Established in 2006, the Keystone State Education Coalition is a growing grass roots, non-partisan public education advocacy group of several hundred locally elected, volunteer school board members and administrators from school districts throughout Pennsylvania. Our mission is to evaluate, discuss and inform our boards, district constituents and legislators on legislative issues of common interest and to facilitate active engagement in public education advocacy.
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for May 17, 2013: PA Budget – got $695 million? (plus $120 million more for PHL)
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.
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for May 17, 2013:
PA Budget – got $695 million? (plus $120 million more for PHL)
To help close the budget gap, some lawmakers — and even the Corbett
administration — are considering a delay in the phaseout of a corporate tax
that has already been cut by 85%.
Harrisburg Update: Will There Be
New Cuts in Pa.
House Budget Bill?
Budget and PolicyCenterMay 16, 2013
House leaders plan to introduce a 2013-14 budget bill on May 28, with a vote to
follow the week of June 10. Balancing
the budget without new deep spending cuts will be difficult, as lawmakers have
to make up for a $518
million shortfall projected by the Independent Fiscal Office. The task
will be more complicated as House Appropriations Chairman Bill Adolph announced
the bill will NOT include $177 million in savings from changes
to the state's public pension systems proposed by Governor Corbett in his
"Somehow, we've got to get this educational industrial complex that
we created under control," said Folmer. "
State, teachers' union reluctant on more
money for Philly schools
Newsworks By Benjamin Herold, @BenjaminBHerold and Holly Otterbein,
Philadelphia Mayor Nutter announced his plan to raise $95
million for the city's struggling School District,
mostly through tax hikes on cigarettes and alcohol.
even if that money comes through, city schools will still be looking for an
additional $120 million from Harrisburg
and $133 million in givebacks from the local teacher union.
Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon), who chairs the Senate's education committee, said the
unions have to go first. "Philadelphia is trying to
care of their business at home," Folmer said. "They're looking at
concessions and such. Get that done, and then we'll see what needs to be done
in additional [state] funding." Not
surprisingly, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan has a
A. GRAHAM, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER POSTED: Friday,
May 17, 2013,
R. Hite Jr. knows it's a tough ask: $120 million from a state that historically
and its public schools "as a cesspool." So, the superintendent figures, the only way
the nearly-broke Philadelphia School District is getting the cash it needs from
state coffers is to end teacher seniority.
we stand any chance to get money from Harrisburg, it's going to have to support
something that is different from what we have now," Hite told the Inquirer
Editorial Board on Thursday, adding that legislators are unlikely to support a
system where "individuals get another increase just because they're
remaining on the job another year."
“But Tomalis quickly earned and could not
shake a reputation as anti-public school, despite recent attempts to shut down
two low-performing, mismanaged cyber charter schools.
He presided over Corbett's unpopular cuts to
public and higher education in 2011-12. He backed laws that protected and
enhanced charter schools and private schools while putting more restrictions on
traditional public schools and teachers.”
Tom Corbett to replace education secretary
with mid-state superintendent
Ron Tomalis to be adviser with same pay. CumberlandValley superintendent tapped.
By Steve Esack, Call Harrisburg Bureau 9:23 p.m. EDT, May 15,
HARRISBURG — Republican Gov. Tom Corbett came into office in 2011 as an
unabashed supporter of school vouchers, charter schools and other forms of
it was time to name an education secretary, he picked someone with the same
mind-set: Ron Tomalis, who lacked teaching experience but had worked to expand
school choice as a state and federal government official before moving into the
for-profit education sector.
New Education Secretary on Deck in Pennsylvania to Replace
EdWatch By Andrew Ujifusa on May 15, 2013
that Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis is headed out the door
appear to have been on the mark, as Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, announced
today that he will nominate William Harner, the superintendent of the CumberlandValleySchool District,
to replace Tomalis, the Associated Press reports. If confirmed by the state
Senate, Harner would officially take over on June 1. Tomalis, meanwhile,
apparently will move into an advisory role in Corbett's administration, so he
isn't leaving the ship entirely.
former Army officer, Harner has broad experience in education. He previously
worked as a school administrator in Georgia,
South Carolina, New
Orleans, and Philadelphia, and he said
that he grew up going to school in a district outside the City of Brotherly Love. Mr.
Harner also attended the SuperintendentsAcademy at the Broad Foundation in
2005 as a fellow, according to his
biography at the Cumberland
district and the foundation.
Letter to the Editor by Steve Robinson May 16, 2013
STEVE ROBINSON isDirector
of Public Relations for the PA School Boards Association In response to the May 7
letter "Wrong Reform" by Robert Fayfich, executive
director of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools, an important
clarification must be made. The "double dip" referenced in the letter
certainly does exist. However, it is the charter schools that are receiving a
windfall as a result of this pension double dip, and it is the school districts
and taxpayers across the state who are paying the price.
PoliticsPA Written by Carl Feldman, Contributing
Writer May 16,
Harrisburg — For different reasons, Senate Democrats and
Republicans both appeared skeptical of the PA Department of Education’s Common
Core Curriculum Standards. Devised in 2010 upon recommendation from the
National Governor’s Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers,
these are set to be implemented in fall of this year.
PA Special education funding commission
Capitolwire.com Under The Dome™
email Thursday, May 16, 2013
commission examining how the commonwealth funds special education programs held
an organizational meeting Wednesday, where Sen. Pat Browne, R-Lehigh, and
Rep. Bernie O’Neill, R-Bucks, were elected as co-chairmen of the commission.
