Saturday, January 4, 2014

PA Ed Policy Roundup Jan 4: PA House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on school funding Tuesday, January 7th in Philadelphia

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SB1085 is expected to be back in the news very soon.  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 4, 2014:
PA House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on school funding Tuesday, January 7th in Philadelphia

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.
State Rep. Cherelle Parker, D-Phila., chairwoman of the legislature’s Philadelphia Delegation and HDPC vice chairwoman, requested the hearing and will serve as co-chairwoman with state Rep. Jim Roebuck, Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee. The hearing will focus on alternatives for reforming education funding in Pennsylvania, as well as ways to improve opportunity for students across the state.
The current hearing agenda is:
  • 2 p.m. – Welcome and opening remarks;
  • 2:10 p.m. – Panel of national testifiers:
    • David Sciarra, executive director, Education Law Center - NJ
    • Dr. Rand Quinn, assistant professor, Teaching, Learning, and Leadership Division, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania
    • Dr. W. Steven Barnett, Board of Governors professor and director of the National Institute for Early Education Research, Rutgers University
    • Dianne Piche, senior counsel and director of education program, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
  • 3:10 a.m. – Panel of state testifiers:
    • Joan Benso, CEO and president, PA Partnerships for Children
    • Donna Cooper, executive director, Public Citizens for Children and Youth
    • Rhonda Brownstein, executive director, Education Law Center - PA
    • Joseph Bard, executive director, PA Association of Rural and Small Schools
    • Susan Gobreski, executive director, Education Voters of PA and The Schott Foundation for Public Education
  • 4:30 p.m. – Closing remarks
The hearing is open to the public and media coverage is invited.

Court rules against Upper Darby charter school application
KATHY BOCCELLA, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER  Saturday, January 4, 2014, 2:02 AM
MEDIA A Delaware County Court judge has ruled against a former businessman trying to open a charter school in Upper Darby.  Judge Chad F. Kenney said Tim Sager's petition for Delco Community Charter School did not meet requirements, which include the signatures of at least 1,000 people living in the district.  Under state law, charter schools whose applications were rejected by local school boards can submit a petition of support to the courts. If the petition is deemed sufficient, the schools' operators can appeal to a state board to be approved.

Department of Education Announces $1.7 Million in Career and Technical Education Equipment Grants, 42 Schools to Share Funding
PDE Press Release January 03, 2014
Harrisburg – Acting Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq today announced that 42 schools will share $1.7 million in funding for the purchase of equipment for career and technical education programs.  “This funding will allow these schools to acquire new, state-of-the-art equipment for students to train for the jobs of tomorrow,” Dumaresq said.  “Governor Corbett believes that providing students with access to high-quality resources will ensure their competitiveness with their peers in the local, national and global workforce.”
As a competitive grant, the Career and Technical Education Equipment Grant program provides funding for schools to purchase equipment that meets industry standards.  Funding must be used to purchase equipment for the purpose of training students in approved career and technical education programs, which must align with the following Pennsylvania targeted industry cluster areas:

42 career, technical schools to share $1.7M in state funding
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review  By Megan Harris Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, 4:27 p.m.
Forty two career and technical schools will share $1.7 million in state funding to buy new training equipment.  Applications for Pennsylvania's competitive Career and Technical Education Equipment Grant were reviewed and scored based on plans to integrate new machinery into existing curricula and how easily instructors can be trained.
Lehigh Valley technical schools get $50,000 grants for equipment purchases
By Precious Petty | The Express-Times  January 04, 2014 at 5:15 AM
Pennsylvania's acting education secretary today announced $1.7 million in equipment grants for career and technical schools, including two in the Lehigh ValleyLehigh Career & Technical Institute, which serves students from nine Lehigh County school districts, received a $50,000 grant, according to state Department of Education officials.  Bethlehem Area Vocational-Technical School, which serves Bethlehem Area, Northampton Area and Saucon Valley School District students, received a $49,050 grant, officials said.

More Philly school closings in 2014? No decision yet
by Paul Socolar on Jan 03 2014 Posted in Latest news
There is no word yet on whether the School District plans to recommend additional school closings to the School Reform Commission in 2014. 
"A final decision has not been made yet," said spokesperson Fernando Gallard on Friday.
In each of the last two school years, the District came out with a list of recommended closings in the fall, allowing for public input over the course of a few months before a vote was taken by the SRC. In 2012, the District issued a list of closing recommendations on Dec. 13. In 2011, a list of nine recommended closures was released on Nov. 2. In both cases, SRC votes took place the following March.

