Wednesday, March 19, 2014

PA Ed Policy Roundup for March 19, 2014: Jimmy Fallon's One-Question SAT Test

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 3150 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 March 19, 2014:
Jimmy Fallon's One-Question SAT Test

Call for formal Congressional hearings to investigate the over-emphasis, misapplication, costs, and poor implementation of high-stakes standardized testing in the nation’s K-12 public schools.

Testing: Jimmy Fallon's One-Question SAT Test
Scholastic Administrator by Alexander Russo March 18, 2014

Innovative Ed. Model Challenges Teachers to Adjust
Education Week By Benjamin Herold Published Online: March 11, 2014
Philadelphia  .Another first-period engineering class has just been derailed by a series of small frustrations: Students strolling in late. Questions met with blank stares. Smartphones used for text messages instead of research.  Karthik Subburam, a five-year veteran in his first year teaching in the "inquiry-driven, project-based, technology-infused" style of Philadelphia's nationally acclaimed Science Leadership Academy, runs his fingers through his hair. "Sometimes, it's like pulling teeth," he says.  Six months into the school year, a controversial gamble by Philadelphia Superintendent William R. Hite to expand innovative school models has yielded progress. Science Leadership Academy has established a second campus that mirrors the quirky, intimate atmosphere of the original. At the new SLA@Beeber, students skateboard through the hallways past a teacher draped in Christmas lights, and no one bats an eye.

Almost all local school districts to see drop in share of LCCC funding
Parkland's contribution going down $57,000. Only Allentown's will rise.
Special to The Morning Call 11:19 p.m. EDT, March 18, 2014
Lehigh Carbon Community College tuition is going up $2 per credit for part-time students and $30 a semester for full-time students next fall. The good news is, all but one of the sponsoring local school districts will see a decrease in their required contribution.  That was welcome information Tuesday for Parkland School District, which will see its share of funding drop by $57,635, or 4.7 percent, for a total contribution of $1.18 million.  The unlucky school district that has to contribute more is Allentown, which will see its cost rise $5,269, to $1.47 million. Each school district's share is based on a five-year average of enrollment of students coming from the district and the market value of each district's property tax base.  There are 13 sponsoring school districts in Lehigh and Carbon counties that are expected to contribute 11.59 percent of LCCC's operating revenue. Forty-five percent comes from tuition and 35 percent from the state.  LCCC administrators gave a budget presentation to the Parkland School Board on Tuesday that went dramatically different from last year's.
Allentown School District and its low priority for libraries
Morning Call Opinion by Paul Carpenter 6:08 p.m. EDT, March 18, 2014
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the chances of your child someday becoming a professional athlete are one in 21,322. The chances of making more than the median wage for a professional athlete?  One in 42,644.  And what is the median wage for pro athletes in America? Why, it's a crummy $40,060, says the BLS, and that is less than what's paid to the average 18-wheel semi driver. (I could not find the percentage of Americans who get huge salaries in pro sports, but I imagine it's something like one in a million.)
Obviously, unless you are a real gambler who expects to beat 42,644-to-one odds, your child may need more than gym or football to have a shot at any job that pays a decent salary. Your child may need — gasp — the kind of schooling that involves a library.  Nevertheless, there are many parents and school board members who, when it comes to public school priorities, believe statistics work in favor of putting all the eggs in a sports basket. The future of children depends on nurturing brawn, not brains.
Possible outsourcing draws criticism at School District of Lancaster
Lancaster Online By KARA NEWHOUSE | Staff Writer Tuesday, March 18, 2014 11:10 pm
Support staff workers shared a message with the School District of Lancaster board Tuesday night: "We matter."  The board in February authorized SDL's Matthew Przywara to Authorization for the Chief Financial & Operations Officer to seek cost proposals from companies for outsourcing a range of support staff positions. The board might outsource some vacant positions next school year as it faces a projected $7.7 million deficit.  Five support staff employees including a nurse, substitute teacher and library paraprofessionals spoke against that possibility during a public comment period at the March 18 board meeting.

Lack of money forces Bodine High and World Affairs Council to cut ties
KRISTEN A. GRAHAM, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER  LAST UPDATED: Wednesday, March 19, 2014, 1:08 AM POSTED: Tuesday, March 18, 2014, 4:56 PM
PHILADELPHIA For 30 years, Bodine High School for International Affairs has been a Philadelphia School District gem, with a strong foreign-language program and a thriving partnership with the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia.  But last week, the World Affairs Council - which helped establish Bodine in 1981 - removed its staffer from the building, formally severing ties with the school it helped create.  At issue is a $70,000 annual contract the district signs with the organization. The money pays the salary of an employee who, working inside the school, organizes programs, mentors students, works with teachers to augment the curriculum, and takes on other tasks.

