Monday, October 23, 2017

PA Ed Policy Roundup Oct. 23: PA Senate Ed Committee to consider SB2 voucher bill on Tuesday morning

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup Oct. 23, 2017:
PA Senate Ed Committee to consider SB2 voucher bill on Tuesday morning



VOUCHERS: The PA Senate Education Committee Meeting scheduled for Tuesday 10/24 at 11:30 AM in Room 8E-B East Wing will include consideration of SB2,  “Education Savings Accounts” the 2017 version of vouchers, which would drain funding from our most underfunded schools.
Please consider calling your senator today, especially those who are members of the education committee.
Contact Info for All Members of the Senate:



Blogger note: Great seeing so many of you at the PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference in Hershey last week.  Thanks to Senate Education Committee Chairmen John Eichelberger and Andy Dinniman for their candid discussion of pending legislative education policy topics.


SB2 Sponsor Senator DiSanto Announces Education Savings Account Legislation to Provide Opportunity for at-risk Students
Senator DiSanto’s website Posted on Aug 08, 2017
Harrisburg—Senator John DiSanto joined parents, students, school officials and community leaders at the Joshua Learning Center today to announce his Education Savings Account (ESA) legislation, Senate Bill 2, for students attending public schools performing in the bottom 15 percent statewide. ESAs are state-funded, flexible spending accounts that parents can use to pay for Department of Education-approved educational expenses such as private school tuition, higher education tuition, textbooks and curriculum, testing and industry certifications. Eligible expenses for children with disabilities would also include occupational, physical, speech and behavioral therapies. Parents will receive the statewide average funding per pupil, between $5,000 and $6,000, and students with special needs will be eligible for additional support based on their disability. Unused funds roll over from one year to the next. Unspent ESA dollars can even be used to pay for college.
http://www.senatordisanto.com/2017/08/08/senator-disanto-announces-education-savings-account-legislation-provide-opportunity-risk-students/

Here are the sponsors of SB2:
DiSANTOSCARNATIEICHELBERGERARGALLALLOWAYMENSCHAUMENTBAKERBARTOLOTTAFOLMERKILLIONMARTINMcGARRIGLERAFFERTYREGANRESCHENTHALERSCAVELLOSTEFANOWAGNERWARD and WHITE
http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billInfo/bill_history.cfm?syear=2017&sind=0&body=S&type=B&bn=2

“Three consecutive reports, each studying one of the largest new state voucher programs, found that vouchers hurt student learning.”
Dismal Voucher Results Surprise Researchers as DeVos Era Begins
New York Times by Kevin Carey FEB. 23, 2017
The confirmation of Betsy DeVos as secretary of education was a signal moment for the school choice movement. For the first time, the nation’s highest education official is someone fully committed to making school vouchers and other market-oriented policies the centerpiece of education reform. But even as school choice is poised to go national, a wave of new research has emerged suggesting that private school vouchers may harm students who receive them. The results are startling — the worst in the history of the field, researchers say.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/23/upshot/dismal-results-from-vouchers-surprise-researchers-as-devos-era-begins.html?_r=0

Critics say Education Savings Accounts proposed in Pa. are just vouchers by another name
ELIZABETH BEHRMAN Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Lbehrman@post-gazette.com 4:48 PM  
AUG 8, 2017
School vouchers have failed multiple times to get enough support in Pennsylvania, but some GOP legislators are hoping a new school choice program may be the next accompaniment to charter schools and scholarship tax credits: Education Savings Accounts.   Sen. John DiSanto, R-Dauphin County, announced Tuesday that he intends to introduce legislation in September to create a program that will allow students in Pennsylvania’s struggling school districts to use state money for private school tuition, tutoring services and other pre-approved education expenses. 
“I believe the ESA really is a lifeline for at-risk youth and low-income families that, based on where they live, do not have the opportunity to have educational options,” Mr. DiSanto said. 
http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2017/08/08/Education-savings-accounts-Pennsylvania-school-choice-vouchers-john-disanto-legislature-proposed-legislation/stories/201708080016

With Pa. budget unbalanced, power struggle in Capitol - and maybe in court
Inquirer by Angela Couloumbis, Harrisburg Bureau @AngelasInk |  acouloumbis@phillynews.com Updated: OCTOBER 20, 2017 — 6:50 PM EDT
HARRISBURG – In the face of the legislature’s continuing failure to balance Pennsylvania’s $32 billion budget, Gov. Wolf is taking unilateral action to finance and reorganize state government, raising political tensions and legal questions over the limits of executive authority. That threatens a new battle over raw power, four months into a budget stalemate that seems to have no end. “We are concerned about the separation of powers,” Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R., Centre) told reporters Wednesday when asked whether Senate Republicans would sue Wolf over some of his recent decisions to balance the budget. Steve Miskin, spokesman for Republicans who control the House of Representatives, put it this way: “You can’t just say, to heck with the Constitution, to heck with the rule of law, to heck with people, I’m doing it my way because I know best.” Wolf administration officials counter that the governor has been left with little choice. Some in the GOP legislature, they say, are paralyzed by partisan politics — Wolf is a Democrat — and have failed to complete the most fundamental responsibility of their job.
http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/pa-wolf-gop-legislature-power-struggle-checks-balances-budget-20171020.html

“There is one thing the sides agree on, if unhappily: borrowing more than $1 billion as the primary source of money to fill the deficit. That could require more than $500 million in interest payments over 20 years, plus transaction fees.
Add to that last month's Standard and Poor's downgrade of Pennsylvania's already battered credit rating. Wolf's administration calculates the downgrade will immediately add more than $50 million a year to the state's borrowing costs -- making it more expensive to borrow money to cover a deficit that helped spur the downgrade in the first place.”
Pennsylvania's budget fight will come with its own price tag
Penn Live By Marc Levy The Associated Press Updated on October 21, 2017 at 1:01 PM Posted on October 21, 2017 at 11:53 AM
HARRISBURG -- Pennsylvania state government's projected $2.2 billion deficit, and a protracted fight over how to fix it, will come with its own special price tag. The final cost is a moving target, and whether or how the fight will end remains unclear, now nearly four months into the state's fiscal year. But the state stands to shell out hundreds of millions of dollars in the coming years, considering the prospect of long-term borrowing to finance the deficit, compounded by a credit downgrade last month. "That's almost undeniable when you've got the downgrade and the borrowing," said Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, a Democrat who is the state's independently elected fiscal watchdog. "And regardless of the merits of any of the proposals, there's extra costs that wouldn't exist if you had a balanced budget passed."
http://www.pennlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/10/pennsylvanias_budget_fight_wil.html#incart_2box_politics

