Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for September 3, 2013: “Philadelphia, Mississippi: 1963 Black children not allowed in libraries -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 2013 No school libraries”

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

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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for September 3, 2013:
Philadelphia, Mississippi: 1963 Black children not allowed in libraries
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 2013 No school libraries”

Pennsylvanians Want a School Funding Formula
Sign up to join us in Harrisburg on September 23rd!
Press Event Monday September 23rd, 11:30 am Capitol Rotunda, Harrisburg
Grassroots Advocacy by Education Voters PA; Education Matters in the Cumberland Valley and the Keystone State Education Coalition
Sign up here if you may be able to join us to represent your schools and community: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/104e0endYpVYcPxSyfG9V_DOIVAB0J3AVI0-20Q8Yylw/viewform more details will follow.

PA Special Education Funding Formula Commission Upcoming Meetings
1. Next Meeting: Wednesday, September 4th, 10:00 am at the Nittany Lion Inn State College
To consider special education funding and charter schools
2. Save the date: September 19 tentative meeting date in Reading; no venue announced yet
To consider charter and cyber special education funding

Here are our holiday weekend postings in case you missed them…..
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for September 2, 2013: Trombetta & Assocs. $88K to make the world friendlier for cybercharters

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for August 31, 2013: Corbett numbers continue to drop; as James Carville might say, “It’s education, stupid!”……..

Philly teachers told their union is still far from a deal
WHYY Newsworks By Kevin McCorry, @bykevinmccorry September 2, 2013
There was no strike on Labor Day.
Less than 48 hours after the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers' contract expired, union brass met with the rank-and-file  at Temple's University's Liacouras Center for an update on negotiations with the Philadelphia School District.
The closed-door meeting lasted about two hours and was attended by about a third of the PFT's 15,000 members.
As the meeting ended, and a sea of red-shirted PFT members flooded out of the auditorium and into the sticky North Broad night, two key things became clear:
1) Negotiations between the union and the district will continue as the two sides attempt to bridge what still seems a bitter divide.
2) Teachers will report to work for professional development this week (starting Tuesday), and classes for students will begin as scheduled next Monday.

Key issue in Philly teachers' contract dispute: Will old provisions remain in effect?
by thenotebook by Paul Socolar and Dale Mezzacappa on Sep 02 2013 Posted in Latest news
Unable to close a deal in time for the Monday night union membership meeting, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers will be back at the bargaining table with the School District on Tuesday, trying to hammer out an agreement that may still be far off. 
Although the old contract expired Saturday at midnight, the union maintains those terms are still in place, which for now would mean no pay cuts for teachers who go back to their sparsely staffed schools on Tuesday -- and no budget relief on the horizon for the District.

With contract expired, teachers' union will continue talks
REGINA MEDINA, Daily News Staff Writer medinar@phillynews.com, 215-854-5985 POSTED: Tuesday, September 3, 2013, 3:01 AM
LAST NIGHT'S meeting of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers was originally scheduled as a contract-ratification meeting. Instead, about 4,000 members rallied at the Liacouras Center on Temple University's campus, fired up by leaders who aimed their ire at the governor, the mayor and the School Reform Commission. "They're [Gov. Corbett and Mayor Nutter] manufacturing this entire thing in order for the SRC to have the power to close the 27 [23] schools they did and to just start making charter schools and give up on Philadelphia," teacher Debbie Price, a 13-year district employee, said after the meeting.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20130903_With_contract_expired__teachers__union_will_continue_talks.html#TjJy7WiFWv0K07KY.99

War or Peace?
Axis Philly by Tom Ferrick, Sep. 2, 2013
Now comes the endgame in the long drama over the Philadelphia public schools.
This is when the speeches, the marches, the propaganda and the political jockeying recede into the background.  This is when it will get real.
There are two possible scenarios: one I will call Peace, the other War.

Philadelphia, Mississippi: 1963 Black children not allowed in libraries
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 2013 No school libraries”
Geoffrey Canada, Will You Help the Children in Philadelphia?
Diane Ravitch’s Blog By dianerav September 2, 2013 //
This note came from a reader, who may know that Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone has $200 million in the bank and two billionaires on its board. The reader wonders if Canada might help restore the library in the school where she worked in Philadelphia, which is closed due to budget cuts:
“Saw a group of charming students from Canada’s program at the 50th anniversary March on Wednesday. Staff photographing the group for PR. Gave them a copy of A. Philip Randolph’s bio with notation that high school in Philadelphia named for him has no library.
“Held up my sign:
Philadelphia, Mississippi: 1963 Black children not allowed in libraries
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 2013 No school libraries”
Barbara McDowell Dowdall English Department Head (Ret.) A, Philip Randolph Technical High School

Upper Darby School District quietly reverses on academic realignment plan and cuts to art, music, phys ed
By LINDA REILLY Delco Times Correspondent Published: Tuesday, September 03, 2013
UPPER DARBY — Portions of the Upper Darby School District Academic Realignment Plan unveiled in April 2012 have been reversed with little fanfare.  Except for a brief response to a question from a parent at a recent Upper Darby School Board meeting there was no formal announcement that the district would be returning to what had been its regular curriculum — including dedicated classes for art, music and physical education.
The lone exception is the staffing of the libraries with librarians, who were eliminated as district employees. Those cuts remain in effect.
“We are going back to art for art’s sake, music for music’s sake, physical education for physical education’s sake three days a week with 30 minute classes,” Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Daniel McGarry said in response to a Hillcrest parent’s inquiry about the amount of time allotted to music this school year.

