Friday, July 26, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for July 26, 2013: PNC Chairman James E. Rohr: We must invest in early childhood education

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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for July 26, 2013:
PNC Chairman James E. Rohr: We must invest in early childhood education

Charter schools: “a cancer on the otherwise healthy right-to- know-law."
PA Office of Open Records Executive Director Terry Mutchler said her office had received 239 appeals in cases in which charter schools either rejected or failed to answer requests from the public for information such as budgets, payrolls, or student rosters. She said her office ruled in favor of the schools on just six of those appeals.

 “The next opportunity to enhance early childhood education rests with legislation drafted by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey. It would provide all children access to high-quality early learning programs and is expected to contain major elements of President Barack Obama's early education plan. We are encouraged to see a renewed focus on school readiness on the state and national levels.”
PNC Chairman James E. Rohr / We must invest in early childhood education
Early childhood education pays off for individuals and society
Post-Gazette Opinion By James E. Rohr July 23, 2013 12:07 am
James E. Rohr is executive chairman of The PNC Financial Services Group.
Fundamental to the American experience is the belief that our children, regardless of the circumstances of their birth, have the opportunity to reach whatever heights to which they aspire. The surest, most effective way to provide children with the opportunity to reach their full potential is to create a pathway to success through early childhood education.
Gov. Tom Corbett's recently passed budget increased support for early education by $11.4 million, which included $5 million more for Early Intervention, $4.5 million more for Pre-K Counts and $1.9 million more for Head Start Supplemental Assistance. We thank the governor for pledging increased resources on behalf of the commonwealth's youngest learners and doing so in a difficult budget environment. For every dollar spent on a quality pre-k education, there is as much as a $16 return to society, and an investment in school readiness can help ensure that more disadvantaged children have the tools they need to succeed in school and life.

Early Childhood Education Proposal Expected in Senate
NAESP Submitted by on Thu, 2013-06-27 17:29
Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman, made a push for legislation expanding access to universal pre-K. Murray spoke of legislation she is drafting with Sens. Tom Harkin (D-IA), Robert Casey (D-PA.), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI). The legislation is said to mirror the Administration’sPreschool for All proposal, unveiled earlier this year, which would support a federal expansion of early learning opportunities for families whose incomes are at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty line.

“How were representatives from the corporate community, neither elected by nor accountable to anyone but their own members and stockholders, allowed to take on the mantle of education advocates? Perhaps most shockingly, the Philadelphia School Partnership's executive director, Mark Gleason, was actually lobbying the state not to fund schools.”
Who is behind Philly schools' nonrescue rescue?
Philly Daily News Opinion by Lisa Haver Friday, July 26, 2013, 12:18 AM
Lisa Haver is a retired teacher and co-founder of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools.
EARLIER THIS month, a "rescue package" for Philadelphia schools was delivered by Gov. Corbett. After digging through all of the bubble wrap, unfortunately, there wasn't much in there to get excited about:

Update on Philadelphia School District Funding Crisis: $138 Million Response to $180 Million Request 
Some Dollars from the State, Most Dollars from Philadelphia
Senator Vincent Hughes, Democratic Appropriations Chair, July 25, 2013

Knox plan: Put health clinics in schools
Tom Avril, Inquirer Staff Writer POSTED: Thursday, July 25, 2013, 1:08 AM
City schools have not replaced more than 100 school nurses who retired or were laid off in recent years, and the district's financial state remains perilous. Politician and insurance-industry veteran Tom Knox has a proposal to address both problems: Have the school system get into the health-care business. Knox envisions that each of the more than 290 district and charter schools would house a walk-in clinic staffed by a nurse-practitioner or physician assistant, who would bill the child's insurance provider $60 per visit. Each clinic also would be staffed by one of the remaining 194 traditional school nurses or by a lower-paid health technician.

Here are a few more posts on community schools, which reform public schools by integrating in supports and resources from the community.
Listen: Marketplace Series on Community School in Cincinnati – The Community’s Plan
Attention fans of public radio: there’s a community school getting attention at a station near you.
It’s the Oyler School in Cincinnati, one of the city’s many community learning centers – and it’s the subject of an ongoing series from Marketplace, the popular radio program from American Public Media.
“Instead of just relying on education to help kids get out of poverty, the Oyler School is trying to improve their environment as well,” says Kai Ryssdal in the opening to one of the episodes of “One Year, One School,” a year-long series which debuted in September 2012. In the series, education correspondent Amy Scott periodically checks in at Oyler and reports on the work being done in that school to overcome barriers to student success.

