the city’s inspector general and the federal Education Department concluded that widespread cheating had not occurred, a memo that said 191 teachers in 70 schools were “implicated in possible testing infractions” in 2008 has ignited calls for further inquiries.

Yes, Rhee saw the test cheating memo
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog  by Valerie Strauss on April 13, 2013 at 9:40 am
The education world is abuzz over the publication by independent journalist John Merrow of a secret memo that says nearly 200 D.C. educators may have cheated on  standardized tests in 2008 when Michelle Rhee was schools chancellor. (You can read the memo and more here.)
Just to be clear, because some have wondered, Rhee did see the memo, according to Merrow.

Rhee-thinking D.C.
Philly Daily News by Will Bunch Sunday, April 14, 2013, 8:07 PM
Michelle Rhee has travelled a long way on the good name she made for herself by reporting higher student achievement as superintendent of schools in Washington, D.C. (never mind that her reforms were so unpopular that her patron, ex-Mayor Adrian Fenty, was voted out of office). Since leaving that post, Rhee has become a highly visible spokeswoman for corporate education reform -- high-stakes testing, charter schools, crushing the teachers' union and what not -- as head of the organization Students First. You may have seen her the other day on "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart promoting her new book. She's doing very well!

Common Core Non-Fiction Reading Task #1: The DC Erasure Study Memo
Education Week Living in Dialogue Blog By Anthony Cody on April 14, 2013 8:07 PM
As all educators know, the reading of non-fiction is supposed to be significantly increased as a result of the new Common Core (wanted to be national) Standards.
It seems to me that the recently uncovered "Erasure Study" memo, written by investigator Sandy Sanford in 2009 makes a fine primary source document to be used as the basis for student inquiry. This memo has been hidden since it was first written. Its existence sheds light on the behavior of some of the nation's most well-known education reformers, including Michelle Rhee.


As nation's schools get more diverse, instruction of students learning English remains bleak

FoxNews By Christine Armario Associated Press Published April 15, 2013
….School-age children who speak a language other than English at home are one of the fastest-growing populations. Their numbers doubled between 1980 and 2009, and they now make up 21 percent of school-age kids.  There were 4.7 million students classified as "English language learners" — those who have not yet achieved proficiency in English — in the 2009-10 school year, or about 10 percent of children enrolled, according to the most recent figures available from the U.S. Department of Education.
"This is part of a new reality that our public schools are facing," said Robert Linquanti, an expert in English learner students for WestEd, an education research agency based in San Francisco. "It's been coming for a long time but now it's hitting a tipping point."

Charter Schools Are… [Public? Private? Neither? Both?]
School Finance 101 by Bruce Baker Posted on May 2, 2012
Data and thoughts on public and private school funding in the U.S.
…Directly Publicly Subsidized, Limited Public Access, Publicly or Privately Authorized, Publicly or Privately Governed, Managed and Operated Schools
Let’s break it down:

'Core Curriculum' Puts Education Experts At Odds April 14, 2013
At 2 p.m., it's crunch time for students who write for The Harbinger Online, the award-winning, student news site at Shawnee Mission East High just outside Kansas City, Kan. They've been investigating an initiative to develop common curriculum and test guidelines for states.
The young reporters have pored over countless documents about the Common Core State Standards and talked to Kansas state legislators who pushed for their adoption, trying to understand why they're necessary.

Study: School reform in 3 major cities brings few benefits, some harm
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog  by Valerie Strauss on April 13, 2013 at 9:33 am
Many people paying attention to corporate-based school reform in recent years will not be surprised by this, but a new study on the effects of this movement in Washington, D.C., New York City and Chicago concludes that little has been accomplished and some harm has been done to students, especially the underprivileged.  The report looks at the impact of reforms that have been championed by Education Secretary Arne Duncan and other well-known reformers, including Michelle Rhee, the former chancellor of D.C. Public Schools, and, in New York City, Joel Klein, the former chancellor of New York City Public Schools and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

NAACP 2013 Conference on the State of Education in Pennsylvania
A Call for Equitable and Adequate Funding for Pennsylvania's Schools
Media Area Branch NAACP
Saturday, May 11, 2013 9:00 am2:30 pm (8:30 am registration)
Marcus Foster Student Union 2nd floor, Cheyney University of PA, Delaware County Campus

Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School FAST FACTS
Quakertown Community School District

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

More U.S. Children Being Diagnosed With Youthful Tendency Disorder
The Onion September 27, 2000
REDLANDS, CA–Nicholas and Beverly Serna's daughter Caitlin was only four years old, but they already knew there was a problem.  Day after day, upon arriving home from preschool, Caitlin would retreat into a bizarre fantasy world. Sometimes, she would pretend to be people and things she was not. Other times, without warning, she would burst into nonsensical song. Some days she would run directionless through the backyard of the Sernas' comfortable Redlands home, laughing and shrieking as she chased imaginary objects.
When months of sessions with a local psychologist failed to yield an answer, Nicholas and Beverly took Caitlin to a prominent Los Angeles pediatric neurologist for more exhaustive testing. Finally, on Sept. 11, the Sernas received the heartbreaking news: Caitlin was among a growing legion of U.S. children suffering from Youthful Tendency Disorder.

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