Friday, January 17, 2014

PA Ed Policy Roundup for January 17, 2014: Sources: Corbett to propose boost in education funding

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

These daily emails are archived and searchable at
Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg
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?

The Top Five Reasons Your State Senator Should Oppose SB 1085

NAACP Public Discussion on PA Charter School Expansion Bill SB1085. 
January 18th, 12:30 pm Campbell AME Church 3rd&Olive Streets Media PA.

Keystone State Education Coalition
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for January 17, 2014:
Sources: Corbett to propose boost in education funding

Sources: Corbett to propose boost in education funding
POSTED: Thursday, January 16, 2014, 8:08 PM
HARRISBURG - Gov. Corbett will propose hundreds of millions of dollars in new education funding as the centerpiece of the budget he unveils next month, according to sources familiar with the plan.  Addressing one of his perceived political liabilities, the governor will call for what one source described as a "major investment" in basic education with more modest investments for colleges.  The details, including where the money will come from, remain under wraps. But one source estimated the plan will call for $200 million in new funds, and others said the governor hopes to rely on pension reform to net $100 million.

Auditor General will review the Department of Education, saying mismanagement has been missed
By Jeff Frantz |  on January 16, 2014 at 5:06 PM
Pennsylvania's Auditor General announced Thursday he will audit the state Department of Education after school district audits uncovered fiscal mismanagement he says the department should have caught.  Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said he wants to make sure the department has the "structure, staff and resources to fulfill its oversight of schools."
DePasquale's office has audited more than 300 school districts. Most revealed no serious issues.
"In some we found problems complying with laws and regulations that fall under PDE’s oversight," DePasquale said in a statement. "In the worst cases, we found wasted money that should have gone toward classroom education."
In response to DePasquale's announcement, Tim Eller, spokesman for the department, said "We welcome it." 

Pa. auditor general faults education department's charter oversight
WHYY Newsworks by Kevin McCorry JANUARY 16, 2014
State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale of York, Pa. (Emma Lee/NewsWorks Photo, file)
Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale intends to hold a series of public meetings in February and March at locations across the state to "explore ways to improve accountability, effectiveness and transparency of charter schools."
DePasquale, who took office in January 2013, said his office audited more than 300 school entities during the first year of his tenure.  In a radio interview (listen above), DePasquale argued that charters have been able to get away with misusing public funds largely because the state Department of Education has lacked oversight and been unwilling to hold "bad actors" accountable.  As a leading example, he described how some charter operators abuse the system through "improper lease reimbursements."  Some charter operators put the deed of a building they own in the name of a separate foundation, DePasquale explained. Then, they name themselves the heads of said foundation, and, in a sense, lease the building to themselves.

Schools funding study in sight in Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review By Megan Harris  Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014, 11:39 p.m.
A school funding bill passed the state House on Wednesday, despite ongoing partisan debate over whether a funding formula even exists.
Widely supported by school administrators, teachers unions and advocacy groups, House Bill 1738 would establish a commission to study and recommend a more equitable way to distribute state dollars to districts. The commission would be comprised of House and Senate majority and minority leaders; Department of Education representatives; and a gubernatorial appointee.
A 2013 Education Law Center report said that Pennsylvania, Delaware and North Carolina are the only states without education funding formulas.
LMSD Board approves resolution in opposition to Senate Bill 1085
Lower Merion School District website Announcements Posted: January 13, 2014
The Lower Merion School District Board of School Directors unanimously approved a resolution to oppose Senate Bill 1085, a charter school reform bill that will create new and substantial costs for taxpayers, take control of public schools away from local communities, and limit the ability of school districts to effectively plan for student enrollment changes and staffing needs. The resolution, initially discussed in the Board’s legislative committee, was presented and approved at the start of the Board’s education meeting on Monday, January 13.
At the heart of Senate Bill 1085 is a provision that enables colleges and universities to siphon local tax dollars to create under-regulated charter schools. The schools would not be subject to the accountability standards of locally-elected school boards. A college/university could open and fund a new school entirely through dollars previously allocated for existing public schools, without any evidence to support that the school would be more effective than existing schools.

Green to be nominated as SRC chair; 3 fired in cheating probe
As it heard news Thursday night that a stunning 138 educators had been implicated in a widespread cheating scandal, the Philadelphia School Reform Commission prepared for two new members.  On Friday, Gov. Corbett will nominate City Councilman Bill Green and People's Emergency Center chief Farah Jimenez to the SRC, sources said. Green, who would have to resign from Council, is to be chairman.
The governor is scheduled to visit Central High School on Friday morning.
If confirmed by the state Senate, Green and Jimenez will have to deal with the fallout of the cheating probe.  The SRC fired three principals Thursday night, but more investigations and discipline are to come.

Corbett to visit Central HS today amid angry protests
IT WILL BE a day of firsts for Gov. Corbett when he steps inside Central High School this morning:  First visit to a Philadelphia public school since assuming office in 2011; first sitting Pennsylvania governor to visit Central; and, probably, the first time Corbett will be greeted by angry protesters inside and outside a school.  Student protesters will rally at 7:45 a.m. outside the Olney school, reading their Declaration of Students' Rights written by senior organizer Afaq Mahmoud. They will display photos of teachers who have gone "missing" during the Corbett administration.

