Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for May 22, 2013: Accountability: all over PA yesterday local voters had a say in how their education tax dollars are spent; we did not elect any charter school officials.

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.

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These daily emails are archived at http://keystonestateeducationcoalition.org
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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for May 22, 2013:
Accountability: all over PA yesterday local voters had a say in how their education tax dollars are spent; we did not elect any charter school officials.

WHAT WORKS - High Quality Early Childhood Education:
Join the ‘Strong Start for Children’ Campaign
Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children Posted At : May 21, 2013 12:30 PM
President Obama's call for the nation to make unprecedented investments to increase access to pre-kindergarten programs could be a game-changer in our efforts to ensure every child reaps the benefits of high-quality early learning.  In his State of the Union address earlier this year, the president called for investing $75 billion over the next decade to provide preschool for 4-year-olds through a partnership with states. His plan also calls for significant investments in evidence-based home visiting, a new Early Head Start-Child Care partnership and funding to address child care subsidy access and quality.
Now that his proposal is on the table, how do we make sure it becomes a reality? By speaking up and showing support.

Pa. gov seeks to clarify proposed school standards
Philly.com by MARC LEVY , THE ASSOCIATED PRESS May 21, 2013, 4:23 PM
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Gov. Tom Corbett has asked state education officials to clarify that a set of proposed academic achievement standards for Pennsylvania public school students are not uniform national standards, a step a spokesman said Tuesday is designed to respond to criticism of the proposal.  However, Corbett's request apparently would not alter the substance of the proposed math and English standards, known as the Pennsylvania Common Core. It also does not change his desire to see the standards take effect before the next school year begins, and it would leave untouched part of the proposal that ties them to a set of three course-specific tests that students must pass in order to graduate.

Imagine the statewide impact if Pennsylvania had enacted a reasonable extraction fee…..
Marcellus Shale has impact on Delco: Rose Tree Media receives $50,000 natural gas grant
By DANIELLE LYNCH dlynch@delcotimes.com @dmlreporter Tuesday, May 21, 2013
State officials have awarded the Rose Tree Media School District a $499,994 Natural Gas Vehicle Development Program grant which will go toward an upgrade of the district’s school bus fleet.  The grant is being administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection as part of Act 13 known as the Marcellus Shale Impact Fee legislation. Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, signed Act 13 into law last year which authorized impact fees for natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania.

Nutter, state Republicans to join forces on school funding?
WHYY Newsworks By Holly Otterbein @HollyOtterbein May 21, 2013
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter wants to raise money for the cash-strapped School District, mostly through tax hikes on alcohol and cigarettes. But he needs Harrisburg to pass legislation to make that a reality.  At an editorial board meeting with NewsWorks on Tuesday, Nutter said some Republican state lawmakers have been talking to him about joining forces. He said they, too, are concerned about funding for their local schools.
"I was in a meeting with some House Republicans who were lamenting issues related to school funding, having nothing to do with Philadelphia," Nutter said, "and asked if we would join in a coalition about this particular issue."
Nutter would not disclose to whom he has been talking yet.

Neither Nutter's nor Sanchez's school ideas sizzle. But together ...
Daily News Editorial POSTED: Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 3:01 AM
THE MAYOR and City Council agree that the school district needs more money. After that, they part ways - once again.  Mayor Nutter has proposed three solutions to the district's request for $60 million: increase delinquent tax collections to raise $28 million; up the across-the-bar drink tax from 10 percent to 15 percent to raise about $22 million; impose a $2-a-pack local tax on cigarettes sold in Philadelphia to raise $45 million this year. Total take: $95 million.
Council hasn't endorsed any plan, but a proposal by Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez to raise a business tax paid by the tenants in commercial buildings has been reported out of the Finance Committee. As drafted, it would raise $30 million more from what is known as the Use and Occupancy Tax.

Gates Foundation and Phila. School Partnership funded NCTQ study….
Nonprofit's study critical of Phila. teacher policies
KRISTEN A. GRAHAM, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER  Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 3:01 AM
Tenure and satisfactory evaluations are virtually meaningless for Philadelphia educators, and bad teachers can linger in the public school system too long.  The Philadelphia School District shells out too much for the health care of its teachers, who tend to be absent too often. Teacher pay ought to be revamped to keep strong performers, and effectiveness, not start date, should guide layoff decisions.
Those conclusions come via an analysis of Philadelphia teacher policies scheduled to be released Wednesday by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), a nonprofit that works to "restructure the teaching profession."

Musicians' plea to District: Don't take away our collective soul
by thenotebook on May 21 2013 Posted in Latest news
Members of the Philadelphia Orchestra know the vital role music can play in a young person's development. At the School Reform Commission meeting on May 15, Don Liuzzi, speaking on behalf of The Philadelphia Orchestra, where he is a timpanist, submitted a petition imploring the SRC not to let budget cuts deprive schools of the music and art programs that are so essential to the development of students' self-expression and creativity as well as the future of the city's musical community. 
Read the full written text of the testimony below.

