Established in 2006, the Keystone State Education Coalition is a growing grass roots, non-partisan public education advocacy group of several hundred locally elected, volunteer school board members and administrators from school districts throughout Pennsylvania. Our mission is to evaluate, discuss and inform our boards, district constituents and legislators on legislative issues of common interest and to facilitate active engagement in public education advocacy.
PA Ed Policy Roundup Aug 4: When will we see/hear "This ad paid for by your school tax dollars" with every cyber charter advertisement?
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RONNIE POLANECZKY, DAILY NEWS COLUMNIST Sunday, August 3,
2014, 3:01 AM
I CALLED Pittsburgh
pediatrician Lidia Turzai after the state House of Representatives canceled the
vote on a new cigarette tax for Philly. "The
office is now closed," went the recorded message for Dr. Turzai's large Pittsburgh practice.
"If this is an emergency, hang up and call 9-1-1."
Hell, yeah, it was an emergency, except the cops wouldn't be of
any help. Because it would be illegal for them to knock sense into the heads of
Dr. Turzai's husband, state House Majority Leader Michael Turzai, and House
Speaker Sam Smith. On Thursday, Turzai
and Smith announced that the Republican-controlled House will not meet next
week to vote on the $2-per-pack cigarette-tax bill. Even though they had
promised they would.
If passed, the bill would've ensured that Philly's public schools
open safely and on time. Now, with the vote postponed until Sept. 15, the PhiladelphiaSchool District faces the prospect - for
the second year in a row - of laying off more than a thousand employees.
Here’s something I’m not sure members of the Pennsylvania
House of Representativeshave considered as they goof around on vacation and
play games with the future of Philly schools: They’re about to hurt a lot of
families in very tangible ways. The
equation goes like this:
• If schools don’t open on time, tens of thousands of
schoolchildren are going to need something to do.
• Parents of many of those kids will pay to put their
children in child care for the duration. But child care isn’t cheap — it can
cost upward of hundreds of dollars a week, and thousands of dollars a month, to
keep kids somewhere safe and occupied. This is no small concern.
Which is to say nothing of the thousands of teachers,
administrators, and classified staffers who will sit home without getting paid.
Or the impact on the education of every student stuck in limbo. Philly is about
to pay a terrible price.
Basic education funding group
can't start work soon enough
Pocono Record By Pennsylvania's Education Leadership Associations August
Earlier this month, the Legislature passed and the governor
signed a budget that will invest about $10.5 billion in state funding for pre-K
to 12 education.The budget includes $100 million in additional state funding
for the newly established Ready-to-Learn Block Grant program.
Additional investments in targeted initiatives such as STEM
programs (science, technology, math and engineering) will prepare our students
for in-demand jobs and to be the innovators our economy needs. Lawmakers also
invested $20 million to support for students with special needs, increased
school construction funding by $10 million and lifted the moratorium on
reimbursements during this legislative session.
However, the state's primary support for education is still
distributed according to the whim of the Legislature, leaving each school
district wondering annually if it will receive more, less or the same amount of
state support as the previous year.
The work of the Basic Education Funding Commission cannot begin
soon enough, and Pennsylvania
cannot afford to simply study a situation that has been well documented. Some
communities have been lucky enough to receive funding increases, while their
neighbors have received less since the state's last public school funding
formula was eliminated in 2011.
When will we see/hear "This ad paid
for by your school tax dollars" with every cyber charter advertisement?
In Pa., a caveat emptor with
WHYY Newsworks BY MARY WILSON AUGUST 2, 2014
A state House proposal would add a disclaimer to Pennsylvania's sales
pitches for wine and liquor. "This
ad paid for by you, the taxpayers of Pennsylvania,"
would be tagged onto things like newspaper inserts and billboards for products
sold in the state stores operated by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. Rep. Stephen Bloom, R-Cumberland, has been
collecting co-sponsors for his measure since announcing in December that he
would introduce the legislation. He said the LCB ad spending takes money that
would otherwise go to the commonwealth – $5.8 million was spent on advertising
in the 2012-13 budget year. "Taxpayers
may not be aware that the PLCB is currently spending on the order of close to
$6 million a year of state funds, taxpayer funds, on the promotion and
advertising of liquor sales," Bloom said.
"Profiles completed by the
Pennsylvania Department of Education show that every one of the 16 cyber
schools chartered by the state scored
below the 70 percent threshold set by acting Education Secretary Carolyn
Dumaresq, Potts said, adding that not one of the cyber schools scored as high
as the lowest-scoring Carlisle school."