Why we march
Parents United for Public Education Posted on January 16, 2014 by HELENGYM
Tomorrow, Governor Tom Corbett – the least popular incumbent governor in the country – will make his first ever visit into a Philadelphia public school. He’s coming to Central High on Friday to give achievement awards to Central, Masterman and Carver High Schools – all three of which have seen their budgets decimated since Corbett’s taken office. Pennsylvania Education Secretary Caroline Dumaresq will accompany Corbett in a photo-op sure to rival the alternate reality of any science fiction fantasy.  …We assume that Governor Corbett will deliver a message of personal responsibility and accountability, a message where students can and should achieve no matter what the circumstances. And that’s a message to be heard – except when the person who should be held accountable and responsible is the deliverer of that speech himself.
Under Governor Corbett, consider what’s happened to these three elite Philadelphia schools:
  • Masterman has lost 30% of its staff and has seen its extracurricular budget dwindle to a fraction of what it was before Gov. Corbett took office. As a result, programs like the school’s national championship chess team run on pure volunteers and almost no funding.
  • Central High School went from eight counselors down to two, resulting in a two week wait to see a counselor and counselors unable to turn in letters of recommendation. The loss of more than $1.4 million from the school based budget alone means that Central educates its top notch students on just $5,177 per child, the lowest ratio in the entire School District.
  • Carver, meanwhile has retained less than 10% of its pre-Corbett books and supply budget. Today it spends just $19 per child per year for all books, materials and supplies.

Few minorities sat for AP Computer Science test in Pa.
Written by Ben Allen, Morning Edition Host | Jan 15, 2014 4:00 AM
 (Harrisburg) -- New data shows many Advanced Placement tests in Pennsylvania are almost exclusively taken by white and Asian students.  In 2008, just one Hispanic student sat for the AP Computer Science test, compared to 181 white students.  But the most recent numbers from the College Board show 522 white students took the test in 2012 .
That's more than 65 times the eight Hispanics who took part.
"If we don't have the right kind of challenging curriculum, and appropriate counseling to go along with it, then students who may be well-motivated and may have lots of support from parents, may simply not be positioned academically to take the Advanced Placement courts and be eligible to take Advanced Placement testing," says Ron Cowell is president of the nonprofit Education, Policy and Leadership Center in Harrisburg, which advocates for more effective state-level education policies.

Process Questions: Why are some city charter schools approved over others? 
"The charter-school process is a very political one in Pittsburgh."
Pittsburgh Citypaper by Rebecca Nuttall @PghReporter January 15, 2014
As Pittsburgh Public Schools considers closing another school to help avert a million-dollar budget deficit in 2016, three new charter schools are clamoring for their own share of students ... and of public tax dollars.  But getting approval for a charter school — a school run by an outside group that nevertheless gets public money from the district itself — can be difficult. Between 2008 and 2012, the district has approved only two charter schools out of 15 proposed.
"The charter-school process is a very political one in Pittsburgh," says Randall Taylor, a former school-board director who's been involved in two charter applications. Getting approved can depend on who you know, he contends.
The outcome of the latest round of charter applications may test that proposition.

Federal Spending Plan Aims to Ease 'Sequester' Pain
Education Week By Alyson Klein Published Online: January 17, 2014
The massive spending bill headed for passage in Congress Monday aims to largely restore federal aid for most schools after the biggest cuts to K-12 funding in history, while including a more than $1 billion down payment on the Obama administration’s proposal to ramp up existing early-childhood programs.  But two initiatives high on the administration’s wish list—a Race to the Top for higher education and $750 million in new grants to help states improve their preschool programs—aren’t slated to receive funding in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. And the bill would flat-fund, or even cut, the marquee competitive-grant programs that form the bedrock of the administration’s education-redesign strategy.

Senate approves $1.1 trillion spending bill
Politico By DAVID ROGERS | 1/16/14 4:07 PM EST Updated: 1/17/14 6:15 AM EST
A landmark $1.1 trillion spending bill cleared Congress Thursday evening after conservative resistance collapsed in the Senate and tea party favorite Ted Cruz dropped his insistence on a vote on funding for President Barack Obama’s health care plan.
On back-to-back 72-26 roll calls, senators voted to cut off debate and then quickly adopted the bill, which keeps the government funded through September.  Seventeen Republicans backed passage, but as with the December budget accord, a majority did not. The divisions show again how much the Senate –even more than the House—has become a partisan battleground. Once again Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) opted to be a “nay” despite the overwhelming support of House Republicans for the measure.

