Thursday, February 26, 2015

PA Ed Policy Roundup Feb 26: Wolf: “we have to agree that we are going to have to spend some money, we are going to have to make an investment.”

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup for February 26, 2015:
Wolf: “we have to agree that we are going to have to spend some money, we are going to have to make an investment.”

Education Voters of PA holding public forums on school funding
Lancaster County: Tuesday, March 17, at 7:00 pm at Millersville University
York County: Wednesday, March 25th, 6:30pm at the York Learning Center
Cumberland County: Wednesday, April 1, 7:00 pm at the Grace Milliman Pollock Performing Arts Center

Charter School Reform: Key provisions of House Bill 530 as introduced Feb. 18, and approved by the PA House Education Committee on February 25, 2015:
PSBA's website February 25, 2015
House Bill 530 is a charter school reform measure that was introduced on Feb. 18 by Rep. Mike Reese (R-Westmoreland) and approved by the House Education Committee on Feb. 25, 2015. It contains provisions similar to legislation that was considered by the General Assembly in the 2013-14 legislative session under House Bill 618 and Senate Bill 1085. House Bill 530 was passed by the Education Committee with no amendments with a vote of 15-10, with Republicans supporting the measure, and Democrats opposed.
PSBA is encouraged that Education Committee Chairman Rep. Stan Saylor (R-York) is moving legislation that begins the process of making charter schools’ spending and academic performance more accountable to the taxpayers who fund them. The association looks forward to working with legislators and staff in the House and Senate to pursue charter reform.

"The state used to have a set formula, determined by 1966 and 1983 laws, but that formula was largely abandoned in the early 1990s, Dufalla said. Since then, state funding has remained fairly level, even as costs have increased, resulting in more burden placed on local property taxes.  The state created a commission over the summer to study the education funding formula and it should issue a recommendation by June."
Bethel Park chastises state over education funding
The Almanac Published Feb 25, 2015 at 1:45 pm (Updated Feb 25, 2015 at 1:45 pm)
Four decades ago, state tax dollars made up about half of Bethel Park School District’s annual budget, but over the years, the state’s share has dwindled to about 25 percent.  Bethel Park School Director Tim Campbell said the state is shirking its responsibility to public education. The school board passed a resolution Feb. 24 urging state lawmakers to develop a new funding formula for school districts.  “There are great disparities in how the state funds education. It makes it very difficult to plan; we need a formula that is predictable and equitable,” Campbell said.
A “circuit rider” from the Campaign for Fair Education Funding addressed the board last month and asked that they pass a resolution in support of a funding formula. Ronald Dufalla, a retired superintendent from Brentwood School District, said the state’s contribution to school districts often changes annually and can be influenced by politics and other factors.
The campaign is a partnership between various education groups, including the Pennsylvania School Boards Association. Several representatives from the campaign have been speaking at school board meetings across the state in an effort to build support for a revamped funding system.

OP-ED: Legislators, not school boards, created pension mess
York Dispatch Op-Ed By THOMAS J. WILSON III Biglerville  02/24/2015 08:54:35 AM EST
We grouse when our school property taxes go up, yet the 500 school districts in Pennsylvania face a financial burden largely not of their making called the Public School Employees' Retirement System.  Pennsylvania has two pension systems, State Employee' Retirement System and PSERS, but I will limit myself to PSERS. Last week the state Senate commented that action to begin to address Pennsylvania's pension crisis must happen in conjunction with this year's state budget. There is a great need for this since as of 2013 PSERS was funded to about 63 percent of obligations. That means the amount of money known to be needed to pay school employees' retirements is short by 37 percent.  As you can imagine this will be a complex debate, but it is helpful to understand the system and the genesis of the problem as legislators search for a solution.  Is PSERS too generous? How did the system get so far in arrears? To understand the issue we need to address both questions and go back just a few years to see how we got here.

Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf delivers tough message on school funding to business groups
Delco Times By MARC LEVY, Associated Press POSTED: 02/24/15, 12:07 PM EST |
HARRISBURG, Pa. >> Gov. Tom Wolf delivered a tough message Tuesday on the need to increase public school funding as he reaches out to business groups, a traditional ally of Republicans, ahead of a budget proposal that is expected to seek higher taxes.
The Democrat, speaking at a suburban Harrisburg hotel, stressed his credentials as a former business owner who understands the hardship of making payroll and how government can affect businesses.  But, with many in the business community bracing for a Wolf proposal to substantially overhaul tax structures, Wolf also told them that public schools must get more money.  …Wolf acknowledged to about 200 attendees that there will be disagreement over how to increase education funding. Many of his proposals may get no consideration from the Republican-controlled Legislature, but he insisted, “we have to agree that we are going to have to spend some money, we are going to have to make an investment.”

Wolf seeks to halve Pennsylvania's corporate tax rate, close loopholes
By Karen Langley / Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau February 25, 2015 11:56 PM
HARRISBURG — With his first budget address one week away, Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday called for halving the Pennsylvania corporate net income tax rate while changing reporting requirements for multistate corporations.  Mr. Wolf, who unveiled new proposals during an address to Lehigh Valley business leaders, said the tax rate revisions were intended to retain and attract jobs and rebuild the middle-class economy.  The business tax proposals were met with mixed response by commerce groups and the Republicans controlling the General Assembly.
They praised the concept behind the governor’s proposal to drop the corporate net income tax rate from 9.99 percent to 4.99 percent by January 2018, saying it would create a better economic climate in Pennsylvania.  But business groups warned, to varying degrees, about his intention to institute “combined reporting,” a requirement that multi-state corporations include profits from all subsidiaries in their Pennsylvania tax report. 

Wolf: Cut Pa. corporate tax rate, close loopholes
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Gov. Wolf on Wednesday proposed cutting the state corporate net income tax rate in half by 2018, a step he said would allow Pennsylvania to move from the nation's second-highest rate to one of its lowest. Unveiling pieces of his economic plan to Lehigh Valley business leaders, Wolf called for gradually reducing the corporate net income tax from 9.99 percent to 4.99 percent, and eliminating the already-expiring capital stock and franchise tax.

Gov. Tom Wolf unveils his tax and jobs budget plans
Morning Call By Steve Esack Call Harrisburg Bureau February 25, 2015
BETHLEHEM — Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday unveiled a plan to reduce business taxes while also closing accounting loopholes and increasing manufacturing jobs.  Wolf's plan would cut in half the state's 9.99 percent corporate net income tax, which is one of the nation's highest, over two years. If Wolf succeeds in lowering the tax to 4.99 percent, Pennsylvania would have the fourth lowest such taxes in the state.  He would continue the phase out of the capitol stock and franchise tax, which is levied on companies' physical assets. That tax has been scheduled to end by 2016 under a stalled plan his predecessor, Gov. Tom Corbett, had restarted upon taking office in 2011.  As a former York County businessman, Wolf said, he paid the capitol stock and franchise tax and he knows it is an unfair tax.

On Wolf’s corporate tax proposal, Republican leaders agree the devil is in the details
The PLS Reporter Author: Jason Gottesman/Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Gov. Tom Wolf Wednesday announced some of his budget plans for the upcoming fiscal year, among them a substantial revision to Pennsylvania’s corporate tax laws, but Republican leaders say they need to see the specifics of the plan before casting any final judgment.  According to a news release form the Wolf administration, the governor proposed at an event in Bethlehem Wednesday cutting Pennsylvania’s corporate net income tax from the current rate of 9.99 percent to 4.99 percent over two years. He is also calling for a final phase-out of the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax and for combined reporting (also known as closing the Delaware Loophole).
“The Commonwealth can help set the table for robust private sector growth to create and retain good jobs while strengthening the middle class,” Gov. Wolf was quoted as saying in the statement.  “In order to create jobs that pay and an economy that grows, we must acknowledge that success will require investment in our companies and our people, and a new business climate that is welcoming and fair.”
Responding to the news Wednesday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) said he needs to see the full proposal.

