Established in 2006, the Keystone State Education Coalition is a growing grass roots, non-partisan public education advocacy group of several hundred locally elected, volunteer school board members and administrators from school districts throughout Pennsylvania. Our mission is to evaluate, discuss and inform our boards, district constituents and legislators on legislative issues of common interest and to facilitate active engagement in public education advocacy.
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for June 17, 2013: NYT: Budget Cuts Reach Bone for Philadelphia Schools
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.
not even looking at a school that any of us went to,” said Lori Shorr, the
mayor’s chief education officer. “It’s an atrocity, and we should all be
ashamed of ourselves if the schools open with these budgets.”
— When a second grader came to the Andrew Jackson School too agitated to eat
breakfast on Friday, an aide alerted the school counselor, who engaged him in
an art project in her office. When he was still overwrought at 11, a secretary
called the boy’s family, and soon a monitor at the front door buzzed in an older
brother to take him home. Under a draconian budget passed by the
Philadelphia School District last month, none of these supporting players —
aide, counselor, secretary, security monitor — will remain at the school by
September, nor will there be money for books, paper, a nurse or the school’s
locally celebrated rock band.
MARTHA WOODALL, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER Friday, June 14, 2013, 10:45 AM
the Philadelphia School District continues to grapple with a financial crisis,
it announced layoffs Friday of 76 employees.
The new cuts, expected to save $32 million, affect 63 staffers at the
district's headquarters at 440 N. Broad St. and 13 employees in regional
offices, most working in early childhood education. This round follows last week's announcement
of 3,783 layoffs, including noontime aides, assistant principals, counselors,
teachers, and secretaries.
the job losses represent a 19.9 percent decrease in the 19,530-member
MICHAEL HINKELMAN, DAILY NEWS COLUMNIST Monday, June 17, 2013, 6:24 AM
I INTRODUCED you to Alejandro Gac-Artigas in March, the former charter-school
first-grade teacher hoped to take his innovative summer-reading program to a
bigger stage. Now, he has done so. Gac-Artigas,
24, of Southwest Center City, founded the nonprofit Springboard Collaborative
to close the literacy gap among low-income K-3 pupils in Philadelphia public
schools. As a teacher, he noticed that reading levels fell in summer when
"his kids" weren't in school. The
Springboard business model combines targeted student instruction with parental
training and learning bonuses (books, supplies) given to families in proportion
to the reading gains made.
Tom Corbett took the stage at William
Tennent High School Friday afternoon for a ceremonial signing of
legislation designed to take a hard look at the formulas used to determine
special education funding in the state budget.
legislation marks another step in our journey toward providing a full and
equitable education for our students with intellectual and physical
disabilities,’’ Corbett said.
making a stop in Philadelphia to tout the benefits of natural gas development
to the Delaware Valley, Governor Tom Corbett defended his insistence on
imposing an “impact fee” rather
than a “severance tax.” His remarks made at the industry sponsored Keystone Energy Forum came just
a day after the Public
Utility Commission announced the distribution from 2012 impact fee
payments. Corbett has faced criticism about the impact fee, which some say
results in much lower revenues than the more common severance tax imposed by
other gas producing states.
— The statistics present a bleak outlook for students at the Chester Upland
School District, which one program, celebrated Saturday for its success, has
been able to overcome. According to a
Pennsylvania Auditor General’s report of the 2011-2012 school year, 58 percent
of the students dropped out with 42 percent graduating and at least 30
professional employees were not certified.
The district, under the state Board of Control, was unable to account
for $277 million during a four-year period and the district had seven
superintendents, six assistant superintendents and seven business managers
Compare that to the 54 students who have completed The Achievement Project
if instead of charters only taking kids whose parents are involved enough in
their kid’s education that they complete the application process, they only
took the kids who are not proficient on PSSA's or have been suspended more than
3 times? The regular public schools
would suddenly be pretty successful. Karen
Heller: An Academic Turnaround
HELLER, INQUIRER COLUMNIST POSTED: Sunday, June 16, 2013, 5:52
a respite from the relentless drumbeat of dire city school news, I headed to
far South Philadelphia, in the shadow of the stadiums. Thomas was a lousy neighborhood school, an
institution of last resort, when Mastery Charter took control for its first
turnaround project eight years ago. Today, Thomas is a gem, ranked the state's
fourth-best charter high school, with a waiting list of nearly a thousand
scores have tripled, and math more than doubled. The school, now grades seven
through 12, has 619 students. Members of the class of 2013, all 56 who graduate
Thursday, were accepted to postsecondary programs, the majority to four-year
Teaching Board denies Teach for America group variance, wants
by Beth Hawkins 6/14/13
Minnesota Board of Teaching meeting was packed for Friday's decision about
Teach for America's licensure variance. Despite
the pleas of numerous education advocates, school leaders, a state senator and
even a fired-up grandmother, the Minnesota Board of Teaching voted 9-2 Friday
to end a licensing arrangement that has made it easier for Twin Cities schools
to hire Teach for America (TFA) corps members.
that the group’s recruits meet its standards despite evidence presented by TFA
and its supporters, the board decided it would prefer to screen each individual
potential teacher, a process that will take six to eight weeks.
can be misleading. The familiar, one-dimensional story told about American
education is that it was once the best system in the world but that now it’s
headed down the drain, with piles of money thrown down after it. The
truth is that there are two very different education stories in America. The
children of the wealthiest 10 percent or so do receive some of the best
education in the world, and the quality keeps getting better. For most everyone
else, this is not the case. America’s average standing in global education
rankings has tumbled not because everyone is falling, but because of the
country’s deep, still-widening achievement gap between socioeconomic groups.
while America does spend plenty on education, it funnels a disproportionate
share into educating wealthier students, worsening that gap. The majority of
other advanced countries do things differently, at least at the K-12 level,
tilting resources in favor of poorer students.
you-can’t-make-up-this-stuff category: Florida just passed a law making it
illegal to evaluate teachers on standardized test scores of students they never
taught. If you are wondering why such a law would be necessary, here’s why:
years, many teachers were actually being evaluated by the test
scores of students they had never even seen much less taught, under a school
reform law that included a requirement that Florida teachers be evaluated on
student test scores.
CAPS Forum on Community Schools Saturday June 15, –
KensingtonCAPAHigh School, Front & Berks
The Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public
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.
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
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,
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.