Tuesday, December 31, 2013

PA Ed Policy Roundup for December 31, 2013: Happy New Year. Every member of the PA House of Representatives will face re-election in 2014. Do you know where your Rep. stands on public education?

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 31, 2013:
Happy New Year.  Every member of the PA House of Representatives will face re-election in 2014.  Do you know where your Rep. stands on public education?


“Although there is massive international demand for places at U.S. schools, overseas students still only account for 6% of the student body, and the proportion of children at private high schools has fallen below 10%. This means that the resounding majority of college students are educated in U.S. public high schools. Somehow or another, our “underperforming” public schools fill the pipeline for our exceptional colleges.”
Where the World Comes to School
Language Magazine December 2013
After the results of the latest international comparisons of educational achievement (PISA) are released early this month, recriminations will no doubt be ringing throughout schools until they close for the holidays. Different factions will skew the results to prove, whatever their point may be, and teachers will bear the brunt of any criticism. However, these tests are a snapshot measure of educational achievement in a limited area at the age of 15 and take little account of the overall socio-economic situation in which the students live.
Whatever the results of these tests, American education is more in demand than ever, believe it or not. More and more international students are prepared to pay exorbitant fees to attend our universities and colleges (see p.55) with little hope of being able to work in their new-found home. Universities don’t excel without excellent students. Although there is massive international demand for places at U.S. schools, overseas students still only account for 6% of the student body, and the proportion of children at private high schools has fallen below 10%. This means that the resounding majority of college students are educated in U.S. public high schools. Somehow or another, our “underperforming” public schools fill the pipeline for our exceptional colleges.

14% of city’s early childhood ed programs are “high quality”
While Philadelphia lacks high-quality early education programs all across the board, some neighborhoods need more of these high quality programs than others do, according to a report.
Technically Philly By Juliana Reyes / STAFF December 30, 2013
While Philadelphia lacks high-quality early education programs all across the board, some neighborhoods need more of these high quality programs than others do, according to a report.
Only 14 percent of Philadelphia’s more than 2,000 early childhood education programs are high quality, according to an analysis by Azavea and the Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children. “High quality” refers to ratings given by state and regional associations like DVAEYC and the state’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning.

Corbett considered one of 2013's biggest political losers: column
By Robert J. Vickers | rvickers@pennlive.com  on December 30, 2013 at 4:26 PM
The same day Tom Corbett appeared to abandon his hard-fought attempt to privatize the Pennsylvania Lottery – possibly for political reasons – the poll-weary governor was ranked as one of 2013’s biggest political losers by a weekly magazine read by Washington insiders
The National Journal ranked Corbett, who’s public approval rating has languished for months and has even seen his popularity among commonwealth Republicans suffer significantly, along with President Barack Obama, disgraced former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio as one of the seven biggest losers of the year.

The Biggest Political Winners and Losers of 2013
Chris Christie, Bill de Blasio, and an Arkansas House member head the list of political winners in 2013.
National Journal By Josh Kraushaar December 30, 2013
For a year after a presidential election, 2013 proved to be filled with significant political developments—from President Obama's second-term struggles over his health care law, messy Republican divisions between the establishment and the grassroots, and, on a lighter note, the antics of a colorful New York City mayoral race and a South Carolina congressional election pitting Mark Sanford against Stephen Colbert's sister.  Some politicians, such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, saw their stock rise. Others, like red-state Democratic senators, began 2014 increasingly concerned about their political futures. Here's our National Journal list of the biggest political winners and losers of the year.

Politically Uncorrected: Raising Kane in Pennsylvania
PoliticsPA Written by Dr. G. Terry Madonna and Dr. Michael Young December 30, 2013
As one year ends and another begins, one thing is crystal clear: some particular Cain was raised in Keystone state politics this past year; and the particular Kane to which we refer was one Kathleen Kane, Pennsylvania’s new Attorney General. By any measure Attorney General Kane has become in less than a year Pennsylvania’s reigning political star. Interest in her is intense while speculation about her future political plans runs the gamut from a possible late entrance into the 2014 governor’s race to a future challenge to incumbent U.S. Senator Pat Toomey.

Green, possible SRC chief, gives views on schools
KRISTEN A. GRAHAM, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER Monday, December 30, 2013, 8:21 PM
Is Bill Green interested in becoming chair of the School Reform Commission?
Sources say he is a finalist for the job; Green is mum on the subject.  But the current city councilman is clear in his view that the Philadelphia School District is failing far too many children, and change must come quickly.  "Eliminating all the bad seats in the School District is a concept I think is important to pursue," Green said Monday. "There are tens of thousands of kids in underperforming schools."

