Pennsylvania leads nation in youth voter registration uptick, says Dem data firm analysis
Morning Call Capitol Ideas by Laura Olson Contact Reporter Call Washington Bureau July 19, 2018
Are young voters tuning in for this year’s midterm elections? They appear to be in the Keystone State. A new analysis of voter registration data found that Pennsylvania had the largest increase nationally in the share of new voter registrations that were from those between 18 and 29 years old. TargetSmart, a D.C.-based political data firm, compared voter registration figures from before and after the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting in February. In the 76 days before that shooting, 45 percent of new voter registrations were from applicants under the age of 30. Afterward, young voters accounted for 61 percent of new registrations, an increase of 16 percentage points. The later period — which went through May 1, two weeks before the primary election — saw 32,310 registrations from young voters, compared to 18,450 during the period before the shooting. Nationally, the share of the electorate younger than 30 years old grew by 2 percent, according to the analysis. “It remains to be seen how many of these younger registrants will cast a ballot in November, but they are poised to have a louder voice than ever in these critical midterm elections,” TargetSmart CEO Tom Bonier.
'You're a little young and naive,' Scott Wagner tells teen who asked about climate change
Ed Mahon, York Daily Record Published 1:09 p.m. ET July 19, 2018 | Updated 6:08 p.m. ET July 19, 2018
Wagner was responding to a question about climate change at a town hall in Montgomery County on Thursday, July 19. American Bridge 21st Century Scott Wagner, the Republican candidate for Pennsylvania governor, is getting attention for comments he made at a town hall in Montgomery County. When an 18-year-old woman asked Wagner about statements he made about climate change and about his contributions from the fossil fuel industry, Wagner replied: "Rose, you know what? I appreciate you being here. And you're 18 years old. And, you know, you're a little young and naive." That prompted laughs from someone in the crowd. For more on the exchange, including an interview with the woman who asked the question and the Wagner's campaign response, you can check out this report from PennLive.
Gambling, smoking and drinking give Pa. a lot of money in 'sin taxes'
Penn Live By Jan Murphy | firstname.lastname@example.org | Posted July 19, 2018 at 11:00 AM | Updated July 19, 2018 at 11:19 AM
Pennsylvania's reliance on taxes and fees on tobacco, alcohol and gambling to balance its budget is no secret. And its reliance on those so-called "sin taxes" is increasing as lawmakers avoid the more politically poisonous options of raising income or sales taxes. In 2015, these taxes accounted for 7.3 percent of the state's revenues, according to a study released Thursday by The Pew Charitable Trusts. The "Are Sin Taxes Healthy for State Budgets?" study looks at how Pennsylvania compares to other states -- and whether states can expect to keep relying on this revenue source. Pennsylvania ranks seventh among the 50 states for how much it relies on "sin tax" revenue, according to this report by The Pew Charitable Trusts and Rockefeller Institute of Government. According to PennWatch, state government's transparency website, cigarette, liquor, malt beverage and gambling taxes generated nearly $1.4 billion in 2014-15, the year that the study's authors used for their report. With the addition in 2016-17 of a new tax on other tobacco products and higher cigarette tax, those revenue sources combined raised more than $1.85 billion, according to PennWatch. That figure dipped in 2017-18 by about $16 million.
“Franklin Towne is not alone. Philadelphia’s charter schools serve “disproportionately fewer of Pennsylvania’s vulnerable students than traditional public schools,” according to a recent analysis by the ELC. And those gaps are especially wide between special education students with inexpensive disabilities, who are common in Philadelphia charters, and those with expensive disabilities, who are relatively rare.”
Franklin Towne Charter accused of discriminating against special needs student
Education Law Center calls under-representation of students with disabilities a “citywide pattern.”
The notebook by Greg Windle July 19 — 1:37 pm, 2018
Pamela James was thrilled when her granddaughter was accepted at Franklin Towne Charter High School. Her granddaughter raced off to tell friends the good news, and James gave the school a copy of her granddaughter’s Individual Education Plan (IEP), which included the need for emotional support — a common but relatively expensive requirement among students in Philly schools. Hours later they were both shaken when James got a call from the Northeast Philadelphia school, informing her that her granddaughter could not attend as a result of her emotional disturbance diagnosis, that the class she needed was “full” and that the school would not accommodate her. “After I took her IEP to the school, that’s when they shot me down,” James said. “That was really ugly discrimination.” James was furious. No one at the school would return her calls, though she eventually received a brief letter restating that her daughter could not attend. “I don’t understand how they’re able to do this,” James said. “They decided to change their mind because she needed emotional support.” At that point, James did not know it is illegal to deny a student attendance at a public school based on their special education status. But she would soon find out. The Education Law Center of Philadelphia has since taken up her cause, sending an open complaint letter to the schools’ lawyer.
Double standard in measuring performance of Philly public schools
WHYY Opinion By Laurada Byers July 19, 2018
Laurada Byers is the co-founder of the Russell Byers Charter School and board president of Philadelphia Charters for Excellence.
Fair is fair. We support the School District of Philadelphia’s commitment to maintaining standards of academic quality. All of us as parents and citizens benefit from high-quality schools, and we should demand nothing less from those whose job is to educate our children. When it comes to enforcing these standards, all schools should be treated equally: We should identify and support good schools; and we should identify and fix — or close — bad schools. And there’s the problem. In promulgating the new Philadelphia Charter School Performance Framework to measure school quality, the school district employs a double standard. It holds charter schools to the standards of the framework, yet it completely ignores these same standards when assessing the performance of district-operated public schools. The framework and its implementation are so bizarre that it leads to a single conclusion: The district is rigging the game to limit the expansion of charter schools, while continuing to tolerate the failing conditions in far too many of its own neighborhood public schools.
