Tuesday, July 17, 2018

PA Ed Policy Roundup July 17, 2018 How to further address those inequities without pitting school district against school district and without deciding that some children are more important than other children?


Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 4050 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers, Governor's staff, current/former PA Secretaries of Education, Wolf education transition team members, superintendents, school solicitors, principals, charter school leaders, PTO/PTA officers, parent advocates, teacher leaders, business leaders, faith-based organizations, labor organizations, education professors, members of the press and a broad array of P-16 regulatory agencies, professional associations and education advocacy organizations via emails, website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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

How to further address those inequities without pitting school district against school district and without deciding that some children are more important than other children?



Blogger comment: Betsy DeVos has spent her lifetime and considerable millions of her fortune undermining public education in America. Please remember this tweet in November and pass it along to your friends and colleagues
Tweet from Congressman Mike Kelly July 16, 2018
Later today I'll have the extraordinary honor of welcoming @BetsyDeVosED to #Erie, #PA, to visit Pfeiffer-Burleigh Elementary School. Secretary Devos has been working hard to improve our education system for every student in America. This is a very exciting day for our community!



Pa. bets on residency model to boost teacher prep programs
WHYY By Avi Wolfman-Arent July 17, 2018
With Pennsylvania licensing fewer and fewer teachers, the state recently announced it will send $2 million in federal aid to eight colleges and universities in hopes of boosting their teacher prep pipelines. Its method of choice? Teacher residency programs. Through the federal government’s Title II program, Pennsylvania can dole out money to boost teacher and principal training and recruiting. The state’s plan under the new federal education law calls for $2 million of the state’s Title II dollars to be devoted to year-long teacher and principal residency programs. Commonly compared to programs used to train doctors, teacher residencies typically emphasize in-class experience over book learning. Teachers spend an academic year embedded in a school alongside a mentor teacher, and then receive extra mentorship after the school year ends. When a teacher leaves a residency program, he or she has often spent more time in a classroom and received more one-on-one coaching than someone in a more traditional teacher prep program.
Studies suggest teachers who graduate from residency-style prep programs are more likely to stay in the classroom. There’s also evidence that residency programs attract more applicants of color. That’s of particular concern in Pennsylvania, where minorities make up a third of student enrollment but just six percent of the teaching force.
https://whyy.org/articles/pa-bets-on-residency-model-to-boost-teacher-prep-programs/

In an unlikely turn, Scott Wagner poses as a champion of public schools | Tuesday Coffee
Penn Live By John L. Micek jmicek@pennlive.com Updated 7:35 AM; Posted 7:33 AM
So here's one you probably didn't see coming: Republican governor candidate Scott Wagner, who once said Pennsylvania could lay off 10 percent of its public school teachers and they wouldn't be missed, is trying to set up himself up this summer as a champion of public education. Yep, you read that right.  That's the same Scott Wagner who thinks Pennsylvania already spends "enough" money on public schools and who once apologized for comparing the tactics of public employee unions - including those representing teachers - to those of Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Putin. The York County pol has spent the last week or so hammering  Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf for his embrace of a school funding formula, signed into law to bipartisan acclaim in 2016, that Wagner says would lead to deep funding cuts for some school districts. "Tom Wolf, the guy who ran in 2014 as the education governor, to put more money into education, is now saying 'yes' to a plan to decimate rural school districts," Wagner said during a campaign event in Pittsburgh last week. "That's unacceptable." There's just one problem: Wagner isn't telling the whole story. And, in at least one critical instance, he and Wolf actually agreed that growing districts should receive funding preference over shrinking ones.
https://www.pennlive.com/capitol-notebook/2018/07/in_an_unlikely_turn_scott_wagn.html#incart_river_index

Has Gov. Wolf had a change of heart on property tax reform? Scott Wagner thinks so | Monday Morning Coffee
Penn Live By John L. Micek jmicek@pennlive.com Updated Jul 16, 9:27 AM
Good Monday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
Since his election in 2014, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has been calling for a change in the way Pennsylvania pays for public education. Chief among them: Fixing 
the property tax system that leads to uneven funding for scores of districts. But now, Wolf's Republican rival, Scott Wagner, is accusing the governor of dropping his support for that long-standing goal. And he's using the words of Wolf's running-mate, John Fetterman, as ammunition for that argument. In an exchange with a PennLive journalist, Fetterman, the mayor of Braddock, a steel town in western Pennsylvania, fumbles a response to a question about the campaign's position on property tax reform. However, Fetterman does make clear that the Democratic administration hasn't dropped its longstanding goal of increasing state support for public education.

