Wednesday, January 7, 2015

PA Ed Policy Roundup Jan 7: Judge: Ruling on York City School District's receivership appeal to come next week

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

These daily emails are archived and searchable at
Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg
The Keystone State Education Coalition is pleased to be listed among the friends and allies of The Network for Public EducationAre you a member?
The Keystone State Education Coalition is an endorsing member of The Campaign for Fair Education Funding

Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup for January 7, 2015:
Judge: Ruling on York City School District's receivership appeal to come next week

Pennsylvania lawmakers, chief justice sworn in
By Steve Esack Morning Call Harrisburg Bureau January 6, 2014
Freshmen lawmakers from the Lehigh Valley talk about their step up to the Legislature
The specter of a nearly $1.9 billion state budget deficit hangs over lawmakers' swearing-in
Past scandals don't tarnish swearing-in of Pennsylvania lawmakers and new chief justice
HARRISBURG — They marveled at the murals of exploration, science, business and war. They gaped at the six 41/2-ton chandeliers. They looked in wonderment at the 24 circles of stained glass where the gilded ceiling meets the marble walls.  Freshmen and veterans in the House of Representatives felt the power and prestige the art, gold and smooth stone symbolize as they were sworn in to office Tuesday for the 199th legislative session.

Pa. legislative leaders opt for longer holiday
It was fun while it lasted, but call this rumor bunk: Leaders and aides say the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania House and Senate will not try to push bills to Gov. Tom Corbett's desk before Democratic Gov.-elect Tom Wolf is sworn in.  "If you're talking about something to get to Gov. Corbett's desk, there's not even enough days now, at this point, unless we were in this week," said Republican Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman as he walked to his office following Tuesday's swearing-in ceremonies.  The Senate and House chambers both adjourned until Jan. 20. Corman said it's "highly unlikely" the Senate would return before Wolf's inauguration. He declined to rule it out completely, but he said House and Senate leaders "decided that the 20th is fine."

Judge: Ruling on York City School District's receivership appeal to come next week
York Dispatch by MOLLIE DURKIN 505-5432/@YDHealth  01/06/2015 01:58:20 PM EST
A court ruling on the York City School District's appeal of receivership will have to wait until next week.  York County President Judge Stephen P. Linebaugh held a hearing about the appeal on Tuesday, a week and a half after granting the state Department of Education's petition to appoint David Meckley as the school district's receiver.  Meckley has served as the district's chief recovery officer for about two years. For several months, he's advocated for a full conversion of the district's eight schools to operation by Charter Schools USA, a for-profit charter company.
The appeal: Marc Tarlow, an attorney representing the district, filed an appeal to Linebaugh's decision and is pushing for a stay that would prevent Meckley from officially becoming the receiver until the appeals process is finished.  But Clyde Vedder, attorney for the state Department of Education, argued that the district has no authority to appeal and that only the directors of the school board may file appeals.  "Which, as we pointed out in our motion, they have not done," he said.  Linebaugh said he is "somewhat troubled" by the assertion that an entity affected by a decision has no right to appeal.

Judge considers appeal questions in York City receiver case
State wants court to strike appeal from York City School District
By Angie Mason @angiemason1 on Twitter  01/06/2015 06:05:01 PM EST
David Meckley could know as early as next week whether a judge will clear the way for him to move forward with the York City School District's recovery plan, or whether appeals filed over his appointment as receiver will keep district control in limbo.  On Tuesday, York County Judge Stephen Linebaugh heard arguments on the state education department's motions to strike the school district's appeal in the case and remove an automatic stay of receivership triggered by that appeal. Linebaugh gave the attorneys until Friday to file any supplemental documents and said he could rule early next week, unless he determines there's need for a hearing.
Clyde Vedder, attorney for the state, argued Tuesday there's a "fundamental distinction" between the school district and the school board. The appeal was "allegedly" filed by the district, he said, but the district was placed under Meckley's control when he was named receiver Dec. 26. The board itself, Vedder argued, has not filed an appeal.

