Thursday, August 29, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for August 29, 2013: F&M poll: Corbett…seems to be taking more hits for cutting education funding then rounds of applause for...keeping the state's tax rates in check

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 http://keystonestateeducationcoalition.org
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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 29, 2013:
F&M poll: Corbett…seems to be taking more hits for cutting education funding then rounds of applause for...keeping the state's tax rates in check

“And Corbett, at this point, seems to be taking more hits for cutting education funding then rounds of applause for his attention to keeping the state's tax rates in check. "Since June," Madonna said, "you can't find newspaper without one story after another about cutbacks in education."
Corbett's team may argue that they are being unfairly blamed for spending cuts because of the end of the federal stimulus dollars, Madonna said, but if parents don't like what they're seeing, the incumbent is a convenient target.”

Corbett's poll numbers continue to slide after summer of legislative shutout, staff turmoil

By Charles Thompson | cthompson@pennlive.com  on August 29, 2013 at 5:15 AM,
Don't look here for a projection on Tom Corbett's bid for re-election in 2014.
But according to a new poll of Pennsylvania voters, the first-term Republican governor may be looking at a tougher re-election climb than any of his two-term predecessors have faced.
The latest Franklin & Marshall College poll shows, for example, that only 20 percent of responding registered voters feel Corbett's performance in office to date merits his re-election, as compared to 69 percent who believe that it is time for a change.
By another barometer, Corbett's job performance measurements have skidded to a new low, with only 16 percent of the poll's respondents rating Corbett as an "excellent" or "good" governor through his first 30 months in office. That was a drop from 25 percent in May.

PA Cyber Charter School founder Trombetta pleads not guilty to fraud, tax charges
By Rich Lord / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette August 28, 2013 10:34 am
Cyber school pioneer Nick Trombetta pleaded not guilty to an 11-count indictment today in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, the first step toward what could be an estimated seven-week trial.
Also pleading not guilty today was Mr. Trombetta's accountant, Neal Prence, who faces a tax conspiracy charge.

This is one of the most widely viewed postings on the Keystone State Education Coalition website…
Not just Trombetta - PA Charter Schools: $4 billion taxpayer dollars with no real oversight
Charter schools - public funding without public scrutiny
Proposed statewide authorization and direct payment would further diminish accountability and oversight for public tax dollars

Urban Pathways appeal could impact statewide charter school funding
Justine Coyne Reporter-Pittsburgh Business Times Aug 28, 2013, 2:28pm EDT
Four appeals filed by Urban Pathways Charter School with the Pennsylvania Department of Education against Pittsburgh Public Schools could impact how charter schools are funded throughout the state.  In the last 15 months, charter schools statewide have filed 231 identical appeals with the Department of Education challenging the formula used to determine funding. If the charter schools win the appeals, then it will cost districts over $100 million annually statewide.

Auditor General DePasquale Calls for Dept. of Education to Enforce School Code, Regulations on Charter School Lease Reimbursements
PA Auditor General’s website August 28, 2013
HARRISBURG (August 28, 2013) – After seven audits this year revealed that the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) approved nearly $2 million in improper lease reimbursements to charter schools, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale today called on the department to correct the problem. He offered assistance to establish procedures that could help ensure education funding is focused on classroom education.

Countdown, Day 12: Jordan offers one-year pay freeze, benefit changes
the notebook by Dale Mezzacappa on Aug 28 2013 Posted in Countdown to calamity?
 [Updated, 3:30 p.m. with additional quotes from Charles Zogby]
Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan held a press conference Wednesday morning to announce that the union is willing to forgo a salary increase -- at least for one year -- and "make changes to our health care and benefits" in order to find savings that will allow positions to be restored to the schools.
"We know the current staffing levels cannot assure parents, students and employees that schools will be safe and more than just functional," Jordan said. He said he was particularly upset about split grades, the lack of counselors and libraries in every school, and enough support personnel and secretaries.

Philly school district says teachers' union giveback offer not enough
WHYY Newsworks By Holly Otterbein, @hollyotterbein August 28, 2013
The Philadelphia teachers' union and the School Reform Commission have been at the table for weeks now hashing out a new contract agreement.
Neither side has budged publicly, until now.
Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT), said he will propose to his members a one-year pay freeze as well as changes to their healthcare and benefits package. He said the changes would save the school district millions of dollars, but declined to provide an exact figure.  "This is our way of doing what teachers do every day, and that's give," Jordan said.
To help shore up its budget, the Philadelphia School District is seeking $103 million in labor concessions from the PFT, as well as major work-rule changes. It is also looking for an additional $30 million worth of givebacks from other district labor unions.
School district spokesman Fernando Gallard said in a statement that Jordan's proposal is not sufficient.

