Established in 2006, the Keystone State Education Coalition is a growing grass roots, non-partisan public education advocacy group of several hundred locally elected, volunteer school board members and administrators from school districts throughout Pennsylvania. Our mission is to evaluate, discuss and inform our boards, district constituents and legislators on legislative issues of common interest and to facilitate active engagement in public education advocacy.
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for October 14, 2013: $1 million a day
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, current/former PA Secretaries of Education, 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
“The way New Jersey funds schools today is largely
the result of legal cases going
back to the 1970s. The state's Supreme Court has been very specific in ordering
the legislature to fully fund schools, and to make sure that the state's 31
poorest receive more money -- recognizing that they have greater needs. Those
are the so-called former "Abbott" districts, named after the Jersey City schoolboy who
was the lead plaintiff in the funding case known as Abbott v. Burke.
The New Jersey Supreme Court
has also over the years required the state to fund full-day preschool for all
three- and four-year-olds in the state.”
The argument over fair
funding continues; some look to N.J. for a better way
river in New Jersey,
the neediest school districts have more money per student to spend, not less,
than their nearby and generally better-off neighbors that surround them.
concept. This is directly opposite to
the situation in Pennsylvania,
where wealthy districts spend more, and the gap is growing. And where Philadelphia, the state's largest
city, is so starved for funds that its schools lack counselors, librarians,
full-time nurses, and other basic services, as Gov. Corbett's administration is
holding back $45 million in allocated state funds while awaiting reforms in the
“And yet $1
million a day - $360 million a year - is roughly what the PhiladelphiaSchool District would have in its
budget if a 2008 plan for fairer funding of Pennsylvania schools had been kept in
DN Editorial: $1 million
Philly Daily News Editorial Monday, October 14, 2013,
dollars a day. Imagine what a different place the PhiladelphiaSchool
District might be in with $1 million more a day.
Not only could schools have counselors, nurses, art teachers, music teachers
and libraries, but the district's management priorities would shift to academic
progress rather than the panicked lurch from one crisis to the next.
And yet $1
million a day - $360 million a year - is roughly what the PhiladelphiaSchool District would have in its
budget if a 2008 plan for fairer funding of Pennsylvania schools had been kept in place.
This is based on an estimate by John Myers, of APA Consulting, the firm that
did the original school "costing out" study for the state. His
estimate of $360 million that "might have been" came during a school
funding symposium held in City Hall last week; many experts claim that that's
way too low a figure.
“Above Philadelphia is LowerMerionSchool District. One of its two high
schools is Harriton HS. Harriton HS has 1188 kids and four full-time
nurses. Science Leadership Academy has 490 kids, and we have a nurse two days a
week. This year, the average per pupil
expenditure in Philadelphia hovers
just under $10,000 per child while Lower Merion is
able to spend over $25,000 per child. The way
we fund schools in this state is criminal, and it has to change.”
Massey died on September 25th after having an asthma attack at school.
According to thearticle in City Paper, it was close to the end of the
day, the school called home for advice, and dad told his daughter that they’d
deal with it when she got home. She got home, and Dad realized how serious the
problem was, and rushed her to the hospital. It wasn’t enough, and Laporshia
died later that day.
allowed to be surprised by this.
Elementary doesn’t have a full-time nurse, and the 25th wasn’t one of the days
their nurse was staffed at their school. The school called home, a teacher
drove her home at the end of the day, so it is not as if the school did
nothing. And in case anyone thinks they could have / should have seen this
tragedy coming, you should know how hard it is as a lay-person to make the call
to call 911.
6 Delco schools targeted
for help after getting low performance tag
By John Kopp,
Times POSTED: 10/12/13,
Pennsylvania Department of Education is dispatching academic recovery liaisons
to assist 92 schools being dubbed as priority schools under the new
Pennsylvania School Performance Profile evaluating standards. The 92 priority schools on the list released
by PDE last week do not exactly represent the lowest-performing schools in the
state. Rather, the schools were determined by a mixture of several factors,
including poor performance on standardized tests and whether they can receive
federal aid for either high concentrations of low-income students or poor test
A pair of LehighValley
schools with students who are struggling academically will get some extra help
from the state later this year.
