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 17, 2013: Poor children are now the majority in American public schools in South, West
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
When to Listen” Radio Times with Marty
Moss-Coane can be heard over
the airwaves from 10-11 a.m. and 11-noon Eastern time weekdays on 90.9 FM in
the Delaware Valley, and rebroadcast from 11-midnight as well. Radio Times is also heard live
on the Sirius - XM channel NPR Now 122, weekdays from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
If there is a webcast of
the show made available I will post a link to it tomorrow.
funding in Pennsylvania:
Is it fair or not?
with Marty Moss-Coane FRIDAY, OCTOBER
Hour 1 (10:00 a.m.) Guests:
Donna Cooper and Charles Zogby
It’s a fact
that the PhiladelphiaSchool District is
starved for cash. How it got there and how we fix it is the subject of
much debate. Local education advocates and critics of Governor Corbett say
it’s about massive cuts from the state and an unfair funding formula. Pennsylvania officials
counter that it’s more about a union that fails to make concessions and poor
district management in the past. In this hour of Radio Times, we’ll take a
hard look at funding for public education in Pennsylvania. We’ve invited to guests
who have been at the center of the issue. DONNA COOPER previously
served as Secretary of Policy and Planning for the Commonwealth of Education
under Governor Ed Rendell and now is Executive Director of Public Citizens
for Children and Youth. CHARLES
ZOGBY currently is Secretary of the Budget for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and responsible for the
preparation and implementation of the state budget.
new boss. Same as the old boss.” Pete Townsend, The Who
New state school tests find results similar to old
Niederberger / Pittsburgh
release of the School Performance Profiles nearly two weeks ago, the state has
a new accountability system, but it appears the same schools are as the top of
the rankings and the same schools are at the bottom as under the old system. But, under the new system, not all schools at
the bottom of the list will be required to compose school improvement plans as
they had in the past if they are not designated at Title I schools using
federal Title I funding.
In AlleghenyCounty, it's too soon to get a complete
achievement picture because the majority of academic scores for high schools
are among the 550 withheld by the state over questions about the accuracy of
on scores released for more than 2,300 schools, including most public schools
in the county, it appears the results fall along ZIP code lines, with schools
in more affluent areas tending to have high academic profile scores and those
in financially strapped areas earning lower scores.
Twists and turns over new
and tests leave districts in limbo
Philly.com by SARA NEUFELD, HECHINGER
REPORT Friday, October 18, 2013,
was to be like most other states, following a new set of national education
standards and administering new national standardized tests. But a lot has happened since 2010, when the
state signed on to participate in what's known as Common Core, an initiative
designed to make the United
States more globally competitive by ensuring
students' ability to meet basic benchmarks.
Democratic administration was followed by a Republican one, and Gov. Corbett
took seriously conservatives' concern about the federal government infringing
on states' rights. In March 2012, Pennsylvania
officials released their own document, known as the Pennsylvania Core
Standards, which they call a hybrid between the national Common Core and the
state's own guidelines.
plans to participate in one of two national assessments, keeping Pennsylvania's existing
elementary tests and creating new ones for high school. The Pennsylvania standards were to have gone
into effect July 1, but last spring, Corbett asked the state Board of Education
to wait on a final vote. The vote finally occurred Sept. 12, when the board
approved the state standards as well as "Keystone exams" in algebra,
literature, and biology that will be a requirement for high school graduation.
Money for Philadelphia schools may
ease way to transportation funding
Bumsted Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, 2:21 p.m. HARRISBURG — Republican Gov. Tom Corbett's
release of $45 million to the cash-strapped Philadelphia school district may represent a
step toward an eventual deal on transportation revenue, said staff members for
legislative leaders. Corbett's
spokesman, Jay Pagni, flatly denied a connection. “It is not” tied to transportation,
released the money, removing “what would certainly have been an obstacle, but
it does not trigger a deal on transportation,” said House Democratic Caucus
spokesman Bill Patton. A Republican staffer confirmed that helping Philadelphia schools may
make a transportation deal more likely.
Philadelphia Democrats are trying to use their influence over a
multibillion-dollar transportation funding bill to get Republican support for a
cigarette tax to fund city schools.
strategy is an eleventh-hour effort - though some say an unlikely one - to
revive a plan for a $2-per-pack tax that could provide a stream of money for Philadelphia's struggling
Democrats, many of whom spoke on condition of anonymity, said they alerted
House Republicans and the Corbett administration that in return for legislative
approval of the tax, they would support a pending bill to provide more than $2
billion for roads, bridges, and mass transit.
