Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for October 26, 2013: Just in case you were wondering who really sets PA education policy……

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

These daily emails are archived and searchable at
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The Keystone State Education Coalition is pleased to be listed among the friends and allies of The Network for Public Education.  Are you a member?

Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for October 26, 2013:
Just in case you were wondering who really sets PA education policy……

“Gureghian, founder and CEO of CSMI Education Management, a charter school management company, is one of the largest individual donors to Republican candidates in Pennsylvania. CSMI manages the largest charter school in Pennsylvania, Chester Community Charter School.”
Corbett witnesses while Vahan Gureghian gets key post as Montgomery County Republican Committee unites after decades of discord
By BRENDAN WILLS, POSTED: 10/25/13, 9:12 AM EDT |
WEST NORRITON — After more than 20 years of discord, the Montgomery County Republicans united with a peace agreement that became public Tuesday when the Montgomery County Republican Committee Chairman Robert J. Kerns announced that Vahan Gureghian, a major donor to Pennsylvanian Republicans, and Robert Asher, Pennsylvania's Republican National Committeeman, will serve as co-chairs of the Finance Committee of the Montgomery County Republican Committee.  Kerns made the announcement at the Montgomery County Republican Committee's fall dinner. Gov. Tom Corbett witnessed the agreement, attending the dinner at Westover Country Club as the committee's distinguished guest.

This collection of articles on Mr. Gureghian continues to be one of the most visited pages on the Keystone State Education Coalition’s website:

“This legislation represents a giant leap toward the creation of a parallel, costly and largely redundant public school system in Pennsylvania, squarely on the backs of taxpayers struggling mightily to support the one we already have.
The way to address dissatisfaction with public schools - to the extent that it exists beyond profit-mongers and malcontents - is to improve the system we already have instead of making taxpayers subsidize a second system of private schools.”
SB1085: Charter school reform seems to be anything but (Editorial)
Chambersburg Public Opinion Online Editorial October 24, 2013
By Matthew Major, Public Opinion opinion editor, on behalf of Digital First Media Pennsylvania editorial board
The campaign for unfettered expansion of charter schools in Pennsylvania has greatly intensified given a bill pending in the state Senate that would give life to a large number of deeply ill-advised proposals.  Senate Bill 1085 is being sold as a comprehensive reform of Pennsylvania's charter schools, and it truly puts forward a number of game-changers. Whether they amount to reforms, however, largely depends on how one feels about drastically undermining the state's public school system and placing an even greater burden on taxpayers.

Philadelphia School Partnership responds to Helen Gym's commentary on universal enrollment
 thenotebook by Kristen Forbriger  on Oct 25 2013
If the Notebook is going to delve into the proposed universal enrollment process, it should begin with the facts.   ose of universal enrollment: to simplify the process of applying to schools for families and make access to the city's best schools more equitable. Also note that universal enrollment is a goal of the Great Schools Compact, which was signed by Mayor Nutter, the School District, charter and Catholic school leaders, and the state secretary of education. Philadelphia School Partnership serves as project manager to the Compact Committee, which includes representatives from all of these.
The Compact states:  We will pursue a system of “universal enrollment” – i.e., aligning schools’ application procedures, from public announcements to application materials to lottery dates and other timing, as uniformly as possible. Expanding the number of high performing schools will only truly serve parents and students if they are more readily able to access, understand and apply for the options available to them.
Here are other important clarifications to Helen Gym's commentary:

'In God We Trust' being sought for Pennsylvania schools
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review By Bobby Kerlik Published: Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, 11:24 p.m.
People see “In God We Trust” on currency, so why not display the words in Pennsylvania schools?  A Republican lawmaker's proposal to do just that is likely to touch off fierce debates within communities and courtrooms.  Education officials and others question the need for the bill authored by Rep. Rick Saccone of Elizabeth Township that would require school districts to post the phrase — America's national motto — within 60 days of passage.
The idea drew immediate criticism from Vic Walczak, head of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, who said it would inject religion into public schools.
New York State Seeks to Scale Back Student Testing
New York Times By JAVIER C. HERNÁNDEZ Published: October 25, 2013
The New York State Education Department, responding to concerns that standardized exams in reading and math have become excessive and unwieldy, will seek to ease the burden of testing.
Under the plan, students struggling in English would be given exams in their native languages. A math test would be eliminated for some eighth graders. Students with disabilities would take tests matched to their level of instruction, not their age.  The proposals are modest, but they represent a rare concession from state leaders, who have faced attacks from parents and teachers in recent weeks over the rollout of a tougher set of standards known as the Common Core.

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


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