Wednesday, August 15, 2018

PA Ed Policy Roundup August 15, 2018: Failing the Future: Will the school funding crisis in Pa. ever be solved?


aily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 4050 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, charter school leaders, 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, Instagram and LinkedIn.

These daily emails are archived and searchable at http://keystonestateeducationcoalition.org
Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg

Failing the Future: Will the school funding crisis in Pa. ever be solved?



In the last decade, PA state’s share of Special Education funding has fallen from 36% down to 25%
Stat of the day via @PASchoolsWork. With costs for special education services rising, Pennsylvania's share of the funding for those services has been going down. This leaves local school districts stretched to cover the shortfalls.



“With very few exceptions, the report found that Wonderland did not identify students in any other disability categories or provide Individual Education Programs for those other than in speech and language impairment, which is considered a low-risk, high-return category. The report found the school overidentified those students by as much as 1,000 percent, while failing to identify students in any other disability category for at least a three-year span.”
Charter school law, health code and ethics violations. What was happening at Wonderland?
Centre Daily Times BY LAUREN MUTHLER lmuthler@centredaily.com August 14, 2018 12:44 PM Updated August 14, 2018 01:12 PM
Presenting his findings to the board Monday night, State College Area School District solicitor Scott Etter painted a troublesome picture of the policies and programming at the former Wonderland Charter School. Etter said his updated report, which is not yet finalized, further supports the conclusions he shared with the board in June that Wonderland had systemic and long-term shortcomings in the area of special needs. The charter school, he said, actively took steps to discriminate against students who needed special education services and preclude them from those services in order to save costs. Wonderland on July 31 voluntarily surrendered its charter and closed its doors, after the board voted on June 4, based upon Etter’s recommendation, to initiate the non-renewal/revocation process after finding charter law violations. As a public charter school, Wonderland was held to the same Department of Education and legal standards as other Pennsylvania public schools.
https://www.centredaily.com/news/local/education/article216524770.html#navlink=Lead

Failing the Future: Will the school funding crisis in Pa. ever be solved?
Is the way Pennsylvania funds public education the reason some students are left behind?
Public Source August 2018
About this project: In Pennsylvania, a state with 500 school districts, the funding crisis of public education is not a breaking news story. It's been the reality for years. Students study in decaying buildings, can only dream about art classes and fight the stigma of being from "that school." The crisis of funding public education is imminent as the court is set to look into how Pennsylvania funds public education and if it violates the State Constitution. In this series, we explore deepening inequities across school districts and ask: Will the school funding crisis in Pa. ever be solved?
https://schoolfundingpa.publicsource.org/

Failing the Future: Is Pennsylvania’s school funding unfair? This lawsuit hopes to upend the model.
By Mary Niederberger August 14, 2018 Part of the PublicSource series Failing the Future
A lawsuit pending in Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court has the potential to significantly change the way the state funds schools. The plaintiffs, including six school districts, have sued the Pennsylvania Department of Education, governor and other state officials, seeking to throw out the current school funding system and spur the creation of a new one that would provide equitable funding to districts. It’s a move that could significantly change the course of education for students in financially struggling districts… At present, much of school funding in Pennsylvania depends on property taxes, so districts in more affluent areas can bring in more money. As a result, students in some districts have state-of-the-art technology and a wide array of courses, but those in other districts, sometimes located side by side, are working with paper and pencil and have limited access to courses beyond the basics. The effects of inequitable education are measurable by academic achievement. In the 2012-13 school year, more than 300,000 of the roughly 875,000 students tested in Pennsylvania were not able to meet the state academic standards on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment exams, the lawsuit states.
https://schoolfundingpa.publicsource.org/stories/is-pennsylvanias-school-funding-unfair-this-lawsuit-hopes-to-upend-the-model/

Failing the Future: Two adjacent districts. Different academic worlds. The story of Sto-Rox and Montour.
By Mary Niederberger August 14, 2018 Part of the PublicSource series Failing the Future
This fall was supposed to be a dream-come-true football season for the Sto-Rox Vikings. They would charge across new turf at their high school stadium instead of the rugged, rutted grass field that teams have played on for decades. An alumni fundraising effort had hit its $600,000 goal near the end of the school year. Work was set to start on the new turf in July and games would be played there in September. No longer would the high school players have to maneuver around humps and hollows that could turn ankles and break bones. But then came the announcement by coach LaRoi Johnson in late June that the amount raised fell about $100,000 short of the cost to install the turf. It would be delayed another year while fundraising resumed. “They led us on and then they just snatched it away from us,” said Drey Frenzley, a senior who plays defensive tackle.
For Drey, 17, it was just one more example of how the adult world disappoints students in the Sto-Rox School District. “It happens all the time,” he said.
https://schoolfundingpa.publicsource.org/stories/two-adjacent-districts-different-academic-worlds-the-story-of-sto-rox-and-montour/