Daily News Attytood Blog by Will Bunch THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2013,
I try not
to blog about "journalism"
every day -- that would be the quickest way to put the last nail in the coffin
of the blog. But since there's a lot of concern about the future of journalism specifically
right here in the City of Brotherly Love these days. I thought I'd point
out an example here in Philadelphia
of how good journalism -- and bad journalism -- can make a difference in a very
Chute / Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Public Schools superintendent Linda Lane planning to propose school
closings next month, board member Regina Holley said some communities already
have lost too many schools. "They
can't take it any more," Ms. Holley told the superintendent Thursday at a
meeting of an advisory group that includes parents, educators and community
members. "Communities are really
going to be looking at the equity piece here. If it's going to hurt, it's going
to have to hurt somebody else now."
Exactly which schools Ms.
Lane will propose for closing isn't expected to be
announced until next month when a report with wide-ranging recommendations for
addressing the district's financial and academic problems is released.
The Allentown School District has
been losing students to cyber and charter schools at an increasing rate for the
past decade, and this year was no exception.
A total of 2,166 students are enrolled in the 19 such schools that
operate in the Allentown
area, including 1,761 in charter schools and 405 in cyber schools. That means $19.6 million has been diverted
away from the school district, which remains financially responsible for the
Shore School Board voted Thursday night to outsource the district's
transportation and custodial maintenance services despite emotional comments by
district service union members and others opposing the move.
the district has reviewed proposals from outside companies to determine if
outsourcing services would be more cost-effective that using district
TROY GRAHAM, INQUIRER STAFF
WRITER POSTED: Thursday, October 17, 2013,
City Council unanimously gave Mayor Nutter the authority Thursday to transfer
$50 million to the School District in exchange
for a portfolio of shuttered school buildings.
question is: What will the mayor do now?
He and his
cabinet have raised repeated objections to Council's plan to swap money for
empty schools. Ultimately, the mayor may
not have much choice. Late this summer, he pledged $50 million of city money so
the district would have the funding to start the school year on time.
Pa. watchdog blasts Upper Perk school board for
‘excessive' superintendent retirement package
By Frank Otto,
The Mercury POSTED: 10/16/13,
EDT | UPDATED: 4 HRS AGO
Pennsylvania’s auditor general called
retirement benefits received by UpperPerkiomenSchool
District’s former superintendent “excessive”
following the completion of the school district’s latest state audit. Auditor General Eugene DePasquale based his
statements on the audit of school district finances from 2009 to 2012.
By John Kopp,
Times POSTED: 10/17/13,
The ChesterUplandSchool District is launching ParentUniversity,
a free seminar designed to give parents the resources, knowledge and skills
necessary for helping their children in the classroom. ParentUniversity includes three
half-day workshops on reading and writing, life skills, financial literacy,
technology and job readiness. The first session begins Nov. 2 at the ShowalterSchool from 8:15 a.m.- 1 p.m. Breakfast
and lunch will be served. Childcare is provided.
Officials said they
will appeal a state decision that would cause the charter school to shut down
MASON York Daily Record/Sunday News UPDATED: 10/16/2013 09:36:51 PM EDT
New HopeAcademyCharterSchool vowed Wednesday to fight a state
decision that the school must shut down in January. The state Charter Appeal Board on Tuesday
upheld the YorkCitySchool District's decision not to
renew New Hope's
charter. New Hope
officials said they will file an appeal with Commonwealth Court and will ask the state
Charter Appeal Board to let it stay open during the appeal process.
charter student, the home district pays a fee set by the state. Pittsburgh would have to
pay at least $2.57 million for 200 students, growing to at least $5.1 million
for 400 students if all came from the district.” Propel gets green light to open in Hazelwood
Career Connections Charter remains in Lawrenceville
Chute / Pittsburgh
schools were thrown lifelines by the state Charter School Appeal Board this
Schools won its appeal to open an elementary charter school in Hazelwood next
School in Lawrenceville won permission to stay open while
appealing its charter revocation to Commonwealth
Chute / Pittsburgh
$2.4 million envisioning process, Pittsburgh Public Schools is in danger of
creating a district attended by only those without other options instead of a
district of first choice, according to a report from Great Public
Schools-Pittsburgh. The advocacy
organization issued its report Wednesday on the day of a demonstration outside
the district headquarters in Oakland
criticizing the envisioning process and a lack of arts spending. Great Public Schools was started by Action
United, One Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network, Pittsburgh
Federation of Teachers, SEIU Healthcare PA and Yinzercation.