Gym, class hero
Philly Daily News Attytood Blog by Will Bunch MONDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2013, 3:50 PM
That’s what happens when you develop a rep as perhaps Philadelphia’s preeminent public agitator. Relentless, whip-smart, meticulously prepared and utterly fearless, [Helen] Gym—a private citizen who works without the heft of any meaningful institutional support—has managed to build herself one of the city’s largest bully pulpits.
And bully she does. Her foes are “hilarious and dishonest.” Education reformers are “corporate raiders” and “party shills.” Columnists she disagrees with are operating a “Corbett PR flack machine.” And that’s just a sample of a 10-day run on Gym’s Twitter feed. She’s equally relentless when face-to-face with her targets.
I'm looking forward to reading the entire piece by Patrick Kerkstra, which -- based on the headline -- delves into the possibility that Gym might run for mayor in 2015, which will be upon us sooner than we realize. Look, it's ridiculous that Philadelphia has never had a woman as mayor, but electing a fierce, never-held-public-office advocate for public education would say so much more than just that. It also fair to say that she'd be a super long-shot -- Philadelphia has always elected machine-tied members of the Boys Club because they've rigged things so it's hard not to.

Some chafe at charter school’s low pay for tutors
Service model getting wide use
Boston globe By James Vaznis  GLOBE STAFF   DECEMBER 30, 2013
Match Charter School in Boston makes it clear: A year as one of its tutors is a lot of work.
“Think med school. Think military. Think your toughest semester in college,” according to a Q&A on the school’s website. “Corps members are virtually always ‘on-call’ to help students succeed academically.”
But a dispute over the minimal pay for long hours of public service offers a rare glimpse into labor unrest at a charter school, where workers usually make less than their peers in traditional public schools and rarely belong to a union. Questions about tutors’ pay come as programs like Match proliferate in such places as Denver, Houston, and Chicago, and as Boston public schools expand their own intensive tutoring efforts.  For years Match billed the year of tutoring volunteerism — nearly 10-hour school days and additional duties at night — as an opportunity to give back and gain a true sense of what it is like to work in an urban school. For their efforts, the tutors, who are mainly recent college graduates, were paid a $7,500 annual stipend and received free housingBut in an abrupt switch last summer, after recruiting this year’s 153-member tutoring force, Match decided to make them paid employees, at $8 an hour, the state’s minimum wage.  Tutors ended up seeing little of that increase in their pay checks because Match also decided to start charging them $5,500 annually for housing and stopped reimbursing them for health insurance.

“Given the amount of money that was put in here, the return on investment looks negligible at this point. I don’t know how you can interpret it any other way.”
U.S. Ed Dept. pours $43 million into reform program with questionable results
The Answer Sheet BY VALERIE STRAUSS December 30 at 8:59 am
The U.S. Education Department is pouring $43 million more in federal funds into a program that is aimed at improving the lowest-performing schools but has had highly questionable results.
The department announced last weekthat seven states would receive more than $43.4 million through the School Improvement Grants program: Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Wisconsin (see each state award below).

Women in the legal profession                            33.3%
Women medical doctors and surgeons              34.3%
Women in the teaching profession                      76%
Why Is the Teaching Profession the Target of Reform?
Russ on Reading Blog by Russ Walsh Monday, December 30, 2013
Could it be that the teaching profession is under attack, in part, because it is a largely female profession?
Over the past few weeks, several things have coalesced in my mind to make me ask why teachers are the target of education reform.
First at my office Christmas party for staff of the Education Department at Rider University, it was pointed out to me, as gifts were exchanged, that I was the only male at the party. Then Frank Rich wrote a column in the New York Times called “Waiting for Wonder Woman” about the absence of major action roles in Hollywood with the woman as the central hero. Finally, I watched the DVD of the movie “The Hunger Games” and on reflection I had to note that in this advanced game of “Survivor” the women (young girls) were given no quarter for being female. Would it take a dystopian universe to bring about true equality for women?
Women dominate the teaching profession. Women are still fighting for equality and even in the movies only seem to achieve it in a dystopian fantasy. Could it be that the teaching profession is under attack, in part, because it is a largely female profession?

Anthony Cody’s most widely read post of 2013….
Common Core Standards: Ten Colossal Errors
Education Week Living in Dialogue Blog By Anthony Cody on November 16, 2013 6:18 AM
A recent book described the "Reign of Errors" we have lived through in the name of education reform. I am afraid that the Common Core continues many of these errors, and makes some new ones as well.  The Business Roundtable announced last month that its #1 priority is the full adoption and implementation of the Common Core standards. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is likewise making a full-court press to advance the Common Core. Major corporations have taken out full-page ads to insist that the Common Core must be adopted. Many leading figures in the Republican party, like Jeb Bush, have led the charge for Common Core, as have entrepreneurs like Joel Klein. And the project has become a centerpiece for President Obama's Department of Education.

Happy New Year – another loop around the sun
Pictures of the year 2013: space
Awesome pictures published by The Telegraph


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.

January 24th – 26th, 2014 at The Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia
EduCon is both a conversation and a conference.
It is an innovation conference where we can come together, both in person and virtually, to discuss the future of schools. Every session will be an opportunity to discuss and debate ideas — from the very practical to the big dreams.

DELAWARE COUNTY INTERMEDIATE UNIT - GOOGLE SYMPOSIUM 2014
FEBRUARY 1ST, 2014
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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