Monday, April 14, 2014

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for April 14, 2014: Statisticians Slam VAM

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Keystone State Education Coalition
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for April 14, 2014:
Statisticians Slam VAM

PSBA members in Bucks, Montgomery, Chester and Delaware Counties - save the date
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.

Did you catch our weekend postings?
PA Ed Policy Roundup for April 12, 2014: What's Really Causing The Chaos At Philly's Bartram High?
Saturday, April 12, 2014

How one hardworking student thrives at Bartram
Gionna Hawkins is 14, a smart young lady with serious goals and a detailed plan for pulling them off - class president, then internships, college, and law school.  She is accustomed to concerned looks when she tells people the school she attends: Bartram High, infamous for fights and chaos and a "conflict resolution specialist" lying facedown on the floor, knocked out by a student.  "People only see the crazy stuff, but that's not all of us," Gionna said. "We do have bright, intelligent students. Nobody's dumb at this school."
Opposition forming to Pa. plan for scrapping school property taxes
WHYY Newsworks BY MARY WILSON APRIL 13, 2014
Pennsylvania's Senate could vote this spring on a proposal to eliminate school property taxes.
The sponsor of a Senate plan to replace school property taxes with higher sales and personal income levies says it has bipartisan backing -- and enough co-sponsors to pass a vote.
But opponents of the measure are mobilizing.  Sam Denisco, vice president of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, is one of them.

Schools protest state construction payment delay
Lancaster Online by Associated Press Sunday, April 13, 2014 3:32 pm
SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — School officials in Pennsylvania say they are under extreme financial pressure because of delinquent construction reimbursements from the state government as pension costs continue spiraling.  Western Wayne School District is one such district, The Times-Tribune of Scranton reported ( ) Sunday.  It is now asking the state Education Department for permission to raise property taxes above a set rate and is considering asking voters to raise taxes by as much as 6 percent.  "We did all the financial planning that was necessary to build this building," Western Wayne Superintendent Clay LaCoe told the Times-Tribune. "We followed the rules by the state. They're not following through on their obligation."
At an April 2 House Education Committee hearing, Southern York County School District submitted testimony that it is owed $745,000 by the state for additions and renovations to Friendship Elementary School.

Student achievement rewarding for Pittsburgh teaching teams
By Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette April 13, 2014 11:48 PM
Forty-three educators in Pittsburgh Public Schools have reaped two kinds of rewards: Their students are doing better than expected, and the educators are getting bonuses of as much as $11,000 as a result.  The educators at Allderdice, Brashear and Carrick high schools received a total of $169,660 in bonuses -- 70 percent from federal funds and 30 percent from the district -- as a result of success in the Promise Readiness Corps, in which teachers work with the same students in grades 9 and 10.  The district started the PRC in hopes that colleagues working together, continuity and building stronger relationships with students and parents would make more students eligible for Pittsburgh Promise scholarships.

Philly teachers create website to document district's budget crisis
Criticize your boss publicly ... and your job security may be at risk.
That's the mantra many Philadelphia School District teachers follow in keeping their criticisms of the current funding crisis confined to anonymous message boards.
But a new website designed by a recently formed faction of the teachers union, The Caucus of Working Educators, is turning that philosophy on its head with "Philly Teachers Sound the Alarm."

Statisticians slam popular teacher evaluation method
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog BY VALERIE STRAUSS April 13 at 1:12 pm
You can be certain that members of the American Statistical Association, the largest organization in the United States representing statisticians and related professionals, know a thing or two about data and measurement. That makes the statement that the association just issued very important for school reform.  The ASA just slammed the high-stakes “value-added method” (VAM) of evaluating teachers that has been increasingly embraced in states as part of school-reform efforts. VAM purports to be able to take student standardized test scores and measure the “value” a teacher adds to student learning through complicated formulas that can supposedly factor out all of the other influences and emerge with a valid assessment of how effective a particular teacher has been.

