Tuesday, April 22, 2014

PA Ed Policy Roundup for April 22, 2014: NCAA No Longer Accepting Coursework from 24 K12, Inc. High Schools including PA's Agora Cyber Charter

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 3250 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 http://keystonestateeducationcoalition.org
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Keystone State Education Coalition
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for April 22, 2014:
NCAA No Longer Accepting Coursework from 24 K12, Inc. High Schools including PA's Agora Cyber Charter

Deadline for PSBA officer nominations is April 30th
PSBA Leadership Development Committee seeks strong leaders for the association.
Members interested in becoming the next leaders of PSBA are encouraged to complete an Application for Nomination no later than April 30. As a member-driven association, the Leadership Development Committee (LDC) is seeking nominees with strong skills in leadership and communication, and who have vision for PSBA.  Complete details on the nomination process, links to the Application for Nomination form, and scheduled dates for nominee interviews can be found online by clicking here.

EPLC Education Notebook – Friday, April 18, 2014
Education Policy and Leadership Center

This report reviews the status of pending PA charter legislation, including SB1085 and HB618; also reviews charter performance and issues.
Report: Let's learn from the 1 in 6 high-performing Pa. charter schools; Roebuck plans bill to address $1.8M in overpayments, plus delayed payments around Pa.
PHILADELPHIA, April 21 – State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, today released a new report showing that about one in six charter schools in Pennsylvania is high-performing. The report also addresses hot topics such as overpayments, whether universities should be able to authorize charter schools, greater scrutiny of cyber charter schools' performance and funding, and a state commission's recent recommendations on special education funding for charter schools.
"I would like the number of high performers among charter schools to be larger, but it's important to ask what these schools have in common and what we can learn for use in other tax-funded schools, both traditional public ones and other charter schools," Roebuck said.
"While the overall academic performance of charter schools and particularly cyber charter schools is disappointing and trails the academic performance of traditional public schools, there are many examples of charter schools that are successful in terms of academic performance and in being innovative in their approach to educating students," Roebuck said.
"Twenty-eight of the 163 charter schools had SPP (School Performance Profile) scores of 80 or above. When examining the characteristics of these high-performing charter schools, there are certain common characteristics amongst the 28 charter schools. What is most common is that they offer innovative education programs, with most of them focused on a specific approach to education instruction or a specific academic area of instructional focus."

Pennsylvania's Agora Cyber Charter is one of the 24 schools affiliated with K12, Inc. listed in this article.
NCAA No Longer Accepting Coursework from 24 K12, Inc. High Schools
AthleticScholarships.net Posted on April 17, 2014 by John Infante
Today the NCAA announced that 24 schools which use a company called K12 Inc. to provide their curriculum were no longer approved. All of the schools are nontraditional high schools, and their courses were found to not comply with the NCAA’s nontraditional course requirements.  As a result, the NCAA will stop accepting coursework from these schools starting with the 2014–15 school year.  Coursework completed from Spring 2013 through Spring 2014 will undergo additional evaluation on a case-by-case basis when a prospect tries to use it for initial eligibility purposes.  Coursework completed in Fall 2012 or earlier may be used without additional evaluation.  In addition to the 24 schools above, other schools affiliated with K12 Inc. remain under Extended Evaluation.  This means the NCAA will continue to review coursework coming from those schools to see whether it meets the NCAA’s core course and nontraditional course requirements. Prospects with coursework from those schools must submit additional documentation no matter when the coursework was completed.

When's a $1b cut a $1b cut? When it's an issue in the Guv's race, that's when: Monday Morning Coffee
By John L. Micek | jmicek@pennlive.com  on April 21, 2014 at 8:20 AM
Good Monday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
If you've been paying even cursory attention to the race for the Governor's Office this year, then you probably already know that Gov. Tom Corbett's record on public education funding has emerged as one of the key issues of the campaign.  All four Democrats looking to unseat Corbett -- businessman Tom Wolf, ex-DEP Secretary Katie McGinty, U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz and state Treasurer Rob McCord -- have sharply criticized Corbett's schools record.  In public appearances and in commercials, they've accused the Republican governor of cutting $1 billion from public education since taking office in 2011. In his own commercials and in public appearances, Corbett has said he's increased state support for public education to historic levels.
Who's right?

