Thursday, August 22, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for August 22, 2013: Radnor School District will fight Keystone Exams

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, the acting PA Secretary of Education, 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?


Where’s the funding?
Here’s $520.5 million in Pennsylvania school funding budget lines that existed pre-ARRA/stimulus (FY 2008-2009) that no longer exist:
High School Reform                            $  10.7 million eliminated
Accountability Block Grant                  $171.4 million reduction
Tutoring                                               $  65.1 million eliminated
Dual Enrollment                                   $  10.0 million eliminated
Science: It’s Elementary                      $  13.6 million eliminated
School Improvement Grants                $  22.8 million eliminated
Charter School Reimbursement          $226.9 million eliminated
Key Education Subsidies Chart FY2006-07 thru 2012-13
Senator Hughes’ website

Additionally,  $1.5 Billion in funding is now diverted from community based public schools that are required to educate all children:
·                     $946 million on bricks & mortar charter schools, 71% of which did not make AYP
·                     $366 million on cyber-charters, none of which met AYP
·                     $200 million diverted by EITC program to support unaccountable
            private and religious schools.



Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for August 22, 2013:
Radnor School District will fight Keystone Exams

Secretary Zogby – I will gladly pay your expenses for you to come spend a day with this gentleman while you are holding up $45 million in funding for Philly’s students.
Larry Feinberg…….
How will budget proposals help Philly schools and students?
Philly.com Opinion by JEFF ROSENBERG POSTED: Thursday, August 22, 2013, 3:01 AM  
FULL DISCLOSURE is in order: I am a Philadelphia public-school teacher with a skewed agenda that advocates for students, and I am a member of that notorious union that has yet to step up with concessions to support our own demise. Most of the prevailing reform initiatives put forth by the district have meager educational value. They are more or less a pretext for "charterizing" into a feudal corporate model at the very high cost of further degrading the Philadelphia School District. There is another, often neglected, but more worthy conversation worth having.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20130822_How_will_budget_proposals_help_schools_and_students_.html#FBqufA5wK4w1A4Sj.99

Radnor School District will fight Keystone Exams
By Linda Stein lstein@mainlinemedianews.com Published: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
The Radnor Township School Board voted unanimously Tuesday to send a strong message opposing the new state-mandated Keystone Exams to the Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee.   That committee will meet Monday, Aug. 26 at Valley Forge Middle School in Wayne at the request of Sen. Andrew Dinniman, D-19th district, minority chairman. School board member Charles Madden will speak for the Radnor board. Tredyffrin-Easttown, Haverford, Garnet Valley and Lewisburg Area school districts will also be represented.
In 2009, the board had passed a resolution opposing the Keystone Exams, which under current law will become a graduation requirement for students in the Class of 2017 who are now incoming high school freshmen.

Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee Public hearing on Keystone Exams
Monday, August 26, 2013, 9:30 AM, Tredyffrin-Easttown School District
105 W. Walker Rd. Wayne, PA

Acting PA Education Secretary to speak at Lancaster Lebanon IU 13 on Sept. 10
Penn Manor SD website by Brian Wallace August 16, 2013
William Harner, the acting Pennsylvania Secretary of Education, will speak Tuesday, Sept. 10, at Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13, 1020 New Holland Ave. The address is scheduled from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. School administrators, board members, teachers’ union representatives, PTO/PTA officers and others interested in education issues are urged to attend. Registration is requested by Sept. 6 at : https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Secretary_Harner

Record number of men participated in Pittsburgh Public Schools' Take a Father to School Day
By Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette August 21, 2013 9:56 pm
At the Pittsburgh Public Schools board meeting tonight, board member Mark Brentley Sr. announced that 6,314 men participated in the 15th annual Take a Father to School Day on May 17, the highest number yet.  The tally showed that the biggest participation was in K-5 schools with 2,941 men, followed by K-8 schools with 2,263 men. The smallest was in high schools, with 23 men. The school with the highest number was Pittsburgh Brookline PreK-8 with 403 men.

 2:30 p.m. EDT, August 20, 2013
HARRISBURG — Federal laws and regulations could save Pennsylvania school districts from having to turn over as much as $150 million that charter schools say they are owed.
Charter schools have filed 231 requests to Gov. Tom Corbett's administration, seeking to change the charter school funding formula to give them a share of the federal money school districts receive.  Charter schools want school districts to be mandated to include federal dollars in the per-pupil tuition payments they send to charter schools.