Failing the Future: Sto-Rox parent: ‘I get embarrassed… It just reminds me of the failure that I am for my kids.’
By Mary Niederberger August 14, 2018 Part of the PublicSource series Failing the Future
Tim Cerrone remembers attending Sto-Rox High School in the 1970s and having an array of electives, activities and sports available to choose from. He graduated in 1976 in a class of about 300 students. “We were a strongly middle-class area, and the high school had everything the students needed,” he said. In March, he stood outside of the auditorium at Mt. Lebanon High School where his granddaughter, Maranda Kelly, took part in a Pennsylvania Music Educators Association district band festival. He took in the surroundings of the school, where a $110 million renovation was completed in 2015, and realized just how far his alma mater, now his granddaughter’s school, has fallen behind. “It’s horrible how the education [in Sto-Rox] has dropped. If you live in a poor area, you don’t get a good education.” “This is like a college campus. I can’t believe it’s a high school,” said Cerrone, of McKees Rocks, as he left the Mt. Lebanon auditorium where his granddaughter, then in eighth grade at Sto-Rox Junior-Senior High School, played trumpet. While Mt. Lebanon High School has state-of-the-art STEM labs, dance and art studios, an auditorium with updated acoustics and an attached athletic building with an eight-lane pool, Sto-Rox Junior-Senior High School hasn’t been renovated since 1979.
https://schoolfundingpa.publicsource.org/stories/sto-rox-is-one-of-pas-poorest-school-districts-reliance-on-local-taxes-caused-that/

Experts disagree with USED school funding report
The analysis concludes that high poverty districts in PA spend more per student than wealthier ones.
The Notebook by Lijia Liu August 14 — 4:17 pm, 2018
A recent report from the U.S. Department of Education (USED) concludes that poorer school districts in Pennsylvania receive higher average revenue than wealthier ones. According to the report, districts in the poorest quartile have 18 percent more funding per student than the wealthiest quartile. This conclusion conflicts with what experts on school funding say. Mark Price, a labor economist at the liberal-leaning Keystone Research Center, found that per-pupil spending is around 11 percent lower in Pennsylvania’s poorest districts. Attorneys at the Public Interest Law Center are currently pursuing a lawsuit against the state of Pennsylvania on the grounds of inadequate and inequitable distribution of education funding. But even if the USED data accurately represents Pennsylvania as relatively progressive regarding school funding, compared to other states, it does not mean that poorer districts have enough resources to offer the same quality of education as wealthier districts. Data consultant David Mosenkis said that low-income students in high-poverty districts face “concentrated poverty,” which is “associated with higher costs of education, such as absenteeism and disciplinary problems.” Mosenkis, however, questions if the higher per-pupil revenue – the result of state and federal aid meant to offset wide differences in local wealth and taxing capacity – is sufficient for overcoming the higher costs faced by poorer districts.
https://thenotebook.org/articles/2018/08/14/experts-disagree-with-used-school-funding-report/

“Before joining the state General Assembly, O’Neill served as Warminster supervisor for five years and a special education teacher for 25 years at William Tennent High School, his alma mater.”
Bernie O’Neill withdraws from state representative race
State Rep. Bernie O’Neill has withdrawn from his re-election campaign for the 29th district seat. Republicans have until August 23 to name a substitute for the ballot.
Bucks County Courier Times By James Boyle  Posted Aug 14, 2018 at 1:18 PM  Updated Aug 14, 2018 at 1:18 PM
Incumbent Republican Bernie O’Neill withdrew his name from the general election ballot Monday, according to state records. State Rep. Bernie O’Neill has dropped out of his re-election campaign for the 29th district seat in Bucks County to focus on caring for his older sister, he confirmed Tuesday. The 16-year incumbent filed his withdrawal with the Pennsylvania Department of State on Monday, online records show. O’Neill and his wife, Linda, are the sole caregivers for his sister, who has special needs and recently developed additional health problems. His responsibilities in Harrisburg became too much of a burden in light of his sister’s treatment, O’Neill said. “The doctors would adjust treatments and her schedule around my being in town,” said O’Neill, speaking on the phone Tuesday. “It was also getting to be too much for my wife. She was at her wits’ end.” He will serve out the remainder of his 2017-2018 term, O’Neill said, then clear out of Harrisburg for his replacement. O’Neill said Tuesday he was filled with mixed emotions about leaving office and felt guilty about leaving the race at the deadline. The 29th district covers Warminster, Iyland, Warwick and parts of Buckingham.
http://www.buckscountycouriertimes.com/news/20180814/bernie-oneill-withdraws-from-state-representative-race

VOTING WHILE YOUNG
Philly 3.0’s engagement director breaks down Pennsylvania’s surge in youth voter registration
Philadelphia Citizen BY JON GEETING AUG. 14, 2018
Pennsylvania leads the nation in under-30 voter registration, according to a new voter data from Democratic analytics firm TargetSmart, and Billy Penn reports this cohort now outnumbers voters over 64 statewide: “Registered voters aged 34 and under in the commonwealth currently outnumber those over 64, according to July statistics from the Pa. Dept. of State. That younger cohort accounts for 22 percent of the state’s population — but 25 percent of people registered to vote […]  Statewide, the share of new voters under 30 (the cut-off TargetSmart chose) increased by 16 percent  — more than anywhere in the country. Youth in Allegheny County and Philadelphia helped drive that increase, but rural counties like Clarion, Juniata, and Westmoreland saw big jumps as well.” Democrats have been the net winners from these registration gains overall, widening their registration advantage over Republicans to about 814,000 voters. Colin Deppen and Sarah Anne Hughes credit some of the registration campaigns by groups like Inspire and NextGen that are underway on college campuses across Pennsylvania for the youth registration surge heading into the 2018 midterms. Another likely reason is the ease of registering to vote online in PA as a result of the Wolf administration’s roll-out of Online Voter Registration almost exactly three years ago in August of 2015. As of February 2018, over 1 million people had used the service, as of February of this year. This has made it easier for all residents to register to vote, or update their voter information, and it makes some sense that digital natives would be most drawn to this method of registering.
http://thephiladelphiacitizen.org/voting-while-young/

