Tuesday, June 11, 2013

PA Ed Policy Roundup June 11: Since Corbett took office, PA’s share of funding for public schools has dropped from 44% to 32%, well below the national average of about 48%

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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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for June 11, 2013:
Since Corbett took office, Pennsylvania’s share of funding for public schools has dropped from 44 percent to 32 percent, well below the national average of about 48 percent.

Education Voters PA Statewide Call to Action for Public Education
Pennsylvania’s 1.76 million public school kids don’t care whether Rendell backfilled or Corbett cut stimulus money; they now have 20,000 fewer adults trying to maintain their constitutionally mandated “thorough and efficient system of public education” than they did a couple years ago.
Take 10 minutes to do three things to make a difference!

Thursday, June 13, 2013 10:00 AM  Hearing Room 1, North Office Bldg.
To consider Special Education Funding in PA

Pennsylvania League of Urban Schools (PLUS) Press Event
Wednesday June 12, 2013 10:00 am Capitol Media Center
PLUS press event in the Capitol Media Center in Harrisburg on Wed morning at 10 a.m.  Hosted by Dauphin County Democratic Senator Rob Teplitz.
PLUS superintendents expected to attend/speak include are Bill King from Scranton, Carlinda Purcell from Reading, Steve Butz from SE Delco, Sybil Knight Burney from Harrisburg and Tamara Willis, assistant superintendent from York.

Send an email to Harrisburg on school funding
Education Voters PA

In the event that you have a few minutes more to spare, please consider contacting the legislative leadership listed below regarding the education budget ; here’s part of their job description:

PA Constitution - Public School System Section 14.

“The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth.”
PA Legislature Republican Leadership 2013
Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jake Corman
Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati
House Majority Leader Mike Turzai
House Appropriation Committee Chairman William Adolph
House Speaker Sam Smith
Governor Tom Corbett 
717-787-2500, Fax: 717-772-8284

“House Democrats would have increased spending $378 million over the Republican budget, mostly on K-12 education but also on colleges and universities and on various human service programs.  The caucus proposed paying for its spending increases through savings to the state under Medicaid expansion, changes designed to make the state liquor system more profitable and freezing the phase-out of the capital stock and franchise tax, among other steps.”
Pennsylvania Democrats fail to amend budget
By Karen Langley / Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau June 11, 2013 12:11 am
HARRISBURG -- If Democrats controlled the House, they would pass a budget that boosts funding for K-12 and higher education and for human services while accounting for an expansion of Medicaid eligibility under the federal health care law.  As it stands, the minority party did not even get to vote Monday on its package of wide-ranging amendments to the budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.  House rules do not allow overall spending to be increased after the budget leaves committee, and so Speaker Sam Smith, R-Jefferson, ruled that the proposal by Rep. Joe Markosek of Monroeville, the ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, was out of order.  An attempt by Mr. Markosek to return the budget to committee, so his amendment could be considered, failed, 109-90, on a party-line vote.

State House of Representatives poised to vote on a $28.3 billion budget
By Jan Murphy | jmurphy@pennlive.com  on June 10, 2013 at 7:49 PM
The House could vote as soon as Tuesday on a $28.3 billion general fund budget for 2013-14, which raises spending from this year by a $550 million.  This plan requires no increase in broad-based taxes, such as the sales or personal income tax, to support it.

“Since Corbett took office, education funding has been cut by nearly $1 billion. The state's share of funding for public schools has dropped from 44 percent to 32 percent, well below the national average of about 48 percent.”
Inquirer Editorial: Funding crisis is statewide
POSTED: Tuesday, June 11, 2013, 3:01 AM
Gov. Corbett and the legislature know Philadelphia isn't the only school district in Pennsylvania facing a financial crisis. So why is it taking them so long to come up with a viable statewide solution?  Already there have been teacher layoffs and other budget cuts. Academic and extracurricular programs have been eliminated, and class sizes have grown. The situation will only get worse unless the state lives up to its legal and moral obligation to provide its children with "a thorough and efficient education."

