Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for May 20, 2014: Get out and vote today

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 May 20, 2014:
Get out and vote today

Polls are now open in Pennsylvania -- before you vote, see where the candidates stand
2014 Pennsylvania Primary Elections Coverage
WHYY Newsworks Tweet May 20, 2014

One Teacher’s Brilliant Strategy to Stop Bullying
Here's how one schoolteacher takes time each week to look out for the lonely.
By Glennon Doyle Melton in Reader's Digest Magazine June 2014
….Every Friday afternoon, she asks her students to take out a piece of paper and write down the names of four children with whom they’d like to sit the following week. The children know that these requests may or may not be honored. She also asks the students to nominate one student who they believe has been an exceptional classroom citizen that week. All ballots are privately submitted to her.  And every single Friday afternoon, after the students go home, she takes out those slips of paper, places them in front of her, and studies them. She looks for patterns.
Who is not getting requested by anyone else?  Who can’t think of anyone to request?
Who never gets noticed enough to be nominated?  Who had a million friends last week and none this week?  You see, Chase’s teacher is not looking for a new seating chart or “exceptional citizens.” Chase’s teacher is looking for lonely children. She’s looking for children who are struggling to connect with other children. She’s identifying the little ones who are falling through the cracks of the class’s social life. She is discovering whose gifts are going unnoticed by their peers. And she’s pinning down—right away—who’s being bullied and who is doing the bullying.

School districts fear cuts in federal subsidies for Internet, telephone
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review By Debra Erdley Published: Monday, May 19, 2014, 12:31 a.m.
A Federal Communications Commission proposal to trim Internet and telephone subsidies to schools and libraries is raising red flags in cash-strapped school districts.  The subsidies, known as E-rates, underwrote more than $1.1 billion in costs for telephone service, new websites, Internet connections and email access for 1,100 Pennsylvania schools and libraries between 1998 and 2012, according to the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officers.
Although the FCC has not released its final plan, many suspect the agency intends to phase out subsidies for legacy services such as telephone voice services and hosted email, and add money for technologies and services.
Mt. Lebanon 2014-15 school budget balanced with tax increase, reserves
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review  By Matthew Santoni Monday, May 19, 2014, 9:42 p.m.
The Mt. Lebanon School Board adopted on Monday an $87.92 million budget for the 2014-15 school year that will be balanced with a 0.54-mill tax increase and $750,000 from the district's cash reserves.  The new tax rate will be 23.15 mills.  The school district, pressured by rising health care costs and retirement obligations, cut about $353,000 in spending by replacing retirees with cheaper, new hires and by reducing overtime as well as the supply and technology budgets.
Carlynton school budget projects tax increase
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review  By Megan Guza  Published: Monday, May 19, 2014, 10:27 p.m.
Carlynton school directors voted Monday night to approve a proposed final budget that includes a tax increase.  The budget sets a 2014-15 millage rate of 19.604; the current rate is 19.089 mills.
The board approved the $27.87 million budget 8-0. Antriece Hart was absent.  The budget includes $23.99 million in revenue. The district will use $3.88 million of its $6.24 million fund balance to fill the deficit.
Saucon Valley passes proposed final budget with no tax hike for sixth time
By Sara K. Satullo | The Express-Times on May 19, 2014 at 8:43 PM
For the sixth year in a row, the Saucon Valley School Board tonight unanimously passed a proposed final budget with no tax increase.  While tax bills won't be rising this year, several directors acknowledged they were putting off inevitable tax hikes down the line. The board agreed to take $79,570 out of its $13 million savings account to balance the budget. Directors cautioned the district may end the year with a surplus that could be used instead of savings.
In recent weeks, the board has reviewed a bleak five-year financial projectionand tonight heard an analysis on the impact of dipping into its savings account to stave off tax increases.

