Friday, October 25, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for October 25, 2013: Philadelphia School “Putsch” – Not Elected, Not Appointed

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 and Twitter

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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for October 25, 2013:
Philadelphia School “Putsch” – Not Elected, Not Appointed

Some Good News About Public Schools
Education Week Commentary By Brian Cleary Published Online: October 22, 2013
When I hear someone complain about the public school system, I feel like a parent listening to a rant by a 15-year-old. They tell me that I am terrible at my job and that I don't listen. In angry frustration, they tell me that I don't understand the problems, and that I care about the wrong things and should be doing more.  As a parent and as a teacher, I sit and listen, trying not to provoke. These rebukes are not news, and they are not right, but they do offend.

“The commodity that's really changing hands here is influence — one far more intimate and powerful than the average voter could ever hope to exercise.”
In Pennsylvania, lobbyists and lawmakers bond over drinks and big checks: John L. Micek
PennLive By John L. Micek | on October 24, 2013 at 10:39 AM
If you ever have some spare time early in the morning when the state Legislature is in session, take a walk down Restaurant Row and press your nose against the glass of some of the neighborhood’s more prominent watering holes.
If you do this on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday morning, the chances are far better than even that you’ll see a member of the state House or Senate pressing the flesh with any one of the Capital’s legion of paid lobbyists.

Philadelphia School Partnership pushes for private management of student placement
The Notebook Commentary by Helen Gym on Oct 24 2013
For months, the Philadelphia School Partnership (PSP) has been working to put in place a new citywide process for placing students in schools. Most troubling is that PSP wants this process to be run by an outside, private entity that is created by PSP and could eventually charge a per-pupil fee from participating systems.  “Universal enrollment,” as it is called, would match students to either a District, charter, or parochial school whenever they decide to transfer, move, or transition to another school level.  The PSP proposal would not only take the current student-placement program out of the District’s hands -- unprecedented in any other city -- it would also include parochial schools and coordinate the selection process with the availability of scholarships, which are now often provided through two controversial, voucher-like business tax subsidy programs in Pennsylvania.

Familiar names advocating for vouchers, more charters, taxpayer funding of private and religious schools via EITC….
Philadelphia School “Putsch” – Not Elected, Not Appointed

PA Chamber - Teachers union is wrong; Corbett didn't cut $1 billion from education: PennLive letters
Penn Live Opinion By Letters to the Editor  on October 24, 2013 at 6:47 AM
GENE BARR, President and CEO, PA Chamber of Business and Industry, Harrisburg
Once again, the Pennsylvania State Education Association is making false claims about public education funding in order to garner support for raising taxes on Pennsylvania's job creators.
The Corbett administration did not cut $1 billion from basic education. But don't take our word for it. PSEA's own website confirms this. PSEA links to a study that cites "a dramatic reduction in state revenues of $433 million in 2009-10, followed by another reduction of $85 million in 2010-11."   Both of those cuts in state dollars occurred during the previous administration and were backfilled with temporary federal money. (School districts were warned that the money from the federal government would be short-lived, and were urged to plan accordingly.) 

NAACP: New exams block graduation
New Pittsburgh Courier by Christian Morrow - Courier Staff Writer Thursday, 24 October 2013
Calling it a “present day form of Eugenics” 45 NAACP branches from Erie to Easton and from McKeesport to Mercer, have signed on to a letter calling on the Pennsylvania State Board of Education to end the newly enacted requirement for high school seniors to pass the Keystone Examinations in order to graduate.  “Attaching the Keystone Examinations to graduation is clearly based on the idea that it is possible to distinguish between superior and inferior elements of society through selective scores on a paper and pencil test,” the letter states. “Pushing masses of students out of high school without a diploma will create a subculture of poverty comprised of potentially 60 percent of our young citizens.”
In addition to the state education board, the NAACP sent the letter to the education committees in both the sate House and state Senate.

What Pittsburghers are Really Saying about Class Size
Yinzercation Blog October 24, 2013
This week we are looking at the results of the community survey our grassroots movement helped to create. We had nearly 1,000 people respond, mostly in person, with volunteers going door-to-door throughout the city to find out what Pittsburghers have to say about public education. For more on our survey design, how it differs from what the district and its consultants have been doing, and why it matters, check out:
Today, let’s look at what our community says about class size – a significant issue, since any plan to close schools is fundamentally about increasing class sizes in the district. The following is an excerpt from the full report, Creating a District of Last Resort.

'In God We Trust' in schools?  Bill would require public schools to display phrase to commemorate its links to state.
By Steve Esack, Call Harrisburg Bureau 9:15 p.m. EDT, October 23, 2013
HARRISBURG — The phrase "In God We Trust" has been stamped on some U.S. currency since the Civil War raged in 1864.  Now a state lawmaker wants the four words to appear in school classrooms across the state as well.  Rep. Rick Saccone, R-Allegheny, has introduced a bill that would require school boards to display "In God We Trust" in classrooms and other areas in public schools.  The measure cleared the House Education Committee on Wednesday on a 14-9 vote that was mostly along party lines.
Pennsylvania bill would require schools to post 'In God We Trust' motto
PennLive By The Associated Press on October 24, 2013 at 8:38 PM
HARRISBURGPennsylvania public school districts would be required to post "In God We Trust" in every school building under legislation that advanced out of a committee in the state House of Representatives this week.  The bill sponsored by Rep. Rick Saccone, R-Allegheny County, passed the House Education Committee on Wednesday by a 14-9 vote, with one Democrat and one Republican crossing party lines.

