Pennsylvania GOP congressmen file challenge to district map
Penn Live By The Associated Press Updated Feb 22, 4:34 PM; Posted Feb 22, 4:33 PM
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- Pennsylvania's highest court overstepped its authority in drawing new congressional district lines and did not give state lawmakers enough time to produce a map of their own, eight Republican congressmen said in a lawsuit filed Thursday. The complaint in Harrisburg federal court argued against the legality of the map put in place Monday by the state Supreme Court, and said a 2011 Republican-crafted map should remain in use this year. The plaintiffs are suing top elections official under Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, asking for an injunction to prevent the Department of State from implementing the new plan. "Far from being free of politics, it appears every choice in the court drawn plan was to pack Republicans into as few districts as possible, while advantaging Democrats," the plaintiffs alleged. A separate legal challenge to the new map by two senior Republican legislative leaders is currently awaiting action by the U.S. Supreme Court.
New congressional map spurs more would-be candidates
AP State Wire Published: Yesterday
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A new court-ordered map of congressional districts in Pennsylvania is spurring more would-be candidates to consider whether - and where - to run. The Republican candidate in March 13's special election for a vacant U.S. House seat in southwestern Pennsylvania said he might seek a full term in a similar district under the new court-ordered congressional map, even though he doesn't live in it. Meanwhile, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said he is considering running for Congress, and the field for a Montgomery County-based district is getting crowded. Candidates can start filing petitions Tuesday to run in the May 15 primary, but the boundaries of Pennsylvania's congressional districts are in doubt after the state Supreme Court threw out a 6-year-old map as unconstitutionally gerrymandered to help Republicans.
Thackston Charter sues York City district over closure agreement
York Dispatch by Junior Gonzalez, 717-505-5439/@EducationYD Published 9:22 a.m. ET Feb. 22, 2018 | Updated 5:38 p.m. ET Feb. 22, 2018
Helen Thackston Charter School is not going to close its doors this spring without a fight.
On Tuesday, Feb. 20, the charter school filed a lawsuit against the York City School District and the school board, seeking a declaratory judgment to keep the school open through the end of the 2018-19 school year instead of the June 30, 2018, closure the district demanded earlier this month. On Wednesday, Feb. 21, the York City school board approved a resolution authorizing district solicitors Levin Legal Group PC and Gettle & Veltri to pursue legal action to ensure the closure of the charter school by the end of the current school year. Seven district board members voted in favor of the proposal, with one board member, Lisa Kennedy — a former board member at Helen Thackston Charter School — abstaining from the vote. Board member Tonya Thompson-Morgan was absent. Before voting in favor of the measure, member Michael Breeland said the board provided more than enough time for the charter school to get its act together, so he has no qualms voting in favor of pursuing legal action.
SRC denies six Philly charters and approves one with conditions
The notebook by Greg Windle and Dale Mezzacappa February 22, 2018 — 8:49pm
The School Reform Commission on Thursday denied six of seven applications for new charter schools, heeding evaluations by the Charter School Office and information from follow-up hearings that raised significant questions about most of them. Among those rejected were a new elementary school in Yorktown proposed by Mastery, the largest charter operator in the city; two new schools to be managed by ASPIRA, Inc., of Pennsylvania, and a middle school on the Franklin Towne campus in Bridesburg, which already provides grades K-12. Also rejected were bids from two new operators. The Asociacion Puertorriquenos en Marcha (APM), a community organization that builds affordable housing and runs preschools, wanted to open a K-8 school in North Philadelphia for 702 students. And Hebrew Public, a nonprofit that runs four schools in New York City, sought to operate a dual-language K-8 school in East Falls in which students would learn Hebrew and study the history of Israel. The one that was approved, a third MaST school in far Northeast Philadelphia, had significant conditions attached.
