Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for June 27, 2013: ..some estimates say the Delaware loophole causes Pennsylvania to lose as much $450 million a year in tax receipts.

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 27, 2013:
..some estimates say the Delaware loophole causes Pennsylvania to lose as much $450 million a year in tax receipts.

FYI: Thunderstorms knocked out our FIOS and we were unable to publish yesterday; there are several postings on the CREDO Charter Study included today.

PA gives grants, loans to Del.-based corporations
It’s called the “Delaware loophole” and is used by corporations of all shapes and sizes to avoid taxes
Melissa Daniels, PA INDEPENDENT LAST UPDATED: Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 9:03 AM HARRISBURG — Hundreds of thousands of companies nationwide have found perfectly legal ways to skirt paying state taxes. But Pennsylvania adds a little bit of insult to the taxpayer injury: Some companies registered in Delaware, the East Coast version of Bermuda when it comes to tax advantages, are getting taxpayer-funded awards, grants and other incentives to do business in the Keystone State. It’s called the “Delaware loophole” and is used by corporations of all shapes and sizes across the county to avoid taxes.

Contact Senate leadership today urging them to pass a real loophole closing bill
PA Budget and Policy Center/Better Choices for PA June 26, 2013
After years of your efforts, a proposal to close corporate tax loopholes is advancing is the Senate with support from the Corbett administration. That’s great news. The problem is there is heavy pressure from certain elements of the business community to water it down, locking in favored tax loopholes rather than closing them.  What’s more, lawmakers want to forget about the hundreds of millions in tax breaks they have already given, and use to money to pay for new tax breaks that benefit favored industries, like private jet owners and banks.
Pennsylvania is in a lonely position, one of a handful of states that continue to look the other way as companies shift millions in income into tax havens in Delaware and Nevada.
It’s time to close the loopholes. For real.
Call (phone numbers below) or send an email to Senate leaders: Senators Pileggi, Corman and Scarnati. Urge them to pass a real loophole closing bill.
Send your State Senator an email today by clicking this link: http://mytinyurl/closeloopholesforreal

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

Today's budget headline: Hurry up and wait
Inquirer Commonwealth Confidential Blog by Angela Couloumbis  June 26, 2013, 7:17 PM
 Another day has come and gone without agreement on any of the major policy initiatives in Harrisburg. As the legislative clock quickly winds down to the June 30 deadline to pass a state budget, Gov. Corbett and Republicans who control the legislature are struggling to strike a compromise on what have come to be known as "The Big Three": privatizing the sale of wine and liquor, reining in the skyrocketing cost of public employee pensions, and funding roads, bridges and mass transit.

“Pensions doesn’t die July 1. Liquor doesn’t die July 1. Transportation doesn’t die July 1,” Corman said. “I’d like to get it done before that, but, you know, it’s a two year-session. Those bills don’t end. We can still work on them.”
PA Budget Live Blog: Corman says budget bill crowded out by other matters
By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent June 26, 2013 | By Eric Boehm | Posted in WatchBlog
HARRISBURG – As far as the state’s spending plan for next year goes, Senate Appropriations Chairman Jake Corman, R-Centre, said lawmakers aren’t as far along in their negotiations as he would hope.
That’s because the “big three” issues proposed by Gov. Tom Corbett are stealing focus from discussion on the budget bill, Corman said.

PSERS and SERS actuaries say defined contribution plan will cost taxpayers billions
House GOP awaiting report on whether Senate pension bill will save dollars. 
Capitolwire Under The Dome June 25, 2013
The House GOP is awaiting a report commissioned by the Public Employee Retirement Commission to see whether a proposal to move new employees to a 401(k)-style plan will save money, said Rep. Glen Grell, R-Cumberland. That report could be vital to determining if Gov. Tom Corbett achieves his pension reform goal by June 30. Thus far, there have been competing reports on various pension change proposals that claim a switch to a 401(k)-style defined contribution (DC) plan will either save the state money or cost it billions of dollars. Lawmakers appear to be hoping the much-awaited PERC report will settle the argument. Grell, a lead voice on pension matters in the state House of Representatives, wrote in an e-mail: “[The] Governor's actuaries say the DC-only plan will generate $2-3 billion in savings. PSERS and SERS actuaries say DC-only will cost billions. If PERC says the creation of a new DC plan will cost billions, the Senate Bill becomes a very difficult lift. If PERC says [the] plan will save $2-3 billion, there may be a push to insert a collar reduction in the bill before moving it, to get some short-term revenues.” For more about the pension issue, CLICK HERE  (paywall) to read Capitolwire Bureau Chief Peter L. DeCoursey’s report.

