Thursday, October 20, 2016

PA Ed Policy Roundup Oct 20: Welcome to the world of PA charter school management companies…

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 3950 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, school solicitors, principals, 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

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup October 20, 2016
Welcome to the world of PA charter school management companies…

Blogger commentary: Potential for fraud, waste and abuse?

In the Kevin McCorry/Newsworks piece below, PA Auditor General DePasquale is quoted as follows: "When you have the larger management companies running a broad chunk of schools, we view that as a major issue," he said. "If you were not allowed to find out the salary of your school district superintendent, what would be the outcry in your district?...There would be pitchforks at that meeting. In many of the management companies, we don't even get to see the salaries let alone the costs."

How about, if in addition to the salary of your superintendent, you were not allowed to find out any of your district’s expenses including salaries for all teachers, administrators, and staff; all maintenance and facilities costs; and all other major supports of the school.?  Welcome to the world of Pennsylvania charter school management companies.  BTW, HB530 does nothing to address their absolute total lack of transparency regarding taxpayer dollars.


We’re going to be offline for a few days, with the PA Ed Policy Roundup returning on Tuesday, October 25th. Please keep up your opposition to HB530 and have a great weekend.



Legislative Alert – Please Call Your Legislators Today Asking Them to Oppose HB530, the Charter School Expansion Bill

Please ask your colleagues to do the same.  Bill could be fast-tracked today and run through the legislature in as little as 48 hours.

House Members Contact info:
Senate Members Contact info:

Pennsylvania has the worst charter school law in the country and it is long overdue for renewal, especially to address fraud, waste and abuse and a total lack of transparency by charter management companies.  HB530 does absolutely nothing to address those concerns.  It would allow for unregulated expansion of charter schools with less accountability for taxpayer dollars while also diluting existing authorizer oversight

Don't be fooled by House Bill 530, so called charter reform legislation.  The legislation could be considered by the House Rules committee at any time and shortly afterward receive a vote by the entire house. We need to stop this bill by educating representatives on its numerous sections that remove accountability and oversight of charter schools.   Click here for a full explanation of the bill and an action alert you can send. https://www.psba.org/2016/10/house-bill-530-not-charter-school-reform/


House Bill 530 is Not Charter School Reform
Let’s stop pretending — The need for meaningful charter school reform is urgent, but that reform is NOT contained in House Bill 530.
PSBA Website October 10, 2016
House Bill 530 is not a genuine effort to improve the quality of education that our children receive, and it does little to provide real change in the way charter schools are operated, funded or held accountable. Instead, it enables the expansion of charter schools with less accountability and oversight, and actually dilutes existing powers of oversight. Language purported to set tighter rules for financial transparency and accountability contains provisions that are already required.  House Bill 530 simply perpetuates and expands the system of privatized public schools. Here’s why:

House Ready to Vote on Charter School Expansion Bill


“In a statement, the Department of Education said it took down the scores after it was alerted to a data accuracy issue with the Pennsylvania Value Added Assessment System scores, which are part of the school performance profile growth measure. While it appears only a small number of schools will see “a modest change” on their school performance profile score, ensuring the data being published is accurate was most important. That’s why the department is taking steps to correct the data and calculate new scores.”
Pa. pulling academic scores from website for further review
Daily Local By Eric Devlin, edevlin@21st-centurymedia.com@Eric_Devlin on Twitter POSTED: 10/19/16, 8:30 PM EDT | UPDATED: 5 HRS AGO
The Pennsylvania Department of Education announced Wednesday it is pulling the academic data from its school performance profile report card website for further review.
According to an email obtained by Digital First Media, school officials from across the state were invited to attend a face-to-face meeting with state Education Secretary Pedro Rivera and Deputy Secretary Matthew Stem to discuss the school performance profile data. At that meeting, the two men will provide additional background information.  Three sessions will be held across the state including one today in Malvern at 1:30 p.m. at Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network East, 333 Technology Drive.