Per Act 39 of 2018, the use of the Keystone Exams as a graduation requirement or as a benchmark for the need for participation in a project-based assessment has been delayed:
PA Principals Association Website Tuesday, August 14, 2018 8:34 AM
Notwithstanding Section 2604-b(b)(2)(v), 22 Pa. Code §4.24 (relating to high school graduation requirements), 4.51 (relating to state assessment system) or 4.51c (relating to project-based assessment) or any statute or regulation to the contrary, the use of the Keystone Exams as a graduation requirement or as a benchmark for the need for participation in a project-based assessment shall be delayed until the 2020-2021 school year. For schools that previously submitted project-based assessments for evaluation, note that the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) employed evaluators through June 30, 2018, to evaluate all projects submitted through May 31, 2018.  Projects scored as unsatisfactory have been returned to tutors and may be resubmitted once corrections have been made. While a timeline for ongoing evaluation of projects has not been determined, projects submitted will be evaluated as follows:
Projects submitted for students graduating in 2019 or 2020 will be evaluated by a single evaluator. Projects submitted for students graduating in 2021 and beyond will be evaluated by at least two evaluators; a third evaluator will be engaged if the two evaluators are not in agreement.
Questions may be directed to c-jdyszel@pa.gov.
https://www.paprincipals.org/news/2018-08-14/Keystone_Exams_and_Project_Based_Assessments_PBA_Update?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

How to make a civics education stick
WHYY By Emily Cardinali August 14, 2018
Teaching civics to students can help them be more engaged voters. (LA Johnson/NPR)
How do you teach kids to be active participants in government? Or to tell the difference between real news and fake news? In their last legislative sessions, 27 states considered bills or other proposals that aim to answer these questions. Many of those proposals are rooted in popular ideas about the best ways to teach civics, including when kids should start, what they should learn and how to apply those lessons. Here’s a look at some of those concepts.
https://whyy.org/npr_story_post/how-to-make-a-civics-education-stick/

STEM and agriculture intersect during hands-on externship at New Holland North America
Lancaster Online by ALEX GELI | Staff Writer August 15, 2018
On a typical afternoon, teacher Gidget DeJesus is behind her desk in her eighth-grade science classroom at Lincoln Middle School. On Tuesday, however, she was behind the wheel of a 10-ton tractor. “This is so cool,” DeJesus said as she drove the tractor — worth about $200,000 — around the New Holland North America campus on Diller Avenue. “I feel like I’m in a video game.” The 10-minute ride was an exhilarating conclusion to day 2 of a three-day, hands-on externship program sponsored by the Lancaster County STEM Alliance. The event provided teachers, administrators and community leaders to tour New Holland’s facilities and receive on-the-job training to bring back to their students. The STEM Alliance, which is funded by The Steinman Foundation, sponsored an externship last year at the High companies.
https://lancasteronline.com/news/local/stem-and-agriculture-intersect-during-hands-on-externship-at-new/article_6ec1e76e-a026-11e8-869d-5fd87dda4cfc.html

The invisible signs to look for on the first day of school
WHYY By Andre Perry, The Hechinger Report August 14, 2018
This story first appeared on The Hechinger Report.
Last week, when many students were beginning the new academic year in some public schools in the United States, my family and I took a cruise to Cuba. My 7-year-old-son Roby could barely wait to get off the ship to enjoy the sights and sounds of Havana. This was not his first vacation abroad. In past trips, he had gawked at Big Ben in London, strolled through the United Nations in Geneva and fallen down a set of stair in the Eiffel Tower. (He always tells people, “Daddy let me fall!” to embarrass me.) After docking in Old Havana, we strolled through the center of town, and the sight of classic automobiles cruising through the streets, carrying photo-happy tourists, delighted Roby. His eyes bounced between the horse-driven carriages, timeworn buildings and buskers singing folk songs. He saw women gyrating to the rhythms thumping from a standing bass and congas, reminiscent of the dancing he knew from his hometown of New Orleans. Then something else caught his eye: the signs of poverty all around us. There were the feral cats that sat at our feet in restaurants, panhandlers on the roads, and ragged clothing worn by children at his eye level. At one point, Roby looked up to me and asked plainly, “Is this a poor country?”
https://whyy.org/articles/the-invisible-signs-to-look-for-on-the-first-day-of-school/

Pa. school pensions: To cut fees, we should hire more people
Inquirer by Joseph N. DiStefano, Staff Writer  @PhillyJoeD |  JoeD@phillynews.com Updated: AUGUST 14, 2018 — 3:55 PM EDT
Told it needs to save money, Pennsylvania’s biggest pension fund says it wants to spend more first. Pressed by Pennsylvania’s elected Joe Treasurer Torsella and the Public Pension Management and Asset Investment Review Commission — whose job is to shave $3 billion off the fees paid to hedge fund, real estate and buyout fund managers and other financial pros over the next 20 years — the $50-billion-asset Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System today issued a 29-page glossy report that says it can meet its share of that target, if it spends what it calls a “conservative” estimate of $3.15 million extra a year, on hiring more people. The money would go to hire 9 additional money management professionals, so they can make the investments in-house, instead of farming them out to private managers. PSERS, which already employs 300, says these new staff, costing at least $350,000 a year each in salary, benefits and supporting expenses, would enable the system to save around $39 million a year by investing some of the money currently farmed out to private firms, without cutting investment profits. The system also detailed how it expects to negotiate lower fees with some of its money managers.
http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/inq-phillydeals/pa-school-pensions-to-cut-fees-we-should-hire-more-people-20180814.html

