Established in 2006, the Keystone State Education Coalition is a growing grass roots, non-partisan public education advocacy group of several hundred locally elected, volunteer school board members and administrators from school districts throughout Pennsylvania. Our mission is to evaluate, discuss and inform our boards, district constituents and legislators on legislative issues of common interest and to facilitate active engagement in public education advocacy.
PA Ed Policy Roundup for December 4, 2013: PISA: “The U.S. has NEVER been first in the world, nor even near the top, on international tests.”
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Pennsylvania Education Policy
Roundup for December
PISA: “The U.S.
has NEVER been first in the world, nor even near the top, on international
Pa. House debates economic furloughs at schools
Delco Times By MARK SCOLFORO, Associated Press POSTED: 12/03/13, EST |
Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania public schools would have wider latitude to furlough
employees during tough economic times and would not have to start with the
least senior workers under proposals that were debated Tuesday in the state
Education Committee gathered input from the school boards’ association, the
state’s largest teacher union and others about three legislative proposals. A
committee vote could occur as early as next month.
PA lawmakers push to
amend tight teacher furlough policies
Pennington | Watchdog.org December 3, 2013
PHILADELPHIA — With school districts like Philadelphia facing
critical budget deficits, Pennsylvanialawmakers
could make an effort to loosen teacher furlough policies.
regulations allow furloughs based on student population drops, school
consolidation or program elimination, but districts are limited in their
ability to suspend employees due to economic necessity.
Pennsylvania is home to some of the nation’s
most unscrupulous charter operators, some of whom are under criminal
investigation or on trial for fraud and misappropriation of public funds. But
say this for some of the sleaziest: they give generously to political
campaigns. That is why the Legislature is considering SB 1085, which would
allow new charters to open without local approval. If you want to protect public schools in Pennsylvania from
reckless privatization, if you want to maintain local control, take action now
to oppose SB 1085.
school reform bill SB1085 is on the PA Senate’s calendar today. This bill does not provide
the reform that we need and will actually cause more harm to public schools.
[Please see “Killer Weeds”
for all the gory details.] Have you called your state senator yet about this
legislation? Did you just mutter “no” to yourself? Would it help if I begged?
children's advocates seek united front in Harrisburg
Newsworks by Holly Otterbein DECEMBER 3, 2013
children's advocates in Philadelphia
and the surrounding suburbs be better off if they joined forces? The Philly-based nonprofit Public Citizens
for Children and Youth will soon find out.
PCCY executive director Donna
Cooper said the group is expanding its outreach into the suburbs. She
argues that the recession, as well as cutbacks in statewide education funding,
have shown that Philly and the suburbs are intimately connected.
How about a similar bill for
cyber charter ads? According to minutes
Agora Cyber Board meeting, your PA tax $$$ paid for 19,298 local TV
commercials. BTW, Agora has never made
AYP under No Child Left Behind, but the CEO of its management company, K12,
Inc. has been paid over $19 million from 2009 through 2013.
Bill would require
disclaimer on Liquor Control Board ads Pittsburgh
Post-Gazette By Kari
Dec. 3, 2013,
A central Pennsylvania
lawmaker wants consumers to know their tax dollars pay for the wine and spirits
ads they see for products sold in state liquor stores.
Stephen Bloom, R-Carlisle, circulated a memorandum to his House colleagues on
Monday asking them to sign on as cosponsors to his proposal to require LCB
advertising to prominently state: “THIS AD PAID FOR BY YOU, THE TAXPAYERS OF
he was inspired to draft the legislation after learning from a Tribune-Review
story that the LCB spent $5.8 million last year on advertising.
Philly.comCommonwealth Confidential Blog by Angela
Coulombis TUESDAY, DECEMBER
administration is certainly not afraid of turnover. Since taking office in
January 2011, for instance, the governor has shaken up his inner circle twice,
and has seen a half dozen cabinet secretaries take leave. So it should come as little surprise that the
governor's press office has quietly gone through an extreme makeover of its own
over the last few months.
TRICIA L. NADOLNY, INQUIRER
STAFF WRITER December 2, 2013,
Meadow Brook Golf Club will close in days. But the 80-year-old business hasn't
scheduled an auction or liquidation sale.
Last week, lawn mowers were still parked in the barn. Liquor bottles
filled a shelf behind the bar. Pressed polo shirts hung in the pro shop.
that has owned the property for more than a century says there is no time for a
sale. On Nov. 14, the PhoenixvilleAreaSchool
District voted to invoke eminent domain and seize
the property for a new school - without informing its owners beforehand.
was unpopular, unusual - and legal. State law only requires notice after
eminent domain has been approved.
Main Line Media
News By Jennifer Lawson December
that will set tougher graduation requirements for students in Pennsylvania cleared one of its final
hurdles with the approval from a state panel that decides whether such rules
are in the public’s interest. In a 3-2
vote, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission approved the Pennsylvania
Core Standards on Nov. 19, which are the state’s version of the Common
Standards, which says what students should be learning at each grade level. The
commission also approved the tests used to assess these new standards, the
Voice of experience: The city school board picks a
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Editorial December 3, 2013
Public Schools board, with four new members, is undergoing its biggest change
in decades so it is reassuring that the panel voted for stability by electing
Thomas Sumpter as its president. Mr.