CSFT - Unaffordable tax cut
Tribune-Review Opinion by Lawrence A. Feinberg Monday, June 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Time is running out for students across Pennsylvania. Little time remains 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 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. Sen. Jake Corman asks critics: “Is that (tax) phaseout more important than education dollars?”
Protesters urge delay in Capital Stock and Franchise Tax cut
By JEFF WOLFE @delcoreporter Saturday, June 22, 2013
MEDIA — Sister Sandra Lyons has seen a lot in her 25 years of serving the people of Chester in Delaware County. But Friday, she didn’t want to see less of something.  Lyons, the director of the Bernadine Center in Chester for the last six years, was representing one of several organizations in a rally at the Delaware County Courthouse to urge state legislators to delay a cut to the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax in 2014, which would keep $360 million in the state budget and maintain support for several state school districts and other organizations.

Bevy of children, laid off school employees descend upon capitol to decry Philadelphia school cuts
By Anna Orso |  on June 25, 2013 at 5:31 PM
Aamir Gaskins wants desperately for the state government to better fund public education in his hometown of Philadelphia and was enraged Tuesday at the idea that 30 schools in the cash-strapped Philadelphia district will be closed down come September.
This perturbed, fearful activist is 10 years old.
“They shouldn’t be doing this to us,” Aamir said, noting that many of his friends’ schools are closing their doors. “Without good school, the children will become crooks, and they will steal and they’ll go to jail.”
Aamir, who was at the rally Tuesday with his great-grandmother, was among about 1,000 demonstrators at the capitol slamming the scheduled layoffs and school closings in the Philadelphia School District and getting in a last-minute plea to lawmakers before the Sunday budget deadline.

“That (PENNCAN) poll - first obtained and published by City Paper - finds that 70 percent of voters statewide believe that Philly's schools crisis is very much the governor's problem, and that 63 percent disapprove of Corbett's handling of public education across the commonwealth.”
Patrick Kerkstra: School bailout could hurt city by Patrick Kerkstra Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 1:08 AM
Gov. Corbett has belatedly realized what's been obvious for years: The state's utterly inadequate funding of K-12 education is a massive political liability for him, one that could well sink his reelection. The attention is welcome, even if the deal he is cooking up to bail out the city's schools is an atrocious one for Philadelphia taxpayers.

Philly teachers' union still reluctant on salary givebacks
WHYY Newsworks by Holly Otterbein, @hollyotterbein June 25, 2013
The Philadelphia School District has been desperately seeking help from the city, state and labor unions in order to plug a $304 million budget gap.  The city government is pledging extra money, though part of that still requires state-enabling legislation. Pennsylvania officials are also in talks about finding more cash. So what about the other part of the three-legged stool?  It seems even less certain now than the other two wobbly legs.

CREDO National study: Charter schools getting better, cybers drag down Pa. results
Notebook by Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 26 2013 Posted in Latest news
A new comprehensive national study has found that, overall, charter school performance has improved nationwide, but results vary widely by state. In Pennsylvania, students who attend charters performed worse, on the whole, than their peers in both reading and math, according to the research.  Pennsylvania charters' performance, said the study's co-author, was dragged down by the state's cyber schools. Though there were only eight cyber charters in among the nearly 100 schools studied, they enrolled 30 percent of the students, said Devora Davis, one of the study's authors.
The study was performed by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University. It was a follow-up to an oft-quoted report from 2009, which found that students in only 17 percent of charters did better than similar students in traditional schools.

CREDO Study: Pa. in bottom three for charter school scores
By Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette June 26, 2013 12:08 am
A national study on charter school performance shows that academic achievement is on the rise nationally among charter school students, but Pennsylvania is not sharing in that success, likely due to students in cyber charter schools.
The National Charter School Study 2013, released Tuesday, was conducted by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes, or CREDO, at Stanford University and is a follow-up to a similar study done in 2009 measuring the academic achievement of charter school students against those of their peers in traditional public schools.

CREDO New Multi-state Charter School Study Notes Progress, Setbacks
National Education Writers Association EdMedia Commons Posted by Mikhail Zinshteyn on June 25, 2013 at 9:14am
A collection of media response/coverage of new Stanford/CREDO charter school stidy

CREDO Charter schools offer scant edge over neighborhood schools: study
Reuters By Stephanie Simon Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:05am EDT
(Reuters) - Charter schools across the United States have improved in recent years, but on average, they still offer little advantage over traditional public education, according to a new study released on Tuesday.