PA School Funding Lawsuit Amicus Brief Filed in Commonwealth Court February 24, 2015

Opting out: Frustrated parents pull kids from standardized tests
Penn Live By Candy Woodall | Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on February 25, 2015 at 11:35 AM, updated February 25, 2015 at 1:52 PM
At least two things are expected to happen this spring when millions of students sit down to take standardized tests born of the No Child Left Behind mandate: The exams will be more exhaustive because of Common Core standards and thousands of parents will cite religious exemptions to keep their children from being tested.  The recoil is part of Opt Out - a national movement in which participating parents, students and teachers rally against a federal education policy they say has distorted public education and corrupted the examination process.

Standardized tests in Pa.: How many kids are taking, what they're for
Penn Live By Candy Woodall | Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on February 25, 2015 at 11:55 AM
To comply with federal and state education laws, school districts must administer standardized tests.  The tests are used to evaluate the performance of students, teachers and schools. These are tests that have upset parents to the point where they are opting out, or keeping their kids from taking them.  The Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) and Pennsylvania Alternative System of Assessment (PASA) are given every spring, and the Keystone Exams are given at the end of each semester.

Where does your lawmaker stand on No Child Left Behind education law?
Penn Live By Candy Woodall | Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on February 25, 2015 at 11:45 AM, updated February 25, 2015 at 11:46 AM
A little more than 50 years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson asked Congress to join him in his goal of full educational opportunity.   The president's speech on Jan. 12, 1965, indicated he knew the challenge was great, but it was imperative enough he asked the Legislature to spend $4.1 billion on education in his fiscal 1966 budget.

Charter school's application rejected for second time by Pittsburgh school board
By Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette February 25, 2015 9:37 PM
The board of Pittsburgh Public Schools tonight rejected its only application for a new charter school this fall, the Robert L. Vann Charter School.  The board also rejected the proposed Vann school last year. The resolution rejecting the proposal cited eight deficiencies, including failures to demonstrate sustainable support from teachers, parents, students and the community; to provide expanded choices in the types of educational opportunities; to show it is financially viable; and to describe a complete and comprehensive curriculum aligned to state standards.

Community leaders, members talk poverty, funding at forum about York City School District
Penn Live By Debbie Truong | Email the author | Follow on Twitter on February 25, 2015 at 7:00 AM, updated February 25, 2015 at 7:01 AM
YORK -- Community members, school district officials and city councilors gathered at a community forum Tuesday night to try and get to the root of how the York City School District came to be so troubled that it faces a state takeover and possible conversion to charter schools.
The conversation was part of a town hall forum hosted by the York County NAACP at the Crispus Attucks Community Center. More than 20 people attended.   In December, a York County judge approved a petition from the Pennsylvania Department of Education that granted local businessman David Meckley sole authority over the district, except for the ability to tax. 

How do district, union offers in Saucon Valley stack up to other teacher contracts in Lehigh Valley?
By Jacqueline Palochko Of The Morning Call February 25, 2015
Saucon Valley School District will have a new contract offer for teachers
The Saucon Valley School District will offer a new contract proposal to its teachers union this week in an attempt to end a contentious three-year impasse.  While the two sides were locking horns, a throng of Lehigh Valley school districts forged new contracts, agreeing to terms that are strikingly similar to those rejected by both sides in Saucon Valley.  District solicitor Jeff Sultanik would not disclose details on how the district proposes to resolve the dispute.

We can learn lessons from courageous teachers
Lancaster Online Opinion by Leslie Gates, Ph. D. Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Leslie Gates, Ph.D., is an art education professor at Millersville University and co-founder of Lancaster County Opt Out. She is also a former public school teacher.
Just weeks after teachers from Feltonville School of Arts and Sciences in Philadelphia faced “possible disciplinary action” for notifying parents of the right to opt their children out of standardized testing, the School District of Philadelphia announced it will now provide all parents with information on how to opt out.  Neither the district’s lack of follow-through on its threat to discipline the teachers nor its change in policy should surprise us. This has happened all over the United States.  Susan Bowles, a Florida kindergarten teacher, refused to give such tests and was not fired. Nor was Beth Dimino from Long Island, or the 90 percent of teachers from Garfield High School in Seattle who refused to administer standardized tests in 2013.
As in the case of Feltonville, initial press reports described possible sanctions these teachers faced. But the sanctions are generally nebulous, and the districts take no disciplinary action.
Instead, two things consistently seem to result from teachers’ courageous actions to resist high-stakes, state-mandated tests. First, district administrations reconsider their policies on testing; second, an increasing number of parents opt out their children.

