Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for October 22, 2013: In 1975, state funding accounted for 55% of public school revenues. In 2012…only 35.6%.

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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for October 22, 2013:
In 1975, state funding accounted for 55% of public school revenues. In 2012…only 35.6%.

Language-Gap Study Bolsters a Push for Pre-K
New York Times By MOTOKO RICH Published: October 21, 2013
Nearly two decades ago, a landmark study found that by age 3, the children of wealthier professionals have heard words millions more times than those of less educated parents, giving them a distinct advantage in school and suggesting the need for increased investment in prekindergarten programs.  Now a follow-up study has found a language gap as early as 18 months, heightening the policy debate.  The new research by Anne Fernald, a psychologist at Stanford University, which was published in Developmental Science this year, showed that at 18 months children from wealthier homes could identify pictures of simple words they knew — “dog” or “ball” — much faster than children from low-income families. By age 2, the study found, affluent children had learned 30 percent more words in the intervening months than the children from low-income homes.

Governor Corbett: Keep focus on students
Philly.com opinion By Tom Corbett POSTED: Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 2:01 AM
Tom Corbett is governor of Pennsylvania
There has been an understandable amount of attention recently on the School District of Philadelphia's budget shortfall, particularly the commonwealth's role in addressing the current challenges. When I proposed a combination of solutions to address this issue in June, I stated then that our focus must remain on long-term academic and operational excellence for the students of Philadelphia. That remains just as true today.
This year, Pennsylvania taxpayers are slated to invest more than $1.3 billion in the district. Before any additional state investments would be made, the law and my direction were clear:

“Dinniman also is frustrated over the department’s timing in sending the proposed Chapter 4 regulations to the House and Senate education committees for their consideration.  The committees, which received the proposed regulations on Friday, have until Nov. 6 to act on them if they choose to. But after Wednesday, neither chamber is expected to be in session until Nov. 12. No action by the committees is regarded as an approval in the regulatory review process.”
Keystone Exams: Senate panel wants price tag attached to future education regulations
By Jan Murphy | jmurphy@pennlive.com  on October 21, 2013 at 8:05 PM
Sen. Andrew Dinniman, R-Chester County, wants a law to compel the state Department of Education to be more forthcoming about the price tag attached to regulations it wants put in place.  Frustrated over what he felt was reticence on the department's part about sharing the price tag for the Keystone Exams and the associated graduation testing requirement on the state and school districts prompted Dinniman to introduce legislation that won Senate Education Committee on Monday.  The proposal would require a detailed fiscal analysis of proposed regulations to be shared throughout in the regulatory review process for regulations in the future. It wouldn't impact the ones associated with the Keystone Exams.

“In 1975, state funding accounted for 55 percent of public school revenues. In 2012, Gov. Corbett provided only 35.6 percent. In fact, the most recent statistics show that Pennsylvania ranks 47th of the 50 states in state support for the public schools.  So, it should come as no surprise that property taxes have gone up, as state support has gone down..”
Legislature's property tax plans no substitute for tackling school funding: Michael Crossey
By Patriot-News Op-Ed  on October 21, 2013 at 5:15 AM  By Michael Crossey
Michael Crossey is a special education teacher in the Keystone Oaks School District, and president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association.
The Legislature’s recent attempts to eliminate local property taxes remind me of medical remedies that treat a patient’s symptoms, but fail to cure the disease.  Property taxes are a symptom. The disease is Pennsylvania’s unprecedented school funding crisis. The cure is levying fair taxes on corporations so we can restore Gov. Tom Corbett’s nearly $1 billion in school funding cuts.  This school funding crisis began when Gov. Corbett decided that corporate tax breaks were more important than funding public education. Now, this crisis is impacting students, parents, and taxpayers in every school district in the Commonwealth, and it’s getting worse every day.

School safety grant applications now being taken by Pa. education department
By Jan Murphy | jmurphy@pennlive.com  on October 21, 2013 at 4:59 PM
A state Department of Education competitive grant program will help schools pay for having school police and resource officers patrol hallways as well as make other safety enhancements. Last December's Sandy Hook school shooting inspired the need for the grant program.  The state Department of Education sent out notices to public and non-public schools on Monday alerting them about the funding available and rules attached to these competitive grant programs.

