Sunday, October 16, 2016

PA Ed Policy Roundup Oct 16: NAACP ratifies controversial resolution for a moratorium on charter schools

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup October 16, 2016
NAACP ratifies controversial resolution for a moratorium on charter schools

Blogger note: Great seeing so many at the PSBA/PASA School Leadership Conference!  Many thanks to all staff for their good work.

NAACP Press Release October 15, 2016
CINCINNATI – Members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Board of Directors ratified a resolution Saturday adopted by delegates at its 2016 107th National Convention calling for a moratorium on charter school expansion and for the strengthening of oversight in governance and practice.  “The NAACP has been in the forefront of the struggle for and a staunch advocate of free, high-quality, fully and equitably-funded public education for all children,” said Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman of the National NAACP Board of Directors. “We are dedicated to eliminating the severe racial inequities that continue to plague the education system.”

NAACP ratifies controversial resolution for a moratorium on charter schools
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss October 15 at 4:17 PM 
Leaders of the NAACP, the oldest civil rights organization in the United States, bucked intense pressure from supporters of charter schools on Saturday and ratified a resolution calling for a moratorium on the expansion of charters and for stronger oversight of these schools.  Members of the NAACP’s board of directors, meeting in Cincinnati, ratified a resolution adopted in July by delegates to the organization’s 2016 convention that called for a moratorium on more charter schools until:
1. Charter schools are subject to the same transparency and accountability standards as public schools
2. Public funds are not diverted to charter schools at the expense of the public school system
3. Charter schools cease expelling students that public schools have a duty to educate
4. Cease to perpetuate de facto segregation of the highest-performing children from those whose aspirations may be high but whose talents are not yet as obvious.
This was not the first time the NAACP has expressed concern about charter schools, but this resolution goes further than others approved in recent years and had generated an intense campaign by supporters of charters to try to persuade the group’s board not to ratify it.

Five myths about charter schools
Washington Post By Emma Brown October 14 
They’re in demand among parents who say traditional public schools have failed — but they’re not always successful. Their intense rate of growth has fueled an equally intense debate about the role they’ll play in the future of U.S. education. Advocates see their expansion as evidence that parents have a huge appetite for school choice. Critics see the beginning of the end of public education, with systems of neighborhood schools replaced by independent, privately run companies without the same obligation to teach the toughest students. A great deal of confusion surrounds charter schools. Here are some of the myths.

Op-ed: Charter schools build leaders the NAACP should support
I graduated from a West Philadelphia high school that’s a charter school. Now in college, I also work at a charter school that’s focused on science and technology and promoting self-reliance in the African-American community. So when I heard that the NAACP — a civil rights organization I’ve revered for fighting for black students and families — was opposed to charter schools, I was shocked.  This weekend, the NAACP’s National Board of Directors will meet to vote on a policy that seeks to prevent new charter schools from opening. They must not have much personal experience with charter schools, which are public, tuition-free, and open to all, but operate independently from local school districts. I’ll talk about my experience in a minute, but first, let me share what it was like for me in a traditional public school.

Pa. districts adjusting to new School Performance Profiles
Trib Live BY ELIZABETH BEHRMAN  | Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016, 5:51 p.m.
The School Performance Profiles are available online at
Following a steep drop in scores on the state's new standardized tests and a one-year hiatus, local school districts say they are largely pleased with the new School Performance Profiles. The Pennsylvania Department of Education released the profiles Thursday, providing a “snapshot” of how individual schools performed last year in categories such as academic growth, college readiness and closing the achievement gap.

State releases school performance scores
Online Database by Caspio
York daily record by Angie Mason , amason@ydr.com4:08 p.m. EDT October 14, 2016
Editor's note: If the searchable database does not appear at the top of the page, try hitting refresh.
Last year, Northern High School saw its performance score from the state education department drop, something the superintendent said, at the time, he'd expected. But work was under way to try to change that.  This year, the high school's score increased, which Supt. Eric Eshbach attributed to work in teacher training and changes in curriculum and instruction.  "To me, that's the way any kind of accountability system should work. We should be able to look at the results, and dig, dig, dig deep into the results and find out where we're doing well and where we have weaknesses," Eshbach said last week, in anticipation of the latest scores being released. "Then try to shore up those weaknesses, build up those strengths."

School ratings improve for most Lancaster County high schools
Lancaster Online KARA NEWHOUSE | Staff Writer Oct 14, 2016
Things are looking up for Lancaster County’s public high schools.  The state Department of Education on Thursday released its School Performance Profiles, and 14 of 19 local high schools received higher scores compared with 2015.  Last year, the majority of Lancaster County high schools saw a decline in profile scores, which are primarily based on students’ standardized test scores.  Profile ratings also are given to elementary and middle schools, but a year-over-year comparison is not possible this year because changes to state tests for those schools led to a pause on the scores in 2015.  The performance ratings go from 0 to 100, and state officials do not have a target number for what is considered a passing mark. 

