Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for June 5, 2013: DN Editorial: EDUCATION BUCKET The state adds a drop of funding to it. Schools are ready to kick it. PLUS: 6 takes on NCLB reauthorization....

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 5, 2013:
DN Editorial: EDUCATION BUCKET The state adds a drop of funding to it. Schools are ready to kick it.

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 Monday June 10
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!)

“When Corbett first made the cuts, he bragged about keeping the lid on state spending so that he could live up to his no-new-taxes pledge.  What the governor really did was push off the cost of education from the state to local governments, forcing them to increase taxes and cut programs.”
DN Editorial: EDUCATION BUCKET The state adds a drop of funding to it. Schools are ready to kick it.
Philadelphia Daily News  Wednesday, June 5, 2013, 3:01 AM
EARLIER this year, Gov. Corbett proposed a $90 million increase in aid to basic education. This week, in their version of the budget, the House Republicans added $10 million to the pot.
Combined, they amount to a 1 percent increase. The phrase "a drop in the bucket" comes to mind. These increases do little to restore the deep cuts the Corbett administration has made to education funding over the past three years.  As the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center recently noted, state aid to basic education is still $800 million below what it was before Corbett took office.

Philly, Allentown, Shippensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh….
Buzzing with Action
Yinzercation Blog June 4, 2013
It’s June and Pennsylvania is starting to sound like a beehive on a sunny day, buzzing with public education activism.

"This isn't a Republican or Democrat issue," said Ronald Williams, a GOP member of the Pottstown school board in Montgomery County. "This is an issue that has to do with the future of our children."
Pa. schools join Philly in call for more state money
WHYY Newsworks By Holly Otterbein, @hollyotterbein June 4, 2013
A group of unlikely allies descended upon Harrisburg Tuesday to lobby for additional school funding.  Pennsylvania charter school leaders, as well as local officials from Republican-controlled counties, joined Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter in the call for more state aid for basic education.

Nutter, Butkovitz push Pa. for more school funding
HARRISBURG - Philadelphia leaders launched a full-court press Tuesday on the General Assembly, seeking support for funding to cover the projected $304 million school budget shortfall.
At separate news conferences, Mayor Nutter and City Controller Alan Butkovitz called on lawmakers to find money to stave off the school funding crisis as they head into the frenzied final lap toward the June 30 budget deadline.  "We cannot and will not let the students down," said Nutter, who was joined by School Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. and representatives of charter schools in a show of support for all public schools.

Prioritize Schools and Communities Over New State Tax Cuts, Local Officials Urge Harrisburg
Better Choices for Pennsylvania June 4, 2013 - 1:10pm
Local officials from across Pennsylvania came to Harrisburg today with a message for state lawmakers: prioritize investments in our schools, county health services, and infrastructure over new tax cuts.  Years of state tax cuts have shifted more costs onto local communities and taxpayers. The local officials urged lawmakers to delay a planned cut next year to a corporate tax that has already been reduced by 85 percent in order to restore funding to the services that people and businesses rely on everyday.

Storm imperils Philly schools
Inquirer Opinion By David Bradley Tuesday, June 4, 2013, 3:01 AM
David Bradley is a theater director, arts educator, arts consultant, and School District of Philadelphia parent.
As the School District of Philadelphia faces the prospects of unprecedented budget cuts, the image that comes to me is that of a massive storm ready to devastate our city's schools. The effects will be disastrous.  In the short term, city schools will be stripped to the most elemental services - one principal, one teacher for every classroom, each room packed to the blackboards with the maximum number of students. Assistant principals, guidance counselors, art, music, sports, and extracurriculars - gone. Paper, supplies, even books blown out the doors by budget-slashing winds.

Charter reform bills gain House Education Committee approval
By Josh Fatzick|For on June 04, 2013 at 6:35 AM
The House Education Committee on Monday passed legislation to address school district concerns surrounding charter school funding and it also moved a bill to increase funding for the popular Educational Improvement Tax Credit program.
The measures now will advance toward full consideration by the full House.
Efforts to move charter school reform legislation last year fell short when the House and Senate couldn't reach an agreement on details surrounding the reforms.

Rep. Truitt has two sons who have attended cyber charters and is a member of the House Education Committee.  On May 30 he attended and spoke at a legislative meeting with over 70 school board members and administrators from school districts in Chester and Delaware Counties.  Here’s his view on current pending charter reform legislation.
Guest Post: Charter Funding “Reform” Bill is Logically Bankrupt
Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania By Dan Truitt, Representative, House District 156
I don’t think anyone who has been paying attention to education funding in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania would argue that we have good education funding formulas.  In fact, some might argue that we have no funding formula at all.  The amount of money spent per pupil varies widely from school district to school district across the state.  The percentage of that funding that comes from the state also varies widely across the state.  “Hold Harmless” provisions in state law cause an excess of funding to go to shrinking school districts at the expense of growing school districts and the formulas for calculating charter school payments are riddled with flaws.  Two students living on the same street, with parents paying the same amount in property taxes, can enjoy the benefits of two different levels of tax-payer support, simply because one student “chose” to attend a charter school which arbitrarily receives less funding than a traditional public school.  Families who can afford private schools and choose that option really get the shaft.

Grant to encourage students to take advanced placement classes
Heinz Endowments' gift will help city schools foster advanced learning
By Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette June 5, 2013 1:01 am
Jordan Tyler, a junior at Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy 6-12, knows the Advanced Placement course he took in calculus will help him in college.
"I found myself working harder than ever to be the best I can be," he said.
A $930,367 three-year grant from The Heinz Endowments is expected to make it possible for more city students to get that edge in science, math and English AP courses.

