Thursday, June 13, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for June 13, 2013: House Budget Locks in 85 Percent of Education Cuts. Let your legislators and legislative leadership know how that impacts your students, schools and taxpayers.

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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for June 13, 2013:
House Budget Locks in 85 Percent of Education Cuts.
Let your legislators and legislative leadership know how that impacts your students, schools and taxpayers.

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

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

No Funding, no peace
Education Voters PA Update and Action Steps (Philadelphia specific) June 12th
June 12: City Council did not move legislation that would enable Philadelphia to get more revenue to support schools. The state House of Representatives passed a budget (along partisan lines) that does not improve the financial picture for districts across Pennsylvania.  City Council and the State Legislature are engaging in a political standoff, each saying the other body needs to act first to support legislation that would allow Philadelphia to create additional revenue streams.

No surprises here folks…..
Roll Call Vote on House Bill 1437 – Budget Bill
Wednesday, June 12, 2013 4:12 pm

“Rep. Joe Markosek, D-Allegheny County and the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, said more funds can be found for schools, colleges and human services programs by suspending a gradual phase-out of the state tax on business assets, or more fairly taxing natural gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale region.”
Pennsylvania House of Representatives passes Republican-authored state budget plan
By Charles Thompson |  on June 12, 2013 at 5:18 PM,
On a straight party-line vote, House Republicans pushed through a $28.3 billion state general fund budget this afternoon.  The House plan - which serves as that chamber's opening position in final round budget talks - would increase spending by $550 million above this year's state spending level but spends $100 million less than what Gov. Tom Corbett proposed in February.
The plan passed on a 108-92 vote, with all Republicans in favor (three GOP members were excused for the day), and all Democrats opposed.

"Some lawmakers continue to blame temporary federal funds for Pennsylvania's education cuts. The fact is that in 2011 the General Assembly made a choice to restore expiring federal funds for prisons but not for education.”
Statement: House Budget Locks in 85 Percent of Education Cuts
HARRISBURG, PA (June 12, 2013) – Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center Director Sharon Ward issued the following statement on House passage of a 2013-14 budget bill (HB 1437) today: "We are disappointed with the House budget. It reflects the wrong priorities for Pennsylvania. It chooses tax cuts for profitable corporations over funding for public schools and makes permanent almost 85 percent of the cuts enacted two years ago.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, GOP legislative leaders meet on budget
By Charles Thompson |  on June 12, 2013 at 8:42 PM,
Gov. Tom Corbett and Republican legislative leaders convened for an end-of-session-week power meeting today.   As they broke shortly before 6 p.m., participants shared no specifics of their behind closed door talks but uniformly described the meet – which apparently was mostly devoted to the state’s spending plan - as positive and productive.
“We moved the ball forward,” a seemingly content Corbett told a reporter as he walked back into his Capitol office. The governor, as is his routine practice on most working issues, declined to take questions on specifics.

Teplitz, school superintendents blast Gov. Corbett for underfunding urban schools
By Josh Fatzick |  on June 12, 2013 at 3:55 PM
Sen. Rob Teplitz, D-Dauphin, joined urban school superintendents from across the state at the Capitol today to ask for more money for their districts, which are hit harder by funding drops than other school districts.  “The misplaced priorities of this administration have put special interests above the interests of school children and families,” said Teplitz. “I find it outrageous that the state would put school districts like Harrisburg in this situation.”

Pennsylvania’s Tragic Betrayal of its Public Schools
Published on the national blog of education historian Diane Ravitch
By Joseph Batory, Former Superintendent of Schools, Upper Darby School District,
Drexel Hill, PA June 10, 2013 at 11:16 am
With regard to the inadequate funding of Philadelphia Public Schools, the city’s
politicians have been and continue to lacking in political courage and moral fiber. Far too
many of them are much too self-serving and most of them do not even understand what
their fiscal insanity has done to the schools and the children of their city.
Likewise, the recent array of superintendents has each been far too meek and without the
commitment to confront the system’s financial deficiencies.
But the worst villain of all has been the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Taking it to Harrisburg
Yinzercation Blog June 12, 2013
What are you doing on Tuesday, June 25th? Our new coalition – called Great Public Schools (GPS) Pittsburgh – is partnering with other groups around the state for a large rally in Harrisburg. (Philadelphia is planning to send ten bus loads of people!) This will be right at the time the legislature is negotiating the final state budget and we need to be there to tell them to put students, schools, and communities first.
This week Republicans in the House refused to allow budget proposals from Democrats to come to a vote, effectively keeping the old Republican budget plan on the table. As you will recall, that plan puts $100 million back in the public education budget, but gets us nowhere near the almost $2 billion our students have lost these past two years. (See “Budget Talk.”)