Philly will get one new charter school; SRC denies 6 more
Inquirer by Kristen A. Graham & Maddie Hanna - Staff Writers Updated: FEBRUARY 22, 2018 — 8:02 PM EST
The School Reform Commission Thursday night approved a single new charter school for Philadelphia, another outpost for the successful MaST network in Northeast Philadelphia and adding 1,300 students to the city’s charter rolls. But perhaps more significantly, it denied six others, citing significant flaws in applications, including those from well-known operators Mastery Charter Schools and Aspira of Pennsylvania. MaST III had applied to operate a K-12 school serving 2,600 students, opening this fall in the city’s Somerton section. As a result of conditions imposed on the school, it will be limited to 1,300 students and will not open until 2019. “We’re excited to have another charter, and serve more kids,” John Swoyer, MaST’s CEO, said after the meeting. “We’ll work it out.” There is enormous demand for MaST’s two existing schools, Swoyer said: They received 15,000 applications for just 250 seats.
Lehigh Valley school leaders not sold on arming teachers
Sarah M. Wojcik, Michelle Merlin and Jacqueline Palochko Contact Reporters Of The Morning Call February 23, 2018
As calls to arm educators intensify in the wake of Florida’s school shooting, Sandi Gackenbach can only imagine the things that can go wrong. What if a student or parent was able to disarm a teacher during a confrontation? What if a weapon discharged accidentally in a classroom? What happens if an armed teacher acts out violently? “There are other ways to protect our kids that don't introduce deadly weapons into their environment,” Gackenbach, Parkland’s teachers union president, said Thursday. “I would never feel comfortable having it on my body in a classroom.” President Donald Trump on Thursday promoted arming trained teachers to protect students and deter would-be shooters, but many Lehigh Valley school district officials disagreed, citing concerns over putting guns in the hands of faculty and staff.
“The House Education Committee is scheduled to have a hearing on the issue of school safety, including a discussion of White's bill as well as ones dealing with bullying, mental health and other issues, on March 15 at the state Capitol. Committee Chairman David Hickernell, R-Lancaster County, said in an email, "this hearing will be a holistic look at school safety and will include pieces of legislation that have been referred to the House Education Committee on various approaches to improved school safety." But even if White's bill were to pass the House, it won't gain the signature of Gov. Tom Wolf to become law.’
Arming school employees, an idea that Trump floated, could get a renewed push in Pa.
Penn Live By Jan Murphy firstname.lastname@example.org Updated 5:50 AM; Posted 5:50 AM
Now that President Trump has signaled his openness to the idea of allowing trained school employees adept at handling firearms to possess them in schools, a state lawmaker pushing that proposal in Pennsylvania is hoping it regain more momentum. Sen. Don White, R-Indiana County, succeeded in getting his controversial bill through the Senate at the end of June despite strong opposition from education and gun control advocates. Since then, though, it has been sitting idle in the state House Education Committee. Already, at least 18 states at last check allow school employees to have access to guns on school property. In the aftermath of the Parkland high school shooting in Florida that left 17 people dead, the idea is getting attention in not only that state but several others including Wisconsin, Alabama and North Carolina as well as Trump.
White points out Ohio has had a law like the one he is proposing for nearly 10 years and it has experienced no shooting incidents since.
Spring-Ford eyes more armed guards in wake of school shooting
By Evan Brandt, The Mercury POSTED: 02/21/18, 6:26 PM EST | UPDATED: 1 DAY AGO
ROYERSFORD >> In the wake of last week’s school shooting in Florida, the Spring-Ford Area School Board has asked the administration to review its security profile and investigate the cost of having armed personnel in each school building. The Spring-Ford School District has 11 school buildings. The inquiry comes as the nation reels from the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Fla., where 17 people were gunned down by alleged shooter Nikolas Cruz. Student survivors of the incident are organizing high school walk-outs nationally, meeting with President Donald Trump and planning a march on Washington, while others debate whether more guns or fewer will solve the problem. In Delaware County, Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood announced a new initiative Monday called “Save Our Children” to allow pre-selected and specially trained teachers and support staff to carry concealed guns in schools to shoot back in the case of an attack, according to the Delaware County Daily Times.
