Tuesday, November 11, 2014

PA Ed Policy Roundup Nov 11: "Thorough and Efficient" Coverage of PA School Funding Lawsuit

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup for November 11, 2014:
"Thorough and Efficient" Coverage of PA School Funding Lawsuit


Do Wolf and the Legislature get the voters' message on education? PennLive editorial
By PennLive Editorial Board on November 10, 2014 at 1:46 PM, updated November 10, 2014 at 2:20 PM
If there is one clear message from this year's race for governor in Pennsylvania, it's this: The way the state funds K-12 schools is neither fair nor adequate.
From the Delaware River to Lake Erie, voters saw class sizes swelling, school programs being slashed, and teachers getting pink slips, while school districts imposed painful property tax increases. Education was THE issue in the race and it cost Republican Tom Corbett his job – all in a year when his party romped to victories nationwide by running against President Obama and a disappointing economy.  While the state underfunds schools in general, some districts suffer a lot worse than others.  The key variable driving Pennsylvania's school funding decisions is not what students need to get a good education – it's politics. Communities with a friend in the Legislature or Governor's office do better. Pennsylvania is one of only three states that has no set formula for sending money to schools.

York City School Board directed to vote on charter plan
District's recovery officer says all schools should be run by an outside operator starting July 2015
By Angie Mason amason@ydr.com @angiemason1 on Twitter UPDATED:   11/10/2014 10:39:51 PM EST
The York City School District's state-appointed chief recovery officer on Monday night directed the school board to vote next week on turning all district buildings into charter schools, to be operated by an outside company, starting July 1, 2015.  The move comes less than a month after the board rejected a proposal that would have turned a few school buildings over to a charter operator next year.  The recovery plan adopted by the board in summer 2013 called for internal reform, but left open the door for charter operators to run district buildings if that didn't work out. Recovery officer David Meckley reviewed the plan's progress Monday night and said that the district hasn't been able to negotiate a new contract with teachers that reflects the recovery plan, which calls for large employee concessions.

Former PA Cyber attorney says Trombetta discussions were protected
By J.D. Prose jprose@timesonline.com  Posted: Monday, November 10, 2014 11:45 pm
PITTSBURGH — A former attorney for the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School testified Monday in school founder Nick Trombetta’s federal criminal case that a 2012 conversation recorded by investigators fell under attorney-client privilege.  Tim Barry, who no longer works for the Midland-based school, spent several hours on the stand as prosecutors and Trombetta’s defense attorneys tussled in the third installment of an evidentiary hearing that began in September and will last at least one more day.  PA Cyber waived its attorney-client privilege with Barry, allowing him to testify.  The focus of Monday’s 4½-hour hearing, which did not start in U.S. District Court until 4:30 p.m., was a March 2012, conversation involving Trombetta, Barry, Beaver County Solicitor Joe Askar, who also represents the Rochester-based National Network of Digital Schools and has invoked his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination, two other attorneys working for NNDS, and Brett Geibel, a Trombetta associate involved in various cyber school offshoots who became a government informant and secretly recorded discussions.

Parents and School Districts File Suit against PA State Officials for Failing to Maintain Fair and Adequate System of Public Education
Education Law Center website November 10, 2014
Nov. 10, 2014 –  Today six school districts, seven parents, the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools (PARSS) and the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference filed a lawsuit in Commonwealth Court against legislative leaders, state education officials, and the Governor for failing to uphold the General Assembly’s constitutional obligation to provide a system of public education that gives all children in Pennsylvania the resources they need to meet state-imposed academic standards and thrive in today’s world. The Education Law Center-PA and the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia  are representing the petitioners.
“My child is in classes with too many other students and she has no access to tutoring services or support from paraprofessionals, but our elected officials still expect and require her to pass standardized tests,” said Jamela Millar, parent of 11-year-old K.M., a student in the William Penn School District. “How are kids supposed to pass the tests required to graduate high school, find a job and contribute to our economy if their schools are starving for resources?”
According to the complaint, state officials have adopted an irrational school funding system that does not deliver the essential resources students need and discriminates against children based on where they live and the wealth of their communities.
The plaintiff school districts represent the interests of children from across the state including those in rural, urban, and suburban areas. They include the William Penn School District, the Panther Valley School District, the School District of Lancaster, the Greater Johnstown School District, the Wilkes-Barre Area School District and the Shenandoah Valley School District. The seven parent plaintiffs are filing on behalf of their children enrolled in one of these districts or the School District of Philadelphia. The NAACP and PARSS are filing on behalf of their members. PARSS members include small and rural public school districts and Intermediate Units.

