Monday, July 15, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for July 15, 2013: NY Times Editorial: The Trouble With Testing Mania

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 15, 2013:
NY Times Editorial: The Trouble With Testing Mania

NY Times Editorial: The Trouble With Testing Mania
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD Published: July 13, 2013 208 Comments
Congress made a sensible decision a decade ago when it required the states to administer yearly tests to public school students in exchange for federal education aid. The theory behind the No Child Left Behind Act was that holding schools accountable for test scores would force them to improve instruction for groups of children whom they had historically shortchanged.
Testing did spur some progress in student performance. But it has become clear to us over time that testing was being overemphasized — and misused — in schools that were substituting test preparation for instruction. Even though test-driven reforms were helpful in the beginning, it is now clear that they will never bring this country’s schools up to par with those of the high-performing nations that have left us far behind in math, science and even literacy instruction.

Pennsylvania rolling out new teacher, principal evaluation system
By Sara K. Satullo | The Express-Times  on July 14, 2013 at 7:30 AM,
School may be out for summer, but across Pennsylvania districts are gearing up for a new teacher evaluation system that takes student performance into account.
This fall begins a three-year roll out of the system, which was passed into law in 2012. Principals and specialists will be subject to the evaluations in 2014-15.

National schools facing failure of black males
By Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette July 15, 2013 12:15 am
Alan Johnson, acting superintendent in the Woodland Hills School District, isn't afraid to share his district's unflattering statistics regarding the lack of academic achievement among African-American male students.  At Woodland Hills, African-American males make up one-third of the school population but account for 50 percent of the dropouts. Of the 417 students in Advanced Placement classes, just 7 percent are African-American and only a handful are members of the National Honor Society.  In addition, at Woodland Hills, black male students are 20 times more likely than white male students to be expelled.

Inquirer Editorial: A failure of vision
POSTED: Sunday, July 14, 2013, 1:09 AM
It is tempting to call the inability of city and state officials to resolve the Philadelphia schools' funding crisis a failure of leadership. But it goes beyond that. A number of politicians showed leadership in suggesting various solutions. But they lacked the vision to come up with a long-range plan that might forever lift the fiscal uncertainty still hanging over the district.

“Other than a one-day House session on Monday, the Legislature won't return to the Capitol until Sept. 23. Analysts predict a brief window, through early October, to pass controversial bills before lawmakers and Corbett begin to concentrate on 2014 re-election campaigns.
Analysts hold little hope for liquor, transit bills
Tribune-Review  By Brad Bumsted  and Kari Andren  July 14, 2013, 10:50 p.m.
HARRISBURG — Linking a bill to raise money for transportation to one that would privatize liquor sales was supposed to be the key to their passage in the General Assembly. Instead, the strategy doomed both proposals, analysts and lawmakers say.
Pa.panel tackles special-education funding formula
WHYY Newsworks By Mary Wilson, @marywilson July 15, 2013
A commission tasked with changing Pennsylvania's special-education funding model has had its inaugural hearing.  Education professionals are calling on state lawmakers to keep additional requirements on schools to a minimum as they address the formula seen by many as a drain on resources.  However, the panel can't do anything about the fact that state spending on special education has been frozen for several years. But what education professionals hope for is some way to tie what they get in funding to what they actually provide in services.

Pa. awaits fate on ‘No Child’ waiver
TribLive By Megan Harris Published: Sunday, July 14, 2013, 10:50 p.m.
Parents and students could get a more realistic assessment of their schools' strengths and weaknesses if Pennsylvania succeeds in becoming one of the last states to shed what some call the impossibly high standards of the federal No Child Left Behind law.  The Department of Education told state leaders last week it would approve or deny their request by summer's end.
Is a Title I Funding-Formula Fight on the Horizon?
Education Week Politics K-12 Blog By Alyson Klein on July 12, 2013 10:16 AM
If a rewrite of the No Child Left Behind Act goes to the floor of the House next week, look for a hot policy debate over ... funding formulas. (You thought I was gonna say common core, didn't you? Well, probably that too.)
Advocates for rural schools, including the American Association of School Administrators and the Rural School and Community Trust, have long bemoaned the Title I funding formula, which they say shortchanges rural areas because it takes into account a district's population, and not just concentrations of poverty. Great write-up by my former colleague David Hoff here.
Those groups have found a champion in U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., whose western Pennsylvania district loses out under the current formula. Thompson has teamed up with Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., to reintroduce the All Children are Equal Act, which seeks to refocus the formula to ensure that districts with high concentrations of poverty (and, perhaps, smaller populations) don't lose out.

Meet the Teach for America Resistance Movement That's Growing From Within
THE Atlantic Wire by ZACH SCHONFELD JUL 12, 2013
A network of Teach for America alumni and corps members is organizing in Chicago this weekend as part of the national Free Minds, Free People conference organized by the Education for Liberation Network, but this summit is more than a wistful reunion gathering. The group's aim, as encapsulated in the roundtable's title, "Organizing Resistance to Teach for America and its Role in Privatization," is no less than overthrowing—or at least overhauling—the non-profit organization's dominant role in educational reform. And who better to challenge TFA than its graduates?

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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