Monday, September 9, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for September 9, 2013: Yinzercation: How to Read the PSSA Report

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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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?

Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for September 9, 2013:
Yinzercation: How to Read the PSSA Report

Pennsylvanians Want a School Funding Formula
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: 

Here’s our weekend postings……
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for September 8, 2013: Where’s the accountability for state and local elected officials responsible for providing a constitutionally mandated “thorough and efficient” education for 134,000 Philly students?

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for September 7, 2013: Feds want data protected in Trombetta cyber charter fraud case

Yinzercation: How to Read the PSSA Report
Yinzercation Blog September 8, 2013
The PA Department of Education just distributed the results of last year’s PSSA testing. Those are the high-stakes tests that Pennsylvania students start taking in the 3rd grade. The fact that families are only getting these results now – six months after students took the actual tests – is the first big clue that these have nothing to do with actual student learning. Quality feedback must be timely, so that teachers can make adjustments to individual instruction and students can learn from their mistakes. But it’s September: students have started a whole new school year and don’t even have the same teachers they did in March.
These test results are largely meaningless. At least for students. Yet they are being used – inappropriately – to evaluate teachers and schools. To threaten, punish, and eliminate them. To justify mass school closures in our sister city of Philadelphia. To determine which schools are next on the chopping block in Pittsburgh.

Pennsylvania secretary of Education expects easier transition when she steps aside
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review By Brad Bumsted Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, 10:30 p.m.
HARRISBURG — Carolyn Dumaresq agreed to become the state Department of Education's third administrator in four months — but with an end date in mind, she said.
Dumaresq, 66, a lifelong educator from Dauphin County, told Gov. Tom Corbett she'd lead the department until his term ends in 2014 and then retire.
New measures of performance for Erie-area schools
Gone are the days of AYP.
Parents familiar with that measure of school performance -- Adequate Yearly Progress -- now have a new tool to help judge whether their child's school is making the grade.
AYP, the main benchmark of school and school district success under No Child Left Behind, was abolished when the state received a waiver from the federal education law in August.
In its place, all public schools in the state will receive a School Performance Profile score based on several measures of student achievement, including scores on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment and the Keystone Exams; closing the achievement gap; graduation rate; promotion rate; and attendance rate.

Philly schools set to open with bigger classes, smaller staff
Martha Woodall and Susan Snyder, Inquirer Staff Writers POSTED: Monday, September 9, 2013, 1:07 AM After a summer of angst and uncertainty, the Philadelphia School District is opening 212 schools Monday. It promises to be a first day like no other. Because of the district's financial crisis, 134,000 students will return to buildings with larger classes and fewer teachers, counselors, administrators and aides. Supplies, even paper, may be scarce. As Linda Carroll, principal of Northeast High School, the district's biggest school, put it last week: "I don't have what I need." In addition, 9,000 students displaced by the closing of 24 schools in June will start classes in new settings, the largest closure-related upheaval in district history.

Philly schools open today with less staff
REGINA MEDINA, Daily News Staff Writer, 215-854-5985 POSTED: Monday, September 9, 2013, 12:16 AM THE FIRST DAY of school in Philadelphia is also the start of a grim new normal for the district's 137,000 students and their families. Today, there are 24 fewer schools in the district, as part of a plan, it has been said, to reduce costs following a decline in the student population. The result is 9,000 students will attend 53 different schools than they would have attended last fall. The district has come up with safe routes to every school, since so many students have shifted in the mass closures, said Karyn Lynch, chief of Student Support Services.

Countdown, Day 2: Tweeting #Philly1stDay experiences
by thenotebook on Sep 07 2013
The Notebook has been counting down the days before schools open. For 40 days, we tried to follow each dramatic twist, every political turn that arose in what many believe is Philadelphia's worst school funding crisis in history.
Though the summer's unofficially over and the school year will start on time, the uncertainty of what schools will look like when they open Monday is of major concern. How safe will they be? What quality of academic instruction will students receive? The question remains to be answered: Will it be a calamity?
We ask that, on the first day of school, teachers and other school staff, parents, and students use Twitter help to keep the public apprised of the successes, surprises and problems or incidents that occur due to a lack of adequate staff and resources.
We encourage you to do this by tweeting issues, events, and images as they arise, using the hashtag #Philly1stDay.

Community on patrol to ensure 'safe corridors' for Northwest Philly students
WHYY Newsworks By Meg Frankowski, @MegFrankowski September 9, 2013
As students head back to school today, some community members in Northwest Philadelphia are pitching in to ensure a smooth transition for students attending schools outside of their neighborhoods.  Volunteers for the "WalkSafePHL" initiative trained last week at the Philadelphia Center for Arts and Technology.

