Monday, September 29, 2014

PA Ed Policy Roundup Sept 29: Why the kids who most need arts education aren’t getting it

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, Superintendents, 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

These daily emails are archived and searchable at
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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup for September 29, 2014:
Why the kids who most need arts education aren’t getting it

KEYSTONE EXAMS: Not Just Another Standardized Test
What You Need to Know About Pennsylvania’s NEW High School Graduation Requirement
Join the Radnor, Haverford, Chester County, Lower Merion & Narberth Leagues of Women Voters October 7 @ 7:00 pm in Radnor

DId you catch our weekend postings?
PA Ed Policy Roundup Sept 28: Quadrillion to one: no fallout; no charges for Gureghian managed CCCS

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 11:00 AM          
 (public hearing on funding issues related to rural school districts)
Clarion University Gemmell Student Center Clarion, PA

"I have continued those reform efforts by authorizing a Basic Education Funding Commission to consider the input of educators, parents, legislators and other stakeholders in agreeing on what a truly fair funding formula should look like. In my second term, I look forward to reviewing their recommendations and implementing, with their guidance, what would be landmark reforms to how we fund our schools."
The race for governor: How Tom Corbett would address 3 pressing Pennsylvania issues
Trib Live By Tom Corbett Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Through hard work, innovation, strong leadership, a commitment to smaller government and lower taxes, the Corbett-Cawley administration is succeeding in building a stronger Pennsylvania.
When I was sworn into office in 2011, our commonwealth faced unprecedented challenges. Our budgets were increased to unsustainable levels and too often tax increases were the first place state government went looking for new revenue to fulfill its desire for wasteful spending. To compound issues, public school funding had been cut and replaced with one-time federal stimulus money. Unemployment was as high as 8.7 percent while businesses were leaving in search of states with lower taxes.
"Currently, charter school funding is based on a school district's per-student cost, which includes funds associated with services not provided by charter schools. The Pennsylvania Auditor General's Office estimates that more accurate funding formulas could save taxpayers and local districts at least $365 million each year.  Right now, Pennsylvania is one of only three states in the entire country that does not use a fair funding formula for distributing state education dollars to local school districts. I believe that rather than creating educational winners and losers based on ZIP codes, taxpayers deserve a funding formula that is equitable, transparent and holds local school districts accountable for how they spend state and local tax funding."
The race for governor: How Tom Wolf would address 3 pressing Pennsylvania issues
Trib Live By Tom Wolf Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
For nearly two years, I have traveled the commonwealth talking with workers, business owners and struggling families about the need for a fresh start to get Pennsylvania moving again, fully fund our public schools, revitalize the state's stagnant economy and rebuild the middle class.
I believe we can build a better Pennsylvania — where a dynamic economy will offer opportunities for everyone. But too often policymaking is about the next deal or reacting to the latest crisis. Pennsylvania's sluggish economy is reflective of how this type of politics in Harrisburg is failing us. It's time we think ahead.
Wolf and Corbett square off on school funding - Wolf
Responses of candidate Tom Wolf
By thenotebook on Sep 24, 2014 12:52 PM
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, is running for re-election against challenger Tom Wolf, a Democrat, on Nov. 4.
The Notebook invited both candidates to submit a 1,000-word response answering our six questions about key education issues, with a focus on funding. The Wolf campaign submitted a response. The Corbett campaign declined the invitation to respond, but the Notebook has compiled other published statements from Corbett on these issues.

Wolf and Corbett square off on school funding - Corbett
Statements of Gov. Tom Corbett
By thenotebook on Sep 24, 2014 01:00 PM
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, is running for re-election against challenger Tom Wolf, a Democrat, on Nov. 4.
The Notebook invited both candidates to submit a 1,000-word response answering our six questions about key education issues, with a focus on funding. The Wolf campaign submitted a response. The Corbett campaign declined the invitation to respond, but the Notebook has compiled other published statements from Corbett on these issues.