https://www.pennlive.com/capitol-notebook/2018/07/has_gov_wolf_had_a_change_of_h.html

“Given Pennsylvania’s ongoing fiscal challenges, the state’s ability to provide new education funding has been limited. As a result, the districts that benefit from the new funding formula have seen only a marginal improvement. My understanding is that nearly all of Lancaster County school districts benefit from the new formula. What that means is that the inequities that were created by the incumbent protection approach of the past 20-plus years still continue. I strongly urge the governor and state Legislature to figure out how to further address those inequities without pitting school district against school district and without deciding that some children are more important than other children. Today, we have too much of the notion that some people matter and some people don’t.”
Letter: State must better address education funding inequities
Lancaster Online Letter by Lancaster County Commissioner Craig Lehman July 16, 2018
As a former budget analyst, I understand what budget season means. Years ago, it was the time of year when state legislative leaders worked together to do what was best for Pennsylvania. When Pennsylvania needed things done, Democrats and Republicans figured out how to work together. Today, Harrisburg is much different, and former colleagues have told me on numerous occasions that I would no longer recognize the place. Given the importance of public education, state legislators keep a close eye on the distribution printouts to see how their school district or districts will make out. In the 1990s, the state Legislature veered from a funding formula that distributed state funds based on need to one which was driven primarily by political expediency. It was an approach that benefited incumbents. In 2016, I was pleasantly surprised when a new basic education funding formula was adopted to help restore funding equity to Pennsylvania’s public schools. That same year new state funds were distributed using that formula. It was a good first step and began to move Pennsylvania away from the political expedient approach of the past. Congratulations to Gov. Tom Wolf and the state Legislature!
https://lancasteronline.com/opinion/columnists/state-must-better-address-education-funding-inequities/article_60bbba32-83ac-11e8-a1a2-3f84bce58798.html

“About 70 percent of school budgets are covered through local taxes, with the state providing only about 30 cents of every dollar needed. In the early 1970s, when today’s senior citizens were raising today’s moms and dads, that split was 50/50. Meanwhile, labor costs have increased. Unfunded mandates to provide unique instruction to children classified as special needs, as well as skyrocketing health-care and pension costs, are fueling a surefire disaster for taxpayers if things don’t change.”
Up, Up, and No Way! Pa. school tax hikes are an 'oncoming freight train.' And only you can make it stop. | Maria Panaritis
Inquirer by Maria Panaritis, Regional Columnist  @panaritism |  mpanaritis@phillynews.com Updated: JULY 14, 2018 — 5:00 AM EDT
Your boss has squeezed your paycheck over the last decade so that it hasn’t kept pace with inflation. Child-care costs are through the roof, health-insurance outlays are sucking you dry, and the act of buying a modest home in the suburbs is so out of whack that desperate winners of bidding wars are all but throwing in their firstborn child to close the deal. Not enough stress and humiliation? The declining middle class can now add this to that panic-inducing reality: Suburban school districts have been tapping them out, too. And it’s time to fight back. Looking to solve problems that lawmakers are either too ideological or too chickenhearted to fix, districts across the Philadelphia region have been imposing annual tax hikes so large over the last decade that they outstrip the earnings growth of many people trapped in the mirage of what used to be the American dream. The way to make it stop must begin with that notoriously out-of-sight-out-of-mind creature known as the Pennsylvania suburban mom and dad. There’s a ton of you out there who are falling asleep on the job. You wouldn’t believe the people I meet who, even with master’s degrees, have no idea who represents them in Harrisburg. This Great Suburban Force must do more than inhale a Facebook feed’s worth of Trump headlines, or chest-pound about Washington, and call it citizenship. You must make your kid’s traveling soccer-league tourney Second Priority to demanding solutions from politicians. The message should be simple: Make public schools a priority — or else.
http://www.philly.com/philly/columnists/maria-panaritis/pennsylvania-property-tax-school-funding-middle-class-squeeze-maria-panaritis-20180714.html

