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 January 18, 2014: Worried about 'political gamesmanship,' Gov. Tom Corbett cancels first visit to Philadelphia public school
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
Citing sources familiar
with the budget talks, Corbett could propose pumping as much as $200 million
into schools, a move described as a "major investment" after years of
reductions, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports this morning. Administration spokesman Jay
Pagni would neither confirm nor deny the report, telling the newspaper
that "We won't release any details of the proposal"
beforeCorbett delivers it to a joint session of the state House and Senate
Corbett is set to make
his first appearance at a Philadelphia
school on Friday. He's been assailed for his cuts to school spending, with
districts across the state cutting positions and programs in response to a loss
of $1 billion in funding. Corbett and
his allies have pushed back hard against that narrative, arguing that he's
added more money to basic education - $5.5 billion -- than his predecessors,
and that any reductions in state support were the result of a loss of federal
stimulus funding when he took office.
Education rising to the top of the legislative agenda in election year
PA Independent By Maura
Pennington | Watchdog.org January 16, 2014
PHILADELPHIA — In the fight to win control of Harrisburg in 2014, the civil rights of
students are in the forefront. Education
funding, access and outcomes in Pennsylvania have
become central issues in a tense election year for the state. National
activists are drawing attention to claims of inequality, while state
legislators argue for budget priorities.
Dianne Piché, senior
counsel and director of education program at theLeadership Conference on Civil
and Human Rights, and David Sciarra, executive director of the EducationLawCenter in New Jersey, have raised the possibility of
legal action to target fairness in education funding.
It may be mid-January,
but we have at least four more reasons to keep the New Year party going this
week. First, Governor Corbett is
apparently getting ready to propose an increase to state funding for public
education. Sources close to his office say that the new budget, which will be
announced on February 4th, will include $100 to $200 million more
this year. [Philly.com,
1-16-14] That’s a good step in the right direction. But we’re still down $700
million in the annual budget from 2010-2011, with the cumulative loss for our
schools now topping $2.4 billion. Any restoration of funds will be a win for
our education justice movement, reflecting the enormous effort of grassroots
advocates to keep the plight of public schools on the political agenda.
Applicants for a
Harrisburg charter school withdrew their proposal Wednesday night, claiming
after a break in a Harrisburg School Board hearing that he had a train to
The bumpy beginning to
the hearing – referencing plagiarism, people named as school founders later
disclaiming their involvement, and the naming of the planned school after a
woman facing 54 counts of wire fraud -- did not influence the withdrawal, said
Johnny Patterson, CEO of Philadelphia-based nonprofit National Education
Partners. "It has nothing to do
with the hearing," Patterson said after the withdrawal. "It's just
time constraints. I would be more than willing to sit here and answer their
questions, but due to the time constraints, that's it."
The full text of this resolution is included in the link
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. http://www.lmsd.org/news/article/index.aspx?pageaction=ViewSinglePublic&LinkID=2065&ModuleID=22&&NEWSPID=1
"We, as the staff of Central High School, are writing to
express discomfort with your visit," the letter states. "We are proud
of and celebrate our students' achievements, yet we recognize that they have
accomplished this in spite of, rather than because of, your budget cuts and
Worried about 'political gamesmanship,' Gov. Tom Corbett cancels first
visit to Philadelphia public school
Governor stays away after letter from teachers
expressed 'discomfort' with his presence.
By Steve Esack, Call Harrisburg
Bureau 8:50 p.m. EST, January 17, 2014
PHILADELPHIA — Gov. Tom Corbett canceled his first visit to a
Philadelphia public school on Friday in the face of opposition from teachers. Corbett, who suffers from record low approval
ratings in part over $1 billion cut of federal and state education funds in his
first budget, toured the state this week in an attempt to fix that image as
part of his re-election campaign.
He was presenting
education awards to schools that had students who performed exceptionally high
on the state's new grading system that measures academic performance in math
and reading. His visits to schools in
Hershey and Allegheny County, among others, went smoothly.