PA House takes aim at teacher seniority protection
Daily Item By John Finnerty CNHI Harrisburg Bureau October 20, 2017
HARRISBURG — The state House has passed a rewrite of the state’s school law that would allow school districts to lay off teachers based on job performance instead of just seniority when economic crises force schools to shed jobs. The same measure would also direct another $10 million in tax credits to donors who give to private schools and other nonprofit organizations. That’s an 8 percent increase over the $125 million the state set aside in tax credits for the Educational Improvement Tax Credits last year. Wolf vetoed a bill that was focused on making changes to the teacher seniority protections last year. But the changes this time are included in a broader bill making a number of updates to the state’s school law. Wolf spokesman J.J. Abbott didn't respond to an email Friday about whether the governor might consider vetoing this bill if it reaches his desk in its current form. It passed the Republican-controlled state House, 105-81, on a mostly party-line vote Wednesday night. The measure now goes to the Senate, which also has a commanding Republican majority.
http://www.dailyitem.com/news/local_news/house-takes-aim-at-teacher-seniority-protection/article_d0d0cb03-ddee-5aa5-a809-06f2f0235b98.html

Courts must draw the line on gerrymandering | Editorial
By Express-Times opinion staff Updated on October 22, 2017 at 7:07 AM Posted on October 22, 2017 at 7:00 AM
Gerrymandering in Pennsylvania is a joke -- a bad joke that needs a constitutional correction. The good news is that court and legislative scalpels are being sharpened that could -- the key word being "could" -- cut up distorted voting-district maps and inject some fairness into this process. But first, a quiz: What do U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, and a nonprofit group called Fair Districts PAhave in common? They hold the future of democracy in their hands -- at least the part that says the people's representatives in Washington and state capitols should, proportionately, reflect the feelings and leanings of the folks back home. Gerrymandering defeats this principle. It allows a party in power (Republicans or Democrats, they're equally opportunistic), to pack legislative and congressional districts by party registration to dominate elections. Pennsylvania is considered by many observers the most gerrymandered state in the U.S.
http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2017/10/_editorial_15.html#incart_2box_opinion

“The new community schools program is equally impactful. Community schools are neighborhood public schools that become community centers with help from a dedicated coordinator and strategic partnerships with the city, and business, and nonprofit partners. More than 70 percent of our 6,000 community school students live at or below the poverty line. Targeted services in schools address health, economic stability, and basic needs, supporting youth and community development. To date, Philadelphians have received from our 11 community schools 7,000 pounds of food, and 1,180 items of clothing. Coordinators created 120 summer job and career exposure experiences for students, and over the summer 75 neighborhood residents gained employment through a training hosted by community schools.”
Standing by beverage tax and with pre-K, community schools, and Rebuild
Inquirer Opinion by Jim Kenney & Darrell Clarke Updated: OCTOBER 20, 2017 — 11:22 AM EDT
In June 2016, after nearly four months of vigorous debate, City Council passed the Philadelphia Beverage Tax and it was signed into law. The tax was enacted to fund free, quality preschool education for children; expand community schools in high-needs neighborhoods; and Rebuild, a $500 million capital improvement program for the city’s parks, recreational centers, and libraries. While several funding alternatives were proposed and considered, an overwhelming majority of  Council determined that a 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages was the broadest, fairest funding option. We stand by our choice. The city has already begun to reap some of the intended benefits of the tax. Of the more than 2,000 children who enrolled in PHLpreK between January and today, the average family income was $31,776 annually. By enrolling their children in a free, safe, and stable child-care environment, many parents have been able to return to work and their children are now much more likely to graduate from high school and find a living-wage job.
http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/commentary/kenney-darrell-clarke-soda-tax-repeal-prek-schools-rebuild-20171020.html

Was Thursday the beginning of the end for the SRC?
At the commission's meeting, a District lawyer gave a presentation about what would happen if it voted to dissolve itself. It also voted not to renew Richard Allen Prep's charter, one of the city's oldest.
The notebook by Avi Wolfman-Arent and Dale Mezzacappa October 19, 2017 — 5:34pm
Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission has heard hundreds of presentations over its 16 years, but none as existentially important as the one delivered Thursday by District lawyer Miles Shore. The topic? How to self-destruct. Speaking before the five-member panel, Shore explained how the commission could vote itself out of existence. The commissioners almost certainly knew much of what Shore told them. The significance was that this conversation happened in public, the clearest signal yet that the SRC could soon be replaced by a locally controlled school board. SRC Chair Joyce Wilkerson described the presentation as "purely informational," meant to outline the legal considerations regarding the SRC's potential dissolution. “The public has been talking around it,” Wilkerson said. “We owe them some indication of what we see as the issues inherent in the decision.” As Shore explained, a lot has to happen before this bold-but-divisive experiment in state control over Philadelphia’s schools ends.
http://thenotebook.org/articles/2017/10/19/src-hears-legal-framework-for-starting-its-own-dissolution

What comes after the SRC? City likely to move soon on new Philly school board
Inquirer by Kristen A. Graham & Chris Brennan - Staff Writers Updated: OCTOBER 20, 2017 — 8:12 PM EDT
The School Reform Commission is on track to self-destruct by the end of the year, and Mayor Kenney and City Council are in active talks to shape what the succeeding governing body will look like. Sources with knowledge of the discussions say Council is likely to introduce legislation — possibly by early November — proposing a change to the City Charter to create a school board whose members are selected by the mayor and approved by Council. The SRC dissolution “is a done deal,” said one source, who, like others, declined to be publicly identified because of the delicate political nature of the talks. There are many moving pieces in the Council conversations, but the sources said legislation sooner rather than later is a safe bet. Joyce Wilkerson, the SRC chair, on Thursday night said the five-member panel could soon vote on its future, though she made no promises around an issue that has been gaining public momentum for months. Wilkerson said the SRC was in talks with various players about the issues surrounding dissolution, but declined to say who they were or describe the nature of the talks. The Council legislation, which is expected to have Kenney’s support, would pave the way for the SRC to vote itself out of existence by the end of the year, as required to have the changes take effect for the 2018-19 school year. Pedro Rivera, Pennsylvania’s education secretary, would certify the dissolution by Jan. 1; city voters would consider a charter change in the May election, and presumably bless it. A new school board would then be put in place for the next school year. If the SRC dissolves without the charter change, Kenney would appoint a nine-member school board.
http://www.philly.com/philly/education/what-comes-after-the-src-city-likely-to-move-soon-on-new-philly-school-board-20171020.html

Do Communities Truly Have A Say in the Future of Priority Schools?
Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools Opinion by Lisa Haver October 22, 2017 appsphilly.net 
In mid-September, just weeks after the start of the new school year, Superintendent William Hite announced this year’s list of schools targeted for some type of turnaround through his “System of Great Schools”: Rhoads Elementary, Steel Elementary, Feltonville School of Arts and Sciences, Penn Treaty Middle/High School, Gideon Elementary, and Wagner Middle School. This is the second year the district has engaged in a months-long process of data collection, choice of schools, community hearings, in-school focus groups, and determination of the fate of these schools. The district has again contracted with Cambridge Education for consulting services, this year for $100,000, to conduct focus groups with teachers and students. Temple University has been hired for $70,000 to conduct the public outreach and facilitate meetings. Last year, eleven schools were designated Priority Schools. After the hearing and focus group period, three schools forced out principals and most faculty after being placed in the district Turnaround Network. Two other schools developed internal turnaround plans which mandated that teachers reapply for their jobs.
https://appsphilly.net/2017/10/22/do-communities-truly-have-a-say-in-future-of-priority-schools/

