Wednesday, July 17, 2013

PA Ed Policy Roundup July 17: “22% of those younger than 18 were living in low-income circumstances in 2011, up from 16% a decade earlier.”

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 2250 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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More than 2250 PA education policymakers have the Education Policy Roundup from the Keystone State Education Coalition ready with their morning coffee.  If you have colleagues or coworkers who would like to be added to our list please have them send their name, title and affiliation.

Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for July 17, 2013:
“Twenty-two percent of those younger than 18 were living in low-income circumstances in 2011, up from 16 percent a decade earlier.”

Corbett staff shakeup 2.0: Steve Aichele out
Angela Couloumbis and Thomas Fitzgerald, Inquirer Staff Writers LAST UPDATED: Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 6:51 PM POSTED: Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 5:50 PM
HARRISBURG - Following a bruising budget season during which the administration was unable to score any major policy wins, Steve Aichele, Gov. Corbett's chief of staff, is stepping down, according to two members of the governor's inner circle who spoke on condition of anonymity. Aichele will be leaving the $154,000-a-year post by the end of the summer, those sources said. He could not immediately be reached for comment; neither could Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley.

“Additionally, party leaders and deep-pocketed donors complain about the administration’s poor messaging when it comes to education funding.  Some Republicans are seething that, in their view, Corbett's communications staff has surrendered the moral high ground on public education funding to the Democrats. Republicans argue that Democrats have unfairly turned the loss of federal stimulus dollars into a Corbett cut to public schools.”
Is Gov. Tom Corbett's administration poised for another shake-up?
By Jan Murphy and Charles Thompson, on July 16, 2013 at 10:33 PM,
State Republican powerbrokers and others are prevailing upon Gov. Tom Corbett to make more staffing changes within his administration after a series of legislative missteps this spring, according to sources close to the governor.
This would be the third major shake-up in a little over a year for the Corbett administration. Sources indicate the governor could be looking to replace his chief of staff and his secretary of legislative affairs, two top-level positions that turned over last summer. Five cabinet secretaries have departed for various reasons in the past year.

"There is a tremendous proportion of schools under new leadership, and research shows that administrative stability is a key indicator for success in a school," said Robert McGrogan, head of the administrators' bargaining unit, CASA.
At a time of upheaval, widespread turnover in principal ranks
The notebook by Dale Mezzacappa on Jul 16 2013 Posted in Latest news
About one quarter of the District's schools will open in September under new leadership, a rate of principal turnover that is higher than normal as the District is coping with unprecedented upheaval and major questions about its financial stability. 
According to a listing of principal appointments provided by the District, 58 schools will see new leaders. Among their number are neighborhood high schools like Overbrook, George Washington, and Roxborough, magnet schools like GAMP, Carver, and CAPA, and a cross-section of elementary schools all over the city.

In city schools, signs of hope
POSTED: Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 1:08 AM By Janine Yass
Janine Yass is vice chair of the Center for Education Reform and a board member of the Philadelphia School Partnership. E-mail her at
For some of us who call the Philadelphia area home, the education crisis may seem like a tragic but distant concern. The reality, though, is that our region depends on the success of Philadelphia's schools and their ability to provide all students with a strong education. The recently concluded legislative session focused on education dollars - if there are enough and how to wring more during this summer's contract negotiations - but there is a much bigger story than just the dollars and cents.

Parkland support staff takes one-year pay freeze
School board approves contract granting 2.5 percent raises in second and third years.
By Margie Peterson, Special to The Morning Call11:00 p.m. EDT, July 16, 2013
Parkland's teaching assistants, custodians, cafeteria workers, secretaries and other support staff took a pay freeze for the upcoming school year as part of a new three-year contract.
The contract, which was approved by the school board at Tuesday's meeting, also requires that starting in 2014-15, support staff in the PPO plan will begin paying toward their health care benefits for the first time.  They will pay $10 per pay for individual coverage and $20 per pay for family coverage. In 2015-16, that will rise to $15 per pay for individual coverage and $30 per pay for family health insurance. Employees are paid bi-weekly.

“Unfortunately, the report shows that more children than ever are living in poverty: Twenty-two percent of those younger than 18 were living in low-income circumstances in 2011, up from 16 percent a decade earlier.”
Poverty Rate Still High Among U.S. Children: Report
Almost one-quarter live in low-income homes, which experts say affects their health and education
US News and World Report By Dennis Thompson HealthDay Reporter July 12, 2013
FRIDAY, July 12 (HealthDay News) -- Poverty rates remain high among children in the United States and continue to affect their health, education and safety, a new federal report shows.
"Nearly a quarter of children in the United States are living in poverty. That's unacceptably high," said Dr. Thomas McInerny, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. "We know that children who live in poverty have poorer nutritional status and poorer health status. They are not well set up to enter kindergarten, they are behind in their learning skills and so forth."

House legislation would slash education funding
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss, Published: July 16 at 3:44 pm
A coalition of 112 national education associations and institutions representing birth to postgraduate education is protesting the section of Republican-backed legislation in the House that would slash federal education funding as part of reshaping the No Child Left Behind law.
The Committee for Education Funding said in a letter to lawmakers that the legislation, which passed in the  House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and is expected to pass the House soon, sets funding authorization for 2014 and five succeeding years at $22.85 billion. That is the aggregate 2013 funding after the sequester that forced automatic across-the-board budget cuts because Republicans and Democrats could not compromise on how to reduce the national deficit. That means, the committee says, that nearly $1.3 billion in cuts that were made compared to 2012 levels would become permanent if the bill were to become law.