School Funding Lawsuit
Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia November 10, 2014
Pennsylvania’s constitution states that the General Assembly must “provide a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth.” Instead, the state has adopted an irrational and inequitable system of funding public education that does not provide the resources students need to meet state standards and discriminates against students based on where they live and the wealth of their local communities. We are taking legal action on behalf of Pennsylvania’s 1.7 million public school students.
On November 10, 2014, we filed a lawsuit in Commonwealth Court on behalf of six school districts, seven parents, the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools (PARSS) and the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference against legislative leaders, state education officials, and the Governor for failing to uphold the General Assembly’s constitutional obligation to provide a system of public education that gives all children in Pennsylvania the resources they need to meet state-imposed academic standards and thrive in today’s world. We are conducting this litigation in partnership with the Education Law Center of Pennsylvania and a national, private law firm.


Pa. sued for failing to provide fair, 'thorough and efficient' school system
the notebook By Paul Socolar on Nov 10, 2014 10:11 AM
A long-anticipated lawsuit was filed today, charging state officials with failing to provide an adequate education system as required by the Pennsylvania constitution.   Suing the state are six school districts, parents from five districts (including Philadelphia), the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools (PARSS), and the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference. They are represented by attorneys from the Education Law Center and the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia.  In a statement, they say they are taking legal action because "state officials have adopted an irrational school funding system that does not deliver the essential resources students need and discriminates against children based on where they live and the wealth of their communities."

"Urban, suburban, and rural districts are all included in the long-anticipated suit. Besides William Penn, the plaintiffs include the Panther Valley School District in Carbon County, the School District of Lancaster, the Greater Johnstown School District in Cambria County, the Wilkes-Barre Area School District in Luzerne County, and the Shenandoah Valley School District in Schuylkill County. The NAACP and the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools filed on behalf of their members.  The suit alleges that while leaders impose academic standards on children, they do not give them the resources to meet those standards."
Districts, parents sue Pa. over education funding
Inquirer by Kristen Graham POSTED: MONDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2014, 10:01 AM
School districts, parents, an organization representing small and rural school systems and the state NAACP on Monday filed a lawsuit against Gov. Tom Corbett, state education officials and legislative leaders, saying that Pennsylvania fails to uphold its constitutional obligation to educate children adequately.  Plaintiffs of the suit, filed in Commonwealth Court, include two Philadelphia School District parents and the William Penn School District in Delaware County
State officials have "adopted an irrational school funding system that does not deliver the essential resources students need and discriminates against children based on where they live and the wealth of their communities," say the plaintiffs, who are represented by the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia and the Education Law Center-PA.

"A similar legal action was taken against the state in the 1990s. The court ruled that there was no judicially measurable standards to decide exactly what the state constitution means when it says the legislature must provide a "thorough and efficient" education.
Plaintiffs argue that view has become obsolete as the state, in recent years, has developed its own core standards and built up a standardized-test infrastructure that specifically delineates academic expectations.  "What differs is that today we have measurable standards of what schools are supposed to teach and what students are supposed to learn," said PILCOP's Churchill."
Claiming Pa. shortchanges kids, coalition seeks funding for 'thorough' education
Statewide coalition sues Pa., claiming inadequate education funding
WHYY Newsworks BY KEVIN MCCORRY NOVEMBER 10, 2014
A broad-based coalition of rural, urban and suburban school districts, parents and advocates has filed a lawsuit against the state of Pennsylvania, claiming it has failed to ensure that all children receive "a thorough and efficient" education.  In the Monday filing, plaintiffs asked the Commonwealth Court to compel state leaders to equitably distribute enough funding for all students to be able to meet the state's prescribed academic standards.
"The resources that we collect aren't adequate to maintain the level of education that the state of Pennsylvania expects from its students," said William Penn School District Superintendent Joe Bruni.  In addition to William Penn, five other school districts joined in the filing: Panther Valley (Carbon County), Lancaster, Greater Johnstown, Wilkes-Barre and Shenandoah (Schuylkill County).  Six sets of parents, as well as The Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small schools and the Pennsylvania chapter of the NAACP, signed on to the case. The Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia and Education Law Center organized the long-awaited case.

