Friday, July 19, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for July 19, 2013: “odds that erasure patterns were random…were between 1 in a quadrillion and 1 in a quintillion”

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 19, 2013:
“odds that erasure patterns were random…were between 1 in a quadrillion and 1 in a quintillion”

School Choices: Are your PA tax dollars, intended for the classrooms of Chester Upland, funding this 20,000 sq.ft. mansion on the beach instead?

“Two years ago, however, during an April 2011 visit, Corbett was effusive: The school’s test-score success “needs to be reported to all the people of Pennsylvania,” he said, so they could witness school choice in action. At the time, Corbett was under fire for proposing massive cuts to education. ……A state forensic analysis found that the odds that erasure patterns were random on the reading portion of Chester Community Charter School seventh-graders’ 2009 PSSAs were between one in a quadrillion and one in a quintillion. Analyses done in 2010 and 2011, according to the Department of Education, also found “a very high number of students with a very high number of wrong-to-right erasures.” But the state left the charter to investigate itself.”
How Pennsylvania Schools Made a Cheating Scandal Disappear
Tainted scores throw an entire way of running schools into question.
City Paper by  Daniel Denvir Posted: Thu, Jul. 18, 2013, 12:00 AM
The odds that 11th-graders at Strawberry Mansion High School would have randomly erased so many wrong answers on the math portion of their 2009 state standardized test and then filled in so many right ones were long. Very, very long. To be precise, they were less than one in a duodecillion, according to an erasure analysis performed for the state Department of Education.
In short, there appeared to be cheating — and it didn’t come as a total surprise. In 2006, student members of Youth United for Change protested being forced out of class for test-preparation sessions and won concessions from the district. In 2010, principal Lois Powell-Mondesire left Strawberry Mansion; after her departure, test scores dropped sharply. 

A once in 12 years opportunity for school board members!
National School Boards Action Center July 17, 2013
You can contact your House member of Congress today and urge them to vote YES on ESEA rewrite HR5 here: http://www.

House Debates No Child Left Behind Rewrite, Makes Big Changes on Teacher Evaluation
Education Week Politics K-12 Blog By Alyson Klein on July 18, 2013 7:44 PM
Conservative lawmakers won a big concession today on the teacher-evaluation portion of a bill to renew the No Child Left Behind Act. Under the change, which was ultimately endorsed by the bill's sponsor, Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the chairman of the House education committee, states and school districts would not be required to craft teacher-evaluation systems based on student outcomes.  Instead, those evaluations—which are already causing headaches for states who have put them in place in exchange for the Obama administration's waivers from the NCLB law—would be totally voluntary. It is almost certain that Kline threw in the towel on teacher evaluations—a policy he was personally passionate about—in order to win final passage of the bill. A vote is expected tomorrow.

Education Proposal in House Could Replace ‘No Child’ Act
New York Times By MOTOKO RICH Published: July 18, 2013
WASHINGTON — For the first time since No Child Left Behind, President George W. Bush’s signature education law, passed with overwhelming bipartisan support a dozen years ago, a bill seeking to rewrite the law came to the floor of the House for debate on Thursday, dividing legislators along party lines.  Lawmakers tussled over the role of the federal government in public education, with Republicans calling for a return of control over curriculum standards, testing and spending to states and districts. Democrats, by contrast, assailed the proposed bill, saying that it reduced financing designated for the students most at risk, failed to set high standards and watered down efforts to hold schools accountable for student performance.

“NCLB expired in 2007, but is still standing because an alternative hasn't been passed. Thursday's debate represents the first time either the House or Senate has discussed it on the floor in over a decade.
No Child Left Behind Rewrite Debated In The House, But Bill Has No Future
By  Posted: 07/18/2013 7:22 pm EDT
Possibly seeking to combat the perception that they're unproductive and obstructionist, House Republicans convened about six hours of debate Thursday on an education bill that has almost no chance of being signed into law.
The House discussed the Student Success Act, a Republican-written update to the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act. NCLB is a bipartisan bill that was supported by President George W. Bush, Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) when it was passed in 2001.
While NCLB dramatically expanded the federal government's role in the nation's public schools, the Student Success Act, written by House Education Committee Chair Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.), would dramatically constrict it. The bill pulls back from the annual performance goals required by NCLB and consolidates federal programs dedicated to English-language learners and neglected children into a program devoted to helping schools with low-income students.

Thank you to Congressman Pat Meehan (PA-7) for successfully offering an amendment to HR5 supporting local school boards and local governance.
School district flexibility amendment gets included in ESEA bill
NSBA School Board News Today by Joetta Sack-Min July 18, 2013
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives began the consideration of H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, the House’s version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) was pleased that the U.S. House of Representatives floor amendment on local school district flexibility offered by Reps. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) and Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) that includes key provisions of NSBA’s bill, the Local School Board Governance and Flexibility Act, H.R. 1386, passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a 239-187 vote late this afternoon. Additional provisions of NSBA’s bill were included in the bill the Committee on Education and the Workforce took to the floor.
 H.R. 5, with local school district flexibility amendment, focuses on specifically ensuring that the U.S. Department of Education does not encroach on local school board governance.

House poised to leave 'No Child' behind
Politico By LIBBY A. NELSON | 7/18/13 7:43 PM EDT
Republicans lined up Thursday behind a bill that would roll back the federal government’s involvement in education, despite concerns earlier this week that the party’s more conservative members weren’t on board with the legislation.  The Student Success Act already would strike many of the key provisions of No Child Left Behind and kill several signature Obama administration education programs.  Amendments approved Thursday took further shots at the federal role in education. One that was adopted would delete a requirement that states evaluate teachers based on student outcomes, making those evaluations optional.

Cashing in on Kids: 139 ALEC Bills in 2013 Promote a Private, For-Profit Education Model
The Center for Media and Democracy’s PRWatch by Brendan Fischer — July 16, 2013 - 7:55am
Despite widespread public opposition to the education privatization agenda, at least 139 bills or state budget provisions reflecting American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) education bills have been introduced in 43 states and the District of Columbia in just the first six months of 2013, according to an analysis by the Center for Media and Democracy, publishers of Thirty-one have become law.

EPLC Education Notebook – Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Education Policy and Leadership Center

Early childhood ed will be major focus of Philly's anti-poverty plan
thenotebook by Sonia Giebel on Jul 18 2013 Posted in Latest news
The report on the mayor's new plan to address poverty noted one especially sobering fact: 39 percent of Philadelphia's children live in poverty.  As a result, a major part of the Shared Prosperity Philadelphia plan is to beef up early childhood education by identifying areas where the need isn’t being met and tracking the readiness of young children to enter kindergarten. The plan defines this initiative as a focus on “learning preparedness.”

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.

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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