Monday, January 26, 2015

PA Ed Policy Roundup Jan 26: NY Times On Governor Wolf

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 3525 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers, Governor's staff, current/former PA Secretaries of Education, Wolf education transition team members, 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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PA Ed Policy Roundup for January 26, 2015:
NY Times On Governor Wolf

Upcoming Basic Education Funding Commission hearings scheduled in Mercer County, Montgomery County and Dauphin County
PA Basic Education Funding Commission website
Thursday, January 29, 2015, 10 am Greenville Junior/Senior High School 9 Donation Road, Greenville, PA 16125
Thursday, February 5, 2015, 10 am Montgomery County, location TBA
Thursday, February 26, 2015, 11 am Dauphin County, location TBA

"Education was the biggest issue during the campaign. “I have polled for 24 years, and I could not find another gubernatorial campaign where that was the main issue,” said G. Terry Madonna, director of the Franklin & Marshall College poll.  “Some of our systems,” Mr. Wolf said, “are more segregated than before Brown v. the Board of Ed. We have to look at making our tax system fairer.”  Pennsylvania does not currently have a set funding formula for local school districts, which underlies much of the funding inequity, education experts say."
Pennsylvania’s Governor Breaks Through a G.O.P. Tide
New York Times By JENNIFER STEINHAUER JAN. 23, 2015
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Standing outside the Capitol here — an ornate jewel wedged in the center of this recession-beaten industrial city — the businessman and political neophyte Tom Wolf told the gathered crowd this week, “I’m going to be an unconventional governor.”
Actually, Mr. Wolf already is. The only person to defeat a sitting governor in the four decades that Pennsylvania has allowed its chief executive a second term, Mr. Wolf is also the only Democrat in the country who picked off a Republican governor at a time when his party’s record was only slightly less calamitous than that of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"t is somewhat of a paradox that poverty challenges our ability to provide quality education, even as quality education for all is ultimately the only solution to poverty."
Gov. Wolf - help us help change York's troubled schools: Kim C. Bracey and Kevin Schreiber
Kim C. Bracey is the mayor of York. State Rep. Kevin Schreiber represents the York-based 95th House District.
PennLive Op-Ed By Kim C. Bracey and Kevin Schreiber on January 25, 2015 at 12:00 PM
As two individuals elected to represent our City of York and two city residents, we are jointly and respectfully requesting a meeting with Gov. Tom Wolf, Secretary of Education-designee Pedro Rivera and any designated members of his Cabinet, as well as York City School District Recovery Officer Dave Meckley, Superintendent Dr. Eric Holmes, and a representative of the York City School Board.   The purpose of such a meeting will be to develop a forward-looking plan for the future of our school district.  A copy of this letter is being directed to these parties, and we think it is important to provide this letter to the public so all are apprised of our goal. We look forward to a productive meeting on behalf of the over 8,000 students living in York City.

Did you catch our weekend postings?
PA Ed Policy Roundup Jan 24: Dworetzky: Approve quality charters or reject them all? Which is the irresponsible move?

Pa. tax shift plans inspire early opposition
WHYY Newsworks by Mary Wilson JANUARY 26, 2015
Pennsylvania's major doctors lobby is already gearing up to oppose plans to reduce or eliminate property taxes.  Plans to curb or kill the property taxes levied by school districts didn't get very far last legislative session. Lawmakers are in the process of reintroducing those proposals.
But the Pennsylvania Medical Society said both proposals would stick medical doctors and their patients with a higher bill.  "We have great concern over both the House and Senate initiatives from last session," said PAMED's legislative counsel Scot Chadwick. "And we're going to be opposing anything this session like that -- that would provide for a tax on health care services."

Teachers strike deal in Interboro: New pact includes 5.54 percent in raises over three-year term
By Courtney Elko, Delco Times Correspondent POSTED: 01/24/15, 10:39 PM EST
The Interboro School Board unanimously approved a collective bargaining agreement with the teacher’s union at Wednesday’s school board meeting.  School Board President Kathleen Hauger said the three-year contract includes pay raises for the teachers over three years and the teachers have agreed to changes in medical and prescription benefit plans, which will save the district about $230,000.  “This is good news for our district,” Hauger said. “It’s been months in the making and the board is confident that this is a fair agreement that addresses everybody’s needs as best as possible.”

Pittsburgh teachers’ pay schedule examined as contract talks begin
By Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette January 26, 2015 12:08 AM
Five years ago, the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers and Pittsburgh Public Schools signed an unusual teacher contract.  It provided a performance-based pay schedule for new teachers and opportunities for teachers to advance in pay and responsibility without leaving the classroom as part of the district’s Empowering Effective Teachers plan.  With the contract set to expire at the end of June, talks in the coming months probably will examine which elements are worth keeping and which aren’t.  The contract is expiring at a time that grants for the Empowering Effective Teachers plan from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the federal Teacher Incentive Fund are winding down. The federal money has helped pay for bonuses and added pay for career ladder positions; the Gates money has helped to pay for management pieces of the effort.

Let teachers run the schools
Teacher-led schools are engaging students and showing results across the country
Post Gazette By David Osborne January 25, 2015 12:00 AM
Walk through a typical public school and you see students sitting in rows of identical desks listening to teachers talk. Unless the teacher is particularly inspiring, half of the students are zoning out. This isn’t just a problem for teachers, half of whom leave the profession within their first five years. It’s also a problem for their pupils: Disengaged teenagers do not make the best students.  Now imagine if students were instead encouraged to work on projects they chose: building robots, writing plays, researching why bees are dying off by the millions.
When teachers run their own schools, they often make such changes. “We’re competing against Xbox 360 and over-scheduled days with soccer practices and very dynamic lives,” says Kartal Jaquette, one of 10 teachers who run the Denver Green School. “Are you almost as interesting as a video game? Are you getting almost as much attention as a soccer coach might? Is it as much fun? Because if not, they’re going to tune you out.”