Schools suing PA officials over education funding
By Adam Clark,Of The Morning Call November 10, 2014
Six Pennsylvania school districts and seven parents are suing the state Department of Education and state officials over what they claim is an "irrational school funding system."
The schools, including Panther Valley School District, filed a lawsuit Monday along with The Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools and the state NAACP.
The lawsuit claims Pennsylvania has failed to meet its obligation to "provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education" for all students as its required by the state's constitution.  "Our students aren't given a fair shake or an opportunity to be as successful as we would like them to be," Panther Valley Superintendent Dennis Kergick said.
Pennsylvania has academic standards that define what is required by schools for a thorough and efficient public education but has failed to support the system with enough funding for every school district to meet those standards, the plaintiffs claim.

Six school districts file suit against Pennsylvania over school funding
By Karen Langley / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette November 10, 2014 10:08 AM
HARRISBURG — A group of parents, school districts and organizations say they are filing a lawsuit today challenging how Pennsylvania funds its public schools.
The suit complains that Pennsylvania has adopted “an irrational and inequitable school financing arrangement” that delivers meager funding to districts across the state and discriminates among children based on the wealth of their communities.  “These underfunded districts are in areas so poor that, despite their high tax rates, they simply cannot raise enough money to improve education without more assistance from the state,” the complaint says.
The proportions of Pennsylvania students passing state examinations shows that school districts do not have enough resources to prepare students, the lawsuit claims. And it claims the Pennsylvania Constitution does not allow the Legislature to make education a matter for local school districts.

School advocates sue Pennsylvania over funding system
Penn Live By The Associated Press  on November 10, 2014 at 12:06 PM
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Public school advocates sued top state officials Monday, alleging that an irrational system of distributing state subsidies is creating academic inequities and depriving many students of the "thorough and efficient" public education system that the state constitution guarantees.  The lawsuit says the state has established strict academic standards but failed to provide equal resources for students who must meet them. The plaintiffs contend that per-pupil spending ranges from less than $10,000 in districts with low property values and incomes to more than $28,000 in those with higher property values and incomes.
The lawsuit asks the court to declare that the current funding formula violates the constitution and order state officials to devise a funding system that passes constitutional muster.
"Pennsylvania's state constitution tells us that the buck stops with the state Legislature when it comes to public education. State officials know exactly what needs to be done, but they refuse to do it," said Jennifer R. Clarke, director of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia.

Three NEPA schools challenge funding
Hazelton Standard Speaker BY ROBERT SWIFT, HARRISBURG BUREAU CHIEF Published: November 10, 2014
HARRISBURG — A Wilkes-Barre mother joined school districts and advocacy groups Monday in a lawsuit calling for an end to sharp inequities in funding for public education throughout Pennsylvania.  Tracey Hughes is a plaintiff in the lawsuit filed in Commonwealth Court on behalf of her minor son described by the initials P.M.H., an eighth-grader at E.L. Meyers Junior-Senior High School in Wilkes-Barre Area School District.  The lawsuit documents how her son’s academic performance dropped after fourth grade as class sizes increased to over 30 students and funding cuts necessitated the sharing of school text books among students. Tutoring options were unavailable due to lack of resources.

