Monday, February 16, 2015

PA Ed Policy Roundup Feb 16: Education Voters PA School Funding Forums scheduled in Lancaster, York and Cumberland Counties

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PA Ed Policy Roundup for February 16, 2015:
Education Voters PA School Funding Forums scheduled in Lancaster, York and Cumberland Counties

Education Voters of PA holding public forums on school funding
Lancaster County: Tuesday, March 17, at 7:00 pm at Millersville University
York County: Wednesday, March 25th, 6:30pm at the York Learning Center
Cumberland County: Wednesday, April 1, 7:00 pm at the Grace Milliman Pollock Performing Arts Center

Fuel for schools
INQUIRER EDITORIAL BOARD POSTED: Monday, February 16, 2015, 1:07 AM
With Pennsylvania's support for schools submerged at a disgraceful 45th in the nation, the commonwealth has no choice but to increase education funding.  Voters said as much in November. Teacher layoffs and local tax hikes that did not make up for losses in educational services motivated many Pennsylvanians to vote for Tom Wolf, who promised to adequately fund schools, over Gov. Tom Corbett.  That public sentiment remains, according to a recent Mercyhurst University poll, which showed that a majority of the state's residents would support more funding for public schools as well as a 5 percent natural-gas tax.

Did you catch our weekend postings?
PA Ed Policy Roundup Feb 15: For Philly Edupreneurs, Time for Remedial Math Lessons

"There has been a moratorium on new charter applications, but there has been no moratorium on charter seats," said district spokesman Fernando Gallard.  The numbers, he said, show the School Reform Commission "has been supportive of charters and the growth of charters throughout this period."  And that growth translates into rising charter costs for the cash-strapped district. The district's tab for charter tuition has risen over that period from $269.8 million to $727.9 million."
Philly charter enrollment has more than doubled since 2007
If you listen to the applicants clamoring to open 39 new charter schools in Philadelphia, it sounds like the School Reform Commission has kept a lid on charter seats since 2007.
But that's not true.  Though the SRC has not approved any new traditional charters in eight years, it has converted 20 low-performing district schools into Renaissance charters and allowed several others to expand and even add campuses.  The result? Charter enrollment in the city has more than doubled - from 29,700 in 2007 to 62,358. That's 30 percent of the total number of the district's 204,358 students.

DN Editorial: SRC in a corner
With Harrisburg watching who to back: charters or District
Philly Daily News Editorial POSTED: Monday, February 16, 2015, 3:01 AM
ON WEDNESDAY, the School Reform Commission will be meeting to decide the fate of 39 applications for charters schools - as well as the fate of the thousands of students left behind in district schools.  Perhaps no decision the SRC makes has more impact on the fortunes of the district. That's because every charter student the SRC approves represents money lost to the district at a much faster rate than its costs decline. And since the funding priorities from Harrisburg squarely favor charters, the pressure is on the SRC to make decisions that are not in the district's best interests.

Former SRC Member Dworetzky Comments on New Charter Applications February 13, 2015
Published by joseph dworetzky
Public comments by Joseph Dworetzky on new charter applications being considered by Philadelphia School Reform Commission, February 13, 2015.

"Look for a pack of PACs working to elect Anthony Williams, who’s got probably the most aggressive education reform agenda of any elected Democrat in the state. Williams is pro-voucher, and he favors rapid expansion of charter schools. Those views have made him a darling of the national education reform movement, which has marshaled a dizzying array of PACs in state and local races across the country. Any number of those PACs could choose to play in Philadelphia, either with traditional donations to candidates or through independent expenditure campaigns all their own. Often, ed reform election activists include profit-minded education entrepreneurs, which opens up their favored candidates to easy assaults: My opponent is supported by evil businessmen who want to profit off your kids.
But the biggest pro-Williams money is likely to come from the wealthy trio of Joel Greenberg, Arthur Dantchik and Jeff Yass, who helped to found the global trading firm Susquehanna International Group."
Wanna Buy a Mayor?
How a bunch of deep-pocketed special-interest groups are going to control the mayoral race.
Philly Mag Citified BY PATRICK KERKSTRA  |  FEBRUARY 15, 2015 AT 5:59 AM
In a nondescript office building four blocks northeast of the White House, a group of elite political consultants is making decisions that may well determine who gets Michael Nutter’s job in 2016. Stay positive, or go for the knees? Flood the airwaves, or lean on direct mail and robocalls? How best to soften up the enemy’s base? How to introduce voters to our guy?
The rub is that these operatives don’t work for any of the mayoral candidates — not directly, anyway.  Who pays their bills? We have a pretty good idea, but we won’t really know until the election is all but over, if then. How much money will they have to spend? The assumption is a lot — perhaps millions — but again, no disclosure is required until 11 days before the May 19th primary election. What do the funders want, exactly? We can guess, and we can ask them to explain, but they aren’t candidates. They don’t have to take questions from the press, or debate their foes, or defend their views.

As education rises in Philly mayoral politics, teachers organize
Education may well be the issue that gets Philadelphia's next mayor elected.  That fact is not lost on Stephanie Conaghan, a kindergarten teacher at Ziegler Elementary, a public school in Oxford Circle.  So for the last several months, in addition to teaching 30 children, she's been learning about politics: volunteering at phone banks, signing her colleagues up to canvass neighborhoods for candidates she believes support education, and distributing voter-registration forms to parents.  "The way that our schools have been underfunded and ripped off - it's not OK," said Conaghan. "What can we do as teachers? It's unfortunate that politics is the name of the game, but it is."

York city's problems are your problems (YDR opinion)
York Daily Record editorial UPDATED:   02/15/2015 08:07:41 PM EST
State Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill, R-York Township, visited the YDR editorial board last week for an interesting conversation about legislative issues.  We covered a wide range of topics, but one exchange, among many intriguing points, piqued our interest.  We asked Rep. Phillips-Hill, a freshman and member of the House Education Committee, about the situation with the York city school district, which is struggling financially and academically — and was on the verge of charterization. She said all students deserve a good education, and "the status quo is failing those kids" in York.  The former member of the Dallastown school board didn't promote a specific way to break the status quo in the city, but she made it clear something needs to change.

This appears to be real….
Craigslist: Test Evaluators Needed (to score K-12 standardized tests) (Indianapolis, IN)
© craigslist - Map data © OpenStreetMap compensation: $11.05/hr contract job
If you have a Bachelor's degree or higher, we need your help to evaluate student assessment tests. Come apply!   For more information and to schedule an appointment visit our website or call us at 1-877-535-5981
Please be prepared to spend two hours going to through the application / orientation process. Please bring two forms of identification to complete and I-9 and bring proof of your degree.
These are project based positions.
Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 4:30pm
Position Requirements:
-Must hold a completed Bachelor's degree or higher
-Ability to sit and at a computer station for full work day
-Basic computer knowledge
-Knowledge of standard writing conventions and mechanics
-Availability to work Monday through Friday for the entire duration of a project
-Demonstrate flexibility while working on various projects

The limits of standardized testing in our public schools
Lancaster Online by The LNP Editorial Board Posted: Sunday, February 15, 2015 6:00 am
The Issue: In today’s Perspective section, we examine thehigh-stakes testing in public schools that was ushered in by President George W. Bush’s version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act — No Child Left Behind, which sought to increase accountability in public schools. Arne Duncan, President Barack Obama’s education secretary, has worked to refine NCLB, but he’s also an advocate of high-stakes testing. Here, students in grades 3-8 take Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests. High school students now take Keystone Exams; passing the Keystone Exams will be a graduation requirement beginning with the Class of 2017. Last week, the Pennsylvania House Education Committee heard testimony relating to the Keystone Exams. In Washington, the debate over the reauthorization of NCLB is heating up.