Allegheny County schools, courts tackle truancy

Back to School/Missing Class: The second of three parts
By Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette September 2, 2013 12:15 am
No longer seen as strictly a disciplinary issue, truancy is now viewed as a symptom of larger problems in a student's life and an obstacle to academic achievement.  Those discussions and findings from a statewide report issued in 2010 have prompted local school and court officials to recognize that the reasons for truancy lie both within and outside of the school buildings.

Schools finding suspensions ineffective
By Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette September 3, 2013 12:06 am
Third of three parts
First school officials say how important it is to be in class.
Then they tell them not to come.
More than 30,000 out-of-school suspensions were issued to public school students -- some of them repeatedly to the same students -- in kindergarten through 12th grade in Allegheny County alone in 2011-12, the most recent year for which countywide data are available.
The numbers illustrate the tension between keeping kids in class and keeping schools safe and orderly.
In some schools, more than a third of students have been suspended at least once.
"If you're suspending a third of the kids, that's a huge loss in educational minutes," said Rob Homer, professor of special education at the University of Oregon and co-director of a federal technical assistance center on positive behavioral interventions and supports.

Additional security installed at many Pittsburgh-area schools
By Kaitlynn Riely / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette September 3, 2013 12:06 am
It was a Friday in December when a gunman attacked Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., killing 20 children and six adult staff members.
By Saturday, Seneca Valley School District superintendent Tracy Vitale and other officials in the Butler County district had met with local police authorities.
By Sunday, the district had sent a message out to parents, saying officers from local police agencies would be patrolling school buildings on Monday to provide enhanced security.

Shaler Area teachers to go on strike
By Paula Reed Ward and Ed Blazina / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette September 2, 2013 11:25 pm
The two sides in the Shaler Area School District contract talks appear to remain far apart as teachers there enter their first day on the picket line today.

Back to school — by the numbers
The Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss, September 3 at 4:00 am
It’s the traditional beginning of the new school year, and here, courtesy of the National Center of Education Statistics, a department of the U.S. Education Department, are facts and figures about the return to the classroom.  The bottom line: America’s schools and colleges will welcome back record numbers of students.

“But what started as an experiment in fixing urban education through free-market innovation is now a large part of the problem. Almost 84,000 Ohio students — 87 percent of the state’s charter-school students — attend a charter ranking D or F in meeting state performance standards.”
Charter schools’ failed promise
By  Bill Bush The Columbus Dispatch Sunday September 1, 2013 5:27 AM
Fed up with persistently poor student results in Ohio’s eight largest urban school districts, Republican state legislators enacted a law in 1997 allowing charter schools to locate exclusively within the boundaries of the “Big 8” systems.
Sixteen years later, charters statewide performed almost exactly the same on most measures of student achievement as the urban schools they were meant to reform, results released under a revamped Ohio report-card system show. And when it comes to graduating seniors after four years of high school, the Big 8 performed better.

Commentary: The Obama administration’s unwise embrace of standardized testing
Houston Chronicle by Jason Stanford Sunday, September 1, 2013
Texas on the Potomac welcomes guest commentary from across the political spectrum. Today, we are pleased to share the latest in a compelling series of investigative columns by Jason Stanford, a Democratic political consultant and co-founder of the bipartisan web site Must Read Texas.
The new requirements for No Child Left Behind waivers from the Department of Education have some bad news for America’s teachers. The Obama administration wants states to use standardized tests to not only judge students and schools but now teachers as well lest we lose ground to China. Coincidentally, China this week bannedstandardized testing in early grades and reduced it thereafter. China, it seems, wants to be more like us.
The test scores of American kids have lagged well behind the rest of the industrialized world since well before we put the first man on the moon, build the World Wide Web, revolutionized business software, and mapped the human genome. The United States still has the largest economy in the world 30 years after A Nation at Risk warned that we’d better get our schoolhouse in order. Apparently the standardized tests have no bearing on American ingenuity.

Expecting the Best Yields Results in Massachusetts
New York Times By KENNETH CHANG Published: September 2, 2013
BRAINTREE, Mass. — Conventional wisdom and popular perception hold that American students are falling further and further behind in science and math achievement. The statistics from this state tell a different story.  If Massachusetts were a country, its eighth graders would rank second in the world in science, behind only Singapore, according to Timss — the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, which surveys knowledge and skills of fourth and eighth graders around the world. (The most recent version, in 2011, tested more than 600,000 students in 63 nations.)  Massachusetts eighth graders also did well in mathematics, coming in sixth, behind Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan. The United States as a whole came in 10th in science and 9th in math, with scores that were above the international average.

With Common Core, Fewer Topics Covered More Rigorously
New York Times By KENNETH CHANG Published: September 2, 2013
If the new mathematics standards adopted by New York and 44 other states work as intended, then children, especially in the lower elementary grades, will learn less math this year.
But by cutting back on a hodgepodge of topics and delving deeper into central concepts, the hope is that the children will understand it better.

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 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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