Cyber debate: Taking aim at
Joseph Cress Carlisle Sentinel
Reporter August 3, 2014
Carlisle school board member
Tim Potts says cyber charter schools that fail to make the grade should be
closed, and the flow of public money that goes with each student should be shut
“We are wasting a lot of money on schools that are total
failures,” Tim Potts said. “They have had a lot of chances to improve their
scores and they have not done that. Taxpayers should not be paying a dime.” But cyber school advocates say School
Performance Profiles (SPP) are just one measure of achievement and that an
online K-12 education is on par with that provided by the traditional
brick-and-mortar method. Profiles
completed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education show that every one of
the 16 cyber schools chartered by the
state scored below the 70 percent threshold set by acting Education Secretary
Carolyn Dumaresq, Potts said, adding that not one of the cyber schools scored
as high as the lowest-scoring Carlisle school.
At the liberal blog Keystone Politics, Jon Geeting notes: "During
the Rendell administration, the state’s share of education funding
got up to a high of 44%, and under Tom Corbett, it went down to
Wolf: Raise Taxes on Rich to
His plan would reduce local reliance on property taxes.
AP reports that Tom Wolf, the Democratic
gubernatorial candidate, wants to raise taxes on “high earners” to fund schools
across the state. While ed funding would
be improved, he said, local reliance on property taxes would be reduced —
giving homeowners a break. AP reports: “Wolf’s goal would be to raise the
state’s share of public school costs to 50 percent; it currently pays about one-third,
while property taxes shoulder more than 40 percent.”
"Children of refugees account for
nearly 10 percent of the school's student body."
Refugee center to open in Pa.
WHYY Newsworks BY ASSOCIATED
PRESS AUGUST 3, 2014
A central Pennsylvania
service organization is raising money to open a community center for refugees. The Rotary Club of Lancaster hopes to raise
$100,000 to renovate three first-floor rooms at ReynoldsMiddle School in Lancaster. Children of refugees account for
nearly 10 percent of the school's student body.
Lancaster Newspapers reports a
total of 318 refugees were resettled in LancasterCounty in the first six months of
2014, more than a third of them from Burma. Large numbers also came from
Cuba, Somalia and Bhutan.
Pottsville Republican Herald BY MARK GILGER JR.
Published: August 3, 2014
Four school districts scored better than the rest in the
Times-Shamrock newspapers’ annual analysis of local academic performance.
Hamburg Area, Schuylkill Haven
Area and Tri-Valley each topped state averages in 14 of 17 available scores of
PSSA tests and Keystone Exams for the 2012-13 school year.
Tamaqua Area and Upper Dauphin were the only other school
districts at least partially falling within SchuylkillCounty
to reach or surpass state averages in 10 or more categories. Tamaqua Area had
11, while Upper Dauphin had 10.
The newspaper analyzed 2012-13 PSSA math, reading and science
test scores, Keystone Exams scores and SAT scores for 500 districts and more
than 3,000 schools statewide as well as a dozen other key educational factors
as part of its annual Grading Our Schools special report. State averages on
PSSA writing tests were not available as of press time Saturday.
Districts were also ranked in categories against others in the
state. Test results for the 2013-14 school year will not be available until
next year’s report.
Grading Our Schools includes charts on the region’s 16 public
school districts as well as comprehensive online databases with searchable
information on all 500 school districts in the state available at www.republicanherald.com/data-center.
"Over the last two years, at least 90
schools have seen new principals at the start of the school year."
Changes in leadership: Which Philly
schools have new principals?
the notebook By David
Limm on Aug 1, 2014 04:05 PM
PhiladelphiaHigh School for Creative
and Performing Arts, also known as CAPA, will have a new principal for the
second year in a row. About
one-fifth of all Philadelphia District schools will have a new principal in
charge when classes begin this fall. Forty-two
schools will see new leadership this year, according to a current
list of principal appointments provided by the District. Twelve of the
principals are new to the School
District of Philadelphia,
said Raven Hill, a District spokesperson.
Schools with new incoming leaders include magnet schools such as
Masterman, Academy at Palumbo, CAPA, and Bodine, and neighborhood schools like
Lamberton, Beeber, and Bartram. Cayuga
Elementary also has a new principal, Jason Carrion. Earlier this year, five
former educators at the school, including the principal, were charged
with crimes related to blatant cheating on the state's standardized
tests. Three of the new leaders
will be founding principals for the District's new,
innovative citywide-admission high schools opening this fall.