Forum Stirs Enthusiasm for Community Schools in Philly
Our City Our Schools June 18, 2013
While Philadelphia schools continue to grapple with a budget in crisis, advocates came together on Saturday to show that they are not ready to stop dreaming big for the city’s education system.
More than 75 parents, students, teachers, and community members came together on Saturday for a forum on community schools, a model for public school reform that is gaining enthusiasm in Philadelphia. The forum, held at Kensington High School for Creative and Performing Arts, was intended both to educate about community schools and to lay the groundwork for a grassroots campaign to support and sustain the model.

National Center for Community Schools

Despite claims, state budget still shortchanges public schools: Susan Spicka
By Patriot-News Op-Ed  By Susan Spicka on July 25, 2013 at 11:15 AM
Susan Spicka writes from Shippensburg. She is a co-founder of the activist group Education Matters in the Cumberland Valley.
The day after he signed the 2013-14 state budget into law, Gov. Tom Corbett and his political allies practically dislocated their shoulders as they patted themselves on the back for providing Pennsylvania's public schools with what they described as increases in state funding. 
They even proudly proclaimed that Pennsylvania is providing more state funding to our public schools than ever before.  If only their press releases and newsletters contained something more than political spin and accounting gimmicks. 

Former education secretary Tomalis now a candidate for the highest-paid ($327,500-a-year) job in state government
By Jan Murphy |  on July 25, 2013 at 7:06 PM
A recently departed Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education board member is in the running to become the system’s next chancellor.
Former state education secretary Ronald Tomalis, 51, of Camp Hill, is among the trio of candidates who made it to the chancellor search’s final stage, according to four sources familiar with the situation.

Big GOP contributor must cough up charter schools' financial records
The Columbus Dispatch - By: Catherine Candisky July 24, 2013 4:07 PM
The Ohio Supreme Court today announced it would let stand two lower court rulings demanding that White Hat Management, one of Ohio's largest charter-school management companies, open its financial books.  In 2010, 10 boards of schools operated by White Hat sued to get details about how the state funding they turned over to the company had been spent. White Hat refused, arguing that as a private company it was not required to disclose the information.

NSBA expresses concerns on House K-12 budget proposal
NSBA School Board News Today by Joetta Sack-Min July 25, 2013
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is disappointed in the House of Representatives’ proposed fiscal 2014 budget for K-12 programs and is calling on House members to restore funding.  The budget would create “devastating” cuts to many education programs, including $4.5 billion cuts to Title I and the main federal special education law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, according to NSBA. The measure was approved by the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies earlier this month.

Common Core Could Be Disrupted As States Drop Out Of PARCC
NPR by CORY TURNER and ROBERT SIEGEL July 25, 2013 5:12 PM
In addition to Georgia, a handful of other states — Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, and Alabama — have dropped out of or scaled back their participation in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness in College and Career (PARCC) consortium. Florida's education commissioner is mulling a similar decision. We discuss what it could mean for the success of the standards.

“The grade-by-grade analysis of time and money invested in standardized testing found that test prep and testing absorbed 19 full school days in one district and a month and a half in the other in heavily tested grades. The Midwestern district spent $600 or more for standardized testing per pupil in grades 3-8;  about $200 per student for grades K-2; from $400 to $600 per student for grades 9-11. The Eastern district spent more than $1,100 annually on testing per student in grades 6-11; around $400 per student in grades 1-2; between $700 and $800 per student for grades 3-5.”
How much time do school districts spend on standardized testing? This much.
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss, Published: July 25 at 11:30 am
Exactly how much standardized testing are school districts subjecting students to these days? A nearly staggering amount, according to a new analysis.
Testing More, Teaching Less: What America’s Obsession with Student Testing Costs in Money and Lost Instructional Time,” released by the American Federation of Teachers, looks closely at two unnamed medium-sized school districts — one in the Midwest and one in the East — through the prism of their standardized testing calendars.

