- Acting Ed Sec'y Pedro Rivera
- Senate Ed Committee Majority Chairman Lloyd Smucker
- House Ed Committee Majority Chairman Stan Saylor
- Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Pat Browne
- Diane Ravitch
- House Majority Leader Dave Reed
- House Minority Leader Frank Dermody
- 2014 PSBA Tim Allwein Advocacy Award winners Shauna D'Alessandro and Mark Miller
Thursday, April 2, 2015
PA Ed Policy Roundup April 2: Cumberland County officials call for fair, adequate public school funding
Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 3550 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, faith-based organizations, labor organizations, 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 http://keystonestateeducationcoalition.org
Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg
PA Ed Policy Roundup for April 2, 2015:
"Dave Patti, president of the Pennsylvania Business Council, joined the forum as representative of the business community in the school funding campaign.
a profitable place to do
business depends on the workforce, he said, and the quality of the workforce
depends on the education that workers receive.
"If we want schools to perform well," he said, "... then
you also have to pay for it." He
called for adequate funding "to prepare students to reach those standards
we believe in," for fair distribution and for the accountability of school
districts as well as public policy makers responsible for challenges such as
prevailing wage, pensions, and state mandates." Pennsylvania
Penn Live By Tricia Kline | Special to PennLive on April 01, 2015 at 10:13 PM
CAMP HILL -- A panel of
school district officials unified their voices at a public forum, calling on
lawmakers to institute a fair and adequate state funding formula that will
allow them to better prepare their students and support their communities. The forum Wednesday night was hosted by The
Campaign for Fair Education Funding, whose declared mission is
"to ensure Cumberland County Pennsylvania
adopts and maintains an adequate and equitable system of funding public
education by 2016." education and business leaders
gathered Wednesday night in Camp Hill to discuss the need for an equitable and
adequate formula for public school state funding. The basic education funding
line item in the state budget, members of the campaign report, makes up 55
percent of the kindergarten through grade 12 education dollars provided from
the state. Cumberland County
In Camp Hill, panel offers views, answers questions on state of school funding
Joseph Cress The Sentinel April 1, 2015
CAMP HILL — A panel of experts weighed in Wednesday in support of a push to have state lawmakers adopt a reworked formula for funding basic education that is adequate, sustainable and equitable across all school districts in
Pennsylvania. Leaders from six Cumberland
County school districts joined
together in a forum hosted by Education Voters of PA and Education Matters in
the . The event was supported by the
Campaign for Fair Education Funding, a nonpartisan effort made up of more than
40 advocacy groups. Cumberland Valley
The campaign was formed more than a year ago when a diverse group of stakeholders determined the current lack of a definitive funding formula is jeopardizing the ability of school districts to ensure a quality education for every student, said Susan Spicka, a public education advocate. She added one approach of the campaign has been to educate the public on the need for reform in the way basic education funding is distributed.
National Study Finds
's Education Funding Gap among
Nation's Worst; Calls Disparity "Devastatingly Large" Pennsylvania
Campaign for Fair Education Funding: Study Provides More Evidence
Pennsylvania Must Enact a Full and
Funding Formula Fair School
HARRISBURG, Pa., April 1, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Campaign for Fair Education Funding said today that a new study of the nation's growing funding inequalities between wealthy and low-income school districts, which found that Pennsylvania has one of the worst funding gaps in the nation, offers yet one more reason why state lawmakers need to enact a sustainable and fair basic education funding formula. A research report by the Education Trust, an independent national education policy organization, found that when adjusting for the additional needs of low-income students, the highest poverty districts in
Pennsylvania receive $2,491, or
17%, less per student than districts with the lowest poverty. The report, Funding
Gaps 2015, placed the state as second worst in the nation. Even when
not factoring in the additional needs of poor students, the report found
that Pennsylvania had
the third worst funding gap of all the states. The report called the disparity
'devastatingly large.' The report also
found that Pennsylvania's share
for funding public education, at 38 % of the total, ties for 4th from
the bottom among all states. (The findings are based on 2012 data.)