Pedro Ramos Leaving Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission
PDE Press Release October 21, 2013
Pedro A. Ramos, who has served for two years as Chairman of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission, has resigned from the Commission to attend to recent, unexpected news within his family.  “I appreciate Pedro’s hard work and dedication to guide the Philadelphia School District during these difficult times,’’ Corbett said. “Pedro’s well-deserved reputation and record in Philadelphia’s educational community gave him the credibility and insight to bring about change and positive reforms on behalf of the students of Philadelphia.   “While we regret to see Pedro depart the Commission, every citizen of Philadelphia has benefitted from Pedro’s spirit of public service, civic commitment and the work he has done to put our children first.  Now, our best wishes are with the Ramos family.”

“More important, Gov. Corbett has to find adequate state support for a district that is, after all, being run by the state's own emissaries. If state officials continue to demand cuts from the district without producing more reliable and sufficient financial support, they will continue to raise legitimate questions about the existence and purpose of the SRC itself.”
Inquirer Editorial: Unfinished business
POSTED: Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 2:01 AM
Pedro Ramos' second tour as the city's top education policymaker was shorter than it seemed. In just two years, Ramos presided over dramatic reductions in the School District's spending, operations, and facilities, enduring uproar from parents, employees, and the public as the price of demonstrating the schools' commitment to reform. Unfortunately, he is leaving a district that still has very little to show for the painful retrenchment of his tenure.
Ramos resigned as chairman of the School Reform Commission on Monday, citing urgent family concerns, which means the governor, who has the power to appoint three of the SRC's five members, will have to find a replacement - preferably one with some of Ramos' education experience and willingness to depart from past district practice.

“With Ramos, as a Philadelphian and a public school parent, "we knew that he had a strong commitment to public education. We can't guarantee that will happen again."  Finding a replacement will not be easy. In many ways, the SRC chair is one of the toughest jobs in the city. It's an unpaid post that requires almost full-time commitment.”
Ramos resigns from Philly SRC
KRISTEN A. GRAHAM, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER  Monday, October 21, 2013, 5:06 PM
PHILADELPHIA Pedro Ramos resigned Monday from the School Reform Commission, throwing the Philadelphia School District into further turmoil.  Ramos, who had served as chair since late 2011, cited "recent, unexpected" family news in his resignation, announced by the Governor's Office.  It was not clear who would lead the SRC or when a permanent replacement might be nominated by Gov. Corbett. District officials directed those questions to state officials, who said only that answers would be forthcoming.

Pedro Ramos resigns from Philly School Reform Commission, citing family issues
The notebook by Wendy Harris on Oct 21 2013
Pedro Ramos, who has served for two years as School Reform Commission chair, has resigned from his post and the commission, citing family matters.   Ramos’ term on the SRC expires in 2014. His replacement on the commission has not yet been named. Commissioner Wendell Pritchett has previously filled in as acting chair in his absence.  Ramos was a gubernatorial appointee. The governor appoints three of the five commissioners, and the mayor appoints two.

Pottstown school board mulls tax hike of 2.9%, or zero
By Evan Brandt, The Mercury
POSTED: 10/21/13, 1:39 AM EDT | UPDATED: 27 SECS AGO
POTTSTOWN — Next year’s school tax hike in the borough may be as high as nearly 3 percent in the coming school year, or as low as zero.  The Pottstown School Board will vote Monday on a resolution that pledges to keep the next budget’s tax hike below the state-imposed index which, in Pottstown’s case, is 2.9 percent for the 2014-2015 school year.
The resolution allows the district to avoid the frequently futile exercise of trying to put together a draft budget in February, long before the numbers which would make that budget accurate and meaningful are readily available.  A result of Act 1, adopted in 2006, the early budget requirement is for school districts which may intend to raise taxes beyond their index, which requires either voter approval in the spring primary or “exceptions” from the index limit.
However, if a school district pledges to adopt a budget that stays within that index, calculated separately for each of Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts, it can wait until later in the year, when the normal budget cycle allows for more accurate forecasts, to put together a budget.

