Tuesday, November 25, 2014
PA Ed Policy Roundup Nov 25: What's the deal with school funding reform in Pennsylvania?
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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup for November 25, 2014:
What's the deal with school funding reform in
PA Basic Education Funding Commission (Updates)
Agenda and some testimony from yesterday's hearing in
Lancaster and video from day one in Philadelphia last week have been posted.
Senate Leaders Announce Changes in Leadership Staff
PA Senate GOP website November 24, 2014
Changes to Senate Republican Leadership senior staff will take place with the
beginning of the 2015-16 legislative session, according to Senate President Pro
Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-25), Senator Jake Corman (R-34), Senator Pat Browne
(R-16) and Senator John Gordner (R-27).
Penn Live By Charles Thompson | firstname.lastname@example.org on November 24, 2014 at 6:24 PM
The new power couple in the Pennsylvania State Senate - President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati and Majority Leader Jake Corman - announced several senior staff hires for the 2015-16 legislative session Monday.
Drew Crompton, already Scarnati's chief of staff, will add the role of general counsel to the majority caucus. He will be joined by Dave Thomas, incoming chief counsel to the majority leader, at the top of the Senate GOP's legal team.
Wolf Steering Committee members eager, expectant
Last Tuesday, Gov.-elect Tom Wolf named the Steering Committee for his transition team. The PLS Reporter had an opportunity to contact a few of them to discuss their expectations for the team. Joseph Meade, government affairs director for the Philadelphia Museum of Art and recent appointee to Wolf’s Transition Team, told The PLS Reporter that “we’re at a critical juncture for the commonwealth.”
PA-Gov: Rendell to Serve as Honorary Chair of Wolf’s Inaugural Committee
PoliticsPA Written by Nick Field, Managing Editor November 24, 2014
The incoming Democratic Administration is extending a symbolic hand to the last Democratic Administration. Gov-elect Tom Wolf announced today that former Governor Ed Rendell will serve as Honorary Co-Chair of his Inaugural Committee.
What's the deal with school funding reform in
People are talking. Talking about school funding.
So many people that it's hard to keep track.
Legislators, school administrators and advocacy organizations seem to agree on one point: something needs to change. But how to do that is up for debate. In the last year, we've seen at least five big pushes to change the way money is distributed to the state's 500 school districts. Below is a rundown of those efforts.
Pennsylvania is one of only a handful of
states that do not have a predictable education funding formula based on
student enrollment and characteristics.
“While I like you folks in
, the ability of the commonwealth
to actually run school districts in fiscal distress does not have a strong
track record,” she said. She said the
community and board have “cut and closure fatigue.” Harrisburg
By Eleanor Chute /
Post-Gazette November 25, 2014 12:00 AM
Pittsburgh Public Schools superintendent
Linda Lane has told a state panel that
without the district’s “healthy” fund balance and “major, painful reductions,” Pittsburgh would have joined Duquesne, Chester-Upland and Philadelphia as a
Based on her prepared remarks, Mrs. Lane called on the commission to consider enrollment as well as equity, including recognizing it costs more to educate some children than others, such as students who are homeless, are English language learners or have mental health needs, such as chronic stress based on violence in the neighborhoods.
Education funding figures were skewed
The letter-writer, a member of the
the views expressed in this letter are his own. School District
James Paul's column (“Smarter way to fund schools,” Nov. 16) was about the most intellectually dishonest piece I've come across on school funding. In his column, Paul:
— Provided misleading information on
Pennsylvania's investments in classroom
instruction. The adequacy suit to which
is a party concerns the state's basic education subsidy, which is nowhere near
$27 billion. I can only presume Paul arrives at this figure by summing:
(1) all state spending on education, including for public colleges and
universities; (2) local aid, a large and growing share of the total funding
picture; and (3) federal aid for programs like special education. School District of Lancaster
— Failed to note that
students actually score above average on the National Assessment of Educational
Progress, and have higher-than-expected scores in some areas considering our
poverty rates. It's an incredibly demanding test, and even half the students in
— generally considered to be the top-performing state in the nation — score
below proficient in certain cases.
— Relied on standardized test scores — obviously just one measure of school performance — to indict
Pennsylvania's public education system.
Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Foundation (which doesn't disclose its donors) is,
for some reason, a relentless advocate for the state's public cyber charter schools,
which have amassed millions in profits while posting lousy results against this
same standard. Not one of the state's 14 cybers met the state's threshold
for acceptable school performance in 2013-14.