Charters not outperforming nation’s traditional public schools, updated Stanford/CREDO report says
Washington Post By Lyndsey Layton, Updated: Tuesday, June 25, 12:01 AM
The nation’s public charter schools are growing more effective but most don’t produce better academic results when compared with traditional public schools, according to a report released Tuesday.  Researchers at Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes looked at test data from charter schools in 26 states and the District and found that 25 percent of charters outperformed traditional public schools in reading while 29 percent of charters delivered stronger results in math. That marked an improvement over a similar 2009 study by the same research team.
But 56 percent of the charters produced no significant difference in reading and 19 percent had worse results than traditional public schools. In math, 40 percent produced no significant difference and 31 percent were significantly worse than regular public schools.
States that shuttered at least 10 percent of their charter schools — the worst performers — had the best overall results, the study found.

 “The study reaches the same broad conclusions as the study four years ago: performance of charter school students is extremely varied, but on average, students learn at roughly the same rates as their public school peers.”
CREDO Charter School Performance Study Finds Small Gains
By Posted: 06/24/2013 11:59 pm EDT
Charter school students on average slightly outpace comparable public school kids in reading and tie them in math, according to a large study of academic performance that shows slow but steady charter school improvement in some states since 2009.
Charter students on the whole end the school year with reading skills eight instructional days ahead of public school kids, and perform at about the same rate as public school students in math, according to the study released Tuesday by Stanford University's Center for for Research on Education Outcomes, or CREDO. 

Colorado Virtual Academy Severs Association with K12 Inc.
Diane Ravitch’s Blog By dianerav June 25, 2013 //
The Colorado Virtual Academy, one of K12 Inc.’s biggest schools, has severed its association with the publicly traded corporation. They may continue to use its curriculum but not its management services, starting in 2014.

Ohio Republican Mega Donors Get Lion's Share of Charter Money
10th Period Blog by Stephen Dyer MONDAY, JUNE 24, 2013
As we reported today at Innovation Ohio, one of the real concerns with the current state budget, which is working its way through a joint House-Senate Conference Committee is this: Republican mega-donors David Brennan (White Hat Management) and William Lager (ECOT) saw major increases in their funding. Meanwhile, Charter Schools that actually do a far better job educating children received far less additional revenue.

China’s new education reform: Reducing importance of test scores
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss, Published: June 25, 2013 at 9:42 am
China just began a major education reform effort that is aimed at reducing the importance of standardized testing in determining school quality and including factors such as student engagement, boredom, anxiety, and happiness. It also seeks to cut back on the amount of school work students are given. As scholar Yong Zhao notes in the following post, the approach is the opposite of the education reform path in the United States, which in recent years has increased the importance of test scores for accountability purposes.
Chinese documents explaining the reason for the reform are remarkable, noting that the obsession with test scores “severely hamper student development as a whole person, stunt their healthy growth, and limit opportunities to cultivate social responsibilities, creative spirit, and practical abilities in students.”
Yong Zhao is the presidential chair and associate dean for global education at the University of Oregon’s College of Education, where he also serves as the director of the Center for Advanced Technology in Education, and is a fellow of the International Academy for Education. This appeared on his blog.

“Congress has shown little appetite for taking up new spending. Nevertheless, the senator said that she was planning to introduce a early-childhood education bill, along with Democratic Senators Tom Harkin of Iowa, Bob Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania, and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii.”
US Senate Budget Leader To Introduce Early Childhood Bill
Education Week Early Years Blog By Christina Samuels on June 25, 2013 3:51 PM
Speaking both as an elected official and a former preschool teacher, Washington Sen. Patty Murray told a crowd of early-education advocates today that expanding access to quality preschool is a "moral imperative" and that she and other Senate colleagues plan to introduce a comprehensive bill that would align with Obama administration priorities.
Murray, a Democrat, is the chairwoman of the Senate Budget Committee. But her remarks, which are embedded in the video below, mixed policy discussion with personal anecdotes. At a meeting in Spokane, Murray said that the local sheriff, Ozzie Knezovich, spoke of how he was a "Head Start kid." Murray said her own political career began when she learned her children's preschool program was going to be shuttered.

Arne Duncan Mounts Strongest Defense Yet of Common Core Standards
Education Week Politics K-12 Blog By Michele McNeil on June 25, 2013 3:00 PM UPDATED
In a speech today to the American Society of News Editors in Washington, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan mounted his strongest defense yet of the common-standards movement and sought to beat back claims that the federal government has gone too far to encourage the standards' adoption.  In his remarks, he tried to draw bright lines in the controversy: That the federal government encouraged the standards' adoption, but didn't mandate them and that the standards are just that—standards—and not a set of lesson plans or curricula, which the federal government is barred under law from getting involved in.
Duncan told the audience, "The federal government didn't write them, didn't approve them, and doesn't mandate them, and we never will. Anyone who says otherwise is either misinformed or willfully misleading."

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.

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

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