Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for July 2, 2013: Bottom Line on PA Budget for 1.8 million school kids: Still Fewer Resources for Student Programs and Services

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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for July 2, 2013:
Bottom Line on PA Budget for 1.8 million school kids: Still Fewer Resources for Student Programs and Services

Policy Junkies: do we have PA budget reactions from all quarters for you today…….

From EPLC’s Education Notebook Monday July 1
“The largest increase in the Department of Education section of the budget is an increase of $160,948,000 for School Employees Retirement.

Some Harrisburg officials like to include this increase in state-mandated payments as part of their boasting about generous state support for education, but not one dollar of this $160 million increase goes to support student programs and services.

In addition, as noted above, districts are getting an increase of $122.5 million for Basic Education, but they have to pay out almost $160 million more for state-mandated increased pension payments.

The bottom line is still fewer resources for student programs and services.”

PDE Press Release July 01, 2013
Governor Corbett’s Budget Includes Record $11.63 Billion in State Education Funding, Additional Investments in Pennsylvania’s Children
Harrisburg – Supporting Pennsylvania’s children of all ages, Governor Tom Corbett’s budget provides record education funding and increases funding in early childhood intervention, early learning, childcare subsidies and health insurance enrollment efforts.
Most notably, it includes a record $11.63 billion in early, basic and higher education funding for Pennsylvania’s students and $445 million to support and grow the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) so that more than 200,000 children in Pennsylvania will be able to receive affordable healthcare.  Specifically, Governor Corbett’s budget provides:

FINAL FY 2013-2014 PA General Fund Budget
As prepared by the staff of the Republican Senate Appropriations Committee.

"My sense is that the state needed to do more," said Sharon Ward, executive director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, a left-leaning think tank in Harrisburg. "No one should be congratulating themselves when it comes to education funding." She added, "What you have is kind of band aid over a deep systemic problem, particularly for Philadelphia."
Hope, skepticism on Philly school budget deal
Martha Woodall, Bob Warner, and Susan Snyder, Inquirer Staff Writers LAST UPDATED: Tuesday, July 2, 2013, 1:07 AM POSTED: Monday, July 1, 2013, 7:56 PM A day after Gov. Corbett detailed a $140 million package for Philadelphia schools, elected officials, labor leaders and others agreed that the proposal would help bridge the cash-strapped district's $304 million shortfall. But they pointed out that the state would kick in little new money under the plan and said they feared that even this fragile deal would provide too little for the district to rehire the 3,859 employees who were laid off Monday.
Read more at  http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20130702_Hope__skepticism_on_school_budget_deal.html#eRJkX1HdTJWCI9XU.99

Disappointing Budget Shows Need to Keep Fighting
Commonwealth Foundation JULY 1, 2013 | by MATTHEW BROUILLETTE
This past weekend was not for the political faint of heart. Special interests, led by government union bosses and crony capitalists, prevented real liquor privatization and effective pension reform from moving forward. They did so by a slim majority, but they did it nonetheless.

New State Budget Has Wins for PA Kids
Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children Posted At : July 1, 2013 4:38 PM
Late Sunday night, less than two hours before the new fiscal year began, Gov. Tom Corbett signed into law a $28.4 billion spending plan for fiscal 2013-14 that begins moving the commonwealth in the right direction when it comes to investments in children.
Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children President and CEO Joan Benso called the new budget “a hopeful sign that state policymakers are beginning to prioritize common-sense investments in our kids.”  “This budget invests more in high-quality early learning programs and child care for working families, increases funding for basic education and makes a stronger commitment to enroll more children in health insurance,” Benso said. “Now that we’ve begun boosting our investments in the commonwealth’s nearly 2.8 million children, the challenge will be to continue that momentum in future years and not backslide on our commitment to kids.”

PSBA Special Report: 2013-14 Budget Finalized
PSBA’s website June 30, 2013
As this report is filed on Sunday evening, June 30, Pennsylvania has new 2013-14 state budget. Passed by the General Assembly within hours of the constitutionally-mandated deadline, the $28.4 billion spending plan is 2.3% increase over the 2012-13 budget and provides a modest boost over the plan offered by Gov. Tom Corbett in February.