Education is the focus the
annual State of the County event Lancaster
• Return on investment of $1 spent on early childhood education: $17.
• Difference in annual earnings between a high school dropout and someone with a bachelors degree: $36,000.
• Rank of
among surrounding counties of
residents with college degrees: 4 of 6. Lancaster County
• Year by which the
United Way of wants to have all children ready
to enter kindergarten: 2025. Lancaster County
Failure starts early.
entering kindergarten ready to learn. Lancaster
If they are behind in reading by the time they enter the third grade, studies show they will be less likely to graduate high school, more likely to become pregnant and less likely to have earn family supporting wages. And that has ripple effects on the broader community, from the cost of social services to the county’s future economic development. “Education is not just an education issue. Education is a business issue. Education is human services issue. Education is a community issue,” Lancaster of Chamber of Commerce President Tom Baldrige told 375 people Monday who gathered for the annual State of the County luncheon at the DoubleTree Resort near Willow Street.
Trombetta back in court for evidence suppression hearing
Trombetta, an Aliquippa native and East Liverpool, Ohio, resident, faces 11 federal charges, including five counts of filing a false tax return. Trombetta is trying to persuade Conti to toss out secret recordings and wiretaps made by the FBI because, he claims, they involved four attorneys and were protected by attorney-client privilege.
Speculation Of New Philadelphia Charter Schools Has Operators Recruiting Families
CBS Philly By Pat Loeb November 24, 2014 6:13 AM
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Now that the
applications for new charter schools, charter operators are revving up the
pressure to get new schools approved. Some are already recruiting families for
schools that may never exist. Parents in
the Port Richmond section of the city were invited to a meeting about a new
charter school in their neighborhood. Except there is no new charter in the
neighborhood. American Paradigm has applied to open one, but a decision is
three months away. Company CEO Jurate Krokys says the meeting was inspired by
the district’s charter application, which asks about community engagement. Philadelphia School District
Neff: SRC action on teachers' contract was unfair, but conditions in schools are unjust
the notebook By Marjorie Neff on Nov 24, 2014 12:27 PM
The School Reform Commission’s decision to cancel the contract with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and require teachers and staff to contribute to their health insurance premiums has been described as unfair. I agree. I expect that my colleagues on the SRC feel the same way. But our decision was born in response to a larger and profound injustice being inflicted on
children. When we describe
something as unfair, we usually mean we think it’s wrong. When something
is unjust, it goes beyond issues of fairness to violate a
moral code. People of good will can disagree about whether requiring teachers
and staff to contribute to health insurance premiums is the fair or right thing
to do. But there can be no argument that
denying children basic conditions for learning is an injustice.
In a fair world, teachers would be paid much more and the SRC would have voted to affirm that. Unfortunately, we had to make a decision in the world we actually live in, with the resources we actually have.
Paying More and Getting Less, A Tale of Two School Districts
Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools website by Anne Gemmell Posted on November 24, 2014
The following testimony from Anne Gemmell at last week’s “people’s hearings” prior to the regular session, draws out the inequity in the way education is funded in our state.
Good afternoon, Senator Patrick Brown, fellow esteemed members of the Basic Education Funding Commission and concerned citizens of our region. Thank you for being here today to listen to the families affected by the lack of a sensible funding formula for our schools. Leadership begins with listening.
WITF.org Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Nov 24, 2014 2:12 PM
-- A group of residents of York County Washington Township in
it wants to "secede" and join another district for the educational
benefits. York County
The Washington Township Education Coalition is asking the state Department of Education to approve the move out of Dover School District and into Northern York County School District.
Ralph McGregor, vice-chair of the group, says
higher on tests. The coalition has also
noted the potential tax benefits on its website, though McGregor denies it
plays a role. "To remove the
connotation or the misconcept that people had, they thought, before it was
investigated, that taxes would be higher in Northern," he says. Northern York
Saucon Valley board, teachers urged to extend olive branch by state official
By Sara K. Satullo | The Express-Times on November 24, 2014 at 7:33 PM
A Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board hearing examiner Monday urged the Saucon Valley School District and its teachers union to extend an olive branch to each other. The school district has filed an unfair labor practice complaint against the Saucon Valley Education Association, accusing them of bargaining in bad faith. The two sides met before Hearing Examiner Jack Marino Monday for five hours but only made it through two witnesses. He likened the dynamic between the two sides to a "bad marriage."