EDITORIAL: State must shore up charter law
York Dispatch Published 9:56 a.m. ET Oct. 20, 2017 | Updated 10:48 a.m. ET Oct. 20, 2017
As the York City School District and Helen Thackston Charter School close a messy chapter marked by financial chaos and declining educational performance with the agreement to close Thackston in 2019, a number of questions remain unanswered. Chief among them is what happened to taxpayers’ money earmarked to run the charter school. That’s because three years of back audits — and the current audit — remain undone, meaning thousands in taxpayer dollars remain unaccounted for. The school may close after the 2017-18 school year if the three back audits aren’t submitted to YCSD by Jan. 31, 2018 ,and the 2016-17 audit is not submitted by April 2018. The boards of both schools each unanimously voted on the dissolution agreement during separate special board meetings on Oct. 19.
http://www.yorkdispatch.com/story/opinion/editorials/2017/10/20/editorial-state-must-shore-up-charter-law/783416001/

With Thackston closing, its CEO already planning new charter school
York Dispatch by David Weissman, 505-5431/@DispatchDavid  Published 2:35 p.m. ET Oct. 20, 2017 | Updated 2:31 p.m. ET Oct. 21, 2017
As one door closes, another opens — and when it comes to Helen Thackston Charter School's students and staff, that might even be the same door. Just a day after the school boards for Thackston and York City School District finalized an agreement to close the embattled charter school after the 2018-19 school year, Thackston's CEO told The York Dispatch he's hoping to start another charter school, possibly in the same building. Ideally, he said, the new charter school would be ready to accept students the day after Thackston closes. Carlos Lopez, a former York City district superintendent who was hired as Thackston's CEO in late February, said he's in the early stages of working on a new charter plan with a group of community leaders. He declined to list any of his potential partners. Asked whether he was considering locating the new charter school at the same location as Thackston's current building, he said he considers Thackston to be a fine facility, and it would depend on whether they could work out a reasonable lease agreement with the property owners. The building, at 625 E. Philadelphia St. in York City, is currently owned by Charter School Property Solutions, a Nevada-based organization that had bought and funded renovations to the property in 2012 as Thackston prepared to add high school grades.
http://www.yorkdispatch.com/story/news/education/2017/10/20/thackston-closing-its-ceo-already-planning-new-charter-school/784410001/

Racial incidents rock area schools. Now what?
Inquirer by William Bender, Valerie Russ & Tricia L. Nadolny - Staff Writers Updated: OCTOBER 21, 2017 — 5:23 AM EDT
Racist texts. A fight before homeroom. Cheerleaders called the N-word. A black doll hanging by a tie. Pumpkins carved with a swastika and a reference to the Ku Klux Klan. Student protests. Police in the hallways. That was just this month. In three area school districts. Across the region, schools are grappling with a wave of disturbing racial incidents and attempting to chart a peaceful path forward. But experts say teachers and administrators should brace for more clashes – and prepare students to survive and counteract them – as the nation’s racially charged politics continues to turn Americans and their children against one another. “This is not just a one-time incident. We have a problem,” Quakertown Superintendent Bill Harner said last week, speaking about his own district. He was responding to an Oct. 6 incident in which Cheltenham High School cheerleaders were subjected to racial epithets during a football game at Quakertown Community High School. Rocks were reportedly thrown at Cheltenham school buses.
http://www.philly.com/philly/news/racism-schools-trump-pennsylvania-20171022.html

Pa. Senate committee proposes ban on trans-related health care for children on CHIP
Penn Live By Daniel Simmons-Ritchie simmons-ritchie@pennlive.com Updated on October 21, 2017 at 10:33 AM Posted on October 20, 2017 at 8:58 PM
A state Senate committee has approved a legislative amendment that would bar children on the state's CHIP program from getting coverage for transgender heath care services. The bill, HB 1388, was introduced into the House in May with the intention of re-authorizing the CHIP program before it expires in December. The program provides healthcare coverage to children of low-income Pennsylvanian families. But the bill's path took a contentious turn this week after Sen. Donald White, R-Indiana County, added an amendment that would prohibit the program from covering gender re-assignment surgery or gender transition services, including outpatient hospital visits, counseling, and prescription drugs. The amendment was approved by the Senate's Banking and Insurance Committee, which White chairs, in a 14-1 vote on Wednesday. The bill is now in the hands of the House Appropriations committee.
http://www.pennlive.com/news/2017/10/pa_senator_proposes_ban_on_cov.html#incart_river_index

Senator Pat Browne receives William Howard Day Award for service to public education 
PSBA Website October 18, 2017
State Senator Pat Browne (Lehigh Co.) will be presented with the William Howard Day Award from the Pennsylvania Public Education Foundation (PaPEF). This award seeks to recognize outstanding contributions from individuals, groups or organizations to public education across the commonwealth. This is the second year the award has been given. Last year’s recipient was State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale. The PaPEF board of directors selected Sen. Browne because of his commitment to the children of Pennsylvania through his chairmanship of the Early Childhood Education Caucus, the PA Public School Building Construction and Reconstruction Advisory Committee as well as his chairmanship of the Basic Education Funding and Special Education Funding Commissions. Sen. Browne’s commitment “steered us toward more fair and equitable education funding for our students,” the PaPEF board of directors said. “Your years of tireless work introducing and developing policy that supports students across the state are worth celebrating.” The award is named in honor of the first African-American school board president in the United States. Day served the Harrisburg City School Board for six terms starting in 1878, and was a member of the Pennsylvania State Directors’ Association, the predecessor of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA).
https://www.psba.org/2017/10/senator-pat-browne-receive-william-howard-day-award-service-public-education/

“Harrisburg struggles to balance its own budget. The General Assembly currently doesn’t have a revenue budget for the current year. How can we leave our own school funding up to them?”
Letter to editor: Schools oppose state ballot question
Daily Local Letter by Dr. Jim Scanlon Superintendent, West Chester Area School District POSTED: 10/22/17, 7:13 PM EDT 
As a supporter of our public schools and the belief that every American child deserves the right to a quality public education, I’m writing to ask for your action at the polls regarding a legislative proposal that could seriously impact the quality of our schools. Many educators are very concerned about a November 7 ballot question that asks whether the Pennsylvania Constitution should be amended to allow local taxing authorities to exempt homeowners from paying property taxes. We strongly feel the answer to this question should be “NO.” This ballot question doesn’t include the critical piece of information that according to state law, another source of revenue must be created to replace local property taxes. Legislators are considering that the new revenue source could come from increases in other taxes, in the form of Senate Bill 76. Under SB 76, Income Tax will go up from 3.07% currently to 4.95%, sales tax will go from 6% to 7% and the list of items to be taxed would increase. Those new revenue sources would go directly to the state, and it would be up to the state to determine how much each school district would receive. This means that under this new funding formula, the state could decide to give more money to urban districts and less to suburban ones, like West Chester. Or, they could determine another complicated funding formula that would once again leave funding up to the state and take away our local control.
http://www.dailylocal.com/opinion/20171022/letter-to-editor-schools-oppose-state-ballot-question