"The complaint says 300,000 of the 875,000 students tested on state standardized tests in 2012-13 failed to meet proficiency on the exam, and more than half of students are unable to pass the Keystone Exams, which will be a graduation requirement for high school seniors by 2017."
Suit claims Corbett failed to provide proper education
SOLOMON LEACH, DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER LEACHS@PHILLYNEWS.COM, 215-854-5903 POSTED: Tuesday, November 11, 2014, 3:01 AM
SIX PENNSYLVANIA school districts, parents, a group representing rural and small school districts, and the NAACP filed a lawsuit yesterday accusing Gov. Corbett and other state officials of failing to provide students with a proper education.  The long-anticipated suit, filed in Commonwealth Court on behalf of the plaintiffs by the Education Law Center and the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, claims that the state's "irrational and inequitable" funding system is unconstitutional on two grounds: that it does not provide a "thorough and efficient" system of public education, as required by the state's Constitution; and that it discriminates against students who live in poorer communities.

"Pennsylvania is a rarity nationwide, one of a handful of states that lack a school funding formula. A lack of formula leads to a heavy reliance on property taxes and wide gaps in per-pupil spending; depending on where they live, spending per public school student in Pennsylvania ranges from $9,800 to $28,400.  Still, many poor districts have higher tax rates than wealthy ones. They "simply cannot raise enough money to improve education without more assistance from the state," the suit states.  William Penn, for instance, has the highest school-tax rate in the area - much higher than Lower Merion, for instance, where schools are much better - and its schools still struggle."
School districts, parents, activists sue Pennsylvania over school funding
KRISTEN A. GRAHAM, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER Tuesday, November 11, 2014, 1:08 AM
Alleging that Pennsylvania's education-funding system is "irrational and inequitable," a group of parents, school districts, and organizations on Monday sued the commonwealth, saying it had failed to provide all students with an appropriate education.  Plaintiffs in the long-expected suit, filed in Commonwealth Court, include two Philadelphia School District parents and the William Penn School District in Delaware County.  State officials have "adopted an irrational school funding system that does not deliver the essential resources students need, and discriminates against children based on where they live and the wealth of their communities," say the plaintiffs, who are represented by the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia and the Education Law Center-PA.

Lawsuit: School Funding in Pennsylvania is Unconstitutional
Six districts — but not Philly — sue Corbett and legislative leaders over state’s “irrational and inequitable” school funding system.
Phillymag.com BY PATRICK KERKSTRA  |  NOVEMBER 10, 2014 AT 10:05 AM
Seventeen years ago, the city and School District of Philadelphia filed suit against Pennsylvania, accusing it of failing to provide sufficient education funding in violation of the state Constitution, which obligates the state legislature to “provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education.”  It didn’t work. Commonwealth Court rejected the suit, and the state Supreme Court in 1999 refused to hear an appeal.  Now school funding advocates are looking for a rematch. A potentially momentous lawsuit was filed in Commonwealth Court this morning, claiming that the state has "adopted an irrational and inequitable school financing arrangement that drastically underfunds school districts across the Commonwealth and discriminates against children on the basis of the taxable property and household incomes in their districts."  One of many striking elements of this suit is that the School District of Philadelphia — which would be among the greatest beneficiaries of a successful lawsuit — is not among the plaintiffs.

A Willful, Consistent, and Pervasive Underfunding of Our Public Schools
Parents United for Public Education website Posted on November 10, 2014 by REBECCAPOYOUROW
Statement in Support of the Lawsuit against Pennsylvania’s Governor, General Assembly, and Department of Education for the Willful, Consistent and Pervasive Underfunding of Public Education
Parents United for Public Education fully supports the lawsuit filed today in Commonwealth Court challenging Pennsylvania’s system for financing public education. We applaud the individual students, families, and organizational plaintiffs who have stepped forward to take necessary action against a state that has violated its own constitutional guarantee of a “thorough and efficient” system of public education for all children.  The plaintiffs in the suit assert what parents across Pennsylvania have known for years:  that our state has willfully, consistently, and pervasively underfunded our public schools to levels of deprivation that shock the conscience and demand remedy from the courts.  Pennsylvania’s state contribution to local school district budgets is well below national norms.  While the national average state contribution to district budgets is 44%, Pennsylvania’s contribution is only 34%.  Only nine states nationwide contribute a smaller average percentage to school district budgets.  Furthermore, as one of only three states across the nation without a fair funding formula, Pennsylvania’s allocation of its funds favors the politically connected and compounds inequities among districts.   The Education Law Center has found that low-income public schools spend $3,000 less per student than their wealthier counterparts, amounting to $75,000 less per 25-student classroom, yet low-income districts contain many more students likely to have higher needs due to poverty, English Language Learner status, or disability.