Wannabe mayors make their pitches to Philadelphia teachers
Tuesday night, it was the milliennials.   Wednesday afternoon, six of the Democrats vying to be Philadelphia's next mayor pitched themselves to members of the city's teachers union, hoping to score another endorsement — or in several cases, any endorsement at all. The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT) uses the forum to help decide who gets its support and its maximum-allowable campaign contributions. Union president Jerry Jordan says members will vote starting next week and announce a formal endorsement by mid-March.  Each candidate was given five minutes to talk and ten minutes for questions from the audience, ranging from how they'd raise money for public schools to the role of standardized tests to their thoughts on resolving teacher contract negotiations that have dragged on for more than two years.  Since it was a private union meeting, members of the press were not allowed inside the auditorium at the Sheetmetal Workers Union Hall on Columbus Blvd. However, NinetyNine and WHYY education reporter Kevin McCorry caught up with the candidates as they walked out:

Trending: Mayoral Candidates Should Ignore Schools
File it under really bad ideas.
Philly Mag Citified BY PATRICK KERKSTRA  |  FEBRUARY 24, 2015 AT 1:56 PM
It’s becoming trendy to declare that, since the mayor doesn’t directly control the School District of Philadelphia, education shouldn’t be the dominant theme of the 2015  campaign. Brett Mandel, echoing arguments I’m increasingly hearing online and in private conversations, contends that “if education is what mayoral candidates are going to talk about, they might as well offer their Philadelphia weather platform.” Tom Ferrick doesn’t go that far, but he suggests a mayor’s real role when it comes to schools is to provide the cash, and that’s pretty much it.
I’m not sure this campaign has a coherent theme yet, but it’s certainly true that education is sucking up a lot of oxygen so far. I understand the worry that the debate over schools—which does have a Sisyphean feel to it—will sideline conversation about economic development and tax policy, mobility planning and quality of life, infrastructure and criminal justice, ethics and good government. A mayor’s portfolio is large, and schools are just one page of the portfolio.
But schools are a damned important page, and I find it bizarre to hear so many suggesting that the mayor's role in education is more or less irrelevant. Let's consider a few points:

To Tom Wolf: Childhood trauma is the elephant in the classroom
WHYY Newsworks Opinion by Daun Kauffman FEBRUARY 26, 2015 ESSAYWORKS
Dear Gov. Tom Wolf and Education Secretary-designee Pedro Rivera:
I write regarding injured, marginalized children in Pennsylvania schools, to ask that you include them explicitly in a broad, “Healthy PA” paradigm in your new administration.  I am an educator serving children in elementary and middle school classrooms in my own neighborhood in a major urban center for 14 years. I advocate today regarding an aspect of education rarely discussed, but clearly visible to experienced classroom educators.  Childhood trauma is a tragic, life-changing assault on the minds and lives of children in our schools. Unaddressed (which is the general, present state), its ravages continue, life-long. This applies to all neighborhoods in Pennsylvania.

Push-Out is Gendered, Too
Yinzercation Blog by Jessie Ramey February 25, 2015
The weather has been messing up everyone’s plans lately. But the community meeting about school push-out has been re-scheduled for this Saturday, February 28th. Hosted by Great Public Schools Pittsburgh, the Education Law Center, and the Center for Third World Organizing, the conversation will run from 10AM-12PM at the Kingsley Center in East Liberty. Speakers will include Sara Goodkind (a Yinzercation steering committee member) and Jeff Shook, both from the School of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh.
At least the delay bought some extra time for media attention to this important issue. Did you catch the banner headline article about the upcoming meeting in Monday’s Post-Gazette at the top of the front page? [Post-Gazette, 2-23-15]