The visit to Philadelphia
He was scheduled to give
awards Friday to three of Philadelphia's premium magnet schools at a ceremony
at Central High School in the city's Olney section. Late Thursday afternoon, his administration
received an unsigned letter from Central staff saying it felt unease over his
"He has bailed on the children of Philadelphia once
again," parent activist Helen Gym told the crowd. "God knows, for the
last [three] years of his term, we have been here without our governor."
Corbett cancels school appearance amid heavy protests
SOLOMON LEACH, DAILY
NEWS STAFF WRITER Sunday, January 19, 2014, 3:01 AM
A SWARM of protesters who
gathered outside Central High School yesterday morning in anticipation of Gov.
Corbett's first visit to a district-run Philadelphia public school found a bit
of irony: a no-show governor. Corbett,
who has been criticized for cutting nearly $1 billion from education during his
time in office, abruptly canceled the appearance. Instead, he held a news
conference at his Center City office, claiming he did want to cause a
"I don't run from
anything," Corbett said. "I take decisions head-on. But I was not
going to be a distraction to the school day or to the students. I was not going
to engage in the theatrics of what the adults wanted to do." The governor and acting Secretary of
Education Carolyn Dumaresq were scheduled to present awards to Central, Julia
Masterman and Carver high schools for their high scores on the state's
first-ever school-performance profiles.
On a frigid January
morning nearly halfway through a school year marked by draconian cuts to
services and staff, Gov. Corbett -- plagued by a low approval rating and an impending
November election -- braved the eastbound lanes of the Turnpike to make his
first gubernatorial appearance at a Philadelphia traditional public school. At least that's the way it was written up in
the playbook. Instead, in a last-minute
audible, Corbett changed the event's venue to his office at the Philadelphia
Chamber of Commerce and changed the news narrative to his nomination of two new
School Reform Commission members who he said would bring the city "fresh
talent and true dedication." Corbett
selected Philadelphia City Councilman Bill Green to chair the SRC and Farah
Jimenez, leader of West Philadelphia's People's Emergency Center, to
replace outgoing Commissioner Joseph Dworetzky.
Corbett blames protesters for politicizing Central High School event
Philly.com by Sean
Collins Walsh FRIDAY, JANUARY 17, 2014, 11:55 AM
Gov. Corbett originally
planned to spend the morning presenting educational achievement awards at
Central High School - his first visit to a traditional Philadelphia public
school since taking office.
But a large protest over
education cuts during his administration caused him to divert his plans.
Corbett, speaking to
reporters at the Bellevue in Center City, said he was "saddened and
disappointed" he couldn't go to Central. "Today wasn't supposed to be about
politics, it wasn't supposed to be about contracts, it wasn't supposed to be
about negotiations. It was supposed to be about the students," Corbett
said. "I decided not to engage in the theatrics that have been designed by
Republican Gov. Tom Corbett cancelled a visit to Philly's Central High School
at the last minute today and convened a press conference at the Greater
Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce instead.
Corbett, who has orchestrated deep cuts to public education statewide,
was scheduled to commend Central, an esteemed magnet school, and two other city
schools for their academic achievement.
Praise and reproach from Nutter on SRC nominations
KRISTEN A. GRAHAM AND
JEFF GAMMAGE, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
LAST UPDATED: Saturday,
January 18, 2014, 1:08 AM
POSTED: Friday, January 17, 2014, 2:08 PM
Gov. Corbett on Friday
remade the School Reform Commission - and possibly the Philadelphia School
District - in announcing two new choices for the panel. Corbett will nominate City Councilman Bill
Green, a Democrat, and social-services advocate Farah Jimenez, a Republican, to
the SRC. If approved by the state Senate, Green would have to resign his
Council seat and would become SRC chair.
But even as the governor praised the nominees, Mayor Nutter stepped into
the fray. He lauded Jimenez, but called Green's selection "quite frankly,
The mayor said he was
concerned about Green's votes against some education funding measures and his
published views on public education."
In a bluntly worded statement released to the press Friday afternoon,
Mayor Nutter offered a less-than-welcoming response to Gov. Corbett's
nomination of City Councilman Bill Green to head the School Reform Commission,
calling it "quite frankly perplexing given his votes against some
education funding measures and his published views on public education."
