Tuesday, September 27, 2016

PA Ed Policy Roundup Sept 27: K-12 Education Shut Out of Presidential Debate

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 3900 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, 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 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 September 27, 2016
K-12 Education Shut Out of Presidential Debate



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Thanks to Keystone Crossroads, WHYY, WITF, WESA and WPSU for hosting yesterday’s education funding forum
Education funding forum: Top takeaways
Keystone Crossroads/WHYY Newsworks BY EMILY PREVITI, WITF SEPTEMBER 27, 2016
About 40 education advocates and leaders met Monday in Harrisburg to talk about ... well, how people in Pennsylvania are talking about paying for public schools — and how to do it better.  The discussion at WITF focused on how policy debates are framed by reporters and the people informing the coverage: the attorneys, statehouse employees, immigration rights groups, parents and religious leaders who attended the forum.
http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/local/item/97522--education-funding-forum-top-takeaways

K-12 Education Shut Out of the Presidential Debate Spotlight
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Alyson Klein on September 26, 2016 11:19 PM
K-12 education barely merited a mention in the first presidential debate Monday night. But child-care access got a quick—and early—shout-out.   Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, said that her prescription for improving the economy includes expanding access to child care to help working families.  Donald Trump, the Republican contender, said he agreed with her on the child-care issue in general, even though the two might differ on "numbers and amounts."

“House Bill 1858 would require all public schools — including charters and cybercharters — to administer to students the same 100-question test used by Homeland Security's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, starting in 2020-21. If approved, passing the test would be a requirement to obtain a high school diploma or GED equivalency.”
Students could face citizenship test in Pennsylvania
Trib Live BY NATASHA LINDSTROM  | Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, 11:21 p.m.
Pennsylvania students who can't name an American Indian tribe, the war during which Dwight D. Eisenhower was a general, or the territory the U.S. bought from France in 1803 could find it tougher to get a high school diploma, under a proposal debated Monday in Harrisburg.  “Adding another test is not the answer,” Jerry Oleksiak, vice president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, the state's largest teachers union, told lawmakers during a joint hearing of the House education and veterans affairs committees.  “Good education cannot be reduced to an exit test.”  State lawmakers and veterans advocates clashed with education officials on whether Pennsylvania should glom onto the latest national trend in standardized testing: requiring students to pass a U.S. citizenship exam in order to graduate from high school.

State lawmaker says Keystone Exams need a fix
WITF Written by Radio Pennsylvania | Sep 24, 2016 9:31 AM
 (Harrisburg) -- The current class of high school seniors in Pennsylvania was supposed to be the first required to pass the Keystone Exams for graduation.  Lawmakers have pushed that back two years, but one lawmaker believes the Keystone Exams need further scrutiny before they can be used as a graduation requirement.  Democratic Representative Leanne Krueger-Braneky says schools across the state have had trouble implementing the Keystone Exams and it's had a negative impact on students.  The lawmaker says she has heard concerns from parents, teachers, and students about high-stakes testing.  "Just last week I was on the phone with a mom who's son graduated from a middle school last year, failed his Keystone algebra exam even though he is in honors classes and taking AP classes," she said.  Krueger-Braneky says hitting pause on the tests as a graduation requirement isn't enough.  She says the legislature needs to figure out a way to support teachers so students can learn necessary information and not be focused on one set of tests. 

Charter school hopeful plans appeal after Hatboro-Horsham's second denial
The Intelligencer By Gary Weckselblatt, staff writer September 26, 2016
The would-be director of a proposed charter school in the Hatboro-Horsham School District said he is not discouraged by the school board's second denial of his application.  "Almost from the moment we filed this thing, we felt Hatboro-Horsham would deny us," David Secouler said. "We knew we would address whatever issues they had and they would deny us again."  Secouler, an attorney in East Norriton, hopes to be director of the Good Earth Charter School, which has applied to set up a Waldorf-Methods school on 10 acres at 800 Welsh Road in the Maple Glen section of Horsham.  A Waldorf education, according to the school's website, goodearthcharter.org, emphasizes the role of imagination in learning and focuses on educating each child through a hands-on, holistic approach. Subjects are taught artistically, using movement, drawing, painting, music, storytelling and rhyme.  The school's next step, following its two denials from the district, is to generate 1,000 signatures within 60 days in support of its application from Hatboro-Horsham residents and appeal to the Pennsylvania Charter School Appeal Board.