Visiting Corbett stumps for education budget
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review By Megan Harris Published: Monday, April 21, 2014, 11:18 p.m.
Gov. Tom Corbett touted his support for science, technology, engineering and math — or STEM — education programs during a tour on Monday of the North Shore's Carnegie Science Center.
Corbett is confronting intense criticism over past education cuts from four Democrats seeking their party's nomination in the May 20 primary to challenge him in November.
Corbett confronts negative ratings
Governor out to remind voters they supported him before
By Karen Langley / Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau April 21, 2014 11:45 PM
HARRISBURG -- Four years later, Gov. Tom Corbett is campaigning uphill as he seeks a second term as Pennsylvania's chief executive.  It's a far cry from 2010, when, as the attorney general at the head of the legislative corruption probe known as "Bonusgate," he led a Republican wave to win all but four of Pennsylvania's 67 counties. That election night, shortly before he was declared the winner, Mr. Corbett told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that voters had sent a message of fiscal discipline. After funding public safety, he said, "You start looking at everything else and asking, 'What do we have left?' "  Now, with dangerously low public approval ratings and challengers pummeling him, Mr. Corbett is out to remind voters they supported him before -- and convince them they should not hand the governorship to the victor of next month's Democratic primary. Businessman Tom Wolf, U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, state Treasurer Rob McCord and former state environmental protection secretary Katie McGinty are competing for the nomination.
For Mr. Corbett, the challenges are real. Federal stimulus money that had been used for public education ended with Mr. Corbett's first budget, and a fight over responsibility for school funding cuts has ensnared the Capitol ever since.

Governor promotes education positions
By James O'Toole / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette April 21, 2014 11:49 PM
Gov. Tom Corbett promoted his education proposals and the need to reinforce science and technology training Monday as he toured the Carnegie Science Center.  "We're in that budget season ... a fun time, as you all know," he observed as he highlighted the increases in education funding he has proposed in the spending plan due to be enacted by July 1. It's also election season, and the Shaler Republican questioned some of the plans of his challengers.
"What I hear from the Democrats is that they want to spend more and more money," he said as he dismissed their critiques of the school spending he's presided over in the first years of the administration he'd like to extend this November.

PA cyber charter schools could be funded by state, not districts
By Maura Pennington | PA Independent April 21, 2014
CHARTERS: Cyber charter schools could be funded by state instead of school districts.
PHILADELPHIA — Instead of relying on payments from each of Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts, one state lawmaker says cyber charter schools should be funded directly by the state.
State Rep. Jim Christiana, R-Beaver, says he wants to simplify the process of funding the state’s 16 cyber charter schools, which accept students from all corners of Pennsylvania, regardless of school district.  While the General Assembly is still haggling over a variety of changes to the laws governing charter schools, Christiana has introduced House Bill 2174 as a stand-alone measure to fund cyber schools out of the state budget.

For award-winning principal, education has a high bar
KRISTEN A. GRAHAM, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER  Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 1:07 AM
Lynne Millard will tell you - she's tough.  The principal of Crossan School has rules for how children should line up, where parents can stand in the schoolyard, how students ought to move in the hallways.  "People tell me, 'You even have a procedure for procedures,' " said Millard, an acknowledged rule-lover. "That minimizes chaos and maximizes learning."  To say the school, on Bingham Street in the Northeast, runs smoothly is an understatement. And in an era of diminishing resources and increasing demands, Millard employs every bit of her considerable skill to make things happen.  She is one of seven school leaders being honored Tuesday as among the best principals in the Philadelphia School District.

