Wednesday, November 27, 2013

PA Ed Policy Roundup for November 27, 2013: Gates’ $450K funds Wendy Kopp’s TFA “highly qualified” ivy league kids to feed Gates-funded common core to poor kids in Pittsburgh. Will they be evaluated using $40M Gates-funded teacher effectiveness initiative?

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 3050 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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What the charter and choice movement has done is sell the line, 'All you have to do is look out for your own child.' So escape if you can and leave everyone else behind. Public education is a civic obligation,"


Keystone State Education Coalition
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for November 27, 2013:
Gates’ $450K funds Wendy Kopp’s TFA “highly qualified” ivy league kids to feed Gates-funded common core to poor kids in Pittsburgh.  Will they be evaluated using $40M Gates-funded teacher effectiveness initiative?


“Teach for America has about 11,000 teachers in 48 cities, including Philadelphia, in 35 states. The district wants to use Teach for America to diversify the pool of potential teacher candidates. The contract, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will cover Teach for America's annual $5,000 administrative fee per teacher. The district will pay their $40,000 salaries.”
TFA: Duck calls greet Pittsburgh school board's vote on teaching consultant
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review By Bill Zlatos Published: Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013, 10:12 p.m.
Pittsburgh Public Schools hired Teach for America to work in the district next fall amid a hail of duck calls.  About 20 observers at Tuesday's meeting quacked their disapproval using the hunter's tool before the vote was taken. Security officers led them out of the board room in Oakland.  Board members Mark Brentley Sr., Theresa Colaizzi, Sherry Hazuda, William Isler, Floyd “Skip” McCrea and President Sharene Shealey voted for Teach for America. Regina Holley, Jean Fink and Thomas Sumpter were opposed.
The administration recommended a $750,000 contract over three years to hire up to 30 recruits a year from Teach for America.
Avoid TFA's trap
Opinion by Jay Saper Tribune-Review Published: Monday, Nov. 25, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Last fall, I was accepted to Teach for America (TFA) in Philadelphia. This autumn, I urge Pittsburgh Public Schools to reject falling in TFA's trap.  TFA is a temporary teacher program. Recent college grads receive five weeks of training and commit to two years in the classroom.
After Philadelphia closed more than 20 schools and laid off one in five veteran educators, it placed a cheaper bunch of more than 100 inexperienced TFA members in lead teaching positions. Art, music, libraries, counselors and even nurses were deemed superfluous, leading to the recent tragic death of a sixth-grade student.
EPLC Education Notebook Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Education Policy and Leadership Center

 “In the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2006, Brown was paid a total of $472,483 from three of her schools: $186,929 as the chief executive of the Laboratory Charter School; $108,554 as CEO of Ad Prima Charter School; and $177,000 as executive director of Main Line Academy, a small private school for students with special needs she established in Bala Cynwyd.”
Jury in charter fraud trial hears of excess
MARTHA WOODALL, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER  November 26, 2013, 7:23 PM
PHILADELPHIA Jurors in Dorothy June Brown's federal fraud trial heard Tuesday about multiple salaries paid to Brown and money she received from management firms she controlled.
Brown is accused of defrauding the four charter schools she founded of $6.7 million and then conspiring with two former administrators to obstruct justice by orchestrating a cover-up.

Green's new mission: Saving Philly's schools?
WHYY Newsworks by Dave Davies November 27, 2013
As Pennsylvania's Republican Gov. Tom Corbett considers candidates to head the board that governs the troubled Philadelphia school system, there's a surprise pick among the candidates -- Democratic City Councilman Bill Green.
Green represents the third generation in a Philadelphia political dynasty. His grandfather was a U.S. congressman and Democratic Party chairman. His father was mayor. Now Green, serving his second term in Council, is looking for a new route to public service.
Several sources confirm Green is prepared to resign his Council seat if Corbett will name him chairman of the five-member School Reform Commission. (The Daily News' Chris Brennan first identified Green and the other candidates named below in a piece Friday.) Green has been outspoken on public education issues and generally favors school choice and the expansion of charter schools.

