Tuesday, February 25, 2014

PA Ed Policy Roundup for February 25, 2014: Public Ed Advocacy Workshop in Philly Feb. 27

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 3100 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers, Governor's staff, current/former PA Secretaries of Education, PTO/PTA officers, parent advocates, teacher leaders, 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 and Twitter

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Keystone State Education Coalition
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for February 25, 2014:
Public Ed Advocacy Workshop in Philly Feb. 27

The Keystones: Working for a better Pennsylvania
The editorial writers of nine newspapers are banding together to work for a better Pennsylvania through editorials focused on major issues such as pension and tax reform. These are the editorials in the series.

“The outsourcing was pitched in January as a way to avoid ObamaCare's 30-hour mandate for part-time employees. Under the new law, the district is responsible for providing insurance to employees working an average of 30 or more hours a week.”
Bethlehem schools to outsource substitute teachers
District to contract with service that will hire, train and oversee substitutes.
By Adam Clark, Of The Morning Call 11:01 p.m. EST, February 24, 2014
In a split vote Monday night, Bethlehem Area School Board authorized outsourcing the district's substitute teachers next school year.  School directors voted 5-4 to approve a contract with Substitute Teacher Service Inc. to hire, train and oversee the district's substitute teachers. The decision frees administrators from managing the hiring of substitutes and allows the district to avoid responsibility for offering health insurance to substitute teachers who qualify under the Affordable Care Act.  The more than 300 current Bethlehem Area substitutes can still work for the district next school year but only if they become employees of STS, based in Aston, Delaware County. STS will open an office in Bethlehem to process hiring the current substitute teachers and recruit more.  The district will still set the pay rate for substitutes and pay that amount to STS, along with a 28 percent fee. That 28 percent is equal to what the district would have paid for pension contributions, Social Security and other costs, Superintendent Joseph Roy said.
Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/bethlehem/mc-bethlehem-school-board-0224-20140224,0,5220822.story#ixzz2uKJVffWh

Saucon Valley teachers reject contract agreement
Lehigh Valley Live By Lynn Ondrusek on February 24, 2014 at 8:13 PM
After reaching a tentative agreement in January, the Saucon Valley School District teachers union voted tonight to reject the contract.  Saucon Valley Education Association President Theresa Andreucci said in an email to The Express-Times that the teachers believed the tentative agreement reached with the help of a state-appointed meditor was not acceptable for numerous reasons.  "The limits placed on graduate study, changes made to the salary schedule and changes in health care all contributed to the vote," she said in the email.

Funding formula, not work rules, should be school district's No. 1 priority
Philly.com Opinion by Jerry T. Jordan, President, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers Tuesday, February 25, 2014, 12:16 AM
AFTER over a year of negotiations with the school district, no one wants a new contract more than the members of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. While I believe that the collective bargaining process is the best way for the city's educators to work in partnership with district leaders to create great schools, these negotiations have been long and difficult for everyone involved, especially Philadelphia's public-school students and parents.  But we need to be clear about something: the primary reason we don't have a contract is not a disagreement over work rules, but the district's insistence that our school employees should reach into their own pockets to fix a $300-$400 million budget deficit.

Public Pension Tabs Multiply as States Defer Costs and Hard Choices
New York Times By RICK LYMAN and MARY WILLIAMS WALSH FEB. 24, 2014
When Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey overhauled the state’s pension system in 2011, he celebrated it as a bold, bipartisan step toward paying down the state’s costly promises to its retired workers. Some would have to work longer, some would lose inflation adjustments, and both workers and taxpayers would have to pay more into the system.  All of that helped lower the retirement system’s overall costs, but the new system needed a lot more money right away and the law did not provide it. Instead, its eight-year schedule of steadily rising payments was not enough to cover the system’s true costs and stop it from sliding further into debt.
So just three years after the law took effect, Mr. Christie is again raising concerns about whether the state can afford the payments it had promised to make to its pension system. Under the schedule agreed upon, the state’s annual pension payments were to rise from zero in the first year to $1.7 billion this year, the largest the state has made to the system, yet still only about a third of what it will owe by 2018.

Michelle Obama to unveil food marketing limits for schools
Politico By TARINI PARTI | 2/24/14 11:58 PM EST Updated: 2/25/14 5:12 AM EST
First lady Michelle Obama will unveil a proposal Tuesday that would ban marketing junk food and sodas in schools — an unusually aggressive position for the administration that could draw the ire of school districts, food companies and conservatives.  Schools would no longer be able to house vending machines that sport images of their flagship sodas, have posters promoting unhealthy food and drinks or use cups in cafeterias that market high-calorie beverages, among other forms of promotion, according to administration officials.  The proposal — part of an updated school wellness policy crafted by the Department of Agriculture — would require marketing of all food and drinks to fall in line with the same healthier standards that are expected to be required of foods sold during the 2014-15 school year. Both sets of measures, which go beyond the new school lunch and breakfast requirements, stem from the 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/02/michelle-obama-food-marketing-schools-103899.html#ixzz2uKk40L22

THE STREAM - Teach for America: Making the grade?
Aljazeera America by The Stream Team @ajamstream FEB 24
#ResistTFA, a trending hashtag, is highlighting cracks in one of America's most prestigious teaching programs. Teach for America (TFA) is accused of pushing out experienced teachers for newly trained graduates. However, TFA supporters say it is working to address educational inequity by bringing in teachers and talent. So, is TFA doing more harm or good for America's education system?

