Tuesday, October 11, 2016

PA Ed Policy Roundup Oct 11: PA not protecting the interests of taxpayers when it comes to tax $$ spent on charter schools

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup October 11, 2016
PA is not protecting the interests of its taxpayers when it comes to tax dollars spent on charter schools

Deadline to register to vote in Pennsylvania is Today
Delco Times By The Associated Press POSTED: 10/10/16, 1:49 PM EDT
HARRISBURG, Pa. >> The registration deadline is Tuesday for Pennsylvanians who want to vote in the presidential election next month.  The Nov. 8 ballot also includes a competitive race for U.S. Senate that pits Republican incumbent Pat Toomey against Democratic challenger Katie McGinty.  All of Pennsylvania’s 18 seats in the U.S. House and all 203 seats in the state House are also up this year, along with half the 50-member Senate. There will be only one candidate in many of the legislative elections.  Three statewide row offices will be decided, for attorney general, auditor general and state treasurer.  Voters will decide whether to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to let justices, judges and district judges serve until age 75. The state’s current mandatory retirement age for jurists is 70. 

Many charter schools do wonders
Charter school critics lump the good apples in with the bad
Post Gazette Opinion By Tina Chekan and Jeremy Resnick October 11, 2016 12:00 AM
Tina Chekan is CEO and superintendent and Jeremy Resnick is founder and executive director of Propel Schools.
At all 11 of Propel’s charter schools, one of our core commitments is to foster a “culture of dignity.” This means suppressing our human tendency to make assumptions about people based on skin color, a ZIP code or clothing and doing the hard work of recognizing and valuing the unique experiences and worth of each individual.  We’ve never been criticized for this. Therefore, we’d like to make what should be a reasonable request: Could we agree, in our public discourse, not to lump all charter schools into one group and to value and appreciate the individual choices that families are making to enroll their children in charter schools?  The recent guilty plea by the Pennsylvania Cyber founder and the auditor general’s recent audits have provided new media opportunities for opponents of charter schools. Accusations that the charter movement is rife with mismanagement and misuse of public funds feed into a broader narrative linking similar incidents around the country. Even comedian John Oliver has gotten into the act with a monologue satirizing charter school failures.  In most areas of life, we readily distinguish between good and bad apples. For example, nobody says that Medicare should stop providing home health aides and medical equipment because a few contractors are fraudulent. Nor do we assume that Allegheny County’s mayors are corrupt because Harrisburg’s former mayor is facing criminal charges.  We don’t shut down whole institutions because a handful of its members have been corrupt. If we did, Congress would have been abolished long ago.

“The ability of any Democratic official to get changes made in the GOP-run legislature is-- well, it would be a break from a fairly well-established tradition. But at least DePasquale is busy telling anyone who will listen that Pennsylvania is not protecting the interests of its taxpayers when it comes to tax dollars spent on charter schools. Let's hope somebody will listen.”
PA: Charter Laws "Absolute Worst"
Curmuducation Blog by Peter Greene Saturday, October 8, 2016
States have taken a variety of approaches to the business of replacing public schools with publicly funded private charters. In states like Florida and North Carolina, the focus has been on tearing down the public system to make room for the charters. But in Pennsylvania, the emphasis has been on making charters so easily lucrative that edu-preneurs find getting rich easier than printing money.  PA Auditor General Eugene DePasquale has made charter law one of his regular talking points, and charter operators have provided him with ample fodder.  For instance, back in August Nicholas Trombetta finally pled guilty to a tax conspiracy charge that he had  fought for three years, a charge that he had defrauded taxpayers to the tune of $8 million. These were federal charges brought by a US Attorney in federal court; in other words, the state of Pennsylvania was continuing to let this guy do business as usual.

Bethlehem schools could start teaching Spanish in kindergarten
Jacqueline Palochko Contact Reporter Of The Morning Call October 10, 2016
BETHLEHEM — When Bethlehem Area students learn "1, 2, 3," next year, they might also learn "uno, dos, tres."  At Monday's curriculum committee meeting, the school district announced a plan to teach Spanish in all 16 of the district's elementary schools next year. Starting in kindergarten, students could have a Spanish class once in a six-day cycle, similar to how students now receive art, library, music, physical education and technology.

