Thursday, January 2, 2014

PA Ed Policy Roundup for January 2, 2014: Five New Years Resolutions for Public Education Supporters

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
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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?

During the holidays 300 listeners heard this audio. SB1085 is expected to be back in the news very soon.
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 January 2, 2014:
Five New Years Resolutions for Public Education Supporters

Peter L. DeCoursey, longtime Pennsylvania political correspondent, dies after battle with cancers
By Charles Thompson |  on January 01, 2014 at 7:02 PM, updated January 01, 2014 at 8:51 PM
Peter L. DeCoursey, an inveterate political junkie who turned a lifelong obsession into a colorful news career, died Wednesday at his parents' home in Philadelphia after long battles against pancreatic and lung cancers.  DeCoursey, who worked in or covered Pennsylvania politics for most of three decades, served most recently as bureau chief for the online news service, where he published his last column this week.
The divorced father of two was 52.

Top Ten Education Justice Wins of 2013
Yinzercation Blog December 31, 2013
It’s that time of year for top-ten lists. Compiling this one made me tired just remembering everything our education justice movement did this year. We’ve had an incredible twelve months. Here’s what you accomplished in 2103:

PPG LTE: Get off the Teach for America bandwagon
Post-Gazette Letter January 1, 2014 12:00 AM
Please, enough with the Post-Gazette’s expounding the virtues of bringing Teach for America into the region’s schools. The latest editorial (“Wilkinsburg’s Woes: A Troubled District Could Use Teach for America,” Dec. 28) points to the many ineptitudes of the Wilkinsburg School District including filling vacancies in high school classrooms. So clearly the solution is — ta-da! — Teach for America.
No, it is not.

City reps in state legislatures have only themselves to blame
Philadelphians often lament that the legislature in Harrisburg doesn't listen to the city's needs.
A study published this November confirms that bills designed specifically for cities fail at much higher rates than bills for small cities and towns. But the reason why might surprise you.
Gerald Gamm, a political science professor at the University of Rochester, wrote the report with Thad Kousser, a political science professor at the University of California, San Diego. Gamm said any tension between rural and urban areas is not to blame. Rather, squabbles within large urban delegations undercut their political juice.

2013 School District of Philadelphia review
The School District of Philadelphia (SDP) opened with 23 shuttered schools and nearly 4,000 layoffs. Harrisburg and the School Reform Commission (SRC) continued to have no answers and a magical 45 million dollars in addition to expected concessions from the Philadelphia Teacher’s Union. Superintendent Hite advised the city that a mere 50 million dollars would be enough to open the schools on time. Parent and educator advocacy groups hit the streets with rallies and warnings that simply opening the schools with a skeleton staff would not be safe or prudent. No one listened and the School District of Philadelphia opened on time. Read a parent's plea here.
On March 7, 2013, the SRC voted to close 23 schools in the face of a looming deficit. During this same month the PFT was asked to take a 13% pay cut and Hite suggested that seniority be overlooked in regard to layoffs and hires. Schools opened with one nurse for every 1500 students, fewer assistant principals, no librarians, and no full time counselors. 8th graders and high school seniors would have no support for high school or college applications.

Five New Years Resolutions for Public Education Supporters
Connected Superintendent Blog by John Kuhn on December 31, 2013 by johnkuhntx
2013 was a pivotal year for parents, teachers and students who support a free public education for American children. In California, Governor Jerry Brown refused to over-test the state’s students to satisfy bureaucratic demands for data, even in the face of federal threats to withhold Title 1 education funding. In Seattle, Jesse Hagopian and fellow teachers at Garfield High refused to give the MAP standardized test; after facing down threats to their employment, the teachers saw the school district waive the MAP test as a graduation requirement. On the other side of the continent, students with the Providence Student Union in Rhode Island had adults take a NECAP test and released the results, zombie-protested, and generally gave the corporate reform movement fits. In Texas, an organization lovingly known as “Mothers Against Drunk Testing” formed and teamed up with a plethora of other public schools supporters to help pass HB 5, a law that reduced the number of standardized tests required for graduation from 15 to 5.

Thousands of black and Latino kids lost their schools in 2013
MSNBC By Trymaine Lee 12/28/13 12:00 AM—UPDATED 12/28/13 03:57 PM
In Philadelphia, hundreds of children left home a little earlier as they headed back to school this year. A slew of school closures over the summer meant a longer, and often less safe, journey to other elementary and middle schools further away. 
In the St. Louis suburbs, thousands of students transferred this Fall from failing school districts when a court order opened up new opportunities. But the exodus put an even greater financial strain on the districts they left behind. Now the students who chose to stay closer to home could soon find themselves displaced as the state mulls shutting down or taking over their schools. And in Chicago, the closure of nearly 50 schools has created “school deserts” in some neighborhoods, while the district starves other schools to the point of closure.
All across the country, from the old industrial Northeast to the West Coast, through the Midwest and to major cities in the South, mass school closings—the product of deep budget cuts and flawed policy planning—have forced tens of thousands of children further from home. But not all children. Interviews in major cities and a review of census and other data make clear that the vast majority of those affected are African-American and poor.

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.

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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