Wednesday, August 27, 2014

PA Ed Policy Roundup Aug 27: Study finds "de facto" segregation among PA charter schools

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PA Ed Policy Roundup for August 27, 2014:
Study finds "de facto" segregation among PA charter schools


"The report concludes that, in addition to exhibiting greater segregation, charter schools are an “obvious and escalating” stress on school district budgets, and overwhelmingly perform worse than their traditional public school counterparts."
Study finds "de facto" segregation among PA charter schools
WITF Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Aug 25, 2014 8:53 PM
Charter schools in Pennsylvania are defined by their flexibility and freedom from many state regulations.  A new study shows they’re also marked by their lack of diversity.  Penn State researchers found “de facto patterns of school segregation along racial and ethnic lines” in a study of brick-and-mortar charter schools.  “They’re sorting themselves into homogeneous schools,” said Erica Frankenberg, a member of the research team and an assistant professor at Penn State’s College of Education.  The study was commissioned by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a state legislative agency.

"Researchers, using data reported on the Pennsylvania Department of Education website, found that charters spent less than half of what they received in special education tuition on special instruction and expenses during the 2012 and 2013 school years.
Charter advocates have said school districts that lose students to charters can save on the costs of educating those children. But Hartman said the data collected show any savings are marginal compared to how much districts must pay to charter schools.
"From an economic standpoint, most of the charter school costs are extra," Hartman said. "And they are driven, not by educational need, but by parental desire, a relatively small number of parents driving $1.3 billion out of public education."
Study: cost of PA charter schools "obvious and escalating"
WITF Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Aug 26, 2014 8:30 PM
A study released this summer finds charter school enrollment has grown steadily, but at the expense of Pennsylvania school district budgets.  Penn State researchers call the financial pressure on school districts "obvious and escalating," finding that from the 2006 to 2012 school years, the statewide cost more than doubled, arriving at $1.3 billion. The main statewide subsidy for education at the same point was $5.5 billion.  Districts pay tuition for each student that leaves their district for a charter or cyber charter school.  Professor Bill Hartman, part of a team of researchers who conducted the study, said tuition costs are expected to keep rising by 10 to 20 percent a year.

"Pennsylvania remains among only three states without a public-education funding formula on the books."
Education panel supports school funding formula
Phiily Trib Written by Wilford Shamlin III August 26, 2014
The work of the Basic Education Funding Commission could provide an emergency parachute for Philadelphia school leaders seeking relief from a budget crisis that shows no signs of easing.
Students, parents and school employees recently demonstrated the urgency of the situation by donning black garb and carrying a mock coffin through city streets, symbolizing the eventuality for public schools starved of critical funding for essential programs, such as music and art instruction. Students have reported declining school conditions made worse by the budget crisis.
Pennsylvania remains among only three states without a public-education funding formula on the books.  “From the conversations, it’s very clear everything is on the table as we look at the ways we fund public education in Pennsylvania. I think it sets the right tone,” said Rep. James Roebuck Jr., Democratic chair of the House Education Committee, who opened a funding commission meeting last week. “I’m looking forward to having a very thorough and inclusive debate over what we need to do in this area.”

Capitolwire: Basic Ed circuit riders to boost awareness for need of school funding formula
PSBA website by Capitolwire 8/26/2014
Eleven "circuit riders" will deploy across the state Wednesday on a year-long mission to educate school district officials about the need for a fair and predictable basic education funding formula in Pennsylvania.  The riders -- current and former superintendents and executive directors, themselves -- will share all there is to know about the state's history of education funding, "principles and models of good school funding systems, and effective advocacy strategies," in an effort to galvanize the support of superintendents, business managers and school board representatives statewide.

Education circuit riders coming to Pennsylvania
By Karen Langley / Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau August 27, 2014 12:00 AM
HARRISBURG -- A corps of current and former school administrators is preparing to travel Pennsylvania to mobilize local officials for efforts to revamp K-12 education funding.
The initiative comes as a state commission charged with recommending a new school funding formula by June 2015 begins hearing testimony.  The eleven so-called “circuit riders” have been hired to meet with educators for discussions about school funding, though officials organizing the campaign said they are not at this point advocating for specific proposals.

