Monday, January 5, 2015
PA Ed Policy Roundup Jan 5: Editorial: The shame of education funding in Pa
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PA Ed Policy Roundup for January 5, 2015:
Editorial: The shame of education funding in Pa
"This past year districts in the top half of average resident income will spend nearly $1,800 more per student than the poorest half of districts. That represents a 140 percent increase in the size of the gap –more than $1,000 per student - since the 2010-11 school year."
Delco Times Editorial: The shame of education funding in
Delco Times Editorial January 3, 2015
The people of
learning something they’ve known for a long time in the . When you cut education funding, it cuts a lot
deeper in economically struggling school districts than it does in those more
well-to-do areas. It’s called being
penalized because of your zip code, and it has been a fact of life in William
Penn and other fiscally distressed school districts in Delco and across the
state for a long time. It’s part of the
unlevel playing field that makes up the shame – or maybe that would be better
stated as sham – that is public education funding in William Penn
School District Pennsylvania. And it got a lot worse in the
four years Republican Tom Corbett took up residence in the governor’s mansion. A recent review by the Associated Press
confirmed the sad state of affairs in Pennsylvania
less fortunate school districts. The gap
between what wealthy and poor school districts spend to educate children
widened dramatically under Corbett’s leadership, exacerbated by deep cuts in
aid needed to balance the state budget.
Did you catch our weekend postings?
Corbett administration's efforts to deny appeal in
"Yeah, that seems like a Catch-22 that author Joseph Heller would have
admired." York PA
"State funding for schools in
below the national average of about 45.5 percent, and that results in high
local property taxes in many districts" Pennsylvania
Fact check: Tom Wolf wants state to pay 50 percent toward public education, but are his numbers on target?
Here's a look at what it would really mean if the state contributed half of public education spending.
York Daily Record By Ed Mahon email@example.com @edmahonreporter on Twitter UPDATED: 01/03/2015 12:17:48 PM EST
Democrat Tom Wolf, who was elected governor in November, made education funding a key part of his campaign. He said the goal should be to get the state's share to 50 percent. To get a sense of what it would take to reach that goal, it helps to know the history of state funding in
and how much the state provides now. Wolf
and his campaign have tried to frame the issue by citing numbers on education
spending. We are fact-checking two of their statements:
Daily Local Editorial: Disparity in school funding an important issue in
An Associated Press analysis of school spending in
revealed a key finding that has been explored at length on this Opinion page
over the past few years. The gap between
what wealthy districts and poor districts spend to educate children has widened
dramatically in Pennsylvania.
In the recent AP analysis, the findings showed that the gap more than doubled
in the four years of Gov. Tom Corbett’s term.
But even before Corbett moved into the Governor’s Mansion, we compared
school spending in districts we call the “have-nots,” to those which we call
the “haves.” The differences in income and property value have created wide
disparities in school revenue and spending.
For the have-nots, that translates to less money per student and a
greater tax burden on property owners to provide the most basic education as
required by the state constitution. AP
compared this disparity to other states and found that Pennsylvania is among the worst.
State needs to find formula for success
Times Tribune Opinion BY REP. MARK HANNA Published: January 4, 2015
When legislators gather in
Harrisburg to begin the 2015-16 session, they
will face a structural budget deficit of well more than $2 billion. This is a point Gov.-elect Tom Wolf has
emphasized as he travels Pennsylvania. The emphasis of this point is not about
laying blame or piling on as some people seem to think. It’s about
acknowledging reality, remembering how we got here, and avoiding the missteps
of the past four years.
Yet for the past week I’ve been reading quotes from Republican leaders about how they are only willing to work with our new governor if their failed ideas of the past come first. This seems like a familiar approach, and one that is not likely to help steer
out of the ditch it is in and begin to address its educational, economic and
financial needs with new and innovative solutions.
public schools are starved for resources. This is a direct result of the $1
billion Gov. Corbett cut from education, which he never restored. But before we
can begin to restore that funding, we need to lay a strong foundation. We need
an education funding formula that ensures all children receive a quality
education, no matter where they live. We need investments by the state in
buildings, supplies and programs. We need to restore the charter school
reimbursement so districts can afford to provide that option to the parents and
students who want it.
Politics, Fiscal Issues Frame Pa. School-Aid Debate
In November’s Republican-dominated elections, the
Pennsylvania governor’s race was a big outlier, and the
implications for public school spending in the
are just starting to play out. The
Democratic victor, newly elected Gov. Tom Wolf, made support for increased
school spending a centerpiece of a campaign that ousted incumbent Gov. Tom
Corbett, the only Republican governor who won a seat in 2010, but then lost it
in 2014. Now, Keystone State Pennsylvania
joins Nevada and Georgia as states with momentum
building to overhaul school funding.