Dems Go 2 for 2 in State House Races
PoliticsPA Written by Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor May 21, 2013
Democrats won 2 state House special elections Tuesday night in safe districts. Dan Miller, an attorney, will replace Matt Smith in Allegheny County. Economic Development official Kevin Schreiber will replace Eugene DePasquale in York.
Smith serves in the the state Senate and DePasquale is Pennsylvania’s new Auditor General. Both were elected in November 2012.

 “The historical assumption that Pennsylvania’s voters are hardcore cultural conservatives is outdated. The Keystone State simply isn’t your grandfather’s Pennsylvania anymore.”
It's not your grandfather's Pennsylvania anymore: Terry Madonna and Michael L. Young
By Patriot-News Op-Ed  on May 20, 2013 at 7:15 AM, updated May 20, 2013 at 7:18 AM
When he was asked to describe Pennsylvania, Washington political consultant James Carville, who helped elect Pennsylvania Gov. Bob Casey and U.S. Sen. Harris Wofford, once declared that the state was “Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama in between.” On another occasion, he added: “Pennsylvania is two cities separated by Alabama.”
Carville’s now famous maxim succinctly expressed the conventional wisdom--then and now: Pennsylvania is a culturally conservative state where tradition is strong, change is slow, and fundamental beliefs are enduring. In truth, that description of the state culture was probably fair for much of the 20th century.
But the past may no longer be prologue for Pennsylvania

Because we’re not already testing our kids enough…..
Schools Add to Test Load, Just to Assess the Questions
New York Times By JAVIER C. HERNÁNDEZ Published: May 19, 2013 119 Comments
Students in New York State sweated their way through some of the toughest exams in state history this spring. Now hundreds of thousands of them will receive a reward only a stonyhearted statistician could appreciate: another round of exams.  As school districts across the country rush to draw up tests and lesson plans that conform to more rigorous standards, they are flocking to field tests — exams that exist solely to help testing companies fine-tune future questions.
In New York, some 3,300 schools will hold field tests in English and math for nearly 374,000 students in June. Starting next school year, more than one million students in 22 states are expected to take the tests, in an effort to help develop a national exam modeled on the new standards, known as the Common Core.

Has anybody told Obama about the problems his education policies have caused?
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss, Published: May 21, 2013 at 6:00 am
White House officials say they didn’t tell President Obama about an impending IRS scandal, and nobody told him the Justice Department secretly subpoenaed reporters’ phone records, and exactly what he knew when about the Benghazi controversy is unclear. This, then, seems like a good time to ask: How much has the president been told about the unfortunate effects his education reform policies are having on public schools?

More Foundation Money to Fund Privatization
Diane Ravitch’s Blog By dianerav May 21, 2013 //
Researchers Sarah Reckhow of Michigan State University and doctoral student Jeffrey Snyder reported at an AERA session that foundation giving is increasingly concentrated on a small number of recipients.  Foundation funding is moving away from giving to public schools–attended by 90% of American students–and is going instead to “challengers” to the system, especially charter schools–attended by about 5% of American students.

Microsoft will end support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014.
Windows XP Deadline Puts Pressure on Schools
Education Week By Sean Cavanagh Published Online: May 21, 2013
Microsoft's plans to end support for Windows XP, believed to be the dominant computer operating system in K-12 education, could pose big technological and financial challenges for districts nationwide— issues that many school systems have yet to confront.
The giant software company has made it clear for years that it plans to stop supporting XP next year, and it has been urging districts, as well as businesses and other customers, to upgrade to Windows 7 or 8.


EPLC Education Policy Fellowship Program – Apply Now
Applications are available now for the 2013-2014 Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP). The Education Policy Fellowship Program is sponsored in Pennsylvania by The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC).
With more than 350 graduates in its first fourteen years, this Program is a premier professional development opportunity for educators, state and local policymakers, advocates, and community leaders.  State Board of Accountancy (SBA) credits are available to certified public accountants.
Past participants include state policymakers, district superintendents and principals, school business officers, school board members, education deans/chairs, statewide association leaders, parent leaders, education advocates, and other education and community leaders.  Fellows are typically sponsored by their employer or another organization.
The Fellowship Program begins with a two-day retreat on September 12-13, 2013 and continues to graduation in June 2014.

Navigating School Funding Decisions in Harrisburg |
Webinar for School Boards & Superintendents Wed, May 22, 2013 3:00 PM - 3:30 PM EDT
Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center
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 Policy Center on Wednesday, May 22nd at 3pm for a webinar on the latest in the state budget debate and what it means for education funding in Pennsylvania

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 PSBA@divsearch.com. Interested parties should email their resume and cover letter to PSBA@divsearch.com. Please apply by June 1, 2013 for best consideration.

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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