Monday, June 24, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for June 24, 2013: Here's an easy $360 million to help restore past school funding cuts

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

Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for June 24, 2013:
Here's an easy $360 million to help restore past school funding cuts

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Senate will reconvene in voting session on Monday, June 24 at 1:00 PM.

The House currently has voting session days scheduled for Monday, June 24 through Friday, June 28.

The Senate has voting session days scheduled for Monday, June 24 through Sunday, June 30.

Send an email to Harrisburg on school funding
Education Voters PA
As the budget process continues 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

Did you miss our weekend postings?
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for June 22, 2013: Money Laundering: New Hampshire calls EITC by its rightful name.
Keystone State Education Coalition, Saturday, June 22, 2013

Patriot-News PennLive letters: Here's an easy $360 million to help restore past school funding cuts
PennLive Letters to the Editor by Lawrence A. Feinberg on June 23, 2013 at 9:30 AM,
LAWRENCE A. Feinberg is Co-chair, Keystone State Education Coalition, Haverford Township School Board, Delaware Co.
Time is running out for students across Pennsylvania. Less than two weeks remain for state lawmakers to begin to undo the damage they have done with deep funding cuts to schools. A House budget plan leaves nearly 85 percent of those cuts in place, doing little to hire back nurses and counselors or to restore music, arts, and sports programs that districts have been forced to cut.  Senate leaders and Gov. Corbett’s administration have signaled a willingness to delay a business tax cut next year. That is welcome news. Keeping the tax rate at 2012 levels could raise $360 million to restore some of the deepest school cuts. In response to critics, Sen. Jake Corman asks: “Is that [tax] phaseout more important than education dollars?”

“Here's an idea: Hold off on scheduled cuts in the capital stock and franchise tax, which were suspended between 2009 and 2011 when the state budget was tight. If the tax stays at its current level, it could raise $362 million. Even more funds could be generated by increasing gas-drilling fees and accepting federal dollars to expand Medicaid. There's no good reason for the state not to meet its responsibility to schoolchildren.”
Education Funding - Inquirer Editorial: Buck-passing isn't a strategy
POSTED: Sunday, June 23, 2013, 3:01 AM
Gov. Corbett's shaky plan to use city sales-tax dollars, plus federal funds that the state is unlikely to get, to bail out Philadelphia's destitute schools winks at the state's constitutional obligation to provide a "thorough and efficient" education to Pennsylvania's children.
The scheme provides no assurance that enough money would arrive in time to stave off a devastating 3,800 layoffs before the city's state-controlled district resumes classes in September.

Grim day arrives for those facing school layoffs

…..The district's largest shedding of jobs in decades is wiping out entire categories, including school secretaries (307) and noontime aides (1,202), and nearly every assistant principal (127) and itinerant instrumental teacher (76).  Most of the 600 other teachers got pink slips based on seniority and will spend their last day on the job Monday. Their spots will be filled by instructors displaced from schools that cut staff or are closing.

Running the School Funding Numbers in the State Budget (Or, I Hope You Like Charts)
Digital Notebook Blog by Evan Brandt Sunday, June 23, 2013
Michael Stoll is not particularly happy with me.
Stoll is the communications director for the House Appropriations Committee and he contacted me last week to express his displeasure with The Mercury's story analyzing the House of Representatives budget, and how it affected local districts, which first ran on our web site on June 13.  "Your story and the headline are incredibly misleading and fails to accurately explain how school funding is distributed to school districts," he wrote in a June 14 e-mail to me after the story appeared in print.
The print headline read "$28.3B House budget stiffs poorer school districts in Pa."
The story ran with this spread sheet I put together with information released every year by the House Appropriations Committee.

“Even his dramatic pledge last week to find "a long-term solution" to the Philadelphia School District's financial crisis - especially, he said, if its unions accept major contract concessions - set off grumbling among House Republicans, never a faction with much interest in sending more money to the state's biggest city.”
Corbett looking for a policy win heading into election
POSTED: Sunday, June 23, 2013, 3:01 AM
HARRISBURG - As the final week of legislative frenzy begins before Pennsylvania's June 30 budget deadline, there is little friction between Gov. Corbett and lawmakers over the proposed $28.4 billion spending plan itself.
The governor's three major policy initiatives? That's a different story.
Already, his fellow Republicans controlling the legislature have shown little inclination to give Corbett what he wants on his big three - privatizing the sale of liquor, cutting public employee pension costs, and creating new funding for road, bridge, and mass-transit projects.

EPLC Education Notebook Friday June 21, 2013
Education Policy and Leadership Center

Edward Donley: Quality preschool education critical for U.S. to compete in world
Allentown Morning Call Opinion by Edward Donley, June 22, 2013
Edward Donley, former chairman of Air Products & Chemicals, has been involved in many local, state and national efforts to promote education.
…..Before children enter kindergarten, science tells us, the brain grows rapidly and forms networks that build the foundation for learning and social skills. By age 5, children's brains reach 85 percent of adult weight, developing 700 neural synapses — the connections that facilitate learning — every second. Differences in learning appear as early as age 3, when the children of parents receiving public assistance have vocabularies of about 500 words, compared to 700 words for children in working-class families and 1,100 words for children of college-educated parents.  Decades of research show that disadvantaged children who receive high-quality early childhood education are more likely to succeed in school, graduate from high school, go to college or pursue career training, obtain good jobs, and become productive, contributing members of society.
By comparison, disadvantaged children who don't receive quality early learning enter school 12 to 18 months developmentally behind their peers. Of 50 children who have trouble reading in first grade, 44 will still have trouble by fourth grade, and if they're well below grade level in reading by fourth grade, they might never graduate from high school. They are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs, require public assistance, and get involved in the criminal justice system.
Bethlehem Area School District doesn't want charter school to receive TIF dollars
By Sara K. Satullo | The Express-Times  on June 23, 2013 at 5:00 AM
Bethlehem Area School District officials are disappointed that a city charter school is relocating into a special tax district aimed at boosting the economic redevelopment on former Bethlehem Steel land.  And officials don't want the money the Bethlehem Redevelopment Authority receives through a special tax deal going toward building the new school.
"You're using tax dollars the district is basically refunding to help build a building that will not be on the tax rolls," Superintendent Joseph Roy said of district officials' opposition. "It is a vacant lot now but at least it's on the tax roll."