"Lehmann, who received the Rising Star
award, is founding principal of theScience Leadership Academy. Located in Philadelphia, the academy was launched in
2006 as a partnership between the Philadelphia school system and the Franklin
Institute. With an inquiry-driven, project based curriculum, and a focus on
21st century learning, the school seeks to tackle the achievement gap in
STEM fields for highly qualified minority students."
Official, Philly School Principal Among Winners of Innovation Award
Education Week Digital Education Blog By Sam
Atkeson on August 1, 2014 3:06 PM
An international testing official, a nonprofit leader focused
on improving math and science achievement, and a Philadelphia schools principal—whose
work has been chronicled by Education Week—have been named the
winners of the 2014 Harold
W. McGraw, JR. Prize in Education.
The McGraw Hill Financial Research Foundation this week announced the
winners of the award, which focuses on efforts to identify and narrow
achievement gaps across the educational spectrum. The 2014 recipients are Andres Schleicher,
Sara Martinez Tucker, and Chris Lehmann.
Local By MEGAN HARRIS, Associated Press POSTED: 08/03/14, 6:40 PM
Claims of inappropriate relationships, sex abuse and misconduct
filed against Pennsylvania
school teachers are on track to double in less than a year, state officials
say. Second only to Texas,
Pennsylvania and California each logged at least 24 cases of
teacher sex crimes this year, according to news reports tracked by Terry
Abbott, chairman of Houston-based Drive West Communications. Nationally, “we’ve followed 416 (sex abuse)
cases just since January,” Abbott said. “It’s an enormous problem all across
the country, and Pennsylvania’s
at the top of it. This isn’t a list you want to lead.”
“It’s just completely an overreaction for
state legislatures to believe they can develop and manage and implement
academic standards,” said Reggie Felton of the National School Boards
Association, which represents school boards around the country and opposed the
changes in Oklahoma. “They don’t have the technical capacity to do that.” Politicians shouldn’t set academic standards,
Felton said. “The greater concern is
that various organizations, through their own lobbying efforts or simply
because they have the right money behind them, will influence these members,”
Legislatures taking state
education into their own hands
The backlash against the Common Core has prompted lawmakers in
at least 12 states to get more involved in setting their own K-12 academic
standards, injecting politics into a process usually conducted in obscurity by
bureaucrats. In several states,
legislators have placed new restrictions on state boards of education, which
typically write and update academic standards. In others, lawmakers have opened
up the development of standards to greater scrutiny, requiring that proposals
receive public vetting. And in Oklahoma, which has
embarked on an extreme makeover of its standards process, lawmakers passed a
law that lets them rewrite any standards they don’t like.
Lindsay Wagner of NC Policy Watch reports
that the virtual charter corporation K12 is hoping to open an online
school in North Carolina. K12 was founded by Michael and Lloyd Milken
and has turned out to be a highly profitable corporation that is listed
on the New York Stock Exchange.
It academic results are unimpressive, to say the least. Its students
have a high dropout rate, low graduation rates, and low test scores. A study by
the Walton-funded group at Stanford found that virtual
charter schools in Pennsylvania, including K12, get worse results than
either public schools or brick-and-mortar charter schools. A study by
the NationalEducationPolicyCenter criticized K12’s
poor academic results and high administration costs; students at K12 actually
fall behind real public schools. Stories in the New
York Times and the Washington
Post showedK12 to be one of the worst of all possible choices.
Education Week Living in Dialogue Blog By Anthony Cody on August
3, 2014 1:33 PM
This post marks my last appearance at Education Week, after six
eventful years. The summer of 2008 was the beginning of Living in Dialogue,
launched with the help of John Norton. In that first year, I wrote about the
presidential candidates, including Barack
Obama, and once President Obama was elected, suggested he select either Linda
Darling Hammond or Pedro Noguera to serve as Secretary of Education.
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.
EduSummit Monday Aug 11th and Tuesday Aug 12th Location: Southern Lehigh High School5800 Main Street, Center Valley, PA18034
Time: 8 AM - 3 PM Each Day(Registration
starts at 7:30 AM. Keynote starts at 8:00 AM.)
Pennsylvania Summit Aug. 13-14
The Educational Collaborators, in partnership with the WilsonSchool
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
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: