Sunday, December 29, 2013

PA Ed Policy Roundup for December 29, 2013: Busting Early Childhood Education Myths – The Fadeout Myth

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 3060 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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Debating charter school reform in Pennsylvania
WHYY Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane - Audio runtime 52:01

Keystone State Education Coalition
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for December 29, 2013:
Busting Early Childhood Education Myths – The Fadeout Myth

Thirty-five years of longitudinal data: Disadvantaged children who receive quality early childhood education are more likely to persist in school, enjoy better career outcomes, higher wages and healthier lifestyles
Busting Early Childhood Education Myths – The Fadeout Myth
First Five Years Fund Starting Point Blog DEC 27, 2013
Early childhood education opponents are upping their efforts in the wake of federal early childhood initiatives such as the recently introduced Strong Start for America’s Children Act.
Unfortunately, they’re touting the same tired, debunked lines that critics have trotted out for years. Today we set the record straight about one of the most common myths cited by critics of early childhood education - that the gains made in early childhood education disappear by third grade.

Changes Coming to Charters in New York City, Philadelphia
Education Week Charters & Choice Blog By Katie Ash on December 27, 2013 2:06 PM
The new year may bring changes to charter schools in some large, urban districts. New legislation in Philadelphia and new leadership in New York may alter the landscape for charter schools in those districts. Also, charter skeptics in Chicago are criticizing the approval of a new charter school by the state charter school commission after the charter school's application was originally turned down by Chicago Public Schools. Read on for more details about these three developing stories.

Two PA reps make Top 12 lawmakers to watch list Commonwealth Confidential Blog FRIDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2013, 6:02 PM
What are the odds of two Pennsylvania lawmakers ending up on a list of the top state legislators to watch next year?  Pretty big actually.
Rep. Mike Fleck (R., Huntingdon) and Rep. Brendan Boyle (D., Phila.) both got the nod from Governing magazine, the premier periodical for local and state governments.
That's out of 7.383 state lawmakers across the country, according to a press release from Fleck.

12 State Legislators to Watch in 2014
It’s a tough time to be a politician, but these state lawmakers are really making a mark.
Governing Magazine BY LOUIS JACOBSON | JANUARY 2014
On a list of the most hated jobs, politicians consistently rank up there with telemarketers, used car salesmen, lawyers, parking enforcement officers and taxmen. And obviously, coming off a year that saw sequestration and the federal shutdown, the occupation is more unpopular now than ever with the general public. But President Theodore Roosevelt once said that good people should enter politics or else be governed by those who do. And despite what many may think of politicians, there are a number of good men and women working in the nation’s 50 state legislatures.  Two years ago, we compiled a similar list of legislators to watch. Now we’re doing it again. Here are a dozen state lawmakers, equally divided between Republicans and Democrats, who are considered players by political experts in state capitals across the country.

Vacancies to bring change to Pa. Legislature
AP State Wire by MARK SCOLFORO December 28, 2013
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The Pennsylvania Legislature's two-year election cycle circles back around in the coming year, as new district boundaries, a spate of retirements, death and ambition appear destined to usher in more than the usual share of turnover in the 253-member body.
Now is the time of year when the campaign battlefield begins to take shape, with candidates rounding up support and making plans to start gathering signatures on nominating petitions by mid-February.  The legislative election picture will be even more complicated than usual in 2014 because it will involve House and Senate district maps the state Supreme Court approved in March after lengthy litigation. Incumbents must decide if they want to run in their newly drawn districts and 10 lawmakers in the House have the additional challenge of having been shifted into the same district as another sitting member.

Educator’s indictment surprised the community
By JO ANN BOBBY-GILBERT - Staff Writer Morning Journal News December 29, 2013
Editor's note: This was voted the No. 4 story of 2013 by the Morning Journal news staff.
EAST LIVERPOOL - Most in the community were surprised by the news in August that Liverpool Township resident Dr. Nick Trombetta had been charged with siphoning more than $8 million from the PA Cyber School through a web of companies.  Trombetta, 922 Rhovanion Drive, had served 12 years in the city school district as a teacher and coach, then as a principal in Aliquippa before taking on the job of superintendent in Midland, Pa., for seven years, during which he formulated the plans for PA Cyber.  With the startup of PA Cyber, the Lincoln Park School of Performing Arts and other cyber-related businesses, Trombetta had often been credited with "saving" the borough of Midland, which had fallen on hard times in 1982 with the closing of Crucible Steel.

Distrust of government keeps school district consolidations at bay By Adam Smeltz and Richard Gazarik Published: Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013
They squeezed more kids into classrooms, cut field trips and combined high school athletics.
But for all the expenses Pennsylvania public schools shaved in the past several years, district mergers that could trim millions of dollars remain mostly off the table, despite research showing selective consolidation might deliver savings statewide of almost $100 million annually.
“It's the nature of Pennsylvania. We do not trust large government. Overcoming that is very difficult,” said state Sen. John Wozniak, a Cambria County Democrat who pressed for an independent study of school consolidation in 2006. “Somebody's got to talk about it — talk about it consistently and loudly.”

Duquesne charter school proposal submitted
By Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette December 27, 2013 11:17 PM
Former Duquesne school director Connie Lucas struck out in her first attempt to start a charter school in the academically and financially troubled district earlier this month when the state Charter Appeals Board rejected the application she filed in May 2012.
But she was back at bat again Friday with a second proposal for a K-6 charter school that was aired at a public hearing before Paul Long, the state-assigned receiver for Duquesne.

