Monday, April 28, 2014

PA Ed Policy Roundup for April 28, 2014: Tax gas drillers to pay for education, PA Democratic candidates for governor say

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

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Keystone State Education Coalition
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for April 28, 2014:
Tax gas drillers to pay for education, PA Democratic candidates for governor say

PSBA members - Come hear former Assistant US Secretary of Education, author and education historian Diane Ravitch.
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.

EPLC Education Notebook – Friday, April 25, 2014
Education Policy and Leadership Center

Did you catch our weekend postings?
PA Ed Policy Roundup for April 26, 2014: Waltons: Save more, live better, dismantle democratically governed American public schools….
Keystone State Education Coalition Saturday, April 26, 2014
·         Motoko Rich at NYT covers the over 1 billion dollars spent by the Waltons to privatize democratically governed American public education.
·         Walton money flows to Pennsylvania's Philadelphia School Partnership and 50CAN, parent organization of PENNCAN.
·         Also includes "PDE announces 2014 List of Low Achieving Schools which define eligibility for OSTC tax credit scholarships."

"Corbett, too, has seen the polls, which show his low approval rating stems largely from the 2011-12 education cuts.  In a campaign commercial that started airing last week, Corbett's wife, Susan, touts their joint belief in public education and claims her husband increased education spending by $1.5 billion since coming into office."
Tax gas drillers to pay for education, Democratic candidates for governor say
By Steve Esack, Call Harrisburg Bureau 7:18 pm, April 26, 2014
HARRISBURG — After watching their property taxes rise while their children lost teachers and programs over the last three school years, most Pennsylvania voters say public education should be the top priority for the next governor, polls show.  The four Democrats seeking to win the May 20 primary are heeding those polls.  In literature, speeches and commercials, state Treasurer Rob McCord of Montgomery County, former Environmental Protection Secretary Katie McGinty of Chester County, U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz of Montgomery County, and York County businessman Tom Wolf have vowed to spend more on education.  In their campaigns, the candidates also have knocked Republican Gov. Tom Corbett's education policy.
They have pledged to put back $1 billion in education funding that was lost in 2011-12 when Corbett did not replace temporary federal funds and cut state dollars to help close an estimated $4.2 billion budget hole. With state revenue coming up short and tax hikes on workers or shoppers unappealing options, the Democrats have vowed to enact a severance tax on natural gas drillers to pay for that extra spending, and to install a new funding formula for public schools and charter schools, among other ideas.

Editorial: A consensus forms to tax energy firms
Delco Times Editorial POSTED: 04/26/14, 9:32 PM EDT
Some weeks ago, when we suggested that Pennsylvania’s property tax problem could be helped — if not fully “solved” — by imposing a severance tax on Marcellus Shale drillers and using that revenue to fund schools, we were engaging in a bit of idealism: Advocating what should or could happen, not necessarily what will happen.  That can be a fun game to play — kind of like imagining what you’d do with a Powerball jackpot. But like the lottery, the Pennsylvania General Assembly usually disabuses us of such fantasies.  But now it turns there might be hope for a fracking tax after all.

Inquirer Editorial: Use sales tax to help schools
POSTED: Sunday, April 27, 2014, 1:10 AM
Every year, Mayor Nutter and City Council must decide how much of the city's budget should be given to public schools. It's a tough decision, because by law, whatever they commit cannot be reduced later.  Their decision has been made more difficult as the state, which effectively took over the School District in 2001, has time and again in recent years failed to adequately fund all of the schools' needs.

If Philly will provide more money, council president wants more control
As the Philadelphia School District is warning of drastic cuts if the state and city can't provide another $216 million, the head of city council would like more fiscal control if he's going to provide more for schools.   Council President Darrell Clarke says he understands that the School District of Philadelphia is in need, but he wants a stick to accompany the carrots the city supplies. That stick, he says, would be some sort of control over any new money that comes from the city.
"I just don't think it's fair or appropriate for the City Council of Philadelphia to simply each year be asked to raise taxes on the citizens of Philadelphia although it is for a very important issue, the schools," Clarke said. "But the reality is there is no level of fiscal oversight on behalf of the city council of Philadelphia and I think that needs to be changed."

Educational needs of homeless Pa. kids targeted
WASHINGTON Times By MARY NIEDERBERGER Associated Press April 26, 2014
PITTSBURGH (AP) - A task force charged with studying the educational needs of homeless youth in Pennsylvania has issued a report that includes establishing a statewide advisory council as one of 13 recommendations on how to best serve homeless students.  The report also recommends the state provide some funding to supplement the $2.3 million it receives in federal funding for services to homeless children and for a more effective system of transportation to be developed to ensure homeless students can attend their schools of origin if they are forced to move.  The task force was created within the Pennsylvania Department of Education by state legislation in July 2012 and was made up of representatives from public and private sectors, including education, advocacy groups, religious organizations, housing and community services, and state officials. It was chaired by the state secretaries of education and welfare.
Its report, titled “Meeting the Educational Needs of Pennsylvania’s Homeless Children and Youth,” was disseminated to the governor, state Legislature and school districts last month.
Marple Newtown School Board anticipates 2.47 percent tax hike
Delco Times by Leslie Krowchenko POSTED: 04/27/14, 10:33 PM EDT |
NEWTOWN — The Marple Newtown School Board voted unanimously to adopt the 2014-2015 proposed final budget of $73.4 million. The version, which would require a corresponding 2.47 percent tax increase, differed slightly from the preliminary $73.7 million budget and 3.88 percent tax increase approved by the directors in February.  Marple Newtown’s Act 1 index for next year, as set by the state, is 2.1 percent and the district applied to the Pennsylvania Department of Education for the retirement exception to satisfy a portion of the difference. The Department of Education subsequently approved an exception of $634,614.  The nearly $300,000 difference between the budgets was attributed to a much lower projected increase for health care costs, said Business Administrator Joe Driscoll. 

