Tuesday, February 4, 2014

PA Ed Policy Roundup for February 4, 2014: Watch the Governor’s budget address live at 11:30 am this morning

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 3100 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

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Keystone State Education Coalition
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for February 4, 2014:
Watch the Governor’s budget address live at 11:30 am this morning

Governor Tom Corbett’s  2014 – 2015 Budget Address
Tuesday, February 4th, 2014 11:30 a.m.
Watch live at: governor.pa.gov/live 

“He is expected to ask state legislators spend $340 million more for public schools, $20 million more for special education and more money for higher education on top of the extra $10 million he has already said he wants for preschool.”
Expectations are high for Corbett's budget address
Lancaster Online By KAREN SHUEY | Staff Writer Posted: Monday, February 3, 2014 2:09 pm | Updated: 8:01 pm, Mon Feb 3, 2014.
Pennsylvania is facing significant financial challenges this year.
But, despite the gloomy forecast, many are expecting Gov. Tom Corbett to unveil a generous budget proposal Tuesday when he stands before the General Assembly.  The first-term Republican — who is running for reelection this year amid low approval ratings — is rumored to propose his biggest funding increases ever to make up for unpopular cuts to education and human services.  All eyes will be focused on Corbett as he lays out his policy priorities for the 2014 spending plan in his fourth state budget proposal.  The speech comes at an important time as the governor tries to get the items on his agenda passed before voters head to the polls this fall to decide whether he will get a second term.

“Mr. Corbett also will propose adding $20 million to a base of special education funding that has remained level, at $1.026 billion, for six years, Mr. Pagni said.  The governor will call for basic education funding, which makes up the bulk of state money for K-12 schools, to remain at the current level of $5.5 billion.”

Corbett budget plan raises special ed funding
Governor also will seek scholarships, teacher training
By Karen Langley / Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau February 4, 2014 12:01 AM
HARRISBURG -- Gov. Tom Corbett today will call for new funding for special education, scholarships for higher education, teacher training and curriculum in a final budget proposal before he faces re-election.  The governor will propose creating a $240 million block grant, called Ready to Learn, that would be available to schools to train teachers and develop curriculum, though not to pay teacher salaries, said Jay Pagni, press secretary for Mr. Corbett. He described the money as "highly targeted, results-oriented, performance-based funding." High-performing schools would have a greater range of options for using the grant.

Corbett's 2014-15 budget address set for this morning
By Steve Esack, Call Harrisburg Bureau 5:29 a.m. EST, February 4, 2014
HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Corbett, up for re-election amid record-low approval ratings, is scheduled to give his annual budget address at 11:30 a.m. before the Legislature.
In his third budget since taking office in 2011, Corbett is expected to call for at least $100 million more for public schools, $20 million more for special education, and more money for higher education on top of the extra $10 million he has already said he wants for preschool in 2014-15.
In human services, Corbett has advocated for $22 million more for programs that aid intellectually disabled adults and $2 million more for rape crisis and domestic-violence prevention.
DN Editorial: IS HE LEARNING?: Corbett shows some signs of acknowledging education's
Philly Daily News POSTED: Tuesday, February 4, 2014, 3:01 AM
FIRST, the good news: Today's budget address by Gov. Corbett is expected to include $10 million in additional money to expand early-childhood education.
Study after study shows that funding early education, like pre-kindergarten, all-day kindergarten and Head Start, is a wise investment, especially for low-income kids. A child who has attended pre-K gets an important foundation that more privileged kids get as a matter of course, and that child is more likely to graduate from high school and to be employed, and less likely to wind up in juvenile court. Children who can take advantage of early education make important gains in literacy, language, math and science.

State Senate expected to vote Tuesday on SRC nominations
Gov. Tom Corbett nominated Farah Jimenez and Councilman Bill Green to the Philadelphia School Reform Commission. 
MARTHA WOODALL, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER  LAST UPDATED: Tuesday, February 4, 2014, 1:08 AM POSTED: Monday, February 3, 2014, 6:17 PM
Harrisburg will be focused on Gov. Corbett's budget address Tuesday, but the state Senate has set aside time to handle another item of business.  The Republican leadership will ask the Senate to vote to approve the governor's two nominees to the Philadelphia School Reform Commission without public comment.