During debate, Corbett hits on a new strategy
By Thomas Fitzgerald, Inquirer Politics Writer POSTED: September 28, 2014
"Where's the beef?"
That was the question underdog candidate Walter Mondale borrowed from a Wendy's ad to skewer front-runner Gary Hart and his airy "new ideas" in a 1984 presidential debate.
In the same vein, underdog Tom Corbett paced the stage in last week's first debate of the Pennsylvania governor's race, demanding that Democrat Tom Wolf provide details of his promises to make the state's personal income tax fairer to the middle class and to increase state funding on education.

Here are addresses of campaign websites where Gov. Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf have posted policy proposals.

Big, inconsistent classes at Phila. schools
KRISTEN A. GRAHAM, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER Friday, September 26, 2014, 1:08 AM
One Philadelphia school solved overcrowding by placing first, second, and third graders in a single classroom. Another is using a different substitute every week to teach Spanish. Elsewhere, there are reports of class sizes of 35, 36 - and more.  Oversize classes are not unheard of at the beginning of the year in Philadelphia, where student mobility often makes planning tough. But in the past, the school system was able to hire more staff to ease crowding.
"In previous years, we carried a couple of hundred extra teachers, but we just don't have that luxury anymore," said Naomi Wyatt, the district's human resources chief. "We have to be a little bit more conservative about bringing folks in full-time until our numbers are final."
So Danny Allen Jr., a freshman at Central High, has had a rotating cast of substitutes for Spanish I, and could until late October, when the district's "leveling" process is complete, adjusting staffing to reflect actual enrollment.

Pittsburgh mayor’s school panel still hunts for mission on system overhaul
By Robert Zullo and Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette September 29, 2014 12:00 AM
Three months after it was assembled and about two months before it is supposed to deliver a report on public education in Pittsburgh, Mayor Bill Peduto’s education task force is still searching for its mission as it prepares for its third meeting tonight.  Curtiss Porter, the mayor’s chief education and neighborhood reinvestment officer, said the 21-member task force, which the mayor and city council convened to address school closings and make recommendations on improving the school system, is still trying to find its footing. But Mr. Porter noted that he expects the collaboration among city politicians, teachers, parents, nonprofits and school board members, among others, to be a positive step forward.

Plans proceeding for Chromebooks at Haverford High School
Delco Times By LOIS PUGLIONESI, Times Correspondent POSTED: 09/28/14, 11:15 PM EDT
HAVERFORD — Plans for providing all Haverford High School students with Google Chromebooks by Fall 2015 are advancing smoothly, according to a recent presentation by school district Technology Director Jane Greenspun and Haverford High School Principal Jeffrey Nesbit.
School directors approved an initiative named 1:World in May, so that all high school students would have 24/7 use of these compact, rapid activation/Internet access computers. Chromebooks will allow students to conduct research in the classroom and work collaboratively in real time. School officials also found their affordable price, just under $300, manageability and automatic update system attractive.  Greenspun noted the initiative began with a soft rollout last year, when the district purchased 250 Chromebooks and stationed them in the high school library to be shared among departments.  Officials also introduced Google Drive last year, which provided students and staff access to “Cloud” data storage. Also introduced was Canvas, an online management system. The entire wireless network at the high school was upgraded in preparation, Greenspun said.

Education Law Center Joins New School Funding Campaign
Aug. 28, 2014 – The Education Law Center has joined a statewide coalition of more than 40 organizations representing educators, business and labor leaders, faith-based organizations, civic and child advocacy groups who want to address one of Pennsylvania’s most important and challenging issues: the funding of its public schools.  “We have to address the school funding crisis,” said Rhonda Brownstein, ELC Executive Director. “All of our students deserve an opportunity to learn and should have the resources necessary to succeed in the classroom and beyond.”  While the campaign plans to formally launch this fall, the coalition behind the effort already has begun examining the issues that impact school funding and formed a governing body chaired by Joan Benso, president and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, a statewide children’s advocacy organization.
“While there has been plenty of discussion over the years about how Pennsylvania funds its public schools, there hasn’t been consensus among the many groups that have a vested interest in our kids and schools,” Benso said. “This campaign will be unprecedented in the various voices it listens to and represents.”  Kathy Manderino, a former state lawmaker, has been named campaign manager for the new campaign.