Sumpter, 63, of SchenleyHeights has been on the
board for eight years and has served as first vice president and second vice
president. His selection as president, which required five votes, took three
ballots because two of the newcomers — Cynthia Falls of Overbrook and Terry
Kennedy of Greenfield
— did not vote in the first two rounds. Three other members voted for Regina
Holley, 61, of Highland Park,
who joined the board two years ago.
classroom changes looming in Pittsburgh Public Schools
Zlatos Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013, 8:51 p.m.
City schools Superintendent Linda
Lane recommended closing, consolidating or
reconfiguring five to 10 schools as part of her plan to close the district's
sensitive to the communities that have borne the brunt of school closures,” she
said on Tuesday during a preview of her state of the district address before
the school board. Lane will make a full report Wednesday morning at Pittsburgh
intriguing questions have been raised by the floating of Councilman Bill
Green's name as a possible successor to Pedro Ramos, who quit as chairman of Philadelphia's School
Reform Commission in October, three months before the end of his term.
completely unacceptable that that is the new baseline,” said Petrie, who
teaches and does administrative work at the University of Pennsylvania.
“I want a nurse. I want a librarian. I want a guidance counselor. These are the
things that every school should have.”
Unstable District funding
puts city’s growth at risk
In neighborhoods across Philadelphia, schools’
budget woes have people thinking about other options.
notebook by Bill Hangley Jr. December 2013 Print Edition
is not too worried about his daughter’s school – yet.
having a great year – the art teacher she loves is back, there’s music
instruction,” he said. “The school seems to be weathering the circumstances.” But ask him how strong West
Philadelphia’s Lea Elementary will be a few years from now, when
his young son is ready to start, and he’s not quite so confident. “That is not because of the staff,” Petrie
said. “I have great confidence in the people that work in this building. That’s
because of the District, that’s because of Harrisburg.” Petrie says he’s encouraged by the volunteer
efforts and community partnerships underway at Lea. But he’s “gobsmacked” by
the staff cuts and other privations that have come with the current “doomsday”
EastonAreaSchool District files arguments for U.S. Supreme Court review in
Easton district argues
appeals court misapplied landmark rulings on student speech.
Hall, Of The Morning Call 12:17 a.m. EST, December 4, 2013
The EastonAreaSchool District on
Tuesday urged the U.S. Supreme Court to consider whether a
ban on the phrase "I ♥ boobies!" violates the First Amendment. In a 217-page filing, district solicitor John
E. Freund contends a federal appeals court overstepped its bounds in deciding
that the popular rubber wristbands worn by two middle-school girls are
appropriate for school.
lewdness is a value judgment, based on the morals of the community … the
determination of lewdness is best left to the reasonable judgment of elected
school boards and school officials," the district says in its petition
asking the high court to hear its appeal.
in the United States
ask enough of students?
the results of a major new international report, and conversations surrounding
its release today, the answer is no.
years, hundreds of thousands of 15-year-olds in more than 65 global economies
take the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). The results
provide a snapshot of how students in the U.S. compare to students around the
globe. Earlier today, the 2012 PISA results were
announced and Secretary Arne Duncan was on hand with Organisation for Economic
Cooperation and Development (OECD) Secretary-General Angel Gurria to discuss
the results and what it means for education in America.
“The U.S. has NEVER been first in the
world, nor even near the top, on international tests. Over the past half century, our students have
typically scored at or near the median, or even in the bottom quartile.”
reports say that the test scores of American students on the latest PISA test are “stagnant,”
“lagging,” “flat,” etc. The U.S.
Department of Education would have us believe–yet again–that we are in an
unprecedented crisis and that we must double down on the test-and-punish
strategies of the past dozen years.
persists that once our nation led the world on international tests, but we have
fallen from that exalted position in recent years.
Here is the
background history that you need to know to interpret the PISA score release, as well as Secretary
Duncan’s calculated effort to whip up national hysteria about our standing in
the international league tables.
want to deny children the opportunity to attend preschool and get a head start
on their education? No one, really.
think it’s a good idea for kids from low- and moderate-income families to have
access to subsidized or free early education programs. In fact, they think it
should happen soon. But Republicans serving in Congress don't seem interested
in enacting a plan that does as much, at least not in the immediate future. Below we have compiled a list of the types of
people who not only want there to be expanded access to preschool around the
country, but want it now.
science research over the last few decades has shown that two thirds of student
achievement is a product of out-of-school factors - and among the most powerful
of those is economic status.
phrase “education crisis” and you'll be hit with a glut of articles, blog posts
and think tank reports claiming the entire American school system is facing an
emergency. Much of this agitprop additionally asserts that teachers unions are
the primary cause of the alleged problem. Not surprisingly, the fabulists
pushing these narratives are often backed by anti-public school conservatives
and anti-union plutocrats. But a little-noticed study released last week
provides yet more confirmation that neither the “education crisis” meme or the
“evil teachers' union” narrative is accurate.
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
New Board Member Training: Great Governance, GreatSchools!
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, GreatSchools! .
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 PennsylvaniaSchool 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 firstname.lastname@example.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 ErnestN.MorialConvention Center in New Orleans, LA.Our
first time back in New Orleans
since the spring of 2002!
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
now! – Register for both the conference and housing using our online
Questions? Contact NSBA at 800-950-6722 (NSBA) between the hours of 9:00 a.m. - 5:00
Join the NationalSchoolBoardsActionCenterFriends of Public Education
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