Thursday, November 6, 2014

PA Ed Policy Roundup Nov 6: Education a deciding factor in the Pa. governor's race

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup for November 6, 2014:
Education a deciding factor in the Pa. governor's race

Next Basic Education Funding Commission hearing is scheduled for Harrisburg today, November 6th, 10 am North Office Building, Hearing Room 1.

Thursday at 10:00 am: Basic Education Funding Commission Meeting
PCN By broller on Nov 05, 2014
Basic Education Funding Commission Meeting
The Basic Education Funding Commission will hold its sixth meeting at the state capitol. Created by Act 51 of 2014, the 15-member commission is tasked with developing and recommending to the General Assembly a new formula for distributing state funding for basic education to Pennsylvania school districts.
Testifiers include:
10:00 am: Opening remarks – Co-Chairs, Sen. Pat Browne and Rep. Mike Vereb
10:05 am: John L. Winn, Former Commissioner of Education of the State of Florida
11:05 am: Jesse Levin, Principal Research Scientist at the American Institutes for Research; and Bruce Baker, Professor of Education Theory, Policy & Administration at Rutgers University

State to release school performance data on Thursday
By Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette November 5, 2014 12:09 PM
The state Department of Education today released School Performance Profiles internally to public schools throughout the state and intends to make those profiles public tomorrow, according to an email sent to school superintendents.  School officials have been awaiting for the past month for the release of the profiles, which give each school a single academic score based on such factors as test scores, growth of test scores, graduation rates and other factors, for the past month.  Last year scores for the majority — 2,300 public schools — were released in early October, followed by the release of the remaining 600 others in December. A data glitch prompted the delay of the second set of scores.  This year, the Department of Education has blamed the delay of the release of the scores on the review and correction process for the data.
School and teachers union officials, however, have suggested the department was delaying the release until after the governor’s election.

Pa. school report cards coming out on Thursday
Penn Live By Jan Murphy |  on November 05, 2014 at 2:55 PM
Report card on Pennsylvania schools is set for Thursday barring any unforeseen issues arising at the last minute, according to the state Department of Education.  The department is expected to release the School Performance Profiles that provide parents, taxpayers, educators and students with a look at how well their school performed in 2013-14 on various measures.
The profiles provide information on graduation rate, attendance rate, promotion rate, student's academic growth and various other measures. Along with that, each school will receive an academic score.  New to this year's profiles is a trend line that will include information about a school's performance on the various indicators from the 2012-13 school year. The plan is to ultimately show a five-year trend line on each school's performance, said department spokesman Tim Eller.

What will Tom Wolf's win mean to Pennsylvania classrooms?
Education advocates got exactly what they wanted in Pennsylvania's gubernatorial election Tuesday: a progressive Democrat who puts education at the top of his priority list.
Gov.- elect Tom Wolf has big plans for providing relief to resource-strapped classrooms across the commonwealth, but onlookers and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle concur that Wolf's agenda faces a very steep climb.  Despite a fervent effort to push incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett out of office, Wolf supporters aren't so naive to think the York county businessman can wave a magic wand and give schools all the resources they need immediately.

What Governor Tom Wolf Means for Philadelphia
All he has to do is save the schools, social services and the economy.
Four years of Tom Corbett have, to put it mildly, been rough on Philadelphia. Chaos in the state-managed and largely state-funded school district. Cuts to social services that Philly’s high-poverty population rely on heavily. A general sense that the city’s worries and challenges were not a priority for a Republican governor from the other side of the state.
Well, Corbett is finished, in significant part because 88 percent of Philly voters cast their ballots for Wolf.  So how will the city fare with Governor Tom Wolf, a progressive Democrat, running Pennsylvania?  Better, probably, but not nearly as well as many imagine.

Wolf win seen as victory for Philly schools
TOM WOLF'S official victory party took place in central Pennsylvania, but thousands of teachers and education advocates in Philadelphia also celebrated, hoping the change in power will signal a win for the city's ailing public schools.  Education was the top issue during the governor's race and Wolf pledged to increase the state's investment in public schools, while hammering Republican Gov. Corbett for cutting $1 billion.  While Wolf - something of a political novice - must deal with a Republican-controlled Legislature, some expect city schools to benefit from increased funding, though it is too early to say how much.

