Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for October 17, 2013: IF PA reinstated the funding formula adopted in 2008 Delco districts would have received an additional $48 million in the current school year.

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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for October 17, 2013:
IF PA reinstated the funding formula adopted in 2008 Delco districts would have received an additional $48 million in the current school year.

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

“PCCY’s analysis on school funding found that if Pennsylvania were to reinstate the funding formula adopted in 2008 by the Pennsylvania state legislature, Delaware County School Districts would receive more than $45 million in additional funding in this year alone.”
Rising Poverty Poses New Challenges for Delaware County School Districts and the Future of the County
PCCY Blog Spot Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Public education in Delaware County is a study in contrasts.  It has a countywide graduation rate 3% higher than the state average, but lags behind the other Southeastern Pennsylvania counties.  Delaware County’s median income is significantly above the national average, yet one in three students live in low-income households—and the share of low income students is rising.  Delaware County is home to some of the highest performing districts in the state, but nearly 25% of students in Delco are below grade level in reading and 27% are below grade level in math.  The annual per pupil spending in Delaware County’s top district is nearly two-thirds higher than in its lowest spending district.  One thing is for certain, without a fair funding formula for public education, Delaware County will remain divided between the haves and have-nots.

D.A.'s urge lawmakers for funds for early education programs
By Cindy Scharr, Delaware County Daily Times POSTED: 10/16/13, 11:28 PM EDT |
CHESTER — District attorneys from Southeastern Pennsylvania on Wednesday urged state and federal lawmakers to increase funding for early education programs for at-risk children in an effort to boost high school graduation rates and reduce the prison population.  “We can continue with the status quo, which is leading too many people to failure in school, involvement in crime and incarceration at huge cost to Pennsylvania taxpayers,” said Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan, standing in front of the State Correctional Institution in Chester. “Or we can take a different course, leading more kids to success in school, increased high school graduation and savings to taxpayers for years to come.”

Southeast PA Prosecutors: “I’m The Guy You Pay Later”
Educate or Incarcerate – DA’s voice support for expanding Pre-K to more of the thousands of unserved at-risk kids in the Philadelphia region
SCI Chester Hosts Event to Spotlight Cuts To Crime and Incarceration Through Broader Access to Quality Preschool
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids PA October 16, 2013
Chester, PA (October 16, 2013) –Southeast Pennsylvania prosecutors who are members of who are members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids gathered at State Corrections Institution (SCI) Chester today to release a report –I’m The Guy You Pay Later –that shows further state and federal funding for early childhood education could boost high school graduation rates, reduce the number of people who are incarcerated in Pennsylvania, and eventually lead to $195 million in Corrections cost savings for the Commonwealth every year.
Delaware County District Attorney John J. Whelan, Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman, Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams, Chester County District Attorney Thomas P. Hogan and Cumberland County District Attorney David J. Freed, who is the current President of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, all spoke at the event.

Tina Viletto receives PSBA’s Allwein Advocacy Award
PSBA 10/16/2013
The Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) awarded Tina Viletto Esq., school director at the School District of Cheltenham Township (Montgomery Co.), with the third Timothy M. Allwein Advocacy Award at the PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference in Hershey, Oct. 16. The award was established in 2011 by PSBA in memory of Tim Allwein, the association's former assistant executive director for Governmental and Member Relations.  It is presented annually to an individual school director or entire school board to recognize outstanding leadership in legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of public education and students that are consistent with the positions in PSBA's Legislative Platform.
Nominators praised Tina Viletto for her tireless and unyielding dedication to continual improvement of public education through the legislative sector. Others said her knowledge of education legislation and communication with elected representatives has strengthened advocacy of public education

“The Governor's aid cut has transformed Philadelphia into an education wasteland, consigning students to schools without the most basic resources.
Make no mistake: The severe staff and programs cuts have nothing to do with how teachers obtain tenure, or how they are laid off, or other so-called "reforms." The deprivation of resources in Philadelphia and other districts is the direct result of the governor's decision to disinvest in the education of the state's most vulnerable children.”
Corbett neglecting Pennsylvania's vulnerable school children
WHYY Newsworks Opinion by David G. Sciarra OCTOBER 16, 2013 ESSAYWORKS
David G. Sciarra is the executive director of Education Law Center
The evidence is in, and the verdict is clear. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is guilty of gross neglect of its most fundamental duty: educating all children to prepare them for citizenship and our 21st Century economy.  The plain and simple truth is the commonwealth is violating its own constitution, which requires the state to support "a thorough and efficient system of public education."
The Philadelphia school budget crisis is the latest example of the state's failure. Pennsylvania continues to fund public education as it has for decades. The Legislature and governor decide how much they want to spend based entirely on politics, with no regard for what students need to achieve state academic standards.