"It's hard to find a public-school system in the country in worse financial shape than Philadelphia's. It is even harder to find a more paralyzed body politic that is immobilized as children are going to schools without nurses, librarians, guidance counselors or adequate supplies. At least 80 percent of the schools have no librarian, let alone a library. Although slightly more than 200 counselors and 300 art or music teachers may sound ample, their numbers are a drop in the bucket for a school system with more than 10,000 students in each grade."
The financial crisis in our schools is an epic political fail
PHIL GOLDSMITH & DONNA COOPER Wednesday, March 19, 2014, 12:16 AM
Phil Goldsmith is the former chief executive officer of the Philadelphia School District. Donna Cooper is the director of Public Citizens for Children and Youth.
DISAGREEMENT or disinterest among the elected officials who represent Philadelphia is once again putting the city's public-education system at risk. While some in the political establishment want to believe that the district's solvency problem is the district's fault, the real culprit here is the failure of political leaders to line up behind a certain and sustainable revenue plan to support the schools.  Last year, Gov. Corbett persuaded the Legislature to give Philadelphia the power to turn over $120 million in local sales-tax revenue to the school district. High-profile Philadelphians rallied behind the governor's plan and urged local elected leaders to take the deal. But to date there's been no real action to make these revenues available for the district, while the school district inches closer to the brink of collapse.

Support for all good schools Opinion By Kenneth C. Frazier Wednesday, March 19, 2014, 1:08 AM
Kenneth C. Frazier is chairman and CEO of Merck & Co. and a board member of Cornerstone Christian Academy.
The great 19th-century reformer Horace Mann warned Americans that we all must be responsible for educating each other's children. He was right. Each child deserves the chance at a successful and rewarding life. That starts with a good education.  In Philadelphia, where many of our public schools are in disarray, too many of our children are missing out on that crucial start in life. Many inner-city schools produce abysmal test scores along with disaffected students - more than one-third of whom fail to graduate from high school. These schools lack basic resources, like libraries, and are too often plagued by violence. Even more tragic is that many students who beat the odds and earn their high school diplomas still lack the fundamental skills necessary to choose a productive path to gainful employment or full citizenship.

Philadelphia School Partnership to make $2.6 million in grants
The influential Philadelphia School Partnership, organized to raise $100 million for high-performing city schools, on Tuesday announced it is making $2.6 million more in grants.
Its largest gift, $2 million over four years, will support Building 21, a new Philadelphia School District high school slated to open in September.  The school - which will eventually educate 600 students in the former Ferguson Elementary building on North Seventh Street - will use "competency-based" curriculum that allows students to progress once they show mastery of skills.  Its founders hope to "reimagine secondary schooling."

Right to Know Request: Philadelphia School Closing Information
Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia website
The Law Center is representing Parents United for Public Education in appealing the denial of a Right to Know request to the School District of Philadelphia regarding the 2013 school closures plan. Parents United requested the list of proposed school closures and the factors used to determine that list as prepared by the Boston Consulting Group under Pennsylvania’s Right to Know law. The district partially denied the request, refusing to release the information noting such records as internal documents that fell under the predecisional exemption.
We appealed this decision to the Office of Open Records and received a favorable determination granting the request. The district failed to show that the documents were internal as it appeared the documents were shared with the William Penn Foundation which financially supported the study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group. The district did not deny that the documents had been shared externally. Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court and the Office of Open Records have routinely ruled that agencies cannot withhold documents on this basis if they have been shared outside of the originating agency.  The District has appealed this decision to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Both the District and the Law Center have filed briefs and oral arguments are scheduled for March 18, 2014 at 10:00 a.m.

Third and State Blog Posted by Christopher Lilienthal on March 17, 2014 10:37 am
A coalition of education advocates joined forces to call on Philadelphia City Council to provide $195 million in sustainable local funding to the city's school district next year.  At an event last Thursday when Council met, several speakers explained how much students have suffered from budget cuts in recent years and how city leaders must step up once again to provide needed funding for city schools.  “Philadelphia students, teachers, and staff cannot go through another year of upheaval and uncertainty,” said Sharon Ward of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, one of the advocates to participate Thursday.

Yinzercation Blog March 18,2014
It’s spring and the birds are tweeting. And so are education advocates! Do you tweet? I mean in the sense of using Twitter, not singing with sparrows. I found myself dragged rather reluctantly into the Twitterverse just over a year ago. As a historian fond of words, nuance, and careful argument, I find it incredibly difficult to say anything in 140 characters or less. But I’ve had some great teachers (thank you Pam and Sheila!) and have learned to appreciate Twitter’s grassroots power.  Here are just two examples of ways that Twitter can connect and amplify our voices at the state and federal level. If you tweet, please consider taking part!

