Monday, September 8, 2014

PA Ed Policy Roundup Sept 8: Delco Times Editorial: Get to work on fair education system in Pa.

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PA Ed Policy Roundup for September 8, 2014:
Delco Times Editorial: Get to work on fair education system in Pa.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014 10:00 AM
(public hearing on education economics and basic education funding)
Parkland School District Administrative Bldg. 1210 Springhouse Rd. Allentown, PA

Concerned with adequate, equitable, predictable, sustainable #paedfunding?
Follow new @PACircuitRider and @CircuitRiderSE accounts on twitter

Delco Times Editorial: Get to work on fair education system in Pa.
POSTED: 09/06/14, 9:40 PM EDT
All across Delaware County and the rest of the state, students this week packed away the flip-flops and cutoffs, picked up their backpacks, and made the long, slow slog back to school.
Summer is over.
It’s something they share with the folks we send to represent us in Harrisburg. The members of the House and Senate likewise will stop working on their tans and converge on the Capitol once again this week. Of course, they won’t be there all that long. Many will soon be back on their home turf, ringing door bells and shaking hands as they work on their re-election bids.
All members of the state House and half of the state Senate will be on the November ballot.
Students don’t have that luxury. They don’t get to vote on whether to go back to school. They do, however, feel the fallout of many of the decisions that are made in Harrisburg.

Education a key issue among Pennsylvania voters
Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice by ROBERT SWIFT Published: September 7, 2014
HARRISBURG — Statewide voters rank education and schools, unemployment and personal finances, government and politicians, taxes and energy issues and gas prices in descending order as the top five most important problems facing Pennsylvania.  Education and schools lead the lineup by a wide margin. Twenty-nine percent of respondents say it’s the most important problem, according to a new poll by Franklin and Marshall College.  The poll surveyed 520 registered voters between Aug. 18 and Aug. 25 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.  So how does voter sentiment square with what state lawmakers may try to accomplish during a short month-long pre-election session starting Sept. 15?

Politics as Usual
By Steve Esack and Laura Olson,,Call Harrisburg Bureau September 6, 2014
School funding panel coming to Lehigh Valley
Lawmakers do not return to session until Sept. 15, but that doesn't mean they are not working.
Some of them will hit the road this week for hearings.
The Legislature's Basic Education Funding Commission will travel to Parkland School District's Administration Building for a hearing at 10 a.m. Tuesday.
The commission, co-chaired by Sen. Pat Browne, R-Lehigh, is trying to devise a new funding formula for public schools.

Did you catch our weekend posting?
PA Ed Policy Roundup for September 6, 2014:
Corbett's key electoral battleground -- the classroom, not the campaign trail: John L. Micek

Pennsylvania lawmakers have every reason to relax
Trib Live By Eric Heyl Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
To: Pennsylvania state representatives
From: State Elected Official Schedulers Inc.
Re: Fall House schedule
Dear Lawmakers,  Welcome back (almost)!
This communique is to remind you that the House reconvenes on Sept. 15 for its first voting session since July 2. If you're still at the beach, now's the time to shake the sand out of your swimming trunks and hightail it back to Harrisburg.  Don't worry about being able to quickly get back into the swing of things after your 10-week summer layoff. Given the relaxed schedule that's been prepared for you, there will be no swing, just lackadaisically paced things.
You undoubtedly will be disparaged for being in session for a mere 12 more days this year. Your most vociferous critics will take pride in pointing out that averages out to three days a month, which seems like a ridiculously light workload only because it is.
Where Pa. gubernatorial candidates Corbett, Wolf stand as race nears end
Trib Live By Mike Wereschagin and Melissa Daniels Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, 9:20 p.m.
The next governor will take office at a precarious but opportune moment for Pennsylvania.
Republican Gov. Tom Corbett and his Democratic challenger Tom Wolf sat with Tribune-Review reporters and editors in recent weeks to talk about their records, their opponents and their plans for the state.  A growing structural deficit, financial troubles at schools across the state, and Pennsylvania's recent credit downgrade by Moody's Analytics make supporters of Wolf, 65, of York take a grim view of where the state is headed.  But Pennsylvania's economy has added more than 120,000 jobs in the past four years, and growth in sectors such as energy offer a chance for a rebirth in manufacturing and technology industries — something for which Corbett, 65, of Shaler said he has laid the groundwork.  With fewer than 60 days until the election, the Trib matched the candidates' stands on issues that an August poll by Franklin & Marshall College found most important to voters.
Who are the top donors to Tom Corbett, Tom Wolf campaigns?: An AP analysis
Penn Live By The Associated Press on September 07, 2014 at 12:36 PM
Donors to the campaigns of Republican Gov. Tom Corbett and his Democratic challenger, Tom Wolf, have given at least $31 million so far. The vast majority of those donations are by individuals, families, businesses and groups that gave $10,000 or more in cash, services or goods.  Of the $13 million that Corbett has reported raising in 2013 and 2014, donors who gave at least $10,000 accounted for two-thirds of that, or $8.8 million, an Associated Press analysis has found. Of the $18.1 million in donations that Wolf reported over the same period, the $10,000 club, including himself, accounted for nearly all of it — $16.6 million.  Below is a breakdown of the donors who have reached the $10,000 mark, based on finance reports submitted to the state by the two campaigns. The figures are current through June 9, the latest data the campaigns were required to make available. The next campaign finance reports are due Sept. 23. The election is Nov. 4.