Young Scholars CEO: All for transparency, accountability
Centre Daily Times BY BRITNEY MILAZZO  bmilazzo@centredaily.com SEPTEMBER 23, 2016
STATE COLLEGE  -  At least one local charter school leader is reminding the community that not all charter schools are bad.  It comes on the heels of a report the state Auditor General’s Office released Thursday afternoon regarding noted problems at some state charter schools including the misuse of taxpayer dollars.   “There are good charter schools and there are bad charter schools like there are good public school (districts) and bad public school (districts),” Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania Charter School CEO Levent Kaya said. “I agree with the auditor general that we need a system in which public funds are spent in a responsible manner to the expenses that these funds are allocated for. We are all for transparency and accountability. We are upset to read such reports about charter schools, which gives all charter schools a bad reputation when, in fact, (a) majority of them work very hard to provide the best they can for the students.”  In the report, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale called out three schools, including the Beaver County-based PA Cyber Charter School that educates at least 77 students in Centre County.

Pa. auditor general calls for charter school reforms
Centre Daily Times BY BRITNEY MILAZZO bmilazzo@centredaily.com September 22, 2016
The state auditor general is calling for charter school reform, including that of PA Cyber Charter School, which educates more than 75 students from Centre County.  It comes on the heels of a longtime audit led by Auditor General Eugene DePasquale that he said showed “how poorly” charter school law is protecting students and taxpayers.  The goal for reform, DePasquale said, is to ensure education dollars help students learn, instead of help individuals profit.   “The bottom line is this: Nearly 20 years have passed since charter schools were authorized to be established,” DePasquale said in a prepared statement. “We need to revisit Pennsylvania’s charter school experience, and act now — not later — to overhaul the charter school law and do a very thorough tune-up on all aspects of charter school oversight and regulation.”  A report released by the state Thursday said auditors found leaders of some charter schools “had intermingled relationships that put individual self-interests above student needs while controlling hundreds of millions of taxpayer education funds from nearly every district in the state.”

The School District of Lancaster's refugee population and how it affects the district
Lancaster Online KARA NEWHOUSE | Staff Writer September 26, 2016
From Donald Trump Jr.'s tweet about Syrians and Skittles to a profile of Idaho high-schoolers in the New York Times Magazine, refugees have been in the news a lot lately.
Including in Lancaster.  Six refugee students sued the School District of Lancaster this summer over issues such as enrollment delays, language barriers and a punitive school climate.  They won a preliminary ruling, but the case is far from over.  The judge has ordered both sides back to court this week to clarify the extent of the ruling. The district also is pursuing an appeal of the decision.  As the case has unfolded, LNP readers have asked questions about the concentration of refugees in School District of Lancaster and what's happening in other districts. Here are some answers.

One year after substitute teacher crisis, Philly schools see improvement with new contractor
WHYY Newsworks BY AVI WOLFMAN-ARENT SEPTEMBER 26, 2016
So far this school year, Building 21, an experimental high school in North Philadelphia, has requested substitute teachers to cover three school days.  Much to the school’s delight, substitute teachers have showed up all three times.  “We have been thrilled to get subs every time we’ve had a teacher call out,” said Principal Laura Shubilla.  During the first two-and-a-half months of the prior school year, Building 21 received a sub just six percent of the time it requested one. In fact, so far this school year Building 21 has covered more absent teacher days (3) than it did in the entire run up to winter break last year (2).The school’s struggles were part of a district-wide substitute teacher crisis that drew headlines and criticism.  One year later, Philadelphia schools appear to be in much better shape.

Guest Column: Why education is such a crucial investment
Delco Times By Thomas P. Foley, Times Guest Columnist POSTED: 09/26/16, 8:38 PM EDT
Thomas P. Foley is president of Mount Aloysius College in Cresson, Pa.
Almost 50 years ago, a Harvard president said that “if you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” Most of us agree — “hitting the books” is important and education has intrinsic value.  It is hard to find anything else about education where public opinion is either uniform or unanimous. The legion of laments seems limitless — Google “education problems” and more than 86 million articles appear in under a second. While there is no question that problems persist at every level of education in this country, two truisms should be front of mind as political campaigns dissect education over these next two months.  Preschool and post-secondary education, often viewed as “optional” steps on the education continuum, yield lifelong benefits to individual learners, and provide important benefits to society at large. The evidence for these “bookends” of education in America is simply irrefutable.