“The SPP scores are more accurate at identifying the percentage of economically disadvantaged students in a school than at identifying the effectiveness of a school,” Fuller wrote in his brief which matched data about the economic demographics of students with their school’s scores. “It’s actually kind of stunning just how strong the correlations is,” Fuller told The Mercury last week.”It explains so much.”
By Evan Brandt, The Mercury POSTED: 11/23/14, 3:41 PM EST | UPDATED: 20 HRS AGO
While it’s certainly not the only factor involved, its hard to deny the correlation between an increase in the number of poor students in a
Pottstown school building, and the decrease of its School
Performance Profile score. As The
Mercury reported last week, the Pennsylvania Department of Education
released scores for its two-year-old School Performance Profile and results
locally were mixed. Nowhere were they
more mixed than in the Pottstown School District which boasted the school whose
scores increased by more than any other in the area — Lincoln Elementary — and
the school whose scores declined more than any other in the area — Franklin
Elementary. In an effort to explain the
disparity, a clue can be found in looking at the poverty of the students being
By Evan Brandt, The Mercury POSTED: 11/23/14, 3:41 PM EST | UPDATED: 12 MINS AGO
As The Mercury reported last week, the two-year-old assessment method being used by the Pennsylvania Department of Education focuses as much on “growth” as it does on results, or “achievement.” Forty-percent of a school’s total score is based on how much student achievement has grown in math, reading, science and writing in a given year as the level of achievement they have actually reached. Achievement comprises another 40 percent.
The remaining 20 percent is divided up among other factors such as test participation rates, graduation rate, participation in advance placement classes and attendance.
Phoenixville ‘disappointed’ with School Performance scores
PHOENIXVILLE >> Administration in the Phoenixville Area School District expressed “disappointment” in the scores achieved by some of their schools after the 2013-14 School Performance Profiles were released this month. During the Phoenixville Area School Board meeting Thursday night, Assistant Superintendent Regina Palubinsky discussed how choices relating to when students took tests, which contribute to School Performance Profile scores, may have contributed to the 75.7 rating at Phoenixville Area High School. Some members of the public at Thursday’s meeting lambasted the district for the scores. “I hope this will be a big topic at the curriculum meetings for some time,” said board President Josh Gould after the Palubinsky’s presentation finished. School Performance Profiles are in their second year after replacing the federal Adequate Yearly Progress standards. Based on a mixture of factors that include attendance and graduation rates, the scores heavily factor year-to-year growth in grades measured by several tests including the Keystone and Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) exams.
scores down with
reduced funding Pa.
Education Week Published Online: November 24, 2014
PITTSBURGH (AP) — With school districts across the state now in their fourth year of facing fewer state and federal resources, statewide results of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests show declines in every grade level in nearly every subject tested.
The pattern of lower scores on the 2014 PSSA tests holds true for subgroups of students who are white, black, economically disadvantaged, English language learners or are in special education.
Overall on the assessments tests, there were these declines in the percentage of students scoring proficient and advanced in grades 3-8:
What It Takes to Fix American Education
Daily Beast by Jonah Edelman 11.23.14
We’re spending way too much time focusing on who is ‘winning’ and ‘losing’ debates over education, and not enough on implementing proven solutions. As a parent, a mentor, the son of a civil rights leader turned child advocate and a former aide to Robert F. Kennedy, and an advocate for children for nearly twenty years, I can tell you this with confidence: when it comes to helping underserved students succeed, there’s no silver bullet or quick fix.
But there are real solutions:
Discipline, Disabilities, School to Prison, Disproportionality
Saturday, December 13, 2014 from 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM
United Way Building
1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia,
Presenters include Sonja Kerr; Howard Jordan, ACLU; Dr. Karolyn Tyson; Michael Raffaele, Frankel & Kershenbaum, LLC
This session is designed to assist participants to understand the specifics of the federal IDEA disciplinary protections, 20 U.S.C. §1415(k) as they apply to children with disabilities. Topics will include functional behavioral assessment, development of positive behavioral support programs for children with disabilities, manifestation reviews and avoiding juvenile court involvement.
Questions? Email email@example.com or call 267.546.1317.
Info and Registration: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/discipline-disabilities-school-to-prison-disproportionality-tickets-12930883621
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
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.