The end of Philly's public schools?
Philly.com Commonwealth Confidential Blog Monday, June 10, 2013, 4:35 PM
Could all of Philadelphia's school-aged kids soon be destined for charters?
As the district struggles with a serious cash deficit, a top Democratic senator said Monday there has been talk in Capitol halls of turning all of Philadelphia's schools into privately-run charters.
Sen. Vincent Hughes says he heard from "high-placed sources" over the weekend of "charterizing Philadelphia's school district in its entirety," a plan he likened to "a holy war."
"That's untenable, unacceptable," Hughes told reporters during a press availability. "That abrogates contracts, that changes the entire dynamic of what would happen in a school environment. And it takes the school discussion to a whole other level."
He would not give details on just who those high-placed sources are, or whether they are even in the Corbett administration.
"They don't get too much higher," Hughes would only say.

Charterizing Philly schools could be a fabulous windfall for some lucky management companies; not so much for students or taxpayers though…..
PA Charter Schools: $4 billion taxpayer dollars with no real oversight Keystone State Education Coalition (updated June 10, 2013)
Charter schools - public funding without public scrutiny; Proposed statewide authorization and direct payment would further diminish accountability and oversight for public tax dollars

Senator Vincent Hughes: “Thousands of Philadelphia Teacher Layoffs Are Unacceptable.  Gov. Corbett Must Expand Medicaid and Invest the Savings in Our Schools”
HarrisburgJune 10, 2013 – Today, Senator Vincent Hughes called on Gov. Tom Corbett to accept more than $4 billion in federal funding to expand Medicaid in Pennsylvania. Sen. Hughes called for the savings generated by expansion to be invested in public schools across the state, including the Philadelphia School District which just sent layoff notices to more than 3,700 educators on Friday, June 7th.

Philly: Faces of The Layoffs
A project by Teacher Action Group Philadelphia
On June 7, 2013, The School District of Philadelphia terminated 3.783 employees. Their presence is essential in our schools. Get to know them here and then take a stand to get them reinstated.

Nutter facing tough task in Harrisburg
POSTED: Tuesday, June 11, 2013, 3:01 AM
AT A PIVOTAL moment in the push to prevent drastic cuts for Philly schools, Mayor Nutter is traveling to Harrisburg today to build support for his plan to plug the district's budget gap, state lawmakers said.  It won't be an easy task.

A spokesman for the state Democratic Party, Marc Eisenstein, said, "Gov. Corbett is one of America's most unpopular governors because he has cut funding for education, ignored thousands of Pennsylvanians without health care and presided over an economy that has gone from 7th to 41st in job growth all while giving massive tax breaks to donors and special interests."
Schwartz leads Corbett in latest Quinnipiac poll
By Timothy McNulty / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette June 8, 2013 12:05 am
Suburban Philadelphia congresswoman Allyson Schwartz leads the little-known pack of Democrats seeking to knock off Gov. Tom Corbett next year, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll, as the incumbent Republican's numbers remain in the muck.
The pollsters found Ms. Schwartz, of Montgomery County, would beat Mr. Corbett in a November 2014 matchup 45 percent to 35 percent. Fellow Philadelphia-area Democrat Rob McCord, the state treasurer, would fare similarly against Mr. Corbett at 43 percent to 35 percent.

Partnership between Penn State, Philadelphia Futures yields years of success
Nonprofit lauds University for helping low-income students
Penn State News May 30, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- La’Quan Williams’ clearly saw his academic mission from a young age: work hard and get a full scholarship to college.  With tuition financially out of reach for his family, he excelled in the classroom, got a scholarship and is now set to graduate next year from Penn State with a bachelor’s degree in public relations. A turning point in his quest, he said, came in the ninth-grade with Philadelphia Futures, a nonprofit with a long history of preparing low-income high school students for college.
“I felt I was breezing through with the knowledge that I already had,” he said. “Philadelphia Futures, to me, was high school. The work and the challenges they presented for me were much more challenging than my actual school work.”
Penn State is one of six institutions of higher education partnering with Philadelphia Futures, and 73 Philadelphia Futures students have received degrees from the University since 1994. 