"[School board members] really are the ones that lead the public school system at the local level," NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel told Education Dive, "and given all the challenges that we’re facing and some of the attacks that are being levied against public education, we thought it was important to just really promote the good things that are happening in public schools and to kind of challenge some of the myths that are out there."
NSBA's Gentzel: Legislators must see firsthand why public schools matter
Education Dive By Roger Riddell | February 24, 2015
It's no secret that in recent years, public schools have faced significant funding cuts, as well as competition for funding and students from voucher programs, for-profit-operated schools, and more.  According to the National School Boards Association, however, 90% of children are enrolled in public schools, and PDK/Gallup polls show that 61% of respondents would like to see more public school funding, 56% support school boards having more control over content, and 63% are against vouchers. The organization advocates for local school board members nationwide, and last April, it launched the Stand Up 4 Public Schools campaign to raise awareness of the issues facing schools. Adding to the initiatives visibility is its support from the likes of Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Montel Williams, and Khan Academy founder Sal Khan, and a series of ads features quotes about how public schools made them who they are today.

White House Threatens Veto For House Bill To Revise No Child Left Behind
Huffington Post by AP Posted: 02/25/2015 9:34 am EST
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House is threating to veto a Republican bill to fix the widely criticized No Child Left Behind law that is set for debate in the House on Wednesday, calling it "a significant step backwards."  Republicans say the bill would restore local control in schools and stop top-down education mandates. Democrats say it would allow billions in federal dollars to flow out without ensuring they will improve student learning.  The White House said the measure "abdicates the historic federal role in elementary and secondary education of ensuring the educational progress of all of America's students, including students from low-income families, students with disabilities, English learners, and students of color."  The White House's statement Wednesday is the latest in a series of veto threats issued since both chambers of Congress went under Republican control last month for the first time in Barack Obama's presidency.  A vote is expected on Friday, and it's possible that members will vote strictly along party lines. That's what happened with a similar bill in 2013.

Efforts to Make NCLB Rewrite More Conservative Could Snag Process
Education Week Politics K-12 Blog By Lauren Camera on February 25, 2015 8:44 AM
The House committee that sets the rules for how bills are debated on the floor of held a meeting Tuesday evening. And if you were lucky enough to tune in, you got a little preview of what we'll likely see when lawmakers in the House begin debating the Republican-backed rewrite of the No Child Left Behind Act on Thursday.  The chairman of the education committee, U.S. Rep John Kline, R-Minn., was on hand to present his bill, along with Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio (who was filling in for Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., the top Democrat of the education committee). Members of the rules committee got to ask questions about the measure before deciding later today which of the 125 amendments filed will actually see the light of day when the bill is brought to the floor.

"Already, the Heritage Foundation, a conservative policy think tank based in Washington, has emailed House Republicans underscoring that the bill doesn't include provisions that would give states the option of fully opting out of accountability requirements, does not do enough to reduce what it considers out-of-control spending, and doesn't include language that would allow Title I funds for low-income students to be used at private schools."
Success Academy Will Close NYC Schools for Political Rally
Diane RaVITCH'S bLOG By dianeravitch February 25, 2015 //
Want proof that charter schools are not public schools? Public school principals would be fired if they closed their schools for the day and put the children on buses to the state Capitol to lobby for more funding. Imagine if NYC principals brought 1 million students to Albany to demand money for smaller classes, libraries, and the arts. It will never happen because it is illegal.
But next week, Eva Moskowitz will close her NYC charter schools and bring 9,000 children (mostly elementary ages) to lobby for more charters.

The William Penn School District Presents
A Workshop in Support of Fair Funding and other Common Sense Reforms for Public Education
Saturday Feb 28th 9:30 am - Noon Evans Elementary School Auditorium, 900 Baily Road, Yeadon, PA
Doors open at 9:00 with a continental breakfast
Shanee Garner, Education Policy Director, Public Citizens for Children & Youth
Mike Wood, Research Director, Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center
Larry Feinberg, Co-Chairman, Keystone State Education Coalition
Questions  Email

EPLC "Focus on Education" TV Program on PCN - Sunday, March 1 at 3:00 p.m. 
Topic 1: Education Voters of Pennsylvania
Susan Gobreski, Director, Education Voters of Pennsylvania
Topic 2: Preview of the 2015 Pennsylvania State Education Budget Debate
EPLC "Focus on Education" TV shows are hosted by EPLC President Ron Cowell
Visit the EPLC and the Pennsylvania School Funding Project web sites for various resources related to education and school funding issues.

