Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for October 15, 2013: In NJ, neediest districts have more money per student, not less, than better-off neighboring districts

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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for October 15, 2013:
In NJ, neediest districts have more money per student, not less, than better-off neighboring districts

The Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools (PARSS)
Written by Janice Bissett and Arnold Hillman Updated September 2013

The Keystone State Education Coalition faxed a copy of this blog posting to all members of the PA General Assembly last night.  Ask your state legislators about it….
The argument over fair funding continues; some look to N.J. for a better way
The notebook by Dale Mezzacappa on Oct 11 2013
Across the 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.
What a 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 teachers' contract.

Midland school board won't remove superintendent
Beaver County Times Online By Matt Jones for The Times Tuesday, October 15, 2013 12:30 am
MIDLAND -- Midland school board members aren't going to remove Superintendent Sean Tanner from his position, following allegations that he accepted monthly payments from Avanti Management Group.  In an affidavit, federal prosecutors said Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School founder Nick Trombetta ordered Avanti to send Tanner a $2,000 check every month, although Brett Geibel of Leechburg and Jane Price of East Liverpool, Ohio, two of the alleged 'straw partners' in Avanti, said he didn't do any work for the company. Geibel and Price were granted immunity for their cooperation in the federal investigation of Trombetta.
Avanti was one of several organizations and businesses that prosecutors allege Trombetta used to steal $1 million and hide $8 million from the Internal Revenue Service. The cyber school is funded through taxpayer money steered from the home districts of cyber school students.

Philadelphia-Based Solomon Charter School Surrenders Charter to Department of Education
PDE Press Release October 11, 2013
Harrisburg – The Board of Trustees of Philadelphia-based Solomon Charter School today voted to surrender its charter to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, said Acting Secretary of Education Carolyn C. Dumaresq.  In March, the department filed a Notice of Charges against Solomon seeking to revoke the school’s charter as a result of significant violations of the state’s Public School Code and provisions of the school’s charter.  In filing, the department alleged that the charter school improperly used its Vine Street location to provide instruction and other educational services that cyber schools are not authorized to provide under the Charter School Law. The school denied those charges.  A hearing was scheduled for November; however, today’s board action brings these proceedings to an end.

Only five disciplined over Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests
As state education secretary, Ron Tomalis predicted more than 100 disciplinary actions against educators over tests; five have been filed.
By Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette October 15, 2013 12:04 am
More than a year after then-state Education Secretary Ron Tomalis vowed to file "well over 100" disciplinary complaints against educators over alleged cheating on state tests, the state has disciplined only five.  The state Professional Standards and Practices Commission has taken action against four in Philadelphia and one in Erie, ranging from a public reprimand to a surrender of some certificates.  It is uncertain whether more cases are pending, but no action has been taken since May in a case involving the administration of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests.

Pittsburgh City council asks school officials to delay closings
By Moriah Balingit / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette October 15, 2013 12:06 am
Although the shuttering of schools is ultimately the purview of Pittsburgh Public Schools, the impact of displaced schoolchildren and a vacant building at risk for deterioration is felt by the broader community.  That logic was part of the rationale behind a resolution put forth by Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith, who is urging council to formally request that the school board place a moratorium on closures for the 2014-15 school year. The resolution also urges Pittsburgh Public Schools to reconsider the adoption of a new teacher evaluation system.

Pittsburgh Public Schools students rally for new student bill of rights
By Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette October 14, 2013 11:22 pm
The TeenBloc students from A+ Schools want to be sure Pittsburgh Public Schools hears student voices.  In a campaign launched at a rally Monday, TeenBloc called on the district to adopt a student bill of rights developed by the 15 students from seven secondary schools, with the campaign slogan, "We deserve to be served."

Photo exhibit opening this week chronicles the 'decline and destruction' of Philly public school
WHYY Newsworks by Aaron Moselle OCTOBER 14, 2013 GERMANTOWN
….Katrina Ohstrom, who curated and contributed to the exhibit, said she hopes the collective's photographs will help keep the memory of these schools alive so that, maybe, they can help influence future decisions around education.  "These aren't just anonymous schools in lower-income neighborhoods," said Ohstrom. "They're very much a part of the community and ... people who are living in these communities, and the teachers that serve these communities really, really care. And, the students who are attending these schools really want an education."

Despite mounting challenges, Philly's public-school kids are 'nobody's fools'
My wife and I have chosen to raise our children in Philadelphia, despite the many challenges our city faces.  We stay in spite of the violence that occurs in many city neighborhoods including our own.  We stay despite the 28 percent poverty rate that wreaks havoc on everything from our tax base to our educational system.  We stay notwithstanding the apathy many Philadelphians feel toward such problems.

Failure of leadership
Philly.com Opinion By Joseph M. McColgan  Tuesday, October 15, 2013, 2:01 AM
Joseph M. McColgan is a lifelong Philadelphian and former Republican candidate for City Council.
The latest poll conducted by the Pew Charitable Trusts reveals some telling information on the attitudes of Philadelphia residents: One, we are beginning to resent the government we get for the taxes we pay. Two, there are two types of schools - those you want to send your kids to, and those you don't. Philadelphia, unfortunately, is filled with the latter.

PA Budget and Policy Center Fall Webinar Series to Tackle Property Taxes, Marcellus Shale, Health Care, Education
Posted by PA Budget and Policy Center on October 9, 2013
Pack your brown bag lunch and join the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center for a great series of noontime webinars this fall — starting Friday, October 18 from noon 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.
More info and registration here: http://pennbpc.org/webinars

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).

PASCD Annual Conference ~ A Whole Child Education Powered by Blendedschools Network November 3-4, 2013 | Hershey Lodge & Convention Center
We invite 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 PIL Academies 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.
Click here for the 2013 Conference Schedule
Click here to register for the conference. 

Philadelphia Education Fund 2013 EDDY Awards November 19, 2013
Join us as we celebrate their accomplishments!
Tuesday, November 19, 2013 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm WHYY, 150 North 6th Street, Philadelphia
Invitations coming soon!

Building One Pennsylvania
Fourth Annual Fundraiser and Awards Ceremony
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2013 6:00-8:00 PM
IBEW Local 380   3900 Ridge Pike  Collegeville, PA 19426
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 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

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