Forever young: the new teaching career
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss, Published: September 9 at 5:00 am
“Given that the focus of so much school reform is rightly on poor kids in underserved schools, and some charter organizations and Teach For America are particularly concerned about making a difference with such children …advocacy of brief teaching careers gets perilously close to moral quicksand.” So writes Mike Rose in the following post about how the teaching profession is being redefined by reformers who don’t think much of experience. Rose is a professor at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and author of several books. His latest book is “Public Education Under Siege,” which he co-edited with Michael B. Katz.

The Great Stagnation of American Education
New York Times Opinion By ROBERT J. GORDON September 7, 2013
For most of American history, parents could expect that their children would, on average, be much better educated than they were. But that is no longer true. This development has serious consequences for the economy.

Public hearing to examine public education funding cuts Tuesday, Sept. 10th in Philadelphia
HARRISBURG, Sept. 5 – House Democratic Policy Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, announced today the committee will hold a hearing about Pennsylvania’s public education and funding cuts from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10 at the Franklin Institute, Fifth Floor Conference Center, 222 North 20th St., Philadelphia.
State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., requested the hearing and will serve as co-chairman. The hearing will focus on the importance of public education and how decreasing state funding is hurting schools all over the Commonwealth.
The current hearing agenda is:
  • 2 p.m. – Welcome and opening remarks
  • 2:10 p.m. – Panel one:
    • Dr. Richard Ingersoll, professor of education and sociology, University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education
    • Jamira Burley, executive director, Philadelphia Youth Commission
  • 2:35 p.m. – Panel two:
    • Laurada Byers, co-founder, Russell Byers Charter School
    • Mark Gleason, executive director, Philadelphia School Partnership
  • 3 p.m. – Panel three:
    • Helen Gym, co-founder, Parents United
    • Jerry Jordan, president, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers
  • 3:25 p.m. – Panel three:
    • Kathleen Melville, communications coordinator for Teachers Lead Philly and teacher at Constitution High School
    • Christine Carlson, founder, Greater Center City Neighborhoods School Coalition
  • 3:50 p.m. – Closing remarks
The hearing is open to the public and media coverage is invited.

Parents as Advocates for Children and Education - EPLC "Focus on Education" TV Program on PCN Sept. 11th
Next Wednesday, September 11, tune in to the next episode of EPLC's "Focus on Education" series, which will discuss Parents as Advocates for Children and Education and air at 9:00 p.m. on PCN television.  The panel will include: 
  • Ron Cowell, President of The Education Policy and Leadership Center;   
  • Corinna Vecsey Wilson, PCN Host of the "Focus on Education" programs;  
  • Deborah Dunstone, President, Pennsylvania PTA;
  • Sylvia P. Simms, Founder and President of PARENT POWER and Commissioner, School Reform Commission, The School District of Philadelphia
  • Bonita Allen, Former Member, Pennsylvania Title I State Parent Advisory Council and now a SPAC Parent Involvement in Education Consultant; and   
  • Kurt A. Kondrich, M.Ed., Chair, Pennsylvania State Interagency Coordinating Council and Director of Family and Community Outreach, Early Intervention Specialists
EPLC and PA Cable Network (PCN) have partnered for a monthly program focusing on education issues in Pennsylvania.  The first episodes aired from February to June and covered school safety issuesstudent testingthe work of school boardshow public education is funded in Pennsylvania, and the school dropout crisis.  The program was paused for the summer months.
The episode next Wednesday, September 11 will be broadcast on PCN at 9:00 p.m., and "Focus on Education" will not be broadcast monthly through December.  Tapings of the episodes which aired in February through June are available on the PCN web site.
To learn more, visit PCN's "Focus on Education" web page.

Keystone State Education Coalition Co-Chair and PSBA Pres-Elect Candidate Mark B Miller on tap for Bucks County Town Hall Meeting to discuss possible Property Tax reform, HB 76 on Sept. 12th.
Thursday evening September 12th, 7 to 9 p.m. @ Kings Caterers, 4010 New Falls Road, Bristol

PILCOP 2013 Symposium on Equality September 12, 2013
Privatization: Looking out for the Public Good
Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia
Thursday, September 12, 2013 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
University of Pennsylvania Law School Levy Conference Center
3400 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA
Join us for a day of panels, discussions and presentations on what privatization means for communities and individuals, using healthcare, education and land use as examples.
Details and tickets here:

Education Law Center Annual Event Sept. 18th, 2013
Featuring Morris Dees and honoring education advocates Barbara Minzenberg and the Philadelphia Student Union.  Wednesday, Sept. 18th at 5:30 p.m., Crystal Tea Room, Wanamaker Building 100 Penn Square East, Philadelphia

PA Special Education Funding Formula Commission Upcoming Meeting Sept 19th in Reading
Save the date: September 19 tentative meeting date in Reading; no venue announced yet
To consider charter and cyber special education funding

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 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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