Pa. Districts, Parents Sue Over 'Irrational and Inequitable' School Funding
Education Week District Dossier Blog By Denisa R. Superville on November 10, 2014 1:57 PM
A coalition of school districts, parents and the Pennsylvania NAACP sued the state on Monday, alleging that Governor Tom Corbett and the state's General Assembly have failed to live up to their constitutional obligation to develop a funding mechanism that will provide a thorough and efficient system of public education for the state's children.
The plaintiffs, who are represented by the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia and the Education Law Center of Pennsylvania, include six school districts—the William Penn School District, the Panther Valley School District, the School District of Lancaster, the Greater Johnstown School District, the Wilkes-Barre Area School District, and the Shenandoah Valley School District—seven parents, including some from Philadelphia public schools; and the Pennsylvania Association for Small and Rural Schools.
 "Pennsylvania's state constitution tells us that the buck stops with the state legislature when it comes to public education,"  Jennifer R. Clarke, the executive director of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, said in a press release announcing the lawsuit. "State officials know exactly what needs to be done, but they refuse to do it. We are asking the court to step in and solve this problem for the future of our children and our commonwealth. There is no second chance for children—they cannot go through school all over again."

Pennsylvania School Districts Sue State Over Education Funding
Huffington Post Reuters By Daniel Kelley Posted: 11/10/2014 4:35 pm EST Updated: 4 hours ago
PHILADELPHIA, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Six Pennsylvania school districts and a group of parents sued the state on Monday, charging that funding for education discriminates against children based on the wealth of their school districts.  The system of funding violates the state constitution because it mandates high standards for school districts but starves them of resources to meet those standards, the lawsuit said.  The case was filed in Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court against the governor, state Department of Education and other state officials.
Pennsylvania school districts, like those in most states, are heavily funded by local property taxes. The state contributes on average 34 percent of the districts' revenue.
The state's contribution to local education budgets is the third-lowest share in the country, the lawsuit says.  Some districts are "so poor that, despite their high tax rates, they simply cannot raise enough money to improve education without more assistance from the state," it said.

GOP leadership fight widens in Pennsylvania Senate
WHTM abc27 By MARC LEVY Associated Press Posted: Nov 10, 2014 5:24 PM EST
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - More top officers in the Pennsylvania Senate's Republican majority are facing challenges for their jobs.  Lancaster County Sen. Lloyd Smucker told colleagues Monday that he is running for president pro tempore, while Luzerne County Sen. Lisa Baker tells colleagues she's running for Appropriations Committee chair.  The caucus holds leadership votes Wednesday. Their announcements follow the news that Appropriations Committee Chairman Jake Corman of Centre County is challenging Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi of Delaware County.


How Philly's charter schools stack up on PA's performance measure
WHYY Newsworks BY KEVIN MCCORRY NOVEMBER 10, 2014
The Pennsylvania Department of Education last week released its evaluation of the academic progress of the state's public schools.  The School Performance Profile index is composed mainly of standardized test score results, but also takes into account attendance, graduation rates, and student improvement.  Last week, Newsworks published a story that analyzed overall state trends, as well as those in the Philadelphia School District.
Below is an analysis of Philadelphia's 86 brick-and-mortar charter schools.

School facing possible closure receives $1.2 million in three-year grant
the notebook By Connie Langland on Nov 10, 2014 04:54 PM
Truebright Science Academy in the Olney section is touting its new afterschool program funded with a sizable federal grant. The question is whether the school will be open long enough for the tutoring and enrichment initiative to have much of an impact.  The Pennsylvania Department of Education in late September awarded the charter school on Roosevelt Boulevard $400,000 in federal funds a year over three years -- $1.2 million total -- to run an afterschool and summer program to enhance college readiness.  But the school is in an ongoing struggle with the School District of Philadelphia, which wants the school closed.
The School Reform Commission voted in October 2013 not to renew the school’s charter. The school appealed, and the case was heard this past Oct. 28 by the state charter appeals board in Harrisburg. A decision is expected in early December.


