Susan L. DeJarnatt is a Professor of Law at Temple University Beasley School of Law.
Charter Schools: What David Osborne should learn about Philadelphia
The notebook Commentary by Susan DeJarnatt September 21, 2017 — 12:55pm
David Osborne says Philadelphia could learn a lot from cities that have a cooperative relationship between charter and traditional public schools—like New Orleans which is virtually all charter. I’m not sure how that shows a “cooperative” relationship unless what he really means is that the Philadelphia School District should just close up shop. That seems to be the real point of his articles, book and his speeches about it: charters are better so they should expand and get free space from the District. One sentence really gets to his point: “Though they get substantially less funding per pupil, Philadelphia’s 86 independent charters perform better on most measures than the almost 200 traditional schools” and that “thousands of families are on their waiting lists.”
But almost nothing about this statement, except for the numbers of schools, is accurate.
Let’s look at a few of his contentions:
Consider It: Debating Charters, Vouchers and other Aspects of School Choice
YouTube posted by Julian VH Published on Sep 21, 2017 Video Runtime 1:50:57
The Berks County Community Foundation held its latest iteration of its "Consider It" series. On hand for this edition were a panel of four education experts. They debated charter schools, voucher programs and other aspects of school choice.
“What’s more, we already know how to solve the problem. The biggest single cause, as one expert described it, is “a deeply problematic school system” that largely fails to educate our children and prepare them to find work and live productive and happy lives. If we really want to address the devastating impact of poverty in our city, then fixing our public schools is the only real answer.”
Public schools should serve all students equally | Opinion
Inquirer Opinion by Sylvia P. Simms Updated: SEPTEMBER 20, 2017 — 8:34 PM EDT
Sylvia P. Simms, a former member of the School Reform Commission, is Executive Director of Educational Opportunities for Families.
Recent reports tell us that Philadelphia’s crisis of poverty shows no signs of improvement, and that we remain the poorest big city in America. It makes headlines, but for 400,000 of our fellow Philadelphians, it’s not news at all. What they know from bitter experience is that within a day or two, everybody will forget about this story and, as a city, we’ll go on making the same mistakes. Worst of all, nearly 150,000 of them are children whose only connection to the problem is that they were born in the wrong ZIP code. Think about that for a minute: If “Poor in Philadelphia” were a city, it would be the second-largest in Pennsylvania. It would be almost the size of Miami; and bigger than Cleveland. And when we talk about needing more money to solve our problems, think about this: If all of the nearly 252,000 adults living in poverty here had jobs that allowed them to pay what the average resident pays in city wage tax, it would generate nearly $605 million in tax revenue. In other words, if these folks could hold jobs that allowed them to support their families, there would be money available to address all of our other issues.
“At the state level, for example, a Republican-led Legislature helped former Gov. Tom Corbett create America’s largest spending gap between rich and poor school districts.”
To eliminate Philly poverty, we must dismantle oppressive systems | Solomon Jones
Inquirer Opinion by Solomon Jones @SolomonJones1 | email@example.com Updated: SEPTEMBER 20, 2017 — 8:31 AM EDT
Having tasted the sting of poverty during my teen years in North Philly, I am often puzzled when the establishment bemoans the city’s ranking as America’s poorest big city. After all, the deeply entrenched poverty that blankets the city’s brownest neighborhoods is strengthened by government policies. It is aided by structural racism. It grows with the help of the business community and stagnates when banks disinvest. The recently released American Community Survey found that Philadelphia, with a 25.7 percent poverty rate, remains the poorest big city in America. And 2015 Census documents show what is plain to see. Our poverty is concentrated in black and brown communities, with around 41 percent of Latino Philadelphians living in poverty, compared with 31 percent of blacks and nearly 15 percent of whites. No one within Philadelphia’s power structure should be surprised that blacks and Latinos compose the lion’s share of our poor. The power structure here helps to keep it that way.