PDE Releases ESSA Workgroup Report; Set to Begin Developing Pennsylvania's State Plan
NEWS PROVIDED BY Pennsylvania Department of Education  Oct 18, 2016, 14:50 ET
HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, Secretary Pedro A. Rivera thanked hundreds of stakeholders for their involvement in a series of workgroup meetings to help develop Pennsylvania's plan to implement the federally-approved Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has worked closely with stakeholders --soliciting insight, feedback, and suggestions-- as it began development of the state plan for the implementation of federal law that replaces No Child Left Behind.  The meetings, which began in April, were facilitated by PDE and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the nonpartisan, national association of state education leaders. The workgroups focused on four key areas of ESSA: accountability, assessment, educator certification, and educator evaluation.  "Pennsylvania finds itself in the unprecedented position to redefine what learning means to us in the commonwealth, and determine which direction we want our public education system to go under this landmark new law," said Secretary Rivera. "I thank the stakeholders and experts who joined our discussion and fostered the development of inspired ideas that the Department will use to shape our state plan."

ESSA STAKEHOLDER SESSION & REPORT RELEASE, OCTOBER 18, 2016
PA Department of Education Website
AIR Report - The Every Student Succeeds Act in PA:  Recommendations from Stakeholder Work Groups & Associated Research (October 2016) (PDF)
ESSA General Stakeholder Meeting (PPT)
Session Agenda (PDF) 

New York, Pennsylvania Cite ESSA Planning Progress
Education Week State Ed Watch By Daarel Burnette II on October 19, 2016 10:39 AM
The state education agencies in New York and Pennsylvania this week announced that they are narrowing the focus for their ESSA plans after receiving feedback from the public.  Pennsylvania's department said Tuesday that members of the public told them to, among other things, rely less on test scores to hold schools accountable, to improve the teacher professional development and evaluation systems, and to reduce the amount of time students spend taking tests. The department will review all of the feedback, which was compiled by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and encorporate it into the state's ESSA plan, due to the U.S. Department of Education next spring.  

Federal report on charter schools elicits more calls to revise Pa. law
The report, which studied 33 charter management organizations in six states, found that two-thirds were cause for concern.
Newsworks by Kevin McCorry October 19, 2016 — 11:34am
CORRECTED AND UPDATED: 10/19/2016
Some charter schools operate like islands — day-to-day they run independently of any higher or centralized power.  Others contract with a management organization — sometimes part of a big network, sometimes not. Sometimes for-profit, sometimes not.  It's these charter management organizations, or CMOs, that have been criticized recently by the Office of the Inspector General inside the U.S. Department of Education.  In a September report, the OIG warned that CMOs pose a "significant risk" to both taxpayer dollars and performance expectations.  The report studied 33 CMOs in six states and found that two-thirds were cause for concern, with internal weaknesses that put federal tax dollars at risk.   Pennsylvania was one of the states investigated, and the report echoed much of what Pa. Auditor General Eugene DePasquale has already flagged about CMOs in the state.

Pittsburgh Public Schools superintendent names three to executive cabinet
By Andrew Goldstein / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette October 19, 2016 9:19 PM
Pittsburgh Public Schools superintendent Anthony Hamlet on Wednesday announced the appointment of three more positions to his 15-member executive cabinet.   The chief academic officer, chief of school performance and chief human resources officer were selected out of nearly 300 school administrators from throughout the Northeast and South United States who applied for the positions.  Mr. Hamlet and five other administrators interviewed dozens of the candidates before making the appointments, which the superintendent brought to the school board at its Wednesday night legislative meeting.

Here’s Why Adopting a New School Funding Formula, without Greater Investment, Is Not Enough
Campaign for Fair Education Funding Website
Research shows that education funding affects student achievement. So the spending gap between wealthy and poor school districts in Pennsylvania – the widest in the nation – has a very real impact on students’ lives. Pennsylvania’s new fair funding formula begins to address this problem, but will not cure the student achievement gap alone. The state still does not invest enough funding to ensure that all students can meet academic standards, no matter their zip code.