Keystone Exams: Risks for Schools In High-stakes Tests by SARA NEUFELD, HECHINGER REPORT Thursday, October 17, 2013, 2:01 AM
Second of three parts.
Upper Dublin High School had the 10th-highest SAT scores last year of any public school in Pennsylvania. It occupies a gleaming, just-completed, $119 million building where a sushi chef supplements the cafeteria offerings on Wednesdays. Its graduation rate exceeds 99 percent, and more than 95 percent of graduates go on to two- and four-year colleges.
Yet even here, teachers are worried about being able to get all their students to pass state exams in algebra, literature, and biology, which are set to be required for a diploma beginning with the current freshman class. So where does that leave the rest of Pennsylvania?

NY Times: Pennsylvania Will Release School Funds
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: October 16, 2013
Gov. Tom Corbett said Wednesday that he has agreed to release $45 million for the Philadelphia schools as the district goes through its worst financial crisis in memory and questions swirl about a student’s apparently asthma-related death after attending a school without a nurse on site. Mr. Corbett, a Republican, said the Philadelphia school superintendent, William Hite, had convinced him that district officials had made enough progress toward the governor’s educational and financial goals for the district. Mr. Hite said the money would allow the district to restore sports and music and rehire about 400 people, including guidance counselors, assistant principals and teachers. However, he said he did not plan to rehire any nurses, as union officials and a parents’ organization urged, because the district has met the state’s caseload standard of one nurse for up to 1,500 students. The state legislature approved the money in July, but it gave the secretary of education the power to first demand improvements.

USA Today: Pa. gov. returns $45M to struggling Philly schools
USA Today by AP 5:13 p.m. EDT October 16, 2013
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Gov. Tom Corbett said Wednesday he has agreed to release $45 million for the Philadelphia schools as the state's largest school district goes through its worst financial crisis in memory and questions swirl about a student's apparently asthma-related death after attending a school without a nurse on site.
Corbett made the announcement at an unrelated news conference in his Capitol offices and did not take questions afterward. However, he said his decision came a day after a letter from the Philadelphia school superintendent, William Hite, convinced him that district officials had made enough progress toward the governor's educational and financial goals for improvements in the 134,000-student district.

Education Week: Pennsylvania Governor Will Release $45 Million to Philadelphia Schools
Education Week District Dossier Blog By Jackie Zubrzycki on October 16, 2013 5:39 PM
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett announced today that he would release $45 million to Philadelphia schools. That money will allow the school district to rehire some 400 staff members, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.   The district was in such dire financial straits at the end of this summer—more than $300 million short of meeting its budget—that it came close to not opening on time. The $45 million that Gov. Corbett, a Republican, released today had been earmarked for the city's schools, but the state said it would not be released until the district had made certain reforms, including getting concessions from its union.

Corbett to release $45 million that Pa. has been withholding; 400 jobs to be restored
The notebook by Dale Mezzacappa on Oct 16 2013  [Updated 4:15 p.m.] 
Gov. Corbett announced Wednesday that he would release the $45 million that the state had appropriated to the Philadelphia School District but had been withholding pending reforms in the teachers' contract.  In a statement, Corbett said that he felt sufficient progress had been made in the operations of Philadelphia schools by the School Reform Commission and Superintendent William Hite to justify release of the funds. Hite immediately said that he would restore 400 jobs, athough still not all schools will have full-time counselors.
“Superintendent Hite and the School Reform Commission are working to build a system of public schools that has adequate resources and has the policies in place for students and teachers to thrive. The reforms they are pursuing are critical to the district’s ability to better manage costs, ensuring that any new money that goes to the district gets spent on things that will improve the quality of education for students," Corbett said in a statement.
The governor was responding to a letter dated Oct. 15 that Hite sent to acting Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq.

Philly School District to rehire 400 with $45M in state aid
LAST UPDATED: Wednesday, October 16, 2013, 3:38 PM
POSTED: Wednesday, October 16, 2013, 11:27 AM
Gov. Corbett's release of $45 million in state funding for the Philadelphia School District will allow the addition of 400 counselors, assistant principals, teachers, secretaries and other positions to the city's schools, Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said.  The process of adding personnel to the schools will begin immediately, with assignments being finalized over the next couple weeks as the district shuffles staff among schools based on enrollment, a process known as "leveling."
The new money also will allow the district to dramatically reduce the number of students in split grade classrooms, Hite said, as well as extend music education and athletics for the full school year.

