Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for June 12, 2013: Charter Schools: Public Funding Without Public Accountability. Charter schools must be accountable to taxpayers too.

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 12, 2013:
Charter Schools: Public Funding Without Public Accountability. Charter schools must be accountable to taxpayers too.
Keep 1.7 million PA kids learning; protect public schools and taxpayers from paying exorbitant corporate bonuses, funding tens of thousands of TV, radio, print and internet ads, funding $10 million non-school building projects and buying beachfront property with tax dollars meant for educating our neediest kids.

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 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

“This Bill has tremendous bipartisan support,” said Centennial School Board Director Mark B. Miller, Co-Chair of the Keystone State Education Coalition and First Vice President of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association. Miller strongly supported Rep. O’Neill’s efforts to develop the bill.  “We are very grateful to Rep. O’Neill for his hard work over the last seven years to bring this bill to reality,” said Miller. 
Gov. Corbett Holding Special Ed Bill Signing Event at Tennent Friday
The governor has been invited to sign Special Education House Bill 2 at the high school this Friday at noon.
Warminster Patch June 10, 2013
Governor Tom Corbett is scheduled to visit William Tennent Friday, June 14 at 12 p.m. to sign Special Education House Bill 2 (Act 3 of 2013) that seeks to create a better funding formula to support special education in Pennsylvania.  The bill’s prime architect and sponsor, Rep. Bernie O’Neill, will join with the Governor and Centennial Board of School Directors, administrators, and representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Education to celebrate the signing. 

Pink Slips for 99 Allentown Teachers
NBC Philadelphia Tuesday, Jun 11, 2013  |  Updated 7:06 AM EDT
Cash-strapped schools aren’t only a Philadelphia thing. Another area school district is firing teachers due to a budget crunch.  Dozens of teachers in the Allentown School District are being laid off.  Teacher's union President Deb Tretter says the 99 teachers received pink slips from their principals last Thursday and Friday. The district's proposed $242 million budget eliminates 132 teaching positions; 99 of those are coming through layoffs.

House Democrats fault GOP education policies with driving up future costs

HARRISBURG, June 11 – At a Capitol news conference today, House Democrats highlighted several Republican-backed education policies that harm Pennsylvania’s students and schools, and will ultimately drive up future costs for the state. The news conference followed a contentious budget debate on education funding on Monday.  House Democratic Policy Chairman Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, said House Democrats have been fighting for restored education funding since Gov. Corbett introduced his first budget in 2011.
“We’ve railed against the Republican-backed cuts to education for two years; we debated them again last night on the House floor; and we’re continuing our efforts today. Saying nothing is not an option,” Sturla said.  Pointing out the negative impact of the recurring $1 billion cut to basic education introduced by Gov. Tom Corbett two years ago, several lawmakers noted how those cuts have impacted their local school districts and taxpayers.

Pension reform: It's probably too complicated to get done quickly
By Jan Murphy |  on June 11, 2013 at 11:30 AM
Of the three big policy issues Gov. Tom Corbett put on the General Assembly’s to-do list along with budget passage, the governor told an audience in Ephrata the $47 billion unfunded liability in the state’s two pension systems is the most worrisome to him.  Gov. Tom Corbett said of all the big policy issues the state faces, the $47 billion unfunded pension liability is the most worrisome to him. He said failure to reform the pension system will unleash an economic hardship for the state and school districts for decades to come.  He said failure to reform the pension systems will lead to a “nightmare of economic hardship for our children” for decades by forcing state government and school districts to cut into core programs.

Five takeaways from Gene Veno and Sybil Knight-Burney about Harrisburg schools
By Matt Zencey |  on June 11, 2013 at 3:23 PM
Here are five takeaways from Tuesday’s Pennlive/Patriot-News Editorial Board meeting with Harrisburg School Recovery Officer Gene Veno and Superintendent Sybil Knight-Burney.

As Philly school layoffs loom, furious activity
Amid massive Philadelphia School District layoffs, the teachers' union Tuesday decried the lack of education funding, Mayor Nutter spent the day in Harrisburg seeking support for schools, and laid-off noontime aides demonstrated outside City Hall.