Elementary School Principals Resoundingly Support Pre-K Investments
Pennsylvania Principals Association and PreK for PA Report September 2017
Tells a story. Demonstrates self-confidence. Counts to 10. Completes a puzzle. Listens to directions. Recognizes colors and shapes. Demonstrates self-help skills. Aware of weather changes and seasons. Curious. Takes turns. Recognizes letters, some words and his or her name. Responds to other children’s need for help. These are just some of the many skills that a child who experienced high-quality pre-kindergarten will demonstrate when he or she enters kindergarten.
In West Pottsgrove, pre-K advocates press for increased state funding
By Evan Brandt, The Mercury POSTED: 09/20/17, 6:57 PM EDT | UPDATED: 35 SECS AGO
Terri Koehler, principal of West Pottsgrove Elementary School where 20 new Pre-K classes began Wednesday, said “we know research showing students who get Pre-K have a better chance for success because we’ve seen it in action.”Evan Brandt — Digital First Media
WEST POTTSGROVE >> Wednesday marked the day that the school district’s first 20 Pre-K students took their seats at West Pottsgrove Elementary School. So perhaps it was appropriate that on the same day, in the same school, educators gathered to release the results of a survey on the benefits of early education and to advocate for more funding to spread those benefits state wide. “If every child who needs it had access to high-quality pre-K, we would see fewer children struggling or needing special education,” said Paul Healey, executive director of the Pennsylvania Principals Association.
Whenever PA finally gets its budget done you can bet charter reform will be back in the limelight. HB97 does NOT contain any provisions that would shed light on how private charter management companies spend our tax dollars. Mr. and Mrs. Gureghian are the principals at CSMI, which has been contracted to run the state’s largest brick and mortar charter school for many years. They have also been major donors to the GOP.
Click this link to see prior PA Ed Policy Roundup postings on this issue
Ask for Palm Beach mansion drops $5M to $64.9M
The asking price for the 35,993-square-foot property has fallen almost $20M since early 2015
The Real Deal, South Florida Real Estate News, May 13, 2017 11:00AM
The owners of a never-occupied, eight-bedroom mansion in Palm Beach cut their asking price by $5 million to $64.9 million. The new $64.9 million asking price for the French Chateau-style mansion is almost $20 million below the original asking price when it was listed for sale more than two years ago. The 35,993-square-foot residence at 1071 North Ocean Boulevard is still the most expensive home listed in the Palm Beach Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service. Several other Palm Beach homes have higher asking prices but are not listed in the Palm Beach Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service. These include 1500 South Ocean Boulevard, owned by Netscape co-founder Jim Clark, who wants $137 million for his ocean-to-lake mansion.
Broker Christian Angle has represented the owners of 1071 North Ocean Boulevard since they first listed the residence for sale in March 2015. The owner is a trust linked to Philadelphia-area lawyers Vahan and Danielle Gureghian, who initially planned to occupy the custom-built home.
Private managers of public schools, charter leaders enjoy extra buffer from public-records laws
Chalkbeat BY MONICA DISARE September 21, 2017
When Success Academy officials read the news last month that board chair Daniel Loeb had made a racially charged comment about a New York State senator, what did they do next? Did Success CEO Eva Moskowitz frantically email confidantes about the incident? Did her team craft a new policy on board member conduct? It turns out, we may never know. That’s in part because emails sent by Moskowitz and other leaders of New York City’s largest charter network — which oversees 46 public schools and 15,500 students — are not subject to the same public-records laws as district school officials, such as Chancellor Carmen Fariña. Moskowitz and officials at other charter school networks are generally exempt from the law because they don’t work for individual schools or city agencies, both of which are required to hand over certain records to members of the public who request them. Instead, they are employed by nonprofit groups called charter management organizations, or CMOs, which aren’t covered by the state records law.