West Philly libraries, key to student success, struggle to exist
With the help of volunteers, the Lea School's library now has limited hours for kindergarten through second grade students
Daily Pennsylvanian By LAUREN FEINER  Updated April 21, 2014, 12:19 am
While Penn students might dread their weekend visits to Van Pelt Library, it is clear from the crowded cubicles and GSRs that the University would lose a valuable resource if its doors were closed. This is exactly the situation in which Philadelphia elementary school students find themselves. Because of extensive budget cuts, students are locked out of their school libraries without access to books or trained librarians.  The School Reform Commission passed a “Doomsday Budget” in late May last year, in which $304 million was cut from Philadelphia schools for the 2013-14 fiscal year. As a result, about 3,800 school employees were laid off, 24 schools were closed and money to extracurricular programs was eliminated.

“We spend millions of dollars in a broke school district on testing that could and should be prioritized for providing basic safety in our schools, quality personnel and supplies, extracurricular activities, art, music; science kits and lab facilities, and novel cultural projects and programs.”
Time, money, learning: The PSSAs strike out every time
Parents United for Public Education Posted on April 21, 2014 by ROBROB2013
Robin Roberts is a member of the Parents United leadership collective. 
It was an honor to appear on Radio Times and speak about high-stakes standardized testing. In preparing for the show, I used a lot of information that had helped me to decide to opt out of the PSSA (Pennsylvania State Standardized Assessment) test for my own children. What I realized is that 15 minutes was not enough time to fully speak to the issue. Here’s what I wanted to say if more time was permitted.

Allentown's new high school proposal similar to rejected charters, official says
By Colin McEvoy | The Express-Times  on April 22, 2014 at 5:51 AM
When Bob Lysek listened to details earlier this month about the Allentown School District's proposal for a new high school, it sounded awfully familiar to him.  By 2015, the district is hoping to open a Professional Careers Institute, a career-focused high school partnering education and business, which supporters call a step in fundamentally transforming the district's approach to education.  But according to supporters of two charter school applications that were rejected in February, the newly proposed school shares many similarities with those charters, even though the school board rejected them for, in part, lacking innovation.

Resistance to the Common Core Mounts
Critics span the political spectrum, from tea partyers to union leaders
Education Week By Andrew Ujifusa Published Online: April 21, 2014
After more than a year of high-profile and contentious debate over the Common Core State Standards in Indiana, Gov. Mike Pence signed legislation last month to formally reverse the state's adoption of the standards. The legislation set the state on course to replace those standards with ones "written by Hoosiers, for Hoosiers," the Republican governor proclaimed.
The same month, the Democratic-controlled New York Assembly approved a measure that would require a two-year delay in using assessments aligned with the common core for teacher and principal evaluations.  In some sense, the measures in Indiana and New York represent two dominant poles of the growing—and evolving—resistance to the standards. The common core has drawn criticism from both the political left and right, though much of it seems aimed not so much at what the standards say, but rather who drove their adoption or the tests and accountability policies connected with them.

Laws in 11 States Require Closure of Low-Performing Charters
Education Week Charters & Choice Blog By Katie Ash on April 21, 2014 12:40 PM 
Eleven states have passed laws that require charter school authorizers to shut down the schools if they do not reach certain benchmarks, according to a policy brief released last week by the Washington-based National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.   The 11 states are California, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Washington state. Such laws have been growing in popularity over the past several years, the brief notes.