Bucks County Forum on how to run for school board March 2, 7 pm at Northampton library
Courier Times By Chris English Staff Writer Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2015 1:00 am | Updated: 7:17 am, Tue Feb 24, 2015.
How to run for school board and what to do if you get elected are two issues that will be explored during a forum at 7 p.m. March 2 at the Free Library of Northampton Township. The event is free and open to the public.  "Anyone in Bucks County who is interested in school board elections is encouraged to attend," said event organizer and Newtown Township resident Amy McIntyre.
A panel of present and former school board members from throughout the county will lead a discussion and answer questions about the process and requirements of running for school board, the time commitment, responsibilities of board members and the resources available to teach new board members about the job.  Centennial school board member and Pennsylvania School Board Association Vice President Mark Miller will moderate.

PSBA Members Only: Annual Pennsylvania Education Budget Briefing
MAR 4, 2015 • 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Join us for a special complimentary members-only Annual Pennsylvania Education Budget Briefing webinar, Wednesday, March 4 at noon.  The webinar features Acting Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera and PSBA Senior Director of Government Affairs, John Callahan, who will discuss Gov. Wolf’s 2015-16 proposed budget. You will have the option to attend live at PSBA’s Headquarters in Mechanicsburg or join us online through your computer. Both options will allow you to ask questions during the webinar.

Lawsuit asks the Court to ensure that all students -- including those living in low-wealth districts -- have the basic resources they need to meet state academic standards.
Meet Us in Court on March 11th
Education Law Center
On Wednesday, March 11th at 9:30 a.m., the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania will hear oral arguments in our school funding lawsuit which challenges the legislature's failure to adequately support and maintain Pennsylvania's public school system. This historic case, which the Education Law Center filed with the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia and pro bono counsel O'Melveny & Meyers, asks the Court to ensure that all students -- including those living in low-wealth districts -- have the basic resources they need to meet state academic standards. We ask the court to hear this case and enforce the rights of our children to a "thorough and efficient" system of public education as guaranteed to them by our state constitution.
Please come and support us as we fight for vulnerable students and all public school students across the state. The hearing will be held at the Pennsylvania Judicial Center, 601 Commonwealth Avenue, Courtroom 5001 in Harrisburg, PA.  If you plan to attend or have questions, contact Spencer Malloy at (The courtroom is walking distance from the Harrisburg Amtrak Station.) 

2015 Pennsylvania Budget Summit
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 Hilton Hotel, Harrisburg Pennsylvania
PA Budget and Policy Center
The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center will host its Annual Budget Summit on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at the Hilton Harrisburg. Join us for an in-depth look at the Governor's 2015-16 budget proposal, including what it means for education, health and human services, and local communities. The Summit will focus on the leading issues facing the commonwealth in 2015, with workshops, lunch, a legislative panel discussion, and a keynote speech.
Space is limited, so fill out the form below to reserve your spot at the Budget Summit.

"Test-In" & Forum on High Stakes Testing
Thurs., Feb 26, 2015 (5-7pm)  Free Library of Philadelphia – Central Branch Room 406 & 407 1901 Vine St., Phila 19103 (between 19th and 20th Streets on the Parkway)
Caucus of Working Educators BY MAX ROSEN-LONG 301SC ON FEBRUARY 16, 2015
Join parents, teachers, students, community members, higher ed faculty, politicians, & district administrators at the...“Test-In” & Forum on High Stakes Testing
-Answer sample PSSA and Keystone test questions.
-Hear teachers break the code of silence and reveal the injustice of high stakes testing from the classroom perspective.
-Hear students describe how the onslaught of testing has forced art, music, gym, and recess out of the school day.
-Hear school nurses describe the emotional and physical impact testing has on students.
-Learn exactly how much money and time is spent on testing annually in our schools.
-Discuss alternatives to high stakes testing.
-Learn how parents, teachers, and students have fought back again high stakes testing in Chicago, New York, Seattle, and other cities across the country.

The State of Public Education Funding in Pennsylvania
Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia Tuesday, March 17, 2015 8:30 AM to 10:00 AM
United Way Building, 1709 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA
Join Law Center attorneys for a briefing on the basics of education funding, a recap of the March 11th oral arguments in the school funding lawsuit, information on the new administration’s budget proposal and more.  There are limited spots available for this free event. 1.5 CLE credits will be offered to participating attorneys.