Threats again force Central York school district to cancel classes
Inquirer Updated: FEBRUARY 23, 2018 — 5:19 AM EST
YORK, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania school district has closed schools for a third consecutive day as police continue to investigate threats made against students and staff. The Central York School District cancelled classes Friday following a series of threats on social media. Springettsbury Township Police Chief Dan Stump says they have received several tips and they have a few persons of interest, but no one has been taken into custody. Stump says a task force comprised of local, state and federal agencies is working on the case. District Superintendent Michael Snell says the missed days will be added to the end of the school year. He says there are no more make up days available. The district is scheduled to host a town hall discussion at Central York High Feb. 28.
Erie students at General McLane, McDowell high schools have registered for March 14 event; school districts said they support them.
GoErie By Ed Palattella and Valerie Myers Posted at 2:00 AM February 22, 2018
Madeline Bruce said she felt a call to action after watching students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, speak out after the massacre there on Feb. 14.
Bruce, 18, a senior at General McLane High School, is now organizing her fellow students to press for changes to gun laws. She registered General McLane High School to participate in the National School Walkout on March 14 to lobby for actions to end school shootings and other gun deaths. “It kind of inspired me to take action,” Bruce said. “Because I know I have the power to take action, I just have to do it. And this is the push.” General McLane High School is one of two high schools in Erie County registered, as of Thursday, to take part in the March 14 walkout. Students nationwide are to leave classes at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes, or one minute for each of the victims — 14 students, two school staffers and a teacher — killed in the Parkland shooting.
Students at West Chester schools plan March 14 walkout over gun violence
By Fran Maye, Daily Local News POSTED: 02/20/18, 3:20 PM EST | UPDATED: 16 HRS AGO
WEST CHESTER >> Students at all three of West Chester’s high schools – Rustin, East and Henderson – will participate in a 17-minute walkout March 14 in a unified demonstration seeking common sense gun reform and to make schools safer. The decision was made at a meeting held Monday at Limelight Performance Center in West Chester, attended by students, teachers, school administrators and parents. About 70 attended and emotions were high as some students cried as they demanded gun law reform. The 17-minute walkout – symbolic for the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida – is part of a nationwide movement organized by EMPOWER, the Women’s March youth branch. Many high schools across the nation will participate. Not all students will attend the walkout. All of the marches are designed to put pressure on Congress to pass gun reform. “Action needs to happen, and it needs to happen with our politicians,” said Sharon Alexander, who has children who attend West Chester schools. “We are not asking people to give up their guns, because we are for the Second Amendment. We just need better safety laws. We are asking that assault weapons be banned.” James Scanlon, superintendent of the West Chester Area School District, said last week that school officials took a number of measures to make schools in the district safer.
Delco students plan March 14 walkouts to back changes in gun laws
Delco Times By Kevin Tustin, email@example.com, @KevinTustin on Twitter
POSTED: 02/22/18, 8:37 PM EST | UPDATED: 3 HRS AGO
MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP >> Whether you call it a walkout or a remembrance event, area school districts are preparing for student/faculty marches on March 14 as part of the one-month anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla. The nationally orchestrated walkouts will take place 10 days before a national “March for our Lives” rally in Washington D.C. calling for better gun control. Students at Penncrest High School have proudly declared their involvement in a schoolwide honor walk that will begin at 10 a.m. that day as students and school personnel make their way to the school’s track and walk around in silence for 17 minutes in honor of the 17 victims in the latest mass school shooting. The Penncrest student body has organized the event in response to Congress’ inaction regarding gun violence that has plagued schools nationwide.
Pittsburgh CAPA students to be disciplined for walkout
Demonstration honored memory of 17 killed in last week's shooting at a Florida high school
MATT MCKINNEY Pittsburgh Post-Gazette firstname.lastname@example.org FEB 22, 2018
CAPA students who took part in a Downtown demonstration honoring the memory of those killed in last week’s shooting at a South Florida high school will receive detentions for leaving their classes. Pittsburgh Public Schools spokeswoman Ebony Pugh, who confirmed the disciplinary action, did not comment further. Nearly 100 high school students locked arms in the center of a busy Market Square for 17 minutes during lunch hour and said nothing. Each minute of silence honored the memory of the 17 students and staff members killed Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida. Students attending Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts 6-12 on Ninth Street, Downtown, took part in the silent protest, one of a number of demonstrations as students across the country plan walkouts, sit-ins and other actions to push lawmakers to pass tougher gun laws.