“But Brett Schaeffer, a spokesman for the Education Law Center, which combines advocacy with legal action, said that both the Senate and House bills take a step backward by removing enrollment caps, permitting university authorizing, and letting schools amend their charters. All this adds up to the opposite of responsible oversight, he said.  “If the impetus for this legislation is all about accountability,” he said, “we’re not addressing it adequately through these bills.””
Debate rages about how charters are funded in Pa.
The state legislature is considering amending the law, but there is still little agreement on the issues.
The Notebook by Dan Hardy December 2013 print edition
Due to funding concerns, the SRC has sought to enforce enrollment caps at charter schools like Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Partners. Many charters have resisted.
Since 1997, when the law authorizing charter schools was passed in Pennsylvania, their steady growth and the resulting shift of students and money away from regular public schools have turned Philadelphia’s K-12 education system upside down. 
In about the time it would take a child born in 1997 to graduate from high school, the District’s configuration has shifted so that charters now enroll nearly a third of the city’s public school students. Eighty-six charters with more than 63,000 students are now operating here.
More than half of the brick-and-mortar charters in Pennsylvania are located in Philadelphia, and more than two-thirds of the state’s non-cyber charter students attend school in the city. The cost to the District: about $708 million this school year – not quite 30 percent of its total budget. 

Improve both reform bills
Scranton Times-Tribune Editorial Published: November 26, 2013
Charter schools are a permanent and permanently controversial part of public education in Pennsylvania.  The charter movement has grown substantially since the state first authorized it in a 1997 law, as have concerns from the public school establishment and some independent sources about charters' performance and costs.
Pennsylvania has 175 charter schools with more than 120,000 students, a bit less than 7 percent of all public school students. Philadelphia alone has 86 charter schools with 55,000 students. Statewide, more than 55 percent of charter students are African-American or Latino, according to the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools.
For the first time, the Legislature seems poised to significantly amend the charter law. Bills in the House and Senate have major differences. Extracting the best features of each and scrapping the worst of each would make for effective reform.

“A recent Franklin and Marshall poll showed that 21 percent of voters felt that education was the most important issue in the state.”
Education the lead issue at gubernatorial candidate forum
by thenotebook on Nov 26 2013 by Isaac Riddle
Five of the eight Democrats vying to challenge Gov. Corbett next year gathered in front of education and community groups at a candidate forum held at Temple University last Saturday.
The forum opened to chants of “whose children, our children” and “whose jobs, our jobs” by members of the audience.

Lack of State Investment Leaves Schools Struggling to Meet the Needs of Rising Number of Low-Income Students
PCCY Blog Spot Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Last month we showed the trend of rising share of low-income students in Delaware County and the challenges those students face in Delco’s public schools.  Today we’ll take a deeper look at the numbers and see what needs to be addressed and why the state is making matters worse.
The number of students in Delaware County eligible for free and reduced-price lunch jumped 18% between 2008 and 2012.  The impact has been felt particularly hard in Upper Darby, where a 30% increase since 2008 has resulted in nearly 6,800 qualifying students—almost 30% of all students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch in Delaware County.  Unfortunately, Upper Darby wasn’t the only district in Delco having to deal with a major increase in economically disadvantaged students. In Marple-Newtown, the number of students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch more than doubled and in Springfield, the rate grew by nearly 80%.

PPP Poll: Corbett Trails All Dems
Politics PA Written by Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor November 26, 2013
Tom Corbett faces an uphill battle against every one of the Democrats running against him, the latest Public Policy Polling survey shows.  He’s undone by his poor job approval rating. Just 24% of registered voters approve the job he’s doing as Governor, versus 65% who disapprove.
Independents disapprove 67% to 17%. Even most Republicans disapprove his job performance, 51% to 37%.

Thankful Top Ten
Yinzercation Blog November 26, 2013
A lot of my Facebook friends are posting a message every day this month detailing the things for which they are grateful. It occurred to me how easy it would be for me to fill a month’s worth of posts just noting the many things I am thankful for in our public schools.
But I’ve been distracted from writing those posts since we’ve had such a busy month: with actions ranging from the PIIN Town Hall meeting to greeting Gov. Corbett on his campaign launch to hosting a forum for Pittsburgh and Philadelphia students [“A Week of Action,” “Calling All Students”]; battling the terrible charter reform bill barreling our way [“Killer Weeds”]; raising important questions about a potential contract with Teach for America [“Six Questions for Teach for America,” “Too Few Answers”]; and drafting an education platform with our grassroots colleagues around the state for the Democratic candidates for governor [“What They Should be Saying”]. I’m worn out and ready to eat pie!
But I’m still feeling the spirit, so here just in time for Thanksgiving, I offer my top ten education justice gratitude list. I am thankful for:

Maryland has increased the share of students entering kindergarten fully ready from 49% to 82%
Over the past eight years, Maryland has increased the share of students entering kindergarten fully ready from 49% to 82%, with comparable improvements for both African American and Latino children.  You can find the latest report detailing the progress in Maryland at this link: http://marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/BCFF0F0E-33E5-48DA-8F11-28CF333816C2/35515/MMSR_ExecutiveSummaryReport20122013_.pdf

