Friday, July 12, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for July 12, 2013: More than 2250 PA education policymakers now have the Keystone State Education Coalition Policy Roundup ready with their morning coffee.

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 Keystone State Education Coalition is pleased to be listed among the friends and allies of The Network for Public Education.  Are you a member?
These daily emails are archived at
Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg

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 12, 2013:
More than 2250 PA education policymakers now have the Keystone State Education Coalition Policy Roundup ready with their morning coffee.

Special education funding panel holds inaugural hearing
WITF Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Jul 10, 2013 8:32 PM
State lawmakers are staring down a funding formula that some say is a recipe for a budgeting disaster.  It's the commonwealth's way of paying for federally-required special education services, and it's the subject of a special commission whose recommendations for legislative fixes are due this fall.

FYI, here’s a list of the members of the PA Special Education Funding Commission…..

The teachers' contract and how it relates to the District’s financial problems
thenotebook by James Lytle on Jul 10 2013 Posted in Commentary
In an op-ed piece in the Inquirer on July 7, three Philadelphia civic leaders argued that Philadelphia schools must get help, then went on to support the financial package emerging from Harrisburg and City Hall to address the District’s financial crisis. The largest component of this $273 million package is the “$133 million in projected savings from a new collective bargaining agreement to be negotiated with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.”
Why, one might ask, are teachers expected to be the solution for a problem not of their making? Somehow the notion has been put forth and reinforced that Philadelphia teachers are excessively compensated and should make concessions to balance the District’s budget.

Despite what you may have heard, the fight to abolish property taxes is alive and well: David G. Argall
State Sen. David G. Argall, a Republican, represents the Schuylkill County-based 29th Senate District.
Patriot-News Op-Ed  By David G. Argall  on July 11, 2013 at 10:00 AM
Despite renewed special interest attacks at the capitol in Harrisburg, the fight for eliminating the unfair school property tax begun by 79 grassroots taxpayer groups across the state is making some real progress.  Across the 11 counties we represent, the number one question we hear at our town hall meetings is: When will the legislature eliminate school property taxes?

Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts gets OK for new Bethlehem school
By Lynn Olanoff | The Express-Times  on July 11, 2013 at 6:17 PM
A large crowd filled Bethlehem Town Hall today to lobby for the approval of a new Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts building.  Its efforts weren't needed as the city planning commission gave its unanimous approval to the new East Third Street school after holding it up last month.

AASA Installs President and President-Elect for 2013-14
AASA Contact:James Minichello
ALEXANDRIA, Va., July 10, 2013 – Amy F. Sichel, superintendent of the Abington School
District in Abington, Pa., and David Pennington, superintendent of the Ponca City Public Schools in Ponca City, Okla., were installed as the AASA’s president and president-elect, respectively, for 2013-14. Sichel succeeds Benny Gooden, superintendent of the Fort Smith Public Schools in Fort Smith, Ark., as the association’s president. Gooden will remain on the executive committee as immediate past president.  Sichel and Pennington were elected by the AASA membership last year and were officially sworn in at an installation ceremony and reception held in conjunction with AASA’s 2013 summer governance meetings in Arlington, Va.

America’s School Leaders Visit Capitol Hill
Alexandria, Va., July 10, 2013 ­– At a time when reauthorization of theElementary and Secondary Education Act is moving forward, superintendents from across the country are meeting with members of Congress today on Capitol Hill to discuss pressing issues facing our nation’s schools.  The Congressional visits are part of AASA’s Legislative Advocacy Conference, taking place at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Va.

NY Charter School Claims State Can't Audit it
Courthouse News Service By MARLENE KENNEDY July 11, 2013
ALBANY, N.Y. (CN) - A New York City charter school operator claims the state has no right to audit it, and asked a judge to stop the state comptroller from doing so.  Success Academy Charter Schools-NYC sued state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and his office and New York State, in Albany County Supreme Court.
Success Academy claims that a 2009 ruling by New York's highest court found the Legislature overstepped its bounds by passing legislation in 2005 that authorized the comptroller to audit charter schools.  Despite fine-tuning in 2010 that resurrected the audits, they're still unconstitutional, Success Academy claims.
Charter schools - public schools financed by taxpayer money but independent of local school districts - have been permitted in New York since 1998. They're designed to offer parents an alternative to local public schools.