PennLive Op-Ed By Rep. James Roebuck on April 01, 2015 at 12:19 PM
State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila. (www.pahouse.com/Roebuck), is Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee.
Students and taxpayers have much at stake as charter school reform is debated in
Unfortunately, a bill House Republicans passed recently (H.B. 530) would not
deliver for our kids or taxpayers. That's why it passed on party lines, without
enough votes to survive a potential veto from new Democratic Gov. Tom
Wolf. I have worked with
Republicans on numerous education issues over the years. We can achieve good
things when both parties the voters sent to Harrisburg work together and have input. I and other Democratic representatives tried
to improve H.B. 530, but our amendments were rejected on party lines. We tried
to include stronger protections for taxpayers against charter schools leasing
their buildings from entities owned by a board member or administrator, or
their families. We also tried to undo
the bill's weakening of local control - it would stack the state charter school
appeals board, which has generally been even-handed and approved about 50
percent of the charter school applications that reach it. An unelected, stacked
board in Harrisburg
could essentially drive up your school property taxes. As a colleague has said,
that would be taxation without representation.
Lawmakers seek to end PA public school prevailing wage requirements
The PLS Reporter Author: Jason Gottesman/Wednesday, April 1, 2015
A group of legislators are on a quest to end what they see as onerous prevailing wage requirements placed on public school construction projects. Rep. Jesse Topper (R-Bedford) has introduced House Bill 707, which would eliminate the requirement that union workers on public school construction projects exceeding $25,000 be paid the prevailing wage. Rep. Topper led legislators and other supportive parties in a news conference Wednesday to support his bill.
Under regulations from the Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act, the prevailing wage is the average rate paid for the respective craft or classification in the locality where the public work is to be performed. “This bill would help schools save money on construction, but it would also give them the ability to put that money back to work inside of our classrooms, improving educational programs, or cutting property taxes for residents,” Rep. Topper said. “Digging back into the checkbooks of our taxpayers should be a last resort.” He estimated that school districts between 2000 and 2010 overspent $700 million on prevailing wage projects when non-union construction would have cost much less. Representatives from organizations representing public school officials spoke in support of the bill.
Group backing Williams' Philly mayoral bid spends more than $1 million
WHYY Newsworks DAVE DAVIES OFF MIC A BLOG BY DAVE DAVIES APRIL 1, 2015
The independent political committee supporting state Sen. Anthony Williams for
mayor has made another major TV ad buy, bringing the group's media spending to
more than $1 million, more than all the other candidates and committees in the
race combined. The committee, called
American Cities, is backed by three wealthy financial executives who are avid
supporters of school choice. I wrote more about them in a post yesterday. The three principals in the Bala Cynwyd-based
Susquehanna International Group put more than $5 million into Williams'
unsuccessful campaign for governor, and the latest ad buy is a signal that
they're just as serious about his mayoral bid.
There are two other independent expenditure groups advertising in the
mayor's race, both supporting former City Councilman Jim Kenney. Forward Philadelphia,
a group whose backers include the American Federation of Teachers, has
purchased more than $300,000 in ad time. And Building a Better PA, a federally
registered super PAC supported by other labor unions, has spent around $190,000
on media buys.
Who are the Susquehanna boys? Three guys who may pick your next mayor
the notebook By Dave Davies for NewsWorks on Apr 1, 2015 09:36 AM
The three men who will probably be the most influential players in the
mayor's race are so media-shy that I don't even have photos of them. The principals in a Bala Cynwyd-based
securities trading firm called Susquehanna Group International are funding an
independent effort to support State Sen. Anthony Williams for mayor, and
they've begun with a TV ad purchase worth over a half-million dollars.
