Monday, January 6, 2014

PA Ed Policy Roundup for January 6, 2014: Gov. Corbett, Senator Pileggi, Rep. Turzai, Mayor Nutter – what would you do if it was your kids’ school? It is.

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?

SB1085 is now listed on the Senate calendar for 3rd consideration.  Have you discussed charter reform with your state legislators?
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 6, 2014:
Gov. Corbett, Senator Pileggi, Rep. Turzai, Mayor Nutter – what would you do if it was your kids’ school?  It is.

Did you miss our weekend posting?
PA Ed Policy Roundup Jan 4: PA House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on school funding Tuesday, January 7th in Philadelphia

Two pieces by Kristen Graham cover the impact of budget cuts on students in Philadelphia schools.  Gov. Corbett, Senator Pileggi, Rep. Turzai, Mayor Nutter – what would you do if it was your kids’ school?
College applications shortchanged under schools' counselor cuts
At prestigious Central High, there's a two-week wait to see a counselor.
At Northeast High, the city's largest school, a focus on helping students hoping to become the first in their families to go to college has mostly fallen by the wayside.  And at Academy at Palumbo, a magnet school in South Philadelphia, some college applications have been submitted late because the single counselor for 800 students just can't process everything on time.
In the thick of college application season, the Philadelphia School District's cuts to counseling services are becoming especially problematic, those on the front lines say.

At Phila. high school, a daily struggle with budget cuts
KRISTEN A. GRAHAM, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER Saturday, January 4, 2014, 12:16 PM
The principal parked her laptop on a student's desk at the junction of two second-floor corridors at Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. Her to-do list hovered in the hundreds, but it was 2 p.m., time for her to pull another shift as a hall monitor.
Not long ago, Debora Carrera had a climate manager, assistant principal, and aides to keep order in the hallways. But the Philadelphia School District's financial implosion has eviscerated school budgets, and now there are simply not enough adults to go around.
"It's harder," said Carrera, for seven years the respected leader of the neighborhood high school of 460 students. "We all have to wear more hats; some things we miss because we can only do so much. Every year, it gets less and less, and you wonder how much less can it get?"
With hundreds of millions cut from its budget, the district's financial picture is so dire that officials contemplated delaying the opening of school this year. Many buildings lack counselors, extracurricular activities, and key programs.

One of the main reasons parents cite for choosing charter schools is the safety of their children.  There seems to be no political will in the legislature to address keeping kids in our urban schools districts safe.
Pa. legislators resolve to keep themselves safe: Nancy Eshelman
By Nancy Eshelman |  on January 03, 2014 at 10:16 AM,
One thing you have to give our state legislators: They take very good care of themselves. Always have; probably always will.  Because somebody heard a noise in the Capitol that could have been a gunshot, but wasn't, they are about to spend $10 million of our money to beef up security around the place.  Thank heavens no one mistook the noise for a cannon shot.

PA House Democratic Policy Committee to hold public hearing on school funding reform and equal education opportunities Tuesday, January 7th in Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 2 – Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, today announced the House Democratic Policy Committee will hold a public hearing examining school funding reform and equal educational opportunities in Pennsylvania from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at the National Constitution Center, F.M. Kirby Auditorium, 525 Arch St.
The hearing is open to the public and media coverage is invited.

