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 21, 2013: Bucks, Chester, Montgomery & Delaware counties are down a combined $45 million in state education aid since 2011.
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
although that is no guarantee that these types of issues would not surface
again, we’ve seen more than enough evidence over the years that an elected
dissenting voice on a school board does more to further the cause of transparency
in operations than all the assurances given by school administrators.”
PA Cyber's board needs to
get its act together
Online Editorial Sunday, October 20, 2013
directors of the PennsylvaniaCyberCharterSchool in Midland have more than enough challenges
ahead of them in dealing with the controversy surrounding the school’s founder,
Nick Trombetta, but the board is not doing itself any favors with some rather
bizarre behavior of its own. The school
directors, many of whom were appointed during Trombetta’s tenure, agreed to pay
for his legal defense — to the tune of about $234,000 so far — even after he
had resigned as CEO. Last week, the
school advertised for a special meeting to be held on Thursday evening; that
same afternoon, board President Dave Jaskiewcz emailed a one-sentence letter of
resignation to other board members. No one claimed to know why he resigned.
PHILADELPHIA — After three years of stops and starts, the state of Pennsylvania is moving
ahead with new public education standards and exams required for high school
graduation. But without funding to implement the new mandates, educators in
Philadelphia and other cash-strapped districts say their students are being set
up for failure.
teachers, administrators and advocates praise the Pennsylvania Core Standards
for their emphasis on critical thinking and greater depth in fewer topics. They
also like the idea of graduation exams to make sure a high school diploma has
value. But they vehemently disagree with state officials’ contention that
schools should not need additional resources to comply with the new
requirements, since districts train teachers and revise curriculum routinely
isn’t enough money in Philadelphia
to provide for basic instruction,” said Rosalind Jones-Johnson, education
director for Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, predicting that the new exams
will lead to an increased high school dropout rate and, consequently, increased
poverty. “To mandate this and not provide the funding, the human resources and
the intervention is unconscionable.”
teachers' union appears to be winning the game of stare-down it has been
playing with state and city officials over the $103 million in contract
concessions being sought to close the School District's
budget deficit. Gov. Corbett insisted
all summer that he wouldn't give the schools a promised $45 million until the
district and teachers signed a new labor agreement with substantial
"fiscal savings and academic reforms."
blinked Wednesday, releasing the cash even though contract talks remain
stalled. Why he did so isn't clear,
million boost to the Prisons and Probation departments would more than fill the
hole caused by cuts to school districts in the four suburbs; Bucks, Chester, Montgomery and Delaware counties are
down a combined $45 million in state education aid since 2011.
LTE: SCHOOLS FALL,
Philly Daily News Letter to the Editor by Anthony Hopkins, Communications
Director, Public Citizens for Children and Youth October 21, 2013,
continuous heart-wrenching coverage of the school funding crisis in Philadelphia should be
raising red flags for the citizens of the commonwealth about the state's budget
priorities. It's not that the state isn't spending any new money this year. It
just made the wrong choices about where to spend. For instance, while schools
in both Philadelphia
and the suburbs struggle to balance their budgets after losing $1 billion in
state aid in 2011, the state's Corrections and Probation departments received
budget increased spending for schools by 2.3 percent, or $71.67 per student.
Meanwhile the state's Corrections and Probation agencies got a 4.3 percent
bump, or $991.55 per offender. That works out to 14 times more new spending per
offender than per student.
'effectiveness' metrics over teacher seniority rules gambles with education
Newsworks BY BRUCE BAKER October 17, 2013
Baker is a professor of education at RutgersUniversitySchool
in the modern education reform lexicon, is among the dirtiest words. Senior
teachers are not only ineffective and greedy and never put interest of the
children over their own, but they are in fact downright evil, a persistent drain
on state and local economies and a threat to our national security! By
contrast, "effectiveness" is good and since seniority and
effectiveness are presumed entirely unassociated, the simple solution is to
replace any reference to seniority in current education policies with measures
of "effectiveness." If only it
were so simple.
eduction reform mantra grossly misinterprets the relationship between seniority
and effectiveness, presumes currently available measures of effectiveness to be
more useful than they really are at sorting "good" from
"bad" teachers, ignores that the proposed solutions have in many
cases been found not to solve the supposed problem, and is oblivious to the
broader literature on teacher labor markets, compensation and the quality of
the teaching workforce.