Trying to live up to
special-ed law amid the Philly school budget crisis
Newsworks BY KEVIN MCCORRY
OCTOBER 16, 2013
The PhiladelphiaSchool District has at
least 20,000 evaluated special-needs students.
Each year, the district pays millions in legal fees and lawsuit
settlements based on its failure, both proven and alleged, to meet their
needs. This year, due to budget cuts,
the district shed close to 3,000 staff members. With a skeletal support staff serving the
city's traditional public schools, many worry that the district has opened
itself up to an onslaught of legal claims from families struggling to ensure
that their children get the education that they deserve.
United for Public Education and Philly School Counselors United filed acomplaint with
the Department of Education Thursday saying that Philadelphia chidlren are being denied an
adequate education due to the counselor shortage in city schools.
lack of counselors impedes the ability of teachers to deliver as effectively
instructional services," according to the complaint, filed with the help
of the Public Interest Law Center of Pennsylvania (PILCOP). The complaint recounts instances from
several schools in which students did not receive counseling services,
emphasizing the insufficient help in applying to high schools and college.
break down the various test scores, you find the high-income kids,
high-achievers are holding their own and more,” Rebell said. “It’s when you
start getting down to schools with a majority of low-income kids that you get
astoundingly low scores. Our real problem regarding educational outcomes is not
overall, it’s the growing low-income population.”
children are now the majority in American public schools in South, West
majority of students in public schools throughout the American South and West
are low-income for the first time in at least four decades, according to
a new study that details a demographic shift
with broad implications for the country.
The analysis by the Southern Education Foundation, the nation’s
oldest education philanthropy, is based on the number of students from
preschool through 12th grade who were eligible for the federal free and
reduced-price meals program in the 2010-11 school year.
schools are places where children learn about the world and begin to imagine
life beyond their neighborhoods. They are places where the arts are
valued and pursued—where children learn to draw and dance and play the piano,
as well as to understand a poem or a painting or a piece of music. They
are places where ideas are sought and explored—for the purpose of expanding
young people’s notions of justice, broadening their visions of the possible,
and welcoming them into ongoing cultural conversations. Our best schools
are places where children gain confidence in themselves, build healthy
relationships, and develop values congruent with their own self-interest.
They are places of play and laughter and discovery.
strive for something less in their work to improve our nation’s poorest
schools—not because their intentions are bad, but because they see the poor
differently than they see their own children.”
wrote a post about how public education’s biggest problem — poverty —
keeps getting worse, with the news from a
new report that a majority of students in public schools in the
American South and West are low-income for the first time in at least four
decades. Here’s a related piece by Jack Schneider which argues that policy
makers own life circumstances affect the way they make school reform decisions
for the poor. Schneider (@Edu_Historian)
is an assistant professor of education at the College of the Holy Cross and the
author of the forthcoming book From the Ivory Tower to the Schoolhouse:
How Scholarship Becomes Common Knowledge in Education. Heather Curl
is a lecturer at BrynMawrCollege.
Both authors are former classroom teachers. Schneider also
founded University Paideia, a pre-college program for under-served
students in the San Francisco Bay Area. His research focuses on educational
policy-making and school reform.
York Times Opinion By JOANNE LIPMAN Published: October 12, 2013
RICE trained to be a concert pianist. Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the
Federal Reserve, was a professional clarinet and saxophone player. The hedge
fund billionaire Bruce Kovner is a pianist who took classes at Juilliard. Multiple studies link music study to academic
achievement. But what is it about serious music training that seems to
correlate with outsize success in other fields?
The connection isn’t a coincidence. I know because I asked. I put the
question to top-flight professionals in industries from tech to finance to
media, all of whom had serious (if often little-known) past lives as musicians.
Almost all made a connection between their music training and their
education research of recent years has pointed overwhelmingly to the importance
of teachers. Perhaps more than anything else – quality of principal, size
of school, size of class – the strength or weakness of classroom teachers
influences how much students learn and even how they fare later
in life. The great unknown is how to
improve teacher quality, be it by attracting more good teachers, weeding out
more bad teachers or helping teachers become better at their craft. A new study, released on Thursday, offers
powerful if still tentative evidence that teacher-evaluation programs can play
an important role.
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