Pennsylvania Treasurer has become a player in the state budget stalemate
Penn Live By Charles Thompson firstname.lastname@example.org Updated on September 21, 2017 at 6:15 PM Posted on September 21, 2017 at 6:14 PM
Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella swears he is not trying to be a "sixth negotiator" on the still-unfinished state budget, referring to the protracted talks between the General Assembly's four legislative caucuses and Gov. Tom Wolf. He is, however, trying to be the best steward that he can be of 12.8 million Pennsylvanians' tax dollars. And in that role, he has now found himself in the unlikely role of a fiscal enforcer who, by the simple act of saying 'no,' just may have created the pressure point that this meandering, summer-long debate has sorely lacked. Torsella, a 53-year-old attorney from Flourtown, seized that role when, after setting a $750 million limit on an internal line of credit at Treasury in August, he declared he is "disinclined" to lend any more under the current circumstances. As a result, the Wolf Administration had to selectively delay more than $2 billion in certain payments last week, and there are prospects for more fiscal disruptions if the stalemate continues.
Bethlehem 1st in Pa. to join Kennedy Center arts program
For lehighvalleylive.com By Sara K. Satullo email@example.com, Updated on September 20, 2017 at 3:45 PM Posted on September 20, 2017 at 2:00 PM
Bethlehem is the first city in Pennsylvania and the 24th in the nation to be selected for the Kennedy Center's arts education program. The designation by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts was announced Wednesday at SteelStacks' Levitt Pavilion. Young Bethlehem Area School District musicians from Liberty High, Northeast Middle and Farmersville Elementary schools all displayed their talents in performances throughout the ceremony. The designation means the local arts and education community can harness the planning power of the Kennedy Center to develop a long-term K-8 arts education program for local students that is tailored to Bethlehem's unique needs, said Jeanette McCune, director of D.C. school and community initiatives for the Kennedy Center's education arm.
Following 'inexcusable' altercations, state to audit Woodland Hills School District
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by JULIAN ROUTH firstname.lastname@example.org 2:44 PM SEP 21, 2017
A comprehensive state audit of Woodland Hills School District will begin Oct. 2 and will examine four years of the the district's safety, financial and administrative practices, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale announced Thursday. The audit comes at the request of several community officials from across the school district's area, during a time when Woodland Hills is already under intense scrutiny for a series of high-profile incidents involving altercations between students, officers and administrators. Mr. DePasquale cited a series of surveillance videos -- which show these "inexcusable" altercations -- as a reason for the audit. "I've seen those videos -- shocking videos," Mr. DePasquale said at a press conference in Pittsburgh. "As a parent of two kids in public school, if those were my kids, I'd be outraged."
Plum schools Superintendent Tim Glasspool seeks to resign, get $184,000 severance
Trib Live by BRIAN C. RITTMEYER | Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, 11:54 p.m.
Citing continuing "antagonistic and hostile behavior" by school board members, Plum School District Superintendent Tim Glasspool is seeking to resign and receive a severance package, according to a letter from his attorney. The letter from Glasspool's attorney, Colleen Ramage Johnston, to school district Solicitor Lee Price is dated Sept. 14. Johnston and Price could not be reached for comment after hours Thursday. Two school board members acknowledged the letter but none contacted late Thursday would comment on it. Glasspool has been under fire since a teacher-student sex scandal came to light in 2015, shortly after his contract was extended for five years. It runs through June 30, 2020.
“At first glance, this looks like a gigantic gift to the insurance industry. But the powerful lobbying group America’s Health Insurance Plans came out strongly against the bill Wednesday, saying it “would have real consequences on consumers and patients by further destabilizing the individual market.” The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association opposes the measure as well, saying it would “increase uncertainty in the marketplace, making coverage more expensive and jeopardizing Americans’ choice of health plans.” The American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and AARP adamantly oppose the new Senate bill as well. In fact, it is hard to find anyone who knows anything about health insurance who likes this monstrous creation.”