“What makes the curriculum changes in schools an unusually big opportunity for tutoring companies to expand their businesses is the fact that most states now will have the same standards and many will give students the same standardized tests. As a result, a company in New York, for example, can provide online services to a student in Hawaii much easier than in the past, when each state had its own standards and assessments.”
And now… Common Core tutors
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog BY VALERIE STRAUSS November 26 at 4:00 am
It was inevitable.
First we got the Common Core State Standards, adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia and intended to raise the academic achievement of students everywhere. To assess whether that was happening, we got high-stakes standardized tests aligned with the Core, because, in today’s school reform world, standardized tests are the key evaluation metric. A new market of Core-aligned products, apps and websites popped up, and now, to make sure that students can handle all things Core, we have Common Core tutors.

Private Education Management Organizations Running Public Schools Expand
National Education Policy Center November 26, 2013
NEPC report finds 44% of charter school students in 2011-12 attended schools operated by EMOs
BOULDER, CO – A new National Education Policy Center report published today shows that across the nation, schools managed by for-profit firms such as K12 Inc, National Heritage Academies and Charter Schools USA, as well as nonprofit education management organizations (EMOs) such as KIPP, continue to increase the number of students they enroll, despite a scarcity of evidence showing positive results.  Students across 35 states and the District of Columbia now attend schools managed by these non-government entities. Oklahoma and Tennessee have added schools run by EMOs since the last edition of this report.
The report, Profiles of For-Profit and Nonprofit Education Management Organizations: Fourteenth Edition – 2011-2012, was released today by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), housed at the University of Colorado Boulder.

“As governor, I had to make tough decisions to invest in early childhood education programs while cutting nearly $6 billion in spending to balance the budget during a recession. Even in a time of tough cuts, I worked with legislators, educators and business leaders to expand the Virginia Preschool Initiative, improving the quality of pre-K programs and increasing the number of children they served by 40 percent.
Last week, I was proud to join eight of my U.S. Senate colleagues in introducing legislation to expand access to high-quality early education programs for children all over the country.”
Sen. Kaine: Starting strong: The case for pre-K
Hampton Roads Pilot Online By Tim Kaine November 23, 2013
With our daughter now in college, my wife Anne and I have reached the end of our journey through Virginia public education. As a parent I have learned many lessons from my children's combined total of 40 years in public pre-K through 12 classrooms, and one of the most significant is the importance of early childhood education programs.
Virginia started a modest early childhood education program after my two sons had already entered elementary school. My daughter, however, was just the right age to experience the program. And while my boys had a good experience with high-quality private child-care programs, the positive impact that a public, comprehensive pre-K year had on my daughter made me a true believer in the power of early childhood education.
I don't have to look far outside my own home to see the other ways expanding early childhood education has made an impact. Virginia is a perfect example of how investments in education will ensure that we have a skilled workforce ready to compete in a global economy.

“International tests are not worth much in predicting a nation's economic prosperity, productivity, quality of life, democracy, and creativity. Keith Baker, a former researcher at the US National Centre for Education Statistics, uncovered this in an analysis of the relationship between the outcomes of the first international mathematics study, held in the 1960s, and the conditions of the participating countries 40 years later.   However, personality traits and other non-cognitive skills have been shown to have strong relations to earnings, productivity, and employability. Self-esteem or confidence in childhood has a great impact on earnings in adulthood. The top five most valued skills by employers are communication skills, motivation/initiative, teamwork skills, leadership skills, and academic achievement; test scores come last.”
Yong Zhao: NAPLAN, HSC will not help students succeed in real life
WAtoday (Australia) By Yong Zhao November 26, 2013
Media and politicians claim Australian education is in decline whenever results of international assessments are released. The Australian Council for Educational Research reported that the average Australian reading scores dropped 13 points to 515 between 2000 and 2009, compared with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average of 496. Australia's ranking in the Program for International Student Assessment has dropped in the past three years. How much should it worry about its standing?
The experience of the US offers some answers. If any of the ''evidence'' of its education quality meant anything, it would not be the No.1 nation economically. American politicians and education reformers maintain American education is in decline whenever results of international assessments are released. In fact, American education is not in decline - it has been horrible for a long time. So why has the nation not been ruined by its horrible education system?