No closures or Renaissance this year, Hite says
Eleven schools are targeted for what could include merger or staff overhaul. Community meetings at each school to work on a plan will start next week. In a related development, the Philadelphia School Partnership announced a $1.1 million grant to Roxborough High.
The notebook by Dale Mezzacappa and Greg Windle October 10, 2016 — 7:49pm
Superintendent William Hite announced Monday a strategy for intervening in 11 of the District's lowest-performing schools that avoids either closure or charter conversion, but could include merger with another school, engaging a "contract partner," or replacement of staff.  Hite also said that the Renaissance schools initiative will be re-evaluated before any other schools are turned over to charters. There are 21 schools now operating as Renaissance schools.   The 11 schools were chosen because they've been performing below standard for three consecutive years, are not currently undergoing any kind of intervention or turnaround, and have a School Progress Report score of 15 or lower (on a scale of 100).  The schools include five neighborhood high schools: Bartram, Ben Franklin, Kensington Health Sciences Academy, Overbrook, and Fels; one middle school, Warren G. Harding; and five elementaries, John Marshall, Blankenburg, Delaplaine McDaniel, Heston, and Hartranft. 

Philly targets 11 low-performing schools for intervention
Eleven Philadelphia public schools are in line for a major shake up, the school district announced Monday.  The selected schools — known as "focus schools" — are considered low performing by the district and could undergo major staff and programmatic overhauls as part of turnaround efforts.  The 11 schools will be slotted into one of five intervention programs.  The options include placement in Philadelphia's "turnaround network"; combination with a higher-performing counterpart; bringing in a nonprofit organization to run the school; adopting a community-developed academic improvement plan; or restarting the school.  The district took two of its more controversial interventions off the table. None of the 11 schools will be closed,  and none will become charter schools through the district's Renaissance Charter initiative.

No closings, but big changes for 11 Philly schools afoot
Inquirer by Kristen A. Graham, Staff Writer Updated: OCTOBER 11, 2016 — 1:08 AM EDT
The Philadelphia School District has targeted 11 low-performing schools for overhaul next year.  The schools will not close or convert to charter, but will get some kind of major intervention come September, ranging from merging with an existing high-performing school to reopening with major staff or program changes.  The schools are: Blankenburg, McDaniel, Heston, Hartranft, and John Marshall Elementary Schools; Harding Middle School; and Bartram, Ben Franklin, Fels, Kensington Health Sciences, and Overbrook High Schools. Options for the schools include entering the district's Turnaround Network; merging; engaging a firm to manage the school on a contractual basis; operating under an evidence-based academic improvement plan; or restarting the school with significant staff or program shifts.  The schools were chosen on the basis of low performance for at least three years. They all have scores of no higher than 15 on a scale of 100, according to the district's School Progress Report.

These 5 Philly schools made big test score improvements. What's their secret?
When Tammy Thomas, principal at Eleanor Emlen School, first saw her school’s standardized test scores for 2016, she didn't feel excited. She felt relieved.  "My reaction was: 'Thank goodness we didn’t go down in anything,'" said Thomas, who heads the K-5 school in East Mount Airy.  That may sound fatalistic, but it’s understandable.  In 2015, test scores plummeted around the state as Pennsylvania introduced new versions of the math and English PSSAs — standardized exams given to third-through-eighth graders. These updated assessments were aligned to the Common Core standards and designed to be much tougher than their predecessor exams.  Many wondered whether scores would start to rebound in 2016 as everyone adjusted to the new tests.  For Philadelphia schools, the short answer was no. Philadelphia students did about as well — or about as poorly — in 2016 as they did in 2015. Math scores went up one percentage point, from 17 percent on grade level to 18 percent. English scores were totally flat, with 32 percent of Philly kids testing proficient or better.

Race, School Ratings And Real Estate: A 'Legal Gray Area'
With her infant son in a sling, Monique Black strolls through a weekend open house in the gentrified Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C. There are lots of factors to consider when looking for a home — in this one, Monique notices, the tiny window in the second bedroom doesn't let in enough light. But for parents like Black and her husband, Jonny, there's a more important question: How good are the nearby schools?  It's well known in the real estate industry that highly rated schools translate into higher housing values. Several studies confirm this and even put a dollar figure on it: an average premium of $50 a square foot, in a 2013 national study.  In Chappaqua, N.Y., an affluent bedroom community for New York City, the town supervisor recently went so far as to declare that, "The schools are our biggest industry — whether you have kids in the school or not, that's what maintains our property values."

Latino Students: A Portrait In Numbers
NPR by CLAUDIO SANCHEZ October 8, 20166:01 AM ET
Latinos are by far the fastest growing chunk of the U.S. school population. A new report by the National Council of La Raza gives a fascinating snapshot of this fast-growing population.
Here are some highlights:
§  Over the last 15 years, Latino enrollment has significantly outpaced that of whites and African-Americans.
§  Latinos under the age of 18 now total 18.2 million, a 47 percent jump since 2000.
§  Though white children are still the majority in this age group — 52 percent — Latino children are projected to make up about a third of total pre-K-12 enrollment by 2023.
§  The percentage of Latino children whose parents were born in the U.S. now dwarfs the number of Latino children whose parents were foreign born, 46 to 6 percent. States in the southeastern U.S., led by Tennessee and South Carolina, have seen the most dramatic increases in second-generation Latino children. In other words ...
§  Immigration is no longer the primary factor driving Latino population growth. Overall, 95 percent of Latinos 18 and younger are U.S. born.