Protesters come out for DeVos’ stop in Erie
GoErie By Ed Palattella  Posted at 12:01 AM Updated at 6:19 AM
Bill Kuhar spent several hours on Monday afternoon dressed in a red T-shirt demonstrating against the policies of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos before she visited the Erie School District’s Pfeiffer-Burleigh Elementary School. Later in the day, Kuhar, president of the Erie Education Association teachers’ union, whose members were urged to wear red on Monday, was dressed in a suit and tie and sitting down at a long table in a room at Pfeiffer-Burleigh with DeVos and about 20 educators and officials in Erie. He was part of a discussion with DeVos and U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, of Butler, R-3rd Dist., who accompanied Devos on her afternoon tour. “This is an opportunity to build bridges,” Kuhar said earlier in the day as he was demonstrating with 150 to 200 people, including EEA members, at the corner of East 12th and Holland streets, next to Pfeiffer-Burleigh. “There is no reason that education has to be politicized — we are educating our children, our future leaders.”
http://www.goerie.com/news/20180717/protesters-come-out-for-devos-stop-in-erie

Betsy DeVos visits Erie, met with protests
YourErie By: Ron Hilliard  Posted: Jul 16, 2018 06:36 PM EDT Updated: Jul 16, 2018 07:07 PM
ERIE, Pa. -- Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos does not have to guess how some people feel about her. Signs like “Dump DeVos” greeted her upon arrival at Pfeiffer-Burleigh Elementary School on Monday afternoon. Keystone Progress, Erie County United, and NextGen Pennsylvania hosted the rally, which featured students, teachers, elected leaders, and other concerned citizens who spoke to the crowd. "Unfortunately, the Betsy DeVos stance is you put kids last,” said Rich Askey, vice president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association. “You put private interests in front of public school interests, and that's why we're so against what her agenda is: to strip our public schools of the needed resources." Erie School Board directors were invited to meet with DeVos. Some of them accepted the offer, even if they opposed DeVos stances; but director Robbie Fabrizi chose a different route. "Anything I would've said would've been diverted by somebody in the room. So, I would rather stand out here with the people that understand education--understand how charter schools and vouchers affect our schools…”
https://www.yourerie.com/news/local-news/betsy-devos-visits-erie-met-with-protests/1306595424

Local leaders, pols applaud state funds for schools but want accountability
Chestnut Hill Local updated on July 12, 2018 by Pete Mazzaccaro, by Sue Ann Rybak
City officials, representatives, experts and residents weighed in on Gov. Tom Wolf’s recent announcement at a press conference held at Roosevelt Elementary School in Germantown to give $7.6 million toward a $15.6 million emergency cleanup to remove asbestos, lead, mold and other environmental hazards from 57 District schools. The Commonwealth is providing the $7.6 million for lead paint remediation at 40 schools in the city, and the district is investing $8 million to remove lead paint, mold and asbestos. “The safety of our children should always be a priority, and our schools must be healthy environments where students and teachers can focus on learning and building bright futures,” said Governor Wolf in a statement. State Rep. Chris Rabb said the grant is “a good first step toward ensuring students in the School District of Philadelphia are protected from harmful toxins that can have lasting effects. Moving forward, it will require an intentional and well-coordinated effort to bring all stakeholders together who are directly impacted by these dangerous pollutants.” He said that in order to address this public health issues, all stakeholders must have a seat “at the table from teachers, staff and students to parents and other advocates.” Rabb added that he applauded Gov. Wolf for “echoing” his push for equitable education funding. “Only until we guarantee that 100 percent of state funds are allocated through the fair funding formula established in 2015 with unanimous bipartisan support can we end educational apartheid in our state that prevents all kids from achieving the success they so richly deserve regardless of their ZIP code.”
http://www.chestnuthilllocal.com/2018/07/12/local-leaders-pols-applaud-state-funds-for-schools-but-want-accountability/