"In no other state did education play the role it played in the Pennsylvania governor's race. Everywhere else the economy and President Barack Obama defined elections.
Here, a Republican governor lost in a state where:
- Unemployment declined from 8.1 percent when he took office in January 2011 to 5.7 percent in September.
- Obama's job approval rating sat at 32 percent late last month, according to a Franklin & Marshall College poll. Trouble was, Corbett's job approval stood at 30 percent.
One in five Pennsylvania voters (20 percent) named unemployment or finances as the most important problem facing the state in that poll, but one in four (25 percent) named education and schools. In October 2010, as Corbett ran for election to his first term, only one in 25 voters (4 percent) named education as the most important problem."
ANALYSIS: Education a deciding factor in the Pa. governor's race
Towanda Daily Review BY BORYS KRAWCZENIUK (TIMES-SHAMROCK WRITER) Published: November 5, 2014
As a Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate loomed Tuesday night, the party's governor in Pennsylvania got exactly what his critics hoped was coming to him.  A solid beating.
Gov. Tom Corbett lost badly to Democratic governor nominee Tom Wolf in an election that really didn't tighten up at the end as much as Republican-leaning polls showed, and whose outcome never seriously seemed in doubt. As of 11 p.m., Corbett trailed by 11 percentage points with 81 percent of precincts reporting.
Corbett went from being one of the handful of statewide candidates ever to garner 3 million votes when he ran for a second term as attorney general in 2008, to being the first governor to lose his re-election bid, also ending the streak of electing governors of the same party to consecutive terms that dated to 1946.
He lost across the board, according to exit polling.
Wolf won almost every demographic - men and women, black and white, almost every age group, independents, high school and college graduates, poor, rich, Catholic, almost every part of Pennsylvania and among the four in 10 voters who thought Corbett's handling of the Jerry Sandusky case at Penn State was very or somewhat important.
Corbett tied among people 65 and over, decisively won Republicans and won among non-Catholic Christians and in central Pennsylvania.
This election might never have turned out this way if not for his first budget.

Yinzercation: Diagram of a Victory
Yinzercation Blog November 5, 2014
And that, my friends, is how you win an election. For three long years we have been fighting the devastation wrought by Gov. Corbett on our public schools. But last night we helped unseat the first incumbent governor in Pennsylvania history, to elect Tom Wolf, who ran on a strong public education platform! In fact, I dare say that we here in the grassroots are largely responsible for this victory.  The political analysts all over the news this morning have missed this point. Although they are quick to highlight that Gov. Corbett’s budget cuts made him deeply unpopular, most have failed to mention the authentic, bottom-up movement that formed around Pennsylvania’s public schools. For instance, Terry Madonna of Franklin & Marshall College explained that, “Governor Corbett’s job performance dropped in his first year and he’s never been able to recover,” as drastic cuts, particularly in education, “simply dogged him throughout his administration.” [Post-Gazette, 11-5-14]  While this is true, what really dogged Corbett was – us! Ordinary parents, students, teachers, and community members refused to let this issue go.

Madonna & Young: Death from A Thousand Cuts
Politically Uncorrected Column by G. Terry Madonna & Michael L.Young November 5, 2014
The historic scope of Tom Corbett’s loss on Tuesday must be understood to place it in any meaningful perspective. In losing to Democrat Tom Wolf, he became the first Pennsylvania governor in 40 years to fail to win reelection--and his party became the first party in 60 years to fail to win two consecutive gubernatorial terms.  Even worse for purposes of comparison--except Dick Thornburgh (1979-87) who won reelection narrowly during a deep recession--Corbett’s predecessors were reelected by an average of 23 percentage points. Corbett lost by 10 points. If you are keeping track at home, that’s an astounding 33 point difference between Corbett and his predecessors.  But against this historically massive rejection of Corbett, the titular leader of the Republican Party, there is little evidence that the GOP itself was affected. State Republicans increased their control of the state House as well as the state Senate, and every one of 12 Republican congressional incumbents running for reelection was reelected.
In short--and certainly not sweet for Corbett--his loss was mostly his own, but his defeat was aided and abetted by a Republican-controlled legislature that gave him few of his major policy priorities. The larger failure was Corbett’s. He failed to grasp the challenges confronting him or to tackle them effectively, making his reelection virtually impossible.

PoliticsPA Election Recap
Written by PoliticsPA Staff November 5, 2014
Tom Wolf cruised to a double-digit win and Gov. Tom Corbett to a historic loss Tuesday. Below the top ticket race, a Republican wave swept bigger GOP majorities into the state House and Senate. Here are all the election results you need to know.

York City teachers reject fact-finder's report
Union officials said they will look to resume negotiations with the school board
By Angie Mason @angiemason1 on Twitter 11/05/2014 10:49:39 PM EST
The York City Education Association will look to resume negotiations with the school board, the union president said, after the teachers voted Wednesday to reject a report from a state fact finder.  The report was overwhelmingly rejected by union members, according to Bruce Riek, union president.  In a news release, the union cited several issues, including that the report was unclear about how savings from teacher salary cuts would be used to benefit students. The report also left open the door for a charter operator to be brought in to run schools at some point, the release says.

Pittsburgh schools poised for operating surplus
By Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette November 6, 2014 12:00 AM
If the latest projections hold up, Pittsburgh Public Schools is poised to finish this calendar year with an operating surplus for the fifth consecutive time.  The district still is projecting long-range financial challenges, but they have been pushed farther into the future. With this projection, the district, once expected to go bankrupt in 2015, now is expected to run out of money in 2018.
“When you have those years of positive closings, those are putting more money in your fund balance but not necessarily solving your structural problems,” said Ron Joseph, chief operations officer.

