Friday, November 29, 2013

PA Ed Policy Roundup for November 29, 2013: “The concept of educating all people regardless of race, class or socioeconomic status is the engine that has made America a great nation and an economic power”

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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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?



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 29, 2013:
“The concept of educating all people regardless of race, class or socioeconomic status is the engine that has made America a great nation and an economic power”


“According to CMD, Packard made $19 million from tax dollars paid to K-12 Inc. in 2009 through 2013.”
K-12 Inc., Largest Education Management Organization, Pays CEO $19 Million from Our Taxes
This week the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) at the University of Colorado published the fourteenth edition of its report, Profiles of For-Profit and Nonprofit Education Management Organizations.  According to NEPC’s press release, “The real growth in the for-profit sector is with companies that operate virtual schools.  The growth of virtual schools, which is fueled by millions in advertising dollars is astounding because of the sketchy academic results reported by the schools that operate online.”  According to NEPC, K-12 Inc., the largest for-profit Education Management Organization, now enrolls 87,091 students in the 57 virtual schools it operates across the states.

“What does K12 Inc. do with all that money? According to new data, it does not educate children very well (only 27.7 percent of K12 Inc. online schools met state standards in 2010-2011, compared to 52 percent of public schools), but it does pay its CEO very well. From 2009-2013, Packard made over $19 million in compensation, and compensation to his top executives skyrocketed 96 percent in 2013. Thank you taxpayers!”
The Center for Media and Democracy’s PRWatch Posted by PRW STAFF on November 19, 2013
Center for Media and Democracy Exposes America’s “Highest Paid Government Workers”
 New initiative will expose the CEOs who take over public services and divert millions of tax dollars out of communities and into their pockets 
 (Madison, WI) – The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) today launched “America’s Highest Paid Government Workers,” a new initiative that will expose the taxpayer-funded salaries of CEOs whose corporations make billions by taking control of public services.  …Today, CMD puts the spotlight on Ron Packard, CEO of K12 Inc., America’s highest paid teacher. 
K12 Inc. is a publicly-traded (NYSE: LRN) for-profit, online education company headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. On its own and as a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), K12 Inc. has pushed a national agenda to replace bricks and mortar classrooms with computers and replace actual teachers with "virtual" ones. As K12 Inc. notes in its most recent 10-K, "most of (its) revenues depend on per pupil funding amounts and payment formulas" from government contracts for virtual public charter schools and "blended schools" (combining online with traditional instruction), among other products. 
In 2013, K12 Inc. took in $848.2 million from its business, with $730.8 million coming from its "managed public schools" and thus the U.S. taxpayer (10-K, p. 69). In other words, over 86 percent of the company’s profits are due to taxpayers. 
What does K12 Inc. do with all that money? According to new data, it does not educate children very well (only 27.7 percent of K12 Inc. online schools met state standards in 2010-2011, compared to 52 percent of public schools), but it does pay its CEO very well. From 2009-2013, Packard made over $19 million in compensation, and compensation to his top executives skyrocketed 96 percent in 2013. Thank you taxpayers! 
Not bad for a novice “teacher” and former Goldman Sachs executive who started  K12 Inc. with a $10 million investment from convicted junk-bond king Michael Milken (his boss at Knowledge Learning) and $30 million more from other Wall Street investors.
Learn more about K12 Inc. in the Sourcewatch corporate profile. 

K12, Inc. Executive Compensation - Morningstar

“Remarkably, the governor has not made one documented visit to a district-run Philly school during his time in office.”
How education funding became Gov. Corbett's big problem
Philadelphia Citypaper By Daniel Denvir  Published: 11/27/2013
Though Gov. Tom Corbett has never visited Feltonville School of Arts and Sciences, his presence there looms large.  “Our staff is starting to fall apart,” says teacher Amy Roat, who provides a rapid-fire audit of her middle school’s condition during a short break between classes. “We probably have lost about 40 percent of our staff over the last three years,” even though the city school enrolls about 610 students, nearly the same number as before, and mostly all of them are poor.  Like many teachers, Roat blames the problems at her school partly on Gov. Tom Corbett’s 2011 budget: It cut more than $865 million in K-12 public education funds. This year, the School District of Philadelphia, by far Pennsylvania’s largest with 135,149 students and 58,643 more enrolled in charters, had to make deep cuts to close a $304 million shortfall.

Councilman Green among top picks to lead Phily SRC
KRISTEN A. GRAHAM, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER  Friday, November 29, 2013, 2:01 AM
City Councilman Bill Green and former Convention Center head Al Mezzaroba are Gov. Corbett's top choices to lead the School Reform Commission, multiple sources say.
A second SRC seat becomes vacant in January, and the top contenders for that post, the sources say, are Farah Jimenez, who leads the People's Emergency Center, and Keith Leaphart, a doctor and entrepreneur.  Few details are known about the views of most of the likely nominees, who would all be subject to confirmation by the state Senate. But Green has made no secret of his stance - that he has "radical and transformative" ideas for the ailing Philadelphia School District.

