Saturday, June 8, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for June 8, 2013: Philly to layoff 3800 more; Three of four school districts in state say they'll cut programs to help balance budgets; Madonna poll says only 1% give Corbett Admin. an “A” for improving public education; Q Poll says 52% don’t think Gov should be reelected…. Think these items are related?

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 8, 2013:
Philly to layoff 3800 more; Three of four school districts in state say they'll cut programs to help balance budgets; Madonna poll says only 1% give Corbett Admin. an “A” for improving public education; Q Poll says 52% don’t think Gov should be reelected….
Think these items are related?

Monday: 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

In the event that you have a few minutes more to spare, please consider contacting the legislative leadership listed below; 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

PCAPS Forum on Community Schools Saturday June 15, 9 am1:30 pm
Kensington CAPA High School, Front & Berks Streets, Philadelphia
The Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools (PCAPS)
Over the past year, in forums, workshops, listening sessions, and through surveys, thousands of students, parents, community members and school staff voiced their desire for an educational system that provides a well-rounded education parallel to what affluent districts offer, but that also addresses the challenges that come with poverty. We understand that all of our schools must provide:
  •  A rigorous academic curriculum
  •  Enrichment activities such as sports, art, music, drama
  •  Coordinated supports and services that address the social-emotional as well as the academic needs of students and their families.
The Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools (PCAPS) has done our research! After meeting with experts from around the country, we have concluded that the most equitable, effective, financially sound strategy for our city is one that embraces community schools for all children.
Please join us on Saturday, June 15th for the Community Schools Conference (9am-2pm) at Kensington CAPA High School (Front & Berks St.) to learn more from national experts and work with others on a strategy to make this a reality for our city.
Please encourage your networks to attend and feel free to bring a friend! Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP at

Three of four school districts in state say they'll cut programs to help balance budgets
Intelligencer Journal Lancaster New Era
By BRIAN WALLACE Staff Writer bwallace@lnpnews Updated Jun 07, 2013 13:32
Over the last two years, Columbia School District has made drastic cuts to its programs and workforce to help make ends meet.  The district, which experienced steep declines in state and federal funding two years ago, scrapped its business education department and curtailed all student field trips.  This year, it reduced high school art, elementary music and family and consumer science teaching positions to half-time, eliminated teachers' aides and replaced retiring full-time workers with part-timers to save on health care costs.
The cuts aren't enough, however, to enable the district to balance its 2013-14 budget without dipping into its quickly vanishing reserves.
The only alternative? Yet another round of cuts.

In Philly, Thousands of layoff notices going out today
by Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 07 2013 Posted in Latest news
The School District will be sending out thousands of layoff notices today, sources say.
Superintendent William Hite sent an email to employees last night saying, due to "catastrophic financial challenges," that the District will be sending "layoff notifications to many of our colleagues."  Robert McGrogan, head of the Commonwealth Association of School Administrators, confirmed that almost all the 160 assistant principals in his bargaining unit will be receiving notices, effective July 1. Plus, all principals are at emergency meetings with District personnel to receive instructions on what to tell employees who receive the notices regarding health coverage and other issues.
District officials still have no commitments for money to close a $304 million budget gap. It is asking for $120 million from the state, $60 million from the city, and $133 million in union concessions.

Philly schools to lay off nearly 3,800 staffers
POSTED: Saturday, June 8, 2013, 3:01 AM
DOOMSDAY HAS arrived in Philadelphia.
Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. announced yesterday afternoon that 3,783 layoff notices were sent out to school personnel, part of a "harsh reality" that will help close the district's $304 million shortfall.  Beginning July 1, no guidance counselors. No secretaries. No football. No glee club.
Without these employees, "our schools will be just empty shells," Hite said. The district workforce, before layoffs, is 19,530 employees.

Philly schools send out nearly 3,800 pink slips
AP State Wire by KATHY MATHESON June 7, 2013
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The fallout from the Philadelphia School District's dreaded "doomsday" budget began Friday as officials said they sent out nearly 3,800 pink slips to employees from assistant principals to secretaries.
Superintendent William Hite said in an email to staff that he was "profoundly upset about having to take these actions."  "These people are more than numbers and positions. They play essential roles in the lives of our students, often doing jobs beyond title," Hite tweeted after the announcement. "Without them, our schools will be empty shells."
Nearly 700 teachers, 130 assistant principals, 300 secretaries and 1,200 noontime aides are among those who could be jobless in the upcoming school year. A district spokesman said additional layoffs of central administration staff are expected to be announced next week.