Alarmed Allentown superintendent: 'This generation of kids has learned to accept school violence'
Jacqueline Palochko Contact Reporter Of The Morning Call February 21, 2018
In response to the deadly Florida school shooting, the Allentown School District is creating an anonymous tip line for students to share information, assessing its security levels at each building and looking into active shooting training for teachers and students. At a school safety meeting that Superintendent Thomas Parker called for after the Parkland, Fla. shooting, the district discussed ways to make sure its 17,000 students are safe in schools. Because of the Florida shooting, the district is reassessing its safety protocols, and Parker met with high school students this week. “What’s most alarming to me is that this generation of kids has learned to accept school violence as part of the narrative rather than something outside the norm,” he said. Parker began the meeting by addressing the large group in the Dieruff High School auditorium about what the district is considering. He said by creating a tip line, students should feel comfortable to share information. In recent years, active training shooting drills have become as common as fire drills. “This is the reality that we live in now,” Parker said.
Raised online, teenage shooting survivors speak out: 'There is an inherent lack of shyness and an inherent lack of being intimidated'
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ANYA SOSTEK email@example.com FEB 22, 2018 8:34 PM
They are poised. They are passionate. And they are angry. With their pointed questions and fiery statements, the teen survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. have inserted themselves into a media cycle usually occupied by people decades older, reinvigorating the debate over gun control in the process. They have spawned a national march on Washington, raised millions of dollars in a matter of days and confronted politicians on national television. How can teenagers so masterfully capture the public debate? In some ways, it’s a natural outgrowth of a generation raised on YouTube and Instagram, accustomed to promoting themselves to an outside audience. “It’s like ‘The Truman Show,’ ” said Carl Kurlander, a senior lecturer the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Film and Media Studies, referencing a 1998 Jim Carrey movie. “These kids spend their whole lives where everyone is filmed.”
City releases the names being considered for Philly school board posts
Some applied, and some were submitted by others. The nominating panel will recommend 27 candidates to the mayor on Monday.
The notebook by Staff report February 22, 2018 — 10:33am
The Mayor's Office has released the names of those who applied or were nominated to the new city school board. The Educational Nominating Panel will hold its second public meeting Monday, Feb. 26, to vote on recommending 27 candidates to Mayor Kenney. That meeting will be held at 2:30 p.m. in Room 202 at City Hall. Before the panel votes, there will be an opportunity for its members to hear public comment. Speakers can sign up here:
Kenney will have 20 days to select nine of those candidates or 10 days to request additional names. The 13- member nominating panel has been meeting all month and selected for interviews an unknown number of people from among the more than 500 whose names were submitted. The panel split up into groups of three to conduct individual half-hour interviews. People who continued in the process were also asked to answer a detailed questionnaire listing potential conflicts of interest and other information and to submit it by Feb. 19.
Integrity of Philly's new school board needs protection | Opinion
Opinion by Rich Migliore & Karel Kilimnik, For the Inquirer Updated: FEBRUARY 22, 2018 — 3:01 AM EST
Rich Migliore, Esq. is a former Philadelphia teacher and administrator and the author of “Whose School Is It: the Democratic Imperative for Our Schools.”
Karel Kilimnik is a retired Philadelphia early childhood educator and co-founder of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools.