Parents United statement on Philly teacher concessions
This morning, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT) made the tough decision to agree to a wage freeze and health care contributions. Parents United for Public Education stands with Philadelphia teachers across the city who are making a difference everyday in our classrooms.  We also want to make clear that this means the District’s average 19% below pay average in the region makes our teachers that much less competitive.  This is not a point of celebration.
We will hold Superintendent William Hite and the School Reform Commission to their word that the union concessions mean essential staff will be immediately restored to schools. We expect the full restoration of guidance counselors, and the appropriate number of teachers to eliminate overcrowding, split grades, and to maintain lower class size in the primary years. These have been long-standing policies of the School District and well-recognized pedagogical imperatives. We also must work to restore administrative staff as well as nurses and librarians to all schools.

Jeb Bush’s Opinion: Core mission for Pa. schools
Inquirer POSTED: Thursday, August 29, 2013, 1:09 AM By Jeb Bush
The 1983 report "A Nation at Risk" warned that "the educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a nation and a people." Thirty years later, America has become the global leader in education spending, but a global laggard in academic achievement. This painful reality, backed by statistic after statistic, jeopardizes the future of America's economy, national security, and the quality of life future generations will experience.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/inquirer/20130829_Core_mission_for_Pa__schools.html#IiG6a9XD6xTpiU9M.99

Success Academy chief Eva Moskowitz recently defended her network’s “higher than average” suspension rates compared with public schools as a way to promote “order and civility in the classroom.” And this week, the Eli Broad Foundation announced a $5 million grant to Moskowitz to help expand her network from 20 to more than 100 schools.”
New York’s Success Academy school chain comes under fire as parents fight 'zero tolerance' disciplinary policy
The charter school chain Success Academy is being criticized for its high suspension rate, as parents complain that special-needs kids are pushed out and students are being denied due process.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS by Juan Gonzalez WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 28, 2013, 2:30 AM
Success Academy, the charter school chain that boasts sky-high student scores on annual state tests, has for years used a “zero tolerance” disciplinary policy to suspend, push out, discharge or demote the very pupils who might lower those scores — children with special needs or behavior problems.  State records and interviews with two dozen parents of Success elementary school pupils indicate the fast-growing network has failed at times to adhere to federal and state laws in disciplining special-education students.
At Harlem Success 1, the oldest school in the network, 22% of pupils got suspended at least once during the 2010-11 school year, state records show. That’s far above the 3% average for regular elementary schools in its school district.
Four other Success schools — the only others in the network to report figures for 2010-11 — had an average 14% suspension rate.

LSBA: U.S. Justice Dept. action in Louisiana vouchers shows weakness of law
NSBA School Board News Today by Joetta Sack-Min Auguest 28, 2013
The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against Louisiana to stop a voucher program spending millions in taxpayer funds to send low-income students to private and religious schools, saying that the vouchers have impeded long-standing desegregation orders in many of the state’s school districts.

How the Gates Foundation Bought and Paid for Common Core
Diane Ravitch’s Blog By dianerav August 28, 2013 //
In this astonishing post, Mercedes Schneider documents how the gates Foundation paid for every aspect of the Common Core standards.
Gates paid to develop them; to evaluate them; to promote them. There seems to be no part of the Common Core that was not bought and paid for by Gates.
Does it matter if one very rich man decides to create national standards and call them “state-led”?
Schneider raises the essential questions;
“Can Bill Gates buy a foundational democratic institution? Will America allow it? The fate of CCSS will provide a crucial answer to those looming questions.”

NY Times Room for Debate: Do Teachers Need to Have Experience?

Michael Stravato for The New York Times UPDATED AUGUST 28, 2013 8:32 PM
The conventional wisdom has always been that schools and students need experienced teachers committed to a career in education. But many charter networks are depending on young, inexperienced teachers who quit after only two to five years. Officials of the schools believe the young teachers remain motivated and energetic, unlike more experienced teachers at many public schools who might stay on even after they’ve burned out. Are they onto something?

How Teach For America recruits get preference for teaching jobs
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss, Published: August 29 at 6:00 am
This story takes place in Bridgeport, Conn., but the same thing is happening around the country. It’s about how Teach For America corps members are given preference over well-trained teachers in Bridgeport, Conn., where Paul Vallas remains superintendent pending a state Supreme Court decision on a lower court’s order that he leave his position because he doesn’t have the state-mandated requirements for the job.  This was written by Jonathan Pelto, a former member of the Connecticut House of Representatives who now provides commentary on politics and public policy at his blog, Wait What?”, where this first appeared.

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

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:

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 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).

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