“What you’re seeing is a response to a grassroots movement of parents, teachers, and students pushing back against testing overkill,” said Robert Schaeffer, public education director of FairTest, one of the organizations leading the test-reform movement. He said suburban schools where parents doubt the usefulness of standardized testing is worth the stress have linked arms with poorer ones that don’t have the resources to ensure students score well and will lose money if they don’t."
Boycotters Might Be Winning the Battle Over Standardized Testing
Yahoo News By Joseph Williams | Takepart.comFebruary 13, 2015 4:05 PM
In Chicago, home to the nation’s third-largest school system, the city superintendent has decided not to administer a test tied to the federal Common Core curriculum. The move eases the pressure on tens of thousands of students—and validates parents and educators who boycotted the test last year—but risks billions of dollars in government funds.    Half a continent away, in California, state education officials are ready to follow Chicago’s leadand ask the federal government for an exemption from using scores on tests mandated by No Child Left Behind to measure progress in reading and math. Meanwhile, in Colorado, state education authorities recently voted 5–2 to walk away from Common Core and leave their share of Education Department money on the table—all because their kids are staggering under the testing burden.
In districts across the nation, from Florida to Alaska, the grassroots push for a rollback in high-stakes testing has gained momentum, and a broad coalition of parents, teachers, and advocates are poised to take advantage, even if it means an end to federal grants in tight fiscal times. But it also puts pressure on local and national education policy makers, including President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who see frequent testing as a key component in the education-overhaul tool kit.

Public screening: Standardized - Lies, Money, and Civil Rights: How Testing is Ruining Public Education
Church of the Redeemer, Wednesday, February 25, 7-9pm 230 Pennswood Road, Bryn Mawr, Parish House, Assembly Room
The Redeemer Moms will follow up with a Q & A session with parents who have been researching this topic for over a year. All are welcome and invited to bring a friend. RSVP by Feb. 23 to Cheryl Masterman.

Stop the Push Out
Yinzercation Blog by Jessie Ramey February 12, 2015
In Pittsburgh, students of color are 2.5 times more likely to be suspended than white students. Four out of every ten black students are suspended at least one time. And suspension is just one of the policies, practices, and procedures that “push out” students, making them less likely to graduate – a serious, and life altering outcome that feeds the “school to prison pipeline” and disproportionately impacts students of color and those with disabilities. [Beyond Zero Tolerance, ACLU report, 2013]  After meeting with parents all over the city, the Great Public Schools (GPS) Pittsburgh coalition has made school push-out one of its primary areas of focus. GPS is partnering with the Education Law Center, the Center for Third World Organizing, and other organizations to host a conversation about school push out and discuss what they will be doing this year to tackle the problem. Please join us:
Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015 5:30 PM Dinner, 6PM Meeting
Sci-Tech Academy (107 Thackeray Ave., Oakland)

Education Voters of PA will hold a forum about public school funding in Lancaster County Tuesday, March 17, at 7:00 pm at Millersville University
Education Voters of PA and the Millersville University Education on Location program will be co-hosting a forum about public school funding in Lancaster County on Tuesday, March 17, at 7:00 pm at Millersville University, the Lehrer Room in the Bolger Conference Center.
This event is free and open to the public. It will give Lancaster County residents the opportunity both to learn more about how state funding issues impact their own school districts and to learn about how they can make a positive difference for their schools and communities by advocating for a state system of funding schools that is fair, adequate, and predictable and will provide all students with an opportunity to learn.
Panelists for the forum include:
Dr. Brenda Becker, Hempfield Area SD, Superintendent
Dr. Bob Hollister, Elanco SD, Superintendent
Dr. Mike Leichliter, Penn Manor SD, Superintendent
Dr. Tim Shrom, Solanco SD, Business Manager
Ms. Idette Groff, Conestoga Valley SD, School Board Member    
Mr. Tim Stayer, Ephrata Area SD, School Board Member
Ms. Susan Gobreski, Education Voters of PA

Education Voters of PA will hold a forum about public school funding in York: Wednesday, March 25th, 6:30pm to 8pm at the York Learning Center, 300 E. 7th Avenue, York.

This forum will give York County residents the opportunity both to learn more about how state funding issues impact their own school districts and to learn about how they can make a positive difference for their schools and communities by advocating for a state system of funding schools that is fair, adequate, and predictable and will provide all students with an opportunity to learn.
Panelists for the forum include:
Dr. Emilie Lonardi, West York SD, Superintendent
Dr. Scott Deisley, Red Lion Area SD, Superintendents
Mr. Brian Geller, Northeastern York SD, Director of Operations
Mr. Troy Wentz, Hanover Public SD, Business Manager    
Mrs. Ellen Freireich, York Suburban SD, School Board Member    
Mr. Eric Wolfgang, Central York SD, School Board Member
Guest Panelist: Mr. Jim Buckheit, Executive Director, PA Association of School Administrators
Moderated by: Ms. Susan Spicka, Education Voters of PA