“Use the Core to prepare for the test. Use the test to measure the teaching of The Core. Without each other, neither has a purpose.”
Test Administration Ethics
Curmudgucation Blog Friday, January 3, 2014
I've been perusing Pennsylvania's DOE "Ethical Standards of Test Administration," the study of which is required in order to pass your PA Assessment Administrator quiz (otherwise you lack the wisdom to proctor The Test). Because that whole business is farmed out to Data Recognition Corporation, it's hard to know how much of the ESTA to attribute to bureaucrats and how much springs from the fertile minds of corporate data wranglers.  The link is there in case you want to wade through this in its entirety. I just want to take a few moments of my blizzard-related late start to hit the highlights.  The ESTA are broken into three sections-- before, during, and after test administration-- and each  is split into do's and don't's. The ESTA document is six pages long, so let me just highlight some selected instructions representative of my own categories.

PA tax revenues remain above estimates
WITF Written by The Associated Press | Jan 2, 2014 4:12 PM
(Harrisburg) -- Halfway through the state's fiscal year, Pennsylvania's tax collections are on target with budget projections.  The state government has taken in $12.3 billion, despite sluggish collections in December.

General Fund Revenue Collections Bring in $2.39 Billion
PA House Republican Appropriations Committee January 2014 Economic Brief

Influential state Capitol reporter DeCoursey is remembered
POSTED: Friday, January 3, 2014, 2:02 AM
HARRISBURG In the state Capitol, Pete DeCoursey was both the guy you wanted to talk to - and the one you didn't.  The Philadelphia native, who uprooted himself more than two decades ago to pursue a journalism career, made his name in government and political circles not just by the stories and columns he wrote for the online news service Capitolwire, but by who he was: a sometimes stubborn, sometimes prickly, always whip-smart reporter with a penchant for telling the political story behind the story.  "He was the preeminent truth-seeker in the state," said former Gov. Ed Rendell, with whom DeCoursey often got into verbal sparring matches during news conferences.

Helen Gym, Philadelphia’s Parent Hero
Diane Ravitch’s Blog By dianeravitch January 4, 2014 //
Helen Gym is a model parent for all those who hate the status quo.
Please read this article about her. I hope you will be inspired by her example.
She lives in a city (Philadelphia) and a state (Pennsylvania) where the politicians have written off the children. They don’t matter to Mayor Nutter and Governor Corbett. They have written off the schools and children of Philadelphia.

“urges the board to drop the standards, saying they take the joy out of learning and will turn schools into Chinese-style data factories”
Kenneth Ye, Tennessee Student, Argues Common Core Makes Our Schools Like China's (VIDEO runtime 6:07)
The Huffington Post  |  By Rebecca Klein Posted: 01/03/2014 3:38 pm EST
Months after Tennessee high school student Ethan Young gained national attention for his anti-Common Core presentation in front of the Knox County Board of Education in November, one of the high schooler's classmates is following in his footsteps.  A recent video of Farragutt High School student Kenneth Ye giving a presentation before the same board of education has been gaining steam around the Internet in recent weeks. Like Young, whose presentation has received more than 1.9 million views on YouTube, Ye urges the board to drop the standards, saying they take the joy out of learning and will turn schools into Chinese-style data factories.

TN education reform lobby reloads, seeking wins this time
Written by Joey Garrison The Tennessean Jan. 3, 2014 4:19 AM
After a string of defeats at the Tennessee General Assembly last year, out-of-state education reform groups have reloaded as they look for wins that proved elusive even in a Republican-controlled legislature thought to be receptive to their policies.
The renewed activity — along with expected financial plays during the 2014 election season — has only strengthened an already-booming education lobby in Tennessee, evident by its growing numbers in the hallways and committee rooms of Legislative Plaza.
Inter-Republican politics last spring derailed legislation to create a new school voucher system that would allow families to use public money on private schooling and stalled a proposal to allow the state to authorize the opening of new charter schools in certain counties, including Davidson.

“The document, an amended complaint that D.C. government lawyers filed as part of a lawsuit that began in October, expands on allegations that Options leaders diverted more than $3 million from the Northeast Washington school for at-risk teens to companies they founded.”
New claims surface in D.C. Options charter case
Washington Post by Emma Brown, Published: January 3 E-mail the writer
A senior official at the D.C. Public Charter School Board allegedly received $150,000 to help the former managers of Options Public Charter School evade oversight and take millions of taxpayer dollars for themselves, according to a new court document.  Jeremy L. Williams was the chief financial officer at the D.C. Public Charter School Board, responsible for monitoring the business practices of the city’s fast-growing charter schools. But at the same time he was entrusted with rooting out financial wrongdoing, he also allegedly joined in, according to the document.

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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