Pennsylvania Department of Education is assigning academic recovery liaisons to
Title 1 schools that fall in the bottom 5 percent statewide based on students'
scores in math and reading on Pennsylvania System of School Assessment exams or
in algebra and literature on Keystone Exams, department officials said this
LuzerneCounty Citizens Voice BY MICHAEL
P. BUFFER, STAFF WRITER October 13, 2013
is recalculating the school performance score released for the Greater
Nanticoke Area High School, according to Joe Long, principal of the Greater
Nanticoke Area Educational Center and K.M.SmithElementary School. On Oct. 4, the state Department of Education
released the new School Performance Profiles, which give public schools in the
state an overall score from 0 to 100, plus seven possible extra-credit points.
The Greater Nanticoke Area High School received a score of 59.3, the second
lowest of 31 schools in the county with posted marks.
recalculation is due to a glitch involving evaluations of Keystone Exams, Long
said at Thursday's school board meeting.
"They counted in all the Keystone Exams taken in the high school
last year, and they shouldn't have," Long said. "The only ones that
should've been counted are from kids who took a Keystone course."
didn't post scores from other high schools in the county with the Keystone Exam
problem, Long said. A total of 15 schools in LuzerneCounty
did not have posted scores.
Diane Ravitch's 'Reign of Error': an in-your-face
defense of public education
'The Hoax of the Privatization
Movement and the Danger to America's
Chute / Pittsburgh
historian Diane Ravitch has produced a book that could make anyone from parents
to policy wonks think twice about the direction American public schools are
Ravitch, 75, a former assistant secretary of education under President George
H.W. Bush and now research professor of education at New YorkUniversity,
was once a proponent of testing and school choice, but she had an epiphany in
2006 when she realized the school choices she had been supporting didn't work.
epiphany resulted in the 2010 book "Death and Life of the Great American
School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education."
Ms. Ravitch has written "Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization
Movement and the Danger to America's
TribLive Opinion: It
would be a bad idea to replace property taxes to pay for public schools
The Tribune-Review By Ray Richman Published: Saturday,
Oct. 12, 2013,
Ray Richman is a professor emeritus
of public and international affairs at the University of Pittsburgh.
He has been a real estate tax consultant to the City of Philadelphia and the State Tax Equalization
Board. He directed the preparation in 1971 of the commonwealth's “Assessors
Handbook.” No one who has studied
the economics of the real estate tax would advocate its abolition and the
substitution of any other tax for it. Yet some local governments in AlleghenyCounty want to do just that. And some
conservatives would abolish it, too.
estate tax is the only tax local governments levy that does not cause people or
businesses to flee the taxing jurisdiction; it is more progressive than a sales
tax; the burden cannot be shifted to others, neither tenants nor prospective
buyers; and it is economical to administer.
The only trouble with it is that it is often abused by politicians and
frequently badly administered. But bad administration is almost always caused
by political interference with the assessment process.
Lawmaker wants online
courses offered at all Pa.
middle and high schools
Newsworks BY MARY WILSON OCTOBER 13, 2013
A plan to
make online courses available to middle school and high school students in Pennsylvania is before
the state House. Online education in the
commonwealth has been limited, for the most part, to cyber charter schools and
a few brick-and-mortar schools.
Aument wants to make all school districts offer such classes to students in
grades six through 12. The first step, he said, is getting the state to make a
database of vetted cyber courses.
Philadelphia teens can now visit the city's
museums for free. The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance is giving out
museum passes good for admission to 12 of the city's most popular cultural
institutions. More than 1,600 young
people have signed up online for the passes in the first week of the STAMP
program. Adrienne Whaley, curator of
education and public programming at the African American Museum of
Philadelphia, said she hopes the passes will get teens who haven't come to the
museum before to visit.