State government revenues continue late-year uptick in
Penn Live By Charles Thompson | firstname.lastname@example.org Email the author | Follow on Twitter on January 02, 2015 at 4:56 PM
In keeping with the recent bullish national economic news, the Pennsylvania Revenue Department said Friday that for the fourth straight month state government tax and other revenue collections have exceeded budget estimates. State general fund revenue exceeded projections by 6.3 percent in December, good for a monthly surplus of $161.7 million. For the first half of the 2014-15 fiscal year, revenues are now $270.7 million over estimates, or 2.1 percent ahead. That does not include an anticipated $80 million transfer of profits from the state-owned liquor stores that have already been built into the projections. When held up against the first half of fiscal 2013-14, the picture is even brighter: year-over-year revenue growth is a robust 5.6 percent, even after some one-time income sources are factored out.
2014: The year in
education stories York County
Struggle over control of city school district was prominent all year.
York Daily Record By Angie Mason email@example.com @angiemason1 on Twitter UPDATED: 01/03/2015 11:55:24 PM EST
As 2014 comes to a close, it's time to look back on the biggest education stories to hit
. So much has happened in one year, and yet,
there's so much we still don't know. The
possibility that district schools will be converted to charters operated by an
outside company grew closer to reality in 2014. The school board put out a
request for proposals seeking operators to run district buildings, and those companies
began making appearances in the district – usually accompanied by protests. In October, the school board rejected a
proposal to have a few buildings operated by a charter company. Recovery
officer David Meckley then directed the board to approve an agreement to turn
all schools in to charters, operated by York
The board tabled that action in November, leading the state to request Meckley
be named receiver – a request the court granted. But the decision drew almost immediate appeals.
As 2014 comes to an end, it's still uncertain what comes next. Need to catch
up? Check out this timeline going back to 2012, which we've been updating with
stories for several months. Charter
MELISSA DRIBBEN, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER LAST UPDATED: Sunday, January 4, 2015, 12:03 PM POSTED: Saturday, January 3, 2015, 10:36 PM
David Goldberg, a theoretical cosmologist, physics professor, and associate dean for research and graduate education at
is one of those academic superheroes who can translate complex scientific topics
into language that mere mortals can comprehend. That talent was a major reason that Philadelphia Futures chose
him to address nearly 600 parents, mentors, and students at the nonprofit's
25th annual conference Saturday at Drexel. Every teen in attendance came from a low-income family. None
had parents with college degrees. And all had enough intelligence and ambition
to qualify for the program that has provided mentorship and scholarships to
thousands of disadvantaged students in the city since 1989. Drexel University
"Some members of the state Legislature often squawk about teachers union contracts that use seniority rules to protect veteran teachers from being laid off. The lawmakers argue layoffs should be based on teacher performance rather than seniority as if somehow veteran teachers are lazy because they know they are protected from losing their jobs. But the House operates on its official seniority rules that mandate caucus leaders appoint plum committee assignments based on years of elective service, not on smarts, acumen or private-sector experience."
Politics as Usual
By Steve Esack and Laura Olson Of The Morning Call January 3, 2015
Swearing-in ceremony for Legislature
The new two-year legislative session officially began Dec. 1. But the newly elected and re-elected full-time legislators will take the oath of office Tuesday. The swearing-in ceremonies for 203 members of the House will kick off at 8:30 a.m. with two hours of media photo ops and interviews on the House floor. The official ceremony will start at noon, with the oath of office, speeches, introduction of caucus leaders and freshmen lawmakers. The Senate, which also will be sworn into office, will cross the hall to the House for a joint session in which they must certify the gubernatorial election returns.
"Pennsylvania educators fought the recent changes, which eliminated the requirement that families submit their children’s portfolios, as well as the results of standardized testing in third, fifth and eighth grade, to school district superintendents. The new law also allows parents to certify that their children have completed high school graduation requirements and to issue homegrown diplomas without any outside endorsement.
“Here we are loosening standards for a subset of students while at the same time giving them the same credential as all other students,” said Jim Buckheit, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators. He noted that the home-school law had been weakened at the same time that public school students were being held to more rigorous academic standards and teachers were being judged by the performance of their students."
