Friday, November 7, 2014

PA Ed Policy Roundup Nov 7: Statewide coverage - Pennsylvania public schools get their report cards

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 3500 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers, Governor's staff, current/former PA Secretaries of Education, Superintendents, PTO/PTA officers, parent advocates, teacher leaders, business leaders, education professors, members of the press and a broad array of P-16 regulatory agencies, professional associations and education advocacy organizations via emails, website, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup for November 7, 2014:
Statewide coverage - Pennsylvania public schools get their report cards

EPLC "Focus on Education" TV Program on PCN - Sunday, November 9 at 3:00 p.m. 
Education Policy and Leadership Center 
Guest 1: Kathy Manderino, Campaign Manager of the new Campaign for Fair Education Funding and Former Pennsylvania State Representative
Guest 2: Pennsylvania State Representative and House Education Committee Chairman Paul Clymer who is planning to retire on November 30, at the end of the current legislative session
All EPLC "Focus on Education" TV shows are hosted by EPLC President Ron Cowell.
Visit the EPLC and the Pennsylvania School Funding Project web sites for various resources related to school funding, adequacy and equity issues.

Racial bias evident in Pa. funding system, analysis shows
Mostly White districts get more aid per student than equally poor districts with more students of color.
the notebook By Dale Mezzacappa on Nov 6, 2014 10:39 AM
During the gubernatorial campaign, advocates emphasized that Pennsylvania is one of the few states that has no education funding formula. In other words, it has no rational, predictable, enrollment-based system for distributing state school aid.  The process now in place is based on an accumulation of old formulas and ad hocdecisions made over decades.  And a new analysis shows in dramatic fashion that this system, now under review by a special legislative commission, has a discriminatory impact based on race.  
Data analyst David Mosenkis of Mount Airy, who works as an independent consultant, has determined that districts with similar rates of poverty that are almost all White get higher per-pupil amounts of basic education funding than districts that are more racially diverse.

Acting Secretary of Education Announces Results of 2013-14 School Performance Profile; Strong Performance in 72 Percent of Schools
PDE Press Release November 06, 2014
Harrisburg – Acting Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq today announced the results of the 2013-14 School Performance Profile – – that show 2,134 of 2,947, or 72 percent, public school buildings earning a 70 or higher.  Compared to the 2012-13 profile, the percentage of schools with a 70 or higher has held steady at 72 percent.  “These results show that, compared to 2012-13, the majority of our public schools are performing well even though the state has recently revised its academic standards and is transitioning to more rigorous assessments,” Dumaresq said.  “I am pleased that our students and educators continue to meet the challenge of more rigorous academic programs, and I congratulate them for a job well done.”

The results for each public school in Pennsylvania can be found on the Internet at  

Pennsylvania public schools get their report cards
By Eleanor Chute and Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette November 6, 2014 2:49 PM
The overall results of the second round of state School Performance Profiles is much the same as the first: 72 percent of public schools statewide scored 70 or higher.
The state Department of Education Thursday released the profiles, which include academic building scores of up to 107 when seven points of possible extra credit are added. The profiles cover 2,947 public schools, including charter schools. A total of 2,134 scored 70 or higher.  The results for each public school in Pennsylvania can be found on the Internet at  The SPP score is based largely on the results of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests, the state-required end-of-course Keystone Exams, and the amount of growth students showed in one year as measured by the Pennsylvania Value Added Assessment System.  Other factors considered include graduation rates, attendance, participation in Advanced Placement courses and PSAT, and advanced scores on state and industry standards-based competency assessments.

"For some districts, in many cases those in affluent communities with healthy tax bases, the scores were affirming.  For others, it was one more indicator that the state's funding system penalizes lower-income communities that have grappled with budget cuts over the last few years.  …. Ten of the 14 cyber charters performed worse this year. The highest performer, 21st Century Cyber in Downingtown, scored 66, below the minimum target of 70."
Pa. school rankings: Downingtown STEM No. 1; Phila. falters
For a second consecutive year, Downingtown STEM Academy is the top-scoring public school on the state's School Performance Profiles, released Thursday.  "Awesome; wow, this is very fortunate," principal Art Campbell said minutes after learning that the Chester County school was again No. 1 among more than 2,900 schools.  The second- and third-place schools also were in Philadelphia's suburbs: Central Bucks High School East and Lower Merion's Merion Elementary in Montgomery County. Each scored above 100.

