Saturday, August 2, 2014

PA Ed Policy Roundup Aug 2: How about a "nameplate" for the School District of Philadelphia that says "Owned and operated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania"?

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PA Ed Policy Roundup for August 2, 2014:
How about a "nameplate" for the School District of Philadelphia that says "Owned and operated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania"?

The 45th annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools
As 45 states stand on the brink of one of the most ambitious education initiatives in our lifetime,
Americans say they don’t believe standardized tests improve education, and they aren’t convinced rigorous new education standards will help. These are some of the findings in the 45th annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools.

Corbett defends higher education adviser against ghost worker allegations with words and nameplate
By Charles Thompson |  on August 01, 2014 at 9:40 PM, updated August 02, 2014 at 6:18 AM
THOMASVILLE - Gov. Tom Corbett rallied once more to the defense of his onetime education secretary after a York County appearance Friday, defending Camp Hill resident Ronald Tomalis against allegations that he is filling a no-work position.  Corbett's defense came amid new reports that a nameplate was just installed Wednesday on Tomalis' office door, although he has served as the administration's special adviser for higher education for a year.  "He's not a ghost employee," Corbett said in response to press questions after a mid-day roundtable discussion on state pension issues here.  "He works. The (current) Secretary of Education, he reports to her.... She sees him right down the hall. He's been doing the work. She's satisfied with it. I'm satisfied with it," Corbett said.

Corbett, legislators to meet on Phila. cigarette tax
Gov. Corbett has scheduled a Monday meeting with legislative leaders in Harrisburg to discuss the imperiled proposal for a cigarette tax to help close the Philadelphia schools' $81 million budget gap, officials said.  But the leaders in the Republican-controlled House showed little interest on Friday in calling members back to the Statehouse after canceling next week's planned vote on the bill.  Steve Miskin, spokesman for House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R., Allegheny), said Friday that the bill to let the city impose a $2 per pack tax still lacks enough votes to pass, held up over concerns with Senate amendments for hotel taxes and economic revitalization zones in parts of the state.  Lawmakers have said they will take up the matter again when they reconvene in mid-September, a delay that outraged city officials have warned could lead to layoffs or delays in the planned Sept. 8 opening of 214 schools.
Miskin said Corbett could advance state funds to the school district to help defray costs - about $6 million - while House and Senate leaders hash out their differences before returning next month.

Without cigarette tax, Philadelphia schools weigh drastic options
With its Aug. 15 decision deadline looming, the Philadelphia School District is holding on to a shred of hope that lawmakers in the Pennsylvania House and Senate will reach consensus on a cigarette tax bill that would generate badly needed school revenue.  Leaders in the House say that won't happen, but in the mean time, the school district isn't revealing the exact nature of its "plan-B."  Here, though, are the leading options: lay off 1,300 staffers, including 800 teachers, and run a full school year where resources are skeletal and classrooms are packed to the brink.
Or, shorten the school year.

Corbett says he's 'disappointed' cigarette tax vote postponed
Gov. Tom Corbett said he disagreed with House Republican leaders' decision to call off a planned vote to let Philadelphia raise a cigarette tax in order to help fund its schools.
"Hopefully we'll find out what the reason was," said Corbett at an unrelated event in York County Friday. Less than 24 hours before, House lawmakers had been notified they would not be called back to Harrisburg next week, as previously planned, to vote on the cigarette tax authorization.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter had lobbied tirelessly for the bill, saying it was necessary to close a $93 million budget gap and stave off layoffs, larger class sizes, and a late start to the school year.  "We need to make sure that the School District of Philadelphia understands that this opportunity that's been discussed for -- what, a year and a half? -- comes to fruition," Corbett said.

Anger in Philly over canceled cig tax vote in Pa. House: Friday Morning Coffee
By John L. Micek |  on August 01, 2014 at 8:42 AM, updated August 01, 2014 at 8:56 AM
Good Friday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
The state House's decision to abruptly pull the plug on Monday's planned voting session on a Philly-only cigarette tax hike has tempers flaring in the City of Brotherly Love, where teachers face lay-offs and schools are in crisis.  "The House GOP decision to refuse the barest of funding gestures is a planned sabotage of our schools, our children, and our city. It proves that under Governor Tom Corbett, the “crisis” in Philadelphia has never been accidental, unpredictable, or a surprise. It’s been a purposeful act of cruelty and neglect," activist Helen Gym of Parents United said in a statement released last night.

Corbett is not switching horses in Pa.'s pension debate so far
By Charles Thompson | on August 01, 2014 at 7:06 PM, updated August 01, 2014 at 9:58 PM
THOMASVILLE - Despite a new report that suggests it might save more money than his preferred option, Gov. Tom Corbett declined Friday to switch his support to a pension reform proposal championed by Rep. Glen Grell, R-Hampden Twp.  Corbett said he had not read the Public Employee Retirement Commission's analysis of Grell's plan, released Thursday, and he declined to comment directly on its specifics.  But at a dining room table forum with some local residents here, Corbett made clear he is continuing to push for legislative votes on a different reform plan authored by Rep. Mike Tobash, R-Schuylkill County.  The governor also said later that he still does not support one of the major planks of Grell's plan - the issuance of new bonds to retire part of the state's growing pension liability immediately.