First day of school... And, again, Philly educators prepared to do their best
Here we go again.
The Philadelphia School District opens its doors today, and, for the second year in a row, district leaders admit that resource levels are nowhere near sufficient. Children, they say, will not get the thorough and efficient education they're promised by the Pennsylvania Constitution.
Schools this year will, in fact, have less.  Students will again find overcrowded classrooms and a shortage of guidance counselors and nurses.  Teachers will again be expected to pay for supplies out of pocket and achieve student gains, despite minimal supports.  Principals will again find little discretionary funding in their budgets and will now make due with fewer school police officers, reduced building maintenance andcuts to special education.

Nutter to tour new Philly high school during 'education week'
MAYOR NUTTER will visit one of the city's new public high schools Monday to mark the start of classes for the district's roughly 135,000 students.  Nutter and Superintendent William Hite will meet students, parents and teachers at Learning in New Context, or LINC, on Erie Avenue near 2nd Street in North Philadelphia, one of three new schools opening to all students. It is part of a week-long series of events to mark schools' opening.  The new schools are one of the few bright spots in the beleaguered district, which has suffered numerous cuts due to a funding crisis.

As Philly school begins, a year of challenges ahead
KRISTEN A. GRAHAM, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER LAST UPDATED: Sunday, September 7, 2014, 11:11 PM POSTED: Sunday, September 7, 2014, 11:09 PM
For Philadelphia School District principals, teachers, and students, their usual new school year mix of nervousness and exhilaration has been heightened this fall by a cash-starved financial picture.  Still, 130,000 students will show up Monday for the start of what will be a challenging 2014-15 school year.  They're being asked to live through a second year of extreme austerity that could worsen. The district faces an $81 million deficit, and unless state lawmakers pass a cigarette tax by early October, more cuts, including 1,000-plus layoffs, are possible.
"I'm excited - somewhat," Keith Arrington Sr., principal of Thurgood Marshall Elementary, said of the coming school year. "I have some concerns about how it's going to work out, but I think we can rise to the challenge."

Despite fiscal woes, Phila. schools push for innovation
William R. Hite Jr. finds himself in an unusual spot: presiding over what is perhaps the gravest fiscal crisis the Philadelphia School District has ever seen, yet pushing hard for innovation.
On the superintendent's watch, two new schools debuted last year. Three more will open Monday - Building 21, Learning in New Contexts, and the U School - small, personalized places that focus on projects, rely heavily on technology, and admit all students, not just the best and brightest. All three were built with outside money.  Hite has been accused of building new programs at the expense of existing, struggling schools. He has been chastised for championing yet another experiment in a district that has more than its share of failed experiments.

National forum focuses on how the arts can improve schools
By Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette September 8, 2014 12:00 AM
Antara Cleetus is only 11 years old, but she already has opinions about arts education.
“It’s just like we learn reading. We learn math. We learn science. Art is another way to learn more.
“You can be creative. You can explore. Like writing, it’s a way to express yourself and makes you unique,” she said.   At the Arts Education Partnership National Forum this week in Pittsburgh, Antara, a sixth-grader at Boyce Middle School in Upper St. Clair, will receive the group’s Young Artist Award.  The Council of Chief State School Officers, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and the U.S. Department of Education formed the partnership, based in Washington, D.C., in 1995. It now is part of CCSSO.