Springfield board: It’s too early to talk bus outsourcing
Delco Times By SUSAN L. SERBIN, Times Correspondent  04/26/14, 8:44 PM EDT
SPRINGFIELD—The school district’s investigation of outsourcing transportation services is just that and, at present, no more. Director Doug Carney provided that clarification at the latest board meeting just prior to public comment from retired driver/substitute “Buck” Clark.  Before anyone spoke on the issue, Vice President Frank Agovino, who was presiding, said the board would be forming a smaller committee on transportation, similar to committees in place such as finance, facilities and personnel. Agovino said the purpose would be to “take a longer, more extensive look at the transportation issue.”

"At a moment when everything seems so broken and seems so unfixable ... this story tells you something completely different," said John Gomperts, president of America's Promise Alliance, which was founded by former Secretary of State Colin Powell and helped produce the report.
Study: 4 in 5 students graduate high school in U.S.
Post-Gazette By Kimberly Hefling / Associated Press
WASHINGTON -- U.S. public high schools have reached a milestone, an 80 percent graduation rate. Yet that still means 1 of every 5 students walks away without a diploma.  Citing the progress, researchers are projecting a 90 percent national graduation rate by 2020.
Their report, based on Education Department statistics from 2012, was presented today at the Building a GradNation Summit.  The growth has been spurred by such factors as a greater awareness of the dropout problem and efforts by districts, states and the federal government to include graduation rates in accountability measures. Among the initiatives are closing "dropout factory" schools.

Pa. hopes to build upon strong graduation rate
Lancaster Online by Associated Press  Posted: Monday, April 28, 2014 12:01 am
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania's high school graduation rate is already a respectable 84 percent, but state education officials are hoping to improve on that.  Education Department spokesman Tim Eller says the agency is introducing a new system to make it easier for educators to identify and help youngsters at risk of dropping out.  Eller says new performance profiles for individual schools also will draw attention to those with dropout problems.

NYT Sunday Dialogue: Our Choices for Schools
New York Times Opinion APRIL 26, 2014
Readers react to a letter calling for greater support of public schools rather than “school choice.”
To the Editor:
A prevailing belief in the United States is that education is the great opportunity equalizer — a silver bullet that can lift kids out of poverty and transform them into productive citizens. Yet the reality of our “make or break” education system is that race and social class largely determine the quality of one’s educational life, from pre-K to graduate school.
“Global cities” like New York, Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles boast diverse populations and cultural depth, but their public school systems remain highly segregated. Much of this has to do with housing and rapid rates of gentrification. But it also has to do with the slow repeal of public policy focused on school integration in favor of privatization, accountability schemes and school choice. A recent University of California, Los Angeles study, for example, argues that in New York City, private and charter schools are exacerbating the problem of “apartheid” schooling.

"And I must reiterate my disappointment that The Times, the only paper of record as far as I am concerned, totally missed the point: that parents and students and educators are ALL up in arms about the Common Core, not just extremist politicians on both sides, because to us, the Common Core standards are not even standards. They are vague ideas being developed (for huge personal profit) by billionaires and testing companies, imposed upon teachers, students and parents with complete disregard for education, learning and progress."
Introducing the Reader Spotlight: A Teacher’s View of Common Core
New York Times By MARGARET SULLIVAN APRIL 22, 2014, 11:05 AM 17 Comments
As I’ve noted, I get mail. Fairly often, a reader’s view, sent to me, stands quite well on its own and deserves a wider audience. Toward that end, I’ll occasionally feature here a letter – possibly lightly trimmed or edited for style – that fits that description.  This one, from Heidi Reich, a public school teacher in New York State, is a response to Sunday’s front-page article on the education standards known as Common Core. This was also the subject of aDavid Brooks column last week. Reader mail has been heavy on the subject, mostly expressing unhappiness with how the opposition to the standards has been depicted as political, rather than because of their flaws as educational tools. (The Times has written a number of stories on this subject; not all of the coverage has focused on politics.)

Kindergarten show canceled so kids can keep studying to become ‘college and career ready.’ Really.
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog BY VALERIE STRAUSS April 26 at 11:59 am
An annual year-end kindergarten show has been canceled at a New York school because the kids have to keep working so they will be “college and career” ready. Really.
That’s what it says in a letter (see below) sent to parents by Ellen Best-Laimit, the interim principal of Harley Avenue Primary School in Elwood, N.Y., and four kindergarten teachers. The play was to be staged over two days, May 14 and 15, according to the school’s calendar.

INVITATION: Live Twitter chat with PA's major education leadership orgs Tuesday, April 29 at 8 p.m
PSBA Steve Robinson, Director of Communication 4/25/2014
The next live chat on Twitter with Pennsylvania's major education leadership organizations is set for Tuesday, April 29 at 8 p.m. The April chat will focus on public school funding and the Planning and Construction (PlanCon) process. Use hashtag #PAEdFunding to follow along.
On the last Tuesday of each month at 8 p.m., the following organizations go to Twitter to discuss timely topics, ask questions and listen to the public's responses:
  • The Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA);
  • The Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA);
  • The Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO); and
  • The Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools (PARSS)
Join the conversation. Share your ideas, lurk, learn and let us know what you think about the state of support for public schools. It's a simple, free and fast-paced way to communicate and share information. If you've never tweeted before, here are directions and a few tips:

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.

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 for any questions or concerns.

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.

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 earlyClick here for more details and to register online.
Registration fee of $50 includes lunch and dinner on May 5 and breakfast on May 6. 

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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