Allentown was one of 21 districts that received additional funding in the state budget.  What “funding formula” was used to distribute the additional dollars?
According to the Philadelphia Public School Notebook and WHYY/NewsWorks, 33 of the 37 lawmakers who represent the 21 districts that received extra funds are legislative leaders, committee chairs, vice chairs or secretaries.
They include Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson; Sen. Pat Browne, R-Lehigh, majority whip; Sen. Michael Waugh, R-York, caucus chair; Sen. Jake Corman, R-Centre, appropriations chair; and Sen. Anthony Williams, D-Philadelphia, minority whip.
Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/874030_Legislators-give--30-3M-to-21-school-districts-behind-closed-doors.html#ixzz2cgxQoKS5
71 laid-off Allentown School District teachers to get jobs back
By Colin McEvoy | The Express-Times  on August 21, 2013 at 4:30 PM, updated August 21, 2013 at 6:51 PM
Seventy-one Allentown teachers who were laid off last month will have their jobs back effective Thursday.  A total of 100 Allentown School Districtteachers were cut this summer after the school board approved a $243.5 million budget that eliminated 151 district positions, 127 of which belonged to teachers.  But a last-minute $8.2 million windfall of state aid allowed the board last month to restore 25 teaching positions and one administrator.

State education associations applaud Pa.'s No Child Left Behind waiver
By Julianne Mattera | jmattera@pennlive.com  on August 20, 2013 at 9:15 PM, updated August 20, 2013 at 9:45 PM
Adequate Yearly Progress is a thing of the past in Pennsylvania schools after the U.S. Department of Education on Tuesday approved the state’s No Child Left Behind waiver request.
Instead, a school performance profile will measure how schools are performing by looking at students’ achievement and growth through various indicators, according to information from the state Department of Education and Gov. Tom Corbett’s office.
Statewide education associations on Tuesday lauded the change as good news for school districts in the commonwealth.

“It is absurd that our state government is focusing so much time, energy and money ensuring that all children have an equal opportunity to be evaluated when it is clear that all children do not have an equal opportunity to learn,” she said. “Gov. Corbett and our state legislators need to get to work and create a funding formula that allocates taxpayer dollars in a fair, transparent, and accurate way so that all children in Pennsylvania receive equitable educational opportunities.”
Officials: No Child Left Behind waiver only a step in the right direction
Christen Croley Carlisle Sentinel Reporter August 21, 2013
State public school officials and advocates say eliminating benchmarks based solely on standardized testing is a step in the right direction, but not enough to boost student performance.
Susan Spicka, co-founder of the nonprofit public school advocacy group Education Matters in the Cumberland Valley, says student evaluation only proves fair when each child “receives the same opportunity to learn.”
“Because of Pennsylvania’s broken system for funding public schools, this fall many students will return to classes of more than 30 students in buildings without librarians, guidance counselors, teachers’ aides and/or assistant principals,” she said. “Other students will return to small classes in fully staffed buildings.”

Cyber charter school to open on Octorara's campus
Intelligencer Journal Lancaster New Era By DEBBIE WYGENT  Correspondent Aug 20, 2013
The Exton-based 21st Century Cyber Charter School will open its first satellite location on the Octorara Area School District campus on Aug. 26.
Octorara Superintendent Tom Newcome announced the pilot educational partnership on Monday. Newcome said 21st Century will provide about 100 classes to interested Octorara students, while giving Octorara teachers on-campus training in how to provide virtual education.
Newcome, who is also one of the regional superintendents serving as a member of the 21st Century board of directors, said the partnership is the result of "a long conversation" with Jon Marsh, CEO of 21st Century.

Pa. auditor slams Chester Community Charter School for improper $1.3M lease deal
Delco Times By PETER JACKSON, Associated Press Published: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale charged Wednesday that Pennsylvania's largest charter school - located in Chester - was improperly reimbursed $1.3 million for lease payments on its own buildings and called on the state Department of Education to clamp down on the practice.  Speaking to reporters on a teleconference, DePasquale said Chester Community Charter School should not have been reimbursed because the property was owned for most of the three years in question by Vahan Gureghian, a wealthy Gladwyne lawyer who heads the company that manages the school. A nonprofit took it over in 2010.

