Monday, October 28, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for October 28, 2013: Do We Invest in Preschools or Prisons?

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 http://keystonestateeducationcoalition.org
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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for October 28, 2013:
Do We Invest in Preschools or Prisons?



SB 1085: would drop any pretense that charter schools were intended to be laboratories of innovation that might share best practices to help improve all schools



If you missed our weekend postings….(a few related prior postings follow…)
Keystone State Education Coalition: Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for October 26, 2013:
Just in case you were wondering who really sets PA education policy……
Corbett witnesses while Vahan Gureghian gets key post…..

Here’s reprint of a 2009 Philadelphia Inquirer article on Gureghian fighting a 2006 Right-To-Know request; he’s still fighting it…..
Charter school appeals to block release of records
Philadelphia ACSE Alliance of Charter School Employees website
The Chester Community Charter School has filed a court appeal to a recent Pennsylvania Office of Open Records ruling that gave The Inquirer access to a wide range of financial records from the management company that operates the school.  The Chester Community Charter School has filed a court appeal to a recent Pennsylvania Office of Open Records ruling that gave The Inquirer access to a wide range of financial records from the management company that operates the school.  The Delaware County school, the state's largest charter, and Charter School Management Inc., a private, for-profit management company, have repeatedly denied requests by the newspaper for details about how millions of dollars in public money were spent and how much the company and its owner, Vahan H. Gureghian, were making. Because Charter School Management Inc. is a private business that hires all school employees and manages the school's finances, it has been able to keep many aspects of its financial operations secret, in contrast to most charters, which have to disclose more information in nonprofit reports.

Corbett's team jingles with donors
Two-thirds of members have financial ties to campaign
By Tracie Mauriello, Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau Sunday, December 19, 2010
"The transition team member who provided the most to Mr. Corbett -- $334,286 over the past three years -- was Vahan Gureghian, a Gladwyne lawyer who operates the state's largest charter school and owns a billboard company.
Mr. Gureghian was tapped to serve on the education committee and to lead the 27-member transportation committee, along with two former PennDOT administrators."

So was this $28.9 million taxpayer dollars intended for the classrooms of Chester Upland?  Guess we’ll have to wait for the PA Supreme Court to rule on the Right-To-Know request….
Palm Beach Florida Daily News
By DARRELL HOFHEINZ DAILY NEWS HOME & LOGGIA EDITOR
Posted: 4:04 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011
Owners on the record — There’s finally word about who bought 1071 N. Ocean Blvd. and the lot next door for a combined $28.9 million — the year’s second-largest Palm Beach residential purchase by a single buyer.

Do We Invest in Preschools or Prisons?
New York Times By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF Published: October 26, 2013
CONGRESS is often compared to pre-K, which seems defamatory of small children. But the similarities also offer hope, because an initiative that should be on the top of the national agenda has less to do with the sequester than with the A.B.C.’s and Big Bird.  Growing mountains of research suggest that the best way to address American economic inequality, poverty and crime is — you guessed it! — early education programs, including coaching of parents who want help. It’s not a magic wand, but it’s the best tool we have to break cycles of poverty.

EPLC Education Notebook Friday, October 25, 2013
Education Policy and Leadership Center

Funding for Schools is a Top Priority for PA Voters ...and We Have the Numbers to Prove It
PCCY Childwatch Fall/Winter 2013
Twenty-eight percent of likely Pennsylvania voters ranked funding for schools as the most
important issue for the Governor and the legislature to take action on based on a poll
commissioned by PCCY last June.

SRC: A most derided, and dedicated, lot
Endless hearings. Withering invective. Seemingly insurmountable problems. No pay. It's a thankless job on the SRC.
KAREN HELLER, INQUIRER COLUMNIST Sunday, October 27, 2013, 2:02 AM
Public education has become the third rail of local discourse, particularly when discussing the fate of our beleaguered city schools. It is far safer to debate politics or the Middle East.
Lori Shorr, the city's chief education officer, has seen arguments erupt at her children's soccer games. She said: "I think carefully when I accept a dinner invitation."
Me, too. I've been excoriated over drinks - and this is by friends. The debate over public education, especially testing and the quality of teachers and principals, has long been loud and passionate. But in recent years it has become even more politicized and fractious. Among certain folks, charter school is an invective, so are merit pay and seniority. Twitter can be a toxic sewer on the subject. Schools will dominate the 2015 mayoral race.