Donald Trump's Plan For America's Schools
In speeches and appearances, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has called for more choice, ending Common Core, and gutting the U.S. Education Department.
LA Johnson/NPR September 25, 20166:00 AM ET
"I'm a tremendous believer in education."  So begins a campaign ad for Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump.  But what does that mean?  What does Trump believe about how we should fund and fix our schools, train and pay our teachers, and, most importantly, educate every child whether they're rich or poor, fluent in English or anything but, learning disabled or two grades ahead?  To these questions the candidate has offered few clear answers.  "Donald Trump's policy positions are performance art." That criticism comes not from the left but from Rick Hess, who studies education policy at the right-leaningAmerican Enterprise Institute. And, Hess says, "it is an immense mistake to take any of it all that seriously."  Hoping to flesh out Trump's education ideas ahead of tomorrow's big presidential debate, we asked his campaign for help. They never got back to us.  We also reached out to the two men who, as reported by Education Week, have been named to the candidate's presidential transition team for education. Both said they could not talk without permission from the Trump campaign, permission that was not granted.  And so, in trying to get a picture of his education platform, we're left mostly with the candidate's own words.

Education Activists Converge on Presidential Debate
Cloaking Inequity Blog Posted on September 26, 2016 by Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig 
Today, in response to a nationwide attack on public education, supporters of high-quality, democratically controlled, neighborhood public schools are holding events at the first presidential debate in New York, demanding that the candidates respond to concerns about school privatization and unfair funding, and releasing a national public education platform.
The organizers of the debate protests belong to Journey for Justice Alliance (J4J), a national network of more than 40,000 active members of grassroots community organizations led primarily by people of color in twenty-four U.S. cities. The presidential debate events are co-sponsored by the Network for Public Education Action, a national organization led by Diane Ravitch.

Why we probably won’t hear much about K-12 education in tonight’s debate
Brookings BROWN CENTER CHALKBOARD by Jon Valant Monday, September 26, 2016
Tonight, for the first time, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will share a stage for a presidential debate.  If the debate is anything like this election more generally, we probably won’t hear much about K-12 education.  While it is tempting to bemoan the silence on K-12 issues, it’s instructive to consider why they have received so little attention.  Let’s look at three possible explanations, including one that probably hasn’t received the attention it deserves.

Shorter days means its time for star parties; here are Pa.'s October stargazing events
Penn Live By Marcus Schneck | mschneck@pennlive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on September 26, 2016 at 9:18 AM, updated September 26, 2016 at 9:22 AM
Astronomy organizations, observatories and parks across Pennsylvania will host stargazing events throughout October across Pennsylvania. Most of the events include assistance by volunteers or staff, and telescopes and star charts for use by the public.  Many of the events are held only when skies are clear enough for good viewing and the sponsoring organization will announce cancellations on their websites or Facebook pages.


EDUCATION LAW CENTER invites you to our ANNUAL CELEBRATION
Thursday, September 29, 2016 at 5:30 PM
The Crystal Tea Room, The Wanamaker Building
100 Penn Square East, Philadelphia, PA
Honoring: Pepper Hamilton LLP, Signe Wilkinson, Dr. Monique W. Morris
And presenting the ELC PRO BONO AWARD  to Paul Saint-Antoine & Chanda Miller
of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

The Public Interest Law Center invites you to its 2016 Annual Event: “Of the People, By the People, For the People.” Thursday, Oct 6, 2016 at 6:00 PM
FringeArts 140 N. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, PA
Honoring: Soil Generation, Nicholas Chimicles, and Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP
http://www.pubintlaw.org/2016event/

PENNSYLVANIA EDUCATION POLICY FORUM  Wednesday, October 12, 2016  SUBJECT:  EPLC's 2016 Report:  High School Career and Technical Education: Serving Pennsylvania's Workforce and Student Needs
Coffee and Networking - 9:30 a.m.  Program - 10:00 a.m. to Noon   

Technical College High School (Brandywine Campus) - 443 Boot Rd., Downingtown, PA 19335
 RSVP by clicking here. There is no fee, but a RSVP is required. Please feel free to share this invitation with your staff and network. 
SPEAKERS:
An Overview of the EPLC Report on High School CTE will be presented by:
Ron Cowell, President, The Education Policy and Leadership Center
Statewide and Regional Perspectives Will Be Provided By
Dr. Lee Burket, Director, Bureau of Career & Technical Education, PA Department of Education
Jackie Cullen, Executive Director, PA Association of Career & Technical Administrators
Dan Fogarty, Director of Workforce Development & COO, Berks County Workforce Development Board
Kirk Williard, Ed.D., Director of Career, Technical & Customized Education, Chester County Intermediate Unit 


Registration for the PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference Oct. 13-15 is now open
The conference is your opportunity to learn, network and be inspired by peers and experts.
TO REGISTER: See https://www.psba.org/members-area/store-registration/   (you must be logged in to the Members Area to register). You can read more on How to Register for a PSBA Event here.   CONFERENCE WEBSITE: For all other program details, schedules, exhibits, etc., see the conference website:www.paschoolleaders.org.