Politics is as politics does in York school debate (letter)
York Daily Record Letter by Jeff Kirkland UPDATED:   01/06/2015 02:34:03 PM EST
Jeff Kirkland is a former York City School Board President.
In response to the letter by state Reps. Seth Grove and Stand Saylor, and state Sen. Scott Wagner:
When it comes to assessing what is good for the York City School District, these guys are as delusional as they were when they participated in the decimation of the district. It is obvious this is a political hack piece as these arrogant “do-gooders” attempt to support their crony, Tom Corbett, and cover their own tracks in undermining urban education across the state.
When it comes to concern about the education of the kids of York, these charlatans have proven over the years they have no real interest in the education of city youth. 
Both Saylor and Grove supported the destabilization of the city district by pushing the failed Edison Charter school experiment. The Edison group, like Charter Schools USA, made many similar empty promises of savings, improved academics and even free computers for families who fell for their false promises. When they could not squeeze enough profits out of this community to satisfy their greed, Edison left town in a hurry, leaving a disrupted and unstable district in its lurch. Where is the accountable Mr. Grove and Mr. Saylor? Where were you as your experiment with our children failed?

Pa. can help children and save the taxpayers money
Inquirer Opinion By Todd Stephens POSTED: Wednesday, January 7, 2015, 1:08 AM
State Rep. Todd Stephens (R., Montgomery) represents the 151st District.
For the past year, working with the House Majority Policy Committee's efforts to combat poverty, I've learned about the vast benefits that early-childhood education provides for Pennsylvania's children and taxpayers.  The benefits of early childhood education include fewer special-education needs and repeated grades, higher graduation rates and earnings, and lower incarceration rates. These children enter the workforce prepared to succeed. For these reasons, education, law enforcement, military, and business leaders all support expanding access to early-education programs.

Editorial: Disparity in school funding an important issue in Pa.
West Chester Daily Local Editorial POSTED: 01/05/15, 12:31 AM EST |
An Associated Press analysis of school spending in Pennsylvania has 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.

House Ed Committee Minority Chairman Roebuck: New session begins; School funding must be a top 2015 priority
Press Release HARRISBURG, Jan. 6 – State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, was sworn in today for a new term representing west Philadelphia's 188th Legislative District.
"As we begin a new session, I look forward to working to improve education in Pennsylvania, and that has to include restoring more of the school funding that has been cut during Governor Corbett's four years,” Roebuck said. “Philadelphia has been especially hard-hit by those cuts, but the impact has been statewide. Governor-elect Tom Wolf begins his term Jan. 20, and school funding has to be a top priority along with dealing with the $2 billion deficit Governor Corbett is leaving behind. We already know there are common-sense ways to generate funding, such as a reasonable tax on gas drilling and closing corporate tax loopholes."

Short on nurses, District considers how to plug health service holes
the notebook By Eileen DiFranco on Jan 6, 2015 05:40 PM
Since 2011, the number of nurses in the Philadelphia School District has dropped by 40 percent, leaving many schools uncovered by nurses for most days each week. This fact, according to Meredith Elementary principal Cindy Farlino, a presenter at the School Reform Commission meeting Monday night, has caused high anxiety for non-medical school personnel, like principals, who must administer inhalers and give medications on those uncovered days, praying that things will work out.  Building capacity for student health services was the topic of last night's meeting, where I, a school nurse, acted as a facilitator for group discussions. The meeting began with anoverview of the issue; we heard that school nurses had 257,000 visits from students for illness or injury last year. Over 147,000 doses of prescription medication were administered. The impact of asthma in schools was highlighted -- it affects 36,000 students. Then, in the first of two panel discussions, a school nurse and a principal addressed the various responsibilities and challenges that each faced in providing health services to students in need.