Pulling a More Diverse Group of Achievers Into the Advanced Placement Pool
New York Times By MOTOKO RICH Published: November 26, 2013
ORLANDO, Fla. — Every year, more than 600,000 academically promising high school students — most of them poor, Latino or black — fail to enroll in Advanced Placement courses, often viewed as head starts for the college-bound.  Amanda Kraemer, who teaches Advanced Placement calculus at Freedom, praised wider access.  Some of them do not know about these courses, which offer an accelerated curriculum and can lead to college credit. Others assume they will be too difficult. But many are held back by entrenched perceptions among administrators and teachers, whose referrals are often required for enrollment, about who belongs in what has long served as an elite preserve within public schools.

Veteran school board lobbyist retires after 44-year career at NSBA
NSBA’s School Board News Today by Del Stover November 26th, 2013
When Michael A. Resnick joined the National School Boards Association as a legislative specialist in 1969, Richard Nixon was president. Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. The U.S. Army began pulling troops out of Vietnam, and Jimi Hendrix sang at Woodstock.
And most Americans believed the nation’s public education system was the best in the world.
Over the next 44 years, much would change — and not just for the nation at large. In the realm of education, Resnick, who is retiring this week as head of NSBA’s Office of Federal Advocacy and Public Policy, has witnessed profound changes in state and federal education policy and in the challenges facing school boards nationwide.


NPE National Conference 2014

The Network for Public Education November 24, 2013
The Network for Public Education is pleased to announce our first National Conference. The event will take place on March 1 & 2, 2014 (the weekend prior to the world-famous South by Southwest Festival) at The University of Texas at Austin.  At the NPE National Conference 2014, there will be panel discussions, workshops, and a keynote address by Diane Ravitch. NPE Board members – including Anthony Cody, Leonie Haimson, and Julian Vasquez Heilig – will lead discussions along with some of the important voices of our movement.
In the coming weeks, we will release more details. In the meantime, make your travel plans and click this link and submit your email address to receive updates about the NPE National Conference 2014.

PA SPECIAL EDUCATION FUNDING FORMULA COMMISSION
Public Meeting, 12/11/2013, 10:00 AM  Hearing Room 1, North Office Building
Public hearing to consider final recommendations and release final report)

PCCY’s Public Education County Reports
Public Citizens for Children and Youth November 2013
·                            Bucks County
·                            Delaware County
·                            Chester County
·                            Montgomery County (updated 11/14/13)

Congratulations! Getting elected to the school board was the easy part…..
PSBA New Board Member Training: Great Governance, Great Schools!
November 2013-April 2014 Register Online » Print Form »
Announcing School Board Academy’s New Board Member Training: Great Governance, Great Schools!
You will need a wealth of information quickly as you jump out of the starting block and hit the ground running as a newly elected member of the board of school directors. New board members, as well as veterans who might like a refresher, will want to make the most of the opportunity to attend PSBA's New Board Member Training Program: Great Governance, Great Schools! .

EPLC is recruiting current undergraduate or graduate students to serve as part-time interns 
EPLC is recruiting current undergraduate or graduate students to serve as part-time interns beginning January or May of 2014 in the downtown Harrisburg offices. One intern will support education policy work including the Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign. The second intern position will support the work of the Pennsylvania Arts Education Network. Ideal candidates have an interest/course work in political science/public policy, social studies, the arts or education and also have strong research, communications, and critical thinking skills. The internship is unpaid, but free parking is available. Weekly hours of the internship are negotiable. To apply or to suggest a candidate, please email Mattie Robinson for further information at robinson@eplc.org.

The Last Waltz Philly benefit for Philadelphia School Children at the Trocadero on Saturday, November 30th
WXPN The Key November 5, 2013 | 12:25 PM | By Bruce Warren
On Saturday, November 30th the Trocadero Theatre hosts The Last Waltz Philly, a benefit for Philadelphia school children. Producers of the event Fergus Carey (owner of Fergie’s, Monk’s Cafe, Belgian Cafe and Grace Tavern), Bryan Dilworth (of Bonfire Booking), singer-songwriter Andrew Lipke, and musician and producer Kevin Hanson. The Last Waltz, a concert by rock group The Band and featuring numerous guest musicians including Neil Young, Muddy Waters, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, Dr. John, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond and others, was held on Thanksgiving in 1976. The Last Waltz Philly will celebrate the music of The Band’s farewell show all for an excellent cause.

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.
·                             Register now! – Register for both the conference and housing using our online system.
·                            Conference Information– Visit the NSBA conference website for up-to-date information
·                             Hotel List and Map - Official NSBA Housing Block
·                             Exposition Campus – View new products and services and interactive trade show floor
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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