The Sixth Annual Arts and Education Symposium – October 27, 2016
The 2016 Arts and Education Symposium will be held on October 27 at the Radisson Hotel Harrisburg Convention Center.  Sponsored by the Pennsylvania Arts Education network and EPLC, the Symposium is a Unique Networking and Learning Opportunity for:
·         Arts Educators
·         School Leaders
·         Artists
·         Arts and Culture Community Leaders
·         Arts-related Business Leaders
·         Arts Education Faculty and Administrators in Higher Education
·         Advocates
·         State and Local Policy Leaders
Act 48 Credit is available.
Program and registration information are available here.

REGISTER NOW for the 2016 PA Principals Association State Conference, October 30 - November 1, at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel in State College.
PA Principals Association website Tuesday, August 2, 2016 10:43 AM
To receive the Early Bird Discount, you must be registered by August 31, 2016:
Members: $300  Non-Members: $400
Featuring Three National Keynote Speakers: Eric Sheninger, Jill Jackson & Salome Thomas-EL

SAVE THE DATE LWVPA Convention 2017 June 1-4, 2017
Join the League of Women Voters of PA for our 2017 Biennial Convention at the beautiful Inn at Pocono Manor!


Monday, September 26, 2016

PA Ed Policy Roundup Sept 26: Charter Reform Should Protect Taxpayers, not Management Company Profits

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 3900 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, 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 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 September 26, 2016
Charter Reform Should Protect Taxpayers, not Management Company Profits


Editorial: Changes needed to charter school law
Beaver County Times By The Times Editorial Board September 25, 2016
State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale didn’t mince words last week when he released a scathing 95-page audit report of the Midland-based Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School. His message was clear: The state’s charter school law needs to be reformed immediately.
“It should be a clarion call to change the law to make sure that this type of nonsense doesn’t happen again,” DePasquale told The Times.  The “nonsense” he cited in the audit, which covered from May 2011 to March 2016, included numerous administrative failings, multiple conflicts of interest and a culture that enriched a favored few -- all of which traced back to PA Cyber founder Nick Trombetta, who left the school in 2012. Trombetta was indicted by a federal grand jury on several charges in 2013 and is now awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty last month to tax conspiracy as a part of scheme that involved funneling more than $8 million to a company he created to mask earnings from the IRS.  Although Trombetta was not actively involved in PA Cyber’s operation after leaving in 2012, much of the audit findings point to his actions while in charge, including creating multiple spin-off companies and holding overlapping roles in them. All the while, the money that came pouring into PA Cyber as it continued to grow found its way to those other companies in one form or another.

“The Legislature should reform the charter law to ensure that charter schools are held to the same level of accountability as the conventional public school districts from which they draw their funding.”
Editorial: Legislature must revisit charter law
Times Tribune BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD / PUBLISHED: SEPTEMBER 26, 2016
Citing self-dealing, sweeping conflicts of interest, poor record-keeping and questionable governance, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale’s new audit of the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School is yet another convincing call for the state Legislature to reform the cyberschool law.  Charter schools are privately operated public schools. They draw their money from the public school districts where their students reside. Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School has students statewide. It has more students than the Scranton School District, about 10,000. During the 2013-2014 school year, it was paid about $118.6 million in public money.  The blistering audit covers a period from May 13, 2011, through March 11, 2016. It alleges that the board had failed to properly oversee business conducted by the school’s founder, board members themselves, family members and related businesses.

