Saturday, July 27, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for July 27, 2013: Citing $33 million in available funds, Hite partially restores Philly secretaries, music, sports

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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for July 27, 2013:
Citing $33 million in available funds, Hite partially restores Philly secretaries, music, sports

Hearing points to challenges in special ed funding
NBC News By Gary Weckselblatt Staff Writer July 26, 2013
President John F. Kennedy gave himself nearly a decade to send an astronaut to the moon. A state commission has until Nov. 30 to put together a new funding formula for special education — and its task might be more challenging.
That 15-member panel held a hearing in Doylestown on Thursday, looking for a way to “drive money to districts based on need, not on disability,” said state Rep. Bernie O’Neill.
O’Neill, a Warminster Republican, and Sen. Pat Browne, a Lehigh County Republican, are co-chairs of the commission seeking input on how to fairly distribute tax dollars for an expensive problem that continues to grow.

Citing $33 million in available funds, Hite partially restores Philly secretaries, music, sports
by thenotebook on Jul 26 2013 Posted in Latest news
by Dale Mezzacappa for the Notebook and Holly Otterbein for NewsWorks
With new money for Philadelphia schools coming in at a trickle, even though schools are just six weeks from opening under a doomsday scenario, Superintendent William Hite said Friday that he believes the District has enough funds on hand to restore the positions of 220 secretaries for the upcoming school year -- one for each school -- as well as fall sports and 66 itinerant music teachers through January.
At a contentious four-hour School Reform Commission meeting that started at 8 a.m., Hite and his Chief Financial Officer Matthew Stanski said they were confident that they could increase by $33 million their bare-bones budget. The budget resulted in 3,800 layoffs and stripped schools of nearly everything but a principal and a core of teachers. But the District leaders said that, as of now, they can only count on just $17 million in additional funds from the city and state.

SRC restores sports, rehires music teachers, secretaries
Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer POSTED: Friday, July 26, 2013, 6:34 PM
The Philadelphia School District will use $33 million in savings and new funding to recall laid-off music teachers and school secretaries and restore fall sports programs that were axed. "Now we plan to use the revenue that we believe is available to get schools ready" for opening Sept. 9, Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said during a special School Reform Commission meeting Friday.

Legislators give $30.3M to 21 school districts behind closed doors
Lancaster gets $2.4 million surprise but cash-strapped Columbia doesn't get a dime
Lancaster Sunday News By JEFF HAWKES  Staff Writer Jul 21, 2013 12:52
Twenty-one of Pennsylvania's 500 school districts got a nice surprise in the state's new budget: extra cash for these tough times.
Districts large, small and in-between benefited, including the Allentown schools, with nearly 19,000 students, the School District of Lancaster, with 11,200, and a rural Potter County district, with only 184 pupils.

Inquirer Editorial: Leave this bill behind
POSTED: Friday, July 26, 2013, 1:08 AM The House last week passed a bill that would gut the landmark No Child Left Behind law, returning most school oversight to states and districts. While there is plenty in the law that requires fixing, the House legislation would be a major setback for public education.

Teachers Lead Philly Summer Newsletter July 2013
Summer is a great time to reflect, recharge, and set goals for the new year. This year, Teachers Lead Philly will be offering a variety of opportunities for teachers to connect, develop, and lead. Are you interested in exploring web design, videography, book groups, grant writing, blogging, professional development, or advocacy? Do you have some ideas about how to impact education in Philly? Teachers Lead Philly wants you!

The Real Bloodbath
Yinzercation Blog July 26, 2013
It’s been a rough couple of weeks for our public schools, and they’re not even in session. In the heat of the summer Pittsburgh schools – and our teachers – have come under attack.

First public school seized by parents set to open
Politico By STEPHANIE SIMON | 7/26/13 2:20 PM EDT
A grand experiment in letting parents seize control of their neighborhood schools is unfolding in an impoverished Mojave Desert town — and lawmakers as far away as Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan are watching, and pondering the implications for troubled schools in their own states.  Desert Trails Preparatory Academy in Adelanto, Calif., will open for the academic year on Monday as the first school in the nation to have been remade under a law that gives parents the power to take over a low-performing public school and fire the principal, dismiss teachers or bring in private management.

"Parents Can Only Listen"
My Education Next Posted by Rita M. Solnet on July 26, 2013 at 4:18pm
I attended a conference call today initiated and led by Ben Austin, Executive Director of Parent Revolution, to honor "National Parents Day."  The call from start to finish focused on the complexity of the parent trigger law, the controversy, the process, and the status of California schools. Although the call's password was "Parents," parents couldn't ask questions - only reporters could. Perhaps Parent Revolution should consider a name change or a re-branding.
I'm confused.

When Bad Things Happen to Good NAEP Data
Education Week By Stephen Sawchuk Published Online: July 24, 2013
Premium article access courtesy of
The National Assessment of Educational Progress is widely viewed as the most accurate and reliable yardstick of U.S. students’ academic knowledge.  But when it comes to many of the ways the exam’s data are used, researchers have gotten used to gritting their teeth.

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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