Grammy Music Ed coalition grants $5 million to Philly District
The investment will be used to develop music curriculum for all grades that includes popular music, as well as production.
The notebook by Alyssa Biederman July 16 — 11:13 am, 2018
I’ve been walking these halls, tired of looking at those same old walls.
 – from “Living Strong,” a song written by students at Hill-Freedman World Academy
Through an innovative music curriculum, students at Hill-Freedman write and produce songs, including “Living Strong,” through their own record label. At the moment, the Mount Airy school is the only one in the Philadelphia School District that has a songwriting curriculum and the means of production. But that will soon change. The Grammy Music Education Coalition, a national nonprofit spinoff of the organization that gives out the Grammy Awards, is investing about $5 million in the District, which will allow music educators to rewrite the curriculum across all grade levels to include more contemporary music, such as rock and R&B, along with the traditional classical curriculum. The curriculum will also become more interactive, teaching students to be lyricists, composers, and music producers.
http://thenotebook.org/articles/2018/07/16/grammy-music-ed-coalition-grants-5-million-investment-to-philasd/

Mighty Writers launches festival for Philadelphia youths in the fall
Inquirer By Grace Dickinson STAFF WRITER July 16, 2018
The local nonprofit Mighty Writers will celebrate the power of reading and writing for young people in Philly with its first MightyFest, set for Sept. 27 to 30. The four-day festival will feature a writing carnival outside the Franklin Institute, a soul-music dance party at the Fels Planetarium, a keynote talk, and a gospel breakfast. Mighty Writers helps students ages 6 to 17 develop writing skills in after-school programs at six Philadelphia locations. The festival is an extension of the organization’s efforts to empower youths through the written word. “MightyFest will show kids what being able to write with clarity can do, and how it can make them feel,” Mighty Writers executive director Tim Whitaker said in a statement. “We see what being able to write does for kids every day — grades improve, self-esteem soars, and success follows.” MightyFest will open Sept. 27 with free activities catering to kids in neighborhood libraries. The dance party will be held Sept. 28, priced at $75 and geared toward the young-adult supporters of Mighty Writers. The free student writing carnival, on Sept. 29, will take place in Aviator Park outside of the Franklin Institute and offer literacy-themed games and activities, which Whitaker calls the “heart and soul of the festival.”
http://digital.olivesoftware.com/Olive/ODN/PhiladelphiaInquirer/shared/ShowArticle.aspx?doc=PHQP%2F2018%2F07%2F17&entity=Ar01806&sk=6500862F&mode=text

Casey, Toomey react strongly to Trump believing Putin over U.S. intelligence on election meddling
Trib Live AARON AUPPERLEE  | Monday, July 16, 2018, 4:45 p.m.
President Donald Trump’s statement Monday indicating that he believed the word of Russian President Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence agencies on meddling in the 2016 elections drew strong reactions from Pennsylvania’s U.S. senators. U.S. Sen. Bob Casey called Trump’s conduct “dangerous and reckless,” while U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey called for “tough new sanctions on Russia.” During a news conference featuring Trump and Putin after their face-to-face summit Monday in Helsinki, the U.S. president was asked if he believed the Russian president or U.S. intelligence agencies on whether Russia meddled in U.S. elections. “President Putin, he just said it’s not Russia,” Trump said. “I don’t see any reason why it would be.” Trump continued to say that he has “great confidence” in his intelligence staff but that Putin was “extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.” Casey, D-Scranton, said that Trump attacked and diminished law enforcement and intelligence agencies during the news conference and did so on foreign soil and in front of a “hostile dictator.” “The president told the world today that he believes the word of Vladimir Putin over the findings of his country’s own intelligence and law enforcement agencies,” Casey said in a statement. “Instead of holding Vladimir Putin accountable in Helsinki, President Trump embraced him and in doing so diminished America’s standing in the international community and shamed the office of the presidency.” Toomey, R-Lehigh Valley, didn’t mention Trump by name in his statement but instead attacked Putin. The senator said that American intelligence agencies confirmed that Russians meddled in the 2016 elections and that it was almost certainly at the direction of the Russian government and Putin.
https://triblive.com/state/pennsylvania/13872820-74/sens-casey-toomey-react-strongly-to-trump-believing-putin-over-us-intelligence


PA Superintendent of the Year nominations requested by July 27th
PASA and the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) are seeking nominations for 2019 Pennsylvania Superintendent of the Year. Candidates will be judged on the following criteria: leadership for learning, communication, professionalism and community involvement. The nomination deadline is Friday, July 27. For more information, visit the AASA website, 
http://soy.aasa.org.


