Thursday, August 11, 2016

PA Ed Policy Roundup Aug 11: In 1977 Amy Carter became the first child of a sitting U.S. president to attend public school since 1906. She still is.

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup August 11, 2016:
In 1977 Amy Carter became the first child of a sitting U.S. president to attend public school since 1906. She still is.

“Hamlet's 90-day plan includes creating a transition team of national experts to “accurately assess where we are and where we need to go,” he said.  Their analysis will center on the district's budget, instructional programming, disciplinary procedures and organizational structure and staffing.  The transition team will present its findings to the school board this year, and the results will “guide the creation” of the district's five-year strategic plan, Hamlet said.  He will conduct nine forums for the community, students, teachers and administrators, the first of which is scheduled for Aug. 25 at the Barack Obama Academy.”
New Pittsburgh school superintendent puts transition plan before board committee
Trib Live BY TONY RAAP  | Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016, 9:42 p.m.
Pittsburgh Public Schools need to be more student focused, the district's new superintendent said Tuesday in laying out his 90-day transition plan.  For that to happen, the district needs to “elevate the student voice” by creating a forum for young people to “express their needs and goals with their peers, teachers and administrators,” said Anthony Hamlet, who presented his multi-pronged plan to the school board's education committee at district headquarters in Oakland.  “When young people see that their opinions and needs matter, they have increased ownership of their own learning,” said Hamlet, who was sworn in as superintendent July 1.  “I want to listen to them and encourage them to find solutions to those challenges so that they can better reap the benefits of learning,” he added.

Innovative Arts Charter School probing who authorized newspaper ad
Sarah M. Wojcik Contact Reporter Of The Morning Call August 10, 2016
CATASAUQUA — The Innovative Arts Academy Charter School is looking into who authorized a full page newspaper ad in the Sunday edition of The Morning Call.  The school's Chief Executive Officer Loraine Petrillo said the advertisement would be a topic of discussion at Wednesday's board of trustees meeting.  "We're not sure who authorized the ad," she said. "This just looks like we're spending money frivolously and that's not the case."  The ad came under fire during a Bethlehem Area School District finance committee meeting Monday when board members criticized the charter school for spending what they believed was a significant amount of money on advertising. Spending thousands of dollars on an ad, board Vice President Shannon Patrick said is money that could be spent educating a student.

“Supt. Shelly Merkle said there are a couple of factors that influence the starting date. The fall sports seasons are starting, so families are already returning from vacation. But the larger factor, she said, is that once state assessments and other tests like AP exams are over in April and May, students are really ready to end the school year.  "If they see the end in sight, let's put the end in sight," she said, adding that front-loading the calendar also gives more time to prepare for all of those assessments, too.”
Back to school already? Yes, for some in York County
York Daily Record by  Angie Mason, 2:23 p.m. EDT August 10, 2016
Jadelyn Beltran was so eager for the first day of second grade that she couldn't sleep the night before. She tried her clothes on twice and on Wednesday morning, pulled her dad Hector Cruz down the street toward Lincoln Charter School.  "She's been excited since school ended in June," Cruz said.  Lincoln welcomed students back for the 2016-17 school year on Wednesday. The charter school in York has an extended school year, with 198 student days, so they begin earlier than most. Schools are required to have 180 days for students.  But some school districts are starting to bring students back earlier and earlier, too. Starting dates in York County districts stretch from Aug. 17 to Aug. 31 this year.

Philly Mayor’s Office of Education Launches New Website
The Mayor’s Office of Education August 9, 2016
The Mayor’s Office of Education today launched a new website offering vital information about the administration’s key education initiatives: expanding quality pre-K, creating community schools, and promoting career and technical education opportunities.  Developed by the City’s Office of Open Data and Digital Transformation, the website at also features information on programs such as free computer access through KEYSPOTS, college prep, adult education, and the “Read by 4th!” literacy campaign. For initiatives such as pre-K and community schools, residents can sign up for newsletters on the initiatives and get information about enrollment and partnership opportunities.