'Circuit riders' to push for fair education funding in Pa.
By Adam Clark,Of The Morning Call August 26, 2014
Find out why three local education leaders have become 'circuit riders'
Thomas Seidenberger couldn't stay away from education for long.
The former East Penn School District superintendent, who retired this summer, is among three local "circuit riders" selected to promote the creation of a fair and predictable basic education funding formula in Pennsylvania.  The 11 circuit riders were selected from about 25 to 30 applicants by an alliance of state education organizations. Other local participants are former Bangor Area School District Superintendent Patricia Mulroy and current Saucon Valley School District Director Sandra Miller.  The circuit riders will travel throughout their regions meeting with superintendents, district business mangers, school directors and others to generate support for an improved funding system.  "We want to take advantage of the interest and attention that is being put on school funding and try to get enough momentum going that we can actually make progress," said Joe Bard, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools.

Education associations deploy corps to advocate for fair funding formula
Lancaster Online By KAREN SHUEY | Staff Writer August 26, 2014
Nearly a dozen veteran educators are hitting the road with a mission: To find enough support to fix a broken education system.
Several of the state’s major education associations have recruited "regional circuit riders" to travel throughout Pennsylvania to communicate directly with school districts.
Jay Himes, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials, said the goal of the year-long project is to motivate backing for a basic education funding formula that will provide predictability in budgeting and erase disparities in the way the state supports schools.
“We want to mobilize our organizations toward a solution because there is no questions that the system we have now is broken,” he said during a conference call with reporters Tuesday.
One former Lancaster County school official will be part of that mobilization effort.
Martin Hudacs, who recently retired from his post as superintendent of Solanco School District, has been selected to serve on the corps of 11 circuit riders. His job will be to provide education about current school funding systems, models of good school funding systems and advocacy strategies.
Hudacs was not immediately available to comment on his new position.
The project is part of the larger statewide Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding Campaign. The initiative was created to keep school district leaders up-to-date on the latest proposals by the newly formed Basic Education Funding Commission in Harrisburg.

Philly schools again rely on first-time principals to overcome budget crisis
BY KEVIN MCCORRY AUGUST 26, 2014
"Why on earth would you want to work in the Philadelphia school district?"
It's the question the leader of city schools has been using to grill principal candidates all summer long.  Wanna-be principals need to prove to Superintendent William Hite not just that they have the chops for the job – but that they aren't afraid to be held accountable for performance during a budget crisis.  The district has weathered a whirlwind of administrative turnover in the past few years. So Hite has been forced to pose this query many times.
Forty-seven schools will have a new principal this year.
Last year, 58 schools saw changes at the top.
"Those numbers are really pretty startling," said parent Terrilyn McCormick, whose son has seen four principals in two years at the Creative and Performing Arts High School (CAPA). "To me, it's just mind-boggling. How could there be any sort of focus on improvement? It just can't happen with that kind of turnover."

WILLIAM PENN FOUNDATION AND DREXEL JOIN FORCES TO TRANSFORM EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION IN WEST PHILADELPHIA
Drexel Now PHILADELPHIA, August 26, 2014
The William Penn Foundation and Drexel University today announced a new initiative in which they are working together with community child care centers and other local agencies to help tackle some of the issues facing early childhood education in West Philadelphia and help young children get a strong start in life. This partnership will support the West Philadelphia Early Childhood Education Initiative (WPECE) to increase the supply of high-quality child care in the Mantua, West Powelton and Belmont neighborhoods, an area that has historically been plagued with low-quality child care options. 
A broad coalition of experts and practitioners will help implement the initiative, including Philadelphia Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children (DVAEYC), Children’s Literacy Initiative (CLI), People’s Emergency Center (PEC), the School District of Philadelphia, and many local early childhood education providers. Funding from the William Penn Foundation will support quality improvement work in 23 local child care centers, as well as outreach and awareness programs for local families on the importance of starting children on an early learning path and recognizing developmental milestones. The initiative leverages a multi-year investment in pre-K and early literacy programs totaling almost $4 million, including funding from the Lenfest Foundation and significant in-kind support from the partners.