Education Voters of PA will hold a forum about public school funding in Lancaster County Tuesday, March 17, at 7:00 pm at Millersville University
Education Voters of PA and the Millersville University Education on Location program will be co-hosting a forum about public school funding in Lancaster County on Tuesday, March 17, at 7:00 pm at Millersville University, the Lehrer Room in the Bolger Conference Center.
This event is free and open to the public. It will give Lancaster County residents the opportunity both to learn more about how state funding issues impact their own school districts and to learn about how they can make a positive difference for their schools and communities by advocating for a state system of funding schools that is fair, adequate, and predictable and will provide all students with an opportunity to learn.
Panelists for the forum include:
Dr. Brenda Becker, Hempfield Area SD, Superintendent
Dr. Bob Hollister, Elanco SD, Superintendent
Dr. Mike Leichliter, Penn Manor SD, Superintendent
Dr. Tim Shrom, Solanco SD, Business Manager
Ms. Idette Groff, Conestoga Valley SD, School Board Member    
Mr. Tim Stayer, Ephrata Area SD, School Board Member
Ms. Susan Gobreski, Education Voters of PA

Education Voters of PA will hold a forum about public school funding in York: Wednesday, March 25th, 6:30pm to 8pm at the York Learning Center, 300 E. 7th Avenue, York.
This forum will give York County residents the opportunity both to learn more about how state funding issues impact their own school districts and to learn about how they can make a positive difference for their schools and communities by advocating for a state system of funding schools that is fair, adequate, and predictable and will provide all students with an opportunity to learn.
Panelists for the forum include:
Dr. Emilie Lonardi, West York SD, Superintendent
Dr. Scott Deisley, Red Lion Area SD, Superintendents
Mr. Brian Geller, Northeastern York SD, Director of Operations
Mr. Troy Wentz, Hanover Public SD, Business Manager    
Mrs. Ellen Freireich, York Suburban SD, School Board Member    
Mr. Eric Wolfgang, Central York SD, School Board Member
Guest Panelist: Mr. Jim Buckheit, Executive Director, PA Association of School Administrators
Moderated by: Ms. Susan Spicka, Education Voters of PA

Education Voters of PA will hold a forum about public school funding in Cumberland County: Wednesday, April 1, 7:00 pm at the Grace Milliman Pollock Performing Arts Center, 340 North 21st Street, Camp Hill.
This forum will give Cumberland County residents the opportunity both to learn more about how state funding issues impact their own school districts and to learn about how they can make a positive difference for their schools and communities by advocating for a state system of funding schools that is fair, adequate, and predictable and will provide all students with an opportunity to learn.
Panelists for the forum include:
Mr. Richard Fry, Big Spring SD, Superintendent
Mr. John Friend, Carlisle Area SD, Superintendent
Dr. Mark Leidy, Mechanicsburg Area SD, Superintendent
Ms. Christine Hakes, Camp Hill Area SD, Business Manager
Mr. Matt Franchak, school board member, East Pennsboro SD, School Board Member    
Guest Panelist: Mr. Dave Patti, President and CEO, Pennsylvania Business Council
Moderated by: Ms. Susan Spicka, Education Voters of PA