Grades for Pennsylvania public schools slightly lower in annual review
Trib Live By Megan Harris Friday, Nov. 7, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
Grades for Pennsylvania public schools dropped marginally in 2013-14, data from the state Department of Education show.  School performance results from 2012-13 show nearly 73 percent of schools received a 70 or higher on a 100-point scale, about half a percentage point higher than in 2013-14. Statewide, no county's grade rose or fell more than five points from its average in 2012-13. Butler County schools led the pack regionally, with institutions in Indiana, Washington and Allegheny counties each scoring above the state 76-point average.
Schools in Pine-Richland, Mt. Lebanon, Moon Area and West Jefferson Hills recorded the highest overall scores — all nearing 100 — while schools in Pittsburgh, McKeesport Area and Propel showed the greatest improvement, about 20 points each.
At 77.27, Allegheny County's average score is about half a point higher than last year.
Pittsburgh Superintendent Linda Lane celebrated success at schools such as South Brook, Sterrett, King, Morrow and Schiller, but acknowledged room for growth at the 27 schools where scores dropped between one and 17 points from last year.
Pennsylvania school report cards had no game changer for Gov. Tom Corbett
By Adam ClarkJacqueline Palochko,Of The Morning Call November 7, 2014
Two days after election, Pennsylvania releases school report cards.
Pennsylvania released its annual school report cards Thursday, revealing no game-changer that might have helped Gov. Tom Corbett if the scores had been released before Tuesday's election.
The percentage of Pennsylvania schools that scored a 70 or above on the School Performance Profile held steady at about 72 percent, the same as last year. The Department of Education's only mention of improved achievement is that the number of schools scoring below 60 decreased by nearly 1 percent.

Days after election, Pa. releases standardized test score data
The Pennsylvania Department of Education released a trove of academic data Thursday -– more than a month later in the year than usual.  For the second year in a row, the state downplayed year-to-year trends in standardized test score results, instead trumpeting its School Performance Profile – an aggregate measure that takes into account holistic factors including graduation rates and student progress.  In 2013-14, 72 percent of the state's public schools earned a 70 or higher on the SPP scale. The Department of Education considers 70 the benchmark of proficiency.
Compared with last year's metrics, the percentage of schools with a SPP score 70 or higher has held steady at 72 percent.

More Pa. school scores decline than improve, state report card shows
Penn Live By Jan Murphy | on November 06, 2014 at 8:03 PM, updated November 06, 2014 at 11:13 PM
From a quick glance at the 2013-14 report card on Pennsylvania's public schools, it appears little has changed from the previous year.  Seventy-two percent attained an overall academic score of 70 or better on a 100-point scale, which is the same percentage from the year before.  But a deeper dive into the scores released publicly Thursday for the state's nearly 3,000 public schools shows a disturbing setback.  More schools saw their score decline last year from the prior year. Specifically, 1,539 schools experienced a drop in their score and 1,405 either improved or stayed the same.

Pennsylvania school scores: How does the Lehigh Valley rank?
By Alyssa Passeggio | The Express-Times  on November 06, 2014 at 5:15 PM, updated November 06, 2014 at 7:01 PM
Pennsylvania today released rankings of every school in the state.
It's the second year the state's issued the School Performance Profiles, which are based on test scores as well as graduation and promotion rates, increasing achievement of all students, and year-over-year student academic growth.  A score of 70 or better out of a possible 100 is considered an indicator that a school is in good shape on track for success, state officials have said.  All districts were provided the profiles this fall since they're being used in educator evaluation systems, the department said.  Bethlehem Area School District officials revealed its scores last month, and cautioned against focusing on the single score alone. If you'd like to look at the schools' full profile, visit
For a look at how schools in Northampton and Lehigh counties ranked, search by district, level of school or school name below. 

Philly schools get mixed results on state performance measure
THE STATE Department of Education yesterday released the 2013-14 School Performance Profiles for every public school in the commonwealth, and roughly one in six Philadelphia schools was rated as high-performing, district officials said.  Thirty-four of the district's 214 schools, or about 16 percent, earned a score of 70 or higher, which the state considers high-performing. That's virtually unchanged compared to 38 out of 242 district schools a year ago (24 schools were closed after the 2012-13 year).  Statewide, 72 percent of schools scored 70 or higher, the same figure as a year ago, according to Acting Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq.
In its second year, the SPP is calculated based on statewide assessments; year-to-year student academic growth; graduation, attendance and promotion rates; and academic growth for historically low-performing groups, such as English-language learners and low-income students.
Starting this year, student growth data from the SPP will be used as part of the new teacher evaluation system. As a result, the state gave districts several weeks to review and verify the data to ensure accuracy.  In Philadelphia, 85 schools earned higher ratings, while 127 saw their ratings decline.