TFA closes New York training site, sending trainees to Philly
the notebook By Shannon Nolan on Jan 6, 2015 11:36 AM
Amid a low recruitment projection for 2015, Teach for America is moving its New York training institute to Philadelphia and will consolidate the two into one during the summer.  
The move, first announced in a Chalkbeat New York article last month, is said to be due to declining numbers of recruits for TFA's New York City school partners.
In a letter to TFA partners that appeared in a Dec. 15 Washington Post article, co-CEOs Elisa Villanueva Beard and Matt Kramer said that recruitment concerns extend past New York this year.
“At this point, we’re tracking toward an incoming corps that may be smaller than the current one, and because demand for corps members has grown in recent years, we could fall short of our partners’ overall needs by more than 25 percent,” they wrote.

Schools go to court for more funding
Marketplace by Amy Scott Tuesday, January 6, 2015 - 05:00
Just before the new year, a three-judge panel in Kansas ruled that public schools are so under-funded as to violate the state’s constitution. Lawsuits like the one in Kansas have become a popular tactic to try to win more money for public schools. Thirteen states, from Texas to Pennsylvania, are facing active litigation.  In Hutchinson, Kansas, funding shortages have caused class sizes to increase, says Shelly Kiblinger, superintendent of public schools. Staff have also been let go. While the district once had three school resource officers, it now struggles to keep one. Five years ago, the district joined others in suing the state.  “Students were not receiving adequate funding,” Kiblinger says. “We were not able to provide them with a suitable public education, which is required under the constitution of the state of Kansas.”  The ruling in Kansas means the legislature could have to come up with hundreds of millions of dollars for public schools. More money isn’t on the way yet. The state is expected to appeal. An earlier case in Kansas led the state legislature to increase funding for schools, only to cut it back during the recent recession.  “Even when the rulings are in favor of the school districts, you don’t necessarily see the changes that most people would anticipate,” says Michael Griffith, a school finance consultant with the Education Commission of the States, a nonpartisan policy group.

"This is very much an exceptional case as you look around the country, but I would add a big asterisk to that," said Nelson Smith, a senior adviser for the National Association of Charter School Authorizers. "When you think about the number of districts that are both in financial distress and also have persistently low achievement in at least some of their schools, you might see states taking [these] actions more frequently."
In Pa., a District's Distress Drives Shift to Charter Operator
Education Week By Denisa R. Superville Published Online: January 6, 2015
The financially strapped and academically challenged York city school system in Pennsylvania could become the state's first where all schools are run by a charter organization, after a county judge approved a state request to appoint a receiver to take charge of the nearly 7,500-student district.  The receiver, David G. Meckley, who has been serving as the district's chief recovery officer since 2012, says he wants to transfer the management of the schools to an outside agency because the local school board has not been following a recovery plan it approved in 2013.  Observers are watching closely what happens in York, a city of some 44,000 people located about 100 miles west of Philadelphia.

"A public school system cannot suddenly just close its doors, even just a few of its doors, without answering to the taxpaying and voting public. But when it comes to decisions about whether charters stay open or not, even the parents themselves are disenfranchised. A choice system in your community doesn't only mean that the public has lost the ability to decide what kind of schools they'll have today. A choice system also means they've lost control over how much longer they'll have any schools at all.  That's the trade. A few people get to have a choice about schools today, and in return, nobody gets a choice about what schools, if any, to have in the community tomorrow. And in some cities, school-choice advocates have solved some of these issues by taking all authority away from the elected school board, sacrificing democracy itself."
'School Choice' and Disenfranchising the Public
Huffington Post by Peter Greene Teacher and writer; blogger,
Posted: 01/05/2015 11:45 pm EST Updated: 01/05/2015 11:59 pm EST
"School choice" is one of those policy ideas that just never goes away, and it probably never will. For some people it is an irresistible way to unlock all those public tax dollars and turn them into private profits. For others it's a way to make sure their children don't have to go to school with "those people." Other people are justifiably attracted to the idea of more control over their child's education. And still others have a sincere belief that competition really does create greatness.
Voucher fans and proponents of modern charters like to focus on those promises. They're much quieter about one of the other effects of a choice system.
School choice disenfranchises the public.
Our public school system is set up to serve the public. All the public. It is not set up to serve just parents or just students. Everybody benefits from a system of roadways in this country -- even people who don't drive cars -- because it allows a hundred other systems of service and commerce to function well.
School choice treats parents as if they are the only stakeholders in education. They are not. 

