Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for June 4, 2013: Roebuck: GOP cyber/charter bill (HB618) deserves a D+, doesn't save nearly enough

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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for June 4, 2013:
Roebuck: GOP cyber/charter bill (HB618) deserves a D+, doesn't save nearly enough

Education Voters PA Statewide Call to Action for Public Education
Mark your calendar today for Monday, June 10th – remember it just takes 10 minutes to do three things to make a difference!

Education Voters PA Statewide Call to Action for Public Education
Mark your calendar today for Monday, June 10th – remember it just takes 10 minutes to do three things to make a difference!
As we enter the final stretch of the 2013-14 budget discussions, it is critical that parents, voters, taxpayers, community members make one more push to ensure that our elected officials in Harrisburg are paying attention to input from real people. Here is where we stand: The Governor proposed a mere $90 million increase and did NOT propose improvements to the funding formula. House leaders proposed just a little more than the Governor (and when we say a little, we mean a little), proposing just $10 million more than the Governor (and by the way, they proposed more money for their own operations!)

“If our lawmakers stand with Gov. Corbett and his cuts, the state will continue to shift the cost of education down to local home and business owners, and our children will continue to lose educational opportunities,” she said. “That just isn’t the right thing to do.”
Shippensburg community to rally for public schools Tuesday night
Shippensburg Area School District students, parents and community members will come together for a Support our Schools rally at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at The Thought Lot on the corner of Orange and Earl streets. The event is open to the public and will be held rain or shine.
Education Matters in the Cumberland Valley will provide information about state funding cuts to the SASD and the current budget priorities of Gov. Tom Corbett and area lawmakers.
Susan Spicka, co-founder of Education Matters in the Cumberland Valley, said the purpose of the rally is to demonstrate the impact of inadequate state funding on students in public schools and the need for a change in budget priorities in Harrisburg.

Protesters present petition calling school board to demand more state education funds
By Gregg Bortz | The Express-Times  on June 03, 2013 at 6:11 PM
A dozen protestors with a petition from hundreds more today sounded their concerns about proposed state budget cuts that threaten Allentown and other school districts, and demanded the school board take action to reverse them.  The group said it gathered about 550 signatures from parents and other guardians at several of Allentown’s elementary schools.

EPLC Education Notebook for June 3, 2013
Education Policy and Leadership Center

Roebuck: GOP cyber/charter bill (HB618) deserves a D+, doesn't save nearly enough
Rep. Roebuck’s website Press Release HARRISBURG, June 3 – State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, said the Republican charter and cyber charter school bill reported out of the committee today deserves a D-plus grade because it doesn't include nearly enough taxpayer savings or financial reforms.
"I have introduced a bill that would save $365 million in the first year and include more financial accountability and more comprehensive reforms to these publicly funded schools. The Republican bill doesn't even come close, and I and other Democrats plan to offer amendments to it in the full House. Without changes, this bill deserves a D-plus because it doesn't save nearly enough," Roebuck said.

Cyber-schools are public schools: As I See It
By Patriot-News Op-Ed  By Suzanne D. Hair on June 03, 2013 at 11:00 AM
Like Susan Spicka ("As lawmakers consider state budget, some things to consider," May 24), I, too, am the parent of a school-age child and am very concerned about how our lawmakers’ decisions impact my child’s educational future. The similarity ends there, however.
My son is a student at Commonwealth Connections Academy, a cyber-charter school. He had been enrolled there for the past three years. He previously attended a bricks-and-mortar public school.

PA House Republican budget moves forward, as Democrats push own plan
Patriot News By The Associated Press  on June 03, 2013 at 7:16 PM,
The House Appropriations Committee on Monday approved a $28.3 billion state budget blueprint that closely tracks what Gov. Tom Corbett proposed, while Senate Democrats unveiled their own plan to compete against proposals backed by the Republican majority that controls both houses of the Legislature.  The dual actions provided a lively start to what is expected to be a long month of work in June. Lawmakers' labors will include finalizing a budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year by the June 30 deadline and dealing with major issues being driven by Corbett, including additional funding for transportation systems, changes in the public pension systems and the privatization of wine and liquor sales before their summer vacation.

“Democrats say public schools need more money to offset a nearly $1 billion cut two years ago. They also bemoan the omission of a Medicaid expansion financed by mostly federal money and the inclusion of $360 million in broad-based business tax cuts Republican Gov. Tom Corbett proposed.”
Pa. House panel approves GOP $28.3B budget plan
Delco Times by AP Published: Monday, June 03, 2013
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Pennsylvania House Appropriations Committee is sending a Republican-crafted state budget plan to the floor for debate.
Monday's 21-14 party-line vote followed a spirited discussion about state spending and policies.
Committee Chairman William Adolph says the $28.3 billion proposal would increase spending for public education and state police while avoiding any increase in taxes.
The Delaware County Republican stressed that it's only a starting point. Floor debate in the House is expected to start next week. The new fiscal year begins July 1.

