Thursday, October 3, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for October 2, 2013: Got $50 grand to learn to sweep “the public” out of public education?

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Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for October 2, 2013:
Got $50 grand to learn to sweep “the public” out of public education?

Pa. advocates gear up for education funding push
Its music program was eliminated, 12 percent of its teaching force laid off, and its junior high sports program was slashed.  "Cuts at the state level just kill us," said Jim Duffy, superintendent of the Fannett-Metal School District, a small system in south-central Pennsylvania.  Duffy stood in Harrisburg last week alongside education advocates from across the state calling for more public school funding from the state and fairer distribution of the money.  It has become a common and growing refrain that promises to intensify after an austere budget cycle in which school districts from Philadelphia to Allentown to York were forced to cut services and staff.
"It's not a Philadelphia problem," said State Rep. James Roebuck (D., Phila.), minority chair of the House Education Committee. "It's a statewide problem. There are districts that are in even worse financial condition than we are here in Philadelphia."

"The forces that are behind this effort are all about starving the public sector," Whitehorne said. They're "promoting what they call school choice, which, as far as we're concerned is an effort at privatization, taking away power from our elected school boards and communities and investing it into these unaccountable boards of hedge fund managers and folks like that."
Protesters say visiting philanthropists want to defund public schools
ABOUT 20 PROTESTERS chanted outside a North Philadelphia charter school yesterday afternoon, claiming a group of visiting philanthropists were "deciding what education looks like in America, not the parents, not the students."  The activists from Fight for Philly and the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools protested outside Grover Cleveland Mastery Charter School on 19th Street near Erie Avenue, where attendees of a conference, "All of the Above: How Donors Can Expand a City's Great Schools," were taking a tour.
The conference is being held at the Union League and is organized by the Philanthropy Roundtable, a national nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., that describes itself on its website as "America's leading network of charitable donors working to strengthen our free society, uphold donor intent, and protect the freedom to give."  The organization counts "individual philanthropists, families and private foundations" as its members.

Attytood: Millionaire vultures in Philly to pick over carcass of public education
Philly Daily News Attytood Blog by Will Bunch OCTOBER 1, 2013, 7:28 AM
Remember how some of us were saying that as soon as the "shock doctrine" of manufactured budget crises put the fork in any hope of reviving Philadelphia's public schools in any way, that the vulture capitalists would be diving in to pick over the carcass?
Don't bother, they're here. In fact, they're everywhere, they're everywhere! When we weren't looking, someone apparently decreed that Monday, Sept. 30, 2013, shall be hereby known as Crush A Teacher Day in the city of Philadelphia.

“The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, which is paying to develop the new report cards, is coming to the symposium, too.
It's unclear what else PSP and the Compact have been doing: their meetings and internal operations are closed to the general public. What is clear is that a number of conservative and corporate power brokers sit on PSP's board, including: Janine Yass, BCG donor and wife of Bala Cynwyd-based hedge fund manager and choice-funder Jeff Yass; investor Michael O'Neill, who paid $100,000 of the bill for BCG's analysis; and Chris Bravacos, a former state Republican Party director who now heads the pro-voucher REACH Alliance and Bravo Foundation, the latter being a middleman for the state's school-voucher-like tax credit program.
They might be at the symposium too. Same with the Walmart-fortune-funded Walton Family Foundation, which recently donated $5 million to PSP. I don't know, of course, because I'm definitely not invited.
Monday's event is also closed to the press.”
Wealthy donors move schools decision-making behind closed doors
Citypaper By Daniel Denvir Published: 09/29/2013 | 4 Comments Posted
On Monday, wealthy donors interested in the future of public education will gather for atwo-day conference at the Union League: "All of the Above: How Donors can Expand a City's Great Schools."  Attendance is restricted to those who make $50,000 in charitable donations per year. One might hope, given the apocalyptic state of Philly's resource-starved public schools, that they are here to plot a campaign to reverse deep state budget cuts — or, at the very least, to cut a check to rehire some laid-off school counselors.

All of the Above: How Donors Can Expand a City’s Great Schools
Philanthropy Roundtable Website
SEPTEMBER 30 - OCTOBER 01, 2013 Union League Club – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Co-hosted by Delaware Valley Grantmakers and Cities for Education Entrepreneurship Trust (CEE-Trust)
How can a philanthropist increase the number of great K-12 options in their city? 
Join donors from across the country as we examine the most promising strategies to grow what works in all of a city’s schools—charter, district, and Catholic/private—and explore the challenges and benefits of a city-based, multi-school sector strategy. How can donors increase a city’s total number of high-quality K-12 seats, regardless of the school sector(s) they fund? We’ll discuss investments that hold the promise of improving multiple types of schools and learn how donors are uniquely positioned to accelerate city-wide student achievement.

Pa. House votes against school tax elimination by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS POSTED: Tuesday, October 1, 2013, 6:43 PM
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A proposal to replace school property taxes in Pennsylvania with higher income and sales taxes was soundly rejected Tuesday in the House of Representatives.
The Republican-controlled House shot down the measure 138-59 after about three hours of debate in which conservative stalwarts sought to rally their allies.  This vote "may very well be our last chance to cast a vote anywhere near property tax elimination," argued the sponsor, Rep. Jim Cox, R-Berks. "If this issue is important to you ... I ask you to stick with me."

Bill requiring public schools to offer online courses emerges from Pa. House Education Committee
By Jan Murphy |  on October 01, 2013 at 6:29 PM
Legislation that seeks to transform the way education is delivered to sixth- through 12th-graders emerged out of the House Education Committee on Tuesday.
The state House Education Committee passed legislation on Tuesday that seeks to transform the way education is delivered in all Pennsylvania public schools.  The bill’s sponsor Rep. Ryan Aument, R-Lancaster, would mandate public schools to offer online learning opportunities to students in secondary schools.

The Shutdown and Education: Your Cheat Sheet
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Alyson Klein on October 1, 2013 6:15 AM
So it's happened: Congress was unable to reach agreement on temporary spending plan to keep the government open—and the U.S. Department of Education and other government agencies are on partial shutdown. It's the first time this has happened since the Clinton administration, back in 1995 and 1996.  While that means a much quieter day at 400 Maryland Ave, most schools and school districts aren't going to be immediately affected by a short-term shutdown. A longer-term shutdown, however, could cause more headaches. See our preview here of the Education Department's shutdown plan.
Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions about what happens now:

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