Monday, September 22, 2014

PA Ed Policy Roundup Sept 22: Corbett, Wolf prep for first debate in gov's race; 7:30 pm tonight on PCN

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 3500 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, business 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, Twitter and LinkedIn

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup for September 22, 2014:
Corbett, Wolf prep for first debate in gov's race; 7:30 pm tonight on PCN

Corbett, Wolf prep for first debate in gov's race
Lancaster Online by Associated Press | Posted: Monday, September 22, 2014 3:01 am
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania's gubernatorial candidates' first debate is only hours away.  Republican Gov. Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger are to square off Monday evening at a Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce and Industry dinner in Hershey.  For months, independent polls have consistently shown Wolf, a wealthy York businessman, with a wide lead over Corbett, formerly the state's two-term attorney general.  Monday's forum is the first of three events agreed to by the candidates. The others will be on Oct. 1 in Philadelphia and Oct. 8 in Pittsburgh.

Did you catch our weekend postings?  Includes coverage of tonight's first gubernatorial debate and SB76 property tax reform bill.
US Chamber gives Louisiana an A for having school choice, an F for educating kids
Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup for September 21, 2014:

Corbett's explanation on school funding isn't an excuse: Tony May
By PennLive Op-Ed on September 21, 2014 at 10:30 AM
DEF. Fungible [fuhn-juh-buh-l] being of such a nature or kind as to be freely exchangeable or replaceable, in whole or in part, for another of like nature or kind ("Money is fungible – money that is raised for one purpose can easily be used for another.")
What does the debate over Gov. Tom Corbett's education funding record tell  us?  It teaches us the difference between a reason and an excuse – something my father drilled into my thick head when I was eight.

Don't listen to the naysayers - Gov. Corbett boosted school funding: Charlie Gerow
By PennLive Op-Ed  on September 21, 2014 at 11:36 AM
The polls agree.  Education is a top issue for Pennsylvania voters in this year's race for governor.  And it should be.  Nobody doubts the importance of education to our children and the future of pour Commonwealth.  It is the foundation for getting a good job, being productive in society and leading a more fulfilling life.  A good education is also a birthright of every Pennsylvania child, guaranteed to them in the state Constitution.

Tomalis spent time in NYC advising private equity investors
By Mary Niederberger and Bill Schackner Pittsburgh Post-Gazette September 21, 2014 12:00 AM
During nearly 15 months that Ron Tomalis spent as Gov. Tom Corbett’s special adviser for higher education, officials at some of the state’s key institutions say they never shared a moment of his time.  Not so for a group of private equity investors in New York City.  Swipe card records released by the state Department of Education show Mr. Tomalis entered his agency parking spot in Harrisburg at 4:49 a.m. Jan. 16, prior to a trip by train that the department later described as state business. His destination in midtown Manhattan was the New York Athletic Club, where he and other experts leading an hour-long panel gave those investors insight into issues they will face trying to sell classroom technology.  It’s not unusual for state officials to accept speaking invitations. And it seems clear why those looking to profit by selling products to schools would want to hear from Mr. Tomalis, who before being named the governor’s adviser served as Pennsylvania’s secretary of education.  Less obvious is what the state Department of Education believed taxpayers stood to gain by having a Cabinet-level adviser at an investor conference, whose chairman is a past business associate of Mr. Tomalis, according to federal regulatory records.

HB1207 on the House Calendar today would divert an additional $25 million in taxes to unaccountable private and religious schools in the EITC program.
What’s Happening in the PAHouse – Week of Sept. 22, 2014
PA House GOP Blog September 21, 2014
Education and Debt Reduction on House Agenda This Week
The House returns to session on Monday, Sept. 15. Live web streams of House session and the majority of committee meetings are available  Important information and events may also be viewed by visiting’s debt reduction and education week in the Pennsylvania State House next week.

Tom Wolf holds $1.5 million cash advantage over Gov. Tom Corbett with 7 weeks left in campaign
Penn Live By The Associated Press   September 21, 2014 at 7:13 PM
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Democrat Tom Wolf headed into the final seven weeks of Pennsylvania's gubernatorial race with a more than $1.5 million cash advantage over Republican incumbent Tom Corbett, according to figures the campaigns disclosed Sunday to The Associated Press.  The figures were disclosed a day before Wolf and Corbett appear together at the first of three planned debates.  The results of the campaigns' fundraising and spending mean that Corbett raised less than Wolf but spent more while failing to crack a hefty lead in independent polls that Wolf has held since he won a four-way Democratic Party primary election in May.