“We are saying that we want to not have to test children repeatedly in those even-numbered grades, because basically we are wasting their time,” Mr. Huberty said. Texas Education Agency data indicated that students who scored above a certain threshold on tests one year had a 97 percent likelihood of doing so the following year, he said.
Texas’ Bid to Ease Mandatory Exams for Public School Students
New York Times/Texas Tribune By MORGAN SMITH Published: July 25, 2013
Despite sharply reducing state testing requirements for Texas high school students, the 83rd Legislature brought only conditional relief from high-stakes exams for students in lower grades, who take a total of 17 state tests before going to high school.
For parents and educators who want less time spent on state exams in elementary and middle school, hopes are pinned on the new legislation, but with a big caveat: it is likely that Texas must first obtain a No Child Left Behind Act waiver from the federal Department of Education.

Hucksters, Campaign Donors, Scam Artists: Open a Charter School in New Jersey!
Diane Ravitch’s Blog By dianerav July 25, 2013 
The New Jersey Department of Education has approved six new charter schools to open this fall, and what a motley lot they are!
Jersey Jazzman, with his habitual research skills, has assembled the cast of characters, and it is alarming, even by New Jersey’s low standards for charter authorizing.
One, as described in a post by Mother Crusader, will be run by a man who was a major participant in a spectacular charter failure in Missouri. Another will be owned by a man who was the biggest campaign contributor to the governor of Pennsylvania and whose charter bankrupted its host district. Another has enrolled more Asian students than all other schools in the district combined. Another is a Gulen school.

Diane Ravitch’s new book - Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools book description; release date September 17, 2013
From one of the foremost authorities on education in the United States, former U.S. assistant secretary of education, “whistle-blower extraordinaire” (The Wall Street Journal), author of the best-selling The Death and Life of the Great American School System (“Important and riveting”—Library Journal), The Language Police (“Impassioned . . . Fiercely argued . . . Every bit as alarming as it is illuminating”—The New York Times), and other notable books on education history and policy—an incisive, comprehensive look at today’s American school system that argues against those who claim it is broken and beyond repair; an impassioned but reasoned call to stop the privatization movement that is draining students and funding from our public schools.
In Reign of Error, Diane Ravitch argues that the crisis in American education is not a crisis of academic achievement but a concerted effort to destroy public schools in this country. She makes clear that, contrary to the claims being made, public school test scores and graduation rates are the highest they’ve ever been, and dropout rates are at their lowest point.

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.

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

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 is accepting applications to fill vacancies in NSBA's grassroots advocacy program. Deadline to apply is Sept. 6.
PSBA members: Influence public education policy at the federal level; join NSBA's Federal Relations Network
The National School Boards Association is seeking school directors interested in filling vacancies for the remainder of the 2013-14 term of the Federal Relations Network. The FRN is NSBA's grassroots advocacy program that provides the opportunity for school board members from every congressional district in the country who are committed to public education to get involved in federal advocacy. For more than 40 years, school board members have been lobbying for public education on Capitol Hill as one unified voice through this program. If you are a school director and willing to carry the public education message to Washington, D.C., FRN membership is a good place to start!

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:

2014 PSBA Officer Slate of Candidates
PSBA website 7/24/2013
The 2014 PSBA Slate of Candidates is being officially published to the members of the association. More details on each candidate, including bios, statements, photos and video will be available soon online.

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

"They don't feel they should be subject to this law, or, candidly, subject to you," Mutchler told senators on the state government committee, which is considering legislation to amend the five-year-old law. "They are a cancer on the otherwise healthy right-to- know-law."
Pa. official: Charter schools flout public-records law
By Amy Worden, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau POSTED: May 15, 2013
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania's 180 charter schools routinely ignore the state's Right-To-Know Law even though as publicly funded institutions they are bound to comply with it, the chief of the state's Office of Open Records told a Senate committee on Monday.  Executive director Terry Mutchler said her office had received 239 appeals in cases in which charter schools either rejected or failed to answer requests from the public for information such as budgets, payrolls, or student rosters. She said her office ruled in favor of the schools on just six of those appeals.

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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