Charter Schools: 7 Common Questions, Answered
Education Week By Arianna Prothero Published: August 9, 2018
Are charter schools public or private? Do they pick and choose who can enroll? Who oversees them? And are they better at educating students than regular public schools? We answer these questions and more about charter schools in this explainer.
What Are Charter Schools? How Do They Work?
A charter school is a tuition-free school of choice that is publicly funded but independently run. Conceived over 25 years ago in Minnesota as a means to loosen red tape around public schools and free up educators to innovate, charters have since grown into a national movement that spans 44 states plus the District of Columbia, and includes around 7,000 schools and 3 million students, according to federal figures. In exchange for exemptions from many of the state laws and regulations that govern traditional public schools, charters are bound to the terms of a contract, or “charter,” that lays out a school’s mission, academic goals, fiscal guidelines, and accountability requirements. On the other side of a charter contract is an authorizer—such as a state agency, a university, or a school district, depending on the state—that has the power to shut down charter schools that do not meet the terms of their contracts.
https://www.edweek.org/ew/issues/charter-schools/index.html

School Districts Have Long Green-Lighted the Most Charter School Openings. That's Changing.
Education Week Charters & Choice Bog By Arianna Prothero on August 14, 2018 12:01 AM
Here's a little-known fact: in many states, school districts have the power to open and close charter schools. Despite often being cast as foes, for years school districts have approved the most new charter school openings compared to all other types of authorizers—the groups granted authority under state law to green light and oversee charter schools. But that appears to have shifted in the past few years, according to a new report. For the first time, school districts are no longer granting the most new charters, says the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, which analyzed charter school application data from 19 states and the District of Columbia from 2013 to 2016. And nobody is quite sure why. In 2013, school districts approved the opening of 56 percent of all new charter schools, or 357 new campuses. By 2016, that percentage dropped to 41 percent, or 135 new campuses. The largest drops were seen among school districts that authorize relatively fewer charter schools to begin with. School districts that oversee fewer than five charter schools had green-lighted a comparatively large number of charter schools in 2013.  
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/charterschoice/2018/08/school_districts_have_long_green-lighted_the_most_charter_school_openings_thats_changing.html

School Choice Is the Enemy of Justice
New York Times Opinion By Erin Aubry Kaplan Aug. 14, 2018
Ms. Kaplan is a contributing opinion writer.
LOS ANGELES — In 1947, my father was one of a small group of black students at the largely white Fremont High School in South Central Los Angeles. The group was met with naked hostility, including a white mob hanging blacks in effigy. But such painful confrontations were the nature of progress, of fulfilling the promise of equality that had driven my father’s family from Louisiana to Los Angeles in the first place. In 1972, I was one of a slightly bigger group of black students bused to a predominantly white elementary school in Westchester, a community close to the beach in Los Angeles. While I didn’t encounter the overt hostility my father had, I did experience resistance, including being barred once from entering a white classmate’s home because, she said matter-of-factly as she stood in the doorway, she didn’t let black people (she used a different word) in her house. Still, I believed, even as a fifth grader, that education is a social contract and that Los Angeles was uniquely suited to carry it out. Los Angeles would surely accomplish what Louisiana could not. I was wrong. Today Los Angeles and California as a whole have abandoned integration as the chief mechanism of school reform and embraced charter schools instead.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/14/opinion/charter-schools-desegregation-los-angeles.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-right-region&region=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region

Kavanaugh Could Unlock Funding for Religious Education, School Voucher Advocates Say
New York Times By Erica L. Green Aug. 14, 2018
WASHINGTON — Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, in a speech last year, gave a strong hint at his views on taxpayer support for religious schools when he praised his “first judicial hero,” Justice William Rehnquist, for determining that the strict wall between church and state “was wrong as a matter of law and history.” Mr. Rehnquist’s legacy on religious issues was most profound in “ensuring that religious schools and religious institutions could participate as equals in society and in state benefits programs,” Judge Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to succeed Justice Anthony M. Kennedy on the Supreme Court, declared at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative research organization. Words like that from a Supreme Court nominee are breathing new life into the debate over public funding for sectarian education. Educators see him as crucial to answering a question left by Justice Kennedy after the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional for the state of Missouri to exclude a church-based preschool from competing for public funding to upgrade its playground: Can a church-school playground pave the way for taxpayer funding to flow to private and parochial schools for almost any purpose?
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/14/us/politics/kavanaugh-vouchers-religious-education.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

