Monday, July 8, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for July 8, 2013: 82% of prisoners do not have a HS diploma. It costs approx. $22,600/yr to house an inmate. Approx. $9,644/yr to educate a student.

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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82% of prisoners do not have a HS diploma.  It costs approx. $22,600/yr to house an inmate.  Approx. $9,644/yr to educate a student.

Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for July 8, 2013:
82% of prisoners do not have a HS diploma.  It costs approx. $22,600/yr to house an inmate.  Approx. $9,644/yr to educate a student.

Did you catch our holiday weekend postings?
Keystone State Education Coalition Saturday, July 6, 2013
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for July 6, 2013: Commonwealth's education budget reflects politics, not student needs
Madonna and Young’s “A House Divided” – covering the deep polarization that now exists within the PA Legislature
Mike Churchill @ PILCOP reflects on the recent budget

“To summarize, the governor pretended to help us and we pretended to be grateful.  Now, it is time to move on to the reality portion of the proceedings.”
“Even if teachers took a 10 percent cut in pay and agreed to pay 20 percent towards their health benefits, it would not raise enough money to fill the gap.”
Philly School funding package is not enough to avert layoffs
AXIS Philly by Tom Ferrick, Jul. 5, 2013
When I was a kid, my sisters went through a period where they liked to stage tea parties.  They would lay out toy cups and plates and insist I join them for some nice tea and cake.   Only there was no tea and there was no cake.  Just empty plates.
Call it a failure of imagination, but I never saw the point of it and I was not the perfect guest.
In life, though, we do not always have the option of saying “This is stupid” and walking away.
Which explains the strangled statements of thanks from city and school district officials for the “financial aid package” offered by Harrisburg last week.  The quotes are intentional.

DN Editorial: SO, IT'S PLAN B: That's more city money for schools, and Mayor Nutter pushing for it
Philly Daily News Editorial POSTED: Monday, July 8, 2013, 3:01 AM
AS ECONOMIST and diplomat John Kenneth Galbraith wrote, politics is not always about the choice between good and bad, it sometimes involves "choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable." When it comes to the fate of the city's public schools, this is one of those times. Despite months of debate in Harrisburg, the situation of the Philadelphia School District remains perilous. City and district leaders had hoped to get additional aid from Gov. Corbett. That aid did not materialize, not in any serious way.

“Enabling all kids to get a decent education is the job of all of us. If you don't understand that, something is wrong with your moral wiring.”
Harrisburg on Philly schools — smoke, mirrors and a sorry replay
WHYY Newsworks By Chris Satullo, @ChrisSatullo July 7, 2013
Let them eat smoke. Let them frolic before mirrors.
That's the message Harrisburg sent the schoolchildren of Philadelphia last week.
Now, I am glad that Gov. Tom Corbett bestirred himself to do something to help the Philadelphia school system inch back from the abyss. But the $140 million number he put on the deal he brokered was a purely political tally, full of double-counted funds and maybes treated as facts. It would have left an accountant scratching his head.
Even after being inflated by fol-de-rol, the number remained far short of what was needed to avoid dire cutbacks. You don't have to be a union official to get this point: Laying off teachers is never, ever a good thing. (For one thing, layoffs are as likely to target the really fine teachers as the sour time-servers whom maybe you could do without.)

Pa. budget would help Phila. schools Opinion by David L. Cohen, Jill Michael and Rob Wonderling POSTED: Sunday, July 7, 2013, 1:09 AM
David L. Cohen is executive vice president of Comcast Corp. Jill Michael is the president and CEO of United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Rob Wonderling is president and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.
The future of our city and region depend upon high-quality schools that prepare every student for success in the workplace or college. Ensuring our schools receive the funds they need is the concern of every parent, administrator, teacher, and employer in Philadelphia. Last week, Pennsylvania passed a budget that includes a financial plan for the School District of Philadelphia. It would provide $140 million in additional government funds this year, and $150 million next year. Together with $133 million in projected savings from a new collective bargaining agreement to be negotiated with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT), this package would generate almost $275 million in new revenue and savings for the district, or more than 90 percent of the need projected by Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. and the School Reform Commission (SRC).

Pa. budget process challenges local schools
Pottstown Mercury By Evan Brandt Posted: Sunday, 07/07/13 12:09 am
State law requires that school districts begin planning their budgets nearly six months before the end of their fiscal year.  That means business managers must formulate a budget without knowing what one-third to one-quarter of their revenues will be, whatever portion of their budget is comprised of state funding.
As far as that state-funding portion is concerned, the General Assembly waits until the last few days of the fiscal year before finally getting around to working on the budget.  Only then do business managers see what’s coming in terms of state funding. Rarely is it in time to shape significant decisions on a months-long budget process that ends mostly 30 days before final budget adoption.

