Tuesday, December 10, 2013

PA Ed Policy Roundup for December 10, 2013: At Corbett's Philly office, 100 press for 'fair' funding formula for schools

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

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Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for December 10, 2013:
At Corbett's Philly office, 100 press for 'fair' funding formula for schools

SB1085 would create an 18-member Charter School Funding Advisory Commission, consisting of the secretary of education; six legislators, four of them from the majority party; and, appointed by the governor, 11 representatives of charters, school districts, and a university.  ….the commission is not bipartisan. Sixteen of the 18 members come from, or will be appointed by, the majority party."

EPLC Education Notebook – Monday, December 9, 2013
The Education Policy and Leadership Center

“The formula would be "fair," advocates say, if the state used a transparent, data-driven metric when portioning out its education budget to its 500 school districts.  The ideal metric would divert more cash to school districts tasked with serving a higher percentage of students thought to be more expensive to educate -– those in poverty, with a disability, or still learning English, they say.  "Pennsylvania is one of three states that doesn't have one," said Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. "We need a formula."
At Corbett's Philly office, 100 press for 'fair' funding formula for schools
More than a hundred students, teachers, parents, community members and labor activists rallied Monday at Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett's Philadelphia office, demanding an equitable education funding formula.  Philadelphia was one of 90 cities nationwide in which education advocates gathered to stage events designed to highlight "how dis-investment in public education is damaging our communities."  In the wintry dusk of South Broad Street, the group halted traffic as it chanted call-and-response attacks on the governor's education record, later marching around City Hall as both the temperature and the light fell in the frigid December air.

After closeup look at poverty, Pa. lawmaker to begin work on policy
WHYY Newsworks by Holly Otterbein DECEMBER 6, 2013
A Pennsylvania GOP lawmaker has finished the first part of his mission to learn more about the nearly 1.8 million people in the state living in poverty.  Indiana County state Rep. Dave Reed and other Republican legislators spent the last five months crisscrossing the state, traveling everywhere from the Poconos to North Philadelphia, and talking to low-income residents, government officials and advocates for the poor.  Reed said he has learned that there is near-unanimous consent among those people that the government and nonprofit sector's current efforts to combat poverty are insufficient. He expected at least some advocates to defend the status quo.
"Probably the most eye-opening component to me was the recognition by so many folks at the grassroots level that the system was broken," he said, as well as the "frustration that a lot of folks held that they didn't feel like there was any hope of actually changing the system for the better."
Reed explored education, homelessness, financial literacy, public assistance programs and hunger

Pa. schools and $$ behind the curtain
ARE MOST Pennsylvania school districts fooling Pennsylvania taxpayers?
Are they hoarding money while annually seeking more while poorer districts, including Philly's, operate in crisis?  Well, there's an interesting line in Gov. Corbett's recent response to a school-funding survey.  The survey was by the Philadelphia Public School Notebook, an independent, nonprofit news service supportive of city schools.
The line?  "The 500 school districts throughout the Commonwealth have more than $3.5 billion in unreserved fund balances, representing overtaxation of their residents."

Pa.'s top teacher from southeastern Pa. school
Inquirer by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS  Monday, December 9, 2013, 5:55 PM
HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) - A southeastern Pennsylvania educator who embodies his school district's focus on teaching children to create and invent was named the winner of the 2014 Pennsylvania's Teacher of the Year award on Monday.  Rose Tree Media School District teacher Anthony Grisillo was introduced at an event in Hershey by seventh-grader James Riley McGowan, and Gov. Tom Corbett made the announcement.

School leaders want to avoid furlough option
State could aid in other ways, school officials say
Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader, By Mark Guydish  December 08. 2013 11:33PM
Area school district superintendents differ on the value of a state proposal to ease restrictions on teacher furloughs, but they agree on one thing: The state should focus on fixing other problems costing district’s big bucks that could make furloughs unnecessary.
Besides, some said, most local districts have already made deep staff cuts as a result of the recession and reduced state and federal funding, so any change in the rules at this point is too late to matter.