Saucon Valley, teachers are contract-fighting mad again
District says teachers' latest proposal is far too costly. Teachers union says it's fair and affordable.
By Jacqueline Palochko, Of The Morning Call 9:49 p.m. EDT, May 19, 2014
In the latest round of negotiations for a contract, Saucon Valley teachers' demands are more costly than in any other proposal they've presented in the last two years, according to the school district.  The teachers union countered that the new proposal is affordable and fair to teachers whose salaries haven't kept up with those of teachers elsewhere in the Lehigh Valley.
But the school board's negotiating team wasn't buying that. On Monday, it rejected the new proposal outright as the two sides met for the first time since the teachers union formed a new negotiating team.
Some Bethlehem vo-tech members want to ban charter school students
By Sara K. Satullo | The Express-Times on May 19, 2014 at 6:30 AM
Some members of the Bethlehem Area Vocational Technical School's joint operating committee want to bar charter school students from enrolling at the vo-tech.  The Bethlehem Area School District contingent of the board is pushing the issue, arguing that students can't choose a la carte the parts of the public school system they want to participate in.  The Bethlehem contingent of the vo-tech's joint operating committee wants to create a policy that states the school doesn't accept charter school students. Solicitor Donald Spry is researching the legality of the proposal.

Move to revoke the Palmer Leadership charter wasn't easy, but it was right
Philly.com Opinion by TOM CARAMANICO POSTED: Tuesday, May 20, 2014, 3:01 AM
Tom Caramanico is chair of the board of directors at Freire Charter School.
LAST MONTH, the School District of Philadelphia's School Reform Commission, under the new leadership of chairman Bill Green and district Superintendent Dr. William Hite, delivered on a promise to hold schools accountable to high standards and began revocation proceedings for the charter for Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Partners Charter School.  While, as a charter-school board chair, I take no pleasure whatsoever in the failure of a fellow charter school, the reality is that charter revocation or nonrenewal is a vital part of the public charter-school model.

Don't blame charters for district woes
Philly.com Opinion By Stacy Gill Phillips POSTED: Monday, May 19, 2014, 1:08 AM
Stacy Gill Phillips is the CEO and co-founder of the West Philadelphia Achievement Charter Elementary Schoo
After suspending provisions of the Pennsylvania Public School Code last year, the School Reform Commission (SRC) disregarded the laws that govern its charter school oversight and moved to enforce enrollment caps on public charter schools, threatening to revoke charters for noncompliance.  West Philadelphia Achievement Charter Elementary School, an independent, community-based charter that serves 600 students, is only permitted to enroll 400 under the illegal cap proposed by the district. Acquiescing to the SRC and the School District of Philadelphia's demand would force the school's administration to select 200 students to send back to the failing neighborhood schools from which they fled.  After careful deliberation and exhausting all other options, West Philadelphia Achievement decided to take action in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania against the SRC and the School District for illegally suspending provisions in the public school code and jeopardizing the very existence of charter schools in Philadelphia.

House GOP Bill Would Roll Back School Lunch Rules
Huffington Post  by  MARY CLARE JALONICK Posted: 05/19/2014 12:04 pm
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans are proposing to let some schools opt out of healthier school lunch and breakfast programs if they are losing money.  A GOP spending bill for agriculture and food programs released Monday would allow schools to apply for waivers if they have a net loss on school food programs for a six month period.  Championed by first lady Michelle Obama, the new standards have been phased in over the last two school years, with more changes coming in 2014. The rules set fat, calorie, sugar and sodium limits on foods in the lunch line and beyond.  The first lady held a call to rally supporters of the healthier food rules Monday as a House subcommittee is expected to consider the bill on Tuesday.

In Huffington Post column, Gentzel calls for vigilance in Brown decision
NSBA School Board News Today May 19, 2014
To mark the 60th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, National School Boards Association Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel reflected on the impact of the decision and the challenges that public schools still face. The following commentary was published by the Huffington Post:
In the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered a timeless and transformative message: All students deserve a great public education; separate systems are not equal.

PCCY invites you to get on the School Spirit Bus to Harrisburg on Tuesday June 10th for Fair and Full School Funding!
Public Citizens for Children and Youth
On Tuesday June 10th, Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY) will be going to Harrisburg.  Join committed parents, leaders, and community members from around state to make it clear to Harrisburg that PA students need fair and full funding now!  We are providing free transportation to and from Harrisburg as well as lunch.   Please arrive at the United Way Building located at 1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway no later than8:15am.  The bus will depart at 8:30am sharp! Reserve your seat today by emailing us at info@pccy.org or calling us at 215-563-5848 x11. You can download and share our flyer by clicking here. We hope to see you there!