Webinar: Get the Facts on the Proposed Constitutional Amendment
OCT 31, 2017 • 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM Registration Required
Recently passed through the General Assembly as House Bill 1285, Joint Resolution 1 proposes to amend the constitution by authorizing the General Assembly to enact legislation allowing local taxing authorities (counties, municipalities and school districts) to exclude from property taxation up to the full assessed value of each homestead/farmstead property within the taxing jurisdiction. If approved, what does this change mean for schools in PA? In this complimentary webinar, learn about the legislative history, facts and implications of the amendment so you can make the decision that is right for you on Nov. 7.
Presenters include:
·         Nathan Mains, PA School Boards Association;
·         Hannah Barrick,  PA Association of School Business Officials
·         Jim Vaughan,  PA State Education Association
·         Mark DiRocco, PA Association of School Administrators
None of the organizations sponsoring this webinar have a position on the ballot question. The objective of the webinar is purely information based and to separate fact from fiction.
Register online here:  GoToWebinar.com
https://www.psba.org/event/webinar-proposed-constitutional-amendment/

PSBA members elect new leadership for 2018 
Members of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association heard the election results for new officers at its Delegate Assembly on Friday, Oct. 20, at The Hershey Lodge & Convention Center. Open voting for members of PSBA was held from Aug. 24 to Oct. 12 through a secure, online voting website. The new officers will take their offices on Jan. 1, 2018, as part of the 12-member PSBA Governing Board. Officers of the 2018 Governing Board are listed below with (*) indicating positions that were up for election this year. 
President – Michael Faccinetto, Bethlehem Area SD (Northampton Co.) 
* President-elect – David Hutchinson, State College Area SD (Centre Co.) 
* Vice President – Eric Wolfgang, Central York SD (York Co.) 
*Treasurer – Mike Gossert, Cumberland Valley SD (Cumberland Co.) 
Immediate Past President – Kathy Swope, Lewisburg Area SD (Union Co.) 
Eastern At-Large Representative – Larry Feinberg, SD of Haverford Township (Delaware Co.) 
*Central At-Large Representative – Larry Augustine, Selinsgrove Area SD (Snyder Co.) 
*Western At-Large Representative – Daniel O’Keefe, Northgate SD (Allegheny Co.) 
https://www.psba.org/2017/10/psba-members-elect-new-leadership-2018/


States may roll back children’s health coverage without money from Congress
Coverage for millions of kids could be at risk.
Politico By RACHANA PRADHAN and SARAH FROSTENSON | 10/23/17 05:00 AM EDT
Federal funds for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) expired Sept. 30, leaving states to come up with short-term fixes to keep their programs going. CHIP, now in its 20th year, primarily covers children from low-income families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. The program has long had bipartisan support, but lawmakers — consumed by the fight over Obamacare — blew past a key funding deadline and have been slow to extend new money. States haven’t started to pare back coverage yet, but they’re relying on short-term patches to keep their CHIP programs afloat. Here’s where things stand.
http://www.politico.com/interactives/2017/medicaid-chip-children-insurance-funding/?lo=ap_b1

DeVos rescinds 72 guidance documents outlining rights for students with disabilities
Chicago Tribune by Moriah Balingit Washington Post October 21, 2017
The Education Department has rescinded 72 policy documents that outline the rights of students with disabilities as part of the Trump administration's effort to eliminate regulations it deems superfluous. The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services wrote in a newsletter Friday that it had "a total of 72 guidance documents that have been rescinded due to being outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective - 63 from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and 9 from the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA)." The documents, which fleshed out students' rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Rehabilitation Act, were rescinded Oct. 2. A spokeswoman for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos did not respond to requests for comment. Advocates for students with disabilities were still reviewing the changes to determine their impact. Lindsay Jones, the chief policy and advocacy officer for the National Center for Learning Disabilities, said she was particularly concerned to see guidance documents outlining how schools could use federal special education money removed. "All of these are meant to be very useful . . . in helping schools and parents understand and fill in with concrete examples the way the law is meant to work when it's being implemented in various situations," said Jones.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-devos-disabled-students-20171021-story.html

Bill Gates has a(nother) plan for K-12 public education. The others didn’t go so well.
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss October 19 at 3:52 PM 
Bill Gates has a(nother) plan for K-12 public education. The others didn’t go so well, but the man, if anything, is persistent. Gates announced Thursday that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would spend more than $1.7 billion over the next five years to pay for new initiatives in public education, with all but 15 percent of it going to traditional public school districts and the rest to charter schools.  (When he said this, the audience at the 2017 conference of the nonprofit Council of the Great City Schools applauded, perhaps because many education philanthropists direct the bulk of their education giving on charter schools, which are publicly funded but privately operated. Gates supports them as well.) He said most of the new money — about 60 percent — will be used to develop new curriculums and “networks of schools” that work together to identify local problems and solutions, using data to drive “continuous improvement.” He said that over the next several years, about 30 such networks would be supported, though he didn’t  describe exactly what they are. The first grants will go to high-needs schools and districts in six to eight states, which went unnamed.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2017/10/19/bill-gates-has-another-plan-for-k-12-public-education-the-others-didnt-go-so-well/?tid=ss_tw-amp


Cyber Charter School Application; Public Hearing November 20
Pennsylvania Bulletin Saturday, October 14, 2017 NOTICES - DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
The Department of Education (Department) has scheduled one date for a public hearing regarding a cyber charter school application that was received on or before October 2, 2017. The hearing will be held on November 20, 2017, in Heritage Room A on the lobby level of 333 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA 17126 at 9 a.m. The hearing pertains to the applicant seeking to operate a cyber charter school beginning in the 2018-2019 school year. The purpose of the hearing is to gather information from the applicant about the proposed cyber charter school as well as receive comments from interested individuals regarding the application. The name of the applicant, copies of the application and a listing of the date and time scheduled for the hearing on the application can be viewed on the Department's web site at www.education.pa.gov. Individuals who wish to provide comments on the application during the hearing must provide a copy of their written comments to the Department and the applicant on or before November 6, 2017. Comments provided by this deadline and presented at the hearing will become part of the certified record. For questions regarding this hearing, contact the Division of Charter Schools, (717) 787-9744, charterschools@pa.gov.

