Friday, June 7, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for June 7, 2013: Finding money for public education: Q&A with Sen. Vincent Hughes

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 7, 2013:
Finding money for public education: Q&A with Sen. Vincent Hughes

Education Voters PA Statewide Call to Action for Public Education
Pennsylvania’s 1.76 million public school kids don’t care whether Rendell backfilled or Corbett cut stimulus money; they now have 20,000 fewer adults trying to maintain their constitutionally mandated “thorough and efficient system of public education” than they did a couple years ago.
Mark your calendar today for Monday, June 10th – remember it just takes 10 minutes to do three things to make a difference!

Send an email to Harrisburg on school funding now - actually - send three (in just a few clicks) and then mark your calendar for Monday June 10th
Education Voters PA

Finding money for public education: Q&A with Sen. Vincent Hughes
thenotebook by Paul Jablow on Jun 06 2013 Posted in Latest news
Democrats in the State Senate introduced their own proposed budget on Monday. Their budget would increase basic education funding by $212 million compared with the governor's proposal of $90 million and Republican legislative proposals of $10 million more than that.
This morning, the Notebook sat down with State Sen. Vincent Hughes, ranking minority member of the Appropriations Committee, to discuss that budget and education funding under the Corbett administration. Hughes estimated the Democratic budget would provide $122 million for Philadelphia schools, almost exactly what District officials say is needed from the state to help close a $304 million budget shortfall next year. He called the Senate budget proposal the first step on a path to let the state again fund education "at a level that is appropriate."

Bleeding Out
Yinzercation Blog June 6, 2013
School districts across Pennsylvania are on life support. After massive defunding of public education by the state the past two years, schools have made so many cuts there is almost nothing left to remove. A new study out this week reveals just how big this gaping wound is where strong public schools ought to be.  The Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO) and the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA) surveyed all 500 school districts in May, and received responses from 187 (for a response rate of 37%). The results are sobering (all data from PASBO/PASA School Finance Report, June 2013):

Protesters rally against education cuts
Published: June 6, 2013
WILKES-BARRE - While Gov. Tom Corbett was touting some of his plans to a friendly business crowd across town, a small group of parents and union workers - brandishing hand-made signs bashing the chief executive - staged a mini-protest on Public Square on Wednesday and urged passing cars to honk their approval.  Protester Chris Sloat, a 45-year-old mother of two students in the Wilkes-Barre Area School District, said the small group of nine people was trying to draw attention to the lack of financial support public education is receiving from Harrisburg while it holds down taxes on fracking and corporations.
"It's upsetting to me" Sloat said amid a handful of protesters holding signs reading slogans like "Take a Stand Against the Man" and "Kids Before Profits." "Everybody should pay their fair share."  The group then hand-delivered a petition of more than 300 signatures to the Wilkes-Barre Area School District asking it to "stand up" to the governor and his cuts to education.

Wissahickon Charter to get $1.5 million grant to expand
The Philadelphia School Partnership will announce Friday that it is awarding a $1.5 million grant to Wissahickon Charter School in Nicetown to help it expand. A year ago, the Philadelphia School Reform Commission gave the charter school, which has an environmental focus, permission to add a second K-8 campus in 2014.

Pocono Mountain Charter school teachers vote in union
By Jenna Ebersole Pocono Record Writer June 06, 2013
Pocono Mountain Charter School teachers, crowded into the school's dance studio Wednesday afternoon, broke into applause.  The tabulation was in — the teachers would be unionizing. They voted 35-1 in favor of joining the Pennsylvania State Education Association even as the status of the school's future remains uncertain.

Editorial: Make charter schools fully accountable
Scranton Times-Tribune 6/6/2013
Charter schools are publicly funded but, compared with conventional public schools, they operate off the grid. The charter school funding reform bill passed Monday by the House Education Committee contains some valuable provisions to improve that situation, but it is far from the comprehensive reform that is necessary.

State audit slams Chester Upland, says it's failing to educate students
By JOHN KOPP, @DT_JohnKopp Published: Friday, June 07, 2013
The Chester Upland School District is failing its primary mission to educate its students, according to a critical audit released Thursday by Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.
The audit revealed various incidents of noncompliance with state laws and administrative procedures and claimed that ineffective governance has prevented Chester Upland from “effectively educating its students through the judicious use of citizen tax dollars.”

It’s worth keeping an eye on K12 Inc.’s strategies in NJ……
The Many Guises Of K12 Inc. In New Jersey
Mother Crusader Blog Thursday, June 6, 2013
John Mooney over at NJ Spotlight wrote a great piece yesterday about Commissioner Cerf's stunning denial of K12 Inc.'s New Jersey Virtual Academy Charter School (NJVACS). In the "Related Links" he included NJVACS Board President Michael Pallante's response letter, which was not only pretty spicy, it was pretty revealing, too.