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

SAVE THE DATE for the 2018 PA Educational Leadership Summit - July 29-31 - State College, PA sponsored by the PA Principals Association, PASA, PAMLE and PASCD.  
This year's Summit will be held from July 29-31, 2018 at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, State College, PA.

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

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

Our Public Schools Our Democracy: Our Fight for the Future
NPE / NPE Action 5th Annual National Conference
October 20th - 21st, 2018 Indianapolis, Indiana
We are delighted to let you know that you can purchase your discounted Early Bird ticket to register for our annual conference starting today. Purchase your ticket here.
Early Bird tickets will be on sale until May 30 or until all are sold out, so don't wait.  These tickets are a great price--$135. Not only do they offer conference admission, they also include breakfast and lunch on Saturday, and brunch on Sunday. Please don't forget to register for your hotel room. We have secured discounted rates on a limited basis. You can find that link here. Finally, if you require additional financial support to attend, we do offer some scholarships based on need. Go here and fill in an application. We will get back to you as soon as we can. Please join us in Indianapolis as we fight for the public schools that our children and communities deserve. Don't forget to get your Early Bird ticket here. We can't wait to see you.


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

Monday, July 16, 2018

PA Ed Policy Roundup July 16: PA used to license more than 14,000 new teachers annually. Now, it issues certificates to fewer than 5,000


Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 4050 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers, Governor's staff, current/former PA Secretaries of Education, Wolf education transition team members, superintendents, school solicitors, principals, charter school leaders, PTO/PTA officers, parent advocates, teacher leaders, business leaders, faith-based organizations, labor organizations, education professors, members of the press and a broad array of P-16 regulatory agencies, professional associations and education advocacy organizations via emails, website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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

PA used to license more than 14,000 new teachers annually. Now, it issues certificates to fewer than 5,000


AP Analysis: Billionaires fuel powerful state charter groups
AP News by Sally Ho July 16, 2018
SEATTLE (AP) — Dollar for dollar, the beleaguered movement to bring charter schools to Washington state has had no bigger champion than billionaire Bill Gates. The Microsoft co-founder gave millions of dollars to see a charter school law approved despite multiple failed ballot referendums. And his private foundation not only helped create the Washington State Charter Schools Association, but has at times contributed what amounts to an entire year’s worth of revenues for the 5-year-old charter advocacy group. All told, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given about $25 million to the charter group that is credited with keeping the charter schools open after the state struck down the law, and then lobbying legislators to revive the privately run, publicly funded schools. It’s an extreme example of how billionaires are influencing state education policy by giving money to state-level charter support organizations to sustain, defend and expand the charter schools movement across the country. Since 2006, philanthropists and their private foundations and charities have given almost half a billion dollars to those groups, according to an Associated Press analysis of tax filings and Foundation Center data. The review looked at 52 groups noted by a U.S. Department of Education website as official charter school resources in the 44 states plus Washington, D.C., that currently have a charter law, as well as the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Most of the money has gone to the top 15 groups, which received $425 million from philanthropy. The Walton Family Foundation, run by the heirs to the Walmart fortune, is the largest donor to the state charter advocates, giving $144 million to 27 groups. “We ought to be paying more attention to who these organizations are, and what kind of vision they have, and what drives them. A lot of these organizations have extraordinary influence, and it’s often pretty quiet influence,” said Jon Valant, an education policy expert at Brookings.
https://apnews.com/92dc914dd97c487a9b9aa4b006909a8c

