Election Round 2: Pa. legislators to select new (or old) leaders
Inquirer by Angela Couloumbis and Liz Navratil, Updated: November 12, 2018- 9:45 AM
HARRISBURG — When it comes to choosing new leaders in Pennsylvania's legislature, the more things change, apparently, the more they stay the same. Lawmakers will return to the Capitol this week to vote for leaders who control everything from which bills are brought to a floor vote to how many staffers rank-and-file members are assigned. While discussions remain fluid, few expect a seismic shake-up in either House or Senate leadership ranks — this despite last week's midterm election, which shifted the makeup of both chambers. Democrats are getting a crop of younger and more progressive members — many of them women – elected largely by voters from Philadelphia and its surrounding counties or Pittsburgh. And though Republicans will still hold majorities in both chambers, they suffered some crushing losses Tuesday, leaving them with a more conservative membership.
Study: Having Just One Black Teacher Can Up Black Students' Chances of Going to College
Education Week Teacher Beat Blog By Madeline Will on November 12, 2018 4:17 PM
If a black student has just one or two black teachers in elementary school, that student is significantly more likely to enroll in college, a new Johns Hopkins University study has found. Black students who had just one black teacher by 3rd grade were 13 percent more likely to enroll in college, while those who had two black teachers were 32 percent more likely, the study found. These findings are a continuation of the 2017 study that found that a low-income black student's probability of dropping out of high school is reduced by 29 percent if he or she has one black teacher in grades 3-5. The new study was released in conjunction with another study (from much of the same team of researchers) finding that teachers' beliefs about a student's college potential can become self-fulfilling prophecies. The study found that black teachers are more likely than white teachers to have higher expectations for black students. Both studies were published as working papers by the National Bureau of Economic Research. "There are these frustratingly persistent attainment gaps between the races, and we want to close these gaps," said co-author Nicholas Papageorge, an assistant professor of economics at Johns Hopkins. These gaps should be closed because of the inherent inequity, Papageorge said, but also because it's costly for a society to have large swaths of its population not attend college. College enrollment among black young adults lags behind that of white, Asian, and Hispanic students, according to federal data.
State Rep. Bryan Cutler could get promotion to House majority leader Tuesday
Lancaster Online by SAM JANESCH | Staff Writer November 12, 2018
When state lawmakers return to Harrisburg on Tuesday to elect their leaders for the new two-year session, a southern Lancaster County legislator will be vying for one of the top spots in the House. State Rep. Bryan Cutler, a Peach Bottom Republican, will be considered by his colleagues in the GOP Caucus for the chamber’s second-highest position — majority leader. If selected during the private caucus vote, he would become the first Lancaster lawmaker to serve in one of the House’s top two positions since Aaron B. Hess had stints as majority leader and speaker in the 1920s. Cutler, 43, has represented the 100th Legislative District in southern Lancaster County since 2007 and spent the last four years as majority whip. That leadership role is often a stepping stone to the majority leader position, which would put Cutler in a spot to have a significant influence over the House’s policy agenda and budget negotiations.
Stop giving Wall Street a cut of our pensions | Opinion
Commentary by Joe Torsella, For The Inquirer Posted: November 12, 2018 - 9:45 AM
Joe Torsella is treasurer of Pennsylvania.
Pat worked for more than three decades as a nurse and educator. First as a school nurse, and then in a state hospital, she took care of the developmentally disabled and provided comfort and support for their families. She worked hard, eventually getting her doctoral degree, and came back to teach to a new generation of caregivers at a state university. Now retired, she spends the monthly pension income she earned on her home, her health care, and gifts for her grandchildren, of course. I could tell you a lot about Pat, because she's my mom. And she's just one of the 724,000 Pennsylvanians that rely on one of our two public pension systems in the Commonwealth, PSERS and SERS. Keeping the promises we've made to those Pennsylvanians isn't negotiable. The only question is how to do it. Recently, it was revealed that over the last 10 years, Wall Street money managers pocketed around $3.8 billion more from our pension funds than was previously disclosed to the public. In the aftermath of those reports, some have — oddly — claimed that the $3.8 billion isn't really a fee, or a cost, or really anything to be concerned about at all. Nothing to see here, folks, so please be on your way.
