Friday, May 10, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for May 10, 2013: If kids aren’t reading on grade level by 3rd grade the game is over; advocate for high quality early childhood education

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?

These daily emails are archived at
Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg

PSBA Region 15 Members (Delaware and Chester Counties) May 30
Jeffery B. Clay, Executive Director for the Pennsylvania School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) will present on the topic of pension reform.

Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for May 10, 2013:
If kids aren’t reading on grade level by 3rd grade the game is over; advocate for high quality early childhood education

TAKE ACTION: Tell President Obama we need his early learning proposal to pass to serve more kids in high-quality pre-K!
PA Partnerships for Children Email May 9, 2013
President Obama’s early learning proposal calls for an unprecedented investment in pre-kindergarten for 4-year-olds. Tell President Obama his proposal is critical to providing more children with high-quality pre-k that will prepare them for school.

This site provides great resources on the President’s Early Learning Initiative
Strong Start for Children Campaign
National Women’s Law Center
In his State of the Union address in February, President Obama announced an ambitious agenda for early care and education. This early care and education initiative would greatly increase access to high-quality pre-K for four-year-olds with a new investment of $75 billion to support state-federal partnerships, expand the availability of high-quality options for infants and toddlers through partnerships between Early Head Start and child care, and expand voluntary home visiting programs with a new investment of $15 billion.
High-quality early care and education helps give children the boost they need to succeed in school, provides parents with the support and peace of mind they need to be productive at work, and strengthens our economy in the short- and long-term. These benefits have garnered support for early care and education investments from across the political spectrum.

Sequestration means cuts to Head Start programs in Lehigh Valley, northwest New Jersey
By Sara K. Satullo | The Express-Times  on May 10, 2013 at 5:30 AM
Head Start programs across the country are going to have to start cutting seats and turning away eligible children due to federal budget cuts.
The sequester went into effect March 1, ushering in federal spending cuts of about $85 billion in 2013. The cuts are set to continue for a decade.

Redistricting Aftermath: Potential Member Vs. Member Battles
PoliticsPA Written by Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor May 9,2013
Cambria County, the epicenter of redistricting tension
Now that the Pa. Supreme Court has cemented the new state House and Senate maps, lawmakers must look to 2014 – and in some cases at each other. Here are the potential races between incumbent legislators.  You can view high-resolution versions of the House map here(PDF) and the Senate map here(PDF). District statistics come from Labels & Lists.

“At the state level, Sen. Vincent Hughes, D-Philadelphia, suggested $722 million could be raised if lawmakers postpone a business tax reduction, expand Medicaid eligibility to bring in more federal funds and free up state money for other uses, and bolster sales in the state-controlled wine and liquor business. Part of that revenue could then be made available for education statewide, he said.  But Gov. Tom Corbett's budget secretary, Charles Zogby, and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jake Corman, R-Centre, seemed less optimistic about Philadelphia's chances for more aid.”
Philly schools seek $304M to avoid harmful cuts
AP PA State Wire by KATHY MATHESON May 9,2013
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Mayor Michael Nutter called for a shared sacrifice among city, state and union leaders on Thursday to help the Philadelphia schools avoid devastating budget cuts.
If left unaddressed, the district's $304 million deficit means schools across the city could open next fall without assistant principals, guidance counselors, lunch monitors, athletic programs, extracurricular activities and other vital resources.
"That's not a school," Nutter said. "The only way that we can prevent that nightmare ... from happening is by all of us working together."

City leaders pledge effort to get school funds
City officials and leaders of the Philadelphia delegation in Harrisburg pledged their strongest efforts Thursday to find an additional $180 million for the School District, as about 300 students marched peacefully to City Hall, asking the government to "save our schools."
Mayor Nutter joined Superintendent William R. Hite Jr., School Reform Commission Chairman Pedro Ramos, and six members of the city's House and Senate delegations for an assembly at Andrew Jackson School in South Philadelphia featuring HOME, the school's acclaimed rock band.

Students protest at City Hall as debate heats up over school funding
Citypaper by Samantha Melamed THURSDAY, MAY 9, 2013, 1:48 PM
Several hundred public school students crowded around City Hall at lunchtime, holding signs and umbrellas, demanding an end to cuts to school staff and programming. Their march — instigated on Twitter and Facebook and, according to them, supported by their teachers and school staff — came hours after Mayor Nutter and state legislators held a press conference to announce their plan to put together an additional $60 million in funding for Philadelphia schools. That plan was to include liquor-by-the-drink tax increases and possible cigarette tax increases, both of which would require state enabling legislation. The school district is also seeking $120 million more in state funds.

Education cuts taking a toll
Inquirer Opinion by Rebecca Poyourow Friday, May 10, 2013, 3:01 AM
Rebecca Poyourow is a member of Parents United for Public Education.
Over the past four years, my children have attended their neighborhood school in Philadelphia. My husband and I were attracted to Cook-Wissahickon Elementary School in Roxborough because of its dedicated teaching staff, its vibrant parent community, and its academic strength and diversity. However, little did we imagine when we enrolled our oldest in kindergarten in 2009 that support for public education would be so severely cut in the following years, with the largest cuts falling on the poorest districts.

