Established in 2006, the Keystone State Education Coalition is a growing grass roots, non-partisan public education advocacy group of several hundred locally elected, volunteer school board members and administrators from school districts throughout Pennsylvania. Our mission is to evaluate, discuss and inform our boards, district constituents and legislators on legislative issues of common interest and to facilitate active engagement in public education advocacy.
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for August 17, 2013: New PA budget adds $1,000 per prisoner/parolee compared to $10 per public school student, 100 times less for students
Daily postings from the Keystone State Education
Coalition now reach more than 3000 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
Philadelphia’s scramble this week to find the $50 million in emergency aid
Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. says is needed to open schools as scheduled
exposed deep rifts about how to fix the district’s chronic fiscal problems.
On the hot seat, both
short and long term: a district that’s laid off thousands of teachers and
support staff; a city that’s weighing how to meet its pension obligations amid
the school funding crisis; teachers and principals whose contracts expire at
the end of this month; and a state that’s been criticized over an aid formula
that experts say is among the most inequitable in the country.
Residents of Philadelphia are counting
down the days until the city’s public schools open. We are faced with
insufficient funds and abundant worry about the School
District’s ability to open safe and functioning schools. In
the face of a massive budget crisis, the District has slashed numerous
positions, programs, and resources. These reductions raise serious concerns.
“You allow this opening of schools in order to
provide pathetic cover for a governor who has not only failed to do his duty
but has manufactured and exploited a crisis for political gain. You normalize poverty, deprivation and
inequity in his name.”
Helen Gym: SRC statement: Going to war on your own soldiers
These remarks were
made at the Aug. 15 SRC special meeting which stripped seniority from the
teachers’ contract. This means that the District has the right to arbitrarily
determine which staff to return to schools based on “need.” The SRC voted
unanimously to do so.
Last week when you
Superintendent Hite issued your ultimatum, parents across the city sprang into
action on your behalf. Within 24 hours we were down at City Hall meeting with
the Mayor’s office staff and City Council members. Parents wrote letters to the
editor, made phone calls, contacted the media about our stories ,and turned out
for press conferences for support. We stayed up late, emailing into the night,
and met and planned – all on behalf of you because , foolishly, we somehow
Of all the things
which have run through my head in the past week, the saddest one perhaps is the
sinking in that all of last week – the plea from you, Superintendent Hite, the
threat not to open schools which sent parents and families across the city into
a panic, the dueling press conferences – all of it was nothing but political
theater to justify this.
This was never, never
about educating our children.
AP PA State Wire by
Published: 31 minutes ago
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - After a tense week of wondering whether the city's financially
struggling public schools would be able to open on time next month, the
district finally has an answer: Yes.
With the city's
promise Thursday of $50 million in emergency funds, education officials began
hiring back about 1,000 pink-slipped employees, from assistant principals to
But what will the
schools look like? Many parents say the cash infusion is barely a bandage on a
district hemorrhaging red ink, and that the buildings will simply be shells -
without sufficient resources or staffing to offer students a safe and adequate
learning environment. About 2,500 workers remain laid off.
speaking, you and your foundation have come under significant fire for giving
so much money to overtly steer K-12 education in what some see as a
controversial direction. What makes you confident that you are helping steer
the country's educational system in the right direction? Per @lfeinberg and @jashsf, why not instead devote the bulk
of your energy and resources toward greater investment in early-childhood
education—where some see pretty clear evidence that those investments produce
tangible results over a child's lifetime—or toward leveling the wildly uneven
playing field between wealthy and poor districts in this country?”
Q&A: Bill Gates on Teaching, Ed Tech, and Philanthropy
Education Week Digital
Education By Benjamin Herold on August 16, 2013
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates recently dipped into the coffers of bgc3—his
personal office, think tank, and incubation engine—to make a
multimillion-dollar investment in Graphite,
a new venture from the San Francisco-based nonprofit Common Sense Media that aims
to provide teachers with easy-to-search, Consumer Reports-style
peer reviews of ed-tech products. In conjunction with Graphite's launch, Gates
offered to respond via email to some questions from Education Week and
our Twitter followers.