“The renewed popularity of so-called career education programs marks a shift away from the idea that all students should get a liberal-arts education designed to prepare them for college. Schools are once more deciding it is worth intervening in the lives of students who might not have the academic prowess, or the financial footing, to pursue bachelor’s degrees, and instead equip them with skills for steady employment. Nationally, the number of high-school students concentrating in career education has risen 22% over the past decade, to 3.6 million.”
Vocational Training Is Back as Firms Pair With High Schools to Groom Workers
CVS, Tesla and others help educators create skills-based programs—and future job candidates
Wall Street Journal By  Michelle Hackman Aug. 13, 2018 8:00 a.m. ET
COVENTRY, R.I. — Gabe Schorner never considered himself a good student until he enrolled in his high school’s new welding program, where, in an industrial-style classroom, Mr. Schorner found himself enchanted by the molten metal and its bright blue glow as he molded it. The skills he picked up led directly to a full-time offer from Electric Boat, the Rhode Island-based submarine manufacturer, where he is now making $16.50 an hour. “I don’t like the idea of going to college — I wanted to avoid taking on that debt and everything else,” Mr. Schorner said. “Being out in the world is a lot more fun.” Coventry High School established its welding program after Electric Boat, one of the state’s largest employers, declared it was looking to hire 14,000 new employees in the next decade. The company wasn’t finding enough recruits coming out of college. So it turned to high schools — where students can be discovered early, and the training is free. Such direct ties between big companies and local high schools are multiplying. Volkswagen is helping schools in Tennessee modernize their engineering programs; Tesla is partnering with Nevada schools on an advanced manufacturing curriculum; and fisheries in Louisiana have created courses for students to train for jobs in “sustainability.”
https://www.wsj.com/articles/vocational-training-is-back-as-firms-pair-with-high-schools-to-groom-workers-1534161601?mod=e2tw


PSBA Officer Elections: Slate of Candidates
PSBA members seeking election to office for the association were required to submit a nomination form no later than June 1, 2018, to be considered. All candidates who properly completed applications by the deadline are included on the slate of candidates below. In addition, the Leadership Development Committee met on June 17 at PSBA headquarters in Mechanicsburg to interview candidates. According to bylaws, the Leadership Development Committee may determine candidates highly qualified for the office they seek. This is noted next to each person's name with an asterisk (*). Voting procedure: Each school entity will have one vote for each officer. This will require boards of the various school entities to come to a consensus on each candidate and cast their vote electronically during the open voting period (Aug. 24-Oct. 11, 2018). Voting will be accomplished through a secure third-party, web-based voting site that will require a password login. One person from each member school entity will be authorized as the official person to register the vote on behalf of his or her school entity. In the case of school districts, it will be the board secretary who will cast votes on behalf of the school board. A full packet of instructions and a printed slate will be sent to authorized vote registrars the week of August 7. Special note: Boards should be sure to add discussion and voting on candidates to their agenda during one of their meetings in August, September or October before the open voting period ends.
https://www.psba.org/2018/07/psba-officer-elections-slate-candidates/

Apply Now for EPLC's 2018-2019 PA Education Policy Fellowship Program!
Applications are available now for the 2018-2019 Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP).  The Education Policy Fellowship Program is sponsored in Pennsylvania by The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC). 
With more than 500 graduates in its first eighteen years, this Program is a premier professional development opportunity for educators, state and local policymakers, advocates, and community leaders.  State Board of Accountancy (SBA) credits are available to certified public accountants.
Past participants include state policymakers, district superintendents and principals, school business officers, school board members, education deans/chairs, statewide association leaders, parent leaders, education advocates, and other education and community leaders. Fellows are typically sponsored by their employer or another organization. The Fellowship Program begins with a two-day retreat on September 13-14, 2018 and continues to graduation in June 2019.
Applications are being accepted now.
Click here to read more about the Education Policy Fellowship Program.
The application may be copied from the EPLC web site, but must be submitted by mail or scanned and e-mailed, with the necessary signatures of applicant and sponsor.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of the Fellowship Program and its requirements, please contact EPLC Executive Director Ron Cowell at 717-260-9900 or cowell@eplc.org.

2nd Annual National Black Male Educators Convening, Oct. 12-14, Philly
Teacher diversity works. Increasing the number of Black male educators in our nation’s teacher corps will improve education for all our students, especially for African-American boys.Today Black men represent only two percent of teachers nationwide. This is a national problem that demands a national response. Come participate in the 2nd National Black Male Educators Convening to advance policy solutions, learn from one another, and fight for social justice. All are welcome. Register to attend. Nominate a speaker. Propose a workshop. Sponsor the event.

Save the Dates PASA/PSBA School Leadership Conference – Hershey, Oct. 17-19, 2018 
Mark your calendar! The Delegate Assembly will take place Friday, Oct. 19, 2018, at 2:30 p.m.
Housing now open!

“Not only do we have a superstar lineup of keynote speakers including Diane Ravitch, Jesse Hagopian, Pasi Sahlberg, Derrick Johnson and Helen Gym, but there will be countless sessions to choose from on the issues you care about the most. We will cover all bases from testing, charters, vouchers and school funding, to issues of student privacy and social justice in schools.”
Our Public Schools Our Democracy: Our Fight for the Future
NPE / NPE Action 5th Annual National Conference
October 20th - 21st, 2018 Indianapolis, Indiana
We are delighted to let you know that you can purchase your discounted Early Bird ticket to register for our annual conference starting today. Purchase your ticket here.
Early Bird tickets will be on sale until May 30 or until all are sold out, so don't wait.  These tickets are a great price--$135. Not only do they offer conference admission, they also include breakfast and lunch on Saturday, and brunch on Sunday. Please don't forget to register for your hotel room. We have secured discounted rates on a limited basis. You can find that link here. Finally, if you require additional financial support to attend, we do offer some scholarships based on need. Go here and fill in an application. We will get back to you as soon as we can. Please join us in Indianapolis as we fight for the public schools that our children and communities deserve. Don't forget to get your Early Bird ticket here. We can't wait to see you.


Any comments contained herein are my comments, alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any other person or organization that I may be affiliated with.