“In Allegheny County, 3,532 children and youths experienced homelessness during the 2016-17 school year, according to a Pennsylvania Department of Education report. While homeless, most live doubled-up with relatives or friends, while others live in shelters or transitional housing according to the report. Homelessness also disproportionately affects low-income and non-white youths. Of the youngsters served by the Homeless Education Fund, 84 percent identify as non-white, said Krystle Morrison, the HCEF’s Manager of Educational Services.”
Five homeless youths receive $5,000 college scholarships
AMY QIN Pittsburgh Post-Gazette JUL 19, 2018 7:55 PM
Tyrese Suttles just graduated from Pittsburgh Carrick High School this year, but he’s no stranger to homelessness. Growing up in the foster care system, there were times when Tyrese went back and forth between placements, “not even living anywhere, technically,” he said. Sometimes, the foster family that he was staying with would get evicted from their apartment and he would live in the back of a pickup truck or in someone else’s garage for months. “It was honestly the worst experience I could ever go through, and I understand how it feels for kids going through it now,” he said. Despite his circumstances, Tyrese has managed to excel in school and sports. He plans to attend Slippery Rock University in the fall and hopes to teach physical education to middle school students one day. Tyrese is one of five students selected by the Homeless Children’s Education Fund to receive the Hope Through Learning Award at a “graduation-style” ceremony on Thursday, outside the National Aviary on the North Side. The award is given to students who are going on to higher education and have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives. This year, awardees will be given $5,000 over the course of two years to use for their education.
Fact-finder assigned to Gateway to help resolve gridlocked teachers contract
Trib Live by DILLON CARR | Thursday, July 19, 2018, 2:27 p.m.
The state Labor Relations Board appointed a fact-finder recently to help advance sputtered contract talks between the Gateway teachers union and the school district. Fact-finder Michelle Miller-Kotula was appointed by the board at a meeting in Harrisburg July 17, according to union president and Gateway teacher Mark Spinola. Spinola said the process takes 40 days, at which point Miller-Kotula will issue a report. “Parties then have 10 days to accept or reject the report,” Spinola said. The union and school district are permitted to continue contract talks during the fact-finding process, but no meetings have been scheduled, said Mary Beth Cirucci, school board vice president and negotiations committee chair. Negotiations for a new contract began in January 2017 and the union has been working without a contract since its pact expired last August. The union voted to authorize a strike in March if negotiations continue to stall.
Is Stoneleigh safe? Lower Merion district buys nearby property for middle school
Inquirer by Kathy Boccella, Staff Writer @Kathy_Boccella | email@example.com Updated: JULY 19, 2018 — 12:07 PM EDT
The Lower Merion School District has agreed to purchase a 19th century Beaux Arts mansion to build a new middle school, which may indicate it is moving ahead with plans to take 6.9 acres of the recently opened Stoneleigh garden to use as athletic fields. The school board unanimously agreed to enter a formal agreement to purchase the 21.83-acre site from the Foundation for Islamic Education for $12 million contingent on a number of conditions, including that the district find nearby space for outdoor activities. District spokeswoman Amy Buckman said in an email, “The search for that space is ongoing, and no options have been taken ‘off the table.’” Lower Merion Township commissioners have already helped with another condition, killing a plan to upgrade the mansion’s historic resource classification from Class 2 to Class 1, which indicates greater historic value and offers more protection under Lower Merion’s historic preservation ordinance. The district had said it wouldn’t purchase the property with the upgraded classification.
But the issue of where to put athletic fields has roiled the Main Line township, where residents have come out in force to protect Stoneleigh, once the family home of John and Chara Haas, who deeded the property to Natural Lands for a public garden that took two years to create and that opened on Mother’s Day.
Become a PSBA Advocacy Ambassador
PSBA Website July 18, 2018
PSBA is seeking applications for three open Advocacy Ambassador positions. This is a part-time, 9-month (September 2018-May 2019) independent contractor position with a monthly stipend and potential renewal for a second year. The individuals should have previous experience in day-to-day functions of a school district — on the school board or in a school leadership position. The purpose of the PSBA Advocacy Ambassador program is to facilitate the education and engagement of local school directors and public education stakeholders. Each Advocacy Ambassador will be an active leader in an assigned section of the state and is kept up to date on current legislation and PSBA positions based on the association’s Legislative Platform and Priority Issues to accomplish advocacy goals. The current open positions are for PSBA Section 1; Sections 3 and 4; and Section 8. (see map). Advocacy Ambassadors are independent contractors who serve as liaisons between PSBA and their state legislators, and who also work with local school officials in their section to advance PSBA’s public education advocacy mission. To complete the application process and upload required documents go to PSBA’s Career Gateway to create an account and apply. Career Gateway questions can be directed to Michelle Kunkel at 717-506-2450, x-3365. Questions and information regarding the specific duties of the Advocacy Ambassador position should be directed to Jamie Zuvich at 717-506-2450, x-3375. The deadline to submit cover letter, resume and application is August 10, 2018.
All other required documents must be submitted upon successful application.
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.