Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for July 3, 2013: Arne Duncan on Philadelphia: 'Invest in Public Education, Not Abandon It'

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 1900 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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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for July 3, 2013:
Arne Duncan on Philadelphia: 'Invest in Public Education, Not Abandon It'

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.”

Since Pennsylvania abandoned the costing-out study funding formula a couple years ago it’s back to business as usual, being one of only three states without an education funding formula.  Instead of providing funding based upon enrollment and supplemental factors like poverty level, special education population and English language learners, it is “hold harmless” and how much clout your legislators have.  Take a look at the list of targeted “funding supplements” that are part and parcel of this year’s budget…..
PA Department of Education
Basic Education Funding for 2013-2014 Fiscal Year

In case you were waiting for charter school funding reform – fuggedaboutit.
Although it was on the House calendar, HB618 was smothered with amendments and never came to the floor for a vote.

Rep. Dan Truitt (R-156, West Chester) is a member of the House Education Committee.  Dan has two children who have attended cyber charters.
Letter to the Editor: Charter school funding reform must be done right
Delco Times by State Representative Dan Truitt Published: Wednesday, July 03, 2013
I don’t think anyone who has been paying attention to education funding in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania would argue that we have good education funding formulas. In fact, some might argue that we have no funding formula at all. The amount of money spent per pupil varies widely from school district to school district across the state. The percentage of that funding that comes from the state also varies widely across the state. “Hold Harmless” provisions in state law cause an excess of funding to go to shrinking school districts at the expense of growing school districts and the formulas for calculating charter school payments are riddled with flaws.

Education Policy and Leadership Center

Arne Duncan on Philadelphia: 'Invest in Public Education, Not Abandon It'
Education Week By Michele McNeil on July 2, 2013 5:57 PM
It's not everyday that U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan issues a statement in response to a district meltdown—but he just did in the case of Philadelphia.
His statement, urging district, city, and state leaders to fix the financial mess and directing his department to offer technical assistance, comes after a June 28 letter in which AFT President Randi Weingarten and historian Diane Ravitch joined forces to urge him to intervene.
Here's the full text of his statement:
There's no excuse for a public school system anywhere in the U.S. to be in this situation in the 21st century, and it's even worse to see it in Philadelphia, the cornerstone of this great country and the cradle for our founding principles. I strongly urge everyone involved to continue working together to avert this educational crisis. My continued outreach to each of the parties involved: Governor Corbett, Mayor Nutter, Dr. Hite and Jerry Jordan assures me that fixing this is their number one priority. I've instructed my staff to provide any needed technical assistance to both the district and the commonwealth. The bottom line is that doing what's right for Philadelphia students will not only benefit the city - but the commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the country. Philadelphia's children didn't create these problems or ask for them - our responsibility as adults is to do everything we can to provide students in Philadelphia the world class education they deserve. Without courage and leadership, I worry greatly that Philadelphia's children will be shortchanged. We must invest in public education, not abandon it.

U.S. education secretary urges action on Phila. schools
Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer LAST UPDATED: Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 1:08 AM
POSTED: Tuesday, July 2, 2013, 5:37 PM
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan urged city and state officials Tuesday to resolve the Philadelphia School District's $304 million shortfall to avert a crisis in the city's schools.

Inquirer Editorial: Halfhearted help for schools
POSTED: Tuesday, July 2, 2013, 1:08 AM Gov. Corbett and lawmakers were right to include help for Philadelphia's faltering schools in the state budget. Unfortunately, some of the proposed funding is uncertain, some relies on questionable fiscal tactics, and some won't recur, which means the city will have to ask for more next year.

Group "Seriously Considering" Lawsuit Over Philadelphia School Cuts
Questions remain as to whether the Pa. Supreme Court would even hear their case
NBC Philadelphia By Vince Lattanzio  Wednesday, Jun 26, 2013  |  Updated 8:43 AM EDT
An education advocacy group says they are "seriously considering" filing suit against the state if Philadelphia public schools are left decimated by draconian budget cuts.  Education Law Center Executive Director Rhonda Brownstein says inequities in state funding go against the Pennsylvania’s constitutional requirement to provide a "thorough and efficient"  education to its children.  Brownstein says her organization plans to first assess how much funding the School District of Philadelphia gets from the state and city. If severe cuts remain when the school year begins and negatively affect students, they’ll most likely seek litigation.

Support Early Learning: Join the July 8 Virtual Rally4Babies
Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children Blog Posted At : July 2, 2013 10:52 AM
Birth to age 3 is the peak age for brain development and learning. Consider this: About 700 new neural connections form every second during the first three years of a child’s life, making it the most crucial time for developing critical functions such as hearing, language and cognition.
While it’s an optimal time for learning, not every child reaps the full benefits of this landmark phase of development. Without the chance to participate in high-quality early childhood development and learning programs, gaps can appear early - sometimes even before a child's first birthday. That means by the time some children reach preschool, they already are playing catch-up with their peers.
The good news is there are a number of high-quality programs and services in place to provide positive early opportunities for children birth to age 5, including child care, Early Head Start, early intervention and home visiting. We need our elected leaders to take the lead and adequately fund them by expanding investments in early learning that starts at birth.
Parents and experts in the early childhood field across the country are urging President Obama and Congress to expand early learning opportunities for infants and toddlers, as well as young children in preschool. You can lend your voice to this important effort. 
Join the Rally4Babies on Monday, July 8 at 2:00 EST to show your support for our youngest children. The event will be hosted online at Google Hangout on Air, and details and updates are being posted

Education Week Updated Anti-Common-Core Bill Tracker, Now With Penn. News
By Andrew Ujifusa on July 2, 2013 12:27 PM
I've just updated the interactive graphic at that is tracking anti-common-core bills in state legislatures this year. You can view the text of bills and recent actions, and, see how the bills fared and if they were actually signed by governors. Most of the pushes against the common core by state politicians, mostly if not exclusively conservatives, have come to nothing in places like Georgia and South Dakota. If you find that I've missed some bills or need to update where any item stands, email me, leave a note in comments, or send me a tweet @StateEdWatch.
There's a lot of action afoot in Pennsylvania, where the House of Representatives passed a resolution calling for a review of the standards last month. That follows a move in May by Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, to initiate further review of the standards in the state. And state media are also reporting that five new bills opposing the common-core standards in various ways are also garnering support. The crucial bill, House Bill 1551, would require the state to drop the common core 60 days after being signed into law. (At this point, although the bill number and its contents have been reported, I haven't seen a link to it, although there is a link to the summary of the "drop the common core" bill and others mentioned below in my bill tracker. When there is a link to the legislation itself, I will update the tracker.)

Following a massive artillery bombardment, 150 years ago this afternoon in what has become known as Pickett’s Charge, 12,500 Confederate soldiers stepped out of the woods and advanced for ¾ mile over open fields under heavy Union artillery and rifle fire….
The Battle of Gettysburg Timeline: website

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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