Established in 2006, the Keystone State Education Coalition is a growing grass roots, non-partisan public education advocacy group of several hundred locally elected, volunteer school board members and administrators from school districts throughout Pennsylvania. Our mission is to evaluate, discuss and inform our boards, district constituents and legislators on legislative issues of common interest and to facilitate active engagement in public education advocacy.
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for July 11, 2013: PA Ed Budget increases tied to having powerful legislators; 3rd-grade reading matters
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.
the 37 lawmakers representing the districts that benefited from extra aid, 33
are majority/minority committee chairs, vice chairs, secretaries or in some
other leadership position. Only two of the 21 Districts have no Republicans
among their legislators.”
Increases in state education aid carefully targeted select districts
by Dale Mezzacappa for the Notebook and Holly Otterbein
for NewsWorks Jul 10 2013
When Pennsylvania's Republican-led legislature
added a bit more than $30 million in education aid to Gov. Corbett's proposed
budget in its final negotiations last month, legislators decided to target
$14.5 million of that money to districts with high numbers of English
language learners and $4 million to districts with high concentrations of
students in charter schools.
But they managed to devise the
formulas for these supplements in such a way that Philadelphia's school district, which has
nearly half the charter students in the state and one-quarter of the English
language learners, got none of these funds. This in a year when it was
desperately begging the governor and legislature for additional state aid just
to remain solvent.
In fact, the money for districts
impacted by charters and ELL students went to only six districts around
the state -- most of it, perhaps not coincidentally, in the areas represented
by powerful legislators.
Missed 'Live from the Newsroom' talking Pennsylvania budget? Here is a replay
Delco Times Published: Thursday, July 11, 2013
'Live From the Newsroom,' tackled
all the issues swirling around the state budget with some of the people who
were up to their necks in the process. Joining us was state Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-9, of Chester; House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bill
Adolph, R-165, of Springfield.
Also on hand will be two legislators a little newer to the process to offers
their view of how things are done in Harrisburg,
Rep. Joe Hacket, R-161, of Ridley, and Rep. Margo Davidson, D-164, of Upper Darby.
the funding increase is welcomed, it is still less than the approximately $160
million needed for mandated pension cost increases at the school district level
in 2013-14 – meaning fewer dollars for classrooms. Overall, the plan retains
81% of the state cuts to public school classrooms enacted in 2011.
quarter of the basic education increase, the $30 million added by the General
Assembly, will be distributed to only 21 school districts, while the rest of
the increase will be allocated to all 500 school districts.”
PBPC Detailed Budget Analysis: Pa. Legislature Passes $28.376 Billion
Pennsylvania Budget and PolicyCenterJuly 9, 2013
The Pennsylvania Legislature has
approved a 2013-14 state budget (House Bill 1437, PN 2198) that spends $28.376 billion,
roughly $645 million (or 2.3%) more than in the current fiscal year. Governor
Tom Corbett signed the budget into law late in the evening of June 30, 2013.
Overall, the plan is $64 million less than the Governor proposed in February,
reflecting nearly $113 million in reduced spending for public school pensions
and school employees’ Social Security payments along with a shift of $90
million in General Fund spending off budget to other funds.
The plan includes a small increase
to basic education funding, $122.5 million overall, with $30.2 million
allocated to 21 school districts through a supplemental allocation, on top of
the $90 million increase in the Governor’s proposal.
In the first grade, I was unable to
read or write. I was one of a few students selected to participate in a
supplementary tutor program. For an hour twice a week, I met with a retired
teacher to practice reading, writing and spelling. By the end of first grade, I
was reading on level. By second grade, the extra nudge of my tutor had allowed
me to excel in reading and I was reading two levels beyond my grade level.
Nearly thirteen years have passed since my reading tutor helped me learn to read
and I truly believe that being proficient in reading by third grade has allowed
me to be successful academically.
Megan Rogers / Post-Gazette Harrisburg
Bureau July 11,
HARRISBURG -- A state commission
is crafting a revised special education funding formula to account for school
districts' individual needs, an overhaul touted by lawmakers and education
advocates. Though the commission was
created with unanimous support from both the House and Senate, lawmakers are
not obligated to move forward on any of its recommendations, which will be
released by Nov. 30.
biggest sin Pennsylvania
did was to name the standards 'Common Core,' " board Chairman Larry
Wittig, a CPA from Tamaqua, told the crowd.
Common Core has good concepts the state is keeping, he said, such as
creating a more defined set of math principles students need to know as opposed
to trying to teach them everything.
throw the baby out with the bath water," Wittig said.
But you can
rename the baby. The standards are now called the Pennsylvania Academic Standards.”