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Education Cyber Charter School Application for Commonwealth Education Connections Cyber Charter School 2017
Charter School Application Submitted: September 27, 2017



Delaware County Leaders Announce Groundbreaking Supreme Court Decision for Public Education Wed. Oct 25th 9:00 am Lansdowne
Community leaders, education advocates, parents to read from landmark ruling
Lansdowne (Oct 18, 2017) – On Wednesday, October 25th, Delaware County civic organizations, school districts will be joined by parents and advocates from across Delaware County to hail the landmark ruling by the PA Supreme Court (William Penn v. Pennsylvania Dep’t of Ed) that school districts and parents the opportunity to prove the case that the current method of funding school violates the education funding and equal protection clauses of the Pennsylvania constitution.
Reversing a precedent more than 20 years old, the Supreme Court has announced that the Commonwealth Court must hear the plaintiffs cases against the governor, the legislature, and the PA Department of Education.
WHAT:             Press conference and live reading to announce the PA Supreme Court Decision
WHO:              Rafi Cave, School Board Vice President, William Penn School District
Michael Churchill, Esq., Public Interest Law Center
Lawrence A. Feinberg, Co-Chair, Keystone State Education Coalition
Jane Harbert, Superintendent, William Penn School District
Jennifer Hoff, School Board President, William Penn School District
Shirlee Howe, Education Coordinator (Montco and Delco Counties), PCCY
Tomea Sippio-Smith, Education Policy Director, PCCY
Dan Urevick-Ackelsberg, Esq., Public Interest Law Center
WHEN:             Wednesday, October 25th, 2017 9-10AM
WHERE:          Penn Wood High School, Green Avenue Campus
                        100 Green Avenue, Lansdowne, PA 19050
Seventh Annual Pennsylvania Arts and Education Symposium, November 2, 2017 Camp Hill
The 2017 Pennsylvania Arts and Education will be held on Thursday, November 2, 2017 at the Radisson Hotel Harrisburg Convention Center in Camp Hill.  See the agenda here.
Early Bird Registration ends September 30.
https://www.eplc.org/pennsylvania-arts-education-network/


Support the Notebook and see Springsteen on Broadway
The notebook October 2, 2017 — 10:57am
Donate $50 or more until Nov. 10, enter to win – and have your donation doubled!
"This music is forever for me. It's the stage thing, that rush moment that you live for. It never lasts, but that's what you live for." – Bruce Springsteen
You can be a part of a unique Bruce Springsteen show in his career – and support local, nonprofit education journalism!  Donate $50 or more to the Notebook through Nov. 10, and your donation will be doubled, up to $1,000, through the Knight News Match. Plus, you will be automatically entered to win a pair of prime tickets to see Springsteen on Broadway!  One winner will receive two tickets to the 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 24, show at the Walter Kerr Theatre. These are amazing orchestra section seats to this incredible sold-out solo performance. Don't miss out on your chance to see the Boss in his Broadway debut. Donate to the Notebook today online or by mail at 699 Ranstead St., 3rd Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19106.
http://thenotebook.org/articles/2017/10/02/springsteen-on-broadway

Registration now open for the 67th Annual PASCD Conference  Nov. 12-13 Harrisburg: Sparking Innovation: Personalized Learning, STEM, 4C's
This year's conference will begin on Sunday, November 12th and end on Monday, November 13th. There will also be a free pre-conference on Saturday, November 11th.  You can register for this year's conference online with a credit card payment or have an invoice sent to you.  Click here to register for the conference.
http://myemail.constantcontact.com/PASCD-Conference-Registration-is-Now-Open.html?soid=1101415141682&aid=5F-ceLtbZDs

Save the Date! NSBA 2018 Advocacy Institute February 4-6, 2018 Marriott Marquis, Washington D.C.
Registration Opens Tuesday, September 26, 2017


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

PA Ed Policy Roundup Oct. 17: Just what we need: application for another failing cyber 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, 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

Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup Oct. 17, 2017:



The PA Ed Policy Roundup may be late and/or intermittent for the next few days while we attend the PASA/PSBA Leadership Conference in Hershey.  Hope to see many of you there.  On Thursday afternoon at 2 pm I will have the pleasure of introducing Senate Ed Committee Chairmen Dinniman and Eichelberger and House Ed Committee Chairman Roebuck as they discuss Education Policy in the 113th PA Legislature.  Come say hello.



Reprise June 2016: Charter Advocacy Groups Want Higher Standards for Online-Only Schools
Education Week By Corey Mitchell on June 16, 2016 5:45 AM
Three of the nation's leading charter school advocacy groups are calling for a complete overhaul of state policies governing online-only charter schools. A new report from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, and the 50-State Campaign for Achievement Now (50CAN) outlines the challenges facing the online-only, or virtual, schools and offers recommendations to hold their authorizers accountable for student performance and financial decisions. The three groups largely crafted the report's recommendations in response to sweeping research findings released last fall that showed that students who took classes through virtual schools made dramatically less progress than their peers in traditional schools. It was the first national study of the cybercharter sector and was conducted by the Center for Research and Educational Outcomes at Stanford University, the Center on Reinventing Public Education, and Mathematica Policy Research.
In a review of online charter school performance, the charter school advocacy groups found that:
·         On average, full-time virtual charter students make no gains in math and less than half the gains in reading of their peers in traditional brick-and-mortar public schools.
·         All subgroups of students, including those in poverty, English-language learners, and special education students, perform worse in full-time virtual charters than in traditional public schools.
·         Students who leave full-time virtual charter schools are apt to change schools more often after they leave cyber charters than they did before enrolling.
"If traditional public schools were producing such results, we would rightly be outraged," the report introduction reads, in part. "We should not feel any different just because these are charter schools."

School Performance Profile Scores for PA Cyber Charters 2013 - 2016
Source: PA Department of Education website; A score of 70 is considered passing
Total cyber charter tuition paid by PA taxpayers from 500 school districts for 2013, 2014 and 2015 was over $1.2 billion; $393.5 million, $398.8 million and $436.1 million respectively.  Not one of Pennsylvania’s cyber charters has achieved a passing SPP score of 70 in any of the four years that the SPP has been in effect.
School Name
2013
2014
2015
2016
21st Century CS
66.5
66.0
69.2
62.2
Achievement House CS
39.7
37.5
44.8
54.5
ACT Academy Cyber CS
30.6
28.9
36.1
40.7
Agora Cyber CS
48.3
42.4
46.4
37.6
ASPIRA Bilingual CS
29.0
39.0
38.4
41.9
Central PA Digital Learning Fdn CS
31.7
48.8
39.3
46.7
Commonwealth Connections Academy CS
54.6
52.2
48.8
47.5
Education Plus Academy Cyber CS
59.0
50.0

67.9
Esperanza Cyber CS
32.7
47.7
31.7
50.7
PA Cyber CS
59.4
55.5
65.3
51.0
PA Distance Learning CS
54.7
50.9
49.2
53.9
PA Leadership CS
64.7
59.3
54.7
57.5
PA Virtual CS
67.9
63.4
64.6
49.7
Solomon CS
36.9



Susq-Cyber CS
46.4
42.4
45.5
49.3

Cyber Charter School Application; Public Hearing November 20
Pennsylvania Bulletin Saturday, October 14, 2017 NOTICES - DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
The Department of Education (Department) has scheduled one date for a public hearing regarding a cyber charter school application that was received on or before October 2, 2017. The hearing will be held on November 20, 2017, in Heritage Room A on the lobby level of 333 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA 17126 at 9 a.m. The hearing pertains to the applicant seeking to operate a cyber charter school beginning in the 2018-2019 school year. The purpose of the hearing is to gather information from the applicant about the proposed cyber charter school as well as receive comments from interested individuals regarding the application. The name of the applicant, copies of the application and a listing of the date and time scheduled for the hearing on the application can be viewed on the Department's web site at www.education.pa.gov. Individuals who wish to provide comments on the application during the hearing must provide a copy of their written comments to the Department and the applicant on or before November 6, 2017. Comments provided by this deadline and presented at the hearing will become part of the certified record. For questions regarding this hearing, contact the Division of Charter Schools, (717) 787-9744, charterschools@pa.gov.

