Thursday, July 4, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for July 4, 2013: Have a safe and happy 4th!

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 2250 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 4, 2013:
Have a safe and happy 4th!

Five things everybody should know about July 4th
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss, Published: July 4, 2013 at 1:45 am
These are five things you and everybody else should know about July 4th.
I posted these a few years ago, but I like them so much I’m doing it again. Here they are, adapted from George Mason University’s History News Network:

Summary of Pennsylvania School Code Changes
PA Budget and Policy Center July 2, 2013
The Pennsylvania Legislature has approved a School Code bill (House Bill 1141, PN 2200). The bill determines the 2013-14 formulas for distributing the basic education subsidy, community college subsidy and intermediate unit funding to local governments, and sets other requirements on entities under the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). 
The School Code establishes a new basic education funding “formula” with a base distribution, and 12 new supplemental criteria targeted to very specific school districts based on aid ratio, enrollment or other unique factors. 

Delaware loophole’ in Pennsylvania tax law appears doomed
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review By Thomas Olson Tuesday, July 2, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
State lawmakers moved closer to eliminating the so-called “Delaware loophole” that allows some businesses to skirt their share of state taxes.
The Delaware loophole refers to the legal but questionable deductions multistate companies operating in Pennsylvania take to avoid paying state corporate income taxes.
 “Corbett then argued that the federal government is providing less than half the amount for school special educational costs that it had pledged years ago and that if it had kept that pledge, Pennsylvania would be in a better position to aid Philadelphia schools now.”
Education Secretary Arne Duncan tells Pa. lawmakers to help Philadelphia schools avert crisis (and Gov. Corbett responds)
By KATHY MATHESON and MARC LEVY  Associated Press July 03, 2013 - 1:40 pm EDT
PHILADELPHIA — Education Secretary Arne Duncan is urging Pennsylvania lawmakers to help the cash-strapped Philadelphia school district avert an "educational crisis," although Gov. Tom Corbett said Wednesday he had believed Duncan was satisfied with the state's proposed rescue effort.  In addition, Corbett, a Republican, pressured teachers' unions to accept contract concessions. He also said that if the federal government had kept its funding promises for special education, the state would be able to offer more help to Philadelphia schools.

Call it “Race To the Top” if you like, IMHO, the concerns voiced by Secretary Duncan are a direct result of his own “March to the Sea” policies for public education.  See Mike Klonsky’s posting below……
"I'm concerned about a lack of commitment, a lack of investment in public education," Duncan said. "We're looking at the kinds of massive cuts and a loss to basic curricular offerings. … It's bad for kids, it's bad for education, it's bad for the city, it's bad for the state, it's ultimately bad for our country. When you see all counselors, social workers, assistant principals, drama, art, music -- everything being eliminated, what's left? What's left is not something that folks can feel proud of or good about."
Arne Duncan Bemoans Philadelphia School Layoffs, Student Loan Rate Hike
Huffington Post by Posted: 07/03/2013 7:45 am EDT
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan deplored Philadelphia's decision to fire thousands of school staff members this week as "ultimately bad for our country."
Duncan, in a wide-ranging interview in his office Tuesday, said he has personally been in contact with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbin's (R) chief of staff, Philadelphia Schools Superintendent William Hite, and the local teachers union leader. Philadelphia failed to close its $304 million schools budget shortfall and imposed massive cuts, including this week's layoffs of school employees and an earlier decision closing more than 20 schools.
"I'm really really worried about the education that children in Philly are going to receive this upcoming school year," Duncan said.

“No, there's no excuse, except for the fact that Philly, for the past five years, was simply following the reform plan specifically laid out in Duncan's own Race To The Top, which mandates school closings, mass teacher firings, and replacing public schools with privately-run charters as a precondition for receiving badly-needed federal education funds. The worst (and final?) part of the collapse of urban public education (not just in Philly) has occurred on Secretary Duncan's watch.”
Duncan duplicity
Mike Klonsky’s SmallTalk Blog Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Some mornings, upon doing my regular media scan, I can only sit here at my desk and shake my head in disbelief. This was one of those mornings.