Dem Wolf eyes shale's 'golden egg' to boost school funding
TribLive By Melissa Daniels Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014, 10:54 p.m.
Tom Wolf, the Democrat who could become Pennsylvania's next governor, wants to invest more in public education and transportation infrastructure.  But to see those plans through, his administration would require hundreds of millions of dollars from taxes on Marcellus shale and potentially from an increase in Pennsylvania personal income taxes.  Wolf, 65, a York County businessman and former state Department of Revenue secretary, told Tribune-Review reporters and editors on Tuesday that his legislative priorities are a severance tax on natural gas, a progressive approach to income taxes, connecting Pennsylvania regions through better infrastructure and expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act to receive federal dollars.
“I don't want to keep the seat warm; I actually want to get something done,” Wolf said. “I'm actually doing this because I want to fix things.”
Group Plans To Sue The State To Address Problems In Phila. Schools
CBS Philly By Mike DeNardo August 24, 2014 4:00 AM
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A group is preparing legal action, to try to force the state to address shortcomings at Philadelphia public schools.   A school so strapped for supplies that a teacher gives extra credit to students who bring in a ream of paper.  Amy Laura Cahn, an attorney with the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, says that was one of 825 so-called “curriculum deficiencies” submitted by Philadelphia parents last year to be investigated by the state department of education.

Chief Recovery Officer Meckley: Academic performance 'declining' in York City schools
By ERIN JAMES 505-5439/@ydcity POSTED:   08/26/2014 09:25:07 PM EDT
While results of standardized tests administered to York City School District students during the 2013-14 academic year have not yet been released to the public, the state-appointed chief recovery officer said he believes "academic performance is declining" in the district.
"What we're doing today is not working," David Meckley said.  Meckley made the comments Tuesday during a sparsely attended meeting of the Community Education Council, an advisory board steering the district through its financial recovery process.  He said he based his statement on information he's gleaned from district administrators, who have had time to review preliminary results of the state tests.  The district is now in its second year of implementing a recovery plan developed by teachers and administrators.

Parkland School Board approves two-year contract with 2.25 percent raises for teachers
By Precious Petty | The Express-Times on August 26, 2014 at 10:19 PM
School directors tonight approved a two-year Parkland Education Association contract that includes 2.25 percent annual raises for teachers.  The Parkland School Board voted 8-0 in favor of the contract, which is effective Sunday through Aug. 31, 2016, officials said. School director David Hein abstained because his wife is a member of the teachers union.
Under the contract, teachers' annual salary increases include step movement, or raises associated with longevity and education level. Stipends for teachers who serve as coaches and club or activity advisers will also increase 2.25 percent each year.
"This contract is a fiscally responsible and fair agreement for everyone. Because of savings that the district will accrue in healthcare costs, we can ensure that we remain competitive with respect to teacher salaries in the Lehigh Valley, thus supporting our efforts to put the finest teachers possible in Parkland classrooms," board President Roberta Marcus said.

First day of school for many Chester County schools
West Chester Daily Local By Marcella Peyre-Ferry, 21st Century Media POSTED: 08/25/14
School started for a majority of schools today, although some will start after Labor Day.   August still has a week to go, but the yellow buses are running and students are back to school in eight of the County’s 12 public school districts. With many districts forced to push back graduation and the end of school to later that usual in June because of the excessive number of snow days, summer vacation was abbreviated on each end.

Colonial IU20 special ed teachers set strike date
By Matt Assad,Of The Morning Call August 25, 2014
The teachers and support staff who educate roughly 7,000 special-education students across the Lehigh Valley have set a strike date of Sept. 22.  Nearly 700 Colonial Intermediate Unit 20 teachers and staff are set to strike roughly three weeks into the new school year, but administrators say they're hoping negotiation sessions will bring a deal before that happens.
"We did receive a strike notice from the [workers]," said Charlene Brennan, executive director of IU 20. "However, I'm optimistic that we'll reach a settlement to prevent a work stoppage."
If they can't work a deal in time, it would be the first-ever strike by IU 20 and the first by any of Pennsylvania's 29 Intermediate Units in more than two decades, Brennan said.

Poll finds support for more money for PA public schools despite underestimating what is already spent
By Jan Murphy | jmurphy@pennlive.com on August 26, 2014 at 2:17 PM
As public education advocates begin to ramp up their calls for a fair and predictable school funding formula, a conservative policy center released a poll that shows a majority of voters are surprised to learn Pennsylvania already spends $2,900 more per-student on education than the national average.  Interestingly, though, the Commonwealth Foundation-sponsored poll conducted by the GOP-oriented national polling firm, The Tarrance Group, shows that despite being told about the average per-student spending level, a majority of respondents still supported increasing K-12 public education spending.