High Quality Pre-K: Families Need it, Voters Want it – County Meetings

PCCY February 21, 2014
Only 16% of children in southeastern Pennsylvania have access to publicly funded high quality early learning programs.  Statewide analysis from Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children echoes the findings of PCCY’s Bottom Line Report on Early Care and Education that shows access to high quality early learning programs remains out of reach for many children and working families.  A recent poll of likely voters finds 63% of Pennsylvania voters support investing more public funds in high quality pre-k, even 58% say they are willing to pay higher taxes to pay for it.  With proven research and strong voter support, the Pre-K for PA campaign is working to make sure that every candidate running for office in Pennsylvania sees the political wisdom and social benefits of making access to high quality preschool a top priority in their campaign.  YOU can help build momentum for making Pre-K a defining issue in the 2014 elections, join the Pre-K for PA campaign.
Help This Campaign Succeed.  Join the County Organizing Meetings:
Delaware County Weds. Feb. 26 at Upper Darby High School
Bucks County Thurs. Feb. 27 at Middletown Township Public Hall
Montgomery County Weds. March 5 at Montgomery County Community College

Workshop: For the Love of Schools: Be a Public Education Advocate  
Join us in Philly at Arch St. United Methodist Thursday, Feb 27, 6-8 pm OR Saturday March 1, 10 am - 2 pm in the chapel of the church.
Public Citizens for Children and Youth and Education Voters PA is  offering two  duplicate workshops designed to support parents, community members, and advocates in their efforts to improve public education.  The workshop will provide leaders with information on the state of public education  funding in our region and what they can do to get involved.  Participants will learn advocacy best practices and develop individualized action plans.
Participants should enter through the door on Broad St.
This event is free and open to the public.. Childcare and light refreshments will be provided. 

Register Now! EPLC’s Education Policy Forums on Governor Corbett’s 2014-2015 State Budget Proposal for Education
The next EPLC education policy forums will be held on the following days and in the following locations.  These forums will take place shortly after Governor Corbett’s February 4th presentation of his proposed 2014-15 state budget and will focus on his plans for education.
Monday, February 24, 2014 – Philadelphia, PA
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 – State College, PA
Thursday, February 27, 2014Harrisburg, PA
Space is limited for each event and an RSVP is required. Anyone wishing to receive an invitation should inquire by contacting The Education Policy and Leadership Center at staff@eplc.org or 717-260-9900.

Register Now! EPLC’s 2014 Education Issues Workshops for Legislative Candidates, Campaign Staff, and Interested Voters
EPLC’s Education Issue Workshops Register Now! – Space is Limited!
A Non-Partisan One-Day Program for Pennsylvania Legislative Candidates, Campaign Staff and Interested Voters
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 in Harrisburg, PA
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 in Monroeville, PA
Thursday, March 27, 2014 in Philadelphia,PA

Auditor General DePasquale to Hold Public Meetings on Ways to Improve Charter Schools
Seeks to find ways to improve accountability, effectiveness, transparency
The public meetings will be held:
  • Allegheny County: 1 to 3 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 25, Commissioners Hearing Room, Ross Township Municipal Center, 1000 Ross Municipal Rd., Pittsburgh
  • Northampton County: 1 to 3 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 27, City Council Chambers, 6th Floor, City Hall, One South Third St., Easton
  • Cambria County: 1 to 3 p.m., Thursday, March 6, Commissioners Meeting Room, Cambria County Court House, 200 South Center St., Ebensburg
  • Bucks County: 1 to 3 p.m., Friday, March 7, Township of Falls Administrative Building, Suite 100, 188 Lincoln Highway, Fairless Hills
  • NEW: Philadelphia: 1 to 3 p.m., Friday, March 14, City Council Chambers, Room 400, City Hall
Time is limited to two hours for each meeting. Comments can be submitted in writing by Wednesday, Feb. 19, via email to Susan Woods at: swoods@auditorgen.state.pa.us.

2014 PA Gubernatorial Candidate Plans for Education and Arts/Culture in PA
Education Policy and Leadership Center
Below is an alphabetical list of the 2014 Gubernatorial Candidates and links to information about their plans, if elected, for education and arts/culture in Pennsylvania. This list will be updated, as more information becomes available.

Join the National School Boards Action Center Friends of Public Education
Participate in a voluntary network to urge your U.S. Representatives and Senators to support federal legislation on Capitol Hill that is critical to providing high quality education to America’s schoolchildren

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