Pa. charter school board's inaction affects Pittsburgh schools
By Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette June 12, 2013 12:09 am
Career Connections Charter School in Lawrenceville may remain open this fall despite the efforts of Pittsburgh Public Schools to close it.  Propel Schools won't open its Hazelwood school this fall despite its desire to do so.  And a charter school proposed for Duquesne this fall is in jeopardy.
All three have been awaiting word from the state Charter Appeal Board, but, with 14 cases pending, the Charter Appeal Board meeting scheduled for Tuesday was cancelled.

PDE Press Release June 05, 2013
Governor Corbett Announces $345,000 in Grants to 34 Libraries to Enhance Services and Improve Access for Local Communities
Harrisburg – Gov. Tom Corbett today announced that 34 public, school and academic libraries across the state will share $345,430 in grant funding to enhance services and improve access to materials to local communities.  Funding for this competitive grant program is provided through the federal Library Services and Technology Act, which is overseen by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Office of Commonwealth Libraries.

“Evaluation of 10 years of data demonstrates that City Connects' approach to addressing out-of-school factors significantly improves academic performance and narrows the achievement gap. Students who attended City Connects elementary schools outperform their peers on standardized tests in middle school. They are less likely to be retained in grade, be chronically absent, and drop out of high school than students never in City Connects.”
Community Schools: Support All Students to Close the Achievement Gap
THE WHOLE CHILD BLOG June 10, 2013 by Mary E. Walsh
Mary E. Walsh, PhD, is the executive director of City Connects and the Kearns Professor of Urban Education & Innovative Leadership at the Lynch School of EducationBoston College.
More than 16 million children in the U.S. live in poverty, which dramatically affects their ability to come to school ready to learn and thrive. The latest data from the National Center for Education Statistics' The Condition of Education 2013 (PDF) report shows that one in five schools was considered high poverty in 2011, an increase from one in eight schools in 2000.
Even the significant investment the U.S. has made in developing strong curricula and talented teachers is not adequate to ensure that all children can succeed. Research shows that only one-third of the achievement gap can be attributed to the quality of a student's in-school experiences. The other two-thirds is linked to the non-academic factors that impact children, many of which are greatly exacerbated by poverty. These "out-of-school" factors can include hunger, homelessness, unaddressed medical concerns, violence, and lack of access to important enrichments like arts or athletics. The evidence is clear: until we address poverty, the achievement gap will persist.

A Commitment to Pre-Kindergarten is a Commitment to National Security
High-Quality Early Childhood Education Saves Billions While Strengthening Our Military and Our Nation
A report by Mission: Readiness, 2013
Mission: Readiness is the nonprofit, nonpartisan national security organization of more than 350 retired generals, admirals and other senior retired military leaders calling for smart investments in America's children. It operates under the umbrella of the nonprofit Council for a Strong America.

“The Texas testing revolt first got traction when, in January 2012, the state education commissioner at the time, Robert Scott, said the mentality that standardized testing is the “end-all, be-all” is a “perversion” of what a quality education should be. He also called “the assessment and accountability regime” not only “a cottage industry but a military-industrial complex.” School boards across the state then began passing resolutions demanding that the testing regime be reconsidered, and Texas lawmakers began to publicly call for a reduction in testing.”
Texas governor signs legislation to reduce standardized testing
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss, Published: June 10, 2013 at 3:46 pm
Bending to popular outrage over high-stakes standardized testing, Gov. Rick Perry signed school reform legislation Monday that revamps high school graduation requirements and cuts the number of mandatory end-of-course exams from 15 to 5.
Perry had not revealed his decision until he signed it, leaving activists concerned about  which way he would go with the legislation, the Austin-American Statesman reported here. But in the end, Perry (R) chose not to ignore a revolt against excessive amounts of high-stakes standardized testing that began more than a year and a half ago in Texas and that has spread to other states.

A new ‘Education Declaration’ for genuine school reform
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss, Published: June 11, 2013 at 11:00 am
A coalition of educators, researchers, parents, activists and elected officials issued what signees are calling an “Education Declaration” on Tuesday that lists seven key principles on which genuine school reform should be guided for the 21st century and starts from the premise that public education is “a public good.”  The document offers a progressive approach to school reform that includes ensuring that teachers are properly trained and respected, that opportunities to learn for all students are paramount and that  learning must be “engaging and relevant.”

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

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

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the information, I am still undecided on where to to go school. I've been researching career paths online and I like the idea of attending either one of the nursing schools in PA or becoming a pharmacist.


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