Friday, September 19, 2014

PA Ed Policy Roundup Sept 19: York city schools may switch to an all-charter district

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup for September 19, 2014:
York city schools may switch to an all-charter district

York city schools may switch to an all-charter district
There could be a major change in York City schools. Two charter school companies have applied to take over every school in the district. It would be the first time anything like this has happened in Pennsylvania. But teachers are upset. They say hundreds of them could lose their jobs. Seeing all of these people turn out to voice their concerns is something school board president, Margie Orr, welcomes.   “This is what we needed to see and here because we haven’t been seeing this past board meetings and it was time for the community come out and let them know how they felt about this,” says Orr.  Orr says the district is revisiting the option to go all-charter because it can’t come to a contract agreement with the teacher’s union. She says they’re meeting multiple times a week to reach one.

York City to hold meetings with charter operators
York Daily Record UPDATED:   09/18/2014 05:34:21 PM EDT
The York City School District has three public meetings scheduled with charter operators interested in taking over district schools starting next year, an option being considered by the school board.  On Tuesday, a meeting will be held with Charter Schools USA. On Wednesday, the Community Education Council meeting will include presentations with both Charter Schools USA and Mosaica Education.  On Thursday, a meeting will be held with Mosaica Education.
All of the meetings are at 6:30 p.m. at Hannah Penn K-8 School, 415 E. Boundary Ave., York. There will be time for questions from the public at all of the meetings.

In new ad, Corbett says Wolf's 'big lie' on schools funding has been 'exposed': Thursday Morning Coffee
PennLive By John L. Micek | on September 18, 2014 at 7:36 AM, updated September 18, 2014 at 8:29 AM
Good Thursday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
So just how nasty are things getting in the race for governor?
Nasty enough that, in a new commercial, Gov. Tom Corbett's re-election campaign has accused Democratic Tom Wolf of lying about the Republican's record on education funding.
In the new spot, "Mr. Big," Corbett's campaign cites newspaper reports showing that school funding has increased, rather than decreased, on the Republican's watch.

Corbett ad says Pa. media agree with him
A new hard-hitting TV ad (above) from the campaign of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett repeats his charge that Democrat Tom Wolf is lying about the governor's record, but ads a new twist, essentially saying that the state's media agree Wolf is a fibber.
Do they? Not really.
At issue is Wolf's claim that Corbett cut education funding by a billion dollars.
"Tom Wolf's big lie about education funding has now been exposed," an announcer says in the ad. "In Pittsburgh, they called Wolf's education ad a blatant lie. In Philadelphia, they confirmed Tom Corbett has increased state funding for education."  The ad says that even Wolf's hometown newspaper, the York Daily Record "said Tom Corbett gave more for schools with no tax increase."

Wolf visits Chester's STEM High School, promises better state funding for education
By John Kopp, Delaware County Daily Times POSTED: 09/18/14, 1:58 PM EDT
CHESTER — Tom Wolf spent Thursday morning touring a Chester Upland School District high school, where he stressed a need for greater investment in public education.  Wolf, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, visited several classes at the district’s STEM High School before sitting down with a group of 15 students to discuss their educational experience. Also, Superintendent Gregory Shannon told Wolf about the financial burden charter schools place on the district. Wolf later met with members of the school board.  Wolf called the school one that was working well, despite being within one of the state’s most challenged districts.  “What has happened here is much in spite of what is coming out of Harrisburg,” Wolf said. “Chester Upland and this school has apparently done a very good job of working through those challenges and coming up with a solution that actually seems to work.”

House education committee postpones hearings on Pa. version of Common Core
By Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette September 18, 2014 12:09 PM
The House Education Committee has postponed indefinitely planned hearings on the state's academic standards, known as the Pennsylvania Core Academic Standards, a variation of the Common Core State Standards.  State Rep. Paul Clymer, chair of the House Education Committee, today issued a news release announcing the postponement.  The hearings were sought by state Reps. Seth Grove, R-York, and Ryan Aument, R-Lancaster, after Gov. Tom Corbett issued a statement last week calling for "continued public review" of the standards in English language arts and math in elementary and secondary public schools.