Lower Merion's green buses honored at conference
Inquirer by Jessica Parks Tuesday, June 4, 2013, 1:46 PM
Lower Merion School District's transportation director will be among a panel of experts featured at a U.S. Department of Energy conference this month.
The panel, "Stalwart Stakeholders: 20 Years of Energy Independent Leadership," is part of the department's Clean Cities 20th Anniversary Celebration on June 24.
In addition to Lower Merion's Jerry Rineer, the panel will include fleet managers for agencies such as UPS, Schwan's, the New York City Department of Transportation and the National Park Service.  In 1995, Lower Merion began swapping out its diesel-fueled buses for vehicles that run on Clean Natural Gas.  Today, 58 of the district's 113 buses run on CNG.  The district has its own fueling stations and also uses bio-diesel fuel in the non-CNG buses.
It  was one of the first districts in the country to begin using CNG, and it has the largest alternative-fuel school bus fleet on the East Coast, according to the district's website.

New Common Core Standards or not, kids that are not reading on grade level by third grade are very likely to be “not proficient” eight years later.
First Book
With the school year winding down at Bonne Ecole Elementary school, a Title I school in Slidell, Louisiana, teachers were desperate to find a way to keep their students reading over the summer. First Book was there to help. On the last day of school, every student selected 12 brand-new books to take home.  More help is needed, at thousands of schools like Bonne Ecole Elementary.  As schools across the country let out for the summer, kids from low-income families are at risk. A summer with no books will put them way behind and erase the critical reading skills they worked so hard to gain.
You can help. Donate today to put new books into the hands of a child in need before school lets out for the summer.  Click here to donate today.

“We had to destroy the village in order to save it”… distorted quote attributed to CNN reporter Peter Arnett during the Vietnam War….
Broad Foundation: School Closure Guide
Closing Schools as a Means for Addressing Budgetary Challenges
The Broad Education Foundation May 2009
This is a guide for school district operators considering school closures to address significant
budgetary challenges. Note that this tool was not designed to assist with school closures as part
of a periodical closing and opening of schools for academic performance, though a subset of
the strategies may still be applicable.

Harkin, Senate HELP Committee Democrats Introduce Bill to Prepare All Children for Success and Fix “No Child Left Behind”
US Senate Committee on Health, Education, labor and Pensions Tuesday, June 04, 2013
Bill to Reauthorize ESEA Would Provide America’s Children with the Skills They Need to Prepare for College and Careers
All 11 HELP Committee Democrats Sign on as Original Sponsors of Bill Introduced by Chairman Harkin, the “Strengthening America’s Schools Act of 2013”
Harkin Announces That HELP Committee Will Begin Markup on Tuesday, June 11 

Don’t expect Congress to end test-and-punish core of NCLB
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss, Published: June 5, 2013 at 6:00 am
Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin just introduced a new bill that would rewrite No Child Left Behind, which nearly all people in the education world believe to be fatally flawed. Here’s a piece on why the Harkin bill and the likely Republican counterpart in the House won’t fix the problems of NCLB. It was written by Monty Neill, executive director of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, known as FairTest,which works to eliminate the overuse of high-stakes standardized tests.

Bill to Alter Bush-Era Education Law Gives States More Room
New York Times By MOTOKO RICH Published: June 4, 2013
Renewing the effort to revise No Child Left Behind, the signature Bush-era federal education law, Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, introduced a new version on Tuesday that he said would “replace the failed tenets” of the law.  Less than two years after Congress last tried to update the law, which governs public schools that receive federal money to support the country’s most disadvantaged students, Mr. Harkin, chairman of the Senate education committee, opened what is likely to be a fierce debate over the proper role of the federal government in public education.

No Child Left Behind Reauthorization Revived By Harkin Bill
Huffington Post by Joy Resmovits, Posted: 06/04/2013 10:31 am EDT
After more than a year of near-dormancy in the Senate, the rocky process of rewriting No Child Left Behind is getting a new start.  On Tuesday, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), the retiring chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, released a new 1,150-page bill to update the law.

Senate introduces No Child Left Behind replacement
TribLive By The Associated Press Published: Tuesday, June 4, 2013, 11:33 a.m.
WASHINGTON — The one-sized-fits-all national requirements of No Child Left Behind would give way to standards that states write for themselves under legislation Senate Democrats announced Tuesday.
The state-by-state approach to education standards is already largely in place in the 37 states that received waivers to the requirements in exchange for customized school improvement plans. The 1,150-page proposal from Senate education committee chairman Tom Harkin would require some of those states to tinker with their improvement plans and force the other remaining states to develop their own reform efforts. Education Secretary Arne Duncan would still have final say over those improvement plans, and schools would still have to measure students' achievements.

Senate Democrats to Unveil NCLB Reauthorization Bill

 Alyson Klein  
U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, the chairman of the Senate education committee, unveiled a bill to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act that would require states to set achievement and growth targets for students, including subgroup students. The proposal, which faces steep political hurdles, mirrors the Obama administration's NCLB waiver system but is a marked departure from the bipartisan measure that was approved by the education committee back in 2012.  All eleven other Democrats on the committee have signed onto the legislation, which will be considered by the full panel on June 11. But the bill has no Republican sponsor, and it seems unlikely to garner GOP support, given that it outlines a more robust role for the federal government than the 2011 measure, which got the support of just three (relatively reluctant) Republicans.

The Pressing Need for Preschool
Huffington Post by Jonah Edelman, Co-founder and CEO, Stand for Children 06/03/2013 3:28 pm
I've written about the need for universal early childhood education before and I'll write about it again. This time I'll assume that you, like 70 percent of Americans, support increasing access to high quality preschool. My goal, then, is to arm you with the facts so you can contact your Congressperson and senators about supporting President Obama's preschool plan today.

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:

“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,, 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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