Replacing Pedro Ramos: PFT, others weigh in Philly School Files Blog by Kristen Graham OCTOBER 24, 2013, 4:00 PM
In the "Who Should Replace Pedro Ramos on the SRC" department, more names have surfaced.
A coalition including the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, Youth United for Change, and Action United has sent Gov. Corbett a letter with their choices: Penn Graduate School of Education professor Torch Lytle, a former Philadelphia School District administrator and Trenton superintendent; and Rev. Alyn Waller, senior pastor of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church.

Advocate hopes next School Reform Commissioner will have hands on experience (audio runtime 3:31)
The departure of Philadelphia School Reform Commission Chairman Pedro Ramos this week leaves the board that oversees the schools in flux.  WHYY Education Reporter Kevin McCorry spoke with Susan Gobreski, Executive Director of Education Voters Pennsylvania, a schools advocacy group, about what she'd like to see in the next appointee.

Report defends Penn's economic impact on city
The report, put together with other Phila. schools, came as activists call for more contributions
Daily Pennsylvanian By ALEX ZIMMERMANN · October 23, 2013, 6:02 pm
As more and more activists call for Philadelphia universities like Penn — which, as nonprofit organizations, are mostly exempt from taxes — to make direct payments to the city, Penn defended its commitment to the economic vitality of the city of Philadelphia in a report released last week.  Penn and 11 other Philadelphia institutions of higher education commissioned the report, which touts the universities’ $850 million contribution in other taxes and in-kind donations to city organizations. It responds to the recent calls for payments in lieu of taxes, or PILOTs. Instead, it boasts the “Philadelphia Model,” where universities form relationships with schools and community organizations and invest in services such as construction and public safety.

The Tom Friedman-Wendy Kopp irony in two tweets
Washington Post The Answer Sheet Blog BY VALERIE STRAUSS October 23 at 9:57 am
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman wrote a column this week about his trip to Shanghai with Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp. Friedman wrote that Shanghai schools have become so good in large part because of “a deep commitment to teacher training.” He made no mention of the fact that Kopp’s Teach for America is famous for recruiting newly graduated college students, giving them five weeks of summer training and then placing them in high-needs urban and rural classrooms.
Five weeks of teacher prep wouldn’t cut it in Shanghai.

As Poverty Grows, the Claims of “School Reform” Fade
Diane Ravitch’s By dianerav October 24, 2013 //
Remember all the times that “reformers” like Arne Duncan, Bill Gates, Wendy Kopp, and Joel Klein have said that the answer to poverty is to “fix” schools first? Remember their claims that school reform (more testing, more charters, more inexperienced teachers, larger classes, more technology) would vanquish poverty? For the past decade, our society has followed their advice, pouring billions into the pockets of the testing industry, consultants, and technology companies, as well as Teach for America, the over-hyped charter industry, and the multi-billion search for a surefire metric to evaluate teachers.
But what if they are wrong? What if all those billions were wasted on their pet projects, ambitions, and hunches, while child poverty kept growing?  The latest study, reported by Lyndsey Layton of the Washington Post, shows a staggering increase in child poverty across the nation. The majority of public school students in the South and the West now qualify for free or reduced price lunch. By federal standards, that means they are poor.
The United States has a greater proportion of children living in poverty than any other advanced nation in the world. We are #1 in child poverty. This is shameful.

First Book Global: Powering Knowledge Around the World
Access to new books for children in need
Children everywhere are hungry for the knowledge they need to read, learn and succeed. First Book is working to break down the barriers to education and reading - including access, price and cultural relevance - and we're committed to bringing brand-new books and educational materials to children throughout the world.  We're building on a strong record of success and growth in the United States and Canada: we reach a network of over 70,000 educators and community programs and we've supplied them with over 100 million new books.

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:

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 registration:

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. 

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.

The National School Boards Association 74th Annual Conference & Exposition April 5-7, 2014 New Orleans
The National School Boards Association 74th Annual Conference & Exposition will be held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, LA.  Our first time back in New Orleans since the spring of 2002!
General Session speakers include education advocates Thomas L. Friedman, Sir Ken Robinson, as well as education innovators Nikhil Goyal and Angela Maiers.
We have more than 200 sessions planned! Colleagues from across the country will present workshops on key topics with strategies and ideas to help your district. View our Conference Brochure for highlights on sessions and focus presentations.
Questions? Contact NSBA at 800-950-6722 (NSBA) between the hours of 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. EST

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

1 comment:

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