Warning: ALEC Wants to Eliminate School Boards
Diane Ravitch’s Blog By dianerav June 6, 2013 //
Julie Underwood, dean of the school of education at the University of Wisconsin, has been watching ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and warns that their agenda includes the elimination of local school boards.  School boards are a basic democratic institution. Some 95% are elected. They hire and fire superintendents and set each district’s policy goals. Most people would see them as an expression of local control, a place where citizens may voice their views.  But ALEC has a radical agenda of privatization, and the school boards get in the way. ALEC would like to see more vouchers and charters, and the creation of unelected state boards that can override local decision-making.

Nation's Graduation Rate Nears a Milestone
Education Week By Christopher B. Swanson and Sterling C. Lloyd Published Online: May 31, 2013  Premium article access courtesy of
At the beginning of the last decade, before concerns about the nation's graduation rate ascended to prominence on the policy agenda, only about two-thirds of U.S. public school students were finishing high school with a regular diploma. A new analysis from the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center finds that the graduation rate for America's public schools stands just shy of 75 percent for the class of 2010, the most recent year for which data are available.
The graduation rate, which has risen nearly 2 full percentage points from the previous year and 8 points in the past decade, has reached its highest point since 1973. At the current pace of improvement, the portion of students earning a diploma could surpass the historical high of 77.1 percent within the next few years.

Congress takes first steps toward ESEA reauthorization
NSBA’s School Board News Today by Joetta Sack-Min June 6th, 2013
Democrats in the U.S. Senate introduced their bill to overhaul the No Child Left Behind Act, and the National School Boards Association’s advocacy team is hopeful that efforts to reauthorize the massive K-12 law could progress this summer.  “In conversations with key staff members, it’s clear they are eager to move a bill through the committee in short order” said Michael A. Resnick, the Associate Executive Director for Federal Advocacy and Public Policy at NSBA. “But some of the philosophical divide will need to be resolved.”
A key issue will be the role of the federal government in education policy, in addition to assessments and other accountability measures.

Dueling visions of the federal role in education
Washington Post By Lyndsey Layton, Thursday, June 6, 5:10 PM
Republicans in Congress have rolled out legislation that would sharply limit the power of the executive branch and shrink the role of the federal government in public education in a rebuke to the Obama administration’s influence over K-12 education.
Meanwhile, Senate Democrats have unveiled their own K-12 plan that would cede more control to states but still maintain some federal oversight, especially of the worst-performing schools.

NSBA asks Senate leaders to rethink Title I change in new ESEA bill
NSBA’s School Board News Today by Joetta Sack-Min June 6th, 2013
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) has issued a report calling on the U.S. Senate to reconsider a provision in its new Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization bill that seeks to ensure school districts give equitable support to students in high-poverty schools.  The ESEA legislation would change the current method for determining how school districts allocate comparable resources to their Title I schools. Based on NSBA’s report, “The Challenges and Unintended Consequences of Using Expenditures to Determine Title I Comparability,” the provision in the Senate bill will not achieve its goal.
“NSBA supports the concept of ‘comparability’ and ensuring that students in Title I schools receive equitable services,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “However, the proposal for the Title I comparability provision would be burdensome for school districts and it could even unintentionally harm Title I schools and other schools that have high operational costs or special services.”

Kline and House Republicans Release NCLB Renewal Bill
Education Week Politics K-12 Blog By Alyson Klein on June 6, 2013 2:04 PM
And now there are three bills to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, a.k.a. No Child Left Behind. Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the chairman of the House education committee, dropped his ESEA renewal measure today, just days after the Senate Democrats, and hours after the Senate Republicans.

House Republican Introduces Education Bill
New York Times By MOTOKO RICH Published: June 6, 2013
Staking a claim in the debate over how the federal government should direct public schooling, Representative John Kline, chairman of the House Education Committee, introduced legislation on Thursday to replace the decade-old No Child Left Behind federal education law.
The bill was the third to emerge from Congress in three days, following both Democratic and Republican versions in the Senate this week.

The Corporate Takeover of Public Education
Huffington Post by Diann Woodard President, American Federation of School Administrators
Posted: 06/06/2013 2:34 pm
Independent research in recent months has documented that the nation's wealthiest philanthropic foundations are steering funding away from public school systems, attended by 90 percent of American students, and toward "challengers" to public education, especially charter schools.
Education Week recently reported that at the start of the decade, less than a quarter of K-12 giving from top foundations was given to groups supporting charter schools and privatization, about $90 million in all.
By 2010, $540 million -- fully 64 percent of major foundation giving -- was directed to these private groups, including KIPP, Teach for America, the NewSchools Venture Fund, the Charter School Growth Fund, and the D.C. Public Education Fund.

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:

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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