“In assignments and transfers caused by leveling -- deciding who gets cut or who comes in -- "the principal would follow the process for seniority unless there was a compelling reason that would create an adverse impact on the school," Hite said in Wednesday's press conference. His list of "compelling reasons" includes whether a teacher is part of a school leadership team, works in afterschool activities with students, has gotten a grant that will disappear with the teacher, is conducting professional development for other teachers, or has "expertise" that would be missed.”
With negotiations ongoing, Hite adds factors for teacher recall and assignment
The notebook by Dale Mezzacappa on Oct 16 2013
Among the items that Superintendent William Hite included in this week's "status report" to state officials that preceded the release of a $45 million state grant was an explanation of how seniority is no longer the sole factor in determining where teachers are assigned.
"For the 2013-14 school year, the primary factor in making assignment and transfer decisions -- including decisions about recall from lay-off -- has been and will be the best interests of the students and the school's educational program," the superintendent's letter to acting Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq said. "Seniority will be among the relevant factors considered, but not the sole factor. For example, when restoring teacher, counselor, and secretarial positions in preparation for school opening this fall, decisions were driven by the best interests of school communities, including the need to have staff who are invested in the schools in which they were working."

PPG Editorial: Butt out, council: Leave city school decisions to the school board
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Editorial October 17, 2013 12:27 am
The last thing the Pittsburgh Public Schools system needs is to further politicize the act of budgeting when enrollment and state funding are shrinking. Yet that's just what Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith did by formally asking the board to put a moratorium on school closures for the 2014-15 academic year.
What could be easier for a politician than to pander to the public, telling apprehensive parents, teachers and students exactly what they want to hear? That's an especially easy message to deliver if that politician doesn't have to worry about how to pay the bills.
That's the case for city council. Its members do not vote on the school district's budget, and they do not set school tax rates. That responsibility belongs to members of a different elected body, the Pittsburgh Board of Education.  Like city council, school board members are selected by Pittsburgh voters to set policies for the public schools run by the district and the tax rates that allow the district to meet its financial obligations.

Links to roll call votes for both Senate and House in this piece….
Republicans Back Down, Ending Crisis Over Shutdown and Debt Limit
New York Times By JONATHAN WEISMAN and ASHLEY PARKER October 16, 2013 
WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans conceded defeat on Wednesday in their bitter budget fight with President Obama over the new health care law as the House and Senate approved last-minute legislation ending a disruptive 16-day government shutdown and extending federal borrowing power to avert a financial default with potentially worldwide economic repercussions. With the Treasury Department warning that it could run out of money to pay national obligations within a day, the Senate voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday evening, 81 to 18, to approve a proposal hammered out by the chamber’s Republican and Democratic leaders after the House on Tuesday was unable to move forward with any resolution. The House followed suit a few hours later, voting 285 to 144 to approve the Senate plan, which would fund the government through Jan. 15 and raise the debt limit through Feb. 7.

Shutdown Ends: How the PA Delegation Voted
PoliticsPA Written by Nicholas Laughlin, Contributing Writer and Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor October 16, 2013
The shutdown is over and the debt ceiling has been raised. After 16 grueling days of stalemate and widespread frustration, a Senate-crafted compromise passed through Congress and will be signed by the President.  Republicans who were using the budget fight to gain leverage on defunding Obamacare were left all but empty handed. Other than a minor provision that tightens income verification rules under Obamacare, Democrats were not forced to give up any of the items that the GOP was aiming for.

The debt deal’s gift to Teach For America (yes, TFA)
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog BY VALERIE STRAUSS October 16 at 11:32 pm
Unobtrusively slipped into the debt deal that Congress passed late Wednesday night to reopen the federal government after 16 days and allow the United States to keep borrowing money to pay its bills is a provision about school reform that will make Teach For America very happy.
In language that does not give a hint about its real meaning, the deal extends by two years legislation that allows the phrase “highly qualified teachers” to include students still in teacher training programs — and Teach For America’s  recruits who get five weeks of summer training shortly after they have graduated from college, and are then placed in some of America’s neediest schools.

Schools boards encourage Congress to make education a priority following federal government shutdown
NSBA School Board News Today by Alexis Rice October 16th, 2013
With the agreement to reopen the federal government and avert a debt default, Thomas J. Gentzel, the Executive Director of the National School Boards Association, released the following statement:

PSBA members elect officers/at-large representatives for 2014
PSBA 10/15/2013
Members of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association elected new officers and at-large representatives for 2014 at its Delegate Assembly on Tuesday, Oct. 15 at the Hershey Lodge & Convention Center.  The new officers and at-large representatives will take their offices on January 1, 2014, as part of a new 11-member PSBA Governing Board, replacing the current 26-member Board of Directors. The new board is part of governance changes the association has been undergoing to improve member engagement. Officers and at-large representatives elected at the Delegate Assembly are as follows:

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:

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.

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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