Thursday, May 9, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for May 9, 2013: F&M Poll: Only 1% of respondents give Governor Corbett’s administration an “A” grade for improving public 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 9, 2013:
F&M Poll: Only 1% of respondents give Governor Corbett’s administration an “A” grade for improving public education.

F&M Poll: When asked “What do you think is the MOST IMPORTANT problem facing PENNSYLVANIA TODAY?” the number one answer was the economy (18%); the number two answer was education,school (17%).

When asked to rate how important it is for state officials to address a list of issues, Help create new jobs was #1,
Improve the state’s economy was #2, and
Improve the public schools was #3.

Only 1% of respondents give Governor Corbett’s administration an “A” grade for improving public education.
The Franklin & Marshall College Poll April 30 – May 5
The May 2013 Franklin & Marshall College Poll of Pennsylvania registered voters finds a majority (58%) believes the state is “off on the wrong track” and only one in four (25%) believes Governor Tom Corbett has performed sufficiently well to deserve re-election. The Poll also finds fewer registered voters support selling
the state-owned liquor stores (47%) than did so in February (53%).
View the latest Franklin & Marshall College Poll:

“I challenge members of the Corbett administration to come to Philadelphia and spend a day in a classroom without books, supplies, proper staffing, assistant principals, counselors, or librarians.
I invite you, Gov. Corbett, to shadow a student who has no art or music class to look forward to; no after-school sport to attend. I challenge you to explain to a student that librarians and guidance counselors are luxury items.”
Governor, visit a Philly school
Inquirer Opinion by Blondell Reynolds Brown Thursday, May 9, 2013, 3:01 AM
Blondell Reynolds Brown is a Philadelphia councilwoman at large. 
The Pennsylvania Constitution says the state must "provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth."
And yet, for the third year in a row, we look to the Corbett administration to help us fill a sizable hole in the School District of Philadelphia budget. The district's "ask" is $120 million from Harrisburg and $60 million from the city to prevent the elimination of art, music, sports, school nurses, guidance counselors, assistant principals, all after-school activities, and more. In return we get silence and shrugged shoulders

Pa. Supreme Court upholds revised redistricting plan
Patriot News By The Associated Press  on May 08, 2013 at 11:26 AM
The state Supreme Court is upholding a revised plan to redraw the boundaries of Pennsylvania's legislative districts, ruling that a panel's new plan is constitutional.
The court's unanimous ruling Wednesday came after it initially rejected a map drawn by a five-member commission of top lawmakers and a former judge.
The map will take effect for Pennsylvania's 203 House districts and 50 Senate districts in next year's election.

PA Redistricting Website – Maps of plan upheld by PA Supremes on May 8, 2013

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

Corbett's pension fix is a bold start; do critics have a better one? Editorial
By Patriot-News Editorial Board  on May 08, 2013 at 10:55 AM
Give Gov. Tom Corbett credit: He has served up a bold plan that would make a big dent in the $47 billion unfunded liability now facing state pension plans. He may not have the perfect solution – reducing future benefits already promised to current employees raises serious constitutional questions – but he is trying to tackle a huge problem before it inflicts needless pain.
The Legislature’s Republican leaders don’t seem eager to run with their fellow Republican’s plan. However, just ignoring the problem and hoping that a booming stock market will solve it is not fiscally responsible.

Debate continues regarding 'appropriate' PA state pension investment returns assumptions. Under the Dome May 8,2013
The pension reform embodied in Act 120 of 2010 was built on an assumption that pension investments for the state’s pension plans would yield at least an 8 percent return. However, both the State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS) and the Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) have since reduced their expectations for investment earnings – down to 7.5 percent. And that slight change has added $6.7 billion to the pension systems’ total unfunded liability and provided more fodder for argument in what is an ongoing debate about what constitutes an appropriate expectation for investment returns by Pennsylvania’s state pension systems. CLICK HERE (paywall) to read Capitolwire Deputy Bureau Chief Chris Comisac’s third report in a series of stories about the pension systems’ unfunded liability.

Liquor-funded grant program for schools legislation introduced in House
By Jan Murphy |  on May 08, 2013 at 3:24 PM
Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposal to direct money made off of the sale of the state liquor system to education is now a matter before the state House.
Rep. Ryan Aument, R-Lancaster, has introduced House Bill 1366 that he and Corbett say has the potential to generate $1 billion for school districts in the form of Passport for Learning grants.
Districts would be restricted to using the grants for supporting school safety; enhancing science, technology, engineering and math education; improving the early learning of core subjects in grades kindergarten to grade three; and personalized learning.