How Does PISA Put the World at Risk (Part 5): Racing to the Past
Yong Zhao's Blog 12 APRIL 2014
How Does PISA Put the World at Risk: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4
Part 5
If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would suggest that PISA is a secrete plan of Western powers to derail China’s education reforms.  China has been working hard to introduce significant reforms since the 1990s to overcome the apparent shortcomings of its education system in order to cultivate a more diverse, creative, and entrepreneur citizenry. Such a citizenry is urgently needed for China’s successful transition from a labor-intensive economy to one that relies on innovation, a transition China must make for its future development. The Chinese exam-oriented education has long been recognized as the culprit for limiting China’s capacity for producing creative and diverse talents. Just as China’s education reforms began to touch the core of its traditional education—the gaokao or College Entrance Exam and the wide use of testing at all levels of education, PISA announced that the Chinese education is the best in the world. And the exam system, including the gaokao, is glorified as a major contributor to China’s success, making it difficult for the Chinese to continue the battle against testing. Even Marc Tucker, president and CEO of the National Center on Education and the Economy and one of the most prominent PISA proponents who has on many occasions expressed unequivocal admiration of China’s education, admits[1]:

Why Performance Tests for New Teachers Make Sense
Education Week COMMENTARY By JoAnn Bartoletti, Gail Connelly, Daniel A. Domenech, & Sharon P. Robinson Published Online: April 10, 2014
JoAnn Bartoletti is the executive director of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, in Reston, Va. Gail Connelly is the executive director of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, in Alexandria, Va. Daniel A. Domenech is the executive director of AASA, the School Superintendents Association, in Alexandria, Va. Sharon P. Robinson is the president and chief executive officer of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, in Washington.
During a recent teaching and learning conference in Washington, one high school student talked about why he wanted to be a teacher. The student, who was taking part in a panel at the event, also shared what happens when he tells his peers about his career ambition.  The standard response goes something like: “Why would you want to do that?”  It’s hard to imagine the same reply if the student were to say he wanted to be a doctor, lawyer, architect, engineer, or another type of professional whose career choice comes with built-in assumptions about the skills and prestige associated with it.  As national representatives of, respectively, school principals, school district administrators, and teacher-preparation programs, we believe it is essential to our nation’s well-being that the young man at the conference—and all future teachers—be lauded for their dream, respected for their choice, and successful in such a noble and challenging career.
That is why we are coming together to endorse one of the most important movements to come to teaching in generations. That movement is the rapid and forceful support for performance-based entrance—via assessment—for prospective educators seeking a teaching license.

NPE Call for Congressional Hearings on Testing
Network for Public Education April 10, 2014 NPE Call for Hearings
On March 2, 2014, The Network for Public Education issued a call for congressional hearings on the overuse and misuse of testing in our public schools.
Together, we have managed to catch the attention of members of Congress. We created a Twitter Storm that sent out over 20K tweets and reached 400K people via social media while trending #1. We flooded the offices of Congress with phone calls from concerned constituents. We continue to bring attention to the plague of over-testing and the media has taken notice!
For the next part of our campaign, we are asking our Friends & Allies to print out and mail a copy of this letter to the offices of our friends at Institute for America’s Future in Washington D.C.. In the coming weeks, we will hand deliver our letters to Congress. Keep an eye out for details!

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.  Just added -- 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.   On day two, participants will start with a breakfast at the Harrisburg Hilton and then hit the ground running with visits to legislative offices in the State Capitol. Space is limited so register early. Click here for more details and to register online.

Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Agricultural Sciences
Deadline to Apply: April 25, 2014
When: July 13 to August 9, 2014 Penn State University
PGSAS provides a broad overview of the diverse fields of agriculture and natural resources. Interested high school students and their parents should review this website to learn more about requirements and the application process.

Pennsylvania Governor’s School for Engineering and Technology
Application must be postmarked by April 18, 2014.
July 20, 2014 - August 2, 2014 Lehigh University | Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania Governor’s School for Engineering and Technology (PGSE&T) is a two-week summer residential program for talented high school students of science and mathematics. Sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and hosted by the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science at Lehigh University, PGSE&T offers an enrichment experience in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and emphasizes cooperative learning and hands-on laboratory experiences.

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 nominations for offices now open!  Deadline 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.
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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