Check out Pa. schools' progress scores newly released online
Inquirer by Kathy Boccella, Staff Writer Updated: OCTOBER 14, 2016 — 1:08 AM EDT
The Pennsylvania Department of Education on Thursday released School Performance Profile scores that measure the academic progress of 2,860 public schools across the state, including about 800 in the Philadelphia region.  Number one on the statewide list was Unionville High School in Chester County, with a score of 101.6, followed by Wissahickon High School at 100.8, and North Penn High at 100.3. They were the only schools in Pennsylvania to score above 100.
Rounding out the top 10 schools regionwide were Spring-Ford High School in Royersford, Downingtown STEM Academy, Bayard Rustin High School in West Chester, Quakertown Community High School, Springfield High School in Delaware County, Central Bucks High School East, and Haverford High School.

Gov. Wolf to nominate Estelle Richman for SRC
Gov. Tom Wolf intends to nominate Estelle Richman, a career public servant and former Secretary of Pennsylvania's Department of Public Welfare, to serve on Philadelphia's School Reform Commission.  Multiple sources confirmed the nomination to NewsWorks. The Philadelphia Inquirer first reported Richman's selection.  A formal announcement is expected next week.  Richman would replace Feather Houstoun.  Her resigned from the five-member commission took effect Friday. Richman must be confirmed by the Pennsylvania Senate before she can begin to serve.  Richman's resume is heavy with government experience. She helmed the state's Department of Public Welfare under former Gov. Ed Rendell. She's also a familiar face in Philadelphia, having served as city manager, director of social services, and commisioner for public health.  Most recently Richman was a senior adivsor to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  If confirmed, Richman would join the SRC at a critical time for the body.

“Senate confirmation is not a slam dunk, given the frosty relationship Wolf has with Harrisburg Republicans.  "Many of my caucus members know Estelle well," said Drew Crompton, the Senate Republicans' top lawyer. "That being said, what we will be looking for from any new SRC member is educational balance and an appreciation that vibrant charter schools and healthy private schools are vital in that district. Any nominee having a negative bent towards alternative schools will not garner much support from the Republican caucus."
Wolf asks Richman to be next SRC member
Inquirer by Kristen A. Graham and Angela Couloumbis, STAFF WRITERS Updated: OCTOBER 15, 2016 — 1:07 AM EDT
Gov. Wolf has asked a former state Department of Public Welfare secretary to be his nominee for an open School Reform Commission seat, sources in his office said.  An announcement is expected next week, the sources said Friday.  Estelle B. Richman spent three decades in public service, working on the federal, state, and local levels. She recently retired from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where she was a senior adviser. She also worked as head of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, as Philadelphia's managing director, and its commissioner of public health.  Richman, 73, of Philadelphia, also served on the transition teams of both Wolf and Mayor Kenney.  She could not be reached for comment.  Richman, who must be confirmed by the state Senate, would take the seat vacated Friday by Feather Houstoun. Houstoun served for five years and resigned last week.

SRC delays vote on closing charters
Inquirer by Valerie Russ, Staff Writer Updated: OCTOBER 15, 2016 — 3:01 AM EDT
WHAT HAD BEEN expected to be a raucous School Reform Commission meeting Thursday turned out to be rather mild since SRC Chairwoman Marjorie Neff announced early in the meeting that the panel would not vote immediately to either renew or reject charters for four area schools. Last spring, the district's charter school office had recommended the SRC not renew the operating charters of Universal's Vare Promise Neighborhood Partnership Charter and its Audenried Promise Neighborhood Partnership Charter, both in South Philadelphia, or those of Aspira's John B. Stetson Charter School in Kensington and Olney Charter High School in Olney because of low test scores and concerns about their operations and finances.  The four schools are former district campuses that the SRC converted to charters as part of its Renaissance program to overhaul struggling schools.

Green says teachers' union turned down 'serious offer'; Kenney to intervene
Inquirer by Kristen A. Graham, Staff Writer Updated: OCTOBER 14, 2016 — 1:08 AM EDT
Mayor Kenney said Thursday that he will get involved in the Philadelphia teachers' contract negotiations, directing a top lieutenant to intervene in stalled talks between the school system and its largest union.  "Talented educators have gone far too long without a fair contract or salary increases, and we risk losing many talented educators to other fields or school districts," Kenney said in a statement. "This is simply not fair and it's not good for our kids."  Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, said he had asked the mayor to bring the two sides together.  Kenney made his statement in advance of a School Reform Commission meeting Thursday where Commissioner Bill Green divulged details of the latest district offer to the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, made at a negotiating session in June.