Plan to fund $60 million School District request begins to take shape Philly Clout Blog by Sean Collins Walsh // 215-854-4172 POSTED: Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 4:25 PM
Most of the details are unknown, but Mayor Nutter's plan to fund the School District's request for an extra $60 million in city funding is beginning to take shape.

Shippensburg's advanced placement history students test at high level
Chambersburg Public Opinion Online By BRIAN HALL  @bkhallpo
SHIPPENSBURG - In one week, students in Kristoffer Rhinehart's advanced placement U.S. history class will find out how they measure up against the rest of the country.
The odds are in the students' favor.  Students in Rhinehart's class, which condenses the history of the United States from the arrival of Christopher Columbus to present-day events, have performed significantly higher than the U.S. average the previous two years.

New Community Schools Initiative for Detroit Public Schools: What Will It Mean?
By Marilisa Sachteleben | Yahoo! Contributor Network – Tue, May 7, 2013
Detroit Public Schools announced a groundbreaking initiative that should have broad-spectrum impacts for residents when fully implemented. "Neighborhood-Centered, Quality Schools" aims to partner community and schools and make schools hubs within the neighborhoods they serve. Here are outcomes and changes locals can expect.

According to a tweet from the Inky’s Amy Worden, Eugenie Scott, educator, was a key figure in the 2005 PA Dover evolution trial victory
Eugenie Scott to Retire From U.S. Center That Fights Antievolution Forces
Science Insider by Jeffrey Mervis on 6 May 2013, 5:45 PM | 22 Comments
Eugenie Scott has spent 26 years helping teachers do what's right for their students in the name of science. And while the need to defend the teaching of evolution and climate change certainly hasn't disappeared, Scott announced today that she is stepping down later this year as the founding CEO and "the public face" of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE).

Coalition Funnels 'Thank-You' Notes to White House on Pre-K Push
Education Week Early Years Blog By Julie Blair on May 8, 2013 2:08 PM
It will take dozens of little red wagons to deliver more than 30,000 thank-you notes to President Barack Obama next week, but that's exactly how the folks spearheading the Strong Start for Children campaign aim to do it.  The letters—including pieces of artwork done by children—were written in response to the president's budget, which outlines a multi-billion dollar expansion of preschool programs, said Helen Blank, director of child care and early learning at the Washington-based National Women's Law Center, an advocacy group.

“Perhaps we should begin looking more closely at two different groups of poor children. Consider research to identify the most meaningful differences between the households of (a) poor kids who fail academically and (b) poor kids who succeed academically.”
Poverty and student achievement: Are we comparing the wrong groups?
Washington Post  Answer Sheet Blog by Valerie Strauss on May 9, 2013 at 5:00 am
Earlier this week I published a piece by UCLA Professor and author Mike Rose titled, “Leave No Unwealthy Child Behind,” in which he discusses how economic inequality is reflected in educational achievement. Here’s a response from Robert Bligh, former general counsel  of the Nebraska Association of School Boards. Bligh’s research interest involves the efficacy of the school reform efforts promoted by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act since its original adoption in 1965. He served as assistant professor at Doane College and was editor and publisher of the Nebraska School Law Reporter.

Network for Public Education Endorses Monica Ratliff
Diane Ravitch’s Blog By dianerav May 9, 2013 //
This is the first endorsement by the Network for Public Education.
After a careful review by the board, we endorse Monica Ratliff for school board in Los Angeles.
We promised we would support candidates who support public education.
We don’t have the money to compete with the billionaires.
But we hope our support will persuade parents and teachers to get out and vote.

“Jeanne Allen founded the Center for Education Reform twenty years ago to advocate for charters and vouchers, anything but public schools. She was formerly the education person at the Heritage Foundation. The media often call her for quotes, thinking that the center is nonpartisan and independent.”
Bruce Baker Teaches Civics to Jeanne Allen
Diane Ravitch’s Blog By dianerav May 7, 2013 //
Bruce Baker of Rutgers is one of my favorite education analysts. He is adept at sorting through claims and demanding evidence. In this post, he gives Jeanne Allen a civics lesson.

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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