State releases school performance scores
the notebook By David Limm on Nov 6, 2014 03:33 PM
The state's Education Department today released the scores it uses to rate Pennsylvania's public schools.  The number of schools meeting the state's standard stayed flat this year, Education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq announced Thursday. Nearly three-quarters of the state's 2,947 district and charter schools, she said, received scores of 70 or higher.  
Schools are rated on a scale of 0 to 100 (107 with extra credit), and Dumaresq has previously said that a score of 70 is the state's benchmark for schools on the right track. 
“These results show that, compared to 2012-13, the majority of our public schools are performing well, even though the state has recently revised its academic standards and is transitioning to more rigorous assessments,” said Dumaresq in a press release.
Last school year was the first when schools began to partially integrate the Pennsylvania Core Standards, the state's version of the nationally aligned Common Core State Standards, into classrooms and on tests. Beginning this year, the state will begin using student PSSA scores to evaluate its teachers.

School scores provide data for educators, community
The state released results from 2013-14 on Thursday
York Daily Record By Angie Mason @angiemason1 on Twitter  11/07/2014 06:01:32 AM EST
Scores aimed at showing how schools around Pennsylvania are performing were released by the state education department on Thursday.  In the School Performance Profile (SPP) system, every school is given a score on a scale of 100. The number is based on several measures of performance including state test scores, data that measures how much progress students make in a year, graduation rates, attendance rates, and more.

"It is highly unusual for a sitting Senate majority leader to be challenged; Republicans have controlled the state Senate since 1980."
Pileggi faces a challenge for Pa. Senate leadership
By Kate Giammarise / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette November 6, 2014 10:47 PM
HARRISBURG — In a move that could mean a more conservative shift in what has been a body controlled by moderate Republicans, Sen. Jake Corman, R-Centre, will challenge Republican Majority Leader Sen. Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware, for his post in leadership elections next week, according to several Senators and staff members.  It is highly unusual for a sitting Senate majority leader to be challenged; Republicans have controlled the state Senate since 1980.
Mr. Corman’s office did not return a call seeking comment Thursday. But in a letter to Republican senators obtained by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he said as majority leader he “will strive to establish ... unity as we tackle the challenges of continual structural deficits and the Wolf Administration in the future.”  Senators will have a behind-closed-doors vote on their leadership Wednesday in Harrisburg.

GOP fight brewing in state Senate
Penn Live By Marc Levy | The Associated Press on November 06, 2014 at 1:38 PM, updated November 06, 2014 at 1:39 PM
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi is expected to face a challenge to his leadership for the first time in eight years — a move that signals growing conservative influence in the powerful Republican caucus just as Democratic Gov.-elect Tom Wolf prepares to take office.  Republican senators told The Associated Press on Thursday that they expect Appropriations Committee Chairman Jake Corman of Centre County to challenge Pileggi, who is from Delaware County.  The caucus is scheduled to hold leadership votes Wednesday, and a loss by Pileggi would shift influence at the top of caucus leadership away from Philadelphia's politically moderate suburbs.

Lawmaker asks state to delay action on York City schools
York Dispatch By ERIN JAMES 505-5439/@ydcity POSTED:   11/06/2014 09:43:55 PM EST
A York County lawmaker has asked Gov. Tom Corbett's administration to tap the brakes on financial recovery efforts at the York City School District.  In a letter to the acting secretary of the Department of Education, state Rep. Kevin Schreiber, D-York City, said he'd prefer "substantial decisions" wait until Gov.-elect Tom Wolf takes office in January.  "I and our community members are under no illusion that the serious issues and inequities facing our district and its students can continue to go unaddressed," Schreiber wrote in the Nov. 5 letter. "However, as we now know a new administration is imminent, I respectfully request that any further action by the department to appoint a receiver or that any substantial decisions by the chief recovery officer be suspended for the duration of the current administration."

Pa. auditor general launches statewide intermediate unit review, starting in Lancaster County
Lancaster Online By TOM KNAPP | Staff Writer Posted: Thursday, November 6, 2014 5:30 pm | Updated: 8:48 pm, Thu Nov 6, 2014.
The state auditor general is launching a focused review of public intermediate units, beginning with Lancaster-Lebanon IU13.  Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said Thursday the goal is to ferret out wasteful spending and, he hopes, funnel money back into the schools.  IUs provide education services to schools throughout Pennsylvania. DePasquale’s office will review contracts, contracted employees and procurement processes between IUs and the state Department of Education.

Pennsylvania: How Parent Leaders Beat Governor Corbett
Diane Ravitch's Blog By dianeravitch November 6, 2014
While Republicans made big gains across the nation, Pennsylvania was a stark exception. Democrat Tom Wolf beat Republican Governor Tom Corbett by a large margin. The main issue of the campaign was Corbett’s devastating cuts to public schools. Other budget-cutting governors won; why was Corbett whipped?  Here is the answer: Parent power. Parents never forgot what Corbett did and they built a grassroots movement to keep alive the voters’ memory and outrage about what Corbett had done to public schools.  Jesse Ramey–the blogger Yinzercation–explains here the victory strategy. Parents were relentless. They never gave up.

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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