Would Ending Tenure Help Schools?
New York Times Opinion/Letters AUG. 22, 2014
To the Editor:
Re “The Trouble With Tenure,” by Frank Bruni (column, Aug. 19):
Like most so-called education “reforms,” eradicating teacher tenure is a fix that doesn’t address education’s real ills. The most serious problem is not getting rid of “bad” teachers; it is attracting enough very good teachers to the profession and keeping them there.
Nationally we still lose about 50 percent of new teachers during their first five years in the profession. A disproportionate amount of this loss comes from high-poverty schools. Among those who stay, a significant number of teachers move from high-poverty schools or districts to wealthier ones each year — but not the other way around. This is why low-income students tend to have less experienced teachers.

The Feynman Lectures on Physics, The Most Popular Physics Book Ever Written, Now Completely Online
Open Culture in Physics | August 26th, 2014
Last fall, we let you know that Caltech and The Feynman Lectures Website joined forces to create an online edition of The Feynman Lectures on Physics. They started with Volume 1. And now they’ve followed up withVolume 2 and Volume 3, making the collection complete.
First presented in the early 1960s at Caltech by the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, the lectures were eventually turned into a book by Feynman, Robert B. Leighton, and Matthew Sands. The text went on to become arguably the most popular physics book ever written, selling more than 1.5 million copies in English, and getting translated into a dozen languages.



Research for Action Fall 2014 Internships
Fall internships run from September – December.  Exact start and end dates are based on the needs of the project and the availability of the student.  Interested applicants should submit a cover letter and resumé to applicants@researchforaction.org.  In your email, please include the two projects you’d most like to work on selected from the list below.
Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until all positions have been filled. Research for Action qualifies for work study and PHEAA and interns may also be eligible for course credit.

Education Law Center Celebrating Education Champions 2014
On September 17, 2014 the Education Law Center will hold its annual event at the Crystal Tea Room in the Wanamaker Building to celebrate Pennsylvania’s Education Champions. This year, the event will honor William P. Fedullo, Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association; Dr. Joan Duvall-Flynn, Education Committee Chair for the Pennsylvania State Conference of NAACP Branches; and the Stoneleigh Foundation, a Philadelphia regional leader on at-risk youth issues.

Pennsylvania Arts Education Network 2014 Arts and Education Symposium
The 2014 Arts and Education Symposium will be held on Thursday, October 2 at the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, PA.  Join us for a daylong convening of arts education policy leaders and practitioners for lively discussions about the latest news from the field.
The Symposium registration fee is $45 per person. To register, click here or follow the prompts at the bottom of the page.  The Symposium will include the following:

Register Now – 2014 PAESSP State Conference – October 19-21, 2014
Please join us for the 2014 PAESSP State Conference, “PRINCIPAL EFFECTIVENESS: Leading Schools in a New Age of Accountability,” to be held October 19-21 at the Sheraton Station Square Hotel, Pittsburgh, Pa.  Featuring Keynote Speakers: Alan November, Michael Fullan & Dr. Ray Jorgensen.  This year’s conference will provided PIL Act 45 hours, numerous workshops, exhibits, multiple resources and an opportunity to network with fellow principals from across the state.

PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference (Oct. 21-24) 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)

Slate of candidates for PSBA offices now available online -- bios/videos now live
PSBA Website August 5, 2014

The slate of candidates for 2015 PSBA officer and at-large representatives is now available online. Photos, bios and videos also have been posted for each candidate. According to recent PSBA Bylaws changes, each member school entity casts one vote per office. Voting will again take place online through a secure, third-party website -- Simply Voting. Voting will openSept. 9 and closes Oct. 6. One person from the school entity (usually the board secretary) is authorized to cast the vote on behalf of the member school entity and each board will need to put on its agenda discussion and voting at one of its meetings in September. Each person authorized to cast the school entity's votes will be receiving an email in the coming weeks to verify the email address and confirm they are the person to cast the vote on behalf of their school entity. 

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