Saturday, July 6, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for July 6, 2013: Commonwealth's education budget reflects politics, not student needs

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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for July 6, 2013:
Commonwealth's education budget reflects politics, not student needs

Commonwealth's education budget reflects politics, not student needs
 thenotebook by Michael Churchill on Jul 05 2013 Posted in Commentary
Michael Churchill is an attorney at the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia
Pennsylvania’s state constitution charges the General Assembly with providing the state with a “thorough and efficient system” of public education “to serve the needs of the Commonwealth.” Harrisburg’s budget concoction, slapped together at the last minute, speaks more to politics than to serving the needs of the Commonwealth’s 1.75 million students who are dependent upon adequate state funding. It is a prescription for personal tragedies and a declining state economy. Unless you are a person with a stake in promoting failing schools, it is a terrible budget.

Politically Uncorrected: A House Divided
PoliticsPA Written by G. Terry Madonna & Michael L. Young Friday, July 5th, 2013
Most attention in the bruising battle to adopt the recently enacted Pennsylvania budget focused on whether the state budget passed on time. It did.
But a story far more important than budget passage itself was largely missed in covering the late night, last- minute theatrics now de rigueur with state budgets. That story poignantly revealed to those watching the deep polarization that now exists within the Pennsylvania legislature.

‘The private donors who revived the Governor's School for the Sciences deserve to be applauded. Now, if only state officials would show similar enlightenment and bring the other schools back.
Summer scholars: A Governor's School is back, via private donors
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Editorial July 5, 2013 12:02 am
In 2009 when Gov. Ed Rendell defunded the Governor's Schools of Excellence, the residential summer program for high school students, it was more than a $3.2 million budget cut. It was an incalculable loss to the educations of the state's top academic achievers.
The Governor's Schools were scattered about the state at colleges and universities including Carnegie Mellon, Pitt, Penn State and Drexel. Each offered a program in a specific field: the arts; agricultural science; global entrepreneurship; information, society and technology; health care; international studies; sciences and teaching. Some of the schools dated back to the 1970s.

“Saucon Valley, which will receive about $62,000 more in basic education funding than last year, is worried about keeping up with the costs of cyber charter schools, which took about $363,476 from the district last school year.  While the district's own cyber program costs about $4,500 per student, Saucon has to pay $11,652 for every regular education student and $20,957 for every special education student who leaves for a cyber charter. Superintendent Sandra Fellin had hoped the state would set a flat rate for the cost of cyber education.
"This would have been a shift in money that would have benefited districts tremendously, keeping their tax dollars local and making cyber school accountable to actual costs rather than inflated profits," Fellin said.”
Allentown only school district in Valley to get windfall in state budget
District to receive $9.6M more than expected; others in Valley won't see much change.
By Adam Clark, Of The Morning Call 11:45 p.m. EDT, July 4, 2013
Allentown School District emerged from the final state budget with $9.6 million more than it expected in its pocket and a difficult decision on its hands.
School officials have to decide how to divvy that money by either restoring some of 127 slashed teaching positions, lowering an 8.2 percent property tax hike or trimming the $10 million contribution from savings needed to balance the district's 2013-14 budget.

Central Bucks OKs severance for superintendent
Ben Finley, Inquirer Staff Writer LAST UPDATED: Thursday, July 4, 2013, 1:08 AM POSTED: Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 9:57 PM The Central Bucks School District parted ways with its superintendent Wednesday, giving him the kind of costly severance package that will soon disappear in Pennsylvania. Rodney Green ran the district for nine months of his four-year contract at an annual salary of $225,000. He will get $365,000 and one year of health insurance for leaving. Green's contract was signed in July 2012, just months before a state law took effect that caps superintendent severance packages.

Letter: Enjoy summer vacation, Dr. Hite. Philadelphia teachers can't.
WHYY Newsworks By Helene Gold July 5, 2013
The following is a work of opinion submitted by the author.
ATTN: Dr. Hite, members of the SRC, city and state elected officials, and members of the community
I am a School District of Philadelphia TEACHER. I am a surrogate mom, a nurse, a psychologist, a disciplinarian, a counselor, a problem solver. I am a supplier of notebooks, crayons, glue, folders, scissors, pencils, copy paper, tissues, wipes, hand sanitizer — for without me, some would not be prepared for school.

Is U.S. Secretary Duncan's Common Core Defense Falling Apart?
Education Week By Peter DeWitt on July 5, 2013 6:27 AM
In Arne Duncan Mounts Strongest Defense Yet of Common Core Standards(Education Week) Michele McNeil highlighted a recent speech that Secretary Duncan gave to the American Society of News Editors in Washington D.C. In the speech, Secretary Duncan called out opponents to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and focused on some of the outliers who are saying, "That the standards and tests will lead to mind control, robots, and biometric brain mapping." He called them, "Just wacky."

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

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