In 1977 Amy Carter became the first child of a sitting U.S. president to attend a public school since 1906. She still is.
A Public-School Paradox
Why do so many presidents send their kids to private school?
The Atlantic by Alia Wong  AUG 10, 2016
When President Jimmy Carter assumed office in 1977, he did something remarkable: He enrolled his 9-year-old daughter, Amy, in a predominantly black Washington, D.C., public school. The move was symbolic, a commitment the Democrat from Georgia had made even before he securing the presidency. In his presidential-nomination acceptance speech the previous year, Carter criticized“exclusive private schools that allow the children of the political and economic elite to avoid public schools that are considered dangerous or inferior.”  Amy became the first child of a sitting U.S. president to attend a public school since 1906. She still is. When Sasha and Malia Obama moved to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with their dad, they enrolled in the $40,000-a-year Sidwell Friends—a highly selective Quaker school that also boasts Chelsea Clinton, Julie and Tricia Nixon, and Albert Gore III, among other political progeny, as alumni. 

As Charter Schools Turn 25, Five Ways to Share Their Success With Traditional Schools
The 74 by NINA REES and CATHERINE BROWN June 1, 2016
Nina Rees is the president & CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
Catherine Brown is the vice president of education policy at the Center for American Progress. Nina Rees is the president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
Twenty-five years ago, Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson signed our nation’s first law to allow for publicly funded, independently run “outcomes-based” charter schools. The legislation set the stage for greater innovation in public education, providing the opportunity to explore different teaching methods and establishing new forms of accountability for schools.  Developed by veteran inner-city teachers tired of seeing their students drop out in droves, City Academy in St. Paul, Minnesota was the first such charter school to open its doors.  Today, charter schools educate 3 million, or 6 percent of, public school students in 43 states and the District of Columbia, mostly in urban areas. In 14 cities, charter schools educate at least 30 percent of the students.

“The Walton Family Foundation has played a leading role in the growth of the charter school movement. It was one of the first philanthropies to support the expansion of high-quality public charter schools. “
Public Charter Schools Turn 25 Years Old
Walton Family Foundation August 4, 2016
The birth and growth of a movement
Twenty-five years ago, Minnesota’s governor signed the country’s first charter school law — paving the way to the creation of more than 6,800 public charter schools serving about 2.9 million students.   “As long as we have the law of chartering, we have the basis for innovation,” said Ember Reichgott Junge, the former Minnesota State Senator who authored the original legislation told EdWeek in arecent interview. “The chartering law doesn’t create the innovation itself, it creates the opportunity for innovation for the right leaders.”   An education analyst, Ray Budde, published Education by Charter: Restructuring School Districts, a 1988 report that proposed a new model for school governance. His idea sparked a national dialogue, which led to the passage of the first charter law three years later.   California adopted the country’s second charter school law the following year, and today there are charter laws in 43 states and the District of Columbia.
As the charter movement matured, there were efforts to replicate the school models that were proving most successful. There were also efforts to ensure accountability — so that charter schools were truly providing high-quality education to their students. And, increasingly, there were efforts to study charter schools’ results. 

Blogger note: In 2015 the Walton Family Foundation granted $179 million in support of charter schools
Walton Family Foundation Grant Reports
Walton Family Foundation Website
See complete lists of Walton Family Foundation annual grantmaking.
·         2015: Annual Report | Grant Report
·         2014: Annual Report | Grant Report
·         2013: Annual Report | Grant Report
·         2012 Grant Report
·         2009 Grant Report

“Charter schools claim to be public schools, but the only thing "public" about them is their funding. They are run by private boards that do not hold open meetings, as elected boards of education do; they are neither transparent nor accountable in their finances.”
Worldwide, Public Education Is Up for Sale
From the U.K. to Liberia, the school privatization movement gathers steam.
US News By Diane Ravitch | Contributor Aug. 9, 2016, at 12:13 p.m.
For the past three decades, critics of public education in the United States have assailed it and used its flaws to promote publicly funded privatization. Corporate and political interests have attacked the very concept of public education, claiming that the private sector is invariably superior to the public sector.  These developments are by no means limited to the U.S.; the same movement to privatize public schools is occurring in the United Kingdom, Africa and other regions – with troubling implications.  In the U.K., the Conservative Party government wants to turn all public schools into private academies, funded by taxpayers. The British multinational corporation Pearson has ambitions to open for-profit schools using its products in many nations across the world. In Africa, a corporation called Bridge International Academies (BIA) is opening for-profit schools in poor countries that cost $1 a week. Liberia is considering outsourcing its entire elementary program to BIA, which is funded by American billionaires Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and others from Wall Street.