PSBA 2015 Advocacy Forum
APR 19, 2015 • 8:00 AM - APR 20, 2015 • 5:00 PM
Join PSBA for the second annual Advocacy Forum on April 19-20, 2015. Hear from legislative experts on hot topics and issues regarding public education on Sunday, April 19, at PSBA headquarters in Mechanicsburg. The next day you and fellow advocates will meet with legislators at the state capitol. This is your chance to learn how to successfully advocate on behalf of public education and make your voice heard on the Hill.
·         Schedule of Events
·         Day One –PSBA headquarters
·         10 a.m. — Early Bird Arrival and Registration
·         10:30-12 p.m. — The State Education Agenda
The chairman of the Senate and House Education Committees will share their perspectives on the education agenda for the 2015-16 session of the General Assembly. Speakers: Senator Smucker, chairman, Senate Education Committee; and Representative Saylor, chairman, House Education Committee
·         Noon-1:15 p.m. — Welcome Lunch
·         1:00-12:15 p.m. — Special Welcome and Introduction: Nathan Mains, PSBA Executive Director and William LaCoff, PSBA President
·         12:30-1 p.m. — Speaker: Diane Ravitchnationally known education historian, policy analyst and author of Reign of Error.
·         1:15-2:00 p.m. — Education Priorities will be discussed with the Education Secretary Pedro Rivera
This session provides the latest information on the governor’s proposed state funding plans, the pension crisis and the latest on special education.
·         2:00-2:30 p.m. — Federal Education Update: NSBA
Director of National Advocacy Services Kathleen Branch will join Director of Federal Programs Lucy Gettman from NSBA, to speak about federal advocacy.
·         2:30-3 p.m. — Social Media Training Mary Curley, Communications Director for Chester County Intermediate Unit
·         3-3:15 p.m. — Break
·         3:15-3:45 p.m. — Grassroots Advocacy: How to be an Effective Advocate
Hear from Allwein Advocacy Award winners Shauna D’Alessandro, school director from West Jefferson Hills SD and PSBA Allegheny Region 14 director, and Mark B. Miller, board vice president of Centennial SD and PSBA vice president.
·         3:45-4:15 p.m. — Legislative Update and Lobby Day Coordination
PSBA’s Senior Director of Government Affairs John Callahan will walk you through legislative issues and priorities that might be addressed the next day during legislative visits by members.
·         4:15-5 p.m. — Roundtable Discussion
Network with your fellow board members before visiting your legislator
·         5:00-5:15 p.m. — Break
·         5:15-6:30 p.m. — Dinner Buffet
Enjoy a legislative discussion on the 2015-16 budget and appropriations with Senator Browne
·         6:30 p.m. — Adjourn

Campaign for Fair Education Funding Seeks Campaign Manager
Campaign for Fair Education Funding February 2, 2015
The Campaign for Fair Education Funding seeks a campaign manager who is a strategic thinker and an operational leader. This position could be filled by an individual or firm. The manager will lead the day-to-day operations of the campaign and its government relations, communications, mobilization and research committees and work in partnership with the campaign governing board to set and implement the campaign’s strategic direction.

Sign-up for weekly email updates from the Campaign
The Campaign for Fair Education Funding website

PA Basic Education Funding Commission website

Thorough and Efficient: Pennsylvania Education Funding Lawsuit website
Arguing that our state has failed to ensure that essential resources are available for all of our public school students to meet state academic standards.

Sign up for National School Boards Association’s Advocacy Network
Friends of Public Education

Register Now! EPLC 2015 Regional Workshops for School Board Candidates and Others
The Education Policy and Leadership Center, with the Cooperation of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) and Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO), will conduct A Series of Regional Full-Day Workshops for 2015 Pennsylvania School Board Candidates.  Incumbents, non-incumbents, campaign supporters and all interested voters are invited to participate in these workshops.
Harrisburg Region Saturday, March 7, 2015– 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Pennsylvania School Boards Association Headquarters, 400 Bent Creek Boulevard, Mechanicsburg, PA 17050
Philadelphia Region Saturday, March 14, 2015 – 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Montgomery County Intermediate Unit, 2 W. Lafayette Street, Norristown, PA 19401

NPE 2015 Annual Conference – Chicago April 24 - 26 – Early Bird Special Registration Open!
Early-bird discounted Registration for the Network for Public Education’s Second Annual Conference is now available at this address:
These low rates will last for the month of January.
The event is being held at the Drake Hotel in downtown Chicago, and there is a link on the registration page for special hotel registration rates. Here are some of the event details.
There will be a welcoming social event  7 pm Friday night, at or near the Drake Hotel — details coming soon.   Featured speakers will be:
§         Jitu Brown, National Director – Journey for Justice, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, Network for Public Education Board of Directors
§         Tanaisa Brown, High School Senior, with the Newark Student Union
§         Yong Zhao, Author, “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon?
§         Diane Ravitch in conversation with
§         Lily Eskelsen Garcia, NEA President and
§         Randi Weingarten, AFT President
§         Karen Lewis, President, Chicago Teachers Union

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