Clymer Delays Hearings on PA Academic Standards Process at Request of Acting Secretary Dumaresq
PA House Republican Caucus website 9/18/2014
HARRISBURG – Following assurances today by Acting Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq in a letter to Rep. Paul Clymer (R-Bucks), chairman of the House Education Committee, Clymer has decided to postpone two upcoming hearings on Gov. Tom Corbett’s call for review of the Pennsylvania Academic Standards. The Pennsylvania Academic Standards replaced the problematic Common Core Standards implemented under the Rendell administration as the educational baseline system in the Commonwealth. Unlike Common Core, the Academic Standards ensures local control of curriculum.   Clymer agreed to delay the hearings following consultation with Reps. Seth Grove (R-York) and Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster), members of the Education Committee who had earlier called for the hearings.
“In light of assurances from the administration that there are no plans to try and reopen or change the Pennsylvania Academic Standards, I have decided to postpone the hearings,” said Clymer. “The State Board of Education is planning a review of the eligible content, not the standards themselves, and will be accepting further public comment. I have been assured the House Education Committee will be consulted with once the review is completed. I am certain the review will once again demonstrate that we have taken the appropriate action in implementing a locally controlled academic system focusing on rigorous academic standards, as opposed to following any federal directives.” 

Auditor general, state education department at war over words
By Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette September 18, 2014 11:46 AM
State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale today said he was stunned by a statement from a Department of Education spokesman indicating the department would not immediately cooperate with an audit of its use of special advisers, contractors and consultants.  Mr. DePasquale announced Wednesday that his office would expand its current audit of the Department of Education to include a review of the oversight of special advisers such as Ron Tomalis, the former special adviser to the governor on higher education.
In response, Tim Eller, a spokesman for the department, issued this statement to the Post-Gazette:  "Given the sudden increase in the number of reviews, audits and inquiries the auditor general is currently undertaking, it is clear that he is succumbing to political tactics.
“While the department continues to review the auditor general’s request, the department is concerned about its timing given that the current audit has been underway for more than six months. The department will work with the auditor general so that this new objective is included in a future audit, as to not delay the current audit by expanding it into new areas."
"That is stunning," Mr. DePasquale said. "I have never seen anything like this. No agency in state government and no entity outside of state government that we have audited has ever said anything like that."  Mr. DePasquale said the audit of special advisers, consultants and contractors "is not up for debate" with the department of education.

Time running out for Pa. property tax reform
West Chester Daily Local By Frank Otto POSTED: 09/18/14, 7:14 PM EDT |
HARRISBURG — A bill that would eliminate school property taxes in Pennsylvania is one step closer to a full vote by the state Senate.  By a narrow 6-5, bipartisan vote, the bill to adjust the way school funding is raised, was approved by the state Senate Finance Committee Tuesday and moves on to the Senate’s Appropriations Committee.  Like its companion in the House — House Bill 76 — Senate Bill 76 would eliminate all school property taxes and raise the earned income tax as well as the sales tax. Additionally, the sales tax would be expanded through the closing of current exemptions.  However, House Bill 76 never came up for a vote last year, a fate which could befall Senate Bill 76.

Council approves voter referendum on abolishing SRC
Philly Daily News by Chris Brennan THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2014, 12:49 PM
City Council today approved in a 15-1 vote a measure to place on the ballot a non-binding referendum asking voters if they want to abolish the School Reform Commission.  The question now: Will Mayor Nutter sign the legislation into law, allowing the measure to appear on the Nov. 4 general election ballot?  Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, the measure's sponsor, apologized to a raucous crowd of union members and activists who were disappointed when she did not bring the subject up for a vote last week.

SRC to sell 11 closed school buildings, netting $2M
KRISTEN A. GRAHAM, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER LAST UPDATED: Friday, September 19, 2014, 1:08 AM POSTED: Thursday, September 18, 2014, 8:56 PM
The Philadelphia School Reform Commission voted Thursday night to sell 11 shuttered school buildings - including Germantown High - in a group of transactions that would net just $2 million.
The sales were met with alarm in some corners. Germantown residents in particular said they had no idea the property, which closed to students in 2013, was about to change hands. "You took us all incredibly by surprise," retired teacher Karel Kilimnik told the SRC.  Germantown neighbors have been meeting for a year to discuss possible uses for the high school site.

Letter: Common Core fails and deserves to be left behind
Delco Times LTE by Lisa Esler POSTED: 09/18/14, 10:00 PM EDT |
To the Times:
Isn’t it strange that since the Federal Department of Education was established in the late 70’s, education has been on a disastrous downward decline even though America spends more money on education than any other nation? I think most of us older folks would agree we learned the 3 R’s very well before the FED started “improving” education.  Over the past several years, schools across the country have been implementing Common Core State Standards (CCSS). This is the latest centralized federal attempt to nationalize a new, one-size-fits-all, untested, convoluted teaching experiment with students as the guinea pigs.