New Study Shows State Cuts to Education Highly Discriminatory
Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia June 12, 2013
A new analysis by the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia shows that lower income students and minority races are affected in significantly greater amounts compared to other students by the Corbett Administration cuts.
In 2011 Governor Tom Corbett cut $1 billion in public school funding.  As a result of these cuts 70 percent of school districts have increased class sizes, 44 percent slashed extracurricular activities and 35 percent eliminated tutoring programs. He has maintained this cut for the past two budgets and now proposes to increase public school funding by a mere $90 million. This still leaves a massive funding gap that 75 percent of public schools must account for by continuing to lay off teachers and staff this coming year. Because of this gap, Philadelphia school district is $300 million short of the budget needed to maintain its current minimal programs, forcing it to lay off 3,800 persons and strip its schools of all except mandated teachers and a principal; allowing no counselors, aides, or even a secretary to answer the phone.

Five minutes well spent…..
Schlossberg: Allentown Schools Need Funding
YouTube video runtime 5:07 Published on Jun 12, 2013
Pa. state Rep. Mike Schlossberg describes how GOP budget cuts to basic education in the Commonwealth have affected the Allentown School District.

Here’s House Appropriations Committee Chairman Adolph’s view on the budget prior to the vote

Well Crafted Budget Prioritizes Spending

YouTube Video Runtime 7:56 Published on Jun 12, 2013
Rep. William Adolph urges support in advance of the vote for the $28.3 billion budget before the House.

Attempt to hike tax on drinking in Philly falters
WHYY Newsworks By Holly Otterbein, @hollyotterbein June 12, 2013
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter's plan to increase the drink tax is on life support.
Council President Darrell Clarke said lawmakers would not vote on the proposal Wednesday, signaling that there is not enough support now for it to pass. The plan, which requires state-enabling legislation, would raise the liquor-by-the-drink tax to 15 percent from 10 percent.
It would generate $22 million for the struggling school district.

Pennsylvania is one of only 3 states without an education funding formula
Funding, Formulas and Fairness
What Pennsylvania Can Learn From Other States’ Education Funding Formulas
Education Law Center February 2013
This report makes the case for restoring a sound education funding formula to Pennsylvania’s public schools.

PA school districts look to cash stash to balance budgets
By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent June 11, 2013
BOARD MATH: A new survey found seven in 10 districts plan to use reserve funds to fill budget gaps.
HARRISBURG — As business manager for the Mercer Area School District,  Mike Stabile has spent the last several years budgeting around a myriad of factors.  Among that list: a school board that won’t raise taxes, state level cuts and increased future costs for charter school students and pension payments — and the district is down nine teachers from the last few budgets.

Retired Military Leaders Back Obama's Early-Childhood Plan
By Julie Blair on June 12, 2013 4:01 PM
President Barack Obama's early-childhood education plan could lead to a projected two million more high school graduates nationwide and $150 billion in net economic benefits to America over 10 years, states a report released Tuesday by Washington-based Mission: Readiness, a nonpartisan security organization made up of 350 retired military leaders.  It is critical for our nation to have an educated population and for the U.S. Armed Forces to be able to draw talent from it, states the report, "A Commitment to Pre-Kindergarten is a Commitment to National Security."

Education Secretary Arne Duncan works to sell Obama administration’s preschool initiative
Washington Post By Lyndsey Layton, Published: June 12
Arne Duncan woke at 5:30 a.m. in his Arlington County home, was driven to the airport and folded his 6-foot-5 frame into an aisle seat in coach. The education secretary buckled his seat belt and tilted his head back for a short flight to Atlanta, another stop in his uphill effort to sell the Obama administration’s next big idea: pre-kindergarten for every 4-year-old in the country.
The pitch on this day was to Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican inclined toward the notion but dead-set against raising taxes to pay for it.

Study: Math requirements not aligned with Common Core in many states
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss, Published: June 12, 2013 at 2:00 pm
In a new sign that schools are not ready to fully embrace the Common Core State Standards, a report concludes that the large majority of states that have adopted the Core have not adjusted their math high school graduation requirements to meet the standards.
The report, issued by Change the Equation and the National School Boards Association’s  Center for Public Education and called “Out of Sync: Many Common Core states have yet to define a Common Core-worthy diploma,” found that 10 states plus the District of Columbia — out of the 45 that adopted the Core — have yet to align their math sequences of courses and graduation requirements to standards. And it says that even the 13 states that seem to be aligned with the Core in regards to math still have “much to work to do to ensure that their high school course sequence and content is truly aligned to the standards.”

“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. 

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

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