Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for September 24, 2013: Education advocates demand equitable school funding formula

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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for September 24, 2013:  Education advocates demand equitable PA school funding formula

In the struggle to fund Pa. education, political clout counts for a lot: Patriot-News Editorial
By Patriot-News Editorial Board  on September 23, 2013 at 10:55 AM
Supporters of public education are rallying in Harrisburg today to demand that the Legislature end its highly political way of paying for public schools and replace it with a predictable, rational formula that is fair to all districts.  Their diagnosis of the problem is 100 percent accurate. The question is whether the politicians in power will change a system that gives them the clout to reward favored districts and pet education causes.

School advocates push for more funding and a more equitable way of distributing those dollars
By Jan Murphy | jmurphy@pennlive.com on September 23, 2013 at 4:17 PM
School directors, superintendents, parents and community activists from around the state came out in force to the state Capitol on Monday to press state lawmakers for more school funding and a fairer, more equitable and predictable way of distributing it.
They brought with them a petition signed by representatives from 230 school districts in 55 counties to reinforce that plea, including some from Carlisle, Harrisburg, Mechanicsburg, Central Dauphin and Cumberland Valley school districts.

"Forty-six states spend a greater part of their budget on public education than Pennsylvania does," said Miller, who also co-chairs the Keystone State Education Coalition. "Forty-seven states have a funding formula. Why not Pennsylvania?"
Education advocates demand equitable school funding formula
Beaver County Times Online (and Bucks County Courier Times) By Natasha Lindstrom Calkins Media Sept. 23, 2013 10:00 pm
HARRISBURGPennsylvania schools may have gotten a bump in state funding in 2013-14, but education advocates say school districts are still reeling from deep cuts in previous years.
"Some school districts have closed libraries, some school districts have changed their transportation pattern, they've cut athletics," said Mark Miller, vice president of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association and Centennial School District board member. "The sizes of classes are going up, extracurricular activities are going down."
Miller joined several dozen advocates who rallied Monday in the state Capitol in hopes of convincing lawmakers to prioritize revamping the state's education funding system. The speakers, including parents, advocacy organization leaders and a couple lawmakers, urged the General Assembly to develop a fair standard formula for funding Pennsylvania's schools.

Rally For Education
WTAJ News 09/23/2013 16:11 PM Video runtime: 47 seconds
HARRISBURG - Dozens of parents, teachers and community members rallied in Harrisburg Monday, leading the fight for more funding.  The group’s leaders collected more than 1,200 signatures from 219 school districts asking state leaders to adopt a fair education funding formula and provide investments needed to ensure that every student has an opportunity to learn.
"What we don't need right now is our children sitting in schools without counselors or nurses or reading teachers. We don't need more tax cuts we need better schools for our kids and we need money to pay for the services our children deserve," Parent Susan Spicka says.

Franklin County lawmakers idle on education funding issues (Guest essay)
Chambersburg Public Opinion OPED By SUSAN SPICKA September 24, 2013
On Monday, I went to Harrisburg with Pennsylvanians from more than 35 school districts large and small, rich and poor, rural, urban and suburban. I was joined by Sheldon Schwartz from the Greencastle-Antrim School District and Jim Duffey, superintendent from Fannett-Metal. We went together to call on our state legislators to put public school funding at the top of their priority list for this year's legislative session.
It's no secret that school funding in Pennsylvania is a mess. Since 2011, our area legislators have stood idly by as our area school districts raised taxes while struggling to provide our children with educational opportunities in the face of unprecedented fiscal challenges that resulted from state budgets approved in Harrisburg.

Roebuck calls for fair, adequate funding for all Pa. schools
HARRISBURG, Sept. 23 – State Rep. James Roebuck, Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, spoke today at a Capitol news conference in support of fair and adequate funding for all Pennsylvania schools.  Corbett-Republican state budgets cut about $1 billion from public schools in 2011, froze the cuts in place in 2012 and left almost 90 percent of the cuts in place this year.  Roebuck said, "Today I stand with everyone here to support the adoption of a fair, transparent and accurate school funding formula that provides the educational programs that our students need to meet state academic standards.

Nutter brings school funding message to Corbett
Delco Times By MARC LEVY, Associated Press POSTED: 09/23/13, 5:41 PM EDT |
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter says inadequate funding for Pennsylvania’s largest school district is potentially damaging the futures of the students and the economy of the city and state.  Nutter spoke to reporters in the Pennsylvania Capitol on Monday after a meeting with Gov. Tom Corbett.

Schoolmageddon ’13: Education Advocates Storm Harrisburg for the Start of the Fall Legislative Session
Philly Post by Nick Valda September 23, 2013
State legislators are back in office for the fall session today, and they can expect to be met by what’s become the most feared special interest group in all of politics: education advocates. As per the picketers: “The Pennsylvania Legislature is returning to work — and fixing the issue of school funding does not appear to be on their priority list and yet it’s a top priority for the people of Pennsylvania,” said Susan Gobreski, head of the advocacy group Education Voters of Pennsylvania. “So the focus is around making it clear that we believe they have work to do and that this needs to be a priority.”