$45 million piece of school budget puzzle stalls
Martha Woodall, Bob Warner, and Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Staff Writers LAST UPDATED: Thursday, July 4, 2013, 1:08 AM POSTED: Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 9:14 PM
The biggest chunk of funding in the proposed $140 million rescue package for Philadelphia public education has stalled in Harrisburg, raising alarms about state aid for city schools and the prospects for rehiring nearly 4,000 laid-off employees. The $45 million grant for schools, regarded as the most solid piece of Gov. Corbett's proposal to aid Philadelphia schools, was in the fiscal code that failed to clear the legislature Wednesday as the House and Senate fought over an unrelated proposal to allow payday lending.

Corbett's rescue plan sets the stage for attack on teachers' union
The notebook by Ron Whitehorne on Jul 03 2013 Posted in Commentary
The Corbett rescue plan for Philadelphia's schools, forged by the likes of Comcast vice president David Cohen, Philadelphia School Partnership's Mark Gleason, and the Chamber of Commerce, sets the stage for a full-court press to wring concessions from the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. The corporate education reformers will press their case for concessions and for implementing a business model of school management without the impediments of a union contract. The mantra will be: City Hall and Harrisburg stepped up; now it's time for the teachers' union to do its part.

Waiting for Corbot ... A play in one act: Wednesday Morning Coffee
By John L. Micek |  Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on July 03, 2013 at 7:44 AM, updated July 03, 2013 at 8:29 AM
 (Scene: It's a gray and rainy morning, the day before the Fourth of July and Gov. Tom Corbett, his chief of staff Steve Aichele and the first dogs, Penny and Harry, are sitting on the banks of the Susquehanna River near the Governor's Mansion on Second StreetDevoured bags of Cheetos and crushed bottles of Turkey Hill iced tea litter the ground around them. The sun slowly rises. A dejected Corbett, in aPittsburgh Steelers t-shirt and bermudas turns to Aichele, who is inexplicably wearing a pair of overalls, and speaks) 

Criticism pours down as Corbett's agenda stalls

Hanover Evening Sun AP By MARC LEVY Associated Press Posted: 07/02/2013
HARRISBURG, Pa.—For months, insiders had been wagering on whether Gov. Tom Corbett could ram a very aggressive spring agenda through the Legislature in less than six months.
Few bet he would get everything, even from a Legislature run by fellow Republicans. Many seemed to believe he would get some things, but not others.
So when it all fell apart in a stunning pileup of personalities, politics and ideology, lawmakers were ready with a long list of mistakes the Corbett administration made in trying to shepherd its agenda through an often parochial Legislature.

Committee of Seventy: Council, Mayor need new school funding plan by Jan Ransom  POSTED: Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 12:38 PM
Good government group Committee of Seventy is calling on City Council and Mayor Nutter to return to the drawing board this summer to come up with guaranteed funding streams to help the struggling school district. "City government has a choice: sit tight and wait for the state to act on the cigarette tax, which it may not ever do, or step up and ensure funds for the schools right now," said Committee of Seventy president Zack Stalberg. "Every day that goes by without resolving this nightmare is one more day of chaos and uncertainty about the state of the schools when they open on September 9."

Pa. finds $$$ for lots of things, just not Philly schools
John Baer, Daily News Political Columnist POSTED: Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 3:01 AM
IF YOU DON'T fully get why Gov. Corbett and the Legislature found only $15 million in new funds for Philly's fiscally failing schools, allow me to explain. See, the state has no more money for Philly schools. Oh, it has more money than expected. Revenue reports released Monday show it has $57 million more than estimated. And it has more money for itself.