Unlike those in every other school district in the state, and in almost every district in the nation, we the people of Philadelphia continue to be disenfranchised in the governance of our public schools. To make matters worse, the return to local control, after the 17-year reign of the state-imposed School Reform Commission, will devolve into one-person control unless our elected officials take steps to guarantee the independence of the new school board. Following the mandates of the current City Charter, Mayor James Kenney has appointed a 13-member nominating panel which, in two weeks, will submit to him a list of 27 names, from which he will select a nine-person school board. The mayor has directed the panel to meet in executive session, effectively barring members of the public from witnessing or taking part in the process in any way. This absolute control by the mayor can be mitigated in several ways. First, the nominating panel, under the leadership of Chair Wendell Pritchett, must open all of its meetings to the public. As City officials, members of the panel are obligated to obey all laws, including the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act, which codifies the right of the people to witness the actions of all government officials, whether elected or appointed.
Community Organizations Demand Open Meetings for School Board Nominating Panel
Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools February 21, 2018 APPS Philly
Two weeks ago, APPS members sent a letter to the officers and members of the Nominating Panel appointed by Mayor Kenney to choose candidates for the new school board, demanding that the Panel open its meetings to the public. The letter, reprinted in its entirety here, was signed by fourteen others representing student, labor and community organizations. The Nominating Panel had announced that it would hold only two public meetings: its opening meeting and its second and final one, at which it would announce the names to be sent to Mayor Kenney. All other meetings would be closed to the public. No students, educators, parents or community members would have the opportunity to weigh in on any part of the process or to raise concerns about any candidate.
Suburban Philly lawmaker Madeleine Dean drops lieutenant governor bid to run for Congress
Penn Live By John L. Micek firstname.lastname@example.org Updated Feb 22, 11:19 AM; Posted Feb 22, 9:39 AM
The field of candidates running for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor just got a little smaller. State Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Montgomery, announced Thursday that she's dropping her bid for the No. 2 spot and instead running for the newly redrawn 4th Congressional District in suburban Philadelphia. That's the former 7th Congressional District seat being given up by Republican U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan. In a statement, Dean said she wanted to break up the boys' club in the state's Congressional delegation. Since the retirement of former U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-13th District, in 2014, not a single woman has represented Pennsylvania on Capitol Hill. "Pennsylvania sends two senators and 18 congressmen to represent us in Washington, and not one - not one - of them is a woman," Dean said. "We have a Republican-controlled Congress that isn't doing its part to hold Donald Trump accountable, a majority that is undermining the education of our children; a woman's right to choose," and "a delegation that refuses to support common-sense gun safety measures."
Center stage: Eagles' Jason Kelce shows off his musical chops at Central High
The Super Bowl champion center picked up his high school saxophone and joined in with student musicians.
The notebook by Darryl C. Murphy February 22, 2018 — 3:29pm
With the joy of the Eagles' Super Bowl victory still crackling in the air, popular center Jason Kelce visited Central High School on Thursday to display some non-football-related talents. The special admission school hosted the music department from Kelce’s alma mater, Cleveland Heights High School in Ohio, where Kelce played saxophone. He seized the opportunity to visit with the students and flex his musical muscles. “It’s just awesome seeing another school like this and seeing the similarities to Cleveland Heights and being with all these kids, who at one point I was,” said Kelce. “I’m just really happy to be here with you guys.” Since 1933, Cleveland Heights has toured the country visiting select high schools, where they’d perform for one another. During the jazz portion of the performance, Kelce sat in with each school’s jazz band as they performed classics such as "Big Dipper" by Thad Jones and "The Heat’s On" by Sammy Nestico. Though Kelce is best known for protecting the pocket, the 6-foot plus, 295-pound offensive lineman had a little trouble staying in the groove while playing. It was the first time he has played in over 12 years, he said.
MOST STATES SHORTCHANGE PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS DESPITE GROWING EVIDENCE THAT MONEY MATTERS
Education Law Center Report Newark, NJ, February 22, 2018 – The seventh edition of Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card (NRC), released by Education Law Center today, again shows public school funding in most states is unfair and inequitable, depriving millions of U.S. students of the opportunity to succeed in school. The nation’s continuing failure to sufficiently invest in public schools stands in stark contrast to a growing body of research demonstrating that increased funding leads to better outcomes for students. Studies show that school finance reforms that increase spending in low-income districts result in improved student achievement in those districts and a narrowing of achievement gaps. In fact, these benefits have been shown to last into adulthood in the form of greater educational attainment, higher earnings, and lower rates of adult poverty. The National Report Card (NRC) uses data from the 2015 Census fiscal survey, the most recent available. The NRC goes beyond raw per-pupil spending calculations by analyzing factors crucial to educational opportunity: whether states provide a sufficient level of school funding and then distribute that funding to address greater student need, as measured by student poverty.