With the teacher supply plummeting, Pa. spending $2M to stem the tide
Post-Gazette by KRISTEN A. GRAHAM The Philadelphia Inquirer JUL 13, 2018 9:03 AM
Pennsylvania used to license more than 14,000 new teachers annually. Now, it issues certificates to fewer than 5,000. The state is aiming to do something about that. Gov. Tom Wolf announced grants Thursday to eight universities around the commonwealth — including Robert Morris University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania — to develop and implement residency programs for educators. “While Pennsylvania’s educator preparation system is one of the largest in the country, the commonwealth faces significant challenges, including a steep decline in the number of qualified teaching candidates,” Mr. Wolf said in a statement. “These grants will benefit our students by providing advanced training to better prepare teachers and school leaders to serve in our most high-need areas.” The number of education majors in Pennsylvania colleges and universities has dropped 55 percent since 1996, officials said. And the number of new teaching certificates issued in the state sunk 71 percent between 2009-10 and 2016-17, to just 4,412 from 14,247. The situation is not limited to this area. There is a nationwide shortage of teachers — most acute in special education, science and math. The supply of new teachers is declining, according to recent research, as the demand for educators is swelling.
http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2018/07/13/teachers-supply-plummeting-Pennsylvania-residency-grants-program-wolf/stories/201807130103

Pennsylvania Announces $2 Million to Retain More Teachers, School Leaders
July 14, 2018 - by MyChesCo
HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania Department of Education has awarded approximately $2 million in grants to eight universities to develop and implement year-long residency programs for teachers and principals, a critical element in his commitment to increasing and retaining the number of qualified instructors and school leaders serving the Commonwealth’s public schools. “While Pennsylvania’s educator preparation system is one of the largest in the country, the Commonwealth faces significant challenges, including a steep decline in the number of qualified teaching candidates,” said Governor Wolf. “These grants will benefit our students by providing advanced training to better prepare teachers and school leaders to serve in our most high-need areas.” The organizations and awards include:
http://mychesco.com/a/education/governor-wolf-announces-2-million-to-retain-more-teachers-school-leaders/

New Pennsylvania law allows school boards to discuss security measures in private
Michelle Merlin and Sarah M. Wojcik Of The Morning Call July 15, 2018
There was a time when school safety protocol wasn’t so secret. Northampton Area School District Superintendent Joseph Kovalchik, a school administrator for the last 20 years, recalls when building floor plans were printed in handbooks and posted on school websites. Those days, he said, are long gone. Ever since the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, school districts have disclosed less and less about their security measures and plans. “And rightfully so,” Kovalchik said. “This is the world we live in. There’s no comparing it to years ago.” Yet as security information has become more confidential, the desire by parents to know more about what’s happening inside a school has grown. This has created a new balancing act for administrators, Kovalchik said. School administrators have new clarity about what they can and can’t discuss in public thanks to a Pennsylvania law signed June 22. The law allows school officials to discuss matters related to safety behind closed doors — in executive session— if airing them publicly would be “reasonably likely to impair the effectiveness of such measures” or are likely to jeopardize the safety or security of an individual or school.
http://www.mcall.com/news/education/mc-nws-pa-law-exec-session-school-security-20180710-story.html

Thousands March Through Pittsburgh To Call For Public School Funding
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) July 14, 2018
Crowds marched through Pittsburgh to call for public school funding after Saturday’s events at the American Federation of Teachers Convention. Thousands of union members and leaders have been attending the conference at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center this weekend, and they took to the streets around 4:30 p.m. to call for things like fair wages and better healthcare. Marchers stopped in a few spots around the city to listen to speakers like State Representative Ed Gainey, AFT President Randi Weingarten and a rising senior from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The union has 1.7 million members across the country but could soon be facing hard financial times after a recent Supreme Court decision saying unions can no longer extract agency fees from non-consenting employees. “This is to show solidarity in support of the union movement,” Debbie Jackett, of Rochester, N.Y., said. “Our public unions are under attack right now, especially given the Janus decision by the Supreme Court about two weeks ago.”
https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2018/07/14/elizabeth-warren-american-federation-of-teachers-convention/

On pensions, heads should but won’t roll
Times Tribune BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD / PUBLISHED: JULY 15, 2018
As every Lackawanna County school district and hundreds more statewide prepare to raise taxes this year, state Treasurer Joe Torsella has revealed appalling incompetence at the state level that contributes mightily to that local burden. Because state lawmakers have refused for 17 years to fix the pension systems that they broke in 2001, every school district in the state is required to contribute to employees’ pension plans an amount equal to 34 percent of their payrolls, and continue to do so for the next three decades. It is unsustainable. According to Torsella, the pension boards governing the plans for state government employees and public school employees have “wasted” $5.5 billion over 10 years in fees paid to poorly performing Wall Street investment managers. The pension funds are underfunded relative to their liability by about $75 billion, due to the Legislature vastly increasing benefits and reducing state and school contributions in 2001. Pension managers compounded the problem by hiring highly aggressive, highly paid investment managers to put pension money in “alternative” but supposedly lucrative investments.
https://www.thetimes-tribune.com/opinion/on-pensions-heads-should-but-won-t-roll-1.2361728

