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.
In an unlikely turn, Scott Wagner poses as a champion of public schools | Tuesday Coffee
Penn Live By John L. Micek email@example.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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
“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!
“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 | email@example.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.
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.”
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…”
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 .
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 room. We have secured discounted rates on a limited basis. You can find that link . Finally, if you require additional financial support to attend, we do offer based on need. Go 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 . We can't wait to see you.