“One of the largest clubs at the high school, Best Buddies pairs students with intellectual and developmental disabilities in one-to-one friendships with high school students.”
Haverford School Board considers replacing ‘R' word
By LOIS PUGLIONESI, Times Correspondent  10/21/13, 11:19 PM EDT
HAVERFORD — President of Haverford High School Best Buddies Club Katie Keenan recently addressed the school board on the national campaign Spread the Word to End the Word. 
Begun in 2009, Spread the Word seeks to eliminate use of words like “retard” and “retarded” in colloquial speech because they are “demeaning to students with intellectual disabilities,” Keenan said. The campaign advocates replacing the “R” word with more respectful terms, such as “intellectually disabled.” 

Chesco D.A. says Coatesville board hindering investigation
The Chester County district attorney accused Coatesville Area School District officials Monday of intimidating employees and trying to obstruct his investigation into school finances.
For the first time since racist texts by district officials drew a national spotlight and scrutiny from prosecutors, District Attorney Thomas Hogan also acknowledged that his office was investigating the Coatesville district's solicitor over possible overbilling and defrauding of taxpayers.

Dear Gov. Tom Corbett, stop hurting Pennsylvania schools
MSNBC by Melissa Harris-Perry video runtime 4:13
Melissa Harris-Perry’s “Open Letter” goes out to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett. “You hurt some of the most vulnerable in your state and got nothing out of it.”

The link was missing on yesterday’s posting of this article…..
“And 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
Beaver County Times Online Editorial Sunday, October 20, 2013 12:15 am
The directors of the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School 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.

Andy Spears: 20 Years of Value-Added Assessment in Tennessee, No Improvement, Zip, Nada
Diane Ravitch’s Blog By dianerav October 21, 2013 //
Race to the Top placed a $4.45 Billion bet that the way to improve schools was to tie teachers’ evaluations to their students’ test scores.
As it happens, the state of Tennessee has been using value-added assessment for 20 years, though the stakes have not been as high as they are now.
What can we learn from the Tennessee experience. According to Andy Spears of the Tennessee Education Report, well, gosh, sorry: nothing.

Who Is Funding the Campaign to Defeat Sue Peters for Seattle School Board?
Diane Ravitch’s Blog By dianerav October 20, 2013
I noticed that in the past two or three years, a number of extremely rich people are bundling funds and pouring them into local school board races.
Often the people making the campaign contributions do not live in the state or local community.
I wrote about this strange and new phenomenon in my book Reign of Error. 
It is a deliberate and coordinated campaign to seize control of education at the local level.

PBPC Webinar: Property Tax Elimination: What's At Stake for PA Schools

PA Budget and Policy Center Webinar Chris Lilienthal·Oct 18, 2013 youtube runtime 1:13:49
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 Policy Center offers the Center's take on the property tax proposal.

Building Common Ground Summit Saturday October 26, 2013
Dickinson/PSU School of Law, Carlisle, PA, 333 W. South Street
Interactive Panel Discussions
Senator Pat Vance, Senator Rob Teplitz, Molly Hunter of Education Law Center, Richard Fry, Superintendent of Big Spring School District
For info and registration please email: buildingcommongroundpa@gmail.com

PCCY hosting a funding formula event in Philly October 28, 5:00 pm
On 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 United Way Building, 1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway Philadelphia, PA 19103.  You can RSVP by visiting the following link:

Register TODAY for the 2013 Arts and Education Symposium Wednesday, October 30, 2013
PA Arts Education Network
The State Museum of Pennsylvania 300 North Street, Harrisburg, PA 17120
Registration, Networking, and Refreshments-8:00 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.
Program-8:45 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.; Lunch-12:00 p.m.; $40 Per Person
Details and regisxtration: http://www.artseducationpa.org/events/the-arts-and-education-symposium-2013/

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. 

Where: Abington Senior High School
When  November 5, 2013 8:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Contact Lynn Murphy, Delaware Valley College

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, 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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