Here the PPG editorial board seems to think that college grads with virtually no teaching experience and just 5 weeks of training would be more effective than experienced teachers who are teaching out of their subject areas…..
Wilkinsburg’s woes: A troubled district could use Teach for America
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Editorial December 27, 2013 7:47 PM
Just when residents of the Wilkinsburg School District thought they had heard everything, they are confronted by more bad news. This latest embarrassment should be the last straw.
In the spring, Wilkinsburg’s financial straits prompted it to borrow $3 million to pay bills, which in turn caused the state Department of Education to put the district on a financial watch list.

 “In a recent political loophole, Congress approved Teach For America’s “highly qualified” status, an earmark that was slid last second into the Oct. 16 budget/shutdown deal.  TFA’s “highly qualified” status means anyone with a college degree, in any subject area, can become a special education instructor.
In other words, a graduate in government can teach P.E., an art major can teach science, or a person with a major in business can teach special education.  TFA instructors arrive at a school with little to no experience in teaching methods, educational psychology or a substantive pre-service teaching experience.”
Teach For America Falls Short
ISU Bengal December 18, 2013 By Levi Cavener
“We all know that we aren’t yet providing a world-class education for every child with a disability. And we won’t rest until we do that,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in 2010 while celebrating the anniversary of the Individuals With Disabilities Act (IDEA).
Indeed, there is good reason for Duncan to acknowledge that, despite achieving such incredible victories for special education students, our nation still has many hurdles to overcome with educating students with special needs.
This is particularly true when ensuring that a “highly qualified” educator — not just on paper, but in practice — is leading the head of every special education classroom; such is my concern with an organization inaptly named, Teach For America (TFA).

A Better Way to Teach
New York Times Letter by RANDI WEINGARTEN, President, American Federation of Teachers Published: December 24, 2013
 “Why Other Countries Teach Better” (“Numbers Crunch” series, editorial, Dec. 18) really nailed what needs to happen. For far too long, the United States was sold on market-driven education reform ideas — test-based accountability, combined with competition and sanctions. That approach hasn’t kicked the doors of success open and helped all children reach their full potential. Those reforms simply create winners and losers.
The new Program for International Student Assessment data, when you look under the hood — as you have — makes clear that the nations that outperform us take an entirely different approach, an approach I’ve seen firsthand while visiting places like Finland, Singapore and Canada.

Four tough questions about charter schools
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog BY VALERIE STRAUSS December 27 at 12:00 pm
Mark Naison, a professor of African American Studies and History at Fordham University and director of Fordham’s Urban Studies Program, has some important questions about charter schools. He is the author of three books and over 100 articles on African American History, urban history, and the history of sports, and he is a founder of the Badass Teachers Association. A version of this appeared on his blog, With a  Brooklyn Accent.
The powers that be in the Democratic Party, including President Obama, have made charter schools their main vehicle for educational renewal in low-income communities, and there are more than a few civil rights leaders and elected officials in black and Latino communities who view them as a chance to give families in their neighborhoods better educational opportunities. We have now had six years of strong support for charters from the Obama administration, backed up by Race to the Top money.
It is time to ask some hard questions.

THE YEAR IN REVIEW The 10 Most-Viewed EdWeek Stories of 2013
Education Week By The Editors Published Online: December 26, 2013
To provide a sense of what was high on our readers’ priority lists in 2013, the editors at Education Week compiled a list of our ten most-viewed articles. Below, those stories are ordered by the number of online page views they generated. Take a look at what other readers saw as the most interesting pieces of the year, and catch up on news you may have missed in 2013. 

THE YEAR IN REVIEW The 10 Most-Viewed EdWeek Commentaries of 2013
Education Week By The Editors Published Online: December 26, 2013
In 2013, Education Week published in print and online more than 100 thoughtful Commentaries on education issues. To give a sense of which opinion essays our readers found most compelling, the editors at Education Week have compiled a list of our 10 most-viewed Commentaries. Below, they are ordered by the number of online page views they generated. Revisit these Commentaries and examine perspectives you may have missed in 2013. 

Public Education Under Siege
University of Pennsylvania Press, Michael B. Katz and Mike Rose, Editors
"Most of the fire in the national debate over school reform has come from those in favor of high-stakes testing of students, charter schools, and weakening of teachers' unions—until now. The very timely essays in Public Education Under Siege challenge the assumptions and goals of the so-called school reform movement. If you want to understand why the movement will not bring serious change to the schools that need it most and may even make things worse, read this book. This is an extraordinarily valuable contribution to the national debate."—Michael K. Brown, Race, Money and the American Welfare State
Proponents of education reform are committed to the idea that all children should receive a quality education, and that all of them have a capacity to learn and grow, whatever their ethnicity or economic circumstances. But though recent years have seen numerous reform efforts, the resources available to children in different municipalities still vary enormously, and despite landmark cases of the civil rights movement and ongoing pushes to enact diverse and inclusive curricula, racial and ethnic segregation remain commonplace. Public Education Under Siege examines why public schools are in such difficult straits, why the reigning ideology of school reform is ineffective, and what can be done about it.

2014 PA 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.

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.

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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