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Education Reform Hub Monthly August Newsletter

Aug29

Welcome to the  Education Reform Hub Monthly! This monthly update from the U.S. Department of Education will alert readers to new resources that inform policy and practice across several areas of education reform. Highlighted Resources Building Enduring Race to the Top Education Reforms: Using Social Media to Engage with and Communicate to Key Stakeholders Social […] More »

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Capitolwire: Amid calls for more education spending, report criticizes district spending on low-performing charter schools

Aug29

By Christen Smith Staff Reporter Capitolwire HARRISBURG (Aug.28) — Pennsylvania’s largest teacher’s union advocated Wednesday for increased state spending in impoverished school districts to improve PSSA test scores. But a June 2014 report by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania questions state policy mandating districts fully-fund charter schools that “consistently under perform” when compared with traditional […] More »

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‘Back to School Selfie’ Campaign

Aug28

Early next week, the National Alliance is officially launching our “Back to School Selfie” campaign to celebrate charter school students and teachers heading back to classrooms. We wanted to give you a head’s up and invite you to join us! Read more. More »

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State Sen. Matt Smith: Let’s reform education funding

Aug26

By state Sen. Matt Smith The back-to-school season is marked by sales of new backpacks and school  supplies. As parents ensure that their kids are prepared to advance to the next grade and start the school year on the right foot, districts are also  working to make sure they are prepared to meet the needs of […] More »

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Capitolwire: Basic Ed circuit riders to boost awareness for need of ‘fair and predictable’ school funding

Aug26

By Christen Smith Staff Reporter Capitolwire HARRISBURG (Aug. 26) — Eleven “circuit riders” will deploy across the state Wednesday on a year-long mission to educate school district officials about the need for a fair and predictable basic education funding formula in Pennsylvania. The riders — current and former superintendents and executive directors, themselves — will share all […] More »

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NAPCS August Update

Aug25

From Gina Mahony: We hope that your school year is (or will soon be!) off to a great start! Congress returns on September 8th for a short month of work before adjourning in October for elections on Nov 4th. We expect that Congress will pass a short-term funding resolution to bridge the gap between the […] More »

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Capitolwire: The ‘challenging’ history of education spending in PA

Aug25

By Christen Smith Staff Reporter Capitolwire HARRISBURG (Aug. 25) — The Basic Education Funding Commission — a collection of state lawmakers and administration officials tasked with creating a “fair, equitable” funding formula for public schools — agree that Pennsylvania’s current mechanism leaves poor school districts disproportionately vulnerable to state-level cuts in education spending. “It’s been so […] More »

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DRPE: Making School Choice Work Requires Leadership

Aug22

In an Education Week commentary, Robin Lake writes: It’s a truism in public policy that every solution breeds a new problem. School choice has created new possibilities for families desperate for better options, but it can also create serious access challenges for disadvantaged families. In localities where many state and local agencies can sponsor schools, fragmented governance makes […] More »

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Michelle Rhee Resigns from StudentsFirst

Aug20

Michelle Rhee, former chancellor of D.C. Public Schools, has resigned her post as the CEO of the education reform organization StudentsFirst. Rhee launched the organization three years ago with the mission to promote policies that placed student needs ahead of the needs of the education establishment. Rhee will remain involved in StudentsFirst, but is shifting the day-to-day- […] More »

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Public Support for Charter Schools Ticks Up in New Poll

Aug20

A new PDK/Gallup poll released today reveals that support for charter schools has ticked up to 70 percent in 2014 – up from 68 percent in 2013. The poll also found that a majority of Americans believe students at public charter schools receive a better education than students at other public schools. “It is great […] More »

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Capitolwire: Hold-harmless provision an early point of contention for Basic Education Funding Commission.

Aug20

By Christen Smith Staff Reporter Capitolwire HARRISBURG (Aug. 20) — In her opening statements Wednesday, Rep. Donna Oberlander, R-Clarion, told the Basic Education Funding Commission she would vote against any new formula that harms rural school districts who “justifiably depend” on state dollars guaranteed through the hold-harmless provision. It’s an opinion she says “a large contingent” […] More »

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Apple to provide Pa. educational program

Aug20

Gov. Corbett announced Tuesday that Apple Inc. would provide a free online educational resource through iTunes that features courses and other programs, such as algebra 1, biology, and English language arts, the core-curriculum subjects that students must pass in order to graduate from high school. Read more.  More »

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Join the Truth About Charters Campaign

Aug13

To: PCPCS Member CEOs, The following email was just received from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS). Please note the link to their recently completed paper on statements made about charter schools and factual responses. This may be of value to you in countering the statements of either misinformed persons or outright opponents […] More »

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NASCA Member Notes: A Place for District Authorizers

Aug12

A Place for District Authorizers In some places, it isn’t easy being a district authorizer. Your district leadership may be anti-charter. Your office may be woefully understaffed, or your “other duties as assigned” list may grow exponentially every year. You may have been thrown into the authorizing role with no real grasp of what you’re […] More »

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Throwing more money at Philadelphia’s schools isn’t the answer

Aug11

Make no mistake: The children of Philadelphia are victims of a failing school system. They have been “left in the lurch,” as described in an Aug. 4 Post-Gazette editorial (“House Inaction: Philly Students Are Left Waiting for a Funding Source”). But the relevant question is: How do we rescue them? How do we put the […] More »

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Gov. Corbett announces $21 million in School Improvement Grants for nine schools

Aug07

Text of Aug. 7 press release: Harrisburg – Governor Tom Corbett today announced that nine public schools will share $21 million in federal School Improvement Grant funding. “Pennsylvania is home to thousands of high-quality educators; however there are still too many schools that have a history of failing to provide students with a quality education,” […] More »