Low-income schools struggle under state’s grading system
Miami Herald BY MICHAEL VASQUEZ AND DAVID SMILEY 08/10/13
With dozens of changes
in just the past three years, the formula behind Florida’s A-to-F school grading system has
been criticized as a confusing mess. But there’s been at least one constant in
Miami-Dade and Broward results: The wealthiest schools never get Fs, and
schools with high populations of poor students face an uphill battle to even
get a C.
The trend is visible
through a decade-plus of school grade results, dating back to the first grades
issued in 1999.
Gov. Tom Corbett (R) remains the most vulnerable incumbent in the country”
The Fix’s top 15 gubernatorial races
Washington Post By Sean Sullivan and Aaron Blake, Published: August 16 at
playing lots of defense this cycle, with four of the top five seats likeliest
to flip belonging to the GOP. Overall, the GOP has to defend 24 seats to just
14 for Democrats.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom
Corbett (R) remains the most vulnerable incumbent in the country. Maine Gov.
Paul LePage (R) moves up to the No. 2 spot, meanwhile, as Republicans’ best
pickup opportunity is still in Arkansas.…
Education Committee Public hearing on Keystone Exams
Monday, August 26, 2013,
105 W. Walker Rd.Wayne,
Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee Public
hearing on Common Core
Thursday, August 29, 2013,
Room 1, North Office Bldg.
Save the Date: Diane Ravitch will be
speaking in Philly at the Main Branch of the Philadelphia Free Library onSeptember 17 at ..
Diane Ravitch |Reign
of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's
Public Schools When:Tuesday,
2013 at Where:Central Library Cost: $15 General Admission, $7 Students Ticket and
Subscription Packages Tickets on sale here at 10:00 a.m. on August 23, 2013
Yinzers - Save the Date: Diane
Ravitch will be speaking in Pittsburgh on September 16that at TempleSinai
in Squirrel Hill.
The lecture is
being hosted by Great Public Schools (GPS) Pittsburgh, which is a new coalition
of community, faith, and labor organizations consisting of Action United, One
Pittsburgh, PA Interfaith Impact Network, Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers,
SEIU, and Yinzercation. Co-sponsors for
the event include the University of Pittsburgh School of Education, the PA State
Education Association, TempleSinai, and FirstUnitarianChurch
Social Justice Endowment. More details
Join the NationalSchoolBoardsActionCenterFriends of Public Education
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
day-long Symposium will be held on Thursday, September 12th and will explore
the debate over privatizing government services such as healthcare, land
management and education. The Symposium
on Equality annually convenes thought leaders and outstanding advocates
to engage in meaningful discussion and exploration of the day’s most
pressing civil rights and social issues. This year’s event will foster
conversation, collaboration and exploration of the debate over privatizing
government services such as healthcare, land management and education.
PILCOP Know Your Child’s Rights! 2013-2014 Special
of PhiladelphiaJuly 9, 2013
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 LawCenter staff attorney and a guest
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
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
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
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:
Electing PSBA Officers:
2014 PSBA Slate of Candidates
Details on each candidate, including
bios, statements, photos and video are online now
PSBA Website Posted 8/5/2013
The 2014 PSBA Slate of Candidates is being officially published to the
members of the association. Details on each candidate, including bios, statements,
photos and video are online at http://www.psba.org/elections/.
PASA-PSBASchool 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.
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.
The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, State College, PA
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.
Keynote Speakers: Charlotte Danielson, Dr. Todd Whitaker, Will Richardson &
David Andrews, Esq. (Legal Update).
Pennsylvania charter schools going directly to Corbett for $150
million funding increase
Charter schools asking Corbett
administration to change funding formula in their favor.
By Steve Esack, Call Harrisburg Bureau 10:59
p.m. EDT, August 14, 2013
HARRISBURG — For years, local school district
officials have tried to get state lawmakers to pass laws reducing the amount of
tax dollars paid to charter schools.
schools — which since 1997 have evolved from independent, isolated institutions
into a united, powerful political force — are fighting back. They have launched
a coordinated effort to gain up to $150 million annually in additional funding
from local school districts in the LehighValley and across the
state. In hopes of doing it, charter
schools are bypassing the House, Senate and state Board of Education and going
right to Gov. Tom Corbett's administration in a bid to change the
funding formula in their favor.
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.