KIPP charter network fires co-founder over alleged sexual misconduct
Inquirer by Valerie Strauss, Washington Post Updated: FEBRUARY 22, 2018 — 10:17 PM EST
KIPP, one of the nation’s largest and best-known charter school networks, announced late Thursday that its leaders had fired co-founder Mike Feinberg after an investigation found credible evidence for allegations of sexual misconduct. A letter issued by KIPP said that Feinberg denied misconduct but that an independent probe found that an allegation of sexual abuse by a student two decades ago had “credibility.” It also cited an allegation of sexual harassment against Feinberg that involved a financial settlement as well as another “credible” but uncorroborated allegation of sexual harassment. The letter said: “At KIPP, leadership integrity must be without compromise. Each of us is expected to put the safety, care and well-being of our students, alumni and staff above all else. In light of the nature of the allegations and the passage of time, critical facts about these events may never be conclusively determined. What is clear, however, is that, at a minimum, Mr. Feinberg put himself into situations where his conduct could be seriously misconstrued. We believe that Mr. Feinberg’s actions were incompatible with the leadership qualities that are central to our mission.”
NPE: Join us in a Day of Action April 20th to Stop Gun Violence in our Schools
Network for Public Education February 16, 2018 by Darcie Cimarusti
After the slaughter of students and staff in Parkland, Florida, the time for action has never been more urgent. The politicians sit on their hands as our children and their teachers are murdered in their schools. We will be silent no more! The failure to enact rational laws that bar access to guns designed for mass shootings is inexcusable. It is past time to speak out and act. Pledge your support to stop gun violence here. We call for mass action on April 20, the anniversary of the horrific shootings at Columbine High School. We urge teachers, families, students, administrators and every member of the community to engage in acts of protest in and around their schools. Create actions that work best in your community. Organize sit-ins, teach-ins, walkouts, marches–whatever you decide will show your school and community’s determination to keep our students safe. One elementary teacher suggested that teachers and parents link arms around the school to show their determination to protect children.
Save the Date: PA School Funding Lawsuit Wed. March 7, 2018 9:30 A.M.
Commonwealth Court Hearing on Legislative leaders motions to Dismiss the Wm Penn SD challenge to state funding.
Before the Court en banc sitting in Court Room No. 1 Ninth Floor, Widener Building, 1339 Chestnut Street, One South Penn Square, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Learn the latest news, initiatives and upcoming events from your association.
Bring knowledge back to your district of how the commonwealth budget will fiscally impact it. Discuss the top legislative issues affecting public education. Learn how you can advocate for your school district taxpayers, students and public education success.
Enjoy productive conversation with your school leader colleagues. Boost your network, share your experiences and build a stronger voice for public education.
This focus group is your opportunity to share your input in drafting a blueprint for the future of public education. The Commonwealth Education Blueprint is a multiyear effort founded and managed by PSBA to develop and implement a statewide vision for the future of public education. Through this comprehensive project, education stakeholders from across the state and from many areas of expertise are coming together to proactively determine what education should look like in years to come. Having a clear and comprehensive statewide vision will ensure that we provide an increasingly excellent public education experience for children. This is your opportunity to get involved, share your feedback, and help draft the plan for the future of education!
Registration is now open for the 2018 PASA Education Congress! State College, PA, March 19-20, 2018
Don't miss this marquee event for Pennsylvania school leaders at the Nittany Lion Inn, State College, PA, March 19-20, 2018.
Learn more by visiting http://www.pasa-net.org/2018edcongress
Visits with legislators will be conducted earlier in the day. More information will be sent via email, shared in our publications and posted on our website closer to the event.