Defense witness says she didn't write e-mail about Brown
The defense in the $6.7 million fraud trial of charter school founder Dorothy June Brown rested Monday without calling Brown or her two codefendants to testify.  But before Brown's attorneys ended their side of the case, they put on the stand a former Agora Cyber Charter School parent who is being sued for defamation by Brown.

The Notebook invited each candidate to submit a biography and asked them to give their positions on state education funding by responding to the following questions in 250 words or less: Do you think Pennsylvania’s current approach to K-12 education funding is fair and effective?   What changes would you seek to enact as governor?
Taking a stand on education funding
Candidates in the 2014 governor’s race address how they would support schools.
The notebook compiled by Naveed Ahsan and Isaac Riddle December 2013
There’s a governor’s race in Pennsylvania in 2014, and education is a hot issue as Gov. Tom Corbett seeks re-election. Party primaries take place May 20 and the general election is Nov. 4.
At press time, Corbett, a Republican, and eight Democratic candidates had announced their plans to run.  An October poll conducted by Franklin and Marshall College indicates that 21 percent of respondents feel that the state of schools and school funding is the most important issue in Pennsylvania. The Corbett administration has been blamed for cuts to education funding as well as the 2011 abandonment of a statewide funding formula passed in 2008. But Corbett is not surrendering the issue to Democrats.
In a press conference announcing his bid for re-election, Corbett said, “We have a responsibility to provide a good education to all children in Pennsylvania, but it starts with an honest discussion about education funding.” 

High-Stakes Decisions: The Legal Landscape of Exit Exams Required to Graduate
Cloaking Inequity Blog by Julian Vasquez Heilig December 9, 2013
High school exit exam requirements are impacting a growing number of U.S. students, particularly low-income students and students of color. This peer-reviewed article examines policy and legal landscape of exit testing policy in order to shed light on some of the key issues facing local school leaders charged with implementing these policies. The article first analyzes federal and state-level court cases related to exit testing, and examines the conditions under which courts have permitted and bounded their use. The article then discuses the broader legal and legislative environment that has affected the ability of leaders to respond to exit testing requirements. 
We conclude in the article that the persistent resource inequalities and growing segregation in many contexts means that the issue of “opportunity to learn” will remain a significant problem in the implementation of high-stakes exit testing. We proffer these problems will pose the most significant challenges to educators and leaders working in high poverty schools and school districts. In the paper High stakes decisions: The legal landscape of gatekeeping exit exams and the implications for schools and leaders, we propose several recommendations for state policymakers and educational leaders seeking to raise standards and improve outcomes for the most at-risk youth facing exams required for graduation.

Are the Chinese cheating in PISA or are we cheating ourselves?
OECD Education Today by Andreas Schleicher Deputy Director for Education and Skills and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the OECD's Secretary General TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2013
Whenever an American or European wins an Olympic gold medal, we cheer them as heroes. When a Chinese does, the first reflex seems to be that they must have been doping; or if that’s taking it too far, that it must have been the result of inhumane training.
There seem to be parallels to this in education. Only hours after results from the latest PISA assessmentshowed Shanghai’s school system leading the field, Time magazine concluded the Chinese must have been cheating. They didn't bother to read the PISA 2012 Technical Background Annex, which shows there was no cheating, whatsoever, involved. Nor did they speak with the experts who had drawn the samples or with the international auditors who had carefully reviewed and validated the sample for Shanghai and those of other countries.
Others were quick to suggest that resident internal migrants might not be covered by Shanghai’s PISA sample, because years ago those migrants wouldn't have had access to Shanghai’s schools. But, like many things in China, that has long changed and, as described by PISA, resident migrants were covered by the PISA samples in exactly the way they are covered in other countries and education systems. Still, it seems to be easier to cling to old stereotypes than keep up with changes on the ground (or to read the PISA report). 