Schools get late answer on using home instruction for snow days
By Eleanor Chute /
Post-Gazette April 2, 2015 12:00 AM
asked on Nov. 4 whether it could count
lessons taken at home on iPads as instructional days in snowy weather,
assistant superintendent Todd Keruskin expected to hear back from the state
Department of Education in 45 days. But
officials in Elizabeth Forward, where all students have school-issued iPads,
and 13 other districts or schools that asked to participate in a “flexible
instructional days” pilot announced by the department in September have just
recently received their answer. They can
take one day “on a trial basis” during the remainder of the school year. Elizabeth
What went wrong with Philly Promise Academies?
the notebook By Dale Mezzacappa on Apr 1, 2015 01:24 PM
Promise Academies, the once-vaunted internal turnaround model for District schools, failed to thrive due to a drop in funding, inconsistent leadership, and teacher layoffs that decimated the climate and trust that the schools had built, according to a new study. The study was written by Tonya Wolford, head of the District's Office of Research and Evaluation, and two of her colleagues. Based on data and interviews with principals and teachers, it was published in Perspectives on Urban Education, a publication of the Graduate School of Education at the
. Promise Academies had been touted as an
"internal turnaround" for low-achieving schools and an alternative to
more radical restructuring options, particularly the conversion to charter
schools. The initiative, which began in 2010, poured additional money and
programs into traditionally under-resourced schools in some of the city's most
impoverished areas. It was the signature program of Arlene Ackerman when she
was superintendent. University
the notebook By Vernon Clark on Apr 1, 2015 11:47 AM
principal Dave Anderson said, some blended learning -- a combination of
classroom instruction and online skill-building -- is taking place, but because
it is a cyber school, the greater emphasis has been on computer-based learning. Philadelphia
Anderson, who has been the school’s leader since its inception in the fall of 2013, noted that the school, featuring grades 6-12, has programs with the
of the Fine Arts,
the Pennsylvania Ballet, and other cultural institutions to encourage
interaction with each other and instructors.
Academy Anderson said officials want the to be on par with
brick-and-mortar schools in terms of student interaction. “We want students to go on field trips. We
want them to attend the prom, dances, and student activities,” he said. The academy, with offices at District
headquarters, has seen a surge in enrollment since it opened. There were 65
students enrolled when the academy was launched, Virtual Academy Anderson said. Enrollment grew to 300 during
the 2013-14 school year. Current enrollment is about 500, he said.
Teacher furloughs, eliminating classes among
By Denise Larive, Digital First Media POSTED: 03/31/15, 11:48 AM EDT
amity >> Depending on future enrollment, staffing cuts, elimination of classes and closing of school buildings could be major decisions facing the Daniel Boone Area School Board.
The board’s finance committee met Monday with members saying enrollment projections will determine the timeline and trigger for the closure of an elementary building, whether to transfer the fifth grade class to the middle school and whether to implement a full-day kindergarten program in 2016-17 or furlough 11 teachers in the 2015-16 school year.
Real learning won't come from standardized testing
WHYY Newsworks COMMENTARY BY ANNDEE HOCHMAN APRIL 1, 2015 ESSAYWORKS
In three years at a well-regarded suburban high school, I learned to solve quadratic equations, balance electrons in chemical formulae and conjugate the French verb "vouloir" in the simple past tense. I learned those things and then forgot them. But here's what I remember:
In my senior year at
, I took Art
1, a "serious" art class taught by Bill Bahmerman, who had cerulean eyes
and a scruff of white beard. Our first assignment was to draw an empty toilet
paper tube standing on a sheet of white paper, with a light shining on one
side. I set up my minimalist still life
on the kitchen table and picked up a thick pencil. How tough could it be? Tougher than it looked. Lower Merion
New York Times By ALAN BLINDER APRIL 1, 2015
"Over objections from the defendants' attorneys, Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter ordered all but one of those convicted immediately jailed while they await sentencing. They were led out of court in handcuffs. "They are convicted felons as far as I'm concerned," Baxter said, later adding, "They have made their bed and they're going to have to lie in it."
convicted in cheating scandal Atlanta
Inquirer by KATE BRUMBACK, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Wednesday, April 1, 2015, 5:37 PM
Will schools lose federal funds if kids don’t take mandated tests? Fact vs. threat
I’ve recently published a number of posts on the growth and impact of the standardized testing opt-out movement. As more parents choose against allowing their children to sit down for new mandated tests, the pushback from administrators is increasing in many places, with some of them threatening consequences to students who refuse to take the assessments. Here’s a look at what is true and not true about the consequences attached to opting out from standardized testings. It was written by Monty Neill, executive director of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, known as FairTest, a nonprofit organization that works to end the misuses of standardized testing and to ensure that evaluation of students, educators and schools is fair, open, valid and educationally sound.