Report: American Education Isn't Mediocre—It's Deeply Unequal
Students in Massachusetts are doing great compared to their international peers, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics. Students in Alabama, Mississippi, and D.C., however, are languishing.
The Atlantic by JULIA  RYAN OCT 24 2013, 10:25 AM ET
It’s so common to see studies about the United States’s lackluster academic performance compared to other countries, it’s barely newsworthy anymore. The American education system, the story goes, is mediocre. A new report from the National Center for Educational Statistics complicates that picture a bit. It attempts to rank how individual states compare internationally, and ends up showing a wide gap between the highest-performing states and the lowest: Massachusetts does quite well against other countries, while Mississippi, Alabama, and the District of Columbia do poorly.  The report evaluates 2011 math and science scores from two sources: the National Assessment of Educational Process, which was administered to eighth graders in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Department of Defense schools; and from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, which evaluated eighth graders in 38 different countries and 9 “subnational entities” (for example, Quebec and Dubai).

Virginia schools boards pass anti-SOL resolutions
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog BY VALERIE STRAUSS October 27 at 9:08 am
About 30 school boards in Virginia have passed resolutions that call on education officials to revamp the Standards of Learning testing system, saying that there is “little research” that shows that students “will be better prepared to succeed in their careers and college” by taking the 34 standardized tests the state gives to each child between grades 3-11.
The resolutions in Virginia — where there are about 130 school districts — are part of a growing backlash around the country by academics, educators, parents and others against the use of standardized tests as the chief “accountability” metric to evaluate students, teachers, principals and schools for high-stakes purposes.

Obama Education Speech Stresses Investments Ahead Of Budget Conference
Huffington Post by Joy Resmovits Posted: 10/25/2013 6:16 pm EDT 
NEW YORK -- President Barack Obama spent Friday hanging out with students at Pathways in Technology Early College High School, before telling them they're "starting something across the country" in a speech in the Brooklyn school's auditorium.  P-Tech, a new vocational school run in collaboration with IBM, goes two years beyond traditional high school and lets students graduate with an associate's degree. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, both Democrats, have praised the effort and called for the creation of more schools in its image.

New report shows states compare favorably to other countries in math and science
The Edifier, Center for Public Education October 24, 2013
Results from a new study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) at the U.S. Department of Education has found the vast majority of states score above the international average in 8th grade math and science. Although U.S. eighth-graders compared relatively well to their peers in other countries in math, the comparison was even more favorable in science, where just three states scored below the international average. However, the average 8th-grader in most states has obtained a basic knowledge and understanding of both math and science and can demonstrate it in a variety of practical situations.
But the study also highlights the fact that there is a huge variation in student performance across states. While there are a number of states that compare more favorably to the highest performing countries in the world, there are other states whose performance matches the performance of developing countries. For students in all states to have a chance to compete in the ever growing global labor market they, at the very least, must possess basic math and science skills.

Understanding the Common Core
Center for Public Education October 25, 2013
More than forty states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands have adopted the Common Core standards, and tests based on these standards are set to go into effect in 2015. That's not far away! Here are some resources to help you understand what to expect.

Media Trackers, the Right's New Oppo-Research Attack Dog
Blog network launched by a former RNC staffer aims to capitalize on—if not create—liberal scandals.
Mother Jones By Andy Kroll | Mon May. 21, 2012 3:00 AM PDT
In June 2010, half a dozen rich donors came to Drew Ryun, a former Republican National Committee staffer, with the kind of question a dyed-in-the-wool operative like himself could only dream about. "If you had X number of dollars," he recalls the donors saying, "what would you do that the conservative movement does not have?"
Conservatives have their think tanks, dozens of them at the state and national level. They also have a corporate-funded legislation mill in the American Legislative Exchange Council. What conservatives lacked, Ryun told the donors, were nimble attack blogs that could quickly capitalize on the latest missteps by big-government politicians or the "liberal" media—essentially hard-hitting, opposition-research-style shops that prize scoops, speed, and scandal over policy briefs and press conferences. His pitch: Create a network of one- and two-man digital media outlets with low overhead, rapid response, and a nose for controversy.
The donors loved it. They ponied up seed money in the low six figures, and Ryun's conservative attack machine, Media Trackers, was born. Bonus: As a nonprofit, Media Trackers can keep the identities of those donors secret.


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: http://www.artseducationpa.org/events/the-arts-and-education-symposium-2013/

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. 

DISTINGUISHED LECTURER SERIES - DR. PEDRO NOGUERA, NOV 5th
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

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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