Pennsylvania District Rejects Charter-Conversion Plan
Education Week District Dossier Blog By Jackie Zubrzycki on May 9, 2013 3:33 PM
In York, Pa., school officials rejected a plan that would have converted the entire district to charter schools in favor of one that sets strict performance measures while maintaining a school board, the York Daily Record reports.
The 5,000-student School District of the City of York was classified as financially distressed by the state's department of education last summer. A chief recovery officer, David G. Meckley, was appointed by the state and tasked with creating a recovery plan for the district. A quarter of the district's students are English-language learners and 23 percent are special education students

Oley Valley board reinstates full-day kindergarten for fall
Reading Eagle by Stephanie Weaver May 9, 2013
In an unexpected move, the Oley Valley School Board voted Wednesday to bring back full-day kindergarten this fall. The motion was approved 8-0 with no discussion or comments from the board. Dr. Robert J. Cappa was absent. The district eliminated full-day kindergarten in June 2011 and offered only half-day for the past two school years. School officials at the time said the decision was overdue and they did not see any benefit in keeping full-day.

Pennridge student becomes junior member of Pennsylvania State Board of Education
By Meghan Ross Published: Monday, May 06, 2013
Few people, and fewer students, can say they represent the interests of 1.8 million people, but Pennridge High School sophomore Justin Reynolds can.  “It’s really exciting,” said 15-year-old Reynolds, who was recently named a junior member of the Pennsylvania State Board of Education. “You never get to say you get to represent that many people, and I take pride in that.”
Reynolds said he was inspired to apply for the position because he has always been interested in politics and had a special concern with education.

This video provides a good discussion of issues and concerns around pension reform…

PCNTV May 8: State Pensions Video Runtime 57:41

Gov. Tom Corbett proposed changing the state pension system by moving future employees to a 401K-type plan and altering future benefits for current employees.  The PA State Education Association says they will litigate to prevent unconstitutional changes to workers’ benefits, however the PA School Boards Association recently testified that benefits may be legally changed when a “trigger event” occurs, due to a change in job classification.  Michael Crossey, President of the PA State Education Association, and Stuart Knade, Interim Executive Director of the PA School Boards Association, will be here to discuss.

Face-to-face talks between Neshaminy school board president and teachers’ union VP break down as contract impasse continues
By D.E. Schlatter Published: Wednesday, May 08, 2013
NESHAMINY - School board president Ritchie Webb revealed this week that over the last several weeks he has had four one-on-one negotiating sessions with teachers’ union vice president Anne Schmidt, but said that the contract impasse continues.  In a statement, Webb said that the privately-held talks took place with the full knowledge of the board’s negotiating team, and that the last session with the Neshaminy Federation of Teachers’ (NFT) vice president was May 6.

Dispute over boys participating in girls’ sports in Pennsylvania appears headed to court
NSBA Legal Clips, May 9, 2013
Citing the desire to protect athletic opportunities for girls and safety concerns, the Pittsburgh Post- Gazette reports that the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) is seeking to overturn state law that has allowed boys to play on girls’ high school sports teams for decades.  Following a status conference with PIAA’s attorneys and Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s office, it appears PIAA’s suit is headed for an evidentiary hearing.
The case centers on a 1975 Commonwealth Court ruling that declared a PIAA bylaw forbidding girls from practicing or competing against boys in school athletics unconstitutional.  At the time, there were few girls-only sports, and the ruling was intended to open up more opportunities for girls in male-dominated athletics.  But, over the years, as more girls’ teams were established, the order began to be interpreted so boys could also play on girls’ teams if the sport was offered only for girls.

North Carolina State Board of Education sets standards for college and career diplomas
By Lynn Bonner — Published: May 2, 2013 
High school graduates will have seals on their diplomas in a few years showing whether they are ready for work or college under new criteria the State Board of Education adopted Thursday.
The new standards follow a state law and Gov. Pat McCrory’s campaign promise to boost student interest in post-high school jobs. Students starting their junior year in the fall would be the first to earn the designations.
The board set out three paths students for students earning seals on their diplomas: career, community college and four-year university. A McCrory spokeswoman said he supports the board’s decision.

House Informational briefing on the Common Core Standards from PA Dept. of Education Secretary Ron Tomalis.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 9:00 AM Room G50 Irvis Office Bldg.

