Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for July 30, 2013: PSBA is accepting applications from school directors to fill vacancies in NSBA's Federal Relations Network grassroots advocacy program.

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 2650 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers, Governor's staff, 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

These daily emails are archived at http://keystonestateeducationcoalition.org
Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg
The Keystone State Education Coalition is pleased to be listed among the friends and allies of The Network for Public Education.  Are you a member?

PSBA is accepting applications from school directors to fill vacancies in NSBA's Federal Relations Network grassroots advocacy program.
Deadline to apply is Sept. 6.

Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for July 30, 2013:
PSBA is accepting applications from school directors to fill vacancies in NSBA's Federal Relations Network grassroots advocacy program.

“A popular governor skilled in public relations, Scranton took advantage of a strong economy to reform the Pennsylvania Civil Service, double spending on education and increase the state sales tax from 4 percent to 5 percent. He also oversaw the creation of the state's community-college system and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, now a national provider of student financial aid services. State spending increased by 38 percent during his administration.”
William Scranton Jr. dies
By ASSOCIATED PRESS | 7/29/13 10:22 AM EDT Updated: 7/29/13 11:19 PM EDT
William Warren Scranton, a former Pennsylvania governor, presidential candidate and ambassador to the United Nations, has died. He was 96.  Scranton died of a cerebral hemorrhage Sunday night at a retirement community in Montecito, Calif., where he lived with his wife, a family spokesman said Monday.

(Cost Categories in Special Education Funding)
Wednesday, August 7, 2013 9:30 AM
William Pitt Union Ballroom, University of Pittsburgh

Pension crisis worsens in Pa.
Philly.com Opinion POSTED: Tuesday, July 30, 2013, 1:08 AM By Rick Dreyfuss
Rick Dreyfuss, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, is the author of the report "Fixing The Public Sector Pension Problem: The (True) Path to Long-Term Reform."
In recent days, Pennsylvania's debt was downgraded by Fitch Ratings, Chicago's debt was downgraded three notches by Moody's Investors Service, and Detroit sought protection through the ultimate downgrade by declaring bankruptcy. Like most states, Pennsylvania has its share of public pension challenges; a combined unfunded liability of $47 billion equates to more than $3,600 per resident. The recent failure to pass any meaningful pension reform legislation resulted in the state's downgrade. It is likely other rating agencies will follow suit. Inaction on the part of legislators has, in effect, endangered the fiscal health of the Keystone State.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/inquirer/20130730_Pension_crisis_worsens_in_Pa_.html#AWEfFozJOaBeqJst.99

Career Connections charter school appeal to be heard today
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette July 30, 2013 12:10 am
An appeal by Career Connections Charter School in Lawrenceville to the State Charter Appeal Board will be heard today in Harrisburg, but appeals filed by two other local charter organizations are not on the agenda.  The board of the Pittsburgh Public Schools voted in March 2012 against renewing the charter for Career Connections, which opened in 1999 with grades 9-12. The board voted again against the renewal in August 2012 after conducting a hearing.

Tackling truancy
Charter school takes action to stem high rate of unexcused absences
Reading Eagle by Jason Brudereck Originally Published: 7/28/2013
Berks County's only charter school has had the county's worst truancy rate.
Almost 50 percent of its students were habitually truant in the school's first year.
I-LEAD Charter School officials said that's because of the difficult problems faced by the 400 students it serves.

Charter schools are rebuilding the walls of segregation: As I See It
By Patriot-News Op-Ed  By Bill Maxwell on July 29, 2013 at 12:00 PM
Charter schools are seen by many parents, policymakers and educators as the panacea in public education. Each year, these campuses are increasing in number nationwide.
In a recent survey of research on school choice and charter schools, the Hechinger Report, an independent education news affiliate of Teachers College at Columbia University, finds mounting evidence that charters are not a panacea. In fact, they are enabling our return to racial segregation in public education.

State school subsidy for Reading district tells only a partial story
Reading Eagle by David Mekeel Originally Published: 7/29/2013
$117 million.
That's how much the Reading School District will get from the state in the coming school year in basic education funding, the main channel through which state funds flow to local school districts.
It is by far the largest total of any district in Berks County and ranks the third-largest in the state, behind only Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
But what does that number really mean? Turns out, the total tells only a partial story.

The School District of Philadelphia has a bi-weekly School Opening newsletter to keep parents, students, staff and community members informed about the transition process that resulted from the closures, relocations and mergers approved by the School Reform Commission.
On their webpage, there are previous issues as well as a link to sign-up to receive the newsletters as they are published.

NAACP supports Philly school reform group
PhillyTribWritten by  Wilford Shamlin III Friday, 26 July 2013 14:08
A coalition pushing for greater accountability and better conditions for teachers and students in Philadelphia’s public school system has widened its support base, drawing four new major partners to its side, including two organizations with vast resources and political clout.
The Coalition for Effective Teaching has joined forces with local affiliate of the NAACP and the Urban Affairs Coalition. An alliance with the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, an umbrella group that advocates for issues of regional importance, and Parent Power, a grass-roots group focused on helping students in low- and moderate-income households identify and overcome challenges to academic success, was also announced at a press conference Wednesday morning.

District to seek feedback on design of school report cards
The notebook by Wendy Harris on Jul 29 2013 Posted in Latest news
Last year, the School District of Philadelphia revealed that its system for rating schools was faulty and suspended the use of the “School Performance Index,” or SPI. But on Monday, the District will begin a process to develop a new school report card that will not only replace the SPI, but also the school annual reports. District leadership is asking the community to help them decide what will go in the school report card and how it will be designed, and will hold six community meetings to get the process underway.  