PA Budget may be “Balanced” but the state is not paying its bills.  The check is not even in the mail……
Districts due state money for construction projects
Scranton Times-Tribune BY SARAH HOFIUS HALL (STAFF WRITER) Published: July 8, 2013
Area school districts are due about $2 million in construction reimbursements for projects that were completed as many as two years ago.  When payments may start is unknown.
Carbondale Area is already about $700,000 behind in reimbursement payouts for its $15 million high school renovation project.  "We're getting to mission critical," said David Cerra, business manager for Carbondale Area. "If we had known that, we wouldn't have done the project."
The 2013-14 state budget signed by Gov. Tom Corbett on June 30 includes $296.2 million for construction project reimbursements - the same amount as the 2012-13 budget. Which districts will receive their promised funding is not known. The Department of Education has no time frame for payouts, according to spokesman Tim Eller.

Top 5: PennLive takes a look at taxes, spending, cuts in midstate school districts
By Nick Malawskey | 
on July 07, 2013 at 5:45 AM, updated July 08, 2013 at 12:38 AM
As the state's budget season rolls to a close, so too has the budget season for Pennsylvania's public school districts.  It's been several years since school districts have had breathing room in their budgetary process. Most continue to implement personnel cuts by attrition as they grapple with ever rising costs in health insurance and pensions.

Scranton graduation project requirements changing
Scranton Times-Tribune BY SARAH HOFIUS HALL (STAFF WRITER) Published: July 7, 2013
The requirements to become a Scranton School District graduate are changing.
With a goal of better preparing students to be ready for college or careers, students will no longer need to complete a community service or research-based project. Instead, students will prepare college or job applications and go through a mock-interview process for their graduation project.
"It gives students more real-life skills," said Christopher Mazzino, supervisor of curriculum and instruction.

Pennsylvania has a related issue.  Governor Corbett’s largest individual campaign donor, Vahan Gureghian, whose management company runs the state’s largest brick and mortar charter school has been fighting a right-to-know request in the courts for several years.  In the meantime, he was able to purchase two beachfront lots in Palm Beach Florida for $29 million and is building a very large home there.  Are our tax dollars, intended for the classrooms of Chester Upland, funding that project?
Last year he pushed for a change that would have exempted management companies like his from the state’s right-to-know laws.
“A key question raised by the lawsuit — how much must a private company reveal about its spending of public money — remains unresolved.” 
White Hat Management's Ohio charter schools in the midst of upheaval
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- David Brennan’s White Hat Management has been the most powerful and influential of Ohio’s charter school operators since state money started flowing to the privately run public schools 15 years ago.  In the last school year alone, the 31 schools it operates in Ohio used more than $67 million from taxpayers to educate more than 9,000 children.
But in May 2010, the Akron-based company founded by Brennan — an industrialist and major Republican contributor — was challenged in court by 10 of the school boards it had assembled in Cleveland and Akron. The case has dragged on since then and is now before the Ohio Supreme Court, despite rulings that White Hat must give the boards the financial information they seek.

“The Oregon School Boards Association, which manages liability coverage for all but a handful of the state’s school districts, recently announced a new pricing structure that would make districts pay an extra $2,500 annual premium for every staff member carrying a weapon on the job.”
Schools Seeking to Arm Employees Hit Hurdle on Insurance
By STEVEN YACCINO Published: July 7, 2013 137 Comments
As more schools consider arming their employees, some districts are encountering a daunting economic hurdle: insurance carriers threatening to raise their premiums or revoke coverage entirely.  During legislative sessions this year, seven states enacted laws permitting teachers or administrators to carry guns in schools. Three of the measures — in Kansas, South Dakota and Tennessee — took effect last week.
But already, EMC Insurance Companies, the liability insurance provider for about 90 percent of Kansas school districts, has sent aletter to its agents saying that schools permitting employees to carry concealed handguns would be declined coverage.  “We are making this underwriting decision simply to protect the financial security of our company,” the letter said.

“The teaching of the humanities has fallen on hard times. So says a new report on the state of the humanities by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and so says the experience of nearly everyone who teaches at a college or university.”
The Decline and Fall of the English Major | New York Times
Network for Public Education News Briefs 7 Jul 2013  by Verlyn Klinkenborg –
In the past few years, I’ve taught nonfiction writing to undergraduates and graduate students at Harvard, Yale, Bard, Pomona, Sarah Lawrence and Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. Each semester I hope, and fear, that I will have nothing to teach my students because they already know how to write. And each semester I discover, again, that they don’t.
They can assemble strings of jargon and generate clots of ventriloquistic syntax. They can meta-metastasize any thematic or ideological notion they happen upon. And they get good grades for doing just that. But as for writing clearly, simply, with attention and openness to their own thoughts and emotions and the world around them — no.
That kind of writing — clear, direct, humane — and the reading on which it is based are the very root of the humanities, a set of disciplines that is ultimately an attempt to examine and comprehend the cultural, social and historical activity of our species through the medium of language.

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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