“So concludes a long, parched walk in the desert for education in these debates.”
K-12 Gets Scant Attention in Final Debate: What Education Issues Got Ignored?
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Andrew Ujifusa on October 19, 2016 10:53 PM
On Wednesday night—for the third and final time in 2016—a presidential debate featuring Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump was virtually devoid of substantive K-12 talk.  In an exchange roughly 40 minutes into the debate in Las Vegas, Clinton made a pitch for a stronger educational system from early education through college, and she said she would help the economy through better career and technical education programs.  "I feel strongly we have to have an education system that starts with preschool and goes through college," Clinton said.  Later, she cited her background working for the Children's Defense Fund and other work on education while she was first lady in Arkansas. Clinton also touted investments she wanted to make in education, although she didn't provide more specifics. Clinton also briefly referenced the Clinton Foundation's Healthy Schools program.  But other than those quick references to education, there was little for K-12 observers and advocates to chew on. Trump did not mention the topic at all. 

Checking Back In On The Barber Who Encourages Kids To Read
NPR JENNIFER GUERRA  October 19, 201612:50 PM ET
It has been a crazy few days for Ryan Griffin, the guy behind the Read-to-a-Barber program we wrote about on the NPR Ed blog last week. He says the phone at The Fuller Cut in Ypsilanti, Mich., has been ringing nonstop since the story ran.  Calls of support, yes, but also calls from reporters in Australia, England, Germany and pretty much every major market in the U.S. The story has been picked up by CBS NewsABC News and The Huffington Post, just to name a few.
So I dropped by the barbershop Tuesday to check in on Griffin and see what, if anything, has changed.

Charters used to enjoy bipartisan support. Not anymore
By David Scharfenberg BOSTON GLOBE STAFF  OCTOBER 18, 2016
BROOKLINE — Massachusetts’ 23-year-old charter school experiment has long enjoyed bipartisan support. Just a few months ago, polls showed Democrats and Republicans alike supported an upcoming ballot measure that would allow for more of the schools.  But recent surveys show Democrats turning against the question — breaking the broad consensus on charters and threatening to stall one of the country’s most ambitious efforts to reshape public education.  A new WBUR poll out Wednesday morning has the ballot measure failing by 11 points overall, with Democrats opposing it 64 to 30 percent.

Don't Teach For America, teach for real
Columbia Spectator BY DANIEL BERGERSON | OCTOBER 12, 2016, 10:43 PM
Daniel Bergerson is a Columbia College senior studying history and urban teaching.
I almost fell for Teach For America. Its brochure told me I could “make a difference” after college by postponing my imaginary yet promising career for two short years in order to teach in a low-income area.  As a senior in high school, I did not yet know that “making a difference” meant shortchanging students in need of real teachers, deprofessionalizing the teaching profession, and leading the charge to privatize schools.  Over the next three years, however, Teach For America’s narrative of “teaching as leadership”  unraveled before me piece by piece, myth by debunkable myth. As I familiarized myself with the existing research, spoke with experienced educators, and underwent my own teacher training in the Barnard Education Program, it became clear that I did not want to Teach For America. I wanted to teach for real.


Philadelphia Film Festival: Backpack Full of Cash
A Film by Sarah Mondale 2016
5:10 PM     Sat, Oct 22  Prince Theater 
4:10 PM     Sat, Oct 29  Prince Theater 
Philadelphia is at the forefront of this enlightening and alarming documentary narrated by Matt Damon that explores the effects and implications of diminishing funds for public schools and the growing concern over the charter school system.

Reminder: November Workshops and Webinar on the New PA Funding Formula
 PASA, PSBA, PAIU, PARSS, the PA Principals Association and PASBO have scheduled nine on-site workshops across the commonwealth and one webcast to provide an in-depth discussion of the new basic education funding formula: how it works, what it measures and why it’s important for Pennsylvania’s school districts. The workshops, funded through a grant from the William Penn Foundation, will be offered at IUs 3, 4, 8, 10, 15, 17, 18, 20 and 24 beginning in November. Click here for workshop dates and details and information about registration. Capacity is limited at all locations, so registration is required and is first come, first served.

Share your interest in volunteering with PSBA
Complete this form to share your interest in volunteering with PSBA

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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