PASBO: 2013-14 State Budget Passed
Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO) July 1, 2013
The General Assembly ventured close to the midnight deadline to pass the 2013-14 state budget, and  the House is in session today to complete some important votes on several bills. Highlights of the action (or inaction) over the past few days are below...

PASA: Education Update for July 1, 2013
Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA)
2013-14 State Budget – Gov. Corbett last evening signed into law a $28.375 billion state budget for 2013-14 (HB 1437).  The budget increases total state spending by $645 million, or 2.3 percent, over last year’s budget. 

Corbett Goes 0-for-3 in On-Time Budget
PoliticsPA June 30th, 2013
Written by Carl Feldman, Contributing Writer and Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor
While members of the legislature would not have turned into pumpkins had the clock struck midnight, there would be plenty of angry state employees – not to mention a broken campaign pledge for Gov. Corbett.

Republican Party of Pennsylvania July 1, 2013
Governor Corbett and Republican legislators pass an on-time budget with record investments in Pennsylvania education
HARRISBURG, PA- Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Rob Gleason released the following statement regarding the on-time passage of the Commonwealth’s FY 2013-2014 budget today.

Gov. Corbett signs another bad budget after his policy priorities fail
Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairman Jim Burn July 1, 2013
Tom Corbett failed, and his failed leadership will continue to hurt the people of Pennsylvania. Tom Corbett could not lead his Republican controlled chambers to pass his big three priorities even after he said that going 0 for 3 would not be acceptable.

Budget Failure
Yinzercation Blog July 1, 2013
It’s signed, sealed, and delivered – but it’s nothing to write home about. The Pennsylvania legislature has passed a state budget for 2013-14 and Gov. Corbett signed it late last night. I have to agree with Monroeville Rep. Joe Markosek, the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, who said, “the one word description for this budget is ‘failure.’ … Failure to the people of Pennsylvania.” [Post-Gazette, 7-1-13] In terms of public education, here’s why.

Explaining Governor Corbett's school funding plan
The Notebook by Dale Mezzacappa on Jul 01 2013 Posted in Latest news
Following, in question-and-answer format, is an attempt to explain the components of the School District's funding package presented Sunday by Gov. Corbett.

Some in Philly grumble as Pa. House acts on school funding
WHYY Newsworks By Holly Otterbein, @HollyOtterbein July 2, 2013
The Pennsylvania House passed key pieces of Gov. Tom Corbett's Philadelphia schools funding package Monday night.  While many education advocates and Democratic state lawmakers said the deal was woefully inadequate, Philadelphia Superintendent William Hite and School Reform Commission chairman Pedro Ramos issued a statement Monday supporting the plan's passage.
The Republican-controlled House approved legislation that gives the school district a one-time infusion of $45 million in state funds, which were previously owed to the federal government, but now have apparently been forgiven.

Philly schools can't commit to staff rehires yet
By KATHY MATHESON, Associated Press Updated 2:19 pm, Monday, July 1, 2013
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — It's too early to know whether a tentative state rescue package will allow the Philadelphia school system to rehire any of its 3,800 laid-off employees, city and district officials said Monday.
Lawmakers in Harrisburg crafted a series of proposals over the weekend that would generate about $141 million for the broke district. But not all the measures have legislative approval yet, and the school system would still need an additional $163 million to cover its deficit.
"There remains a good deal of activity in Harrisburg before we're comfortable discussing the actual results," Mark McDonald, a spokesman for Mayor Michael Nutter, said in an email.

Ravitch, Weingarten urge Arne Duncan to intervene in Philadelphia school funding crisis
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss, Published: July 1, 2013 at 2:53 pm
The Philadelphia public school funding crisis is real. Thousands of people are being laid off, counselors, nurses, teachers, assistant principals, sports programs, arts classes and much more are being decimated. Here is a letter that American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and historian/education activist Diane Ravitch just sent to Education Secretary Arne Duncan asking him to intervene in the crisis. I’ve written about it here and here, and the letter spells out the problem in detail. (Weingarten was in Philadelphia earlier this year protesting mass school closings and was arrested with other protesters.)