Why Don’t More Men Go Into Teaching?
New York Times News Analysis By MOTOKO RICH SEPT. 6, 2014
AS Tommie Leaders, 22, approached college graduation last spring, his professors told him he would have no trouble getting hired. “You’re a guy teaching elementary, ” they said.
Mr. Leaders, who earned his education degree from the University of Nebraska in June, started teaching fifth grade last month in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He is the only male teacher in the building.
Across the country, teaching is an overwhelmingly female profession, and in fact has become more so over time. More than three-quarters of all teachers in kindergarten through high school are women, according to Education Department data, up from about two-thirds three decades ago. The disparity is most pronounced in elementary and middle schools, where more than 80 percent of teachers are women.
Educators, advocates and lawmakers fight bitterly about tenure, academic standards and the prevalence of testing, but one thing most sides tend to agree on is the importance of raising the status of teaching so the profession will attract the best candidates.

"And the Florida School Boards Association has begun considering motions that would call on the state to change its testing policies.  According to the News Press, the association first approved and then tabled two motions on testing, one that would “compel the state to adopt to adopt a comprehensive opt-out policy that would allow parents to have their students to be excused without penalty, from participating in statewide standardized or state-required assessments” and the other that would “compel the state to bring an immediate halt to the practices of using statewide standardized or state-required assessment results for any purpose other than diagnostic purposes."
Testing revolt brews in Florida as Miami schools chief urges delay in new exams
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss September 6 at 4:01 PM  
In Florida, the state where former governor Jeb Bush (R) pioneered the use of high-stakes standardized tests for school “accountability” purposes, a testing revolt is unfolding.
Late last month, the Lee County school board voted to drop all state-mandated tests as an act of “civil disobedience,” though the vote was rescinded because of fear that students would suffer the consequences.  Then Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho (who was, incidentally, named the 2014 National Superintendent of the Year) blasted state testing policy and called for a delay in administering new high-stakes standardized tests across the state, saying in this statement:  The state must own and address over-assessment. Instructional time is too precious to spend it assessing students on duplicative measures. Assessment of students should serve the strict purpose of informing instruction, not simply provide a variable into a teacher’s performance evaluation formula, as is the case of the new state-mandated, district-designed end-of-course K-12 exams.  Read more here:

Dozier proposes 'opt out' motion to FL School Board Assoc.
By  Emily Atteberry, eatteberry@news-press.com10:39 a.m. EDT September 6, 2014
Two opt-out motions proposed by Lee County School Board member Jeanne Dozier at the Florida School Boards Association meeting Friday initially passed, but was later tabled as educators expressed concern over wording.  Association members debated Dozier's motion, which called for the state to halt "high-stakes" consequences and enable parents to legally opt out their children from testing.  The opt out idea has been gaining steam across the state since Lee school board members voted 3-2 to opt out of state testing Aug. 27 and then rescinded the vote Tuesday by a 3-2 vote. Mary Fischer changed her vote after critics said the decision was made hastily without alternatives to taking state tests.

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!

Superintendents, School Business Managers and School Board Members
Register for School Funding Campaign Statewide Videoconference Event -- Sept. 30th 7 - 8:45 pm
PSBA Website 9/5/2014
Join hundreds of school leaders from every corner of PA who will gather to learn about the statewide coalition campaigning for a new adequate and equitable public school funding formula. The video conference event will serve as the kick-off for the education associations' efforts in support of the Basic Education Funding Campaign. The event will be held at participating Intermediate Unit sites. Register online at: Sept. 30, 7-8:45 p.m.

PSBA Members - Register to Join the PSBA, PASA, PASBO Listening Tour as BEF Funding Commission begins work; Monday, Sept. 8th 4-6 pm in Bethlehem
The bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission established under Act 51 of 2014 has begun a series of hearings across the state, and you’re invited to join the Listening Tour hosted by PSBA, the PA Association of School Administrators (PASA), and the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO) as it follows the panel to each location this fall.
The first tour stop will be on Monday, Sept. 8, 2014 from 4-6 p.m., at the Broughal Middle School, 114 W. Morton St, Bethlehem, PA 18015.  Click here to register for the free event.  Other tour dates will be announced as the BEF Commission finalizes the dates and locations for its hearings. The comments and suggestions from the Listening Tour will be compiled and submitted to the Commission early next year.

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:

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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