DN letters: New contract would attract quality teachers to Philly schools
Philly Daily News Letter by Jerry Jordan Updated: OCTOBER 14, 2016 — 3:01 AM EDT
Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan
THERE'S ONLY one way the Daily News can credit the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers for helping create Penn Alexander, while simultaneously blaming the PFT for the district's inability to replicate it: blatantly misrepresent the facts, as you did in your Oct. 3 editorial.  Here are the facts: Since 2000, school-based site selection of teachers has been the rule, not the exception in Philadelphia. Every school in the district fills at least 50 percent of its teacher vacancies through site selection. Moreover, site selection is used to fill every teacher vacancy in Philly's "high needs" schools.  But there is no correlation between site selection and student achievement. Regardless of the hiring procedures in place, to fill vacancies, you need applicants. Site selection did not help the district fill the hundreds of teacher vacancies that existed last year, and it won't bring new teachers to our schools this year.  The biggest impediment to recruiting and retaining the best teachers is not the current PFT contract, but the lack of a new contract. 

PSBA members elect new officers for 2017
PSBA Website October 15, 2016
Members of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association heard the election results for new officers at its Delegate Assembly on Saturday, Oct. 15, at The Hershey Lodge & Convention Center. Open voting for members of PSBA was held from Aug. 15 to Oct. 3 through a secure, online voting website.  The new officers will take their offices on Jan. 1, 2017, as part of the 12-member PSBA Governing Board. As 2016 president-elect, Mark B. Miller, Centennial Area SD (Bucks Co.), automatically assumes the office of the president. Kathy K. Swope, Lewisburg Area SD (Union Co.), will assume the title of immediate past president in January 2017 when her term comes to an end as 2016 president. The treasurer position was not up for election this year so Otto W. Voit III, Muhlenberg SD (Berks Co.), will continue to serve in this role.
New officers elected by PSBA members and announced at the Delegate Assembly are as follows:

“Media Matters outlines the many overlapping connections in an echo chamber of education privatization advocacy groups, think tanks, and media outlets that are increasingly funded by a handful of conservative billionaires and for-profit education companies -- often without proper disclosure. 
Here Are The Corporations And Right-Wing Funders Backing The Education Reform Movement
A Guide To The Funders Behind A Tangled Network Of Advocacy, Research, Media, And Profiteering That’s Taking Over Public Education
Media Matters  ››› April 27, 2016 1:50 PM EDT ››› PAM VOGEL
Education policy has long been recognized as a contentious, complicated political third rail that transcends a typically partisan divide, but this complexity hasn’t kept staunchly conservative funders from bankrolling education reform efforts that line up with business interests. With the rise of privately operated public charter schools, digital learning models, and voucher and scholarship tax credit programs in recent decades, the education debate has grown even more complex, and schools and students are increasingly regarded as an untapped market. Media should know that the education reform movement advocating for these policies often relies on the backing of corporate and right-wing funding. These conservative-backed policies aim to weaken labor unions by attacking teachers’ job protections and to push state-level education legislation that makes way for greater private profiteering -- while leaving traditional public schools further behind.
Below, we outline the many overlapping connections in this echo chamber of advocacy groups, think tanks, and media outlets that are increasingly funded by a handful of conservative billionaires and for-profit education companies -- often without proper disclosure. These groups are driving the education privatization movement forward by co-opting the education reform mantle.

“No charter school in the country has had a teachers’ strike since the publicly-funded, privately-run schools were created in the 1990s.”
Chicago Charter School Teachers Picket Ahead Of Possible Strike
Becky Vevea/WBEZ October 13, 2016
One of Chicago’s largest charter school networks may go on strike next week.  Staff at the UNO Charter School Network, commonly referred to as UCSN, voted last week to authorize a strike Oct. 19 if they don’t reach a tentative contract agreement first.  No charter school in the country has had a teachers’ strike since the publicly-funded, privately-run schools were created in the 1990s.

Education Bloggers Daily Highlights 10/15/2016

Testing Resistance & Reform News: October 5 - 11, 2016
Submitted by fairtest on October 11, 2016 - 1:26pm 
This week's top stories include several about Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools (AROS) "Walk-Ins" around the country. The coordinated events included a strong call to end high-stakes tests to make time for more teaching and learning.

Rocket launch viewing is a go 8:03 pm Sunday: Mostly clear skies expected
By Steve Novak | For Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on October 15, 2016 at 3:37 PM, updated October 15, 2016 at 7:29 PM
Lehigh Valley residents may want to keep their eyes skyward Sunday night.  A rocket bringing supplies to the International Space Station is scheduled to launch at 8:03 p.m. from Wallops Island, Va. and will be visible to much of the East Coast.  Though clouds will start to move in later in the evening, mostly clear skies are expected in the Lehigh Valley region at launch time, National Weather Service meteorologist Sarah Johnson said Saturday afternoon. A map shared on NASA's Wallops Island Twitter account shows the launch will be visible from Boston to Pittsburgh to South Carolina. The Lehigh Valley can expect to see the rocket — which will appear as a bright light rising above the horizon and moving southeast — about two minutes after liftoff.

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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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