Pittsburgh Environmental Charter School wants to offer high school classes
TribLive.com By David Conti Published: Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
In a pair of Regent Square schools built at the beginning of the last century, students are learning through a 21st century model of education.  Teams of educators teach second-graders about community service. Every student gets at least 80 minutes of science instruction a day. Instead of separate social science and English classes, eighth-graders learn cultural literacy through group projects.  The Environmental Charter School has no textbooks.
“We're building the creative brain to be a flexible thinker,” said Jon McCann, CEO of the charter school that opened in 2008 and is looking to expand.
The Heron's Nest: Delco's version of ‘The Hunger Games,' 21,000 kids living in poverty
By Phil Heron, Editor, Delaware County Daily Times 11/27/13
How ironic is it that just a few days before we sit down to a feast in which he recount the things we are grateful for, we learn that is not exactly the case for lots of needy children in Delaware County.  Call it Delco’s own version of the ‘The Hunger Games.’
A report from the child advocacy group Public Citizens for Children and Youth issued their second troubling report about Delaware County in two weeks.

Few kids have access to public preschool in Pa., survey finds
WHYY Newsworks by Mary Wilson NOVEMBER 29, 2013
A recent study shows Pennsylvania has some work to do to prepare young children for school.
The finding by the advocacy group Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children reveals just under 16 percent of young children have access to public early education in the commonwealth.
State funding for early education has been either cut or stagnant for the past few years, said spokesman Mike Race, leading to declines in the percentage of children in publicly funded pre-K.

Pa. senator plans to unveil education-reform bills
WHTM ABC27 By Myles Snyder Posted: Nov 26, 2013 1:27 PM EST
HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) - A Pennsylvania lawmaker plans to introduce a package of legislation to address issues involving charter schools, teacher certification, and the need for high-quality prekindergarten.  Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) said part of his proposal would require all teachers at charter schools to be certified, instead of having 75 percent of teachers certified.  Brewster said his legislation also would implement a moratorium on state approval of new charter schools.  He said until changes are made in accountability at the local level, Pennsylvania should focus on the charters that are already established and not be involved in approving charters that have been denied by the local school board.

Lincoln Park seeking financially responsible CEO
Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 1:35 pm | Updated: 6:27 pm, Wed Nov 27, 2013.
By Bill Utterback butterback@timesonline.com | 2 comments
MIDLAND — The new chief administrator at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School must be “fiscally transparent,” according to a job description posted on the school’s website.
Former Lincoln Park chief executive officer Rebecca Manning resigned in September, after it was revealed that she was involved in a business venture with former Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School director Nick Trombetta.
Trombetta is facing federal charges related to tax fraud and his relationships with various educational entities.

The Gates Foundation that helped sponsor the Common Core also funded public relations campaigns for it nationwide through organizations including $260,000 to the Pennsylvania Business Council and $700,000 to the Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children
Benso: We can’t afford to wait on raising standards
thenotebook by Joan Benso on Nov 27 2013 Posted in Commentary
Joan Benso is the president and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children.
There’s been a lot of much-needed discussion about Pennsylvania’s academic standards – known as thePennsylvania Core Standards – and the related Keystone Exams for high school students. Much of that talk has focused on school funding issues, the notion of “over testing” students, and fears of unfunded state mandates being pushed on school districts.
Those arguments have clouded the main reason the Pennsylvania Core Standards and Keystone Exams are badly needed. For too long, Pennsylvania schools have been graduating tens of thousands of students each year who failed to show proficiency in core subjects like reading and math. In 2012 alone, one-third of all Pennsylvania public high school graduates - about 44,000 kids statewide - did not score proficient or advanced on the 11th grade PSSAs or the 12th grade retake, but they were handed a diploma anyway.
And if you think these unprepared students come from only a handful of high-poverty or low-performing school districts, you’re wrong. These students come from all types of schools throughout the state, not just our most distressed ones. In fact, 428 of Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts and 74 charter schools and career and technical centers graduated at least 20 percent more students in 2012 than scored proficient or advanced on the 11th grade PSSAs.

Gates Foundation pours millions into Common Core in 2013
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog BY VALERIE STRAUSS November 27 at 2:00 pm
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation spent more than $20 million this year in grants to institutions and organizations to support the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, continuing the hefty support it has provided since the initiative began more than five years ago, according to its  Web site.  The foundation has spent well over $170 million to support the creation and implementation of Common Core State Standards, and has been praised by supporters for its philanthropy and questioned by critics who worry about wealthy private citizens using their personal fortunes to impact public policy.