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

PA Ed Policy Roundup August 14: Peter Greene - How To Profit From Your Nonprofit Charter School


Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 4050 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, charter school leaders, 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, Instagram and LinkedIn.

These daily emails are archived and searchable at http://keystonestateeducationcoalition.org
Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg

Peter Greene - How To Profit From Your Nonprofit Charter School



In the last decade, PA state’s share of Special Education funding has fallen from 36% down to 25%
Stat of the day via @PASchoolsWork. With costs for special education services rising, Pennsylvania's share of the funding for those services has been going down. This leaves local school districts stretched to cover the shortfalls.



PA Senate Remaining Scheduled Session Days 2018
September 24, 25, 26
October 1, 2, 3, 15, 16, 17
November 14

PA House Remaining Scheduled Session Days 2018
September 12, 13, 24, 25, 26
October 1 (NV), 2 (NV), 9, 10, 15, 16, 17
November 13

Twelve weeks from midterm, liberal billionaire Steyer ups his Pa. presence | Monday Morning Coffee
Penn Live By John L. Micek jmicek@pennlive.com Updated Aug 13, 1:14 PM; Posted Aug 13, 8:18 AM
Good Monday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
With just weeks to go before the mid-term elections, progressive billionaire Tom Steyer is tripling down on his effort to turn Pennsylvania a deep shade of Democratic blue. Steyer, the head of NextGen America
has already committed to spending $3.5 million on key congressional races throughout the state. And starting this week more than 100 paid staffers will be on 70 college campuses across the state to greet returning students. "It's a huge opportunity for us," spokesman Will Simons told PennLivein a recent interview. "We're playing in the six competitive districts we announced earlier this year, as well as statewide. We've been active since late last fall. Now we're really ramping up heading into November." More astute readers will recall that Democrats need to flip 23 states to win back control of the U.S. House of Representatives in November. Pennsylvania could be responsible for as many as a quarter of those seats. 
Steyer's group is eyeing three seats around Philadelphia for a takeover, as well as the Lehigh Valley-based 7th District (old Charlie Dent seat); the 17th District in western Pennsylvania, and the 10th District in central Pennsylvania. "We've registered about 13,000 [young voters] so far," Simons said.  "We're looking to double that by the end of August. It's constant contact and young people feel like they have an outlet to get involved."
https://www.pennlive.com/capitol-notebook/2018/08/twelve_weeks_from_midterm_libe.html#incart_river_index

Yes, Bob Casey is boring. In 2018, that's good news for Democrats | Tuesday Morning Coffee
Penn Live By John L. Micek jmicek@pennlive.com Updated 7:28 AM; Posted 7:26 AM
Good Tuesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
If there's thing Pennsylvanians know about U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., it's that the scion of Scranton is never in any danger of stealing the show from one of his more charismatic congressional colleagues. Next to U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., who has seemingly two settings: Loud and Ridiculously Loud; or the dryly funny Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., who christened the 45th president of the United States "
Cadet Bone Spurs," Casey seems like that reliable, if slightly unglamorous, older sibling. The who will help you with your homework and urge you to not to drive too fast.  But as Josh Voorhees of Slate notes, because Casey, who's running for a third term in November, is getting the job done in a state that President Donald Trump carried by a slender percentage point in 2016, that's freed up Democrats to worry about campaigning in states that are on the bubble in November.

https://www.pennlive.com/capitol-notebook/2018/08/yes_bob_casey_is_boring_in_201.html#incart_river_index

How To Profit From Your Nonprofit Charter School
Forbes by Peter Greene Contributor Aug 13, 2018, 11:43am
Occasionally politicians and policy leaders will try to thread the needle on charter schools by saying that they support nonprofit charters, but not those for-profit ones. Candidate Clinton tried that trick for keeping both sides happy back in 2016. But it's a distinction without a difference. Running a nonprofit charter school can still be a highly lucrative undertaking-- all financed with taxpayer dollars. Here's how to make a bundle with your nonprofit charter school.
The Real Estate Business: There is such a thing as a business that specializes in charter schools and real estate. In some states, the government will help finance a real estate development if it's a charter school, and in general developers have noted an abundance of cash. Though, as one charter real estate loan bond financier told the Wall Street Journal, "There's a ton of capital coming into the industry. The question is: Does it know what it's doing?" Many states have found a problem with charters that lease their buildings from their own owners as well. Why such interest in charter real estate? One reason: the Clinton-era Community Tax Relief Act of 2000 made it possible for funds that invested in charter schools to double their money in seven years. And the finance side can become so convoluted that, as Bruce Baker lays out here, the taxpayers can end up paying for a building twice-- and the building still ends up belonging to the charter company.
Management Companies: Once you've set up your nonprofit charter school, hire yourself as a for-profit charter management organization. Over the last decade, there have been numerous examples of this arrangement, sometimes called a "sweeps contract," where the charter school hands as much as 95% of its revenue off to a for-profit management organization. As with real estate, there have been instances where the school's assets (books, furniture, computers, etc) have been ruled to be the property of the management company-- so even if the school tanks, the organizers walk away with assets they can cash in.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/petergreene/2018/08/13/how-to-profit-from-your-non-profit-charter-school/#235c64f03354

