Saturday, February 28, 2015

PA Ed Policy Roundup Feb 28: Hey Pennsylvania - Maine bill would have state fund charter schools directly

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 3525 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers, Governor's staff, current/former PA Secretaries of Education, Wolf education transition team members, Superintendents, PTO/PTA officers, parent advocates, teacher leaders, business 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, Twitter and LinkedIn

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup for February 28, 2015:
Hey Pennsylvania - Maine bill would have state fund charter schools directly

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

"Hubbell’s bill would instead spread those costs – about $6 million total for the state’s seven charter schools – among all school districts in the state. The state would treat the charters the same as other school districts when dispersing education aid. In addition, Gov. Paul LePage’s budget proposes adding the additional $6 million to the state education aid budget, which would eliminate the financial impact on school districts."
Maine bill would have state fund charter schools directly
The measure, backed by the Legislature's Education Committee, would then relieve school districts of the responsibility and the difficulty.
Press Herald BY NOEL K. GALLAGHER STAFF WRITER @noelinmaine 207-791-6387
Charter school budgets would receive money directly from the state, rather than from districts that send students to those schools, under a bill endorsed unanimously Wednesday by lawmakers on the state Education Committee.  Figuring out how to fund charter schools “has been a problem since the initial legislation” in 2011, said Rep. Brian Hubbell, D-Bar Harbor, the author of L.D. 131. “Funding was always the biggest objection.”  Currently, state funding for each student is sent to local districts, and each district in turn writes a check to the charter school to cover the students the district sends there. That has led to confusion and difficulty for both charters and sending districts.  When preparing budgets in early spring, the districts have to guess how many students might be leaving for a charter and that number may change later. The charter schools have to juggle payments they receive from a dozen or more sending school districts.

Pack your toothbrush and jammies, it's probably gonna be a long budget season: John L. Micek
Penn Live By John L. Micek |  Email the author | Follow on Twitter   on February 27, 2015 at 10:00 AM, updated February 27, 2015 at 10:38 AM
So here's what we know about the budget plan that Gov. Tom Wolf is going to present to a joint session of the state House and Senate on Tuesday.   It's going to include more money for schools; slap a severance tax on Marcellus shale natural gas drillers; cut an onerous business tax and propose other comprehensive tax reforms like a boosted sales and personal income tax; more than likely call for a minimum wage increase and some environmental stuff, and it'll be peppered with lots of happy talk about increasing the state's economic competitiveness and restoring its place as a national leader.  Because, y'know, that's what budget speeches are for.
Here's what we don't know:  Namely, how much of the plan Wolf presents to lawmakers will be left on the cutting room floor when the two sides are scrambling for a final deal that will wrap in some kind of pension reform and some sort of change to the way Pennsylvanians obtain their favorite tipple.

Education funding coalition calls for $3.6 billion boost to public education
By Sara K. Satullo | The Express-Times  Email the author | Follow on Twitter  on February 27, 2015 at 10:23 AM, updated February 27, 2015 at 12:10 PM
Ahead of Gov. Tom Wolf's Tuesday budget address, a coalition fighting for fair school funding released a new school funding formula they believe would result in a student-driven way to distribute state funding to public schools, reports.  The Campaign for Fair Education Funding, includes more than 50 educational, business, child advocacy, faith and community groups.  Their plan proposes an eight-year phase in of the formula, boosting the state's current $5.7 billion annual basic education and Ready to Learn grants to $9.3 billion, PennLive reports.  "We're putting this proposal out, I would describe, as a stake in the ground not a line in the sand," Joan Benso, president and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, one of the more than 50 coalition members, told PennLive.
Pennsylvania is one of the nation's few states that doesn't have a formula for funding its public schools.

Coalition's proposed school funding formula calls for $3.6 billion additional investment in public education
By Jan Murphy |  Email the author | Follow on Twitter  on February 26, 2015 at 6:01 PM, updated February 27, 2015 at 2:05 PM
coalition of educational, business, child advocacy, faith and community groups has crafted a school funding formula that they believe would lead to an equitable student-driven method of distributing state dollars for public schools.  The Campaign for Fair Education Funding's plan proposes phasing in the formula over the next eight years, bumping up the state's $5.7 billion yearly investment now spent on basic education and Ready to Learn grants to $9.3 billion.  "We're putting this proposal out, I would describe, as a stake in the ground not a line in the sand," said Joan Benso, president and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, one of the more than 50 coalition members.

“The state’s Basic Education Funding Commission is planning to make recommendations later this year about how to revise the state’s funding formula to make it more ‘fair,’ but I am deeply concerned that could mean a loss in state funds for all of our rural schools that are already struggling,” Causer said. “I specifically talked to the governor about the plight of the Austin Area School District, which is the largest district geographically but the smallest in student population, and has a very limited tax base since 90 percent of the land in the district is owned by the state.”
Causer Meets with Governor Wolf, Outlines Priorities for Rural PA
Bradford Era February 27, 2015 HARRISBURG – Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint) met with Gov. Tom Wolf Thursday morning to talk about several key issues for rural Pennsylvania, including overregulation of the conventional oil and gas industries, development of a rural community college, and fair funding for rural school districts and communities with high amounts of state-owned lands.  “It is important for the governor to understand the unique challenges facing people in rural Pennsylvania and even more important for him to recognize how some of his proposed policies may impact our region,” Causer said. “I appreciated the opportunity to bring these issues to his attention.”