“Chief among the ACP's suggestions is to address firearm safety as a public health issue, which is opposed by the NRA and most Republicans in office. In 1996, Congress passed an amendment backed by the NRA that banned the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from using federal funds to "advocate or promote gun control." Congress also cut the CDC's budget by the same amount it had been spending on gun violence research”
‘This is our lane’: Philly-area doctors blast NRA over hostile tweet
Inquirer by Rob Tornoe, Posted: November 12, 2018- 11:02 AM
The NRA has drawn the anger of physicians in Philadelphia and across the country after the group mocked doctors for outlining ways to curb injuries and deaths caused by guns. "Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane," the NRA wrote on Twitter last week, promoting a nearly 900-word unsigned opinion piece on the organization's Institute for Legislative Action website that complained that "some doctors' collective hobby is opining on firearms policy." The NRA's hostility toward doctors is a response to a new position paper from the American College of Physicians, which was published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Annals of Internal Medicine and offers nine strategies aimed at reducing the number of people killed in firearms-related incidents.
Despite gains, Pittsburgh city schools have work to do, A+ Schools report says
ELIZABETH BEHRMAN Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Lbehrman@post-gazette.com NOV 12, 2018 8:22 PM
While notable improvements have been made in reading scores, graduation rates and student discipline, the Pittsburgh Public Schools district has “much more work to do” to improve student math scores and close the persistent achievement gap between white students and students of color. Educational advocacy and watchdog group A+ Schools highlighted those findings in its annual report to the community Monday, along with school-level data on school climate, racial makeup, teaching and test scores. District Superintendent Anthony Hamlet and A+ Schools executive director James Fogarty agreed that there wasn’t anything surprising in the comprehensive report and that there had been some positive changes. But there are areas in which they said the data needs to be explored further and, in the case of math scores, the school district may need to take its case to Harrisburg for clarity on state standards.
Eyes on the Philly BOE: November 15, 2018
Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools November 12, 2018 appsphilly.net by Karel Kilimnik
The nine members of the Board of Education, as government officials overseeing a $3 billion budget, have undertaken the enormous task of trying to understand the workings of the School District of Philadelphia. The issue of equity remains a crucial one in their decision-making. Parents at Board Committee and Action meetings have expressed their frustrations at not being heard, both as members of their school’s SAC and their Home and School chapter. One parent of a Northeast elementary school student reported that the principal at her child’s school unilaterally and unexpectedly ejected the Home & School group and ordered them to remove all of their supplies from the parent resource room. Lack of equity rears its head when some Home & Schools can raise large sums (see BOE-33 (Acceptance of Donation from the SLA Home & School Association) to pay for extra-curricular activities and supplies when schools in struggling areas cannot.
Plaintiffs want schools to be liable for ongoing student bullying under Pa. anti-discrimination law
WHYY By Robert Brod November 13, 2018
In a case with statewide implications, plaintiffs will argue before Pa. Commonwealth Court Tuesday that school districts should be subject to the state’s anti-discrimination law when failing to intercede when students are harassed by peers based on classifications such as race, gender, religion and sexual orientation. The lawsuit centers on the alleged inaction of staff at a Philadelphia elementary school in 2011, where the plaintiff — then an 8 year-old boy — was targeted by classmates who used sexual and racial slurs to demean the student for not conforming to gender norms. Attorneys for the plaintiff say school leaders knew of the harassment and failed to stop it before it escalated to a brutal sexual assault. At a hearing in Philadelphia, they will claim that districts should be held liable for such inaction under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, which typically protects employees from harassment from superiors.
Picking up another seat, Dems ride high on slow roll of wins
Inquirer by STEVE PEOPLES, Updated: November 12, 2018- 8:26 PM
NEW YORK (AP) — No, it wasn't a blue wave. But a week after the voting, Democrats are riding higher than they thought on election night. As vote counting presses on in several states, the Democrats have steadily chalked up victories across the country, firming up their grip on the U.S. House of Representatives and statehouses. The slow roll of wins has given the party plenty to celebrate. President Donald Trump was quick to claim victory for his party on election night. But the Democrats, who hit political rock bottom just two years ago, have now picked up at least 32 seats in the House — and lead in four more — in addition to flipping seven governorships and eight state legislative chambers. They are on track to lose two seats in the Senate in a year both parties predicted more. On Monday night, Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema won Arizona's Senate race, beating Republican Rep. Martha McSally to take the seat held by retiring GOP Sen. Jeff Flake.