Sharp differences between Clinton and Trump on education
Chron by The Associated Press Updated 12:59 pm, Monday, October 10, 2016
WASHINGTON (AP) — A quality education for all students, especially young children, is something Hillary Clinton has been talking about for decades. It's mostly new territory for Donald Trump, who more recently has been touting his education ideas beyond his oft-repeated criticism of Common Core.  The Republican presidential nominee added plans for education to his still relatively thin roster of policy proposals last month, unveiling an effort to spend $20 billion during his first year in office to help states expand school choice programs. Trump wasn't shy about his intentions, debuting his ideas at an inner-city charter school in Cleveland as part of a new outreach to minority voters. "There's no failed policy more in need of urgent change than our government-run education monopoly," Trump said at the school, blaming the Democratic Party for having "trapped millions of African-American and Hispanic youth in failing government schools."

Clinton Hits Trump in Debate for Setting Bad Example for Children
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Alyson Klein on October 9, 2016 9:30 PM
Democrat Hillary Clinton attacked her GOP rival for the White House, Donald Trump, for setting a bad example for the nation's school children through derogatory rhetoric, as the two tangled in the second presidential nominees' debate on Sunday.  Teachers, said Clinton, have seen an uptick in bullying in schools, thanks to Trump's remarks on the campaign trail, which have included mimicking a reporter with a disability, as well as comments about Latinos and Muslims. Her criticism came on the heels of a National Education Association press conference, which criticized Trump for inspiring bullying in schools. (NEA has endorsed Clinton.)   But at least one researcher, Deborah Temkin, the director of education research for the nonpartisan Child Trends, told my colleague Evie Blad that it's too early to say whether there has actually been an increase in bullying in schools during the campaign—or that Trump is to blame.

Education Bloggers Daily Highlights 10/11/2016

Share your interest in volunteering with PSBA
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PENNSYLVANIA EDUCATION POLICY FORUM  Wednesday, October 12, 2016  SUBJECT:  EPLC's 2016 Report:  High School Career and Technical Education: Serving Pennsylvania's Workforce and Student Needs
Coffee and Networking - 9:30 a.m.  Program - 10:00 a.m. to Noon   

Technical College High School (Brandywine Campus) - 443 Boot Rd., Downingtown, PA 19335
 RSVP by clicking here. There is no fee, but a RSVP is required. Please feel free to share this invitation with your staff and network. 
An Overview of the EPLC Report on High School CTE will be presented by:
Ron Cowell, President, The Education Policy and Leadership Center
Statewide and Regional Perspectives Will Be Provided By
Dr. Lee Burket, Director, Bureau of Career & Technical Education, PA Department of Education
Jackie Cullen, Executive Director, PA Association of Career & Technical Administrators
Dan Fogarty, Director of Workforce Development & COO, Berks County Workforce Development Board
Kirk Williard, Ed.D., Director of Career, Technical & Customized Education, Chester County Intermediate Unit 

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 https://www.psba.org/members-area/store-registration/   (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 website:www.paschoolleaders.org.

The Sixth Annual Arts and Education Symposium – October 27, 2016
The 2016 Arts and Education Symposium will be held on October 27 at the Radisson Hotel Harrisburg Convention Center.  Sponsored by the Pennsylvania Arts Education network and EPLC, the Symposium is a Unique Networking and Learning Opportunity for:
·         Arts Educators
·         School Leaders
·         Artists
·         Arts and Culture Community Leaders
·         Arts-related Business Leaders
·         Arts Education Faculty and Administrators in Higher Education
·         Advocates
·         State and Local Policy Leaders
Act 48 Credit is available.
Program and registration information are available here.

REGISTER NOW for the 2016 PA Principals Association State Conference, October 30 - November 1, at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel in State College.
PA Principals Association website Tuesday, August 2, 2016 10:43 AM
To receive the Early Bird Discount, you must be registered by August 31, 2016:
Members: $300  Non-Members: $400
Featuring Three National Keynote Speakers: Eric Sheninger, Jill Jackson & Salome Thomas-EL

SAVE THE DATE LWVPA Convention 2017 June 1-4, 2017
Join the League of Women Voters of PA for our 2017 Biennial Convention at the beautiful Inn at Pocono Manor!

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