“Chester Community, which opened in 1998, enrolled 3,033 students in kindergarten through eighth grade in the last academic year, according to state education records. It received $47.7 million in taxpayer funds in the 2011-12 academic year.”
Audit alleges lease-reimbursement problems at Chester charter
Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer POSTED: Thursday, August 22, 2013, 1:08 AM Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said Wednesday that an audit of the Chester Community Charter School found that it had received more than $1.2 million in improper lease-reimbursement payments. Noting that his office had found similar problems at six other charter schools in March, DePasquale called on the state Department of Education to enforce its own policies regarding lease payments to charter schools.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20130822_Audit_finds_lease-reimbursement_problems_at_Chester_charter.html#IlbwRdO4CULth4k0.99

Auditor General DePasquale Says State’s Largest Brick-and-Mortar Charter School Must Address Significant Administrative Deficiencies
HARRISBURG (August 21, 2013) – Auditor General Eugene DePasquale today said an audit of the Chester Community Charter School in Delaware County shows that the school must address significant administrative deficiencies because students are not receiving the education they deserve. He noted that the school received nearly $1.3 million in improper state lease reimbursements from the Department of Education.
“What we found at Chester Community Charter School raises concerns on many levels,” DePasquale said. “In addition to improperly collecting a huge chunk of taxpayer funding for lease reimbursements, this well-funded charter school seems to disregard even basic school operational requirements. More importantly, the thousands of children who attend this school are being cheated out of a quality education as evidenced by the fact that the school is not meeting standards for academic progress.”

PA Auditor General's Report on Chester Community Charter School:

Background on Vahan Gureghian, whose Charter School Management Company runs Chester Community Charter School:

Philly - Countdown, Day 19: Facing the threat of split-grade classrooms
Notebook by Dale Mezzacappa on Aug 21 2013 Posted in Countdown to calamity?
A big way for school districts to save money is to hire fewer teachers. And one way to hire fewer teachers is to fill each classroom with the maximum number of students allowed under the teachers' contract and to use "split grades," in which students on two grade levels are mixed together.  For instance, if there are 44 1st graders and 44 2nd graders in a school, one can have two 1st grades and two 2nd grades, each with 22 students. But if the pressure is on to hire fewer teachers, one can have one 1st grade with 30 students (the contractual limit for K-3 classrooms), one 2nd grade with 30 students, and a split-grade classroom with 14 1st graders and 14 2nd graders. The split-grade classroom in this case saves the District the salary and benefits cost of one teacher -- more than $100,000.

Masterman principal to Philly School District: This isn't 'functional'
WHYY Newsworks By Kevin McCorry @bykevinmccorry August 21, 2013
Last week, Philadelphia School District superintendent William Hite received the $50 million assurance from the city that he demanded in order to open schools on time.
Hite said the assurance would bring district schools back to a "functional" level.
But as district principals learn exactly how that money will be allocated to rehire staff for their schools, some disagree with his assessment.
"I have one counselor for 1,200 students? That's not a functional level," said Marjorie Neff, principal at J.R. Masterman.
Neff said the district informed her Friday that the $50 million will allow Masterman to regain one counselor, one assistant principal, one more secretary, and $12,000 for building supplies. Neff says she typically spends that amount on supplies per month.

Wage freeze stalls Wyoming Area talks
Sept. 3 strike date looms as teachers, board make cases to public
Lackawanna Times-Leader by JOE HEALEY jhealey@psdispatch.com August 20. 2013 11:46PM
EXETER – A one-year wage freeze proposed by the Wyoming Area School District is a primary sticking point in contract negations with its teachers’ union.
If the two sides can’t come to an agreement, the teachers will strike on Sept. 3.
Both sides made their cases to the public at the joint work session/regular monthly meeting Tuesday night at the Wyoming Secondary Center.

2013 PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools
The PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools is an annual poll that allows educators and policy makers to track public opinion about one of this nation’s most important institutions: its public schools.

Poll: Most Americans sick of high-stakes standardized tests
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss, Published: August 21 at 12:46 pm
The results of a well-regarded annual poll show that most Americans don’t like the high-stakes standardized testing that dominates education reform today and have never heard of the Common Core standards, which are currently being implemented in most of the country.
One of the more interesting results is a reversal of the majority position on whether to evaluate teachers with student standardized test scores. In 2012, a majority supported the concept. In the 2013 poll, a majority reject it.