Inquirer Editorial: When school is out, many children go hungry
POSTED: Tuesday, July 30, 2013, 1:08 AM
Many children whose schools provide their only dependable source of nutritious meals go hungry during the summer when school is out. That needs to change. According to the Food Research and Action Center, only one out of seven children who receive free or reduced-price lunches at school participates in a summer meal program. While the available data is limited, experts believe many children go hungry during the summer.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/inquirer/20130730_Inquirer_Editorial__When_school_is_out__many_children_go_hungry.html#sU0PCAwBYLjEk9KR.99

Senate Republicans start push on charters and choice - Private courses, public money - All eyes on a California experiment - Common Core fights continue
By LIBBY A. NELSON | 07/29/13 5:58 AM EDT
Politico Morning Education By Libby A. Nelson With Nirvi Shah and Stephanie Simon
SENATE REPUBLICANS START PUSH ON CHARTERS AND CHOICE -- The top Republican on the Senate Education Committee kicks off a series of events on charter schools today. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) meet with Tennessee charter school leaders today in Nashville. The focus broadens on Tuesday: Three other Senate Republicans, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), join Alexander and Paul for a forum on school choice in Washington, D.C., with both public charter and private schools.
Charter schools have fans in both parties. But their role in voucher systems could be a hot issue as Congress continues to consider an overhaul of No Child Left Behind after the August recess. Three of the senators hosting Tuesday’s event are among the party’s most conservative -- Paul, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah). They’re hinting that new charter school legislation could be coming soon. More on today’s event, from Alexander’s office:http://1.usa.gov/15XtQXd

As North Carolina Goes, So Goes the U.S.
Education Week Reality Check Blog By Walt Gardner on July 29, 2013 7:21 AM
It's always risky to take what one state is doing to reform teaching and assume other states will follow, but I think an argument can be made in the case of North Carolina. On Jul. 26, the state eliminated teacher tenure and automatic pay increases for earning a master's degree ("North Carolina Ends Pay Boosts for Teacher Master's Degrees," The Wall Street Journal, Jul. 27).
Although both issues have been hotly debated since the accountability movement gained traction, no state has simultaneously axed them until now. Taxpayers are angry and frustrated by the performance of our students compared with those of students in other countries. They have been led to believe that teachers are to blame, despite evidence showing the inordinate importance of out-of-school factors on achievement.

Breaking News: AP Says Tony Bennett Rigged Indiana Grades to Favor a Charter School
Diane Ravitch’s Blog By dianerav July 29, 2013
According to the latest reports from Indiana, the Associated Press obtained emails showing that State Superintendent Tony Bennett (then of Indiana, now Florida) changed the grading system to make sure a particular charter school got an A.  The school belongs to a major GOP donor, who has contributed more than $2.8 million to Republicans since 1998, including a contribution of $130,000 to Tony Bennett’s campaign.
Bennett denies it.

Here’s a testing controversy in Pennsylvania involving a charter school run by a major GOP donor….
Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for July 23, 2013:
Did the state cheat on test score investigations?
“odds that erasure patterns were random…were between 1 in a quadrillion and 1 in a quintillion…But the state left the charter to investigate itself.”

House of Cards: The Broad Superintendents
Diane Ravitch’s Blog By dianerav July 29, 2013 //
This video, made by the Badass Teachers Association, is part of a series that will dissect the corporate reform effort to privatize American public education. This one describes the work of the Broad-trained superintendents. They are like educational kudzu; once one is installed, they soon surround themselves with other Broadies, as they are known. Some states, like New Jersey and Louisiana, swarm with Broadies. But they are not invincible; some communities, like Sumter, South Carolina; Rockford, Illinois, and Wake County, North Carolina, have gotten rid of them.
The unaccredited Broad Superintendents Academy imbues would-be urban superintendents with a market-reform philosophy. They leave their few weeks of “training” with a determination to close public schools and turn the kids and public property over to private corporations to open deregulated charters.

John Thompson: Are Accountability Hawks Chicken When it Comes to Their Charters?
Education Week Living in Dialogue Blog By Anthony Cody on July 30, 2013 6:12 AM
The panelists in the Fordham Institute's "Opt Out or Cop Out" discussion clearly enjoyed their surrealistic discussion of "accountability." They speculated on fanciful scenarios for micromanaging educators that were so disconnected from reality as to recall panelist Charlie Barone's tweet about "Dadaists Man Ray & Marcel DuChamp (who) used to play tennis w/o a net."
Barone, a policy wonk for the Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), directed that charge against me. But, I'll leave it to readers to determine whether he or educators have a better understanding of high-poverty schools, and the effects of NCLB (which Barone helped draft) on poor children of color.

Guess it depends upon what you choose to look at and what you choose to ignore to further your particular policy agenda.  Pennsylvania is listed in the top 5 for NAEP scores while none of our cybercharters made AYP this year and most have never made AYP.
New ALEC Report Reveals Ties Between School Choice Policies and Student Achievement
Report ranks states comparing state education policies to NAEP data
ALEC Washington, D.C. (April 1, 2013)—State-based school choice initiatives, voucher programs and alternative teacher certification measures positively impact the achievement rates of students, according to a new report released by the American Legislative Exchange Council.

No moon: Perseid meteor shower set to put on a great show before dawn August 12
You can expect to see up to 100 “shooting stars” per hour when 2013’s best meteor shower peaks before dawn August 12.
Astronomy By Richard Talcott — Published: May 27, 2013

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.

Join the National School Boards Action Center Friends of Public Education
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 www.psba.org. 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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