Easton Area School District buses
might have digital recording devices by the time students return from holiday
break next year. Chief Operating
Officer Mike Simonetta proposes that
the district replace its school bus camera equipment with digital recorders by
about January. He said about 50 or 60 of the district's 95 active buses still
operate using VHS recorders.
of Pennsylvania has recognized October as National Principals’ Month. In their
proclamation, they recognize the vital importance of principals as educational
visionaries, instructional and assessment leaders, disciplinarians, community
builders, budget analysts, facilities managers and administrators of legal and
general recognition of the important role principals play in creating effective
schools, most of us only have a vague idea about what principals actually do.
Many retain the mythological vision of a man, sitting in his office, waiting to
punish unruly students.
7-year-olds in Natalie May’s class have to stretch their fingers across the keyboards
to reach “ASDF” and “JKL;” as they listen to the animated characters on their
computer screens talk about “home keys.”
“After 15 minutes, some of them will say their fingers are hurting, so
we take a break,” said May, a Phoenix
educator who began teaching typing to second-graders this school year. Of the major shifts taking place in American
classrooms as a result of the new national Common Core academic standards, one little-noticed
but sweeping change is the fact that children as early as kindergarten are
learning to use a keyboard. A skill that
has been taught for generations in middle or high school — first on manual
typewriters, then electric word processors and finally on computer keyboards —
is now becoming a staple of elementary schools. Educators around the country
are rushing to teach typing to children who have barely mastered printing by
Concerns Arise Over Privacy of Schoolchildren's Data
Post-Gazette By NATASHA SINGER / The New York Times October 13, 2013
children's advocacy group is challenging the $8 billion educational technology
software industry to develop national safeguards for the personal data
collected about students from kindergarten through high school. In a letter sent last week to 16 educational
technology vendors -- including Google Apps for Education, Samsung School,
Scholastic and Pearson Schoolnet -- Common Sense Media, an advocacy group in
San Francisco that rates children's videos and apps for age appropriateness,
urged the industry to use student data only for educational purposes, and not
for marketing products to children or their families.
Explains: Who Paid for the Common Core Standards
Huffington Post by Diane Ravitch Posted: 10/10/2013
Schneider has undertaken an immense task. She decided to spend her free time --
when she is not teaching -- trying to figure out how much the Gates Foundation
paid various organizations to write, develop, implement, promote, and advocate
for the Common Core standards. This is a
herculean job because the foundation has been so free-handed with its money. To
its credit, the Gates Foundation has a website that enables researchers to
identify their grants over time. At a certain point, as you go through the list
of who got how much money to "promote" the CCSS, you start to wonder
"who DIDN'T get Gates money?"
PA Budget and Policy Center Fall Webinar Series to
Tackle Property Taxes, Marcellus Shale, Health Care, Education
Posted by PA Budget and PolicyCenter on October 9, 2013
brown bag lunch and join the Pennsylvania Budget and PolicyCenter
for a great series of noontime
webinars this fall — starting Friday, October 18 from to 1 p.m. Learn more about the
problems with legislative proposals to fully eliminate property taxes and
proven strategies to provide property tax relief where it is needed. Other
topics include the countdown to new health care options in 2014, the latest on
jobs in the Marcellus Shale, and what we can do to restore needed education
funding in Pennsylvania.
Each webinar is designed to provide you with the information you need to shape
the debate in the State Capitol.
The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, State College, PA
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.
Keynote Speakers: Charlotte Danielson, Dr. Todd Whitaker, Will Richardson &
David Andrews, Esq. (Legal Update).
Conference ~ A Whole Child Education Powered by Blendedschools Network
November 3-4, 2013 | Hershey Lodge & Convention Center
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 PILAcademies 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.
Fourth Annual Fundraiser
and Awards Ceremony THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2013
IBEW Local 380 3900 Ridge Pike Collegeville, PA
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 NationalSchoolBoardsActionCenterFriends of Public Education
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