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Letter: Cyber school criticism relied on factual errors

Aug06

By Michael J. Conti in the Beaver County Times The New Brighton Area School District school board president and vice president criticized the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School (“Cyber school’s huge surplus is unfair”) on the Times’ editorial page July 24. Their letter unfortunately relied on inflammatory rhetoric and factual errors to make its case. The […] More »

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Hartman & Conover: Time to convert all York schools to charters

Aug06

By William Hartman and Jane Conover of the York County Community Foundation Advocacy Council In our February 2013 report called “A New Model of Education in York,” York County Community Foundation’s Advocacy Council and the YorkCounts committee put forth a vision of high-performing York City schools with educators, students, parents and civic and business leaders […] More »

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Charter school critic omitted indisputable facts: PennLive letters

Aug06

Mr. Harold Piety’s letter (“Rep. Bloom voted for a bill that hurt local schools,” July 31) misses some indisputable facts: The recent state budget sets an all-time record for state education spending, and Rep. Bloom voted for this legislation. The letter claims that “charter and for-profit cyber schools siphon off funds” from public schools. But […] More »

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STEM Summit Announces Agenda, Presenters

Aug06

The 2014 STEM Summit will be held on August 28, 2014 at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh. Bridging the gap between education, innovation, and industry-led solutions!  This year’s STEM Summit is designed to allow educators, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and innovators of all type to come together and learn about real solutions to enhance teacher […] More »

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Philly cigarette tax hits headwinds in House

Aug06

A plan to raise $80 million for Philadelphia schools with a cigarette tax has run into headwinds in the Statehouse. On Wednesday, Gov. Tom Corbett announced that the state would advance $265 million to the city’s cash-strapped schools, but the superintendent said that money won’t guarantee classes will start on time. Read more. More »

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Phila. Charter-school teacher wins national award

Aug05

A teacher at KIPP Philadelphia Elementary Academy has won a national teaching award. Dayna Perry was one of 10 teachers nationwide whom the KIPP Foundation honored for excellence in teaching Friday night in Houston during the annual conference of the national charter school network. Read more. More »

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With Philly in freefall, how do we fix public education? Should we?

Aug05

Here’s one to chew over for a Tuesday morning, via The Huffington Post: In recent years, the public education systems in Philadelphia and Chicago have seen mass personnel layoffs, school closures and frequent budget crises. But a new report from the Center for American Progress shows that it does not necessarily have to be that way. […] More »

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NACSA Member Notes: Closing the Talent Gap in Authorizing

Aug05

Authorizing matters. More and more, state and national education reform nonprofits are taking notice of the pivotal role authorizing plays in creating a high-quality charter school sector. If only there was a forum for these groups to come together to engage in discussions about quality authorizing and share their work in state houses and on […] More »

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Washington Post Editorial: D.C. charters deserve the same funding as traditional public schools

Aug04

A study by the D.C. government examining how public money is appropriated to students in the city’s traditional and charter schools concluded there were great disparities between the two sectors. Not only is this unfair but, as the study determined, it is “contrary to D.C. law.” How, then, can a spokesman for the attorney general’s office […] More »

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Commonwealth Foundation: A Note on Philly School Spending

Aug04

Last week, we released a summary of spending, enrollment and staffing trends in the Philadelphia School District over the past decade. After this release, school officials and advocates have claimed our data is misleading because total spending and revenue numbers include funding for charter schools, whereas enrollment figures represent only the district. Read more. More »

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Cyber debate: Parents’ view

Aug03

There are several major reasons why parents choose to enroll their children in cyber charter schools, said Joanne Barnett, chief executive officer of PA Virtual. “There are parents who really like the idea of being involved in their child’s education.” Read more. More »

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Our View: It’s time for a cyber truce

Aug03

Traditional elementary and secondary education, especially those forms so deeply ingrained in American culture, tend to respond hesitantly, and often obstructively, to dramatic changes. The future often is as frightening as the past is comfortable and reassuring. Read more. More »

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Commonwealth Foundation: Philadelphia School Trends, 2002-2003 to 2012-2013

Aug01

The School District of Philadelphia is in desperate need of reform, but its many problems cannot be solved by simply raising taxes and increasing spending. An analysis of the school district over the last decade reveals that revenue and expenditures have increased despite declining enrollment. Although city schools have seen staff reductions, these have been […] More »

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CRPE Newsletter: What we’ve learned about districts and charters working together

Aug01

Hostility between school districts and charter schools is not news. But education leaders putting aside their differences to work together is. As readers of this newsletter know, for two and a half years CRPE has been engaging with, analyzing, and writing about 20 cities across the country where school district superintendents have signed “compacts” with […] More »

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Senate bill would require school background checks

Aug01

A year ago, Sens. Pat Toomey and Joe Manchin struck a background checks deal that appeared to offer the best chance for lawmakers to curb gun purchases by criminals and mentally ill people with a history of violence. Their effort was no match for gun owners’ groups that convinced Congress that the senators’ bill was […] More »

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Lend a voice to redesigning city’s schools

Aug01

By Daniel Sean Kaye It was truly a joyful moment for me when I heard about the School District of Philadelphia’s “School Redesign Initiative.” Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. is asking any and everyone, inside and outside the district, to make suggestions on how to fix some of the issues impacting city schools. Read more. More »

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Commonwealth Foundation: Philadelphia School Trends

Aug01

The School District of Philadelphia is in desperate need of reform, but its many problems cannot be solved by simply raising taxes and increasing spending. An analysis of the school district over the last decade reveals that revenue and expenditures have increased despite declining enrollment. Although city schools have seen staff reductions, these have been […] More »

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