City inspector general gains control of school district fraud
KRISTEN A. GRAHAM AND MARTHA WOODALL, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS LAST UPDATED: Sunday, January 25, 2015, 10:39 PM POSTED: Sunday, January 25, 2015, 8:24 PM
The Philadelphia School District has given up in-house investigations of corruption, fraud, and waste, turning that job over to the city Inspector General.  Bill Green, chairman of the School Reform Committee, said the move would modernize and professionalize the office.
John F. Downs, the former police captain who originated the district's Inspector General's Office and staffed it for the last 11 years, retired Friday.  With a $2.6 billion budget, much of that in contracts, the schools needed more robust oversight of their operations, Green said.

Watchdog group says no to new Philly charter schools
Philly Trib by Tribune Staff Report Posted: Friday, January 23, 2015 12:00 am
A new report recommending no new charter school approvals in 2015 finds fault with state legislation that required a new round of applications as a condition of extending a local cigarette sales tax.  Public Citizens for Children and Youth, which advocates for quality schools, recently released the findings.  The group said increased competition would reduce funding to more drastic levels, pulling resources from existing schools and reduce quality of those programs.
For example, the findings show half of the applicants already operate charter schools in the city and nearly half of those fell short of meeting state benchmarks in reading and math. The report also found that charter schools proposed in area near Temple University, Drexel University and University of Pennsylvania, raising concerns that enrollment declines are possible at 18 public schools run by university-affiliated partnerships in the surrounding area.
PCCY wants the school district to hold off on approving new schools until more resources are available for public education.

"The board is urging the legislators to change the charter school funding formula by altering tuition and pension costs, reinstating charter school reimbursements to school districts and passing legislation that will provide school districts the ability to negotiate the terms of the charter school renewal application, according to the resolution."
Souderton Area School Board calls for charter school reform
The Reporter By Jarreau Freeman, on Twitter POSTED: 01/23/15, 4:47 PM EST |
Franconia >> The Souderton Area School Board is calling for changes in charter school legislation and is asking elected officials to rethink the charter school funding formula.
In December, the school board renewed a five-year contract with the Souderton Charter School Collaborative by a 5-4 vote. Some board members seemed torn by the motion to renew the school’s contract, with some stating that a charter school in the district is unnecessary.
However, during Thursday’s action meeting, the board unanimously voted to approve a resolution expressing its opposition to the state charter school funding formula.

Thorough and Efficient: Pennsylvania Education Funding Lawsuit website
Arguing that our state has failed to ensure that essential resources are available for all of our public school students to meet state academic standards.

Register Now! EPLC 2015 Regional Workshops for School Board Candidates and Others
The Education Policy and Leadership Center, with the Cooperation of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) and Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO), will conduct A Series of Regional Full-Day Workshops for 2015 Pennsylvania School Board Candidates.  Incumbents, non-incumbents, campaign supporters and all interested voters are invited to participate in these workshops.
Pittsburgh Region Saturday, February 21, 2015 – 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Allegheny Intermediate Unit, 475 East Waterfront Drive, Homestead, PA  15120
Harrisburg Region Saturday, March 7, 2015– 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Pennsylvania School Boards Association Headquarters, 400 Bent Creek Boulevard, Mechanicsburg, PA 17050
Philadelphia Region Saturday, March 14, 2015 – 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Montgomery County Intermediate Unit, 2 W. Lafayette Street, Norristown, PA 19401

INVITATION: Twitter Chat on Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding Tuesday, Jan. 27 at 8 p.m.
The first monthly Twitter chat of 2015 with Pennsylvania’s major education leadership organizations is set for Tuesday, Jan. 27 at 8 p.m. The January chat will focus on a fair, predictable public school funding formula and the ongoing work of the state’s basic education funding commission. Use hashtag#PAEdFunding to participate and follow the conversation.
On the last Tuesday of each month at 8 p.m., the following organizations go to Twitter to discuss timely topics, ask questions and listen to the public’s responses:
·         The Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA);
·         The Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA);
·         The Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO);
·         The Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools (PARSS); and
·         The Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units

PILCOP: Children with Emotional Problems: Avoiding the Juvenile Justice System, and What Does Real Help Look Like?
Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia Tuesday, February 17, 2015 1:00 -- 4:00 P.M.
This session will help you navigate special education in order to assist children at home not receiving services, those in the foster care system or those in the juvenile court system. CLE and Act 48 credit is available.  This session is co-sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania School of Policy and Practice, a Pre-approved Provider of Continuing Education for Pennsylvania licensed social workers.  Click here to purchase tickets  

NPE 2015 Annual Conference – Chicago April 24 - 26 – Early Bird Special Registration Open!
Early-bird discounted Registration for the Network for Public Education’s Second Annual Conference is now available at this address:
These low rates will last for the month of January.
The event is being held at the Drake Hotel in downtown Chicago, and there is a link on the registration page for special hotel registration rates. Here are some of the event details.
There will be a welcoming social event  7 pm Friday night, at or near the Drake Hotel — details coming soon.   Featured speakers will be:
§         Jitu Brown, National Director – Journey for Justice, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, Network for Public Education Board of Directors
§         Tanaisa Brown, High School Senior, with the Newark Student Union
§         Yong Zhao, Author, “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon?
§         Diane Ravitch in conversation with
§         Lily Eskelsen Garcia, NEA President and
§         Randi Weingarten, AFT President
§         Karen Lewis, President, Chicago Teachers Union

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