Pittsburgh Public Schools partners with Pa. on school improvement plan
ELIZABETH BEHRMAN Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Lbehrman@post-gazette.com JUL 16, 2018 6:00 AM
Pittsburgh Public Schools’ latest efforts to turn around its struggling schools are going to be a model for other Pennsylvania districts looking to boost their performance. The district was one of three across the state to participate in the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s school improvement pilot program, a new plan to more closely share state resources with districts that have the lowest-performing schools. The strategy is a major piece of the state blueprint under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, a new accountability plan that gives state more flexibility to measure student success beyond standardized testing. Previously, if the state's persistently lowest-achieving schools failed to meet standards, they would have to restructure, which could include reopening as a charter, replacing staff or installing a new principal. “What we wanted to do was design an approach to supporting school improvement that really built on what research shows does make a difference,” said Rosemary Hughes, the state Department of Education’s special adviser on school improvement. 
http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2018/07/16/Pittsburgh-Public-Schools-transformation-Pennsylvania-ESSA-improvement-pilot-plan/stories/201807150033

Gov. Wolf dismisses GOP rival Wagner's accusation that he is seeking cuts in rural school districts' funding
Trib Live by WES VENTEICHER AND NATASHA LINDSTROM | July 12, 2018, 11:23 p.m.
Gov. Tom Wolf clarified Thursday that he has no intention of seeking imminent cuts from so-called “overpaid” and shrinking school districts to compensate underpaid, growing ones — despite outcry earlier in the day from gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner that Wolf backs a proposal that would “decimate” Western Pennsylvania’s smallest schools. “Tom Wolf, the guy who ran in 2014 as the education governor, who promised to put more money into education, is now saying ‘yes’ to a plan to decimate rural school districts. This is unacceptable,” Wagner, a Republican, said during a news conference at the Omni William Penn hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh. That “sounds like complete nonsense,” Wolf, a Democrat, said of Wagner’s remarks hours later during an unrelated visit to an electrical workers trade union in Pittsburgh’s South Side. “I ran four years ago on increasing education funding, and I will continue to do that,” Wolf told reporters, pointing to a $312 million year-over-year increase in state education spending in the 2018-19 budget he signed into law in late June. “Pennsylvania is a lagger when it comes to overall investment in education. We have a long way to go.”
https://triblive.com/news/adminpage/13861579-74/gov-wolf-dismisses-gop-rival-wagners-accusation-that-he-is-seeking-cuts

The butterfly effect of a good teacher
Tiffany Tavarez reflects on how a high school mentor changed her life.
The notebook by Alyssa Biederman July 13 — 4:49 pm, 2018
 “A cupcake changed my life,” Tiffany Tavarez said.
Tavarez, now a community relations professional at Wells Fargo, was a hard-working senior in her Catholic high school when her art teacher, Charlene Kahse, held a bake sale that would forever change how Tavarez conducted her life. avarez grew up with a single mother after her father died when she was 6. Her mother, who had never gone to college, stressed that education was the path to success, but she also needed Tavarez and her younger brother to assume more responsibility at home. “[My mom] said, ‘OK, this is your adult time now. You have to help me take care of the household, you have to help me take care of your brother, and with that, I don’t want school to be an issue,’” Tavarez said. Tavarez said her mother focused on “humanizing educators.” “She would say, ‘They’re not aliens. They are adults who have your best interests in mind. Just connect with them and ask questions,’” Tavarez remembered. Tavarez was a good student, but never connected deeply with a teacher until high school, when she had Kahse as her art teacher. “Mrs. Kahse was the first person to ever really look at me,” Tavarez said. “She noticed me and paid mind to me in the classroom in a way that was different than any other educator.”
Kahse said Tavarez was set apart from other students immediately. “You know when you have friends or family who have a 3-year-old and they say, ‘yeah, she’s 3 going on 40?’ That’s how I think of Tiffany straight off the bat,” she said. “She was very mature for her age. Very goal-oriented.” Kahse became Tavarez’s mentor and helped Tavarez get into a dual-enrollment art program that allowed her to take high school and college classes at the same time.
http://thenotebook.org/articles/2018/07/13/the-butterfly-effect-of-a-good-teacher/