Bill would require Pa. public schools to offer online courses
By Jan Murphy | jmurphy@pennlive.com  on September 23, 2013 at 2:23 PM
A Lancaster County representative has introduced a bill that seeks to make online courses a staple in the learning opportunities offered at more public schools.  The legislation sponsored by Republican Rep. Ryan Aument would require the state Department of Education to establish a clearinghouse of online courses that schools could use by entering into contracts with the provider who developed the course.  It would require all public schools to offer online courses for students in grades 9 to 12, starting in 2015-16. That mandate would be expanded to apply to grades 6 to 12 beginning in 2018-19. 

Success cited in Pittsburgh Promise data; a new, major gift expected
By Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette September 24, 2013 12:27 am
When Pittsburgh Promise executive director Saleem Ghubril told a cab driver last week what he does for a living, the driver said the scholarship program enabled his niece and nephew to go to college.  " 'It's the most important thing happening in the city of Pittsburgh,' " Mr. Ghubril quoted the cab driver as telling him.

Zogby: There's talk in Harrisburg of vesting SRC with taxing power
thenotebook by Holly Otterbein for NewsWorks on Sep 23 2013
Could the state-controlled Philadelphia School Reform Commission soon decide how much city residents pay in sales taxes?  Gov. Corbett's budget secretary, Charles Zogby, said there has been talk in Harrisburg of changing the law to give the SRC that power if City Council does not quickly extend a 1 percent local sales tax that was due to expire.
The tax extension, a key part of Corbett's funding package for Philadelphia's cash-strapped School District, would raise up to $120 million for the schools in future years and allow the city to borrow $50 million for them now. The General Assembly authorized the sales tax changes this summer.  "There's just so much patience that I think folks are going to be prepared to exercise," Zogby said. "If City Council is unwilling to act, I think there'll be those in Harrisburg who will say, 'Well, then maybe we need to look at another path and take City Council out of the picture.'"

In Phila., Rep. Cantor touts school choice, charters
JULIE ZAUZMER, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER September 23, 2013, 3:57 PM
It was AP English, not government, but House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was familiar with the topic of instruction Monday morning in the writing center at Freire Charter School.
"We're studying point of view," a student told the congressional visitor, and Cantor chuckled. Through the window of the third-floor classroom, Cantor and the students could hear about a dozen protesters outside chanting, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Eric Cantor's got to go."
"You look out the window," Cantor told the class. "There's a lot of points of view."
His own viewpoint, he said later in an address at the Center City school, is that a decade from now, charter schools and vouchers that give students alternatives to neighborhood public schools will be available across the countr

“Cantor, who, I remind you, was speaking in Philadelphia, said not a single word  in his speech about the “grim new normal” in the public school system in Philadelphia, caused by the state’s failure to adequately fund the district. “
Read Eric Cantor’s ‘major’ education speech
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss, Published: September 23 at 3:23 pm
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor delivered what his office called a major policy speech about education reform at Freire Charter School in Philadelphia.
He spoke about what he said was the importance of expanding charter schools (though he didn’t mention that when judged by standardized test scores — the metric school reformers love to use — they don’t do any better than traditional public schools). He also spoke about growing school voucher programs, like the one in Louisiana (though he didn’t  mention that many students in that program are using public funds to attend private Christian schools that teach that dinosaurs co-existed with humans and that there is no accountability system in place at many voucher schools).

Just in case you thought that proven best practices had anything to do with federal education policy……
“I won’t mention the irony in the fact that department spends millions on school reform that has no proven record of success but ran out of cash for its Doing What Works website.”
Education Department suspends ‘Doing What Works’ website
By Valerie Strauss, Published: September 24 at 5:00 am
The U.S. Education Department routinely awards millions of dollars in grants to states and organizations, but it seems that it doesn’t have enough money to maintain its “Doing What Works” Web site.


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PA Special Education Funding Formula Commission Public Meeting Sept 26th at Alvernia College in Reading from 9:30 am – 3:00 p.
To consider charter and cyber special education funding

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).

PASCD Annual Conference ~ A Whole Child Education Powered by Blendedschools Network November 3-4, 2013 | Hershey Lodge & Convention Center
We invite you to join us for the Annual Conference, held at an earlier date this year, on Sunday, November 3rd, through Monday, November 4th, 2013 at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center.  The Pre-Conference begins on Saturday with PIL Academies and Common Core sessions.  On Sunday and Monday, our features include keynote presentations by Chris Lehmann and ASCD Author Dr. Connie Moss, as well as numerous breakout sessions on PA’s most timely topics.
Click here for the 2013 Conference Schedule
Click here to register for the conference. 

Building One Pennsylvania
Fourth Annual Fundraiser and Awards Ceremony
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2013 6:00-8:00 PM
IBEW Local 380   3900 Ridge Pike  Collegeville, PA 19426
Building One Pennsylvania is an emerging statewide non-partisan organization of leaders from diverse sectors - municipal, school, faith, business, labor and civic - who are joining together to stabilize and revitalize their communities, revitalize local economies and promote regional opportunity and sustainability. BuildingOnePa.org

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 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/.

Proposed Amendments to PSBA Bylaws available online
PSBA website 9/17/2013
A special issue of the School Leader News with the notice of proposed PSBA Bylaws amendments has been mailed to all school directors and board secretaries.
This issue also is available online in the Members Only section by clicking here. Voting on PSBA Bylaws changes will take place at the new Delegate Assembly on Oct. 15, 2013, at the Hershey Lodge & Convention Center from 1-4 p.m. All member school entities should have appointed their voting delegates and submitted names to PSBA. Details on selecting an entity's voting delegate can be found in previous issues of the School Leader News.

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