Impending school construction project funds in Pennsylvania pipeline
By Megan Harris and Matthew Santoni Thursday, July 31, 2014, 11:03 p.m. July 30, 2014
 Legislators let a two-year moratorium blocking state funding for new school construction projects expire last month, expanding a financing process that is overcommitted by $1.7 billion statewide.
The state's 11-step approval pipeline contains 340 building projects, of which about 200 remain bottlenecked at the last step before the state pays school districts, said Tim Eller, spokesman for the Department of Education. Even as the process was opened to new applications, Eller said the budget for payouts increased to $306 million, a bump of about $10 million in the fiscal year.
Given the extensive backlog and a modest increase in the state budget, districts locked in are not optimistic that they'll see cash soon.  “We're not holding our breath waiting,” said Brett Lago, business manager at Penn-Trafford School District. “It's so backlogged, we're not going to count on receiving any money.”
Bethlehem Area School District allows students to earn money while they learn English
Lehigh Valley Live By John Best on July 26, 2014 at 12:15 PM, updated July 26, 2014 at 7:03 PM
Bethlehem Area School District students who want to speak English can earn while they learn as part of the Health Career Exploration Program.  Students enrolled in the English for Speakers of Other Languages curriculum at Liberty High School can apply to participate in the program that offers health career awareness and hands-on learning experiences. The district offers the program in a partnership with St Luke's University Hospital in Fountain Hill.  The district's School-to-Work program started in 1997 with classes during the school day with the goal of exposing young people to opportunities in health careers and offering guidance as they work to achieve fluency in English.

Sound familiar?. "The K12 virtual school is one of the lowest performing schools in the state"….
K12, Inc.'s Tennessee Virtual Academy: Bad Results, No Accountability
In their rush to privatize public education in Tennessee, the Governor and the legislature enacted legislation in 2011 authorizing the Tennesee Virtual Academy, an online charter school run by K12 Inc.  K12 is a for-profit corporation started by Michael and Lloyd Milken. It is traded on the New York Stock Exchange. It earns millions for its owners but has received bad reviews in the New York Times and the Washington Post. The National Education Policy Center wrote a devastating critique of its academic results, as did CREDO in a report about Pennsylvania. In that state, virtual charter schools do worse than either public schools or brick-and-mortar charter schools.  Nonetheless, Tennessee wanted to be in the vanguard of the privatization movement. K12 partnered with Union County public schools, which collect 4% of K12’s proceeds. K12 pockets the other 96%, which is drawn from public schools across the state

While K12, Inc.'s model might not be great for kids, it appears to be awesome for their corporate executives….
School Choices: K12 Inc execs taking $2K per student in salary. 8 execs, 75K students, $21M in salaries. 20% of revenue in 8 pockets.
Morningstar Executive Compensation

PCCY: Join us in Harrisburg Aug. 4th to Fight for Philadelphia Schools
Join us in Harrisburg as we visit lawmakers to tell them the wisdom of siding with children over big tobacco by voting for the cigarette tax increase.  If this vote doesn't happen or, if it fails, there is a strong chance Philadelphia Public Schools will not open this September.
Buses are filling up quickly. Click here to RSVP today or call 215-563-5848 x11 or Buses depart 1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 8:30am and return to Philadelphia about 5:00pm.  If you plan to drive, meet us in the Capitol at 10:30am in Room 39 of the East Wing.

Upcoming meetings on Philly District's school redesign initiative
the notebook By Marilyn Vaccaro on Jul 30, 2014 05:14 PM
The School District is planning a series of meetings and discussions about its new school redesign initiative, which was announced last week.  Two informational sessions will be held, one tomorrow evening and the second on Aug. 12. Those who participate will be able to learn more about the application process and the specifics of the initiative itself.   Through the initiative, the District is calling on teams of educators, parents, community groups, and other outside organizations to propose their own school turnaround plans. Ten winning design teams will be chosen in October and will receive grants of $30,000 to support planning costs.

Bucks Lehigh EduSummit Monday Aug 11th and Tuesday Aug 12th
Location: Southern Lehigh High School 5800 Main Street, Center Valley, PA 18034
Time: 8 AM - 3 PM Each Day(Registration starts at 7:30 AM. Keynote starts at 8:00 AM.)
The Bucks Lehigh EduSummit is a collaboratively organized and facilitated two day professional learning experience coordinated by educators in the Quakertown Community School District , Palisades School DistrictSalisbury Township School DistrictSouthern Lehigh School DistrictBucks County IU, and Carbon Lehigh IU, which are all located in northern Bucks county and southern Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. Teachers in other neighboring districts are welcome to attend as well! The purpose of the EduSummit is to collaborate, connect, share, and learn together for the benefit of our kids. Focus areas include: Educational Technology, PA Core, Social Media, Best Practices, etc.

Educational Collaborators Pennsylvania Summit Aug. 13-14
The Educational Collaborators, in partnership with the Wilson School District, is pleased to announce a unique event,  the Pennsylvania Summit featuring Google for Education on August 13th and 14th, 2014!  This summit is an open event primarily focused on Google Apps for Education, Chromebooks, Google Earth, YouTube, and many other effective and efficient technology integration solutions to help digitally convert a school district.  These events are organized by members of the Google Apps for Education community.

PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference registration forms now available online
PSBA Website
Make plans today to attend the most talked about education conference of the year. This year's PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference promises to be one of the best with new ideas, innovations, networking opportunities and dynamic speakers. More details are being added every day. Online registration will be available in the next few weeks. If you just can't wait, registration forms are available online now. Other important links are available with more details on:
·         Hotel registration (reservation deadline extended to Sept. 26)
·         Educational Publications Contest (deadline Aug. 6)
·         Student Celebration Showcase (deadline Sept. 19)
·         Poster and Essay Contest (deadline Sept. 19)

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