Education Voters of PA will hold a forum about public school funding in Cumberland County: Wednesday, April 1, 7:00 pm at the Grace Milliman Pollock Performing Arts Center, 340 North 21st Street, Camp Hill.
This forum will give Cumberland County residents the opportunity both to learn more about how state funding issues impact their own school districts and to learn about how they can make a positive difference for their schools and communities by advocating for a state system of funding schools that is fair, adequate, and predictable and will provide all students with an opportunity to learn.
Panelists for the forum include:
Mr. Richard Fry, Big Spring SD, Superintendent
Mr. John Friend, Carlisle Area SD, Superintendent
Dr. Mark Leidy, Mechanicsburg Area SD, Superintendent
Ms. Christine Hakes, Camp Hill Area SD, Business Manager
Mr. Matt Franchak, school board member, East Pennsboro SD, School Board Member    
Guest Panelist: Mr. Dave Patti, President and CEO, Pennsylvania Business Council
Moderated by: Ms. Susan Spicka, Education Voters of PA

PSBA 2015 Advocacy Forum
APR 19, 2015 • 8:00 AM - APR 20, 2015 • 5:00 PM
Join PSBA for the second annual Advocacy Forum on April 19-20, 2015. Hear from legislative experts on hot topics and issues regarding public education on Sunday, April 19, at PSBA headquarters in Mechanicsburg. The next day you and fellow advocates will meet with legislators at the state capitol. This is your chance to learn how to successfully advocate on behalf of public education and make your voice heard on the Hill.
·         Schedule of Events
·         Day One –PSBA headquarters
·         10 a.m. — Early Bird Arrival and Registration
·         10:30-12 p.m. — The State Education Agenda
The chairman of the Senate and House Education Committees will share their perspectives on the education agenda for the 2015-16 session of the General Assembly. Speakers: Senator Smucker, chairman, Senate Education Committee; and Representative Saylor, chairman, House Education Committee
·         Noon-1:15 p.m. — Welcome Lunch
·         1:00-12:15 p.m. — Special Welcome and Introduction: Nathan Mains, PSBA Executive Director and William LaCoff, PSBA President
·         12:30-1 p.m. — Speaker: Diane Ravitchnationally known education historian, policy analyst and author of Reign of Error.
·         1:15-2:00 p.m. — Education Priorities will be discussed with the Education Secretary Pedro Rivera
This session provides the latest information on the governor’s proposed state funding plans, the pension crisis and the latest on special education.
·         2:00-2:30 p.m. — Federal Education Update: NSBA
Director of National Advocacy Services Kathleen Branch will join Director of Federal Programs Lucy Gettman from NSBA, to speak about federal advocacy.
·         2:30-3 p.m. — Social Media Training (Speakers to be announced)
·         3-3:15 p.m. — Break
·         3:15-3:45 p.m. — Grassroots Advocacy: How to be an Effective Advocate
Hear from former Allwein Advocacy Award winners Shauna D’Alessandro, school director from West Jefferson Hills SD and PSBA Allegheny Region 14 director, and Mark B. Miller, board vice president of Centennial SD and PSBA BuxMont Region 11 director.
·         3:45-4:15 p.m. — Legislative Update and Lobby Day Coordination
PSBA’s Senior Director of Government Affairs John Callahan will walk you through legislative issues and priorities that might be addressed the next day during legislative visits by members.
·         4:15-5 p.m. — Roundtable Discussion
Network with your fellow board members before visiting your legislator
·         5:00-5:15 p.m. — Break
·         5:15-6:30 p.m. — Dinner Buffet
Enjoy a legislative discussion on the 2015-16 budget and appropriations with Senator Browne
·         6:30 p.m. — Adjourn

Campaign for Fair Education Funding Seeks Campaign Manager
Campaign for Fair Education Funding February 2, 2015
The Campaign for Fair Education Funding seeks a campaign manager who is a strategic thinker and an operational leader. This position could be filled by an individual or firm. The manager will lead the day-to-day operations of the campaign and its government relations, communications, mobilization and research committees and work in partnership with the campaign governing board to set and implement the campaign’s strategic direction.

Sign-up for weekly email updates from the Campaign
The Campaign for Fair Education Funding website

PA Basic Education Funding Commission website

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.

Sign up for National School Boards Association’s Advocacy Network
Friends of Public Education

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

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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