Corbett raised nearly $7 million in re-election bid
By Steve Esack and Scott Kraus, Call Harrisburg Bureau 5:57 pm, February 3, 2014
HARRISBURG — Tom Corbett's fellow Republican governors have his back in his quest for a second term.  He's going to need them.  The Republican Governors Association — a Washington, D.C., political advocacy group — gave Corbett's campaign $210,028, one of its largest donations, to help push his fundraising total to nearly $7 million in 2013, according to campaign finance reports filed Friday in Harrisburg.  That was not the largest donation the campaign received in 2013, but it is one more indication national interests could play an increasingly important role in the outcome of Pennsylvania's closely watched 2014 gubernatorial election.  No other incumbent governor has gone into re-election with approval ratings as low as Corbett's, triggering a rush of Democrats looking to unseat him — and angst among Republicans looking to put a damper on Democrats' hopes.

Cash or credit? PA facing $600 million in new pension costs
PA Independent By Eric Boehm  /   February 3, 2014
Gov. Tom Corbett will lay out his plans for next year’s state budget Tuesday morning in Harrisburg, with a $2 billion elephant in the room.  That’s how much — about $1 out of every $15 the state plans to spend — Pennsylvaniahas to pay the State Employees Retirement System, or SERS, and the Public School Employees Retirement System, or PSERS, in the 2014-15 budget. It’s a $600 million increase from the current year, with larger increases due in the next few budgets.

Pittsburgh City board urged to reject 3 charter schools
Staff makes recommendations ahead of Feb. 26 vote
By Lexi Belculfine / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette February 3, 2014 11:40 PM
Pittsburgh Public Schools staff on Monday recommended that the school board reject three charter school applications.  The board will vote at its Feb. 26 legislative meeting on the proposed Homewood Children's Village Collegiate Charter School Community Campus, Provident Charter School for Children with Dyslexia, and Robert L. Vann Charter School. Superintendent Linda Lane said the vote usually reflects the staff's recommendation.  Teams of staff members reviewed the proposals, a public hearing on the charter schools was held Dec. 16 and applicants were interviewed in January.

Three proposed Pittsburgh charter schools get negative reviews
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review By Michael Hasch Monday, Feb. 3, 2014, 7:39 p.m.
The Pittsburgh Public Schools charter school review team recommended Monday that the school board deny three charter school applications.  The review team recommended that applications be denied for the Homewood Children's Village Collegiate Charter School, the Provident Charter School for Children with Dyslexia and the Robert L. Vann Charter School.  A lack of curriculum, a plan for meeting the needs of all students and the inability to provide expanded educational options beyond those available in the Pittsburgh Public Schools prompted the recommendations.
Governor Tom Corbett Deserves an F for Public Education Funding
Lower Macungie Patch Posted by Mark Spengler , February 03, 2014 at 05:34 PM
The eve of Governor Corbett's annual budget address is a good time to reflect back on his performance in the area of public education funding.  Corbett often likes to claim that he has substantially increased spending on K-12 education spending and denies having made cuts.  A simple review of the facts shows why he deserves an F:

Visitors face more security at West Chester schools
MICHAELLE BOND, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER  Monday, February 3, 2014, 1:07 AM
WEST CHESTER Starting Monday, visitors at the West Chester Area School District's 16 schools should plan to spend a little more time at the front desk.  Gone are the days of writing your name on a sheet of paper, sticking a patch to your shirt, and being on your way.
The district's schools will join about 300 others throughout the state, including roughly 200 in the Philadelphia area, that have implemented the Raptor security system, which is meant to better regulate who walks into schools.  The Web-based software uses visitors' driver's licenses - or other government ID cards - to instantly screen visitors for sex offenses, keep an electronic log of visitors, and issue visitor badges with names, pictures, and reasons for the visit.