Advocacy group seeks to challenge School Reform Commission vote
THE EDUCATION advocacy group Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools has taken legal steps to challenge the School Reform Commission's decision last month to cancel the teachers' contract.  Retired teacher Lisa Haver, a member of the alliance, alleges the SRC was "in clear violation" of the state's Sunshine Law when it called the Oct. 6 meeting to impose conditions on the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. The action would have forced PFT members to begin paying for health-care benefits next month, but subsequent filings by the district and the PFT has stayed the decision.  Lawyer Mark Zecca filed the writ on behalf of the organization in Common Pleas Court on Tuesday as a way to preserve the group's right to challenge the decision under the Sunshine Act. Zecca yesterday served the district's Office of General Counsel with a copy of the writ, he said.

Gettysburg board conditionally renews Vida charter
Gettysburg Area School District unanimously votes to conditionally allow Vida Charter School to remain open for another five years
Hanover Evening Sun By Jennifer Wentz @jenni_wentz on Twitter  POSTED:   11/04/2014 02:30:00 PM EST
Vida Charter School can continue operations for another five years, at least as far as Gettysburg Area School District is concerned.  The district's board of education decided in a unanimous vote at its Nov. 3 meeting to renew Vida's charter on the condition that it make several changes to its bylaws by Nov. 30, the deadline for the charter renewal.  These changes include amendments to Vida's board member election policies, as well as safeguards to ensure all school employees are properly certified and undergo appropriate background checks.

Palmer charter consultant says finances precarious
MARTHA WOODALL, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER LAST UPDATED: Wednesday, November 5, 2014, 10:59 PM POSTED: Wednesday, November 5, 2014, 6:26 PM
As the charter-revocation hearing for the Palmer charter school ended Wednesday, a consultant said he believed the embattled school could continue to operate but indicated that its finances were so precarious, it might not be able to stay afloat through June.  John L. Pund Jr., noting that the school's current budget was based on revenue from 1,250 students, said the charter has made adjustments every day since recent court decisions held it was only entitled to be paid for 675.  The state Supreme Court ruled in June that Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Charter School was bound by the enrollment maximum in an agreement it signed with the district in 2005.

"Although Imhotep, which has 525 students in grades nine through 12, has been praised for sending a high percentage of its graduates to college, the school's records show that in 2013, only 9 percent of Imhotep students scored proficient on the state's Keystone exams in Algebra 1 and 5 percent in Biology 1. In literature, 37 percent were proficient."
Imhotep Charter sued by related nonprofit
MARTHA WOODALL, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER LAST UPDATED: Wednesday, November 5, 2014, 1:08 AM POSTED: Tuesday, November 4, 2014, 7:05 PM
When Imhotep Institute Charter High School opened its new building in East Germantown five years ago, officials dubbed the $10 million facility "the Miracle on 21st Street."  Now, as the school with an African-centered curriculum fights to keep its charter, the building at 6201 N. 21st St. is at the center of a tug-of-war.  Sankofa Network Inc., a related nonprofit that owns Imhotep's campus, filed a Common Pleas Court lawsuit last week alleging the charter owes $1.2 million in rent, interest, and fees.  The court action comes after the school, which opened in 1998, was rocked by months of turmoil, including the ouster in late June of M. Christine Wiggins, Imhotep's founding chief executive.

As GOP celebrates win, no sign of narrowing gender, age gaps
Pew Research Center BY JOCELYN KILEY NOVEMBER 5, 2014
Yesterday’s elections brought a widespread win for the Republican Party, which will increase its share of seats in the House in the next Congress, and take over the Senate, with a net gain of at least seven seats.  Nationally, 52% of voters backed Republican candidates for Congress, while 47% voted for Democrats, according to exit polls by the National Election Pool, as reported byThe New York Times. The overall vote share is similar to the GOP’s margin in the 2010 elections, and many of the key demographic divides seen in that election — particularly wide gender and age gaps — remain.

Wall Street has a good election
Politico By MJ LEE | 11/5/14 12:39 PM EST
For Wall Street, the 2014 midterms is a return to business as usual — in the best way possible.
After serving as a political punching bag for the past few election cycles — first for the tea party right, and then for populist Democrats — the industry is feeling like it has finally drawn a set of winning candidates that it can peacefully work with next year.
One by one, a handful of Senate candidates backed by the GOP establishment and overwhelmingly favored by the banking industry started to claim victory as polling stations closed across the country on Tuesday

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:

DelCo Rising: Winning for Education Nov18 7:00PM - 9:00PM
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.
James Catterall, Centers for Research on Creativity, Professor Emeritus, UCLA
Sandra Ruppert, Director, Arts Education Partnership
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).

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

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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