Letters: Time for a tougher Pa. charter school law
Inquirer Letter by James Roebuck  Updated: SEPTEMBER 26, 2016 — 3:01 AM EDT
James Roebuck, Democratic chairman, Pennsylvania House Education Committee, Philadelphia
In this year's budget debate, Gov. Wolf, I, and other Democratic legislators pushed for a larger restoration of school funding that had been cut under former Gov. Tom Corbett ("Pa. has more to do on school funding fairness," Aug. 25). That restoration would have sent more school funding through the new, fairer formula.  That formula is the product of difficult, bipartisan compromise. We must restore and increase education funding so the share distributed through the new formula continues to increase.  We also need reform of Pennsylvania's nearly 20-year-old charter school law. That would increase accountability and oversight and provide hundreds of millions of dollars of savings for school districts, especially many lower-income districts such as Philadelphia that were hit hardest by the Corbett-era cuts.  While recent charter school oversight changes are helpful, there is only so much the Wolf administration can do unless the legislature changes the law. I have introduced a strong, bipartisan bill, H.B. 1328, that would do exactly that (http://is.gd/PACharterReform2015).  Some charter schools are well-run, but we shouldn't overpay for any of them. In light of reports from the auditor general and last month's guilty plea of former Western Pennsylvania charter school head Nick Trombetta, we need reform like H.B. 1328.

Comprehensive Charter School Reform Legislation
PA House Cosponsorship Memoranda Representative James R. Roebuck, Jr. June 2015
As you are aware, Governor Tom Wolf set forth an ambitious Education funding agenda and as part of his historical proposal he hopes to implement reforms on the charter sector -- specifically, funding for cyber charter schools, which currently receive funding at levels on par with what is spent by a students' home district.  In an effort to build upon the Governors leadership on this issue, I intend to introduce legislation that will make comprehensive changes to the Charter and Cyber Charter School Law.  While I do support charter school entities, I believe major revisions are needed regarding the governance, financing and accountability of these public schools. I believe my legislation, which includes provisions passed in HB 530, coupled with the Governor’s proposal will result in significant savings to our school districts and provide much needed reforms to the Charter School law.
http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20150&cosponId=18452

Capitolwire: Auditor General reiterates call for charter school law reform
Keystone Alliance for Public Charter Schools - Capitolwire.com By Carley Mossbrook Staff Reporter September 23, 2016
HARRISBURG (Sept. 22) – Pennsylvania’s top fiscal watchdog released another charter school audit Thursday he says bolsters his claims that the commonwealth’s charter school law is in dire need of reform.  In his latest audit, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said his office uncovered what he called “intermingled relationships that put individual self-interests above student needs” within three Beaver County schools.  “Our audits of PA Cyber [Charter School], the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School, and, to a much lesser extent, Midland Borough School District, illustrate just how poorly our charter school law is protecting students and taxpayers and ensuring that education dollars help students learn, not help individuals profit,” DePasquale said at a news conference in the Capitol.  DePasquale’s office found that Nicholas Trombetta, superintendent of the school district from 1995 to 2002, founded and served in leadership positions at both PA Cyber and the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School, and founded and served as president of the management company contracted by the schools.
http://www.keystonecharters.org/single-post/2016/09/23/Capitolwire-Auditor-General-reiterates-call-for-charter-school-law-reform

Auditor General Says Charter School Audit Shows Issues
WeAreCentralPA.com Published 09/22 2016 06:47PM
Harrisburg, Pa. -The audits were conducted on the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School and the Midland Borough School District.  Auditor General Eugene DePasquale says that the audits illustrate how poorly the charter school law is protecting students and taxpayers as well as ensuring that taxpayer dollars are being used to help students learn, rather than turning individual profits.  One of the reasons he says that the charter school law needs an overhaul is that the charter school management company was operating without boundaries or accountability to charter school officials or to the taxpayers. The major issues found in the audits include problems with curriculum and the management company and failure from the board and administration to govern.  DePasquale has a special report on charter school law reform where he outlines recommendations on how to improve accountability, effectiveness and transparency. He says his criticisms shouldn't be an indictment on charter schools in general and that there are excellent charter schools and performing arts centers in Pennsylvania.

Auditor General releases charter school audits, calls for overhaul of the law
PSBA Website September 23, 2016
This week state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale held a news conference to once again call for an overhaul of Pennsylvania’s 20-year old charter school law, highlighting recent audits of three charter schools and recommending changes. These changes are in addition to the recommendations he first made in aspecial report issued in 2014. Click here to read the auditor general’s news release that contains links to the individual audit reports of three charter schools.  PSBA believes that this latest audit further underscores the need for reform to the existing charter school law. The association recently released a report examining Pennsylvania charter school revenues, expenditures and transparency. The findings of the report highlight the need for reform and suggest the need for further study into how charter schools are operated.