Nation desperate for youth interest in teaching
ESchool News By Meris Stansbury, Associate Editor, November 25th, 2013
Duncan, stakeholders launch new national campaign on how teaching is more than a paycheck. Will it work?
Let’s face it: Being a teacher doesn’t sound all that glamorous to many of today’s students. However, with many teachers facing retirement in the next few years, as well as the lack of youth interest in teaching, the U.S. may face a significant teaching shortage. That’s where Make More comes in.  Make More is an integrated campaign to recruit “the next great generation of teachers.” The campaign was inspired by recent data revealing that half of the nation’s teachers will retire over the next decade, but only nine percent of top students consider the profession a viable career.

NY Parents & students send a heartfelt message to the Mayor-Elect about high-stakes tests and the next NYC schools chancellor
Parent Voices NY Published on Nov 24, 2013.  Video runtime: 3:24

“The concept of educating all people regardless of race, class or socioeconomic status is the engine that has made America a great nation and an economic power,” Robles said in a statement. “Society has asked public schools to carry a heavier load, to cut back their budgets, to pass all the tests, to feed the hungry, to minister to the sick, to be all things to all people. And you know what? They are doing a pretty amazing job.”
Business Leaders help San Antonio Districts Launch "Go Public" Campaign
Texas Tribune by Morgan Smith November 8, 2013
Facing an influx of new charter schools to the area and coping with state-level budget cuts, Bexar County's 15 school districts have united behind a campaign to emphasize the benefits of traditional public schools.  The "We Go Public" effort, which will feature social media outreach along with radio and TV ads, will focus on what it calls the "core strengths" of local public schools, including the experienced teaching corps, a variety of extracurricular activities, diversity in learning experiences and the sense of community the schools provide. The initiative is co-chaired by three of San Antonio’s business leaders: USAA CEO Josue Robles, Toyota Manufacturing President Chris Nielsen, and CST Brands CEO Kim Bowers.

PISA - The full story: How U.S. students compare internationally
Center for Public Education  - The Edifier  by Jim Hull November 27, 2013
With the 2012 PISA results set to be released on Tuesday you will probably hear a lot of doom and gloom about how the U.S. doesn’t fair well on international assessments. You’ll probably be bombarded with references to the 2009 PISA results showing that U.S. students ranked 24th and 19th in math and science respectively.  Such statistics are true but you should be warned such statistics don’t tell the whole truth. While PISA results should not be ignored  they only tell part of the story of how U.S. schools compare to schools around the world. There are a myriad of other indicators that are useful in comparing U.S. schools internationally. Yet, PISA results get all the headlines because of our mediocre performance especially in math and science. But when you take a broader look at how U.S. schools perform, you’ll see our schools compare more favorably to other countries than PISA results would suggest.

“In 2009, Arne was the new sheriff in town, with big boxes of ammunition and a shiny new gun,” said Frederick Hess, an education analyst at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. “Now, it’s later in the movie and he’s all out of bullets and he’s trying to scare states by shaking a stick at them.”
“There’s no clear evidence that Duncan’s prescriptions are helping.”
Arne Duncan schooled in limits of power
By STEPHANIE SIMON | 11/27/13 5:06 AM EST
Arne Duncan brought the most ambitious reform agenda in years to the Department of Education — and a determination to use every lever of power to accomplish it.
The results were stunning: In barely a year, more than 100 state laws were passed to open public schools to competition and set tough new standards for students and teachers. Duncan won allies on the right and the left, becoming one of the few Cabinet members with bipartisan support.
But the agenda he began to advance in 2009 has now hit serious roadblocks, highlighting the limits of federal power over education. States are balking at reforms they pledged to implement in exchange for grants and waivers from federal law. An unprecedented $5 billion intervention in the nation’s worst schools has yielded incremental results, at best. A noisy opposition to Duncan’s reforms has emerged — and it only grew noisier this month when Duncan dissed “white suburban moms” for opposing the new Common Core academic standards because the tough tests made their kids look bad.  To top it off, there’s no clear evidence that Duncan’s prescriptions are boosting student achievement, though his backers say it’s still too early to tell
Bill Gates Imposes Microsoft Model on School Reform: Only to Have the Company Junk It After It Failed
New school systems are stuck with a model designed to trash teachers, while Microsoft employees collaborate and work on teams.
AlterNet / By David Morris November 26, 2013  |  
Schools have a lot to learn from business about how to improve performance, Bill Gates declared in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal in 2011. He pointed to his own company as a worthy model for public schools.   “At Microsoft, we believed in giving our employees the best chance to succeed, and then we insisted on success. We measured excellence, rewarded those who achieved it and were candid with those who did not.”
Adopting the Microsoft model means public schools grading teachers, rewarding the best and being “candid”—that is, firing those who are deemed ineffective. "If you do that,” Gates promised Oprah Winfrey, “then we go from being basically at the bottom of the rich countries to being back at the top."  

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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