Protests Planned Against Nation’s Largest Charter Operator | Diane Ravitch’s blog
NPE News Briefs: by Sharon Higgins; posted by Diane Ravitch –11 Jul 2013   
This post was written by Sharon Higgins, a parent activist and indefatigable blogger in Oakland, California. Her blogs include “Charterschoolscandals,” wherein she tracks the amazing variety of graft, theft, corruption, scandals, and other predictable consequences of deregulation of public money with little or no oversight (I.e., privatization). She has written on many occasions about the proliferation of Gulen-inspired charters, which are now the largest chain in the nation.
Higgins writes:
This weekend, hundreds of people from all over the country, mostly Turkish Americans, are traveling to Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, to protest Fethullah Gulen at his remote compound in the Poconos. Among other activities, Gulen’s followers (a.k.a. the “Gulen Movement”) operate a global network of schools, including the largest charter school network.

Louisiana teachers unions sue state for $200 million in aid diverted to private schools under voucher law recently ruled unconstitutional
NSBA Legal Clips July 11, 2013
According to The Times-Picayune, the Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE) and several local teachers associations have filed a class-action suit charging that the state owes local school boards $199 million as a result of the Louisiana Supreme Court decision striking down a portion of the state’s private school voucher law.  The Louisiana School Boards Association (LSBA) is also considering filing suit for about $65 million.

NCLB Waiver States Split on New Flexibility Offer
Education Week By Alyson Klein Published Online: July 8, 2013
Premium article access courtesy of
States with waivers from provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act are almost evenly divided on whether they will take U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan up on his offer of extra time to begin using new teacher-evaluation systems to decide which educators to hire, fire, or promote.
The federal Department of Education has decided to allow states that received waivers by the summer of 2012 to push back the deadline for using their new evaluation systems. Initially, schools were supposed to have those systems fully in place by 2015-16.

Finn and Petrilli don’t seem to have the same accountability concerns when it comes to charter schools and vouchers……LAF
Education reform a test for GOP
Politico By CHESTER E. FINN JR. and MICHAEL J. PETRILLI | 7/10/13 9:22 PM EDT
Add education to a long list of vexing policy issues for today’s fractured Republican Party. It’s not that complicated at the state level, where dozens of GOP governors have, over the years, proven their mettle by promoting higher standards, greater accountability and wider parental choice. But in Washington, Republican presidents and members of Congress have struggled mightily to find an approach that both embraces reform and respects a limited federal role.
That’s the right needle for Republicans to thread. Though Democrats never admit it, Washington is clumsy at best, and wildly incompetent at worst, when it comes to improving schools from the shores of the Potomac. That should surprise no one — at least three levels of bureaucracy separate the secretary of education from actual classrooms. Federal carrots and sticks, no matter how carefully engineered, can’t overcome this fundamental challenge.

Chicago School Closings And The Joyce Foundation: The Obama Connection
Minit Press News By Steve Horn | 
The Windy City is is undergoing a tumultuous historical moment, with the uprising of the Chicago Teachers Union occurring alongside the ongoing restructuring and privatization of the Chicago Public Schools system.  Most recently, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel oversaw the closing of 50 public schools, many of which will be replaced by charter schools. A bulk of the 550 laid-off teachers will be replaced by Teach for America contractors, many of whom teach in charter schools.  “Statewide enrollment in charter schools has surged from 6,152 students in 2000 to 54,054 this school year — with most of them in Chicago — according to the Illinois State Board of Education,” an April Chicago Tribune editorial explained. “The first charter school in Illinois opened in 1996. Now there are 132 campuses operating under 58 charters.”

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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