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Education Cyber Charter School Application for Commonwealth Education Connections Cyber Charter School 2017
Charter School Application Submitted: September 27, 2017

Blogger note: Here is the website for the outfit that has submitted a cyber charter application to PDE that was posted yesterday.  According to the “Schools” section of their website it does not appear that they have any operating schools at this point.
Commonwealth Education Connections. Inc

DeVos champions online charter schools, but the results are poor
Pennsylvania's virtual charters have a 48 percent graduation rate.
Politico by Kimberly Hefling October 8, 2017
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has touted online learning as a school-choice solution for rural America, saying that virtual charter schools provide educational options that wouldn’t otherwise exist. But in Pennsylvania, an early adopter where more than 30,000 kids log into virtual charter schools from home most days, the graduation rate is a dismal 48 percent. Not one virtual charter school meets the state’s “passing” benchmark. And the founder of one of the state’s largest virtual schools pleaded guilty to a tax crime last year. As DeVos seeks to expand school choice nationwide, including online options, Pennsylvania serves as a case study in the shortcomings of the virtual charter school model, or cyber charter schools, as they are known there. The state’s 14 virtual charter schools have flourished in rural communities over the last 15 years — so much so that Pennsylvania, along with Ohio and California, now account for over half the enrollment in the nation’s full-time virtual charters, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Charter schools and traditional public schools must work together to deliver on 21st century promise to students
Public Source By Ron Sofo OCT. 16, 2017
Dr. Ron Sofo has served as CEO and Principal of City Charter High School since August 2012. Prior to this position, Sofo was the superintendent of the Freedom Area School District in Beaver County for a decade.
PART OF THE SERIES The Charter Effect|
In my 31 years in public education in Pennsylvania, I’ve witnessed public schools, within both traditional districts and charter systems, that made good on the promise to provide students with quality education. I have also seen schools that consistently fail on that mission and I am referring to both, public and charter schools. I’ve served within both sides of the state’s public school system. For a decade, I was the superintendent of a public school district in Beaver County. Since August 2012, I have been the CEO/principal of a highly effective open-enrollment urban charter high school in Pittsburgh — the City Charter High School. The mission of public education in the 21st century is to maximize the probability that all students upon graduation will be college- and career-ready. This ambitious goal requires a rethinking and redesign of our public school system and most schools within it if we truly desire this quality outcome for all students. For charter schools, this means our 20-year-old charter school law needs to be improved.

“According to a report by the U.S. Department of Education, Black male teachers represent about 2 percent of the educators found in schools nationwide. The majority of schoolteachers are female (75 percent) and white (83 percent) despite the fact a majority of public school students are minorities, the federal data found.”
Great minds meet to uplift Black male teachers
Philly Trib by John Mitchell Tribune Staff Writer Oct 14, 2017 Updated Oct 15, 2017
What started as a small gathering in a local restaurant in West Philadelphia a few years ago to provide African-American male educators with a space to network and vent, bloomed in full during the weekend at the inaugural forum by The Fellowship of the National Black Male Educators for Social Justice. Starting Friday afternoon, seminars, panel discussions, workshops, receptions, professional development and, most importantly, programs geared toward attracting more African-American men into the education field kept the more than 300 participants occupied at the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel. The activities closed out Sunday morning with Roland Martin, the host of NewsOne Now on TV One, giving the keynote address. “The fellowship is excited to invite our peers and allies to Philadelphia for our inaugural national convening,” said Vincent Cobb II, CEO and co-founder of the Black male educators’ group. “We are confident our program will be noted as a historical gathering of great minds that lead to even greater action.”

“Philadelphians are the only Pennsylvanians who are not permitted to democratically choose who represents them on an elected school board. Since 2001, this undemocratic body has consistently underserved the children and parents of Philadelphia. Commission members have decimated our traditional public schools by turning over dozens of them to outside providers and charters, been unable to get anything that even faintly resembles equitable funding from Harrisburg, and made unaccountable decision after decision behind closed doors as they divvied out more than $3 billion a year.”
Kenney should commit to vote ending SRC before year is out
Inquirer Letter by George Bezanis Updated: OCTOBER 16, 2017 — 3:01 AM EDT
George Bezanis is a social studies teacher at Central High School, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers’ representative at the school, and a leader of the union’s Caucus of Working Educators.
Mayor Kenney accomplished a longtime personal goal last month by finally unveiling the first statue of a single African American on Philadelphia public property. The moment was long overdue, and the mayor should be commended. As an advocate of democracy, civil rights, and access to high-quality education for all of Philadelphia’s children regardless of race, Octavius V. Catto deserves a revered space among the pantheon of great Philadelphians. Just as Kenney toiled for more than 15 years to erect this monument to equality and democracy for all, others have been advocating for the same amount of time to destroy a Philadelphia institution that symbolizes the exact opposite. Inequity, corruption, a lack of public input, and autocratic rule have defined the governing body of the School District of Philadelphia since the turn of the century. It’s time for the state-controlled School Reform Commission to go.

“The Mayor’s Office intends to fight Scavello’s proposal, said Lauren Hitt, Kenney’s communications director, via email. She listed several of the tax’s accomplishments, such as sending 2,000 kids to pre-K, creating 250 jobs and supporting 11 community schools. “If this tax goes away, all of that progress will go away too,” Hitt said. “With the $1 billion deficit the School District is facing and the state’s own fiscal challenges, there is no other way to fund these programs.”
Why so many people are still fighting Philly’s soda tax months later
The controversial levy is being challenged on four fronts.
Billy Penn by MARK DENT OCT 16 2017  1:25 PM
At this point, the soda tax feels permanent. Sugary beverage prices have been up for months and pre-K seats have been filled for almost as long. Soon, recreation centers, libraries and parks will receive millions in funding for improvements. And yet the war over the tax continues to rage. More than 15 months since City Council approved the bill and nine months since the law went into effect, the soda tax is facing arguably as much opposition as it ever has. Mayor Jim Kenney’s signature piece of legislation is now being challenged on four fronts: from a Pennsylvania Senate hearing, a potential bill from Sen. Mario Scavello, City Controller Alan Butkovitz and the American Beverage Association’s lawsuit, which has twice been defeated but is on its last leg at the Supreme Court level. Scavello, a former supermarket owner and district manager who represents the 40th senatorial district of Eastern Pennsylvania— which includes his hometown of Mt. Pocono — is the latest to join the opposition. Last week, he began circulating a memo seeking co-sponsors for legislation he claims will invalidate Philly’s soda tax and prohibit other municipalities from levying similar taxes. His biggest concern with the soda tax is its effects on grocery stores and convenience stores.