Congress returns to new dynamic, GOP shutdown threat
Inquirer by LISA MASCARO, Updated: November 12, 2018- 6:26 PM
WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress returns to a changed political landscape Tuesday as newly-elected lawmakers arrive in Washington, the parties elect new leadership and incumbents square off for one final legislative sprint before House Democrats take power. Voters swept away eight years of House Republican control in last week's election, creating a new political dynamic that's challenging President Donald Trump even before the new 116th Congress begins in January. For their last act, Republicans will try to deliver on Trump's promise to fund the border wall, which could spark a partial federal government shutdown in weeks. Newly emboldened Democrats are in no mood to cooperate over wall money. Instead, they'll be pushing to protect special counsel Robert Mueller's probe from acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, who has criticized the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. All sides must agree to a federal funding bill to prevent a partial government shutdown from beginning on Dec. 7. "House Democrats are anything but lame ducks," Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi wrote Monday to colleagues, saying Democrats are "flying high and taking pride" in the greatest Democratic sweep of the House since the Watergate election of 1974. They picked up at least 32 seats, with several races still undecided.
BREAKING NEWS: CALIFORNIA NAACP CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION OF ALL GÜLEN CHARTERS
Cloaking Inequity Blog Posted on November 10, 2017 by Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig 7 comments
Did you know that Muhammed Fethullah Gülen Hocaefendi (pictured), an Imam who exited Turkey and is sequestered in rural Pennsylvania, is operating the second largest affiliated network of charter schools in the United States? (Yes, this is the same Gülen that Michael Flynn allegedly was trying to have extradited from the United States) In the past I have blogged about the Gülen-affiliated charter schools in the posts Bad Charters, Bad Charters, “Whatcha gonna do when they come for you” and Gulen-affiliated charter schools are bad apples? and Empire of Deceit says charters squandering taxes and violating immigration laws. When I watched the film Killing Ed, I was skeptical, as I am paid to be. So when I was in Houston to give a talk at Rice University, I ran into a former Gülen Harmony student and asked a few questions.
Betsy DeVos' staff denies rumor she's leaving education secretary job
Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press Published 12:53 p.m. ET Nov. 12, 2018 | Updated 4:12 p.m. ET Nov. 12, 2018
WASHINGTON — Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says she's not going anywhere with Democrats taking control of the U.S. House in January, despite rumors to the contrary. But if she stays, her life is almost certainly going to get a whole lot tougher. On Monday, in response to a question about rumors circulating that DeVos, a Michigan billionaire, Republican backer and former school-choice advocate in the state, might be looking at stepping down, her press secretary, Liz Hill, knocked down the suggestions. "The rumors are just that …rumors," Hill wrote in an email to the Free Press. "The Secretary has no plans of stepping down." There is almost universal agreement, however, that DeVos — who has made only rare appearances on Capitol Hill to testify with Republicans in charge of both chambers of Congress — is going to be asked a lot more questions in the future.
Build on finance, policy, board culture skills at PSBA’s Applied School Director Training
Four convenient locations in December and January
Take the next step in your professional development with Applied School Director Training. Building upon topics broadly covered in New School Director Training, this new, interactive evening event asks district leaders to dive deeper into three areas of school governance: school finance, board policy and working collaboratively as a governance team. Prepare for future leadership positions and committee work in this workshop-style training led by experts and practitioners. Learn how to:
Dec.11, 2018 — Seneca Valley SD
Dec. 12, 2018 — Selinsgrove, Selinsgrove Area Middle School
Jan. 10, 2019 — Bethlehem, Nitschmann Middle School
Jan. 17, 2019 — State College
Cost: This event is complimentary for All-Access members or $75 per person with standard membership and $150 per person for nonmembers. Register online by logging in to myPSBA.
Save the Date: PARSS Annual Conference May 1-3, 2019
Wyndham Garden Hotel, Mountainview Country Club
Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools
NSBA 2019 Advocacy Institute January 27-29 Washington Hilton, Washington D.C.
The upcoming midterm elections will usher in the 116th Congress at a critical time in public education. Join us at the 2019 NSBA Advocacy Institute for insight into what the new Congress will mean for your school district. And, of course, learn about techniques and tools to sharpen your advocacy skills, and prepare for effective meetings with your representatives. Save the date to join school board members from across the country on Capitol Hill to influence the new legislative agenda and shape the decisions made inside the Beltway that directly impact our students. For more information contact .
2019 NSBA Annual Conference Philadelphia March 30 - April 1, 2019
Pennsylvania Convention Center 1101 Arch Street Philadelphia, PA 19107
Registration Questions or Assistance: 1-800-950-6722
The NSBA Annual Conference & Exposition is the one national event that brings together education leaders at a time when domestic policies and global trends are combining to shape the future of the students. Join us in Philadelphia for a robust offering of over 250 educational programs, including three inspirational general sessions that will give you new ideas and tools to help drive your district forward.