Philadelphia City Council to Hold Hearing on Cost of Standardized Testing
Progressive Magazine By Jonathan Pelto November 7, 2014 - 1:05 pm CST
Not only is the Common Core Standardized Testing Scheme unfair, discriminatory and fails to provide teachers and schools with usable information about individual student performance but the program is extraordinarily expensive and will leave schools that are already inadequately funded with even less of the resources needed to provide every child with the comprehensive, quality education that they need and deserve.  The Corporate Education Reform Industry has been extremely effective in preventing policymakers, teaches, parents and taxpayers from determining just how much scarce public funds will be wasted on the absurd standardized testing programs.  According to the public schools advocacy group, Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools, the Philadelphia City Council’s Education Committee will hold a hearing about what standardized testing is costing Philadelphia and the impact these absurd tests are having on the public schools  The Honorable Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell, Chair of the Philadelphia City Council’s Education Committee has scheduled the hearing for Wednesday, November 19, 2014, 3-5pm Philadelphia City Council Chambers, Room 400, 4th Floor City Hall, 1401 JFK Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19107 *Enter at the NE Corner, Bring Photo ID

“It’s assessment gone wild,” said Matthew Malone, the state’s education secretary. “Everywhere we go to talk to teachers, administrators, and parents the consensus is we test too much. I think we need to find a better balance.”
Mass. wonders whether students being overtested
Boston Globe By James Vaznis  | GLOBE STAFF   NOVEMBER 08, 2014
A high school English teacher in Boston likens those behind the testing craze sweeping Massachusetts to the approach of Thomas Gradgrind, the headmaster in the Charles Dickens novel “Hard Times.” Gradgrind sternly told faculty to plant nothing but facts in their students’ minds, “and root out everything else.’’  Teachers statewide complain that, like the headmaster’s demands for facts and little else, preparation for the dizzying array of standardized tests can easily consume about a month of schooling and leave little time for creative projects. Some schools administer assessments every six weeks to ensure classes are on track to pass the MCAS, a burden that stresses students to tears and even nausea.
In response to complaints by teachers, parents, and students, state education officials have ordered an independent review to gauge the scope and impact of standardized testing. Such a move would once have seemed unthinkable for a state that has long been a national leader in standardized testing, and one of the biggest defenders.
But the proliferation of tests has sparked concern that the exams may have grown excessive.

U.S. to Focus on Equity in Assigning of Teachers
New York Times By MOTOKO RICH NOV. 10, 2014
The Obama administration is directing states to show how they will ensure that all students have equal access to high-quality teachers, with a sharp focus on schools with a high proportion of the poor and racial minorities.  In a letter to state superintendents released Monday, Deborah S. Delisle, an assistant secretary at the Department of Education, said states must develop plans by next June that make sure that public schools comply with existing federal law requiring that “poor and minority children are not taught at higher rates than other children by inexperienced, unqualified or out-of-field teachers.”  States last submitted plans to address such inequities in 2006, but data shows that largedisparities persist.

Trying to get better teachers into nation’s poor classrooms
Washington Post By Lyndsey Layton November 10 at 8:01 PM  
The Obama administration on Monday ordered states to devise plans to get stronger teachers into high-poverty classrooms, correcting a national imbalance in which students who need the most help are often taught by the weakest educators.
Officials at the U.S. Department of Education sent a letter to state education chiefs, giving them until June to analyze whether too many of their “excellent” educators are absent from struggling schools and to craft a strategy to spread them more evenly across schools.
The Education Department plans to spend $4.2 million to launch a new “technical assistance network” to help states and districts develop and implement their plans. States will be required to identify the root causes of their “excellent” teacher imbalance, craft a strategy to correct the problem and publicly report their progress.

