Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for August 28, 2013: Nation's Underfunded Public Education System To Experiment With Shortened 6-Day School Year (The Onion)

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

These daily emails are archived at
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?

Hey Yinzers/Yo Philly - GOT RAVITCH?

Sept. 16 Pittsburgh; Sept 17 Philly

Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for August 28, 2013:
Nation's Underfunded Public Education System To Experiment With Shortened 6-Day School Year (The Onion)

New Pa. education secretary has her own troubles
Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau LAST UPDATED: Wednesday, August 28, 2013, 1:08 AM POSTED: Tuesday, August 27, 2013, 6:11 PM HARRISBURG - Less than 24 hours on the job, acting Education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq is already under fire.

“Of 34 people on the list – to the best of my knowledge, thus far only one of them (Dr. Carolyn Dumaresq) can be characterized as an advocate for public K-12 education.”
Reprise: Keystone State Education Coalition posting from Tuesday, November 30, 2010
PA Governor Elect Corbett's Education Transition Team
Hey Folks –
To the best of my knowledge this is a list of the members of the Corbett Education Transition Team.  I am updating this posting as I get more info from you (last updated 12/03).  I have added some notes and scraped some bio info from their websites.  If you have anything to add please let me know.
Here’s my commentary: There are 34 people on the list – to the best of my knowledge, thus far only one of them (Dr. Carolyn Dumaresq) can be characterized as an advocate for public K-12 education.
Thirteen of 34 are strong advocates of school choice - vouchers, charter schools, cyber charter schools and home schooling.
Two are from the Susquehanna International Group, which the Inquirer reported had given "an astonishing $5 million" to support Senator Anthony WIlliams' gubernatorial campaign because of his strong pro-voucher position.
Five are current or former board members of the REACH Foundation or REACH Alliance, described on their website as "Pennsylvania's leading school choice advocacy organization".

Nation's Underfunded Public Education System To Experiment With Shortened 6-Day School Year
The Onion NEWS IN BRIEF • News • Back To School • ISSUE 48•34 • Aug 24, 2012
WASHINGTON—Faced with shrinking tax revenues and decreased public spending, the Department of Education announced Friday the 2012-2013 academic year would need to be radically shortened from 180 days to six. 

Video and Testimony from PA Senate Education Committee Keystone Exams Public Hearing held Monday, August 26, 2013
at Valley Forge Middle School 

Senator Dinniman participates in Keystones hearing
By Frank Otto Posted: Monday, 08/26/13 10:02 pm
RADNOR — A hearing on Keystone exams presided over by state senators Mike Folmer and Andy Dinniman stretched on for more than four hours Monday as testimony came from a variety of people with different ties to education in Pennsylvania.
Many of the concerns and much of the debate surrounded a few points, but two were agreed upon by the majority of those present as the main issues: The possible requirement of scoring proficiently on the standardized Keystone exams for graduation from high school and what the implementation of the tests and associated remediation for students who don’t pass them might cost.

Keystone Exams come under fire at hearing
Unionville Times By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times August 27, 2013 | 1 Comment
Dinniman, school officials say exams are unfair, and an ‘unfunded mandate’ on schools
TREDYFFRIN — Although the new Pennsylvania Common Core curriculum appears to be here to stay, one key element of the plan, the requirement of high school seniors to pass Keystone Exams in Algebra, Biology and Literature in order to graduate starting in 2017 are increasingly under fire, as a state Senate Education Committee hearing revealed Monday.

Delaware Valley school officials argue against implementation of Keystone exams
Main Line Media News Published: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Calling it an unfunded mandate, numerous local and state officials came out for the most part against the implementation of new exams that could soon be a requirement for graduation for all Pennsylvania high school students.  Monday several local school officials testified at a hearing on the full implementation Keystone exams during a hearing at the Valley Forge Middle School in the Tredyffrin Easttown School District. The statewide assessment test is expected to become a requirement for all students in order to graduate from high school beginning in the 2016-17 school year.

Phila. School District, teachers union still at odds
Susan Snyder, Inquirer Staff Writer POSTED: Wednesday, August 28, 2013, 1:08 AM With two important deadlines looming, the Philadelphia School District on Tuesday reported little progress in getting $103 million in concessions from the teachers' union - givebacks it says are key to shoring up a financial bailout plan that includes money from the state. "Quite frankly, it would create a level of fiscal stability that this district hasn't seen for some time now," Philadelphia School District Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said of the concessions in a 30-minute interview. The contract with the 15,000-member Philadelphia Federation of Teachers - which has strongly resisted the concessions - expires Saturday.

Philly schools chief again appeals to teachers for salary, benefits concessions
WHYY Newsworks By Kevin McCorry @bykevinmccorry August 27, 2013
Staff shortages. Classrooms packed to the brink. Scarce money for basic school supplies.
This is the current reality for the Philadelphia School District.

Corbett gets head start on Labor Day break
PennLive By The Associated Press  on August 27, 2013 at 6:09 PM
HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Corbett is getting an early start on his Labor Day vacation at his family's retreat on the South Carolina coast.  A spokeswoman said Tuesday that Corbett left Friday to spend time with his family at the vacation home in Hilton Head. He plans to return to Harrisburg after Labor Day.

Sequestration: Inquirer Editorial: Head Start cuts mean falling behind
POSTED: Wednesday, August 28, 2013, 1:08 AM Despite compelling evidence that early education jump-starts learning for disadvantaged youngsters, automatic budget cuts triggered by Congress could have a devastating impact on a federal program that puts preschool within reach of poor families. As many as 57,000 children nationwide could be denied a place in Head Start programs this year as a result of a $400 million funding reduction, the largest in the program's history. Pennsylvania will lose about 2,812 slots, while New Jersey will lose 1,144.