"Part of the process also requires microfilm," he says. "Anybody know, really, what microfilm is anymore? Seriously? It's 2014 and we're still requiring microfilm in state government."
Bill would streamline school construction reimbursements
Written by Matt Paul and Radio Pennsylvania | Feb 2, 2014 5:13 AM
(Harrisburg) -- A midstate lawmaker wants to modernize the system by which schools can seek partial state reimbursement on construction projects.  State Representative Seth Grove, a York County Republican, says his bill would make the process user-friendly for both the Commonwealth and the schools.

An enrollment policy built on shaky ground
Notebook by James H. Lytle on Feb 03 2014 Posted in Latest news
The School Reform Commission’s enrollment policies, and the premises on which they are based, are at the heart of its efforts to improve city schools and student achievement. For that reason, they merit careful analysis.   For the last several years, the SRC has promoted an increase in "high-performing" or "high-quality" seats with the unstated premise that student performance is determined by the quality of classrooms and schools that students attend. And for the last decade, the SRC has supported the development of a portfolio of schools, including District and charter schools, to expand parent choice in school selection.
To facilitate the choice process, the SRC has recently been considering a "universal enrollment" system, which would allow parents to complete a single application for District, charter, and parochial schools (and possibly private schools) that they would like their child to attend. 
In the discussion that follows, I hope to provide some perspective on the SRC’s enrollment strategies, a discussion that may have increased importance because of recent statements by SRC chair nominee Bill Green.

Letter to the Editor: Tell the truth about charters
Delco Times POSTED: 02/02/14, 7:51 PM EST |
By DAVE CLARK, Chief Executive Officer, Chester Community Charter School
To the Editor:
We are dismayed that the Delaware County Daily Times (“Media NAACP addresses charter school legislation” Jan. 18) let stand false and misleading statements regarding Chester Community Charter School (CCCS).  For example, the notion that CCCS expanded to grades 6-8 without full approval and notification is patently absurd and should have been reported in the article. In fact, Chester Upland’s receiver, Joe Watkins, directed his attorney to investigate this question last year.

Here’s background on the operator of CCCS…….
Follow the Money: Contributions by Vahan Gureghian

NSBA Advocacy Institute shows school boards how to be year-round advocates
NSBA School Board News Today by Joetta Sack-Min Feb 3, 2014
More than 750 school board members are learning about national education issues and public engagement at the National School Boards Association’s Advocacy Institute, a three-day conference in Washington that includes visits to their Congressional representatives on Capitol Hill.  The event focuses on building year-round advocates for public education and local school governance in public, legal, and legislative arenas. Advocacy Institute is the successor to NSBA’s popular Federal Relations Network conference and covers a wider array of topics.

Push for Preschool Becomes a Bipartisan Cause Outside Washington
Preschool is having its moment, as a favored cause for politicians and interest groups who ordinarily have trouble agreeing on the time of day. President Obama devoted part of his State of the Union address to it, while the deeply red states of Oklahoma and Georgia are being hailed as national models of preschool access and quality, with other states and cities also forging ahead on their own.  With a growing body of research pointing to the importance of early child development and its effect on later academic and social progress, enrollment in state-funded preschool has more than doubled since 2002, to about 30 percent of all 4-year-olds nationwide.

State Chambers of Commerce Defend Common Core
Education Week By Michele Molnar February 3, 2014
Chambers of commerce in a growing number of states are casting themselves in the role of defenders of the common core against increasingly vocal opposition to the new standards from some of their traditional Republican allies.  Take Georgia. At a January gathering of the Georgia chamber's board of directors in Atlanta, candidates for state superintendent stated their positions on the Common Core State Standards. Eight candidates weighed in—seven Republicans and one Democrat—and most expressed reservations about, or outright resistance to, the standards for English/language arts and mathematics.

The Student and the Stopwatch: How much time is spent on testing in American schools?
February 05, 2014 - 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm; 1016 16th St. NW; Floor 7 Washington, DC 20036
Thomas B. Fordham Institute  LIVE WEBCAST
This event will be webcast. Visit our website,www.edexcellence.net, at 4:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, February 5, to watch the proceedings live.
In this era of results-based academic accountability, teachers and their students spend class time taking—and preparing for—standardized tests. But just how much time? An inordinate amount? Does it vary by locale? What is the ideal amount of prep time? What are the policy implications for districts and states? The curricular and instructional implications? And what are the consequences for children, especially disadvantaged students?
For the first time, Teach Plus brings empirical evidence to the table with its new report, The Student and the Stopwatch: How Much Time is Spent on Testing in American Schools? The report examines district- and state-required testing in more than thirty urban and suburban districts nationwide, featuring input from more than 300 teachers.
Join the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and Teach Plus for a discussion on time-on-testing in American classrooms.