ESEA's 50-Year Legacy a Blend of Idealism, Policy Tensions
Education Week By Alyson Klein Published Online: March 31, 2015
Fifty years ago this month, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Elementary and Secondary Education Act outside the former one-room schoolhouse in rural Texas he'd once attended. The new law dramatically ramped up
investment in K-12 education, carving out a role for the federal government in
educating the nation's poorest children.
But shortly after that cinematic ceremony, administrators in the U.S. Office of Education—the predecessor of today's separate, Cabinet-level department—found themselves with a difficult task. They needed to write—and enforce—regulations that would ensure states and districts sent the federal dollars to communities with the highest concentrations of poverty and used the money appropriately. And while state and local governments were happy to cash the federal checks, many weren't nearly as receptive to federal direction. Five decades and more than half a dozen revisions of the ESEA later, calibrating the proper federal K-12 role remains an elusive goal.
SCHOOL PLAY – It’s a tough subject
PCCY website March 2015
A live theatre collaboration between playwrights Arden Kass and Seth Bauer and Public Citizens for Children and Youth. Directed by Edward Sobel.
School Play explores our attitudes toward public education using the real voices of Pennsylvanians from across the Commonwealth.
Invited Dress Preview: April 8th @ 7:30pm
Philadelphia Premier: April 9th @ 7:30pm (only a few seats left!)
More info: http://www.pccy.org/initiatives/school-play/
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your seat - April 9th is almost sold out and only a few seats remain for April 8th!
Who will be at the PSBA Advocacy Forum April 19-20 in Mechanicsburg and Harrisburg?
How about You?
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.
Details and Registration for PSBA members (only $25.00) https://www.psba.org/event/advocacy-forum-day-hill-2015/
Curmuducation Blog Saturday, March 21, 2015
I don't get out much. I'm a high school English teacher in a small town, and kind of homebody by nature. When I leave town, it's for family or work. But in just over a month, on the weekend of April 25-26, I am taking a trip to Chicago for neither. The Network for Public Education is the closest thing to an actual formal organization of the many and varied people standing up for public education in this modern era of privatizing test-driven corporate education reform. NPE held a conference last year, and they're doing it again this year-- a gathering of many of the strongest voices for public education in America today. Last year I followed along on line-- this year I will be there.
Beyond a New School Funding Formula: Lifting Student Achievement to Grow PA's Economy
Wednesday, May 6, 2015 from 7:30 AM to 10:00 AM (EDT)
7:30 am: Light breakfast fare and registration; 8:00 am: Program
Opening Remarks by Neil D. Theobald, President,
SESSION I: THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF ACHIEVEMENT GAPS IN PENNSYLVANIA’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS with introduction by Rob Wonderling, President, Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, and Member, Center on Regional Politics Executive Committee.
Presentation by Lynn A. Karoly, Senior Economist, RAND Corporation
SESSION II: WHAT CAN
LEARN FROM THE WORLD’S LEADING SCHOOL SYSTEMS? with introduction
by David H. Monk, Dean, PENNSYLVANIA Pennsylvania
State University . College
Presentation by Marc S. Tucker, President and CEO,
on Education and the
Economy National Center
Sessions to be followed by a response panel moderated by Francine Schertzer, Director of Programming, Pennsylvania Cable Network
Program presented by the University Consortium to Improve Public School Finance and Promote Economic Growth
For this event, sponsored by Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY), local dentists will provide free screenings and cleanings for children. Give Kids a Smile Day is especially for children who do not have health insurance or who have not had a dental exam in the last six months. Appointments are necessary, so please call PCCY at 215-563-5848 x32 to schedule one starting Monday, March 16th. Volunteers will be on hand to answer calls. Smile Day information can also be found on the school district website and on PCCY’s website - http://www.pccy.org/resource/give-kids-a-smile-day/.