“This is a failure of leadership and funding at the city and state level. It is absolutely immoral for the state of Pennsylvania, which has insisted on a state takeover structure for Philadelphia’s schools over the last 12 years, to leave our schools – both public and charter – in such utter distress.”
This is not a school: Parents United statement on district layoffs
Over 3,000 layoffs.  Aides, secretaries, nurses, librarians, art and music teachers, classroom teachers, assistant principals, counselors—people who have worked in our children’s schools for years, keeping schools running smoothly and keeping our kids safe, teaching them to read music, administering medication, guiding them through applying to high school and college, and helping them acquire research skills.
Parents are appalled at this action, which will hurt everyone in our city in many ways.  When 3,000 people lose their jobs, the economic and personal consequences borne by those individuals and their families are not only devastating on an individual scale—they ripple out.  These layoffs will undermine school communities and neighborhoods, and ultimately our city and state economy as well.
And what will happen to our schools?

Corbett trails two Democratic challengers in Qunnipiac poll
POSTED: Friday, June 7, 2013, 8:48 AM Thomas Fitzgerald, Inquirer Politics Writer
U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz is the frontrunner among Democrats and leads Pennsylvania Gov. Corbett (R) by 10 percentage points, according to a Quinnipiac University poll of registered voters released Friday.  Schwartz had 45 percent to 35 percent for the governor. State Treasurer Rob McCord, a likely contender for the Democratic nomination, also leads Corbett, 43 percent to 35 percent, an 8-point spread.  The 2014 election is 15 months away and the Democratic challengers are largely unknown in much of the state, so those poll results likely reflect the broad and persistent dissatisfaction with Corbett that Quinnipiac and other independent pollsters have measured.
Fifty-two percent say Corbett does not deserve reelection, to 35 percent who believe he does.

Madonna Poll: Majority of Pennsylvanians give local schools A or B grade
PSBA News Release by Steve Robinson, Director of Publications and PR 5/23/2013
According to a recent public opinion poll, a majority of Pennsylvanians grade their local school with an A or B on performance.  The poll presents the findings of a survey of 807Pennsylvania registered voters designed by G. Terry Madonna Opinion Research.

Evans calls for long-term funding for education
Phillytrib by  Damon C. Williams Thursday, 06 June 2013 17:25
State Representative Dwight Evans — former chair of the House appropriations committee and a strident supporter of school choice and adequate school funding — believes it’s time for Harrisburg and the General Assembly to come up with a long-term funding solution for public education.  That solution, Evans said, shouldn’t involve heaping further taxes on citizens, many of whom are already buckling under the strain of one of the country’s highest tax burdens.
“We used to caution that the quality of education should not depend on a student’s zip code. Today, just living in Pennsylvania raises questions about the quality of education that can be provided in the commonwealth because of budget cuts in Harrisburg and the bludgeoning of local taxpayers,” Evans said. “It’s very clear, by the state Constitution, that the commonwealth and we in the General Assembly have the obligation and responsibility to ensure that there is proper adequate education for all children in the commonwealth.

Education Policy and Leadership Center Notebook for June 7, 2013

“The bottom line, according to the department: Louisiana and Pennsylvania struggled the most in the first year of the grant. And Pennsylvania seems to be in the worst shape.”
Report Card: Louisiana, Pennsylvania Stumble in Race to Top Round 3
Education Week Politics K-12 Blog By Michele McNeil on June 7, 2013 4:00 PM
It's easy to forget about the Race to the Top "bridesmaids." They're the seven states that just missed winning awards in the $4 billion contest in 2010 and ended up with consolation prizes a year later worth a fraction of what they had hoped for.  Regardless, those seven states collectively are spending $200 million to implement a small piece of their plans. And now, the U.S. Department of Education is publicizing how these states are doing in making good on their promises.

NCLB Bills: A Side-By-Side Comparison
Education Week Politics K-12 Blog By Alyson Klein on June 7, 2013 4:33 PM
Can't keep the three bills put out in Congress this week on the long-stalled reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act straight?
Here's your cheat sheet:

Learning First Alliance calls for longer transition to prepare for Common Core
NSBA’s School Board News Today by Joetta Sack-Min|June 7th, 2013
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is one of 16 members of the Learning First Alliance (LFA). This week LFA called on lawmakers to give states and school districts more time to transition to the Common Core State Standards so that they can develop the proper resources for students and teachers, including curriculum, assessments, and professional development. NSBA also recently asked Congress to give adequate time for stakeholders to prepare for the transition.

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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