Pat Browne: Reforms would benefit special education students
Morning Call Opinion by Senator Pat Browne 7:56 p.m. EST, January 5, 2014
Sen. Pat Browne, R-Lehigh, is co-chairman of the Special Education Funding Commission.
Nearly 270,000 children — or one out of every 61/2 students — receive special education services in Pennsylvania's public schools. Most children are included in regular classrooms and receive all or much of their instruction alongside students who do not have special education needs. Families partner with dedicated professionals across the commonwealth to ensure that students with disabilities receive the services they require to maximize academic achievement.
Unfortunately, this commitment is undermined by the current system for allocating state special education funding in Pennsylvania that does not effectively match the needs of students with the cost of providing those services.
Instead the current ineffective approach, in place for more than 20 years, assumes all school districts serve the same percentage of special needs students and every student has the same needs. To properly serve our special needs children, the General Assembly and the Corbett administration have prioritized necessary reforms to make this inadequate funding system a thing of the past.  This process began in the spring of 2013 when the General Assembly advanced legislation creating a 15-member Special Education Funding Commission. The commission was charged with developing a system for allocating any new state special education funding in a manner that recognizes the actual number of special needs students in a school district and the various levels of their need for services.
Editorial: Zero Tolerance, Reconsidered
New York Times By THE EDITORIAL BOARD Published: January 5, 2014
Schools across the country are rethinking “zero tolerance” discipline policies under which children have been suspended, even arrested, for minor offenses like cursing, getting into shoving matches and other garden-variety misbehavior that in years past would have been resolved with detention or meetings with a child’s parents.  These reappraisals are long overdue. Studies have shown that suspensions and expulsions do nothing to improve the school climate, while increasing the risk that children will experience long-term social and academic problems. Federal data also indicates that minority students are disproportionately singled out for harsh disciplinary measures.

Zero-Tolerance Policies May Make Schools More Unsafe, Report Finds
The Huffington Post  |  By Rebecca Klein Posted: 01/03/2014 6:31 pm EST
Zero-tolerance policies in schools may have zero point.
That's the conclusion of a recent report from the Vera Institute of Justice, a nonprofit center that studies justice policy. The report, titled, “A Generation Later: What We’ve Learned about Zero Tolerance in Schools,” looks at existing research to determine whether the get-tough policies for minor offenses are an effective way to keep schools safe.  The report finds that zero-tolerance policies, which the organization defines as “discipline policies that mandate suspension or expulsion of students for misconduct,” do not accomplish the intended goal of making schools safer, and may make schools more unsafe. The report recommends that schools begin moving away from these policies, which took root during the war on drugs in the 1990s and were broadened after school mass murders, including Columbine High School

Restorative Practices: Opening Up, Students Transform a Vicious Circle
New York Times By PATRICIA LEIGH BROWN Published: April 3, 2013
“My daddy got arrested this morning,” Mercedes Morgan, a distraught senior, told the students gathered there.  Mr. Butler’s mission is to help defuse grenades of conflict at Ralph J. Bunche High School, the end of the line for students with a history of getting into trouble. He is the school’s coordinator for restorative justice, a program increasingly offered in schools seeking an alternative to “zero tolerance” policies like suspension and expulsion.

Tell-All from Oakland TFA Teacher: “I didn’t do my research” “Left by Winter Break”
Cloaking Inequity Blog January 5, 2014 | Julian Vasquez Heilig
Here is another tell-all that does not appear in TFA’s glossy brochures or promotion materials. I realie that proponents of TFA will likely argue that these stories from TFA corp members are no different than any other poorly trained first year teacher. But that is the exactly the point isn’t it? Why is TFA perpetuating the revolving door of inexperienced teachers for our nation’s poorest children? Also, another argument could be that these stories (See also Tell-All From A TFA and KIPP Teacher: Unprepared, Isolation, Shame, and Burnout) are isolated examples. But ask yourself the question: Has TFA ever published a story that was not a glowing, glossy perspective of the TFA experience? Here is another tell-all from a former Oakland TFA teacher.

“Students who pass an AP exam complete college at three times the rate of those who do not. African-American and Hispanic students who pass an exam graduate at four times the rate of those who do not.  Increasing low-income African-American and Hispanic students’ access and success with AP classes is a focus of AdvanceKentucky.”
To Get More Students Ready for College and Careers, Kentucky Expands Access to Advanced Placement for Low-Income Students
A Kentucky partnership working to boost career and college readiness by increasing access to Advanced Placement (AP) courses is producing nothing short of phenomenal results at participating schools. During its first five years of implementation, AdvanceKentucky has been a driving force in Kentucky’s statewide 100 percent increase in total AP qualifying scores, among the largest gains of any state in the country.
 “We’ve seen a wild increase in enrollment and qualifying scores every single year,” said Joanne Lang, who heads the AdvanceKentucky partnership. “Our goal is to give every child access to challenging coursework, not just those who traditionally are eligible.”

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 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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