Both lawmakers led the recent effort to pass legislation to establish the
15-member commission tasked with developing a funding system that recognizes
the real number of physically and mentally challenged students, as well as the
level of their needs. The next meeting is scheduled for June 13. Browne
said the Sept. 30 deadline for reporting to the governor will be
pushed back to Nov. 30.
commission picked Baruch Kintisch of Pathways Solutions LLC (formerly with the EducationLawCenter)
to assist with data collection.
members on the commission include: O’Neill; Reps. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer;
Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster; Mike Peifer, R-Pike; and the two House Education
Committee chairmen, Reps. Paul Clymer, R-Bucks, and James Roebuck,
members include: Browne; Sens. Ted Erickson, R-Delaware; Jim Brewster,
D-Allegheny; Judy Schwank, D-Berks; and the two Senate Education chairmen Sens.
Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon, and Andy Dinniman, D-Chester.
three administration appointees include the Education Secretary, Budget
Secretary Charles Zogby and Carolyn Dumaresq, deputy secretary of elementary
and secondary education.
CHESTER — At a Thursday afternoon press conference, Chester
Upland School District Receiver Joe Watkins announced a giant leap forward in
getting the struggling district back on track.
Watkins introduced Gregory G. Shannon, who was chosen to be the
district’s superintendent after an exhaustive search. Shannon
has agreed to a five-year contract.
Philly.com by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Thursday, May 16, 2013,
YORK, Pa. - The superintendent of the YorkSchool District in central Pennsylvania has resigned to take a job on Long Island. Superintendent
Deborah Wortham announced her resignation Wednesday, after the presentation of
a financial recovery plan for the district. Wortham says she's accepted the
position of superintendent in the RooseveltUnionFreeSchool District in Long Island, N.Y.
icons of the progressive education movement spoke in Philadelphia on Wednesday night to decry
standardized testing and urge that a “justice-oriented framework” drive school
reform instead. “Test score gaps are
used to label schools as failures without providing resources or strategies to
eliminate the gap,” said Stan Karp of Rethinking Schools, an education journal
and publisher. Michelle Fine of the City
University of New York (CUNY), who once taught at the University
of Pennsylvania and helped drive Philadelphia’s small schools movement 20 years ago, said
that high-stakes testing was “corrupting and curdling” education in New York City and
you know that we organized Sunday’s Rolling Rally here
in Pittsburgh to coincide with public education
actions all over the United
States? Starting tomorrow with an
information picket line and student walkout in Philadelphia and running for six straight
days there will be major actions in cities from coast to coast. Local
organizers designed these events to show solidarity with the terrible situation
where students are facing a tidal wave of 54 school closings. At all of these
rallies you will likely see banners proclaiming:
Our City. Our Schools.
We Stand with Chicago!
fits into the national scene:
in Chicago have
filed two federal lawsuits opposing proposed school closings. In March, the
Chicago Public Schools identified 53 schools that it planned to close to save
$560 million over 10 years. The school board will vote on the proposal next
Wednesday. The suits, filed Wednesday in Federal District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois Eastern Division, say the closings would violate the
Americans With Disabilities Act. In a complaint seeking to postpone them for a
year, three parents seeking class-action status allege that the closings would
pose “significant disruption” to special-education students. The second suit,
which seeks to stop the closings altogether, alleges that they would
“needlessly uproot, transfer and destabilize the children.” The suit further
says the closings would violate Illinois
civil rights law because the schools fall disproportionately in areas where the
vast majority of students are black.
“Evaluating teachers on student test scores
will inevitably prove once again that low income students do not test as well
as affluent students and that effective teachers who want good evaluations will
move to schools with higher income students.”
much longer are we going to continue down the path of absurdity seeking the
promised land of teacher evaluations? Spending millions of dollars on
complicated and convoluted systems that only demoralize teachers will
eventually result in backlash from taxpayers and voters. Evaluating teachers on
student test scores will inevitably prove once again that low income students
do not test as well as affluent students and that effective teachers who want
good evaluations will move to schools with higher income students. Coupling
test scores of students to the evaluations of teachers who never taught those
children will never hold up in court. The irony in all this is that there is an
effective system for teacher evaluations, one that has been around since the
Peer Assistance and Review (PAR)
programs have been the exemplar for strong teacher evaluation systems.
Teachers trained to evaluate their peers are able to distinguish the
inexperienced from the ineffective---a significant difference from other
evaluation systems---and can help teachers improve their practice.
written a lot about growing resistance to high-stakes standardized testing and
other corporate-driven school reforms. In the following piece, the argument is
made that the revolution against the reform movement is here. It was written by
Jeff Bryant, an Associate Fellow at the Campaign
for America’s Future and the owner of a marketing and communications
consultancy. It serves numerous organizations including Human Rights Watch,
Doctors Without Borders, PBS, and International Planned Parenthood Foundation.
He writes extensively about public education policy at The
Education Opportunity Network.Follow Jeff on Twitter: jeffbcdm
Navigating School Funding Decisions in Harrisburg |
Webinar for School Boards &
Superintendents Wed, May 22, 2013 - EDT
This spring marks the third
year that superintendents and school boards are struggling to put together
budgets with deeply reduced state funding levels. So what is Harrisburg doing about it?
Join the Pennsylvania Budget and PolicyCenter on Wednesday, May 22nd at for a webinar on the latest in
the state budget debate and what it means for education funding in Pennsylvania.
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
by Diversified Search, 1990 M St NW, Suite 570, Washington, DC.
Questions may be directed to PSBA@divsearch.com. Interested
parties should email their resume and cover letter to PSBA@divsearch.com.
Please apply by June 1, 2013 for
Turning the Page for Change
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.
rgin-b� �!m . `E xm� i style='mso-bidi-font-style:normal'>Charter schools - public funding without public scrutiny; Proposed
statewide authorization and direct payment would further diminish
accountability and oversight for public tax dollars