Lancaster County schools are in better shape for second year of tougher immunization requirement
Lancaster Online by HEATHER STAUFFER | Staff Writer August 14, 2018
A regulatory change taking effect for the 2017-18 school year shortens the immunization grace period for students from eight months to five days.
Last year, Lancaster County schools had to keep hundreds of students out of classes when they failed to meet a tough new requirement of being immunized within the first five days of school. This year, as the first day of classes approaches, things are looking a lot better. Districts have had longer to prepare, and they say awareness is higher. With about 11,300 students, School District of Lancaster is the county’s largest district and accounted for the bulk of the exclusions last year. Despite strenuous efforts including free in-school clinics, individualized letters, radio ads, phone calls and even home and work visits, it had almost 2,000 who hadn’t met the requirement by the end of August and roughly 600 excluded by the seventh day of school. When LNP asked last week, district spokeswoman Kelly Burkholder said only about 4 percent — roughly 452 students — hadn’t yet met the requirement, with roughly two weeks remaining before classes start.
https://lancasteronline.com/news/local/lancaster-county-schools-are-in-better-shape-for-second-year/article_2bd352fe-9f35-11e8-b338-570b4283c0ff.html

These PIAA solutions should ensure fairness for all | Joe Scarnati
Penn Live Guest Editorial By Joe Scarnati Updated Aug 10; Posted Aug 10
State Sen. Joe Scarnati, a Republican, is President Pro Tempore of the Pennsylvania State Senate. He represents the Jefferson County-based 25th Senate District and writes from Harrisburg.
The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) was created more than a hundred years ago to provide fair, uniform standards governing high school sports. The body was expanded in 1972 to include private schools to end the separation of schools from different backgrounds.   The intent of the 1972 law was clear. Lawmakers sought to end the segregation of non-public schools in order to allow all schools and students to compete for state championships. While this system is not perfect, the organization works tirelessly to ensure the competitive balance between public, private and charter schools is preserved.  The PIAA has come under fire in recent weeks from critics who claim that the current system provides an unfair advantage to private and charter schools since public schools are restricted to fielding only those student-athletes who live within the geographic boundaries of the school district.
https://www.pennlive.com/opinion/2018/08/these_piaa_solutions_should_en.html#incart_river_index

Pennsylvania labor secretary swings by Allentown CareerLink to highlight job training initiatives
Jon Harris Contact Reporter Of The Morning Call August 13, 2018
Gerard Oleksiak, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, has been all over the state lately to visit CareerLink offices and discuss PAsmart, a new workforce development initiative. Among his stops so far: Chester County, Blair County and Erie County. His stop in Allentown on Monday was memorable from the start, when Nancy Dischinat greeted the teacher-turned-union-official-turned-labor-secretary with a poem that made light of the miserable, rainy weather outside. It was a poem about how the rain will create roses. “It’s typical of how she sees the opportunity even on rainy day,” Oleksiak said of the Workforce Board Lehigh Valley executive director. And that’s really what his stop was about — seeing the opportunities that have been created for the Lehigh Valley’s available workers and discussing the ones to come. He toured CareerLink Lehigh Valley’s Air Products Resource Center, where about 200 job-seekers a day stop in to use the facility’s phones and computers. He peeked in at a class focused on fine-tuning a resume, and then he was introduced to the Career Linking Academy, a group of middle-school students who informed Oleksiak that 97 percent of Lehigh Valley businesses have 99 employees or less.
http://www.mcall.com/business/mc-biz-gerard-oleksiak-visits-allentown-careerlink-20180813-story.html

Stoneleigh’s likely safe but Lower Merion landmarks are still under siege | Opinion
by Kathleen Abplanalp and Paul Steinke, For the Inquirer, Posted: August 14, 2018
Paul Steinke is executive director of the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia. Kathleen M. Abplanalp is director of historic preservation for the Lower Merion Conservancy. The Preservation Alliance holds the fa├žade easement on Stoneleigh's mansion and the Lower Merion Conservancy holds the conservation easement on the 42-acre property.
The ongoing threat to Stoneleigh's natural garden and historic mansion was reduced but not eliminated by swift action by the Pa. General Assembly and Gov. Wolf earlier this summer. On June 24, the governor signed a bill (HB 2468) that will test the power of authorities vested with eminent domain rights to condemn land that is protected by conservation easements. HB 2468, which had bipartisan support in the General Assembly, was prompted by the Lower Merion School District's proposal to condemn Stoneleigh, a 42-acre free and public garden in Villanova, for its new middle school. Fortunately, the provisions of HB 2468, which require authorities to demonstrate that there is no "reasonable and prudent alternative" to condemnation, greatly diminish the probability that the school district can spoil Stoneleigh's natural garden or imperil its historic Tudor Revival mansion. Stoneleigh is part of collection of historic assets in the township that dates from the late 17th century to the mid-20th century. This collection complements and completes the architectural portfolio of the region and of Philadelphia, recognized as a World Heritage City. In its continued search for a middle school site, however, the School District has not retreated from its hard stand that historic properties in the township are disposable.
http://www2.philly.com/philly/opinion/commentary/stoneleigh-clairemont-lower-merion-preservation-villanova-20180814.html