Matter Blog by Judy Rabin Friday, October 18, 2013
school nurses, improving the health and well being of children in the poorest
neighborhoods who need eyeglasses, dental care, and regular checkups, not to
mention expensive medicine for asthma, would lead to higher test scores. Will this incident in Philadelphia change policy? It depends on how far Pearson and McGraw Hill
and gang can keep their Golden Goose laying all those golden eggs as Common
Core Standards are rolled in conjunction with the new market based, for profit
1085, a really bad bill that would
overhaul current charter school law, came out of committee on 10/16/13 and will
likely move in the Senate floor as early as the week of 10/21. This bill
contains many serious problems. If you have a chance, please shoot an email to your state senatorto
share these concerns before the bill comes to the Senate floor. Feel free to
copy and paste the fixes at the bottom of the post in your email to your
underfunding of Kansas
public schools has been a long-running problem made worse by both parties in
budget pinches over the years. But the schools’ fiscal agony took a precipitous
turn last year when statehouse Republicans decided that an encouraging
postrecession increase in revenues was the perfect moment for a huge tax cut,
rather than for the overdue restoration of school aid to levels mandated under
the State Constitution.
a five-year, $3.7 billion tax cut, Gov. Sam Brownback took the position that
cutting taxes did more to create jobs than meeting per-student aid formulas.
That dodgy rationale was argued in the State Supreme Court last week when a
group of school districts and parents sued for their fair share of aid under
the State Constitution’s “suitable provision” mandate. State spending on
education has fallen an estimated 16.5 percent since 2008, including $500
million in cuts under the Brownback administration, resulting in teacher
layoffs and larger class sizes.
years we’ve seen the rise
of big money being poured into local school board races from well
outside the district, or city or even state where the election is being held.
Millions were spent, for example, in Los
Angeles school board races earlier this year. In April
a piece by a teacher in New Jersey who blogs under the name “Jersey
Jazzman” about the financing of a local school board campaign, and here is a
new one, about another election and the same pattern of outside funding.
A version of this appeared on the Jersey
Theule Lubienski didn’t set out to compare public schools and private schools.
A professor at the University
of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign, she was studying math instructional techniques when she
discovered something surprising: Private schools—long assumed to be
educationally superior—were underperforming public schools. She called her husband, Christopher A.
Lubienski, also a professor at the university. “I said, ‘This is a really weird
thing,’ and I checked it and double checked it,” she remembers. The couple
decided to take on a project that would ultimately disprove decades of
assumptions about private and public education.
the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the Early Childhood
Longitudinal Study, they have found that, when controlling for demographic
factors, public schools are doing a better job academically than private schools.
It seems that private school students have higher scores because they come from
more affluent backgrounds, not because the schools they attend are better
educational institutions. They write about these conclusions—and explain how
they came to them—in their book, The
Public School Advantage: Why Public Schools Outperform Private Schools.
Here’s an interview with the Lubienskis about their work, edited and condensed
for clarity and length.
sprawling Siemens factory complex in Berlin,
teenagers in blue overalls are learning how to assemble circuit boards, the
first step in their three-year apprenticeships. Besides instruction in
technology, robotics and other engineering skills, the young recruits—1,350 in
the company’s training centre at any given time—are drilled in literacy and numeracy.
By the time they leave, they are expected to be able to summarise tasks, and
how to solve them, in English as well as in German.
countries vie to improve their training and increase their productivity, the
thoroughness of the Siemens approach is a model for many. At €100,000
($135,000) per apprentice, it is a hefty investment. Norbert Giesen, a senior
trainer, says that, because production methods have become more susceptible to
innovation, the company now emphasises “soft” skills, such as how to build
teams and divide tasks efficiently, which remain helpful even if processes
comprehensive approach would come in useful in the many countries whose adult
skill base looks patchy. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development, a Paris-based rich-country think-tank, has just produced new
research on adult literacy, numeracy and problem-solving skills in 22
OECD - Education GPS: THE
WORLD OF EDUCATION AT YOUR FINGERTIPS
Education GPS is the source for internationally
comparable data on education policies and practices, opportunities and
outcomes. Accessible any time, in real time, the Education GPS provides you
with the latest information on how countries are working to develop high-quality
and equitable education systems.
Legislative proposals to
eliminate school property taxes are being debated in Harrisburg,
but what does it mean for school funding in Pennsylvania? Two leading property tax
elimination proposals, House Bill 76 and Senate Bill 76, would shift the local
funding of education to state income and sales taxpayers and cap future funding
growth. Over time, school districts will receive much less funding than they
would under the current system. Hear firsthand in this webinar from Mark Ryan
of the Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) about a new analysis of the fiscal
impact of these proposals on Pennsylvania's
school districts. Sharon Ward of the Pennsylvania Budget and PolicyCenter
offers the Center's take on the property tax proposal.
PCCY hosting a funding formula event in
Philly October 28,
Monday, October 28th 2013, Public Citizens for Children and
Youth (PCCY) is hosting a funding formula event starting at 5pm. Pennsylvania is one of
three states without a funding formula. We invite parents, community leaders,
and other stakeholders to come and help develop strategies that push for a fair
and well-funded school funding formula. The event will take place at the UnitedWayBuilding, 1709 Benjamin Franklin ParkwayPhiladelphia, PA19103. You can RSVP by visiting
the following link:
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.
One PennsylvaniaFourth Annual Fundraiser and
Awards Ceremony, November
21, 2013 6:00-8:00 PM
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