“Edison Schools—once the biggest name in the for-profit charter industry—partnered with 130 schools (some noncharter) in the early 2000s and fully managed 80. It now manages only five. In 2000, Advantage Schools, another for-profit chain, enrolled more than 10,000 children across the country. Today it enrolls zero. New Orleans hired several for-profit companies to manage some new charter schools after Hurricane Katrina. But by 2013 all of them had disappeared, their schools taken over by nonprofit operators. In recent years, lawmakers in MississippiOhio, andTennessee have all taken steps to curb the growth of for-profit charters or ban them outright.”
These Charter Schools Tried to Turn Public Education Into Big Business. They Failed. By Jessica Huseman December 2015
It takes time, and nearly infinite patience, to build academically strong networks of schools from scratch. Investors aren’t used to waiting, though.
More and more these days, Americans think about schools using the language of business. Superintendents are “CEOs.” Districts manage “portfolios” of schools. And pundits talk obsessively about American schools’ “competitiveness.”  But we don’t always like them to act like businesses, particularly when it comes to having an overt profit motive. Partly as a result, for-profit public charter schools—at least the brick-and-mortar variety—are slowly dying in some states. Once touted as a model that would reduce inefficiencies in public education and achieve economies of scales by operating schools in multiple states, for-profit charters have fallen out of fashion. Charter schools in general are becoming more popular across the country, but since the early 2000s, for-profit charter operators have lost ground to their nonprofit peers. And their failure, in large part, has been the result of bad business plans—something the companies themselves freely admit.  

A Building Boom for Charter Schools Is Coming. Guess Who's Footing the Bill?
Inside Philanthropy by AuthorPaul Perry August 9, 2016
Everyone knows the Walton Family Foundation backs charter schools, but many people don’t realize just how instrumental its money has been in creating new charters nationwide. The foundation reports that in the past 20 years or so, it has invested “more than $385 million in 2,110 new public charter schools—about a quarter of all charters nationally. This past year, we supported more than one in five of the nearly 500 new charters that opened nationally.” Walton has also given tens of millions to build a teacher pipeline for charters, create a charter-friendly public policy environment, and more.  That’s a huge investment. And significantly, much of it has taken the form of bricks-and-mortar funding, which many other major foundations avoid. Now, even more Walton money is set to flow to charters as it doubles down in this area over the next five years.  On the 25th anniversary of the charter school movement, the Walmart heirs announced a major $250 million dollar initiative to help charter schools in 17 cities expand their facilities (and build new ones) to add another 250,000 seats for children by 2027. 

“In the spirit of provoking a constructive civic debate — one that actually honors the separation between state and federal powers — I present my wish list of presidential debate topics on education policy. Regardless of the positions the respective candidates might take, coverage of these five questions would inform voters about differences they could actually make in our public education system if elected.”
What we need to know from candidates on education policy
Brookings BROWN CENTER CHALKBOARD By Michael Hansen Tuesday, August 9, 2016
Editor's Note: 
In advance of the Oct. 19 presidential debate at UNLV, The Sunday and the Brookings Institution in partnership with UNLV and Brookings Mountain West are presenting a series of guest columns on state and national election issues. The columns will appear weekly. This column originally appeared in the Las Vegas Sun.
Those working in the education policy industry, as I do, always find reasons to complain during presidential election cycles, and the bellyaching seems amplified this year. What is our complaint? That our darling area of public policy receives so little attention in the limelight of civic debate that comes with the general election.  I acknowledge these hurts are mostly irrational. Any American civics teacher could tell you that in our federalist republic, the provision of public education is under the jurisdiction of states and commonly administered by local districts, not the federal government led by the president. Thus, our complaints have just as much power in campaigns for the office as bemoaning the lack of debate on state tax policy or land-use zoning decisions.