"It's going to be a long week. It's not going to come together until they're in a locked room. That's how it's going to go down,"
Philly Schools Await State Funding Decision
NBC10 By Sarah Glover   Friday, Jun 21, 2013
On Friday, some students and teachers are saying goodbye to each other because 23 schools in the Philadelphia School District are closing due to a lack of funding. NBC10's Monique Braxton reports from Bok Technical High School in South Philadelphia.  Will the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania give $120 million to the School District of Philadelphia?
The answer is going to come in the last hour on Sunday, June 30, according to Senator Vincent Hughes.  "We're trying to figure out a way to fund these schools and jobs so people can go to work," said Hughes. 

Charter School Reform: HB 618 on PA House Calendar for consideration on Monday June 24
This bill is a comprehensive amendment to the Charter School Law, including temporary reduction in funding for cyber charter schools, the creation of a funding commission, a system of direct payment to charter schools, accountability provisions and other improvements to the Charter School Law.

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 Prior Posting
Charter schools - public funding without public scrutiny

Public Education Suffering from Parasitic Profiteers
Education Week Living in Dialogue Blog By Anthony Cody on June 23, 2013 4:19 PM
Paul Krugman's recent column describes the unproductive forms by which many of our largest and most profitable corporations are making money. As I read, I got a disturbing image in my head. In education, it seems as if our leaders are purposely re-engineering the system to introduce a plethora of profit-seeking parasites into the workings of our schools.
To understand what I mean, let's begin by defining what is essential to a wonderful school. Think of the Lakeside School, attended by Bill Gates himself several decades ago, and now by his children. 

Computer Coding Lessons Expanding for K-12 Students
Educators develop creative ways to teach coding through gaming
Education Week By Michelle R. Davis Published Online: June 11, 2013
South Hills High School teacher Saleta Thomas bills her class as a digital game-design program for students. But once students opt to take the class, they start learning computer coding through basic programs like Alice, then move on to Flash, JavaScript, ActionScript, and other coding languages.  Since the students in the Fort Worth, Texas, school are focused on digital-game creation, often they don't even realize they're learning computer coding, Thomas says. The "marketing" ploy of labeling the course digital-game design has had an impact, she says. Computer science wasn't a popular course at the low-income school, which has struggled over the past few years to bring test scores up, but the digital-gaming elective has gone from 22 students its first year to 45 this school year, and 81 are projected for the next school year.

Save the Date: Diane Ravitch will be speaking at the Main Branch of the Philadelphia Free Library on September 17 at 7:30 pm.  Details to come.

Friday June 28th is the deadline to submit proposals for PSBA’s 2014 Legislative Platform
There is one week remaining to submit proposals for consideration for PSBA’s 2014 Legislative Platform.The deadline to submit proposals is Friday, June 28.  Guidelines for platform submissions and submission forms are posted on PSBA’s Web site. Boards may submit new proposals as well as revisions to the current platform and should include a brief statement (about 50 words) of rationale for each proposal submitted.  The rationale should include a summary of the reasons why your board believes this issue should be addressed in the platform, any specific problems your district has encountered, and how your board believes the problem could be resolved.  In addition, your board is encouraged to submit any data related to the issue as it affects your district, or any draft language that could be crafted into proposed legislation. This information will be shared with the PSBA Platform Committee. All submissions should be directed to PSBA’s Office of Governmental and Member Relations. All items submitted must be verified by the board secretary. The PSBA Platform Committee under the direction of Chairman Mark B. Miller will review proposals and rationale submitted for the platform on Aug. 10. 
The items recommended by the Platform Committee will be presented to the new PSBA Delegate Assembly for final determination by the voting delegates present. Next week, PSBA will be mailing to all school board secretaries a memo and response form for the appointment of their voting delegates to the Delegate Assembly. Selection of voting delegates for the Delegate Assembly meeting is the same as it was for the Legislative Policy Council.  Each PSBA member entity has the opportunity to participate in the meeting the debate and vote on all of the agenda items.

PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference
October 15-18, 2013 | Hershey Lodge & Convention Center
The PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference is the largest gathering of elected officials in Pennsylvania and offers an impressive collection of professional development opportunities for school board members and other education leaders.
See Annual School Leadership Conference links for all program details.

PAESSP State Conference October 27-29, 2013
The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, State College, PA
The state conference is PAESSP’s premier professional development event for principals, assistant principals and other educational leaders. Attending will enable you to connect with fellow educators while learning from speakers and presenters who are respected experts in educational leadership.
 Featuring Keynote Speakers: Charlotte Danielson, Dr. Todd Whitaker, Will Richardson & David Andrews, Esq. (Legal Update).

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.

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