Opinion: The costs of Shanghai's education success story
By Jiang Xueqin, deputy principal of Tsinghua University High School
updated 11:33 PM EST, Wed December 4, 2013
  • Shanghai schools came top in the OECD's internaional education rankings
  • Shanghai's triumph comes at too greater cost, argues teacher Jiang Xueqin
  • Cheating and bribery are problems at Chinese schools, he says.
  • "Dog-eat-dog" mentality makes schoolchildren unhappy and unhealthy
Editor's note: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of Jiang Xueqin, deputy principal of Tsinghua University High School in Beijing, one of China's most famous public schools. Jiang appears as a guest on this month's episode of On China with Kristie Lu Stout. You can follow him on Twitter at @xueqinjiang.
Beijing (CNN) -- In 2009, Shanghai participated for the first time in the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the tri-annual survey of the world's school systems.
And when Shanghai's teenagers proved their math, science, and reading were much better than their peers in the United States, Germany, and Japan, the world was shocked and awed.
Here, much more so than the 2008 Beijing Olympics or Shanghai's skyscrapers or China's double-digit growth, was proof positive that the future belonged to China.
The latest PISA results released this week show that Shanghai schools are still number one, but, as I argued after Shanghai's first placing in 2009, the triumph comes at too great a cost.

“The Gates Foundation has given in excess of $173.5 million to promote the Common Core standards to an astounding number of organizations.“
Millions in private money poured into Common Core promotion
Washington Post The Answer Sheet BY VALERIE STRAUSS  December 10 at 4:00 am
It cost money to implement and promote the Common Core State Standards. Here’s a post about where some of the funding is coming from, written by award-winning Principal Carol Burris of South Side High School in New York.  Burris has  chronicled on this blog the many problems with the test-driven reform in New York (here, and here and here and here, for example). She was named New York’s 2013 High School Principal of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and in 2010,  tapped as the 2010 New York State Outstanding Educator by the School Administrators Association of New York State. She is the co-author of the New York Principals letter of concern regarding the evaluation of teachers by student test scores. It has been signed by more than 1,535 New York principals and more than 6,500 teachers, parents, professors, administrators and citizens. You can read the letter by clicking here. 

“High school teachers will be able to use them in their classes or assign them as homework. And the lessons will also be available online on the edX platform for students trying to learn the subject independently.”
Professors in Deal to Design Online Lessons for A.P. Classes
New York Times By TAMAR LEWIN Published: December 5, 2013
To ease the way for students grappling with certain key concepts, professors at Davidson College in North Carolina will design online lessons for high school students in Advanced Placement courses in calculus, physics and macroeconomics and make them widely available through the College Board and edX, a nonprofit online education venture.
“We joined edX in May, specifically because many of our faculty wanted to work on this Advanced Placement project,” said Carol Quillen, the president of Davidson. “They see kids come into their introductory classes, year after year after year, and get stuck on certain concepts, like the Phillips curve in macroeconomics, and they wanted to create some interactive online units that teachers could use to help teach the hardest ideas.”

Year 2 of sequestration: Gloom looming
Politico By DARREN SAMUELSOHN | 12/8/13 11:01 PM EST
Budget negotiators have a big reason to strike a deal this week: averting the pain from a second year of sequestration, which could make the first 12 months of spending reductions seem mild in comparison.  The looming cuts promise to hurt military troop readiness and limit FBI agents who keep tabs on terrorists, gangs and white-collar criminals. It’s not a pretty picture either for cash-strapped scientists already hamstrung tracking deadly diseases and educators who this year had to turn down more than 50,000 preschoolers.

2014 Gubernatorial Candidate Plans for Education and Arts/Culture in PA
Education Policy and Leadership Center
Below is an alphabetical list of the 2014 Gubernatorial Candidates and links to information about their plans, if elected, for education and arts/culture in Pennsylvania. This list will be updated, as more information becomes available.

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

The DCIU Google Symposium is an opportunity for teachers, administrators, technology directors, and other school stakeholders to come together and explore the power of Google Apps for Education.  The Symposium will be held at the Delaware County Intermediate Unit.  The Delaware County Intermediate Unit is one of Pennsylvania’s 29 regional educational agencies.  The day will consist of an opening keynote conducted by Rich Kiker followed by 4 concurrent sessions. 

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.

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 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
oards 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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