From a voice of hard-won experience, a simple argument for early childhood education | Editorial
By PennLive Editorial Board penned@pennlive.com Updated on October 16, 2017 at 5:51 PM Posted on October 16, 2017 at 12:43 PM
Some things seem so obvious that it's a wonder that they're even a matter of debate.
We know, instinctively, for instance, that if a child is given the tools to succeed early on in life that they are more likely to stay in school, stay out of trouble and go on to become an active and contributing member of society.  And that investment begins before a child even sets foot in the classroom through access to quality and widely accessible early childhood education programs. Yet, as a recent report by the advocacy group Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children reminds, Pennsylvania lags behind many of its neighboring states when it comes to taxpayer support for these critical programs.

Pennsylvania GOP leaders seek delay in redistricting lawsuit
Morning Call by Associated Press October 16, 2017
Republican leaders in the Pennsylvania Legislature have asked a federal court to delay trial in a lawsuit seeking new congressional maps for the 2018 midterm election. The lawsuit, filed in early October, alleges that majority Republicans drew congressional maps giving the GOP an unconstitutional partisan advantage. Republicans won 13 of 18 congressional seats in 2014 and 2016 despite earning a little over 50 percent of the vote. The judge scheduled trial for Dec. 5. Lawyers for House Speaker Michael Turzai and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati said Monday that a speedy trial is unnecessary because similar claims are pending in state court and the U.S. Supreme Court. They added that even if the suit is successful, there's no way maps could be redrawn in time for the spring primary.

Erie schools focus on renewed state budget talks
GoErie By Ed Palattella  Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 2:01 AM
The Erie School District got an assurance last week from Gov. Tom Wolf about its short-term financial health. The district is hoping for assurances this week about its long-term prospects. The state House and Senate reconvene on Monday to try again to pass a revenue package to complete the state budget, which is 107 days overdue. The budget’s spending package, which the General Assembly passed on June 30, includes $14 million in additional funding for the Erie School District in 2017-18 — money that Wolf, in his visit to Erie on Wednesday, said remains in the budget and will be available to the school district at some point. “It is one of those things that I have supported in the past and I will figure out how I can free up the money to pay for that in a responsible way,” Wolf said. The district is still hoping that the General Assembly will make the $14 million in additional funding recurring and permanent, a move that Superintendent Brian Polito said will remove the district from the brink of insolvency and permanently stabilize its finances and allow it to improve programs.

Special Thackston board meeting called, third hearing canceled
York Dispatch David Weissman, 505-5431/@DispatchDavid Published 11:18 a.m. ET Oct. 16, 2017 | Updated 1:01 a.m. ET Oct. 17, 2017
Thackston Charter School will hold a special public board meeting at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17, according to a post on the school's website.  The development came hours before the third of eight scheduled hearings of revocation against Thackston's charter was canceled, according to a York City School District spokeswoman. Thackston CEO Carlos Lopez said Monday morning that an agenda for the  meeting would be available, but he later told The York Dispatch that the school's solicitor advised him not to make an agenda available.

“Experts recommend that school districts carry a minimum unassigned fund balance of 5 percent and up to 10 percent of total operating expenditures in order to safeguard against economic uncertainty, the school administrators group noted in a report earlier this year. While overall fund balances are on the rise across the Commonwealth, there are many districts that hold well less than a 5 percent unassigned fund balance, the group noted. In addition to the 18 districts that report having no savings, another 31 school districts have savings that amount to less than 1 percent of the operating budgets, the group found.”
Fund balances may raise questions about schools' underfunding claims
The Daily Item By John Finnerty CNHI Harrisburg Bureau Oct 14, 2017
HARRISBURG — Almost 20 of Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts finished the 2015-16 budget year with less than no money in the bank, Department of Education records show. Those districts are outliers though, as most districts finished the year with positive fund balances, in many cases with millions of dollars in the banks. Those savings undermine the suggestion that schools are under-funded, said Elizabeth Stelle, director of policy analysis for the Commonwealth Foundation, a conservative think tank in Harrisburg. “It’s suspect to us,” Stelle said. “We’re seeing reserves going up,” and in some districts “taxes are going up” at the same time. Her group identified 13 school districts in the state in which the district had savings that amounted to more than 20 percent of the district’s operating budget, but still repeatedly raised local property taxes. Many, but not all, of those districts were in suburban, more wealthy, areas of the state. The rural school districts that they identified included the Central Columbia School District in Columbia County, the Juniata Valley School District in Huntingdon County, and the Shikellamy School District in Northumberland County. Her group’s review included money in savings accounts set aside for specific purposes, along with unassigned fund balances. Stelle said her group included all of the funds because school administrators can move money into and out of assigned accounts.

“The attack comes less than a week after the state auditor general released results of a statewide survey where a majority of school districts said they are concerned about cybersecurity but don't have enough resources to prepare for potential breaches.”
Kiski Area School District reports it was hit by a cyber attack last week
Trib Live by EMILY BALSER  | Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, 10:12 p.m.
The Kiski Area School District was the victim of a cyber attack last week, district officials said Monday. A letter sent to staff and students, also posted on the district's website , said the attack happened Oct. 10, but few details are being released while it's under investigation. “I can't release much right now,” said John Tedorski, district technology director. In the letter, Tedorski said the district's Chromebook and Google Drive systems were not affected. The student information system and accounting and payroll software were not affected in the attack because they are hosted off-site. Tedorski said the district doesn't use Social Security numbers for its student or employee files as a safety precaution. The district is working with a third-party vendor to investigate the attack and recover lost files. As a result of the attack, the district is buying additional protection software for nearly $29,000. District Superintendent Tim Scott said the additional software will help protect the district from cyber attacks.

SCASD seeks more help with the extended school day proposal
Centre Daily Times BY LEON VALSECHI lvalsechi@centredaily.com OCT 16, 2017 7:51 PM
The State College Area School District has commissioned an additional transportation analysis to aid with addressing the transportation needs of students if the district’s extended school day proposal is implemented. Following school board approval last week, School Bus Consultants, a Missouri-based company, has begun studying the district’s transportation plan and will provide an assessment of the financial impact of the extended school day proposal. The study will cost the district about $25,000. In April, the district paid Tyler Technologies, of Latham, N.Y., about $7,000 to conduct a study of the district’s bus routes, but the contract did not ask the company to consider the financial impacts of implementing the extended school day proposal, which adds 44 minutes to the elementary school day. The SBC study will build upon the work Tyler completed and offer a more in-depth analysis of the transportation system, which is responsible for transporting about 6,000 public school and about 1,000 non-public or charter school students across the 150 square-mile district, according to a district release.