Home Schooling: More Pupils, Less Regulation
New York Times By MOTOKO RICH JAN. 4, 2015
“We believe that because parents who make this commitment to teach their children at home are dedicated and self-motivated, there’s just not a real need for the state to be involved in overseeing education,” said Dewitt T. Black III, senior counsel for the Home School Legal Defense Association, which has close ties to local Christian home-school associations. Mr. Black wrote an early version of the bill that eventually passed here.
Charter schools debate continues -- are they about money or education?
By Chris Potter/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette January 4, 2015 12:00 AM
Traditional public schools may feel besieged by public criticism and hostile politicians. But to hear charter school advocates tell it, they aren’t alone. “There’s a lot of noise directed at charters,” said Jonathan Cetel, the executive director of the research and advocacy group Pennsylvania Campaign for Achievement Now (PennCAN). “But there are thousands of families on wait lists [to enroll in charters], and they don’t have a voice.” Charters have been controversial since state law established them in 1997. While even some staunch defenders of traditional schools acknowledge that there are successful charters, there have also been underperforming charters and cases of outright fraud, especially in the
Philadelphia area. “It’s not about education, it’s about making
money,” said Ted Kirsch, president of the statewide American Federation of
A+ Schools moves to stronger advocacy on
By Chris Potter /
Post-Gazette January 4, 2015 12:00 AM
Five years ago, Pittsburgh Public Schools educators earned top marks — and a $40 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — for playing well with others. Teachers and administrators had agreed to use data in improving teacher performance, an agreement Mrs. Gates said was among those that “have the potential to serve as national models.”
But the debate about using teacher performance — rather than seniority — to determine which teachers are laid off for financial reasons can feel like an after-school rumble.
“We’ve been in the national spotlight because our teachers have said, ‘We want to grow and get better,’” said Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers president Nina Esposito-Visgitis. “So it’s disappointing that the focus is on getting rid of teachers.”
Among her disappointments: the increasingly activist role played by a local education watchdog group, A+ Schools. Carey Harris, its executive director, makes no apologies for taking a more strident position than A+ would have held a few years ago.
By Mary Niederberger /
Post-Gazette January 5, 2015 12:00 AM
A year ago, the
school board, with four newly elected members, was just beginning to discover
the depth of the dysfunction in the district.
About the time the board conducted its initial meeting, the state
released the first School Performance Profiles, which showed
had the lowest academic score in the county and among the lowest in the state.
The profiles are based on multiple measures including test scores, the academic
growth students have made in a year, graduation rates, attendance and Advanced
Placement course participation. Wilkinsburg High School
NYT Editorial: The Central Crisis in
Education New York
New York Times By THE EDITORIAL BOARD JAN. 4, 2015
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s forthcoming State of the State address is expected to focus on what can be done to improve public education across the state.
If he is serious about the issue, he will have to move beyond peripheral concerns and political score-settling with the state teachers’ union, which did not support his re-election, and go to the heart of the matter. And that means confronting and proposing remedies for the racial and economic segregation that has gripped the state’s schools, as well as the inequality in school funding that prevents many poor districts from lifting their children up to state standards.
These shameful inequities were fully brought to light in 2006, when the state’s highest court ruled in Campaign for Fiscal Equity v. State of New York that the state had not met its constitutional responsibility to ensure adequate school funding and in particular had shortchanged
New York City. A year later, the Legislature and Gov. Eliot
Spitzer adopted a new formula that promised more help for poor districts and
eventually $7 billion per year in added funding. That promise evaporated in the
recession, spawning two lawsuits aimed at forcing the state to honor it.
A lawsuit by a group called New Yorkers for Students’ Educational Rights estimates that, despite increases in recent years, the state is still about $5.6 billion a year short of its commitment under that formula.
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.
PSBA Master School Board Director Recognition: Applications begin in January
PSBA website December 23, 2014
The Master School Board Director (MSBD) Recognition is for individuals who have demonstrated significant contributions as members of their governance teams. It is one way PSBA salutes your hard work and exceptional dedication to ethics and standards, student success and achievement, professional development, community engagement, communications, stewardship of resources, and advocacy for public education.
School directors who are consistently dedicated to the aforementioned characteristics should apply or be encouraged to apply by fellow school directors. The MSBD Recognition demonstrates your commitment to excellence and serves to encourage best practices by all school directors.
The application will be posted Jan. 15, 2015, with a deadline to apply of June 30. Recipients will be notified by the MSBD Recognition Committee by Aug. 31 and will be honored at the PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference in October.
If you are interested in learning more about the MSBD Recognition, contact Janel Biery, conference/events coordinator, at (800) 932-0588, ext. 3332.