State tables show sequester’s impact; Pennsylvania $75 million

Cyber Indictment Refuels Funding Debate
CBS Pittsburgh Reporting Andy Sheehan August 26, 2013 6:38 PM
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The indictment of former PA Cyber CEO Nick Trombetta on charges of fraud and theft of more than $8 million dollars in tax money re-fuels an old debate.
Are cyber charter schools over-funded?
“They receive far too much funding,” state Sen. Jim Ferlo says.
Ferlo has long called for a reduction in the funding formula where school district pay an average of $10,000 per year for every student that opts out of their school for cyber schools.
The indictment says Trombetta used PA Cyber funding to create several for-profit and not-for-profit entities from which he skimmed money.
“We see the situation with Mr. Trombetta,” says Ferlo, “he’s really — symptom of a great problem that will continue unabated.”
And at City Charter High School in Pittsburgh, Superintendent Ron Sofo agrees.

Feds charge Pa. cyber-charter school founder with siphoning more than $8M, avoiding taxes
Washington Post By Associated Press, August 23, 2013
PITTSBURGH — The founder and former CEO of Pennsylvania’s largest cyber-charter school has been charged with siphoning more than $8 million from the school through a network of companies, then scheming with his accountant to avoid income taxes.

There are a group of articles in this YDR coverage of Common Core…..
Common Core in Pa.: What's the state doing about the new standards?
Plans to adopt new standards were stopped after an outpouring of criticism.
By ANGIE MASON York  Daily Record/Sunday News 08/24/2013 12:29:07 PM EDT
When complaints over new educational standards grew loud enough, Pennsylvania officials moved to stop and address the outcry.
Pennsylvania initially agreed to adopt the national Common Core standards in 2010, then added to them to create the Pennsylvania Common Core, according to the state.

In time for new school year, area districts enhance security
WHYY Newsworks By Emma Jacobs, @ecjacobs August 27, 2013
Ridley School District Superintendent Lee Ann Wentzel calls it "the never button."
The big red button installed earlier this month outside the office of the principal at Woodland Elementary has a single purpose. It connects directly to Delaware County's 911 center to alert police that an armed shooter has entered the building.
Wentzel calls it the "never button" because she hopes it's never pushed.

Bill would boost transparency for school labor contracts
Johnstown Tribune Democrat by John Finnerty CNHI Harrisburg Bureau August 24, 2013
HARRISBURG — State Rep. Fred Keller, R-Union, is looking for support for a bill that would require school boards to be more open with the public about the terms of proposed union contracts before the labor agreements are finalized.  Keller's bill would demand that school boards advertise at least two weeks before their meeting that they are going to vote on a new labor agreement with teachers or any union employees, publicly describe the terms of the proposed contract and provide a cost estimate to the school district.

"The No Child Left Behind system itself was far from perfect," said Phillip Lovell, vice president for federal advocacy with the Alliance for Excellent Education. "Where is succeeded was shining the spotlight on the subgroups."  That spotlight now has dimmed, he said.”
Education waivers leave behind at-risk students, study says
Delco Times By Philip Elliott, Associated Press Wednesday, August 28, 2013
WASHINGTON — Millions of at-risk students could fall through the cracks as the Education Department gives states permission to ignore parts of No Child Left Behind, according to a study education advocates released Tuesday.  The Education Department has been giving states waivers from the education law's requirements, including those to collect and publish data about students from poor families, students whose native language is not English, those with learning disabilities and minority students. The resulting patchwork of rules — from Miami to Seattle — has given states more freedom to implement plans to boost education but has allowed almost 2,300 schools to shed their label of seriously troubled, according to numbers compiled at the Campaign for High School Equity.

“Finally, we believe in the old journalist’s dictum: follow the money.  Private philanthropies are more deeply involved in public education than ever before—and that could be a blessing, especially in these budget cutting times—but are there agendas behind the money?  The Walton Foundation has a record of support for charter schools and school vouchers, and the corporation financing the foundation is strongly anti-union.  If the influx of TFA recruits enter charter schools, that de facto further strengthens charters and, as well, directly or indirectly displaces local teachers, some of whom are highly qualified—exactly the teachers school reformers desire.  So a private foundation is directly influencing public education policy and practice.:”
School reform: The problems — and some solutions
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss, Published: August 28 at 4:00 am
recently published an excerpt from a new book titled “Public Education Under Siege” edited by University of Pennsylvania historian Michael B. Katz and UCLA education scholar Mike Rose.  The book is a series of essays that discuss he problems with technocratic educational reform; the intersection of education, race, and poverty; and alternatives to modern school reform. Here is a Q & A I did with the authors about their book and public education today.

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

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 
Central Library
Cost: $15 General Admission, $7 Students
Ticket and Subscription Packages 
Tickets on sale here:

Yinzers - Diane Ravitch will be speaking in Pittsburgh on September 16th at 6:00 pm at Temple Sinai in Squirrel Hill.
5505 Forbes Avenue  Pittsburgh, PA 15217 
Free and open to the public; doors open at 5:00 pm
Hosted by Great Public Schools (GPS) Pittsburgh: Action United, One Pittsburgh, PA Interfaith Impact Network, Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, SEIU, and Yinzercation.
Co-sponsored by Carlow Univ. School of Education, Chatham Univ. Department of Education, Duquesne Univ. School of Education, First Unitarian Church Social Justice Endowment, PA State Education Association, Robert Morris Univ. School of Education & Social Sciences, Slippery Rock Univ. College of Education, Temple Sinai, Univ. of Pittsburgh School of Education, and Westminster College Education Department.
Children’s activities provided by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University’s HearMe project. 

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

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 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

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).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.