"The discussion around Common Core is so far removed from our reality," says Helen Gym, co-founder of Parents United for Public Education in Philadelphia.
New standards are the last thing parents want to talk about when a $304 million budget shortfall forces schools to lay off teachers and critical support staff, as is the case in Philadelphia.
"In the Philadelphia public schools, where they've stripped out almost everything, you can't have a conversation about the Common Core," Gym says. "It's almost laughable to talk about kids being college and career ready when 60 percent of high schools may not even have a guidance counselor."
Budget Cuts, Not Standards, Are Top Concern for Parents
US News and World Report By KELSEY SHEEHY August 21, 2013 RSS Feed Print
School funding is the primary concern of public school parents, according to new Gallup poll.
The Common Core State Standards are taking a beating. Several states are trying to backtrack on the curriculum guidelines and New York schools made headlines earlier this month when scores plummeted during the first round of testing tied to the standards.
Despite attention from media and lawmakers, 62 percent of Americans – and 55 percent of public school parents – have never heard of the Common Core standards, according to a Gallup poll released today. The standards aim to set a consistent benchmark across all states, and emphasize 21st century skills such as critical thinking, collaboration and problem solving.

“The PDK/Gallup poll, analysts say, shows that Americans on the whole are becoming skeptical about the connection between teachers and failing schools, suggesting instead that schools need more resources to succeed. Seventy percent of respondents – the highest percentage ever recorded in the 45-year-old poll – oppose using taxpayer money to fund “vouchers” for private schools.”
Poll: Rising confidence in U.S. public school teachers
While still critical of country's education system, parents are increasingly pleased with teachers' performance
Salon.com  BY PATRIK JONSSON WEDNESDAY, AUG 21, 2013 04:51 PM EDT
Public school teachers have taken a bashing, in part because of moves to tie student scores on standardized tests directly to teacher performance. Now, a new poll suggests that Americans’ confidence is rising in their neighborhood schools and the people who run them.
Americans remain largely critical of the US education system as a whole, but parents, especially, are increasingly pleased with their neighborhood schools and more displeased with the rising use of standardized, multiple choice tests to evaluate, and potentially punish, teachers, a new Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll suggests.

Disconnect on school policy issues in Pa. shared by other states, poll finds
By Jan Murphy | jmurphy@pennlive.com  on August 21, 2013 at 8:00 AM
Many of the school-related issues, such as implementation of Common Core standards and arming school personnel, causing consternation here in Pennsylvania are drawing the same reaction in other states.  The 45th annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools released Wednesday covered a variety of topics that are part of the public conversation about education today. Here are a sampling of the poll’s findings:

Poll: Most Americans unfamiliar with new Common Core teaching standards
Washington Post By Emma Brown, Published: August 20 | Updated: Wednesday, August 21, 12:01 AM
Most Americans have never heard of the Common Core State Standards, the educational approach that is overhauling classroom instruction across most of the country and has triggered intensifying political and policy debate about the nation’s academic benchmarks, according to a national poll scheduled to be released Wednesday.
The disconnect between policymakers and the public is among the key findings of a PDK-Gallup poll that was the 45th annual effort to measure Americans’ views on key education issues.
The poll found that two in three people had not heard of the Common Core, which has been fully adopted in 45 states and the District. The new rigorous standardsemphasize critical thinking and problem solving and are meant to better prepare students for success.

See the list below of organizations supporting the Common Core in Pennsylvania…..
Common Core: Preparing Our Students for Success
Email from Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children August 21, 2013
As a new school year gets underway, Pennsylvania is working to strengthen its academic standards and the tests aligned to those standards, so when students graduate, it actually means something. The State Board of Education is set to vote soon on proposed improvements to Pennsylvania’s academic standards and assessments, which will help ensure the commonwealth’s students can compete and succeed no matter what path they take after high school. The State Board, working with the Pennsylvania Department of Education, is setting the right path for our students.
“Preparing Our Students for Success  is produced by A+ Schools, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, Mission: Readiness, PennCAN, the Pennsylvania Business Council, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, Philadelphia School Partnership, Pittsburgh Public Schools, Students First and Team PA. For more information, visit: www.pa-commoncorestandards.com

Polls show mixed report card for education reforms
Politico By STEPHANIE SIMON | 8/21/13 12:03 AM EDT
Americans have a decidedly mixed view of the education reforms now sweeping the nation, supporting moves to open up public schools to more competition — and yet wary of ceding too much control to market forces.  That’s the message that emerges from a trio of new polls on public education. Taken together, the polls out this week capture a deep ambivalence:

DIGITS: 8 in 10 rate their child's teachers highly
Philly.com By JENNIFER AGIESTA, The Associated Press POSTED: Tuesday, August 20, 2013, 2:14 AM Parents across the United States have a lot of love for their children's teachers. So says a new survey of parents whose children completed kindergarten through 12th grade in the past school year. It shows that 82 percent of parents rate their child's teachers as excellent or good, and just 5 percent rate them as poor. And parents were almost universal in saying that teacher quality is a central factor in determining the quality of education a child receives. Parents of elementary school students rate their children's instructors most positively: 87 percent called them excellent or good, compared with 77 percent of parents of middle school students and 78 percent of high school parents.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/education/20130820_ap_9de99c00293b4436b5bc3e7bb3b7bb12.html#fy2YvHhRDVko4kQ3.99

ACT: Only quarter of grads ready for all subjects
Philly.com by PHILIP ELLIOTT, The Associated Press POSTED: Wednesday, August 21, 2013, 2:09 AM WASHINGTON (AP) - Just a quarter of this year's high school graduates who took the ACT tests have the reading, math, English and science skills they need to succeed in college or a career, according to data the testing company released Wednesday. The numbers are even worse for black high school graduates: Only 5 percent are fully ready for life after high school.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/education/20130821_ap_9e8ee09cbd5149f6a179018aff2454dd.html#t9zQTGKbYeYBPkPV.99

“In all the discussions I have with educational leaders and reformers on improving our educational outcomes, there seems to be some level of agreement — though obviously not full agreement — on strategies that work: attracting, supporting and keeping the best teachers and investing in their development; providing “wrap-around” services for poor and struggling students; making schools safe, welcoming, fun places with recess and art and music and nutritious food; and strongly promoting parental engagement.”
The Common Core and the Common Good
New York Times Opinion By CHARLES M. BLOW Published: August 21, 2013 20 Comments
America, we have a problem.
Our educational system is not keeping up with that of many other industrialized countries, even as the job market becomes more global and international competition for jobs becomes steeper.

D.C. charter schools to give standardized tests to young children
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss, Published: August 22 at 4:00 am
The use of standardized tests to measure very young students  keeps expanding. Now public charter schools in Washington D.C. will soon be giving new standardized tests to very young children — aged 3, 4 and 5 — for the purposes of assessing their academic progress and ranking schools according to the results. What will be optional for each school is whether to evaluate students in social-emotional learning, which early childhood experts say should be at the center of education for the youngest students.This move in D.C. charters is part of a disturbing shift in early childhood classrooms around the country, as they increasingly mimic what older students do academically.

Maine is first to face attempt to have voters decide whether to keep Common Core standards
By ALANNA DURKIN  Associated Press First Posted: August 20, 2013 - 6:04 pm
AUGUSTA, Maine — Two Maine groups opposed to new educational benchmarks most states are using for reading, writing and math are working toward a statewide vote to repeal them, a step that is believed to be the first in the country.
Maine is one of the 45 states that have adopted the Common Core Standards since 2010 with the aim of better preparing students for colleges and careers and allowing them to be compared among states. The majority of Maine teachers will begin using them in their classrooms this fall.
But opponents have pushed back against the standards, saying they strip control from local school boards and will lead to a federal takeover of public schools.


SPECIAL EDUCATION FUNDING FORMULA COMMISSION PUBLIC MEETING – Allentown August 22, 10 AM
(to consider costs of special education)
Thursday, August 22, 2013 10:00 AM     
Board Room  - Allentown School District Central Administration Bldg.
31 S. Penn Street Allentown, PA

Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee Public hearing on Common Core
Thursday, August 29, 2013, 9:30 AM Capitol, Hearing Room 1, North Office Bldg.
Harrisburg

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..
Diane Ravitch | Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools
When: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 7:30PM 
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 16th at 6:00 pm at Temple Sinai 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, Temple Sinai, and First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh Social Justice Endowment.  More 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

PILCOP 2013 Symposium on Equality: Privatization
Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia Thursday, September 12, 2013
This year’s 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 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:

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-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).

Not content bypassing taxpayers, charter schools seek to bypass PA House, Senate and State Board of Education too….
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.
Now charter 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 Lehigh Valley 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.

A statewide charter authorizer would have virtually no accountability to local taxpayers.  None.  Just like our cyber charters.

School Choices: Are your PA tax dollars, intended for the classrooms of Chester Upland, funding this 20,000 sq.ft. mansion on the beach instead?

According to minutes from 12/18/12 Agora Cyber Board meeting, your PA tax $$$ paid for 19,298 local TV commercials

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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