Jeb Bush education foundation played leading role in mixing politics, policy
Washington Post By Lyndsey Layton January 6 at 6:33 PM  
An employee of Jeb Bush’s education foundation was unequivocal when New Mexico’s top schools official needed someone to pay her travel costs to Washington to testify before Congress: The foundation would give her “whatever she needs.”  When Maine’s education commissioner, Stephen Bowen, lamented that he could not persuade the state legislature to expand online learning in schools, a foundation employee assured him that Bush “will probably want to engage Governor [Paul] LePage directly to express our support for efforts to advance a bold agenda.”
The exchanges, revealed in e-mails from 2011 and 2012, illustrate the leading role Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education has played in many states since its creation in 2008, following the Republican’s two terms as governor of Florida.  The foundation has forged an unusual role mixing politics and policy — drafting legislation and paying travel expenses for state officials, lobbying lawmakers, and connecting public officials with industry executives seeking government contracts.

What Should We Expect From the 114th Congress?
Education Week By Lauren Camera on January 6, 2015 7:22 AM
Welcome to the 114th Congress!
On Tuesday, lawmakers will gather on Capitol Hill for the start of the new legislative session, one which we at Politics K-12 hope will be exciting on the education policy front.   Republican leaders in both chambers have highlighted immigration, the Keystone pipeline, and a veterans' jobs bill as early priorities. But our hope for a busy education calendar is bolstered by the education committee chairmen, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., who have signaled their intent to send a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to through committee by Valentine's Day.  Our advice to you, dear readers? Buckle up for what will likely be a fast and furious start for K-12 policy.  The reauthorization policy debate getting the most attention at this very moment? The state of testing, and specifically the growing trend toward grade-span testing, which our own Alyson Klein was the first education reporter to note here.  But what else should we expect from this new, Republican-controlled Congress? After all, leadership in both chambers has vowed to buck the trend of a historically dysfunctional body, and the education committees, which racked up more legislative accomplishments in the last Congress than any other committees, will be eager to maintain their lawmaking prowess.

E-Rate Undergoing Major Policy, Budget Upgrades
K-12 digital demand fuels modernization
Education Week By Benjamin Herold and Sean Cavanagh Published Online: January 6, 2015
Federal officials have dramatically overhauled the E-rate program to prioritize expanded support for broadband and wireless connectivity, through the approval of a series of changes that have been widely hailed by education, library, technology, and industry groups as much needed and long overdue.  The capstone came last month, when the Federal Communications Commission approved a $1.5 billion annual funding increase for the program, which subsidizes schools' and libraries' purchases of telecommunications services.  "The increase in support is significant. It is justified. And it is smart," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement accompanying the decision. "In the 18 years since the E-rate was established, technology has evolved, the needs of students and teachers have changed, and basic connectivity has become inadequate."

PILCOP Special Education Seminar: Dyslexia and Other Learning Disabilities
Philadelphia Tuesday, January 20, 2015, 1:00 - 4:00 P.M.
United Way Building 1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, 19103
Tickets: Attorneys $200  General Public $100   Webinar $50   
"Pay What You Can" tickets are also available    
Speakers: Sonja Kerr; Kathleen Carlsen (Children’s Dyslexia Center of Philadelphia) 
This session is designed to provide the audience with information about how to address 1) eligibility issues for children with learning disabilities, including dyslexia and ADHD, 2) encourage self-advocacy and 3) write and implement meaningful IEPS (what does Orton-Gillingham really look like?)   This session is co-sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania School of Policy and Practice. The University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice is a Pre-approved Provider of Continuing Education for Pennsylvania licensed social workers. 
Questions? Email or call 267-546-1316.

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.

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.