Texas Public Schools Are Teaching Creationism
An investigation into charter schools’ dishonest and unconstitutional science, history, and “values” lessons.
Slate by By Zack Kopplin January 16, 2014
When public-school students enrolled in Texas’ largest charter program open their biology workbooks, they will read that the fossil record is “sketchy.” That evolution is “dogma” and an “unproved theory” with no experimental basis. They will be told that leading scientists dispute the mechanisms of evolution and the age of the Earth. These are all lies.
The more than 17,000 students in the Responsive Education Solutions charter system will learn in their history classes that some residents of the Philippines were “pagans in various levels of civilization.” They’ll read in a history textbook that feminism forced women to turn to the government as a “surrogate husband.”  Responsive Ed has a secular veneer and is funded by public money, but it has been connected from its inception to the creationist movement and to far-right fundamentalists who seek to undermine the separation of church and state.
The opening line of the workbook section declares, “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth.”  Infiltrating and subverting the charter-school movement has allowed Responsive Ed to carry out its religious agenda—and it is succeeding. Operating more than 65 campuses in Texas, Arkansas, and Indiana, Responsive Ed receives more than $82 million in taxpayer money annually, and it is expanding, with 20 more Texas campuses opening in 2014.

Teach For America Spinoff Helps Alumni Gain Influence
Education Week By Stephen Sawchuk Updated: January 15, 2014
A spinoff of the controversial Teach For America teacher-placement program has expanded rapidly in recent months, pursuing a goal both specific and dizzyingly broad: helping TFA's 32,000 alumni rise to civic-leadership roles.  Leadership for Educational Equity has grown from just a handful of staff members a few years ago to nearly 60 today. The Washington-based group, known as LEE, now boasts a $3.9 million annual budget. In 2011, it launched a series of national workshops for TFA alumni eyeing careers in policy and advocacy, and in 2013 expanded it to include community organizing.  The ambitions of LEE are bolder, though, than to serve as a development center of sorts for those alumni: The group also puts campaign muscle behind members who decide to seek elected office.

Education Week to Adopt 'Metered' Subscription Model
Education Week By Mark Walsh on January 17, 2014 5:00 AM | No comments
Education Week is turning to a so-called metered-access subscription model on its website,, beginning next week, following a direction taken by some prominent publications.
Paid subscribers will continue to have full access to the national newspaper that focuses on precollegiate education, while more casual visitors will be nudged toward becoming registered users who will be able to read 10 free articles, blog posts, and commentaries per month before being prompted to subscribe.

Come to Harrisburg February 4th for the Governor's Budget Address
Show your School Spirit with PCCY!
In 25 days the Governor will introduce his budget plan for 2014-2015.  Based on past performance, the next budget may do little to meet the needs of Pennsylvania’s public school students.  School districts in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery remain underfunded by the state by a combined $161 million.  That is why we need YOU to stand up for your school in Harrisburg on February 4th to demand equitable funding for our schools.  To really make our point, please wear local school colors, jackets or sweatshirts to show your school spirit!  
Click here to sign-up and get details.  For more information please email Shanee Garner-Nelson at

PDE chief Dumaresq LIVE budget presentation, PSBA Conference Center, Feb. 5 at 2 p.m
PSBA’s website 1/13/2014
Acting Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq will be at the PSBA Conference Center on Feb. 5 at 2 p.m. to present a special state budget overview.
Find out how the proposals of the fiscal year 2014-15 Pennsylvania budget impact your school district the day after the governor delivers his address to the General Assembly. Secretary Dumaresq will review the governor's plan and answer your questions. In addition to the live presentation, members across the state also can participate through streaming media on their computers.
To register for the LIVE event, Wed., Feb. 5, 2 p.m., at the PSBA Conference Center, Mechanicsburg:

NAACP: Public Discussions Scheduled on PA Charter School Expansion Bill – SB1085. January 18th, 12:30 pm Media PA.
NAACP Press Release January 9, 2014
Open and public discussion of PA Senate Bill 1085, a charter school expansion plan now due third consideration in the PA General Assembly, will be held on January 18, 2014 in the community room of Campbell AME Church, at 3rd  and Olive Streets in Media, PA.  The event is free. The discussion will last from 1:00 – 2:00 PM.  A light lunch will be available between 12:30 and 1:00 PM    “Local control of public education through the elected school board is under threat for each of the 500 school districts in Pennsylvania,” stated Bettie McClarien, a member of the Media Area NAACP Education Committee, and coordinator of this event.  “Senate Bill 1085 is specifically structured to allow charter school authorization by colleges and universities or by the Department of Education and without local school board input. The bill is written so as to eliminate tax payer participation in approval of the opening of charter schools in their school districts,” McClairen said.    “Even voters in successful suburban districts such as Radnor, Garnett Valley, Nether Providence and Rose Tree Media will be subject to an influx of charters run by educational management organizations with no knowledge of or concern for the community.”
A panel of informed education experts has been assembled to enlighten the public concerning the contents and implications of SB 1085. Sue Tiernan, school board member from West Chester Area School District and David Lapp of the Education Law Center will serve on the panel.  Other officials knowledgeable on the bill have been invited to the panel as well.
More info contact:  Bettie McClairen at

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.

Representatives from winning schools and partner organizations are invited to join us for the grants award ceremony on Monday, January 27, 2014 at the World Cafe Live3025 Walnut Street from 4:00pm to 6:00pm.  RSVP to or call 215-563-5848 x11.

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.

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
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.

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

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.