This Republican health-care bill is the most monstrous yet
Washington Post By Eugene Robinson Opinion writer September 21 at 7:41 PM
Motivated by the cynical aims of fulfilling a bumper-sticker campaign promise and lavishing tax cuts on the wealthy, Republicans are threatening to pass a health-care bill they know will make millions of Americans sicker and poorer. Do they think we don’t see what they’re doing? Does Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) think we didn’t hear what he said Wednesday? “You know, I could maybe give you 10 reasons why this bill shouldn’t be considered,” he told reporters. “But Republicans campaigned on this so often that you have a responsibility to carry out what you said in the campaign. That’s pretty much as much of a reason as the substance of the bill.” There you have it: Who cares what this legislation would do? Vote for it anyway.
Tom On Point: ‘Stubborn facts’ about choice
American School Board Journal October 2017 by Thomas J. Gentzel
Thomas J. Gentzel (email@example.com(link sends e-mail)) is executive director and CEO of NSBA. Follow Gentzel on Twitter @Tom_NSBA
Public schools are an institution but they are not monolithic. They come in various shapes and sizes, and offer a range of services to all children who attend, whether in person or online. “Well, of course they do,” you’re likely to say if you are a local school board member, superintendent, administrator, or teacher. Those who are responsible for leading and operating the public education system know all of that. If only the public did, too. The debate over school choice may vary over time or from place to place, but a recurring argument for tuition voucher, tax credit, and other similar proposals has been that students and parents need access to more options. “One size does not fit all” proponents will argue. They’re right, of course, which is why public schools are not one size, and frankly haven’t been for years. Today’s public schools offer programs and services designed to address the needs of individual students, to help them pursue their interests, and to provide the assistance essential for their success. Those who would divert public funds to private schools conveniently overlook this impressive track record, choosing instead to create an image of students trapped in uniform, tradition-bound schools.
Ignoring reality does not make it go away. To quote John Adams, who said, as a young lawyer, arguing a case in court: “Facts are stubborn things.”
Courageous Conversations: Reimagining Race and Education
Thursday, September 28, 2017 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM EDT
Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church 2800 West Cheltenham Ave, Philadelphia
WURD, WHYY and Philadelphia Media Network (Daily News, Inquirer and Philly.com) invite you to join us for "Reimagining Race and Education." This event is the third installment of our Courageous Conversations series, which focuses on race, class and culture. Race plays out in many ways in our schools, from funding inequity, to conflict, to how students and teachers view themselves and are viewed. How can we confront these issues, which hurt the whole community, and turn them into opportunities for conversation, understanding, and change?
Event panelists include:
• Dr. Howard Stevenson – (Moderator) Constance Clayton Professor of Urban Education, University of Pennsylvania
• Pastor Allyn Waller – Senior Pastor, Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church
• Dr. Wagner Marseilles – Superintendent, Cheltenham School District
• Otis Hackney – Chief Education Officer, City of Philadelphia; formerly principal of Springfield Township High School (Montgomery County) and South Philadelphia High School
• Sara Goldrick-Rab – Professor of Higher Education Policy & Sociology, Temple University
• Kristin Graham – Pulitzer Prize-winning Education Reporter, Philadelphia Media Network
Our Schools at Risk: How to Stop Funding Cuts, Bensalem HS, October 3 at 7 PM - 9 PM
Public Meeting Hosted by Education Voters PA Tuesday, October 3 at 7 PM - 9 PM
Bensalem HS, North Wing Audion, 4319 Hulmeville Rd., Bensalem 19020
Learn about the threats to our public schools and how YOUR advocacy efforts can make a difference. Join Education Voters of PA to learn about how state policies and school funding are impacting your local schools and how you can come together in your communities to stand up for public school students.
Seventh Annual Pennsylvania Arts and Education Symposium, November 2, 2017 Camp Hill
The 2017 Pennsylvania Arts and Education will be held on Thursday, November 2, 2017 at the Radisson Hotel Harrisburg Convention Center in Camp Hill. See the agenda here.
Early Bird Registration ends September 30.
Registration Opens Tuesday, September 26, 2017