The statement goes on to
say that the mayor is "deeply concerned, based on his past public
statements and participation in School District budget hearings, as to whether
or not, as chair, Councilman Green will be a strong and forceful advocate for increased
After more than two years
of investigations by both the state and the School District, 138
Philadelphia educators have been implicated in test score cheating,
according to information given to the School Reform Commission on Thursday. The Pennsylvania Department of
Education has filed or is pursuing actions against 69 current and former
employees based on its investigation of 14 so-called Tier 1 schools -- 11
District schools and 3 charters -- District officials told the SRC. They
provided no more details on that group.
The District found
grounds for disciplinary action against an additional 69 educators in 19
so-called Tier 2 schools that
it investigated with the help of the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.
Officials gave more details on the results of its own investigation.
Taxpayers in the PoconoMountainSchool District could see
a two mill decrease for the 2014-15 year after discussion on a preliminary
budget Wednesday night.
The board heard a
presentation on the preliminary budget, which will not be finalized for several
months after state and federal dollars are allocated. It proposed a balanced
budget, with no tax increases, of about $205 million. But board member Ricky Smith suggested an
alternative, taking two mills out of an allocated roughly four mills that was
budgeted to be put in a reserve. The revised proposal will likely return for
consideration at one of the board's February board meetings.
CFO Joseph Colozza said
after the meeting that the reserve money is a kind of "rainy day"
fund to allow for unexpected expenditures, which is less necessary given that
the school has a roughly $17 million fund balance for the first time in several
He said the preliminary
budget also calls for an increase in infrastructure expenditures that have been
put off during more cash-strapped years, including for the purchase of several
buses, which lessens the need for a reserve.
The proposal also did not call for any staff reductions.
To balance the budget,
the proposal takes about $4 million from the fund balance for capital improvements
and employer retirement contribution increases.
School districts in
Pennsylvania are now sharing their preliminary budgets for the coming school
year, and — no surprise — pension costs are the biggest source of distortion
and tax pressure. That’s not going to change anytime soon; annual local
contributions to state-regulated pension funds are on the increase. Around the Lehigh Valley, the degree of
stress varies by district. The Bethlehem
Area School District is facing a $16.9 million deficit. Even so, the
district is considering upgrades that some districts could only dream about —
such as elevating boy’s club lacrosse to a varsity sport. The district is
facing escalating demands in pension costs (up $4.4 million to $20.7 million)
and charter-school payments (up $6.7 million to $20.5 million).
Only private schools that
teach ten or fewer voucher- or tax-credit-scholarship students should be exempt
from disclosing state test results, in order to protect the privacy of those
students, the report says. And only those students receiving state funds to
attend private schools should be required to undergo state testing, the report
A new report from
Maryland’s Education Department to the legislature says that the vast majority
of schools in many of the state’s counties are not technologically prepared to
give new online Common Core-aligned standardized tests and that at least $100
million will have to be spent by 2015 to get ready. In Montgomery County alone, it is estimated
that necessary computer purchases will cost some $10 million, wireless
enhancements to the infrastructure another $3 million and other technological
improvements an additional $4 million. Prince George’s County estimates it will
need at least $5 million in improvements — money neither county has to spend.
Eleven of 24 school systems in the state have completed a series to tests to
determine readiness, and in those 11, a whopping 85 percent of schools aren’t
prepared, the report said.
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
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 PSBAConferenceCenter 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
NAACP: Public Discussions Scheduled on PA CharterSchool
Expansion Bill – SB1085. January 18th, 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 CampbellAMEChurch,
at 3rd and Olive Streets in Media, PA. The event is free. The discussion will last
from 1:00 – . A light lunch will be available between 12:30
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, GarnettValley, 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 ChesterAreaSchool District and David Lapp of the EducationLawCenter
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 Urban_parent@yahoo.com
2014 PA Gubernatorial Candidate Plans for Education and Arts/Culture in
Policy and LeadershipCenter
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.
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 Live, 3025
Walnut Street from 4:00pm to . RSVP to
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215-563-5848 x11.
24th – 26th, 2014 at The ScienceLeadershipAcademy
is both a conversation and a conference.
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
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.
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
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
NSBA at 800-950-6722 (NSBA)
between the hours of 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. EST.
Join the NationalSchoolBoardsActionCenterFriends 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