Help NPE Stop Testing Abuse! Join Us! Change the World with Us!
Get ready for a giant NPE Twitter Storm on Wednesday 3-19-14 | 5-7 pm PDST
The Network for Public Education needs your help!!!
As you know, The Network for Public Education’s first Conference culminated with a major announcement by the NPE Board about the board’s press release to call for formal Congressional hearings “to investigate the over-emphasis, misapplication, costs, and poor implementation of high-stakes standardized testing in the nation’s K-12 public schools.”
We can put public pressure on Congress by using technology – thanks, Bill Gates – to fight corporate reforms!  The board at NPE decided to launch a Twitter Storm to reach the public and Congress.
Why NPE is doing this Twitter Storm:
We are taking our message to Twitter because while we lack access to paid media, we have thousands of passionate educators, students, parents and citizens across the country who care deeply about our schools, and are deeply concerned about the colossal waste of resources now being directed to standardized tests. We hope to raise awareness among the public, media and elected representatives around our call for Congressional hearings into the abuse of standardized tests.
Our first NPE Twitter Storm has been scheduled for Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 from 5-7 pm PDST. Our NPE Twitter Storm Facebook Event has this information available and updates that you will want to follow:

State Chiefs Spar with AFT and NEA Presidents Over Common Core
Education Week State Ed Watch Blog By Andrew Ujifusa on March 18, 2014 1:27 PM
WashingtonAnxiety over the Common Core State Standards was on full display Tuesday during the Council of Chief State School Officers' annual legislative conference. Leaders of the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, the nation's two largest teacher unions, squabbled with state K-12 chiefs over how teachers and the general public perceive the standards, and how well they are being implemented in classrooms.
The CCSSO, along with the National Governors Association, oversaw the creation of the common core. But over the last several months, the AFT and the NEA as well as state union leaders have expressed increasing concern— or even, in a few cases, outright opposition—to the manner of common-core implementation, as my colleague Stephen Sawchuk and I wrote about recently. 

Best of the Ed Blogs
National Education Policy Center website
Best of the Ed Blogs features a frequently updated selection of interesting and insightful blog posts on education policy. The views expressed by the bloggers on our blog roll are thoughtful, original, and entirely their own. We hope you make Best of the Ed Blogs your first stop for concise takes on today's most important education topics.

Education Forum: No Child Left Behind - The Law that Instituted High-Stakes Testing
Thursday, March 20th at 7pm in the East Penn School District Board Room, 800 Pine St. in Emmaus, PA.
Presented by East Penn Invested Citizens
You are invited!  The No Child Left Behind Law that instituted standardized testing was passed more than 10 years ago and has radically changed the educational landscape across the nation.  EPIC is proud to host an Education Forum regarding high-stakes, standardized testing.  
Muhlenberg Education Professors will be sharing cutting-edge research that explores how standardized tests have impacted students, teachers, schools, and outcomes.  Please attend and spread the word by sharing this post.  The event is open to ALL school districts.
Please feel free to share this invitation with your friends and neighbors and help us to spread the word about this event!

PA School Board Members interested in running for PSBA officer positions must file applications no Later than April 30th
PSBA's website Electing PSBA Officers
All persons seeking nomination for elected positions of the Association shall file with the Leadership Development Committee chair during the month of April, an Application for Nomination on a form to be provided by the Association expressing interest in the office sought. The Application for nomination shall be marked received at PSBA Headquarters or mailed first class and postmarked by April 30 to be considered and timely filed. If said date falls on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, then the Application for Nomination shall be considered timely filed if marked received at PSBA headquarters or mailed and postmarked on the next business day." (PSBA Bylaws, Article IV, Section 5.E.).
Details and position descriptions:

Live Chat with PA's Major Education Leadership Organizations on Twitter Tuesday March 25th at 8:00 p.m.
PSBA website 3/11/2014
On Tuesday, March 25 at 8 p.m., Pennsylvania's major education leadership organizations will host a live chat on Twitter to share the opinions of school leaders from throughout the state and invite feedback.  Join the conversation using hashtag #PAEdFunding and lurk, learn or let us know what you think about the state of support for public schools.  If you've never tweeted before, join us. It's a simple, free and fast-paced way to communicate and share information. Here are directions and a few tips:

How the Business Community Can Lead on Early Education
Economy League of Greater Philadelphia
Join business and community leaders to learn about how you can help make sure every child arrives in kindergarten ready to succeed. On April 29th, the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia and the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey will host a forum featuring business leaders from around the country talking about why they’re focused on early childhood education and how they have moved the needle on improving quality and access in their states.
Featured Speakers
  • Jack Brennan, Chairman Emeritus of The Vanguard Group
  • Phil Peterson, Partner, Aon Hewitt and Co-Chair of America’s Edge/Ready Nation
  • And more to be announced! 
  • Date & Time Tuesday, April 29, 2014 | 5-7 PM
Registration begins at 5 PM; program from 5:30 to 7:00 PM
  • Location Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia
10 North Independence Mall West Philadelphia, PA 19106

PILCOP Special Education Seminars 2014 Schedule
Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia

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
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 in Monroeville, PA
Thursday, March 27, 2014 in Philadelphia,PA

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.

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