In Georgia, fairness of new teacher evaluation system in question
Teachers in high-poverty schools more likely to get lowest scores
By Jeff Ernsthausen - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Posted: 12:00 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014
Teachers working with lower-income students could be more likely than their peers to be denied pay raises or to lose their jobs under the new teacher evaluation system the state is implementing, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution examination found.
That finding could fuel criticism of a system intended to provide an even playing field for rating teachers all across Georgia. It is supposed to accomplish that by relying in large part on a mathematical formula that scores teachers based on how their students perform on standardized tests from year to year.  Georgia Department of Education officials said they are aware that their “growth model” tends to result in lower scores for teachers in higher-poverty schools. But they don’t know yet whether that is because their approach puts those teachers at a disadvantage or if the state’s lower-income students actually may get less-effective teachers.


Philadelphia City Council Hearings on High-stakes Testing and the Opt-Out Movement, Wednesday, November 19, 2014, 3—5 PM
Education Committee of Philadelphia City Council
Wednesday, November 19, 2014, 3—5 PM, Room 400 City Hall
Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools, Councilman Mark Squilla and The Opt-Out Committee of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools urge all who care about the future of education to attend:  Parents, students and educators will testify on the effects of over-testing on students and teaching, including the crisis of the Keystone Exams as a graduation requirement.
Information:  Alison McDowell or Lisa Haver at:  philaapps@gmail.com

DelCo Rising: Winning for Education Nov18 7:00PM - 9:00PM
601 N. LANSDOWNE AVENUEDREXEL HILL, PA 19026
Delaware County students and taxpayers have sacrificed enough. The state is not paying its fair share.  Rising property taxes and school budget cuts are not acceptable–help us change that.
Join your neighbors for a community workshop: Delco Rising:  Winning for Education
·         Learn about Pre-K for PA and the Statewide Campaign for Fair Education Funding and how they can  help your community
·         Practice winning strategies to advocate for your community
·         Create an advocacy plan that works for you—whether you have 5 minutes or 5 days per month
This non-partisan event is free and open to the public.
Click here to download a PDF flyer to share.

Webinar: Arts Education - Research Shows Arts Education Boosts Learning, So Where's the Rush to Teach Arts?
Education Writers Association NOVEMBER 12, 2014 - 1:00PM - 2:00PM
Decades of research suggest that some types of arts education can lead to academic improvements. But even though No Child Left Behind designated arts a core subject, student access to dance, theater and visual arts declined between 2000 and 2010. What are the challenges educators face in teaching a discipline many researchers say spurs student achievement, reduces absences and boosts graduation rates? This webinar will look at state-level arts education policy and student access to arts programs, the arts education research landscape, and offer a spotlight on city programs that are galvanizing arts education.
Panelists:
            James Catterall, Centers for Research on Creativity, Professor Emeritus, UCLA
            Sandra Ruppert, Director, Arts Education Partnership
Moderator:
Mary Plummer, Southern California Public Radio

Children with Autism - Who’s Eligible? How to get ABA services?
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 1:00 – 4:00 P.M.
Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia
United Way Building 1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, 19103
Join us on November 19th, 2014 to discuss eligibility services for children with Autism. This session will teach parents, teachers, social workers and attorneys how to obtain Applied Behavioral Analysis services for children on the autism spectrum. Presenters include Sonja Kerr (Law Center), Rachel Mann (Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania), Dr. Lisa Blaskey (The Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania), and David Gates (PA Health Law Project).
Registration: bit.ly/1sOY6jX

Register Now – 2014 PASCD Annual Conference – November 23 – 25, 2014
Please join us for the 2014 PASCD Annual Conference, “Leading an Innovative Culture for Learning – Powered by Blendedschools Network” to be held November 23-25 at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center in Hershey, PA.  Featuring Keynote Speakers: David Burgess -  - Author of "Teach Like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator", Dr. Bart Rocco, Bill Sterrett - ASCD author, "Short on Time: How do I Make Time to Lead and Learn as a Principal?" and Ron Cowell. 
This annual conference features small group sessions (focused on curriculum, instructional, assessment, blended learning and middle level education) is a great opportunity to stay connected to the latest approaches for cultural change in your school or district.  Join us for PASCD 2014!  Online registration is available by visiting www.pascd.org

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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