Philly Board of Education announces committee assignments
All meetings will be open to the public.
the Notebook July 13 — 5:23 pm, 2018
The new Board of Education has announced the members of its four committees, which will play a key role in the body’s work. Board Chair Joyce Wilkerson made the appointments after each of the nine members spoke at the board’s first public meeting about which committees he or she preferred and why. The appointments are still tentative and will have to be approved at the board’s next meeting on Aug. 16. The largest committee is the Student Achievement and Support Committee, which has six members and will be led by Chris McGinley and Angela McIver. That committee will also look at the role of charter schools. McGinley, who also served on the School Reform Commission, is a former teacher, principal, and suburban school superintendent. McIver has been a middle school teacher and runs a math enrichment program. Her three children attend District schools. Other members of that committee are Julia Danzy, Leticia Egea-Hinton, Mallory Fix Lopez, and Maria McColgan. “Committees will provide us with many opportunities to partner with the Philadelphia community that we serve around key District governance matters,” said Wilkerson in a statement. “We are encouraging the public and all stakeholders to participate in committee meetings.” The other committees and their leaders:
http://thenotebook.org/articles/2018/07/13/board-of-education-announces-committee-assignments/

“While all the current Supreme Court justices graduated from Ivy League law schools, they did not all attend exclusive private high schools. Five of the nine sitting justices—Anthony M. Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Samuel A. Alito Jr., and Elena Kagan—attended public high schools, while Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas, and Sonia Sotomayor, along with Gorsuch, attended private schools. Kavanaugh’s appointment could reverse the current 5-4 public-private school split on the Supreme Court. He would replace the outgoing Kennedy, who graduated from public high school in California.”
The Supreme Court Justices Are All Ivy Law Grads, But What About High School?
Education Week By Corey Mitchell July 12, 2018
There are more than 31,000 public and private high schools in the United States. What are the chances that one of those schools would have two alumni on the U.S. Supreme Court? Pretty high, actually. With President Donald Trump’s nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh, 53, to be the next U.S. Supreme Court justice, Georgetown Preparatory School, an exclusive all-boys Jesuit high school in suburban Washington, could have two grads on the nation’s highest court. Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, who was two years behind Kavanaugh at the school, was Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee and took the bench last year.
https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2018/07/12/the-supreme-court-justices-are-all-ivy.html


PA Superintendent of the Year nominations requested by July 27th
PASA and the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) are seeking nominations for 2019 Pennsylvania Superintendent of the Year. Candidates will be judged on the following criteria: leadership for learning, communication, professionalism and community involvement. The nomination deadline is Friday, July 27. For more information, visit the AASA website, 
http://soy.aasa.org.


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


SAVE THE DATE for the 2018 PA Educational Leadership Summit - July 29-31 - State College, PA sponsored by the PA Principals Association, PASA, PAMLE and PASCD.  
This year's Summit will be held from July 29-31, 2018 at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, State College, PA.

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

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

Our Public Schools Our Democracy: Our Fight for the Future
NPE / NPE Action 5th Annual National Conference
October 20th - 21st, 2018 Indianapolis, Indiana
We are delighted to let you know that you can purchase your discounted Early Bird ticket to register for our annual conference starting today. Purchase your ticket here.
Early Bird tickets will be on sale until May 30 or until all are sold out, so don't wait.  These tickets are a great price--$135. Not only do they offer conference admission, they also include breakfast and lunch on Saturday, and brunch on Sunday. Please don't forget to register for your hotel room. We have secured discounted rates on a limited basis. You can find that link here. Finally, if you require additional financial support to attend, we do offer some scholarships based on need. Go here and fill in an application. We will get back to you as soon as we can. Please join us in Indianapolis as we fight for the public schools that our children and communities deserve. Don't forget to get your Early Bird ticket here. We can't wait to see you.


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