Have you considered signing this petition yet?
Petition by Denise Kurnas
To be delivered to The Pennsylvania State House, The Pennsylvania State Senate, and Governor Tom Corbett
This petition is designed to keep charter school oversight in local district control instead of allowing other entities or the Pennsylvania Department of Education to spend our property tax dollars without input from our locally elected school board officials. 

Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center 2014 Pennsylvania Budget Summit
Harrisburg Hilton Thu, Feb 20, 2014 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center will host its Annual Budget Summit on Thursday, February 20th to provide an in-depth look at the Governor's spending plan and an update on the federal budget — and what it all means for communities and families across Pennsylvania.
As in previous years, the Budget Summit will be at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Harrisburg. 
Additional information, agendas, and workshops will be posted in the new year.

Register Now! EPLC’s Education Policy Forums on Governor Corbett’s 2014-2015 State Budget Proposal for Education
The next EPLC education policy forums will be held on the following days and in the following locations.  These forums will take place shortly after Governor Corbett’s February 4th presentation of his proposed 2014-15 state budget and will focus on his plans for education.
Thursday, February 13, 2014 – Pittsburgh, PA
Monday, February 24, 2014 – Philadelphia, PA
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 – State College, PA
Thursday, February 27, 2014Harrisburg, PA
Space is limited for each event and an RSVP is required. Anyone wishing to receive an invitation should inquire by contacting The Education Policy and Leadership Center at staff@eplc.org or 717-260-9900.

PSBA White Paper: The costs of charter and cyber charter schools
Updated January 2014
Research and policy implications for Pennsylvania school districts
White Paper by PSBA’s Education research & Policy Center
This week PSBA’s Education Research and Policy Center issued an update to its charter school funding white paper this week, originally published in October 2010. The net cost to districts for students attending charter schools increased from $434 million in 2006-07 to $1.145 billion in 2011-12. The financial analysis indicates the need for several changes to the current charter law related to funding.

Register Now! EPLC’s 2014 Education Issues Workshops for Legislative Candidates, Campaign Staff, and Interested Voters
EPLC’s Education Issue Workshops Register Now! – Space is Limited!
A Non-Partisan One-Day Program for Pennsylvania Legislative Candidates, Campaign Staff and Interested Voters
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 in Harrisburg, PA
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 in Monroeville, PA
Thursday, March 27, 2014 in Philadelphia,PA

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: https://www.psba.org/workshops/register/?workshop=150

Auditor General DePasquale to Hold Public Meetings on Ways to Improve Charter Schools
Seeks to find ways to improve accountability, effectiveness, transparency
The public meetings will be held:
  • Allegheny County: 1 to 3 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 25, Commissioners Hearing Room, Ross Township Municipal Center, 1000 Ross Municipal Rd., Pittsburgh
  • Northampton County: 1 to 3 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 27, City Council Chambers, 6th Floor, City Hall, One South Third St., Easton
  • Cambria County: 1 to 3 p.m., Thursday, March 6, Commissioners Meeting Room, Cambria County Court House, 200 South Center St., Ebensburg
  • Bucks County: 1 to 3 p.m., Friday, March 7, Township of Falls Administrative Building, Suite 100, 188 Lincoln Highway, Fairless Hills
  • NEW: Philadelphia: 1 to 3 p.m., Friday, March 14, City Council Chambers, Room 400, City Hall
Time is limited to two hours for each meeting. Comments can be submitted in writing by Wednesday, Feb. 19, via email to Susan Woods at: swoods@auditorgen.state.pa.us.

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.

The Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools invites you to a screening and discussion of "Standardized: Lies, Money, and Civil Rights".
Thursday, February 6 - 6:00 p.m.Ritz East - 125 S. 2nd St. Philadelphia, PA

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

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