Senate Public hearing on Common Core
Wednesday, May 15, 1:00 PM, Hearing Room 1 North Office Bldg

PSBA Region 15 Members (Delaware and Chester Counties)
Jeffery B. Clay, Executive Director for the Pennsylvania School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) will present on the topic of pension reform.
Penns Grant Region 15 -- Thursday, May 30 ; 5 p.m. Region 15 meeting; 6 p.m. dinner; 7 p.m. Legislative meeting; Garnet Valley HS, 552 Smithbridge Rd., Glen Mills, 19342; registration is required

Superintendents, Business Managers, School Board Members, Union Leaders, Any Others interested in PSERS and wanting to learn more about Pension Reform . . .
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 Registration: 6:30 p.m.  Presentation: 7:00 p.m.
Allegheny Intermediate Unit  475 East Waterfront Drive  Homestead, PA  15120  McGuffey/Sullivan Rooms
Jeffery B. Clay, Executive Director for the Pennsylvania Schools Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) will present on the topic of pension reform.  Mr. Clay’s presentation will review the increases in retirement contributions and the Governor’s proposal on pension reform.  As one concerned about public education, we are sure that you will find this meeting enlightening and a valuable investment of your time.
In order to accommodate those attending and prepare the necessary materials for the meeting, please register using the following link:  by May 7, 2013.
If you have any questions regarding the registration process, please contact Janet Galaski at 412.394.5753 or

Panel: Striking Back on High Stakes Testing hosted by Rethinking Schools
Panel Discussion Hosted by Rethinking Schools
Arch Street United Methodist Church, 55 North Broad Street, Philadelphia
Wednesday, May 15, 2013  4:30pm until 6:00pm
Join CUNY Professor Michelle Fine and Rethinking Schools editors Stan Karp and Helen Gym for a conversation on fighting back against the testing industry's dismantling of public education. Suggested donation $10, or $20 for panel plus your copy of Rethinking Schools' newest book: "Pencils Down: High-stakes testing and accountability in public schools."
Space limited! RSVP:

Looking for PA Governor's School for the Arts Alumni
Pennsylvania Arts Education Network
For over 35 years, the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts was a robust summer program that provided over 10,000 students state-wide with extraordinary opportunities to develop their artistic talents, intellects, self-confidence, and leadership. Unfortunately, for budget reasons, state officials ended the program a few years ago. The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC)'s 2012 Arts and Education Policy Report recommended the school be reestablished and the Pennsylvania Arts Education Network is now urging that the Governor's School for the Arts be restored.
To support this effort, we would like to create a comprehensive list of alumni who attended the School. This list would be an important voice in supporting the reopening of the Governor's School for the Arts, and arts education in Pennsylvania, generally.
If you, or someone you know attended the Pennsylvania's Governor's School for the Arts, please complete this form and share with others. This list will be used internally, and will not be made public.   For more information about the Pennsylvania Arts Education Network and for news about the reestablishment of the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts, please visit

PSBA Bylaws amendment proposals due May 15
PSBA website 2/15/2013
As stated in Article XII, proposals for amending the PSBA Bylaws must be submitted "in writing, mailed first class and postmarked or marked received at PSBA headquarters prior to May 15 of each year."  Proposals should be addressed to the Bylaws Committee Chair or the Executive Director and sent to PSBA headquarters by the May 15, 2013, deadline.
The procedures for submitting proposed bylaws changes are outlined in Article XII and can be found online

Search underway for PSBA Executive Director
The Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) is a nonprofit statewide association of public school boards, pledged to the highest ideals of local lay leadership for the public schools of the commonwealth.  Founded in 1895, PSBA has a rich history as the first school boards' association established in the United States. Pennsylvania's 4,500 school directors become members by virtue of election to their local board -- the board joins as a whole. Membership in PSBA is by school district or other eligible local education agency such as intermediate unit, vocational school or community college……..
Search by Diversified Search, 1990 M St NW, Suite 570, Washington, DC. Questions may be directed to Interested parties should email their resume and cover letter to Please apply by June 1, 2013 for best consideration.

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

Sign Up Today for PILCOP Special Ed CLE Trainings
Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia
Spots are filling up for the final two trainings in our 2012-2013 Know Your Child’s Rights series with seminars on ADAAA, Pro Se Parents and Settlement Agreements.
May 29, 2013: PRO SE Parents: Doing It on Your Own
May 30, 2013: Settlements: Signing on the Dotted Line (OR NOT)

Turning the Page for Change celebration, June 11, 2013
Please join us for the Notebook’s annual Turning the Page for Change celebration on June 11, 2013, from 4:30 - 7 p.m. at the University of The Arts, Hamilton Hall, 320 S. Broad Street. We will be honoring a member of the Notebook community for years of service to our mission as well as honoring several local high school journalists. Help us celebrate another year of achievement that included two awards from the Education Writers Association and coverage of other critical stories like the budget crisis and the school closing process.

Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School FAST FACTS
Quakertown Community School District March 2013

PA Charter Schools: $4 billion taxpayer dollars with no real oversight Keystone State Education Coalition (updated May 2, 2013)
Charter schools - public funding without public scrutiny; Proposed statewide authorization and direct payment would further diminish accountability and oversight for public tax dollars

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