Teachers vie for Grammy music educator honors
Tribune-Review By Jane Miller Published: Monday, June 10, 2013, 8:00 p.m.
For every performer who makes it to the Grammy stage, there is a teacher who played a critical role in getting them there, says the Grammy Foundation, sponsor of the annual music-excellence award.  Last fall, Jamie Eisner of McCandless heard the announcement during the Grammy Awards to nominate music teachers for the first ever “Grammy Music Educator of the Year” award.
The biggest scandal in America
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss, Published: June 11, 2013 at 4:00 am
22 percent of children in the richest country in the history of the world live at or below the federal poverty line — and if it weren’t bad enough that more than 1 in five American children live at or below the federal poverty line,  nearly half live in low-income families that struggle to meet basic needs, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Double Jeopardy: How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation
A Report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation 2012
This revised study finds that students who don’t read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to leave without a diploma than proficient readers. It is notable in breaking down for the first time the likelihood of graduation by different reading skill levels and poverty experiences. It also updates a 2011 research brief with new data on graduation rates for students living in concentrated poverty.

“But the work that would ensure that students can read well by the third grade must start long before a child steps into a classroom, panel members said.”
Governors, state education chiefs discuss improving child literacy
Washington Post By Lynh Bui, June 04, 2013
Governors and education chiefs from nine states said Tuesday that a focus on early-childhood education, the changing dynamic of families and supporting low-income students could help improve literacy across the country.  Discussing the nation’s literacy crisis at a Washington Post policy forum in the District, the panel of political and education leaders said states need to do more to help children learn to read by the third grade, a key educational milestone at which children shift to “reading to learn.” Those who can’t read proficiently by third grade are more likely to struggle in later grades.

Teach for America has $350 million in assets yet requires even the poorest school districts to pay finder's fees.
Teach for America does not pay any teacher salaries or benefits; local school districts must do that.
More Vetoes of Teach For America Needed
Education Week John Wilson Unleashed Blog By John Wilson on June 3, 2013 6:30 AM
It took a smart and savvy Governor of Minnesota to figure out that Teach for America'scurrent funding strategy is not fiscally responsible for states. Governor Mark Daytonand his staff did their homework. When they learned that TFA had $350 million in assets, he questioned why precious funds from Minnesota should go into an already well-funded program. It is refreshing to know that there is at least one politician who is not blinded by the Madison Avenue branding of Teach for America.

Local flexibility is needed in ESEA reauthorization, says NSBA
NSBA’s School Board News Today by Alexis Rice June 10, 2013
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is asking the U.S. Senate to make changes in its legislation to reauthorize theElementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), commonly known as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). On Tuesday, June 11, the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) will mark-up this bill.

CAPS Forum on Community Schools Saturday June 15, 9 am1:30 pm
Kensington CAPA High School, Front & Berks Streets, Philadelphia
The Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools (PCAPS)
Over the past year, in forums, workshops, listening sessions, and through surveys, thousands of students, parents, community members and school staff voiced their desire for an educational system that provides a well-rounded education parallel to what affluent districts offer, but that also addresses the challenges that come with poverty. We understand that all of our schools must provide:
  •  A rigorous academic curriculum
  •  Enrichment activities such as sports, art, music, drama
  •  Coordinated supports and services that address the social-emotional as well as the academic needs of students and their families.
The Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools (PCAPS) has done our research! After meeting with experts from around the country, we have concluded that the most equitable, effective, financially sound strategy for our city is one that embraces community schools for all children.
Please join us on Saturday, June 15th for the Community Schools Conference (9am-2pm) at Kensington CAPA High School (Front & Berks St.) to learn more from national experts and work with others on a strategy to make this a reality for our city.
Please encourage your networks to attend and feel free to bring a friend! Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP at www.eventbrite.com/event/6815949689

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.

Building One America 2013 National Summit July 18-19, 2013 Washington, DC
Brookings Institution to present findings of their “Confronting Suburban Poverty” report
Building One America’s Second National Summit for Inclusive Suburbs and Sustainable Regions will involve local leaders and federal policy makers to seek bipartisan solutions to the unique but common challenges around housing, schools and infrastructure facing America’s metropolitan regions and its diverse middle-class suburbs. Participants will include local elected and grassroots leaders from America’s diverse middle class suburban towns and school districts, scholars and policy experts, members of the Obama Administration and Congress.  The summit will identify comprehensive solutions and build bipartisan support for meaningful action to stabilize and support inclusive middle-class communities and promote sustainable, economically competitive regions.

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

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