Blogger note: Congratulations to these folks; this kind of journalism should also be brought to bear on charter schools that use taxpayer dollars.  Statewide, there has been virtually no coverage of charter school board meetings…

“Ultimately, this is about the kind of watchdog journalism that seeks to increase government transparency and hold elected officials accountable for their actions.”
The journalists who evaluated LNP’s coverage described it as an “impressive commitment to follow the school board shenanigans and expand reporting into fiscal audits.”
LNP, staff members receive Pa. NewsMedia Association's G. Richard Dew Award
LANCASTERONLINE | Staff September 25, 2016
LNP and three of its staff members have won the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association Foundation’s most prestigious award for excellence in journalism.  The 2016 G. Richard Dew Award recognizes the news organization, reporters Kara Newhouse and Susan Baldrige, and Opinion Editor Suzanne Cassidy for their coverage of the embattled Manheim Township school board over the past year.  Their articles and editorials shed light on the board’s violation of the state’s open-meetings law, the abrupt and unexplained resignation of a superintendent, and the district’s solid financial picture despite program cuts and deficit warnings.  “We are extraordinarily honored to receive this award,” LNP Executive Editor Barbara Hough Roda said. “It recognizes our newsroom’s commitment to grabbing hold of an important story, digging deeply, reporting thoroughly, remaining tenacious and keeping the public informed every step of the way. 

Rossi blames Christiana for ignoring weak charter school law
Beaver County Times By J.D. Prose jprose@calkins.com September 25, 2016
Democratic 15th Legislative District candidate Mike Rossi is using the state auditor general’s blistering audit of the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School to charge incumbent state Rep. Jim Christiana with ignoring pleas over the years to strengthen a weak charter school law.
“He did not fight the fight,” Rossi said Friday, claiming that requests from the public and education officials to legislators, including Christiana, to revamp the charter law “fell on deaf ears.”  Christiana, however, said a desperate Rossi was making “baseless accusations” and simply trying to drum up interest in his campaign. “Rossi’s campaign continues to be a series of baseless accusations to get attention and my voting record doesn’t lie,” the Republican legislator from Brighton Township said.

Video: Parents from across Pa. weigh in on education funding
Keystone Crossroads/WHYY Newsworks BY JESSICA KOURKOUNIS SEPTEMBER 26, 2016
As part of the Keystone Crossroads' continued look at education funding in Pennsylvania, multimedia journalist Jessica Kourkounis set out across the state to speak to parents about how they were feeling.  "I interviewed parents in cities and towns who are from varied circumstances and backgrounds. They are parents of public school children and charter school students. Some of their school's situations are more dire than others but they are all feeling that something needs to be done to address the complicated funding issues facing Pennsylvania. Every parent is looking for the same thing for their children in school; equality, safety, learning and preparation for their children's future."

Erie schools await 'financial watch'
25 Sep 2016 — Erie Times-News by Ed Palattella ed.palattella@timesnews.com
The Erie School District has already started to find ways to prevent another crisis in its 2017-18 budget, due by July 1.  It is waiting on the state to make its plans more formal. As of Friday, officials at the 12,000-student district said it had yet to receive a $2 million payment from the state Department of Education.  The payment will comprise the first half of the $4 million in emergency funding that the district is expected to receive from the state this year to alleviate its current budget problems. The district's chronic funding shortfalls have Superintendent Jay Badams again contemplating, in the years ahead, closing the district's four high schools, and sending the students to outlying districts, to offset a possible deficit of $8 million to $10 million in 2017-18 alone.  Receipt of the $2 million, according to district officials, will trigger the process by which the district will officially enter into what as known as financial watch status, in which it will work with the state Department of Education to improve its finances.  State law also requires that, once the district gets the $2 million, the secretary of education, Pedro A. Rivera, will notify the district that it has been "identified for financial watch status."  The district had yet to receive that notification on Friday, said its lawyer, Tim Wachter, who also said the district had yet to receive the $2 million. The district has enough money in its $185.5 million budget to go without the funding for now, officials said.