Dinniman: Roundtable Discussion on Education in Pa. set for May 21
Senator Dinniman's website  MAY 13, 2014
WEST CHESTER (May 13)  – State Senator Andy Dinniman announced today that he is bringing together education professionals and advocates from throughout the region for a roundtable discussion on critical issues in education on Wednesday, May 21 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Technical College High School – Brandywine Campus.
“Parents, teachers, students and education professionals from suburban and urban school districts across Pennsylvania recently united against the expansion of the Keystone Graduation Exams,” Dinniman said. “Now, another pressing issue will bring together suburban and urban schools from throughout the region – the need to adequately support and sustain public education for the future.”  The panel will feature education professionals from Bucks, Chester, Montgomery, Delaware and Philadelphia counties as well as representatives from major education organizations, including:
·         Joe Ciresi, President, Spring-Ford Area School District Board of Directors.
·         Helen Gym, Parents United of Philadelphia.
·         Bill LaCoff, President-Elect of the Pennsylvania School Board Association, Owen J. Roberts School District Board of Directors.
·         Larry Feinberg, Keystone State Education Coalition, Haverford Township School District Board of Directors.
·         Joe O’Brien, Executive Director, Chester County Intermediate Unit.
·         Joan Duvall-Flynn, President and Education Committee Chair of the NAACP, Media Branch.
·         Hillary Linardopoulos, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.
·         Korri Brown, President, Southeast Region, Pennsylvania State Education Association.
·         Mike Churchill, Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia.
·         Mark Miller, Director, Network for Public Education, Vice-President of the Centennial School District Board of Directors.

Pennsylvania Education Summit Wednesday, June 11, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM (EDT) Camp Hill, PA
PA Business-Education Partnership
Welcome By Governor Tom Corbett (invited)
Remarks Acting Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq (confirmed)
Perceptions & comments of business leaders, educators, college presidents, and advocacy groups

“How Public School Funding Works in Pennsylvania—Or Doesn’t: What You Need to Know” When: Friday, May 30, 2014, 9 am to 12 pm Where: Marriott Hotel in Conshohocken, PA
Session I:  "Funding Schools: What Pennsylvania Can Learn from Other States"

Key Pennsylvania legislators and public officials will respond to a presentation by Professor Robert C. Knoeppel of Clemson University, an expert on emerging trends and ideas in public school finance.
Introduction: Representative Steve Santarsiero
Moderator: Rob Wonderling, President and CEO, Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce
Charles Zogby, Secretary of the Budget, Commonwealth of PA, Senator Patrick Browne, Senator Anthony Williams, Representative Bernie O'Neill, Representative James Roebuck
Session II: "Why Smart Investments in Public Schools Are Critical to Pennsylvania's Economic Future"
A discussion with a panel of CEOs who are major employers in the region.
Introduction: Rob Loughery, Chair, Bucks County Commissioners
Panel (confirmed to date):
Michael Pearson, President and CEO, Union Packaging, Philip Rinaldi, CEO, Philadelphia Energy Solutions, Bryan Hancock, Principal, McKinsey & Company, and author: "The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap in America's Schools"
You can register for this free event here:

Saturday, May 31, 2014 - 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM (8:30 Registration)
Keynote Speaker: Dan Hardy – Retired Reporter -Philadelphia Inquirer
Distressed Schools: How Did it Come to This?
  • The State of Education in Pennsylvania 60 Years after Brown
  • Keystones and Graduation: Cut the Connection
  • How Harrisburg Cut District Funding, Poured on the Keystones, and Connected them to Graduation
  • Financing Our Schools: What Does it Cost to Educate a Child in 2014 and How Should We Fund It?
  • Effective Advocacy – How to be Heard in Harrisburg - And - What We Need to be Saying
For more info and registration: http://www.naacpmediabranch.org/#

Education Policy and Leadership Center
Click here to read more about EPLC’s Education Policy Fellowship Program, including: 2014-15 Schedule 2014-15 Application Past Speakers Program Alumni And More Information

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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