Senate Democrats Budget Properly Funds Education, Job Creation, Social Services
Senator Costa’s website Harrisburg, June 3, 2013– Senate Democrats today presented their version of a 2013-14 state budget which they say is a responsible alternative to the short-sighted and ill-advised spending plans offered by Gov. Tom Corbett and House Republicans.
Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) said that the $28.4 billion spending plan focuses on job creation, education and social service programs. He said it is a balanced plan that uses policy innovations and budget savings to make key investments.

Senate Democrats' budget invests more heavily in education and funds job creation
By Jan Murphy | jmurphy@pennlive.com  Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on June 03, 2013 at 3:20 PM, updated June 03, 2013 at 3:23 PM
Senate Democrats rolled out a $28.4 billion alternative budget plan today that includes $212 million more for education and an extra $125 million for job creation than the amounts Gov. Tom Corbett proposed in his budget.
At a Capitol news conference, Senate Democrats unveiled their budget proposal that also invests $39 million for distressed school districts and funding for small cities in economic distress, both of which would help financially strapped Harrisburg and its schools.

“The Democratic proposal calls for spending about $56 million more than the governor's $28.4 billion plan. It increases education funding by roughly $200 million over Corbett's budget.”
Pa. Dems push budget alternative in Harrisburg
WHYY Newsworks By Mary Wilson @marywilson June 3, 2013
Pennsylvania Senate Democrats are outlining their budget priorities with a proposal that depends on a "liquor modernization" plan; keeping a business tax Gov. Tom Corbett would like to eliminate; and the state opting into the expansion of the Medicaid program.  The Corbett administration still hasn't agreed to expand Medicaid and has said the commonwealth wouldn't be ready for it by 2014, in an apparent move to take it off the table for budget negotiations.
But Democratic Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa says his caucus doesn't agree.
"We believe there's no question that the Department of Public Welfare has the ability to get the program up and running Jan. 1 of 2014 when it's implemented," said Costa, D-Allegheny. "What we hear from the administration are nothing but roadblocks and hurdles that they keep throwing out there."

Pa. State Sen. Williams hopeful on more money for Philly schools
WHYY Newsworks By Tom MacDonald @TMacDonaldWHYY June 3, 2013
One state senator is optimistic that the Philadelphia schools will not have to open this fall with just the bare essentials. A lot will depend on whether new dollars flow from Harrisburg.
State Senator Anthony Hardy Williams says he's not sure how the money will be found for Philadelphia schools, but he knows other districts in need of funding from Harrisburg.
"There are a number of district across Pennsylvania if they don't get additional revenue they will be either severely crippled or not be able to operate," said Williams. "We saw that last year when they took care of Chester. My expectation is that they will as responsive to other parts of Pennsylvania to Philadelphia. As we speak there are other members who are clear that we need additional revenue, so we are working on ideas to that end."

North Hills approves 2013-14 school year budget
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by Chris Checchio June 4, 2013 1:27 am
The North Hills School Board voted to pass a 2013-14 final budget totaling $69,747,422 at the Monday work session. The budget is a 1.6 percent increase in expenditures over the 2012-13 budget.

After five years and two strikes, Neshaminy teachers ratify new contract
WHYY Newsworks By Aaron Moselle, @awmoselle June 4, 2013
A five-year labor impasse between a Bucks County school district and its teachers union appears to be all but over.  On Monday night, the Neshaminy Federation of Teachers ratified a new contract overwhelmingly. The vote was 487 to 21.  "It's a relief," said Louise Boyd, president of the NFT, following a private, members-only meeting inside Carl Sandberg Middle School in Levittown, Pa. "I have said multiple times how respectful I am of the members. It has been a long way and they stuck through thick and thin and the atmosphere was very celebratory."
The seven-year contract, which is back-dated to 2008, still needs to be approved by the school board.

Blackwell, activists call for elected Philly school board
Summer Ballentine, Inquirer Staff Writer POSTED: Tuesday, June 4, 2013, 3:01 AM
Residents and education activists joined City Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell in a call Monday for an elected school board to replace the School Reform Commission.
"Never has so much money had so little accountability," said Helen Gym, founder of Parents United for Public Education, during the hearing before Council's Committee on Education. She was spurred on by a crowd of about 50 with shouts and applause.

25 Western Pennsylvania school districts get grants for special projects
By Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette June 3, 2013 3:12 pm
Twenty-five school districts in Western Pennsylvania counties have been awarded $20,000 grants to create spaces to engage students in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics projects.
The grants were administered by the Allegheny Intermediate Unit's Center for Creativity with money provided by the Claude Worthington Benedum and the Grable foundations.