Start of Wolf’s Governorship, and Education Funding
Pennsylvania Newsmakers with Terry Madonna Originally aired on March 1st, 2015
This week’s Pennsylvania Newsmakers interviews John Micek, Editorial Page Editor of the Harrisburg Patriot News/PennLive, and Brad Bumsted of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, on the first weeks of the Wolf governorship. Then, joining host Terry Madonna is John Callahan, Senior Director of Government Affairs for the PA School Boards Association, for discussion of the levels and distribution of education funding.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan to honor 3 Philly school principals
The principal of Science Leadership Academy is skipping school on Monday and Tuesday. So is the principal of the Workshop School, and the leader of Science Leadership Academy at Beeber.  The trio of Philadelphia School District leaders have a solid excuse for being absent: They'll be meeting with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and other top principals from around the country in Washington.  Chris Lehmann, Simon Hauger and Chris Johnson have been chosen for a new program, "Principals at ED," which "brings groups of highly innovative and successful principals from across the country to the Education Department to learn more about federal programs and to share experiences from their jobs as school leaders."

Parents, students slam high-stakes testing at opt-out forum
the notebook By Connie Langland on Feb 27, 2015 12:31 PM
Among the lineup of speakers at a forum on high-stakes testing Thursday night, two young people stepped forward to share firsthand knowledge of the toll that the state's annual standardized assessments can take on learning in the classroom and life beyond high school.  “My mom opted me out,” said Guillermo Santos, a 6th grader at Masterman, facing a room of 90 to 100 educators, parents, and students crowded into a conference room at the Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine St.  He described how “all the art, all the posters, all the beautiful things” on the walls of classrooms and hallways are covered up during the testing period in April. “I remember the PSSAs,” he said gravely. Often among the first to finish, he could not leave the room until the last child turned in the test, he recalled. “We would have to sit there in complete silence for hours and hours.”

'If i had a child they would be opting out': PennLive readers react to standardized testing debate
Penn Live By Chris Mautner | Email the author | Follow on Twitter on February 27, 2015 at 8:00 AM, updated February 27, 2015 at 8:43 AM
This week, PennLive reporter Candy Woodall has been examining and detailing the backlash against standardized tests in K-12 education, known as the "opt out movement," providing overviews of the issue, profiling individuals who are boycotting and offering a statistical breakdown of those in the area who have decided to join.
PennLive readers have been debating the issue in the comment sections of these stories as well. Here are a few of the more noteworthy comments: 

Ohio school district ends Midland contract
Trib Live By Bobby Kerlik Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015, 12:01 a.m. 
Incoming high school students in the Midland Borough School District in Beaver County won't be attending high school in East Liverpool this fall.  The Ohio school district this week abruptly opted out of its contract to accept Midland students.  Midland closed its high school in 1986 but operates an elementary-middle school. Midland high school students began attending East Liverpool High School in 1994, the only such arrangement across state lines in Pennsylvania, after the Beaver Area School District decided not to enroll them.
House Republican leaders scrap education vote KIMBERLY HEFLING, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Friday, February 27, 2015, 12:46 PM
WASHINGTON (AP) - In a political embarrassment for Republicans, House GOP leaders on Friday abruptly cancelled a vote on a bill to update the George W. Bush-era No Child Left Behind education law after struggling to find support from conservatives.
The bill would keep the annual testing requirements on schools but would give more freedom to states and districts to spend federal dollars and determine how to identify and fix failing schools. But conservative opponents said it doesn't go far enough to allow states and districts to set education policy. Such conservative groups as Heritage Action for America and Club for Growth are among opponents.

House Republicans put off No Child Left Behind vote
Politico By MAGGIE SEVERNS 2/27/15 1:58 PM EST Updated 2/27/15 3:55 PM EST
House Republicans decided not to vote Friday on their proposed rewrite of the No Child Left Behind law, the Student Success Act, after House leadership struggled to lock down support for the bill and debate over Department of Homeland Security funding eclipsed education plans.
The House passed a nearly identical bill in 2013, but discontent with the Common Core academic standards and concerns about federal government intrusion have grown, and conservatives have said they want to get more out of an education bill in the newly Republican-controlled Congress. That left House leadership facing new criticism from the right because the GOP bill omits school vouchers, radical reductions to federal mandates and other right-wing proposals.
 “My district doesn’t like it. They just feel that we’re moderating No Child Left Behind. They hate No Child Left Behind,” Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) said.
It’s not clear when a vote on No Child Left Behind will take place.

House Leaders Officially Postpone Vote on NCLB Rewrite
Education Week Politics K-12 Blog By Alyson Klein on February 27, 2015 4:13 PM
If's official: After hours of speculation Friday, House leaders decided to postpone a vote on a bill to rewrite the No Child Left Behind Act, amid conservative opposition.  The measure, which was slated to pass the House Friday, came under fire from conservative organizations, including the the Club for Growth and Heritage Action, two powerful lobby organizations that worried the bill didn't go far enough in scaling back the federal role in education.  House leaders came up short on Republican support for the measure—and they weren't able to look to the other side of the aisle for help. Democrats have lambasted the legislation for taking away funding from poor and minority students. More background on all that here

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.

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 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.
More info/registration:

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.
More info/registration:

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.

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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