Comcast broadening reach of Internet Essentials
The focus this time is military veterans.
The notebook by Sam Haut August 13 — 4:40 pm, 2018
Six members of the Veterans Multi-Service Center received free laptops from Comcast's David Cohen at Monday's event announcing the expansion of the Internet Essentials program. Comcast official David L. Cohen, speaking to a room full of military veterans, politicians, and his company’s personnel, detailed the expansions being made to Comcast’s program that offers internet access to low-income people. The program, called Internet Essentials, now will include all low-income veterans, 36,000 of whom live in Pennsylvania. Previously, the program was restricted to households that include children eligible for the National School Lunch Program or that receive federal housing assistance. The company said Monday it had added nearly 20,000 low-income Philadelphia households and 2 million households nationally over the last year. Helping to promote the expansion were Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux-Morando, twin sisters and gold medalists from the 2018 U.S. women’s ice hockey team. They are the latest athletes to sign on as official spokespeople for Internet Essentials to help expand awareness of the program.   Jocelyne stressed that low-income households in both urban and rural areas have an issue with obtaining internet access. The twins are from North Dakota.
https://thenotebook.org/articles/2018/08/13/comcast-broadening-reach-of-internet-essentials/

Tracking the House Races to Watch in the 2018 Midterm Elections
House Race Ratings by the Cook Political Report By THE NEW YORK TIMES AUG. 13, 2018
218 seats needed for House majority
Democrats must flip at least 23 Republican-held seats to retake the House this November. There are currently 62 highly competitive seats — those considered a tossup between the two parties or leaning slightly toward one — according to race ratings provided by the Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper.
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/us/elections/house-race-ratings.html?hpw&rref=us&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well


PSBA Officer Elections: Slate of Candidates
PSBA members seeking election to office for the association were required to submit a nomination form no later than June 1, 2018, to be considered. All candidates who properly completed applications by the deadline are included on the slate of candidates below. In addition, the Leadership Development Committee met on June 17 at PSBA headquarters in Mechanicsburg to interview candidates. According to bylaws, the Leadership Development Committee may determine candidates highly qualified for the office they seek. This is noted next to each person's name with an asterisk (*). Voting procedure: Each school entity will have one vote for each officer. This will require boards of the various school entities to come to a consensus on each candidate and cast their vote electronically during the open voting period (Aug. 24-Oct. 11, 2018). Voting will be accomplished through a secure third-party, web-based voting site that will require a password login. One person from each member school entity will be authorized as the official person to register the vote on behalf of his or her school entity. In the case of school districts, it will be the board secretary who will cast votes on behalf of the school board. A full packet of instructions and a printed slate will be sent to authorized vote registrars the week of August 7. Special note: Boards should be sure to add discussion and voting on candidates to their agenda during one of their meetings in August, September or October before the open voting period ends.
https://www.psba.org/2018/07/psba-officer-elections-slate-candidates/

Apply Now for EPLC's 2018-2019 PA Education Policy Fellowship Program!
Applications are available now for the 2018-2019 Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP).  The Education Policy Fellowship Program is sponsored in Pennsylvania by The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC). 
With more than 500 graduates in its first eighteen years, this Program is a premier professional development opportunity for educators, state and local policymakers, advocates, and community leaders.  State Board of Accountancy (SBA) credits are available to certified public accountants.
Past participants include state policymakers, district superintendents and principals, school business officers, school board members, education deans/chairs, statewide association leaders, parent leaders, education advocates, and other education and community leaders. Fellows are typically sponsored by their employer or another organization. The Fellowship Program begins with a two-day retreat on September 13-14, 2018 and continues to graduation in June 2019.
Applications are being accepted now.
Click here to read more about the Education Policy Fellowship Program.
The application may be copied from the EPLC web site, but must be submitted by mail or scanned and e-mailed, with the necessary signatures of applicant and sponsor.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of the Fellowship Program and its requirements, please contact EPLC Executive Director Ron Cowell at 717-260-9900 or cowell@eplc.org.

2nd Annual National Black Male Educators Convening, Oct. 12-14, Philly
Teacher diversity works. Increasing the number of Black male educators in our nation’s teacher corps will improve education for all our students, especially for African-American boys.Today Black men represent only two percent of teachers nationwide. This is a national problem that demands a national response. Come participate in the 2nd National Black Male Educators Convening to advance policy solutions, learn from one another, and fight for social justice. All are welcome. Register to attend. Nominate a speaker. Propose a workshop. Sponsor the event.

Save the Dates PASA/PSBA School Leadership Conference – Hershey, Oct. 17-19, 2018 
Mark your calendar! The Delegate Assembly will take place Friday, Oct. 19, 2018, at 2:30 p.m.
Housing now open!

“Not only do we have a superstar lineup of keynote speakers including Diane Ravitch, Jesse Hagopian, Pasi Sahlberg, Derrick Johnson and Helen Gym, but there will be countless sessions to choose from on the issues you care about the most. We will cover all bases from testing, charters, vouchers and school funding, to issues of student privacy and social justice in schools.”
Our Public Schools Our Democracy: Our Fight for the Future
NPE / NPE Action 5th Annual National Conference
October 20th - 21st, 2018 Indianapolis, Indiana
We are delighted to let you know that you can purchase your discounted Early Bird ticket to register for our annual conference starting today. Purchase your ticket here.
Early Bird tickets will be on sale until May 30 or until all are sold out, so don't wait.  These tickets are a great price--$135. Not only do they offer conference admission, they also include breakfast and lunch on Saturday, and brunch on Sunday. Please don't forget to register for your hotel room. We have secured discounted rates on a limited basis. You can find that link here. Finally, if you require additional financial support to attend, we do offer some scholarships based on need. Go here and fill in an application. We will get back to you as soon as we can. Please join us in Indianapolis as we fight for the public schools that our children and communities deserve. Don't forget to get your Early Bird ticket here. We can't wait to see you.


Any comments contained herein are my comments, alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any other person or organization that I may be affiliated with.