Refugee students sue for their place in public education
Inquirer by Michael Matza, Staff Writer Updated: SEPTEMBER 26, 2016 — 5:32 AM EDT
From flashpoints around the world - wars in Africa and the Middle East, terrorism in Asia, gang violence in Central America - tens of millions of migrants have run for their lives in just the past few years, creating crises of epic scale for many destination nations.  A small fraction, about 85,000 annually, find a haven in the United States as refugees. Last year, 2,645 were resettled in Pennsylvania, including 510 in Philadelphia. New Jersey became home to 314, 91 of whom moved to the Camden area.  Overall, 40 percent of recent refugees are minors. Many have limited schooling, if any. Many speak little English, if any. And so they can find themselves in another, increasingly troubled place: the intersection of immigration and public education.  Experts say school is invaluable for integrating children into American life. The same experts concede the difficulties, particularly with older youth.  For instance, what should a school district - legally obligated to educate students until age 21 - do with a foreign-born 19-year-old who reads at a fifth-grade level?  That question, among others no less contentious, is being argued in a closely watched legal case pitting the School District of Lancaster against six refugee students.

Fitch Maintains Chester Community Charter School's (PA) Revs on Negative Watch
Yahoo News CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- September 22, 2016
Fitch Ratings has maintained approximately $52.38 million of charter school revenue bonds, series 2010A issued by the Delaware County Industrial Development Authority, PA (DCIDA) on Rating Watch Negative. The bonds, which are rated 'BB-' by Fitch, were issued on behalf of Chester Community Charter School (CCCS).  SECURITY - The series 2010A bonds are secured by pledged revenues of CCCS, backed by a mortgage on the property and facilities leased by the school and a debt service reserve (DSR) cash-funded to transaction maximum annual debt service (TMADS) of about $4.1 million. Management fee payments to CSMI, LLC (CSMI) are subordinated to the payment of debt service and DSR replenishment.

STEM Education Is Vital—But Not at the Expense of the Humanities
Politicians trying to dump humanities education will hobble our economy
By THE EDITORS | Scientific American October 2016 Issue
Kentucky governor Matt Bevin wants students majoring in electrical engineering to receive state subsidies for their education but doesn't want to support those who study subjects such as French literature. Bevin is not alone in trying to nudge higher education toward course work that promotes better future job prospects. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a former presidential candidate, put it bluntly last year by calling for more welders and fewer philosophers.  Promoting science and technology education to the exclusion of the humanities may seem like a good idea, but it is deeply misguided.Scientific American has always been an ardent supporter of teaching STEM: science, technology, engineering and mathematics. But studying the interaction of genes or engaging in a graduate-level project to develop software for self-driving cars should not edge out majoring in the classics or art history.  The need to teach both music theory and string theory is a necessity for the U.S. economy to continue as the preeminent leader in technological innovation. The unparalleled dynamism of Silicon Valley and Hollywood requires intimate ties that unite what scientist and novelist C. P. Snow called the “two cultures” of the arts and sciences.

The Teaching Profession: What School Boards Wish You Knew
TeachHub.com By: Jordan Catapano
“What are they thinking?” might be something teachers ask about their school’s board of education. At times it might be challenging for teachers to understand what drives the decisions the school board makes; at other times, the school board can seem like a nebulous backroom body of political dealings that puts the teaching profession and actual student learning on the backburner. Because school board meetings typically take place at night – long after teachers and students leave – and because board members typically have jobs of their own that prevent them from regularly visiting during school hours, there might be a feeling of disconnect between teachers, the teaching profession, and their governing boards.  Every school board is different. In an effort to help teachers become more acquainted with boards’ perspectives and decisions, here are a few insights into your average board that may prove helpful.
http://www.teachhub.com/teaching-profession-what-school-boards-wish-you-knew?utm_content=bufferda154&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

The comeback of cursive
Trib Live Opinion BY TOM PURCELL | Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, 5:24 p.m.
Get this: After many schools have phased out cursive writing lessons across America, more schools are bringing the lessons back.  As it goes, technology was such just a few short years ago that the emergence of electronic documents — completed on computer keypads — no longer required a handwritten signature.  However, according to The Economist, technology innovations in handwriting recognition are reversing the trend. As more people forgo “clunky” desktop computers in favor of mobile devices, handwriting is now a faster way to input data than keyboards.  “As a result,” reports The Economist, “a number of school boards in America have instigated a return to basics — especially time spent learning longhand.”

Power Lunch: Helen Gym's battle to save Philadelphia schools
Philadelphia Business Journal by Nancy Moses Guest Columnist Sep 22, 2016, 3:55pm EDT Updated Sep 23, 2016, 9:26am EDT
When I met with longtime education activist and new Philadelphia Councilwoman-At-Large Helen Gym, the school year had just started. I wanted to know why anyone would take on public education: Philadelphia’s toughest challenge. What I learned was nothing less than inspirational.
What is your connection to the issue of public education?
My parents were immigrants to this country and they could only provide me with so much. The public spaces – my school, park, and recreation center-- became very vital places for me to access resources that my parents simply could not provide. Later, as a teacher, I found public education totally transformative, exciting, and world-expanding. When I became a parent with three children of my own, I was faced with decisions that became very personal.
I’ve always felt education was a place of incredible possibility, a place that was always challenging and exciting and that exposed me to people who were eternally hopeful.