Fighting for inadequate: a summer of false starts, bluffs and political theatre in Philly school funding
Since last spring, district leaders have been sounding the alarm about this year's fiscal plight, but even after months of handwringing and headlines, schools have opened with less resources than last year.  Here, we take a look back on a summer of false starts, bluffs and political theatre.  
Above, you can view a timeline of the summer's milestones – with links to archived articles – and also listen to a piece that allows the major players in the funding debate to tell the story in their own voices.

School mergers might make sense (YDR opinion)
York Daily Record editorial 09/19/2014 06:04:39 PM EDT
A banner celebrating York Suburban's national ranking is unveiled at York Suburban High School Sept. 18. York Suburban was ranked 67th among high schools nationwide by Newsweek. The banner was unveiled before the homecoming parade. (Kate Penn - Daily Record/Sunday News)
Maybe Gary Kraybill is right.  The William Penn Senior High School alum and West Manchester Township resident has been on a crusade for more than a year to get the York City School District and the York Suburban School District to merge — or, actually, reunite, as York Suburban was originally split off from the city district.  His argument is essentially the Rusk Report argument.
Concentrated poverty in York city is detrimental to residents in many ways — but especially when it comes to education. It's no secret that high-poverty schools struggle academically. So it should be no surprise that York schools perpetually post low standardized test scores — the lowest in the county.  And yet right next to York is a school district that regularly posts outstanding educational results.

Central Valley's emergence from Center/Monaca school district merger a rousing success
Beaver County Times By J.D. Prose September 21, 2014 12:10 am
It might be just a few years since the Center Area and Monaca school districts merged, but to Central Valley School District Superintendent Nick Perry it feels much longer.  “My perspective is that five years has been 50 years. It seems like we’ve been Central Valley forever,” Perry said. “I don’t think it could’ve gone any better than it did.”  In 2009, history was made when Central Valley’s first school year began with merged elementary grades (kindergarten through fifth). The merger was completed a year later when grades 6 through 12 were combined for 2010-11.
While there have been rumors and discussions about various district mergers across the state in recent years, including current talks between Moon Area and Cornell, Central Valley was the state’s first voluntary merger.  Looking back on the five-year anniversary, those who were involved in the effort agreed that the years of work and political wrangling were well worth the result.

“The biggest thing you have to remember when you go down this path is it's not about technology. It's about how you deliver instruction to your students,” said Lenny Schad, chief information officer for the Houston Independent School District and author of a book on one-to-one programs.
Teachers' roles evolve as districts rely more on computers
TribLive By Matthew Santoni Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
When Upper St. Clair seventh-graders got take-home iPads, Brad Wilson split his time between teaching students to use the tablet computers and teaching teachers how to make their classes better.  “The first few weeks were all about supporting the rollout,” said Wilson, a former social studies teacher whom the district appointed to oversee a program that eventually will assign a tablet to every student.  As more schools adopt one-to-one programs that assign laptop or tablet computers to every student, the roles of tech support staff and teachers are changing, blurring and merging, experts say.
Pittsburgh Charter High School thrives in international competition
By Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette September 22, 2014 12:00 AM
As a high school student, Bryce Johnson of Brighton Heights didn’t always see himself as able to help change the world.  But as part of a City Charter High School team that won international recognition, he knows he has.  “We’re making a pretty large impact, and I love it,” Bryce said.
The team, which started an environmental business, came in second among contestants representing 14 countries at the SAGE World Cup competition in Moscow last month, when six members presented. SAGE stands for Students for Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship.

"The EPPSE project launched in 1997 and has followed 3,000 children from early childhood to the age of 16. The research was carried out by leading academics from Oxford, the Institute of Education, and Birbeck, University of London.
Kathy Sylva, Professor of Educational Psychology at Oxford University, one of the lead researchers, said: 'The EPPSE study is unique because it provides valuable evidence in Europe on the long term value of preschool, something no other research has done. The results are clear: early education pays off, and high quality preschool education gives children the very best start in life. High quality early education has enduring benefits for the children who experience it and also the society that invests in it.'"
'Better GSCE grades' for children who had preschool education
University of Oxford September 16, 2014
A child is likely to do better in their GCSEs and ultimately earn higher wages if they have received a preschool education, a new study suggests.  Oxford University researchers who were involved in the Effective Pre-School, Primary and Secondary (EPPSE) project found that children who had had an early education at nursery or preschool were more likely to get better GCSE results - the equivalent of getting seven Bs compared to seven Cs.  The research found an early education particularly helped boost grades in GCSE English and maths. The effects were even more marked if the preschool was of high quality and the value of a preschool education was particularly important for children from less advantaged backgrounds, say the researchers.

January 23rd–25th, 2015 at The Science Leadership Academy, Philadelphia
EduCon is both a conversation and a conference.
It is an innovation conference where we can come together, both in person and virtually, to discuss the future of schools. Every session will be an opportunity to discuss and debate ideas — from the very practical to the big dreams.

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!

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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