“The speakers pointed to a 2017 study out of Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes, which suggests that effects on both reading (-0.10) and math (-0.25) performance decreased for students in virtual charter schools regardless of what network they a part of. “Virtual charter schools don’t work for most kids,” the report reads.”
Public Educators Share Fallouts on Personalized Learning, Privatization and Edtech
EdSurge By Sydney Johnson Oct 16, 2017
Educators from around the U.S. gathered in Oakland this past weekend for the Network for Public Education’s (NPE) national conference, where several sessions centered around a common theme: protecting public education amid an era of federal budget cuts and concerns over the increased presence of technology in classrooms. After an opening keynote from NPE president Diane Ravitch, the conference started with a talk Saturday morning led by Mark Miller, former president of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association; Leonie Haimson, the Executive Director of Class Size Matters; and Marla Kilfoyle, executive director of the Badass Teachers Association. The speakers all pressed that digital learning, and in particular online charter schools, are falling short for students and teachers. “There has been a huge explosion of online learning and edtech in our schools… and online education is privatizing education through for-profit companies and their apps,” said Haimson. “But the reality is that online learning has not progressed really far.”

Kneeling during the national anthem: At schools, it’s protected speech
Kappan By Julie Underwood October 2017
If high school football players — or other public school athletes — choose to “take a knee” during upcoming competitions, the First Amendment will support their action. NFL football differs from public high school football in many ways. Different rules apply — and not just different rules of play. As employees, professional football players can be penalized or even fired for choosing to ignore team or league rules. However, the First Amendment protection of free speech applies to public schools and means students and spectators have a clear right to NOT stand during the national anthem. We can draw that conclusion from the clear line of cases involving standing for the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools. The U.S. Supreme Court decided 74 years ago that students could not be compelled to recite, nor be compelled to stand, during the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance: West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943).


The Road to College Success for Students from Underserved Communities
Philadelphia School Partnership Posted on October 2, 2017
Wednesday, October 18th 6:30-8pm National Constitution Center Kirby Theater
525 Arch Street Philadelphia, PA 19106
How do we prepare students for what comes after their college acceptance? How do we equip them with the skills they need to graduate and continue into the workforce? For years, author Richard Whitmire has crossed the country, analyzing how a variety of schools address this question. Join us as we sit down with him and Drexel Professor Paul Harrington to discuss how leading urban high schools are helping first-generation college goers beat the odds and achieve college success. Please join us! RSVP to info@philaschool.org

Panel: Education Policy in the 113th PA Legislature at PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference Thursday, Oct. 19  2-3:30 p.m.
The Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) will moderate a panel discussion with the four chairs of the House and Senate Education committees as they share their views about the education agenda for the future of Pennsylvania’s public schools. Attendees will learn about pending legislation and policy changes and the impact on their school districts. Presenters:
·         John Callahan, assistant executive director, PSBA
·         The Honorable John Eichelberger, Senate Education Majority Chairman
·         The Honorable Andrew Dinniman, Senate Education Minority Chairman
·         The Honorable James Roebuck, House Education Minority Chairman

Free Eye Care for Kids at Jefferson Alumni Hall on Saturday, October 21, 2017 from 8:30am to 1:00pm
For children 17 years and under, from Philadelphia and surrounding counties, who have not had, or who have not passed, an eye screening and/or who are uninsured.  For more information email: gksd@pccy.org or call 215-563-5848 x21. Click here to download English flyer

Take Action Community Forum on Education Equity Saturday, October 21
Hosted by Take Action Give 5 and POWER Saturday, October 21 at 1 PM - 4 PM
Penn Wood Senior High School 100 Green Ave, Lansdowne, Pennsylvania 19050
Help Make Education in Delco More Fair! Pennsylvania has the most unfair education funding in the US. This affects every one of us. Join us October 21 to learn how you can make a difference!
POWER Interfaith and Take Action Give 5 are pleased to invite you to a free event designed to educate and activate Delaware County citizens on issues related to education equity in our schools, county, and state. The Take Action Community Forum on Education Equity will be held Saturday, October 21st from 1-4 pm at Penn Wood High School, 100 Green Avenue, Lansdowne.  We will host a panel of dynamic and illustrious speakers to explain why such education inequity exists in PA, offer ways to get involved, and answer audience questions. After the panel, our engaged and motivated audience will learn how to get involved with organizations working for education equity Delco. We aim to connect local activists - those new to the game and those with a lifetime of experience - with education equity advocacy and direct service organizations in Delco. Click here for list of panelists.

Seventh Annual Pennsylvania Arts and Education Symposium, November 2, 2017 Camp Hill
The 2017 Pennsylvania Arts and Education will be held on Thursday, November 2, 2017 at the Radisson Hotel Harrisburg Convention Center in Camp Hill.  See the agenda here.
Early Bird Registration ends September 30.
https://www.eplc.org/pennsylvania-arts-education-network/


Support the Notebook and see Springsteen on Broadway
The notebook October 2, 2017 — 10:57am
Donate $50 or more until Nov. 10, enter to win – and have your donation doubled!
"This music is forever for me. It's the stage thing, that rush moment that you live for. It never lasts, but that's what you live for." – Bruce Springsteen
You can be a part of a unique Bruce Springsteen show in his career – and support local, nonprofit education journalism!  Donate $50 or more to the Notebook through Nov. 10, and your donation will be doubled, up to $1,000, through the Knight News Match. Plus, you will be automatically entered to win a pair of prime tickets to see Springsteen on Broadway!  One winner will receive two tickets to the 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 24, show at the Walter Kerr Theatre. These are amazing orchestra section seats to this incredible sold-out solo performance. Don't miss out on your chance to see the Boss in his Broadway debut. Donate to the Notebook today online or by mail at 699 Ranstead St., 3rd Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19106.
http://thenotebook.org/articles/2017/10/02/springsteen-on-broadway

Registration now open for the 67th Annual PASCD Conference  Nov. 12-13 Harrisburg: Sparking Innovation: Personalized Learning, STEM, 4C's
This year's conference will begin on Sunday, November 12th and end on Monday, November 13th. There will also be a free pre-conference on Saturday, November 11th.  You can register for this year's conference online with a credit card payment or have an invoice sent to you.  Click here to register for the conference.
http://myemail.constantcontact.com/PASCD-Conference-Registration-is-Now-Open.html?soid=1101415141682&aid=5F-ceLtbZDs

Save the Date! NSBA 2018 Advocacy Institute February 4-6, 2018 Marriott Marquis, Washington D.C.
Registration Opens Tuesday, September 26, 2017