InBloom Student Data Repository to Close
New York Times By NATASHA SINGER  APRIL 21, 2014, 1:21 PM 10 Comments
In a setback for the nearly $8 billion prekindergarten through 12th-grade education technology software market, inBloom, a non-profit corporation offering to warehouse and manage student data for public school districts across the country, announced on Monday morning that it planned to shut its doors.  Financed with $100 million in seed money from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation along with the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the venture promised to streamline how teachers and administrators accessed student records. The system was meant to extract student data from disparate school grading and attendance databases, store it in the cloud and funnel it to dashboards where teachers might more effectively track the progress of individual students.  But the project ran into roadblocks in a number of districts and states over privacy and security issues

Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia
People keep asking us what they can do to help with the public education funding crisis. Next Thursday, Philadelphia attorneys can help by simply taking their lunch break at City Hall.
Philadelphia City Hall, 4th Floor  11:45 a.m. Press Conference; 12:15 - 1:00 p.m. Meet with City Council Members RSVP at philalawyersfored.eventbrite.com
co-hosted with the Education Law Center  
Join your fellow attorneys at City Hall on Thursday, April 24 to tell City Council that Philadelphia cannot function without good public schools, and high-quality public schools require adequate funding. We will ask City Council to extend the sales tax to provide $120 million in recurring annual revenue to Philadelphia's public schools.
We will hold an optional webinar on Wednesday, April 23 at 4:00 p.m. to prepare you with talking points and more background information. RSVP for the webinar or day of action here.
Please RSVP, forward this email to your colleagues and join us on the 24th in sending a unified message to City Council members that the legal community supports public education.

Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY) will Host an Education Funding Forum in Delaware County on May 7th
On May 7th,  PCCY will host a forum that discusses the state of school funding  in Delaware County. As many of you all know, state budget cuts have impacted districts beyond Philadelphia. The event will be held at the Upper Darby Municipal Branch Library, 501 Bywood Avenue, Upper Darby PA 19082 from 6:30pm-8pm.  Attendees will get a budget update from Sharon Ward of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, hear from School Board members representing Upper Darby, William Penn, and Haverford School Districts and learn how they can get  involved.  Contact Devon Miner at devonm@pccy.org for any questions or concerns.

PSBA Advocacy Forum and Day on the Hill
May 5-6, Mechanicsburg & Harrisburg
Make an impact on the legislative process by attending PSBA’s Advocacy Forum and Day on the Hill, May 5-6. Day one will provide legislative insights on pensions, training on being an effective advocate, and media relations. Dr. G. Terry Madonna, leading Pennsylvania political analyst, will discuss the legislative landscape in his usual lively and informative style.  How to Be an Effective Advocate -- Hear from former Allwein Advocacy Award winners Larry Feinberg, Roberta Marcus and Tina Viletto on how to successfully support your issues.  At noon, Rep. Dave Reed, Majority Policy Chairman, will address participants.
On day two, participants will start with a breakfast at the Harrisburg Hilton with Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley as guest speaker  and then hit the ground running with visits to legislative offices in the State CapitolSpace is limited so register early. Click here for more details and to register online.
Registration fee of $50 includes lunch and dinner on May 5 and breakfast on May 6. 

Educating the Voter: A Forum on Public Education featuring Democratic gubernatorial candidates - April 30th 6:00 pm Phila Central Library
Presented by Committee of Seventy, Congresso and Philadelphia Education Fund
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 6:00PM 
Philadelphia Central Library 1901 Vine Street, 19103 215-686-5322
Join Democratic gubernatorial candidates Katie McGinty, Tom Wolf, Allyson Schwartz and Rob McCord for a discussion on public education. Montgomery Auditorium at 6:00 P.M.
Please click here to register.

PSBA members in Bucks, Montgomery, Chester and Delaware Counties
PSBA Buxmont Region 11 and Penns Grant Region 15 Combined Region/Legislative Meeting -- Thursday, May 15, at William Tennent High School
- Buffet dinner/registration, 6 p.m. ($8 charge for dinner) - Program, 7:30 p.m. -- Minority Senate Education Committee Chair Hon. Andy Dinniman will introduce guest speaker Diane Ravitch, author and education historian, and former Assistant Secretary of Education.  Retiring House Education Committee Chairman Paul Clymer will also be honored for his long time (1981) public service.

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
Tuesday, April 29th, 12-4 p.m.
Wednesday, May 14th, 1-5 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.

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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