Why the kids who most need arts education aren’t getting it
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss September 29 at 5:00 AM  
Though the benefits of art education are very real (see here for a list of 10), it is one of the big, unfortunate casualties of the high-stakes testing era, with its laser focus on math and English Language Arts — especially in schools with big populations of students who live in poverty. Just how effective a good arts program can be was shown by Michael Sokolove, a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine, in his book titled “Drama High: The Incredible True Story of a Brilliant Teacher, a Struggling Town and the Magic of Theater,” about an elite high school theater program in a blue-collar Pennsylvania town. The book will be issued in paperback on Oct. 7. Here’s a piece by Sokolove on saving arts education.

How to Register to Vote - Deadline is October 6th
PA Department of State
Once you know you are eligible to vote, the next step is to register. In Pennsylvania, you can register in person, by mail and at various government agencies. Below you will find information about how to register, as well as links to voting registration forms and applications.

Upcoming PA Basic Education Funding Commission Meetings*
PA Basic Education Funding Commission  website
Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at 11 AM, Clarion University
Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 10 AM, Perkiomen Valley
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at 11 AM, Pittsburgh
* meeting times and locations subject to change

Health Issues in Schools: "Mom I can't find the Nurse"
October 21, 2014 1:00 -- 4:00 P.M.
United Way Building 1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, 19103
Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia 
Philadelphia has one of the worst childhood asthma rates in the country. We need more nurses in Philadelphia's schools to aid children suffering from this and other health issues. Join us to discuss Pennsylvania laws governing nursing services.
Tickets: Attorneys $200       General Public $100      Webinar $50   
"Pay What You Can" tickets are also available
Click here to purchase tickets

LWV Panel:KEYSTONE EXAMS Not Just Another Standardized Test Oct 7th Radnor
What You Need to Know About Pennsylvania’s NEW High School Graduation Requirement
Join the Radnor, Haverford, Chester County, Lower Merion & Narberth Leagues of Women Voters October 7 @ 7:00 pm in Radnor
In partnership with your area schools’ Parent Organizations and supported by your area School Districts
Moderator: Susan Carty, President, League of Women Voters of PA
Panelists Will Include:
Pennsylvania State Senator, Andy Dinniman
Lower Merion School District Board of Directors Member, Lori Actman
Conestoga High School
Principal, Dr. Amy Meisinger
Education Lawyer, Josh Kershenbaum, Esq.
Additional Panelists To Be Announced
Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014 at 7:00 PM Radnor Municipal Building, 301 Iven Ave., Radnor
Questions? Please Call 610-446-8383 or e-mail

What About the Schools? A Community Forum on the Next Governor's Education Agenda Oct. 15 7:00 pm WHYY Philly
Pennsylvania's public schools, especially in Philadelphia, are in dire straits. Many hope that the upcoming gubernatorial election will help shine a light on the state's education issues. But how will Harrisburg politics and financial realities limit the next governor’s agenda for education?
Join Research for Action, WHYY, and the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey for an interactive community forum designed to suggest an education agenda for the next administration—and to assess the politics of achieving it.  Hear from local educators about what they see as priorities for the schools, and from seasoned policy practitioners on the political realities of Harrisburg.  Then, make your voice heard. Discuss your thoughts and perspectives with other event guests and interact with the panelists. You’ll come away from this spirited discussion with a more nuanced view of the politics of education in both Philadelphia and at the state level.
This event is FREE and open to the public, but registration is required.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
WHYY, Independence Mall West, 150 N. 6th Street, Philadelphia, Pa 19106
Questions? Call 215-351-0511 during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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.

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.

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