That's funny, I don't remember electing a Comcast executive as our education czar
Philly Daily News Attytood Blog by Will Bunch POSTED: Monday, July 1, 2013, 5:34 PM
Late last night, Gov. Corbett unveiled the details of what he called a "rescue" plan for Philadelphia schools. I think that's giving it way too much credit -- let's call it a "cheap dime-store Band-Aid that's probably going to fall off between your front door and your car." You know the drill -- Philadelphia's public schools are facing down a massive $304 million hole going into the school year that starts in September. There's lots of blame to go around but the people who get hurt the most are the truly blameless, the kids. Plan A for dealing with the crisis was killing off everything that makes a school a school and not a massive chicken-coop-fo- children -- you know, sports, art, music, that kind of thing -- and laying off a whopping 3,900 people, which has the bonus effect of destroying the current economy in Philly at the same time it wrecks our future economy (i.e., our youth). Plan B was to fill the hole with money where it could be found in Harrisburg, from within the cash-strapped city, and from union concessions.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/attytood/Thats-funny-I-dont-remember-voting-for-David-L-Cohen-for-education-czar.html#HjeIuSBWlMsO75Jz.99

Corbett to Philly: Fix your own schools
City Paper by Daniel Denvir MONDAY, JULY 1, 2013, 2:27 PM
Corbett's proposed public school "rescue package," currently making its way through the legislature, is a destructive joke with troubling long-term implications. The $140 million, pledged just before the governor signed the state budget last night, falls far short of the $304 million budget gap and is $40 million short of the School Reform Commission's combined request from city and state government.
It's also a shell game, so make sure to watch closely: the plan represents a shifting of the burden for funding city schools onto those who can least afford it. Much of the funding comes from optimistic projections of increased collections from city tax delinquents, and from an extension of the city's "temporary" 1-percent sales tax hike. The latter is simply the state giving the city the power to further tax its own disproportionately low-income population. This is patently regressive taxation, meaning that it takes disproportionately from the poor — in a city that already has a regressive wage tax, and in a state that has one of the most regressive tax structures in the nation.  There is only $47 million in new state funding for city schools. Critically, $45 million of that is a one-time-only expenditure — and it actually comes not from Corbett but from the Obama administration.

Does Tom Corbett actually care about Philly schools?
WHYY Newsworks By Dave Davies @DaveDavieswhyy July 1, 2013
So what does Pa. Gov. Tom Corbett get out of helping solve a school funding crisis in Philadelphia, where Democrats rule and Corbett voters are about as common as a cheesesteak with melted swiss on it?
I can't rule out the simple answer that it's his job and he actually cares.

Nutter suffers in H'burg: Cig tax tabled, AVI measures uncertain
City Paper by Ryan Briggs POSTED: MONDAY, JULY 1, 2013, 4:25 PM
Mayor Michael Nutter and City Council don't get along. It's no secret: councilpeople have built a veritablelegislative cemetary of bills and amendments that originated with the mayor, and legislators have made little attempt to hide their contempt for the Mayor in the press.
Pols in the state house have not lined up behind the mayor either. They failed to support his proposal to fund the cash-strapped school district through increases in the city's cigarette and liquor-by-the-drink taxes. And now, the outlook for bills needed to improve tax collections and ease the impact of the Actual Value Iniative is also uncertain.
The liquor tax didn't even make it out of Council, but the tax on tobacco, which would have raised $45 million for the district if the state had approved the increase, stalled out in the legislature's final hours last night. 

Nutter: Philly school funding still in flux
WHYY Newsworks By Tom MacDonald @tmacdonaldwhyy July 1, 2013
Over the weekend, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett brokered a deal to generate $127 million more for the Philadelphia schools as part of the state budget, though state taxpayers would not shoulder much of that burden.  The money would mostly come from Philadelphia and Washington and some of it would be "one time" funding that can't be counted in past the new school year.
However the mayor of Philadelphia says "it's not over until it's over" when it comes to the city schools and the Pennsylvania state budget. 