2016 National Forum on K-12 Philanthropy
Philanthropy Roundtable
Nearly 250 individual philanthropists, family members, private foundation leaders, and experts gathered in California’s Bay Area for The Philanthropy Roundtable’s 2016 National Forum on K-12 Philanthropy. Attendees had the opportunity to tour innovative local schools in Silicon Valley that are pioneering new personalized learning models, and participate in interactive workshops with the field’s leading experts and practitioners. They also heard firsthand from visionary leaders in K-12 philanthropy.


PENNSYLVANIA EDUCATION POLICY FORUM  Wednesday, October 12, 2016  SUBJECT:  EPLC's 2016 Report:  High School Career and Technical Education: Serving Pennsylvania's Workforce and Student Needs
Coffee and Networking - 9:30 a.m.  Program - 10:00 a.m. to Noon   

Technical College High School (Brandywine Campus) - 443 Boot Rd., Downingtown, PA 19335
 RSVP by clicking here. There is no fee, but a RSVP is required. Please feel free to share this invitation with your staff and network. 
SPEAKERS:
An Overview of the EPLC Report on High School CTE will be presented by:
Ron Cowell, President, The Education Policy and Leadership Center
Statewide and Regional Perspectives Will Be Provided By
Dr. Lee Burket, Director, Bureau of Career & Technical Education, PA Department of Education
Jackie Cullen, Executive Director, PA Association of Career & Technical Administrators
Dan Fogarty, Director of Workforce Development & COO, Berks County Workforce Development Board
Kirk Williard, Ed.D., Director of Career, Technical & Customized Education, Chester County Intermediate Unit 


EDUCATION LAW CENTER invites you to our ANNUAL CELEBRATION
Thursday, September 29, 2016 at 5:30 PM
The Crystal Tea Room, The Wanamaker Building
100 Penn Square East, Philadelphia, PA
Honoring: Pepper Hamilton LLP, Signe Wilkinson, Dr. Monique W. Morris
And presenting the ELC PRO BONO AWARD  to Paul Saint-Antoine & Chanda Miller
of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

The Public Interest Law Center invites you to its 2016 Annual Event: “Of the People, By the People, For the People.” Thursday, Oct 6, 2016 at 6:00 PM
FringeArts 140 N. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, PA
Honoring: Soil Generation, Nicholas Chimicles, and Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP
http://www.pubintlaw.org/2016event/

Registration for the PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference Oct. 13-15 is now open
The conference is your opportunity to learn, network and be inspired by peers and experts.
TO REGISTER: See https://www.psba.org/members-area/store-registration/   (you must be logged in to the Members Area to register). You can read more on How to Register for a PSBA Event here.   CONFERENCE WEBSITE: For all other program details, schedules, exhibits, etc., see the conference website:www.paschoolleaders.org.

The Sixth Annual Arts and Education Symposium – October 27, 2016
The 2016 Arts and Education Symposium will be held on October 27 at the Radisson Hotel Harrisburg Convention Center.  Sponsored by the Pennsylvania Arts Education network and EPLC, the Symposium is a Unique Networking and Learning Opportunity for:
·         Arts Educators
·         School Leaders
·         Artists
·         Arts and Culture Community Leaders
·         Arts-related Business Leaders
·         Arts Education Faculty and Administrators in Higher Education
·         Advocates
·         State and Local Policy Leaders
Act 48 Credit is available.
Program and registration information are available here.

REGISTER NOW for the 2016 PA Principals Association State Conference, October 30 - November 1, at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel in State College.
PA Principals Association website Tuesday, August 2, 2016 10:43 AM
To receive the Early Bird Discount, you must be registered by August 31, 2016:
Members: $300  Non-Members: $400
Featuring Three National Keynote Speakers: Eric Sheninger, Jill Jackson & Salome Thomas-EL

SAVE THE DATE LWVPA Convention 2017 June 1-4, 2017
Join the League of Women Voters of PA for our 2017 Biennial Convention at the beautiful Inn at Pocono Manor!