Residents urge state to
drop Common Core school standards
describe Common Core as federal intrusion and a Bill Gates money grab. They
argue against adoption in Pa.
By Steve Esack, Call Harrisburg Bureau 10:31 p.m. EDT, July
HARRISBURG — For many, Bill Gates is the glasses-wearing businessman who
has used his wealth as co-founder of Microsoft to help improve society.
growing number of people, however, he is a shark with glasses, and he's
swimming in Pennsylvania's
educational waters in search of his next meal ticket: their children.
percent of superintendents serving in some of the nation's smaller school
districts said they don't think the Common Core State Standards will have any
effect on the quality of education in their communities. That's a healthy dose of skepticism.
But many of
their colleagues expressed more optimism about the promise of the new standards
in English/language arts and math adopted by most states: 58 percent said the
common core will make schooling better. When
asked if the common-core standards would provide more consistency in the
quality of schooling across districts and states, 75 percent said they would.
sentiments were captured in a first-ever survey of superintendents conducted
jointly by Education Week and Gallup, the Washington-based polling
organization. For the survey—conducted in March and April—the Gallup pollsters conducted online surveys of
more than 12,000 district superintendents around the country.
Sequestration Pushes Head
Start Families To The Precipice (UPDATE)
Post by Sam Stein Posted: 07/09/2013
Huffington Post set out to tell the story of another slice of sequestration:
the damage being done to Head Start. The 5.27 percent reduction to the $8
billion program is having a devastating effect on families with children in the
program, according to interviews with parents across the country. Not everyone
has experienced the loss of a child's Head Start slot or a teary living room
conversation. But parents have been left fearful and scrambling, worried that
the cuts are shredding an already frayed social safety net upon which they
and cities wrestle with mounting pension woes, some even seeking refuge in
has mostly stayed on the sidelines.
By law, the
50 states are sovereigns, so even though federal officials have regulated
company pension plans for decades, they have had little interest in telling the
states how to run theirs.
Now, one United States
senator wants to change that. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the senior
Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, has devised a way for states and
cities to exit the pension business while still giving public workers the type
of benefits they want. It involves a tax-law change that would enable
governments to turn their pension plans over to life insurers.
American Interest Via Media Blog by Russell Mead July 9, 2013
pensions crisis is one of the greatest challenges facing the states today, but
thus far it has mostly met with silence from Washington. This may be about to change.
Mary Williams Walsh, who has been all over the pensions story for the New
York Times, is now reporting that
Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah is preparing a bill that would allow states to
transfer the management of public pensions to private insurance
companies. The details are still sketchy, but the basic idea is simple
Teach For America critics
gathering to organize resistance
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss, Published:
July 10 at
America alumni and students of corps members who are critical of TFA are
holding this weekend what amounts to the first national assembly aimed at
organizing resistance to the organization that is popular with school
summertime, which for those of you newly accepted into Teach for America, means you are
enduring the long hard days of Institute. I congratulate you on being accepted
into this prestigious program. You clearly have demonstrated
intelligence, passion, and leadership in order to make it this far.
We now must
transform NSBA’s external advocacy and outreach to meet challenges at the
federal, state, and local level. Chief among these are efforts to privatize our
nation’s public schools through charter school expansion and taxpayer-funded
This is a
particularly exciting year to take the reins as NSBA President. I am excited
and energized to work with our new Executive Director, Tom Gentzel, and see his
vision for this organization take hold. We
are living in exponential times of change in NSBA, and the opportunities that
lay ahead are incredible. You’ve probably already heard about what we’re
calling the New NSBA in this column and at NSBA events. The NSBA Board of
Directors has worked to restructure and recreate our organization. Under the
leadership of Tom and our new Chief Operating Officer Marie Bilik, we are
transforming NSBA’s internal operations to establish structure that is
efficient, effective, and fiscally viable.
Yinzers - Save the Date: Diane
Ravitch will be speaking in Pittsburgh
on September 16that . Location and details to
Save the Date: Diane Ravitch will be
speaking in Philly at the Main Branch of the Philadelphia Free Library onSeptember 17 at . Details to come.
Know Your Child’s Rights! 2013-2014 Special Education
of PhiladelphiaJuly 9, 2013
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 LawCenter staff attorney and a guest
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
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
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
www.psba.org. More information on the overall governance changes can be found
in the February 2013 issue of the PSBA Bulletin:
PASA-PSBASchool 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.
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.
The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, State College, PA
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.
Keynote Speakers: Charlotte Danielson, Dr. Todd Whitaker, Will Richardson &
David Andrews, Esq. (Legal Update).
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.
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 AmericaSummit.
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 GeorgetownLawSchool
in WashingtonD.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.