Teacher-quality study lacks quality
Philly.com Opinion by LISA HAVER POSTED: Tuesday, June 4, 2013, 3:01 AM
RECENTLY, the National Council on Teacher Quality released its "Teacher Quality Roadmap" in which it offered its criticisms and recommendations on policies and practices of the School District of Philadelphia.  "Thank heavens," you're thinking. The district is so broke it's looking for loose change in the corner of desk drawers; thousands of students and teachers whose schools will close forever in June don't know where they'll be in September; parents wonder whether their children will have access to a nurse or counselor, or remember what a school librarian is; Harrisburg says don't call us - we'll call you.

Hot off the Press–the Arts Ed issue of NEA Arts!
Quarterly Magazine of the National Endowment for the Arts June 3, 2013
by Paulette Beete and Adam Kampe

New data shows school “reformers” are full of it
Poor schools underperform largely because of economic forces, not because teachers have it too easy
Salon.com BY DAVID SIROTA  MONDAY, JUN 3, 2013 12:30 PM EDT
In the great American debate over education, the education and technology corporations, bankrolled politicians and activist-profiteers who collectively comprise the so-called “reform” movement base their arguments on one central premise: that America should expect public schools to produce world-class academic achievement regardless of the negative forces bearing down on a school’s particular students. In recent days, though, the faults in that premise are being exposed by unavoidable reality.
Before getting to the big news, let’s review the dominant fairy tale: As embodied by New York City’s major education announcement this weekend, the “reform” fantasy pretends that a lack of teacher “accountability” is the major education problem and somehow wholly writes family economics out of the story (amazingly, this fantasy persists even in a place like the Big Apple where economic inequality is particularly crushing). That key — and deliberate — omission serves myriad political interests.

Need to feel good about the Common Core and Keystone Exams?
What would it take for us to see similar events focusing on high quality early childhood education and community schools?  Generous sponsors?
“The Pennsylvania Education Summit is co-sponsored by the Pennsylvania Business Council Education Foundation, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children and Team Pennsylvania Foundation with the support of generous sponsors.”
Pennsylvania Education Summit
Harrisburg, PA Thursday, June 13, 2013 from 8:00 AM to 3:45 PM (EDT)
The Pennsylvania Education Summit: Building a Pathway to College and Career Success will gather business leaders, teachers, school superintendents, curriculum specialists, state lawmakers, legislative staff, executive agency professionals, workforce investment board members and staff, and other education stakeholders for a civil conversation on the public policy required to ensure our Commonwealth's young people are "college and career ready."  The Pennsylvania Education Summit will highlight and support the efforts of the Corbett Administration and Pennsylvania General Assembly to design and implement education reforms that increase student achievement and accountability in Pennsylvania's K-12 education system.
Agenda and registration here: http://educsummit.eventbrite.com/

“What’s the least bad option going forward? Who should bear the brunt of this legacy of fiscal irresponsibility? Current retirees? Today’s teachers? New teachers? School districts? Taxpayers? The students themselves?”
No Way Out? How to Solve the Teacher-Pension Problem
Live or Webinar June 6, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. EDT
The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, 1016 16th Street NW, 7th Floor Washington, DC 20036
America’s teacher-pension systems (with up to a trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities according to some estimates) present a raging public-policy dilemma. Career teachers absolutely deserve a secure retirement, but lawmakers promised them benefits that the system cannot afford, as those promises were based on short-term political considerations and bad math. Now the bill is coming due, and someone’s going to get soaked.
  • Sandi Jacobs, vice president and managing director of state policy, National Council on Teacher Quality
  • Josh B. McGee, vice president of public accountability, Laura and John Arnold Foundation
  • Charles Zogby, secretary of the budget, Pennsylvania
  • Leo Casey, executive director, Albert Shanker Institute
Moderator: Chester E. Finn, Jr., president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute
This event will be webcast. Visit our website,www.edexcellence.net, at 10:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday, June 6, to watch the proceedings live.
Register now to join the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and the National Council on Teacher Quality for a timely look at the teacher-pension crisis and various state efforts to address it.

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.

Turning the Page for Change celebration, June 11, 2013
Please join us for the Notebook’s annual Turning the Page for Change celebration on June 11, 2013, from 4:30 - 7 p.m. at the University of The Arts, Hamilton Hall, 320 S. Broad Street. We will be honoring a member of the Notebook community for years of service to our mission as well as honoring several local high school journalists. Help us celebrate another year of achievement that included two awards from the Education Writers Association and coverage of other critical stories like the budget crisis and the school closing process.

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 (updated May 2, 2013)
Charter schools - public funding without public scrutiny; Proposed statewide authorization and direct payment would further diminish accountability and oversight for public tax dollars

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