Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for September 4, 2013: PA One of Only Three States Without an Education Funding Formula – Join us in Harrisburg Sept. 23rd

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
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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for September 4, 2013:
PA One of Only Three States Without an Education Funding Formula – Join us in Harrisburg Sept. 23rd

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
Every child in Pennsylvania deserves an opportunity to learn, whether they are from large or small, rich or not-so-rich, urban, suburban or rural school districts, charter schools or cyber schools; whether their legislator is a freshman state representative or a senate officer.
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: more details will follow.

PA One of Only Three States Without Education Funding Formula
No accuracy, fairness, or transparency possible without sound formula
Education Law Center Press Release February 28, 2013
Pennsylvania is a national outlier when it comes to following basic budgeting principles — accuracy, fairness, and transparency — that most states use when it comes to public school funding, according to a new report from the Education Law Center.
The statewide, non-profit organization examined how each of the 50 states calculates and distributes education dollars. The report shows that Pennsylvania is in the minority when it comes to basic budgeting practices used by most states.
  • 47 states use an accurate student count when calculating and distributing education dollars. Pennsylvania does not.
  • 37 states recognize different student costs when calculating and distributing education dollars. Pennsylvania does not.
  • 47 states recognize different district costs when calculating and distributing education dollars. Pennsylvania does not.

PA Special Education Funding Formula Commission Upcoming Meetings
1. 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

Chester Upland starts new year with two schools saved from chopping block
By JOHN KOPP @DT_JohnKopp September 04, 2013
Superintendent Gregory Shannon and administrators from the Chester Upland School District went out into the community all summer, urging parents to enroll their children in district schools.
The fruits of their labor arrived en masse Tuesday when Chester Upland kicked off another school year with bell ringing ceremonies at each of the district’s schools.
Chester Upland expects its 2013-14 enrollment to surpass 3,000 students — 800 more than district officials anticipated in May. The enrollment surge enabled the district to keep both Main Street Elementary School and the Chester Upland School of the Arts open. Both schools had been slated for closure when district officials drafted the 2013-14 budget in the spring.

School bells really ring in Chester
Kathy Boccella, Inquirer Staff Writer September 3, 2013, 10:53 AM
Following a boots-to-the-ground, high-stakes enrollment drive this summer, Chester Upland School District officials undertook one last job this morning before welcoming 800 new students to the district -- ringing bells to start a new year at Chester High School and celebrate a rare success story in a troubled district. Superintendent Gregory Shannon and other dignitaries gathered in the high school courtyard to greet students at what they say is a transformed school, featuring small learning communities, such as an honors academy, an in-school cyber-learning program and a ninth grade academy.

Teachers in at least 3 Pa. districts on strike
The Associated Press POSTED: Tuesday, September 3, 2013, 9:37 AM PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Teachers in at least three Pennsylvania districts are on strike. Officials canceled classes Tuesday in the Old Forge School District and Wyoming Area School District in northeastern Pennsylvania and Shaler Area School District outside Pittsburgh.

Parents, teachers concerned about readiness
Susan Snyder, Inquirer Staff Writer POSTED: Wednesday, September 4, 2013, 1:08 AM With classes starting in less than a week, many Philadelphia schools struggling with staff and budget cuts find themselves anything but ready. Take the Andrew Jackson School in South Philadelphia: It will have no school-based counselor for its 494 students, two support staffers (down from six), and four fewer teachers, even though its enrollment grew by 95. That means class sizes of 35 or more in some grades, at least for the first month or so. It means cramming more desks into crowded rooms, getting volunteer help from a laid-off staffer, and sending Jackson's rock band out to a Main Line prep school to raise money.

After crisis, Philly students head back to school
WRAL By MARC LEVY, Associated Press, September 3, 2013
PHILADELPHIA — Before they start the school year together, the staff at the Kensington High School for Creative and Performing Arts will grieve: They'll hold a wake of sorts for laid-off colleagues, reviewing a DVD of their photos and recounting their accomplishments, and then they'll head across the street to eat.
Such is life in the beleaguered Philadelphia School District, where the severity of layoffs and school closings have made this latest financial crunch unlike any other in recent memory as students get ready to go back to school.

Are Philly teachers underpaid?
WHYY Newsworks By Holly Otterbein, @hollyotterbein September 3, 2013
With the Philadelphia School District still reeling from a budget crisis, officials are asking teachers' union members to accept wage cuts ranging from 5 to 13 percent, and to begin paying into their health care premiums.  Would that allow the city to compete for teaching talent?
Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, has said several times during this summer of fiscal discontent that his members are paid 19 percent less than teachers in the suburbs.  He said the district's proposed wage cuts would make Philly even less competitive than it is now.

Letter from the Education Committee of the Pennsylvania State Conference of NAACP Branches regarding the Keystone Exams

He's back...
Inquirer Commonwealth Confidential Blog by Angela Coloumbis, September 3, 2013, 4:26 PM
Actually, it turns out he never left. That would be Steve Aichele, Gov. Corbett's former chief of staff. Aichele resigned his $154,000-a-year post in mid-July, after a bruising budget season in which the administration was unsuccessful in scoring any of the three big items on its policy agenda. At the time, administration officials had said Aichele would remain on until sometime in August, so he could help Corbett's new chief of staff, Leslie Gromis-Baker, transition into the high-stakes, high-stress job. The administration now says Aichele will remain on as a "special adviser" into October - and possibly longer. And he will continue to earn the same salary he did when he was the governor's right-hand man.

Alternative property tax bill emerges
Scranton Times Tribune BY ROBERT SWIFT (HARRISBURG BUREAU CHIEF)Published: September 3, 2013
HARRISBURG - A new House bill designed to provide school districts with options to reduce or eliminate property taxes could get a green light for some action this fall.
The measure, sponsored by Rep. Seth Grove, R-196, York, offers an alternative to a much-publicized bill to increase both the state personal income tax rate and sales tax rate in order to eliminate property taxes.

Here's seven reasons why Gov. Tom Corbett will win re-election: As I See It
By Patriot-News Op-Ed  By Ed Uravic on September 04, 2013 at 5:15 AM
Ed Uravic is a former Washington lobbyist, Republican congressional chief of staff, and committee director in the state Legislature. He is on the corporate faculty of Harrisburg University of Science and Technology.
Here are seven reasons why Gov. Tom Corbett will win re-election to a second term in 2014. A growing pack of Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, former Environmental Protection Secretaries John Hanger and Kathleen McGinty, as well as former Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf of York are among the candidates vying for the party's nomination.

DN Editorial: An Empty Shell: A poll shows that voters want Gov. Corbett to go. ASAP.
Philly Daily News POSTED: September 03, 2013
THE LATEST dismal poll numbers about Gov. Corbett's job performance prove that you can't fool all of the people all of the time. Only 20 percent of the voters believe that he should be re-elected, according to the latest Daily News/Franklin & Marshall poll.
Sounds about right.
Corbett won in 2010 on the strength of his no-new-taxes pledge. But that was really just a shell game. We now know he meant only state taxes.
Lots of local governments in Pennsylvania have had to increase their taxes to fill in the holes left by Corbett's slash-and-burn approach to state programs, particularly education

Guesses and Hype Give Way to Data in Study of Education
New York Times By GINA KOLATA Published: September 2, 2013
What works in science and math education? Until recently, there had been few solid answers — just guesses and hunches, marketing hype and extrapolations from small pilot studies.
But now, a little-known office in the Education Department is starting to get some real data, using a method that has transformed medicine: the randomized clinical trial, in which groups of subjects are randomly assigned to get either an experimental therapy, the standard therapy, a placebo or nothing.

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).

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