What's Driving the Opt-Out Movement? The belief that high-stakes testing promotes rote learning and is unfair to teachers, a TC survey finds
Teachers College, Columbia University
Download report: “Who Opts Out and Why?
Teachers College unveiled the findings of Who Opts Out and Why?the first national, independent survey of the “opt-out” movement—which reveals that supporters oppose the use of test scores to evaluate teachers and believe that high-stakes tests force teachers to “teach to the test” rather than employ strategies that promote deeper learning. The new survey also reports concern among supporters about the growing role of corporations and privatization of schools.  “For activists, the concerns are about more than the tests,” said Oren Pizmony-Levy, TC Assistant Professor of International and Comparative Education, who co-authored the study with Nancy Green Saraisky, Research Associate and TC alumna. “We were surprised that the survey reveals a broader concern about corporate education reform relying on standardized test-based accountability, and the increased role of ‘edu-businesses’ and corporations in schools.”
Who Opts Out and Why? also reveals that opt-out proponents oppose high-stakes, standardized testing because they believe it takes away too much instructional time.    The survey follows recent reports that the opt-out movement in New York has neither grown nor faded. In its July 29 report on 2016 standardized test scores, New York State disclosed that about 21 percent, or an estimated 250,000 of the approximately 1.1 million eligible public school students across the state, declined to take the tests. These figures do not significantly differ from the previous year, when New York State led the nation in combined math and English Language Arts test refusals.

Education Bloggers Daily Highlights 8/11/2016

Testing Resistance & Reform News: August 3 - 9, 2016
FairTest Submitted by fairtest on August 9, 2016 - 1:19pm 
FairTest hopes that these news summaries, which now go to several thousand activists, educators and policymakers each week, provide useful material for your assessment reform work. Please remember that you can support FairTest projects, including "Testing Resistance & Reform News" by making a contribution at: -- thank you!

2016 National Anthem Sing-A-Long - September 9th
American Public Education Foundation Website 
The Star-Spangled Banner will be sung by school children nationwide on Friday, September 9, 2016 at 10:00am PST and 1:00pm EST. Students will learn about the words and meaning of the flag and sing the first stanza. This will be the third annual simultaneous sing-a-long event created by the APEF-9/12 Generation Project. The project aims to bring students together – as the world came together – on September 12, 2001.

Registration for the PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference Oct. 13-15 is now open
The conference is your opportunity to learn, network and be inspired by peers and experts.
TO REGISTER: See   (you must be logged in to the Members Area to register). You can read more on How to Register for a PSBA Event here.   CONFERENCE WEBSITE: For all other program details, schedules, exhibits, etc., see the conference

PSBA Officer Elections Aug. 15-Oct. 3, 2016: Slate of Candidates
PSBA members seeking election to office for the association were required to submit a nomination form no later than April 30, 2016, to be considered. All candidates who properly completed applications by the deadline are included on the slate of candidates below. In addition, the Leadership Development Committee met on June 24 at PSBA headquarters in Mechanicsburg to interview candidates. According to bylaws, the Leadership Development Committee may determine candidates highly qualified for the office they seek. This is noted next to each person’s name with an asterisk (*).  Each school entity will have one vote for each officer. This will require boards of the various school entities to come to a consensus on each candidate and cast their vote electronically during the open voting period (Aug. 15-Oct. 3, 2016). Voting will be accomplished through a secure third-party, web-based voting site that will require a password login. One person from each member school entity will be authorized as the official person to cast the vote on behalf of his or her school entity. In the case of school districts, it will be the board secretary who will cast votes on behalf of the school board.
Special note: Boards should be sure to include discussion and voting on candidates to its agenda during one of its meetings in September.

PA Supreme Court sets Sept. 13 argument date for fair education funding lawsuit in Philly
Thorough and Efficient Blog JUNE 16, 2016 BARBGRIMALDI LEAVE A COMMENT

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