Republican rewrite of No Child Left Behind loses steam amid fractured caucus, no vote slated
Washington Post By Associated Press, Updated: Tuesday, July 16, 7:22 PM
WASHINGTON — A Republican rewrite of the No Child Left Behind education law seems to be losing momentum as conservatives in the party don’t think the bill does enough to reduce Washington’s influence and moderates warily eye proposals that would expand charter schools’ role.  The sweeping education law’s update was the latest example of fractured Republicans in the House, where the party has a majority but often stumbles over internal disagreements.

America’s going to be very rudely awakened by all the money that has been spent with a shallow and empty drawer on the result side.” 
Deep-Pocket Reformers: The Shadow Secretaries of Education
News21 USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism By Catherine Cloutier
In advancing some interests, foundations have inevitably not advanced others. Hence, their actions must have political consequences, even when political purposes are not avowed or even intended. To avoid politics in dealing with foundation history is to miss a crucial part of the story. —Ellen Lagemann, Private Power for the Public Good
When Microsoft magnate Bill Gates decided a decade ago that the “solution” to what he saw as America’s failing school systems was an expansion of smaller schools, he started writing checks, a whole lot of checks, totaling more than $2 billion.  
Gates is not the only billionaire who has decided to make education reform one of his pet projects. Los Angeles–based developer Eli Broad, the mega-rich Walton family (founders of Walmart) and other philanthropists currently give some $4 billion a year in contributions to education.  But these handouts are hardly purely philanthropic. They come tied with policy strings and a well-defined agenda.

A former Teach For America manager speaks out
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog Valerie Strauss, Published: July 17 at 6:00 am
Wendy Heller Chovnick is a lawyer who spent years at Teach For America, both as a corps member in the classroom and as a manager in Phoenix. In the following Q&A, she tells her story about Teach For America, explaining why she joined as an enthusiastic corps member in Washington D.C. in 2001, and why she later became disillusioned enough to leave the organization. She offers an inside view of how TFA operates both on the regional and national level and details why she believes TFA “is not living up to its mission of proving excellent educational experiences for students in low-income communities.”
Hers is the latest voice of a former TFAer speaking up about the organization. TFA has in recent months been the target of increasing criticism from former members, leading to an anti-TFA gathering last weekend in Chicago billed as an opportunity to start coordinating resistance to the organization.

National School Boards Action Center July 2013
Join the Friends of Public Education and participate in a voluntary network to urge your U.S. Representatives and Senators to support federal legislation on Capitol Hill that is critical to providing high quality education to America’s schoolchildren.  Federal legislation has direct policy and financial impact on your local public schools and students, and federal legislators need to hear the local impact – directly from you, their constituent.  By becoming a part of the Friends of Public Education, you are joining a national campaign to support a strong public education for all students.  When you sign up, you will receive information on critical education legislation and NSBAC will ask you to contact your members of Congress at key strategic times during the legislative process.  NSBAC will notify you through calls to action and provide sample letters that you can personalize so you can easily communicate with your elected federal leaders.
So, join today.  (…And recruit your friends and family to do the same).
Thank you for your support for America’s schoolchildren.

Yinzers - Save the Date: Diane Ravitch will be speaking in Pittsburgh on September 16th at 6:00 pm.  Location and details to come.

Save the Date: Diane Ravitch will be speaking in Philly at the Main Branch of the Philadelphia Free Library on September 17 at 7:30 pm.  Details to come.

Know Your Child’s Rights! 2013-2014 Special Education Seminars
Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia July 9, 2013
The Law Center’s year-long Know Your Child’s Rights! seminar series on special education law continues in 2013-2014 with day and evening trainings focused on securing special education rights and services.  These seminars are intended for parents, special education advocates, educators, attorneys, and others who are in a position to help children with disabilities receive an appropriate education. Every session focuses on a different legal topic, service or disability and is co-led by a Law Center staff attorney and a guest speaker.
This year’s topics include Tips for Going Back to School; Psychological Testing, IEEs and Evaluations; School Records; Children with Autism; Transition Services; Children with Emotional Needs; Discipline and Bullying; Charter Schools; Children with Dyslexia; Extended School Year; Assistive Technology; Discrimination and Compensatory Education; and, Settlements. See below for descriptions and schedules of each session.

PSBA members will elect officers electronically for the first time in 2013
PSBA 7/8/2013
Beginning in 2013, PSBA members will follow a completely new election process which will be done electronically during the month of September. The changes will have several benefits, including greater membership engagement and no more absentee ballot process.
Below is a quick Q&A related to the voting process this year, with more details to come in future issues of School Leader News and at More information on the overall governance changes can be found in the February 2013 issue of the PSBA Bulletin:

PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference
October 15-18, 2013 | Hershey Lodge & Convention Center
Important change this year: Delegate Assembly (replaces the Legislative Policy Council) will be Tuesday Oct. 15 from 1 – 4:30 p.m.
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.

U.S. Department of Education Acting Deputy Secretary Confirmed for Building One America Summit.
James H. Shelton III is confirmed to participate in a White House panel at the Building One America Summit, to be held July 18-19 at Georgetown Law School in Washington D.C.  The summit will bring together mayors, local elected leaders, municipal, state, county and school officials with experts and federal policymakers from the White House and Congress to seek bipartisan solutions to the unique but common challenges around housing, schools, and infrastructure facing America's metropolitan regions, with a particular focus on diverse middle-class suburbs. 

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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