Penn to extend its programming at Henry C. Lea School
The West Philadelphia elementary will receive more attention, though not more funding, in the fall
The Daily Pennsylvanian By WILL MARBLE · July 2, 2013, 11:43 pm
As many Philadelphia schools are set to open with only bare-bones resources in the fall, Penn is stepping up its involvement in one neighborhood elementary school.  The Henry C. Lea School, located at 47th and Locust streets, will receive increased resources from the University as part of an extended partnership.  “The University has decided to expand this investment and to make this a sustainable investment as well,” said Graduate School of Education professor Caroline Watts, who was recently appointed director of the Lea School University Partnership. She will be responsible for coordinating programs, such as teacher seminars and student tutoring projects, between Lea and Penn.

Who needs teachers anyway?  How do you spell “Content Delivery Associate”?
“Remember the days when teachers wrote their own tests, knowing what their students had been taught? Remember when teachers were trusted as professionals? Now, we put our faith in big corporations and their computers. Better to put our faith in well-prepared professionals.  Well written, but not likely to happen unless something happens soon. With the advent of Common Core Standards, we are completing the process of selling our children's future while pouring billions of dollars into the testing and technology companies that are driving education in the United States.”
The Common Core Nightmare That Awaits Us
Huffington Post by Randy Turner Posted: 07/02/2013 5:15 pm
Common Core Standards are here to stay, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and school administrators have been telling us, but what they have not been telling us is that these nationwide standards are opening the door to more and more standardized testing.
And with standardized testing comes companies that make profits not only with tests, but with materials to prepare for those tests, and with ready-made curriculum based on those tests, just like we saw with all of the school districts in Missouri, including Joplin, that fell hook, line, and sinker for McGraw-Hill's Acuity tests, which were allegedly designed to prepare students for the Missouri standardized tests, which were also made by McGraw-Hill.
It never worked in Joplin, where test scores have decreased ever since administrators bought the Acuity package.
Common Core Standards will be the same thing on steroids.

All About the Benjamins
Edushyster Blog Posted on July 3, 2013
A retired hedge fund billionaire says that it’s time for teachers to stop living so large
Let’s face it, reader. Most teachers go into the teaching biz for one reason and one reason only: the money. And the only reason they continue to show up, day after day, year after year, is to collect the golden parachutes, otherwise known as pensions, that will make their golden years literally golden. But is there anyone brave enough to look these fat cats in the eye? Meet billionaire and 38-year-old retiree John Arnold who is on a quest to rescue the nation from large-living teachers and at last put students first. 

NSBA pleased with Obama administration’s decision to delay Affordable Care Act employer mandate
NSBA School Board News Today by Alexis Rice July 3rd, 2013
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) today applauded the federal government’s decision to delay the implementation of IRS rules for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) until January 2015, based upon the “complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively.”

Intrepid tourists retrace Confederates’ final steps in Battle of Gettysburg
TribLive By Mike Wereschagin Published: Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
GETTYSBURG -- Marty Bryant took his place near the left flank of Gen. Lewis Armistead's brigade, his tall, lean form not far from where Asa Jones, a relative, stood exactly 150 years earlier.  On the steamy ground around Bryant gathered a great mass of tourists and reenactors, students and teachers, jubilant shouters and quiet contemplators, the young and curious, and the old and courageous. Many, like Bryant, wanted to see what their ancestors had seen a century-and-a-half earlier during Pickett's Charge, the final conflict of the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1-3, 1863, and the last time the South invaded the North.
More than 12,000 Confederates charged across nearly a mile of undulating, open field on July 3, 1863, led by Gen. George Pickett into a hail of fire from the Union line entrenched on the high ground of Cemetery Ridge. More than half were wounded, killed or captured, bringing the three-day battle's total to 51,000 casualties.

Support Early Learning: Join the July 8 Virtual Rally4Babies
Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children Blog Posted At : July 2, 2013 10:52 AM
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

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
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.

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

Lawrence A. Feinberg
Keystone State Education Coalition
Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg

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