Pa. academic standards for public schools in limbo
Trib Live By Josh Fatzick Published: Monday, July 1, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania's opportunity to produce its version of national academic standards for public schools is stuck in bureaucratic limbo for the summer while lawmakers and members of the Education Department and state Board of Education try to iron out details.
The proposed Pennsylvania Common Core standards would set nationally standardized goals for each grade level that students need to meet to be promoted. In May, Gov. Tom Corbett postponed their implementation until the 2014-15 school year because lawmakers objected to the potential cost and to data collection by the federal government. Some critics worry about loss of control of curriculum.
Pa. lawmakers sponsor Common Core education bills
June 29, 2013 12:00 am  •  By Christen Croley, The Sentinel
HARRISBURG — Four Pennsylvania state representatives Friday introduced a package of bills aimed at combatting the Common Core State Standards Initiative — a federally-developed set of education standards that could force changes to school curriculums across the state.
Legislators fear these nationally created standards won’t work for Pennsylvania’s students.
Representatives Will Tallman, R-193, Stephen Bloom, R-199, Rob Kauffman, R-89 and John Lawrence, R-13, wrote and co-sponsored five separate bills that thwart the effects of Common Core State Standards.

Exit Strategy: State Lawmakers Consider Dropping Common Core
Education Week Updated: July 1, 2013
Track the development of in various states of legislation seeking withdrawal from the Common Core State Standards. You can also find a short synopsis and a timeline of recent actions for each bill below.

In Philadelphia, Tensions High as Lawmakers Wrangle Over K-12 Budget
Education Week By The Associated Press Published Online: June 27, 2013
Ten thousand unused musical instruments. No sports or art programs. No assistant principals, counselors, cafeteria aides or secretaries.
That's what the Philadelphia public schools will look like in September without a major cash infusion. These and other cuts are the consequences of the district's $304 million deficit.
Top GOP lawmakers and fellow Republican Gov. Tom Corbett continued to grapple over school aid behind closed doors this week with stubborn disagreements on major priorities as school employees took center stage, swarming the Capitol to criticize a political regime that they say has been callous toward public schoolchildren.
The activity comes in the final days of the state's fiscal year, as lawmakers scramble to wrap up work before leaving Monday for their traditional two-month summer break from Harrisburg.

Click on the link to see detail on $94K in 2012 contributions to PA candidates by Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst; $20K to Scarnati; $20K to Sam Smith

Exclusive: Rhee’s StudentsFirst 14-State 2012 Candidate Spending

Scholastic Administrator by Alexander Russo July 1, 2013
A few months ago it was being noted that StudentsFirst's candidate endorsements skewed overwhelmingly Republican, which was surprising to some and disqualifying to others.  
But no one seemed to know about its candidate contributions, which are an even more powerful indication of the organization's focus (and the state of education reform).
Now, thanks to a source inside StudentsFirst, I can share some interesting (if self-reported) information about the organization's 2012 election cycle contributions, which balance out pretty evenly for 2012 at 42 percent Democratic / 58 percent Republican.  

“The private sector could use all the monies in their war chests that they currently use for failed experiments like charters and vouchers to underwrite the program. I am sure Teach for America could pitch in a few hundred million from their rich endowment. There is no telling what the Broad and Gates Foundations could contribute.”
A Modest Proposal: How About Real Estate Vouchers?
Russ on Reading Blog by Russ Walsh Sunday, June 30, 2013
Education reform types like to say that no child’s educational opportunity should be determined by zip code. Who could not agree with that? That is why I am surprised that the reformy solutions to so-called “failing schools” do nothing to change a child’s zip code. Maybe that is why voucher programs and charter schools have not been successful. You can bend the rules all you want to try to make charter schools successful, but the evidence shows that charter schools in general do no better than the public schools in educating children and some do much worse. You see, the zip code for the children doesn't change.
Vouchers haven’t worked either. I am not sure why we are surprised. Giving a poor family 2 – 5 thousand dollars in a voucher is not going to allow them to find the extra 5K they need to send the child to parochial school, let alone the extra 20 or 30K they would need to send a child to a private school. Vouchers probably would help middle class families defray the cost of sending their children  to a school of their choice, say one with fewer children of color or one that teaches creationism. Perhaps that is why they are so popular among some politicians. But for poor children, the zip code remains the same.
So I would like to put forward a modest proposal for educational reform. Provide poor families in urban areas where the schools are struggling with real estate vouchers. Real estate vouchers would allow these families to move to a new zip code, a zip code with a high performing public school district.

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.

PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference
October 15-18, 2013 | Hershey Lodge & Convention Center
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.

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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