"Louisiana earned an A in only one category, parental options, for having "one of the nation's largest statewide school choice programs," including charter schools and taxpayer-funded vouchers for private school. "
U.S. Chamber flunks Louisiana public school system on workforce preparation
By Danielle Dreilinger, | The Times-Picayune  on September 11, 2014 at 11:37 AM, updated September 11, 2014 at 5:22 PM
A new U.S. Chamber of Commerce reportgives Louisiana's public education system very low marks on academic achievement, international competitiveness, workforce preparation and bang for the buck. It flunked Louisiana in five of 11 categories, with a D+ in the sixth.  The state's low academic standing has been widely documented. However, the chamber says its report has a particular focus on the 21stcentury workforce.  Louisiana did see some gains. Scores went up on the National Assessment of Educational Progress in 2013, especially for low-income and minority students. But compared to other states, Louisiana was still at the bottom. The state's 2013 Advanced Placement pass rate was worse than any state except Mississippi.  Pass rates were even lower in subjects that the chamber considers important for the 21stcentury economy: only 30 in 10,000 students passed a foreign language AP test, and 4 in 10,000 passed the AP computer science test.

Save the date: Bob Herbert book event! Pittsburgh October 9th
Yinzercation Blog September 17, 2014
Save the date – you don’t want to miss this! We are hosting the national launch of Bob Herbert’s new book, Losing Our Way: An Intimate Portrait of a Troubled AmericaYou might remember Mr. Herbert as the award winning and longtime columnist for the New York Times. This book is especially exciting for us because Bob came to Pittsburgh several times to interview parents and teachers in our local grassroots movement and wound up writing three chapters on our fight for public education!
Date:    Thursday, October 9, 2014  Time:    5:30 – 6:30PM, moderated discussion and Q&A.
Doors will open at 5 with student performances.  Followed by book signing.
Location:    McConomy Auditorium, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh 15213.  Free parking in the garage.
Hosted by:    Yinzercation (we are profiled in the book!)
Moderator:    Tony Norman, columnist and associate editor,Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

PUBLIC Education Nation October 11
The Network for Public Education will hold a historic event in one month's time
PUBLIC Education Nation will deliver the conversation the country has been waiting for. Rather than featuring billionaires and pop singers, this event will be built around intense conversations featuring leading educators, parents, students and community activists. We have waited too long for that seat at someone else's table. This time, the tables are turned, and we are the ones setting the agenda.   This event will be livestreamed on the web on the afternoon of Saturday, October 11, from the auditorium of Brooklyn New School, a public school. There will be four panels focusing on the most critical issues we face in our schools. The event will conclude with a conversation between Diane Ravitch and Jitu Brown.  

Please join us for a symposium on:
“Funding Pennsylvania's Public Schools: A Look Ahead”
This event is co-sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh Institute of Politics and the Temple University Center on Regional Politics.
When: Friday, October 3, 2014, 8:30 am to 12 pm
Where: Doubletree Hotel Pittsburgh in Green Tree, PA
Session I:  "Forecasting the Fiscal Future of Pennsylvania's Public Schools"
A panel of legislators and public officials will respond to a presentation by Penn State Professor William Hartman and Tim Shrom projecting the fiscal trajectory of Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts over the next five years and by University of Pittsburgh Professor Maureen McClure discussing the implications for school finance of an aging tax base.
Session II: "Why Smart Investments in Public Schools Are Critical to Pennsylvania's Economic Future"
Following an address by Eva Tansky Blum, Chairwoman and President of the PNC Foundation, a panel of business and labor leaders will discuss the importance of public school funding reform to the competitiveness of regional and state economies. 
We look forward to your participation!

Back to School Special Education Boot Camp Saturday, September 20, 2014 8:30 A.M.- 3:00 P.M.
Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia
United Way Building 1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, 19103
Join presenters from: Temple University · McAndrews Law Offices · ARC
PA Education for All Coalition · Delaware Valley Friends School
PA Dyslexia and Literacy Coalition
Attend workshops on: Early Intervention · Dyslexia · Discipline · Charter Schools
Inclusion · Transition Services
Details and Registration:

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)

Voting for PSBA officers and at-large representatives opens Sept. 9
PSBA Website 9/8/2014
The slate of candidates for 2015 PSBA officer and at-large representatives is available online. Photos, bios and videos also have been posted for candidates. 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 open Sept. 9 and closes Oct. 6. One person from the school entity (usually the board secretary) is authorized to register 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 received an email on Aug. 13 and a test ballot was sent to them on Aug. 28. In addition, a memo from PSBA President Richard Frerichs will be mailed in the coming days to all board secretaries and copied to school board presidents and chief school administrators.

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