Monday, April 20, 2015

PA Ed Policy Roundup April 20,15: In New York, tens of thousands of students sat out the first day of tests; PSSA opt-outs see huge jump in Philly; Lehigh Valley PSSA test opt-outs on the rise; Nearly 15% of New Jersey 11th graders skip new test

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 3550 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, faith-based organizations, labor organizations, 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 April 20, 2015:
In New York, tens of thousands of students sat out the first day of tests; PSSA opt-outs see huge jump in Philly; Lehigh Valley PSSA test opt-outs on the rise; Nearly 15% of New Jersey 11th graders skip new test




Lehigh Valley Forum on School Funding April 22, 7:00-8:30 
Penn State Lehigh Valley, 2809 Saucon Valley Rd, Center Valley, PA 18034 
The entrance is at the back of the building and parking is available in lots by the school. 
Confirmed panelists include:
Dr. Bill Haberl, superintendent, Pen Argyl Area SD
Dr. Joe Roy, superintendent, Bethlehem Area SD
Mr. Rich Sniscak, superintendent, Parkland SD
Mr. Russ Giordano, school board director, Salisbury Township SD
Dr. Russ Mayo, superintendent, Allentown SD
Ms. Stacy Gober, CFO, Bethlehem Area SD
Ms. Susan Gobreski, Executive Director, Education Voters of PA
Moderator:  Roberta Marcus, School Board Director, Parkland SD
Register HERE to attend the Lehigh Valley education forum.



Public schools need fair-funding formula
Beaver County Times Online Letter Posted: Thursday, April 16, 2015 11:45 pm
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following was submitted on behalf of the Beaver County school superintendents.
Education leaders across the state are pushing hard for a fair-funding formula by 2016.
Monies allocated from the Pennsylvania Legislature for public education pay only 33 percent of a child’s schooling. The national average is 44 percent. The remainder is assumed by the local taxpayer through payment of real estate and other local taxes.
Homeowners residing in stable communities pay a proportionally larger tax bill than those in communities fraught with poverty and are thus able to offer a higher level of content in their schools. Residents living in poverty may pay a higher percentage of tax but revenues fall short in providing necessary services, programs, course offerings and faculty. Since 2008, almost all of the commonwealth’s 500 school districts have borne this burden, having to increase real estate taxes by 16 percent, equaling $1.6 billion, over the past seven years.

Governor Wolf's outreach to lawmakers contrasts with Corbett's style
Trib Live By Brad Bumsted Saturday, April 18, 2015, 9:50 p.m.
HARRISBURG — Republican Aaron Kaufer, a freshman House member from Luzerne County, recalls his surprise in January when he opened his office door to find Gov. Tom Wolf standing there.  Wolf since has visited Kaufer five times. It's rare for a newcomer to get a visit from the governor, much less six.  “He's very approachable and easy to talk to,” Kaufer said. Turns out, they share an interest in 17th-century British philosopher John Locke.  Wolf, a wealthy, liberal York County businessman and Democrat, is making extraordinary efforts to engage Democrats and the Republicans who control the House and Senate. His lobbying is one more way in which he and his predecessor, former Republican prosecutor Tom Corbett of Shaler, are polar opposites.
Editorial: Pa. budget talks head in the right direction
Delco Times POSTED: 04/18/15, 9:53 PM EDT 
Take a look at the calendar. It says April. It’s about two and a half months until the deadline for passage of a state budget.  Now take a look at what’s going on in Harrisburg.  Lawmakers and Gov. Tom Wolf seem to actually be working toward a budget. The governor and legislative leaders even sat down last week to start negotiating. This is good! It’s certainly better than a typical year, when leaders don’t start talking until mid-June, and we wind up with the kind of budget you’d expect from college kids pulling an all-nighter.  There are many moving parts in a state budget, but probably the biggest issue this year is school funding.

Finally - a serious conversation about property tax relief: Editorial
By PennLive Editorial Board on April 17, 2015 at 1:09 PM
If nothing else is certain this budget season, it appears that Pennsylvania property owners will see some kind of reduction in the annual real estate taxes they pay to the state's 500 school districts.  Both Gov. Tom Wolf and Republicans who control the state House of Representatives are shopping competing plans that each hope will be wrapped into the budget document that will be signed into law sometime around June 30.  Wolf, a Democrat, cannily wrapped his freshman, $33 billion spending plan with the sort of corporate tax breaks and property tax reductions that Republicans have unsuccessfully sought for years.  The two sides differ substantially in the fine print, but the fundamentals of a shift from property taxes to higher personal income and sales taxes are the same.

How do Wolf's, Republicans' property tax relief plans compare?
Penn Live By Jan Murphy | jmurphy@pennlive.com April 17, 2015, 7:45AM
Rep. Stan Saylor, R-Red Lion, on Tuesday shared details of a property tax relief plan crafted by a group of 30 House Republicans that is presented as an alternative to Gov. Tom Wolf's plan. Both plans have their critics but will the desire to do something about this three-decade-old problem outweigh what they don't like about either of them. Here is how the two plans compare and contrast: 

An on-time state budget? Maybe. But whose?: John L. Micek
By John L. Micek | jmicek@pennlive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on April 17, 2015 at 10:00 AM, updated April 17, 2015 at 11:24 AM
So here's one prominent Republican leader on the state budget: "The people of Pennsylvania don't want to see gridlock like we saw in Washington, D.C., when we had a Democratic president and a Republican Congress. We will not do that to the people of Pennsylvania. We want Pennsylvania to move forward."  And here's another: "I personally think it's probably more productive to look at the different components of it and put the jigsaw back together. But if the governor would like to request me to run his budget (in its entirety), I'm certainly open to it."
Whose Line is it, Anyway?  I'll give you a minute ...   Give up?

Big week ahead for Wolf appointees as another comes under fire
Penn Live By Jan Murphy | jmurphy@pennlive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on April 17, 2015 at 4:21 PM, updated April 17, 2015 at 5:31 PM
The Senate has scheduled confirmation hearings next week for three of Gov. Tom Wolf's Cabinet nominees and an appointee of a Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission member.   Meanwhile, another one of Wolf's nominees is drawing opposition from the House and Senate Pro-Life Caucus for his handling of complaints about Dr. Kermit Gosnell's "house of horrors" abortion clinic in Philadelphia.  Acting PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards and turnpike commissioner Bill Lieberman will go before the Senate Transportation Committee at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday for their confirmation hearings. Also that day, the Senate Education Committee will hold a confirmation hearing on Acting Education Secretary Pedro Rivera at 10:30 a.m.

“There’s no requirement that student demographic information be provided,” Pennsylvania School Boards Association Senior Director of Communications Steve Robinson said. “There isn’t any auditing process, there’s nothing that requires the schools to explain how their administrative costs are being used.”  Public schools, however, are required to give those explanations. Critics say if private schools are up for the same tax credits, they should have to provide the same data.
“Without that accountability, it’s really public money going into a black hole without any proof that the program’s working,” Robinson said.”
EITC/OSTC: Lawmakers consider bill to expand funding for private education tuition
ABC27 By Amanda St. Hilare Published: April 16, 2015, 5:26 pm
Pennsylvania lawmakers are considering a bill that would provide more tax credits to help aid private school tuition.  The Diocese of Harrisburg is supporting this bill, saying it would affect several of its Catholic schools.  “It’s a matter of choice for these parents,” Bishop McDevitt Principal Sr. Mary Anne Bednar said. “They look at the private schools, not just Bishop McDevitt but the other private schools in the area and they say this is where I want my son or daughter to go. This should be an option for them.”  Right now, a local business can give money to a school’s foundation for scholarships and programs. Private schools use the majority of that money to help families with tuition. The state then gives the business a tax credit for those donations.
Those tax credits are limited. House Bill 752 would make more available. Some public school districts support the bill because their foundations can use the tax credits for programs as well. However, there are some concerns. 

Pennsylvania pension funds could run dry in as little as 10 years
By Eric Boehm | PA Independent April 16, 2015
Without higher contributions from workers and taxpayers, Pennsylvania’s public sector pension plans may not be able to pay for their promises.  And if investment returns fail to live up to expectations, the two pension funds could run dry before the end of the next decade.
IN THE LONG RUN: Things look bleak for taxpayers and retired state workers in a new report that suggests Pennsylvania’s two major pension funds could run dry by the end of the 2030s.
Those are the startling conclusions drawn by a pair of researchers at the Mercatus Center, an economic think tank based at George Mason University, who examined Pennsylvania’s Public School Employees Retirement System and the State Employees Retirement System. They say PSERS has a 31 percent chance of making it to 2030 with sufficient funding to pay for all the retirement benefits promised to current and former workers, while SERS has only a 16 percent chance of making it that long.
That would be bad news for Pennsylvania taxpayers and the nearly 700,000 current and former public worker in the two plans.

Penn Hills, Woodland Hills won’t take Wilkinsburg students
By Mary Niederberger and Clarece Polke / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette April 18, 2015 12:00 AM
Although no public discussions have taken place, officials from the Penn Hills and Woodland Hills school districts say their boards have rejected overtures from the Wilkinsburg School District to accept its approximately 200 students in grades 7-12 on a tuition basis.  Both districts have confirmed that Wilkinsburg school officials requested meetings to discuss a possible transfer of the secondary students, but the boards of both decided not to entertain the idea despite no evidence of a public discussion or vote. Under the plan, Wilkinsburg would continue to pay for its residents’ education.  Wilkinsburg has a meeting scheduled with officials of Pittsburgh Public Schools, another bordering district, later this month. Wilkinsburg also will hold a community forum in its high school auditorium at 7 p.m. May 7 about the future of its pre-K-12 program.

PSSA opt-outs see huge jump in Philly
SOLOMON LEACH, DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER LEACHS@PHILLYNEWS.COM, 215-854-5903 POSTED: Sunday, April 19, 2015, 3:01 AM
MORE THAN 500 students in the Philadelphia School District have already been opted out of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, a huge jump from only 20 students a year ago, officials said yesterday.  A district representative said 552 families have requested that their children be excused from PSSA testing, a figure that could rise. Students in grades 3 through 8 began to test this week on English language arts, with math and science to follow in the next two weeks.  The rise in opt-outs locally mirrors a national trend as more and more parents and educators voice concerns over the amount of time spent on test preparation rather than actual instruction. Hundreds of thousands of students have reportedly been opted out in New York.

Lehigh Valley PSSA test opt-outs on the rise
By Sara K. Satullo | The Express-Times Email the author | Follow on Twitter on April 17, 2015 at 7:00 AM, updated April 17, 2015 at 8:57 AM
Kelly Aquila's daughter landed in the emergency room for severe stomach pain several times before doctors told them there was nothing medically wrong.  They ended up seeing a therapist and learned Briane, who is now in sixth grade, was extremely stressed out by Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) exams, which are administered to students in grades third through eighth.  "It never dawned on me it was the test," Aquila said.
The Whitehall-Coplay School District parent is part of a growing number of Pennsylvania parents opting out of state standardized testing.  Testing began this week and lasts for much of April. Student performance on the tests are used to measure student achievement. It's also linked to individual school building's School Performance Profile report cards and teacher evaluations.
Nationally there's been a boycott of high-stakes standardized testing as students this spring take exams aligned to the Common Core -- standards adopted by 43 states outlining the math and language skills students should master in each grade. In Pennsylvania, they're known as the Core Standards.  Opt-out parents say that the emphasis on testing detracts from real learning, stifles teacher and student creativity and stresses everyone out.

And so the movement grows: This week in New York, tens of thousands of students sat out the first day of tests, with some districts reporting more than half of students opting out of the English test. Preliminary reports suggest an overall increase in opt-outs compared to last year, when about 49,000 students did not take English tests and about 67,000 skipped math tests, compared to about 1.1 million students who did take the tests in New York.  Considerable resistance also has been reported in Maine, New Mexico, Oregon and Pennsylvania, and more is likely as many states administer the tests in public schools for the first time this spring.
Opt-Out Movement Accelerates Amid Common Core Testing
New York Times By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS APRIL 17, 2015, 5:32 P.M. E.D.T.
ATLANTA — Thousands of students are opting out of new standardized tests aligned to the Common Core standards, defying the latest attempt by states to improve academic performance.
This "opt-out" movement remains scattered but is growing fast in some parts of the country. Some superintendents in New York are reporting that 60 percent or even 70 percent of their students are refusing to sit for the exams. Some lawmakers, sensing a tipping point, are backing the parents and teachers who complain about standardized testing.  Resistance could be costly: If fewer than 95 percent of a district's students participate in tests aligned with Common Core standards, federal money could be withheld, although the U.S. Department of Education said that hasn't happened.  "It is a theoretical club administrators have used to coerce participation, but a club that is increasingly seen as a hollow threat," said Bob Schaeffer with the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, which seeks to limit standardized testing.

Mom: The religious reasons my kids won’t be taking Common Core tests
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss April 17 at 12:10 PM  
Jessie B. Ramey is the parent of two children in Pittsburgh public schools and a historian of working families, gender, race and U.S. social policy who teaches women’s studies and history at the University of Pittsburgh. She has decided to opt her children out of upcoming state-mandated tests in Pennsylvania known as the PSSAs for reasons not often cited by parents who have made the opt-out decision for their own children.  The opt-out movement is spreading around the country, with tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of parents deciding that the state-mandated tests being given to students are not fair to either the students or the teachers who will be evaluated by the test scores. While the percentage of parents opting out is small relative to the number of parents allowing their children to take the test, the movement has forced a national debate on the value of the tests and forced administrators and policymakers to address it.
In this post, Ramey provides her religious reasons for opting her children out of the tests. This first appeared on her Yinzercation blog, and I am republishing it with her permission.  This is a letter she sent to Linda Lane, superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools; Lisa Augustin, director of assessment; Jamie Kinzel-Nath, Pittsburgh Colfax K-8 principal; and all of her children’s teachers.

Report: 175,000-plus N.Y. students opt out of Common Core test, more expected
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss April 18  
An education advocacy group says that more than 175,000 New York students — far more than last year — opted out of Common Core English Language Arts exams given this week, and the number is expected to climb, highlighting a growing movement among parents around the country to protest standardized tests they think are unfair to students and teachers.  New York State Allies for Public Education is counting opt-out students district by district, and in early afternoon Saturday, it had counted 177,249 with 64 percent of the state’s school systems reporting. Math tests are being given next week. Last year about 60,000-70,000 students — or less than 5 percent of the total — students opted out of Common Core math and ELA tests in the state; this year, so far, the group estimates that more than 14 percent refused the first Common Core test.

Nearly 15 percent of New Jersey 11th graders skip new test
GEOFF MULVIHILL, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS POSTED: Wednesday, April 15, 2015, 5:06 PM
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Preliminary results show nearly 15 percent of New Jersey high school juniors and less than 5 percent of grades three through eight refused to take a new standardized test being given for the first time this year in all districts, state education officials said Wednesday.
The test is being given in all districts twice. Most finished the first round last month; the second round begins later this month.  The test, intended to measure whether students are meeting the nationwide Core Content standards, are the subject of criticism and a boycott movement in New Jersey and many of the dozen other states where they have been rolled out this year.

All are invited for a screening of the documentary:
STANDARDIZED: Lies, Money & Civil Rights—How Testing is Ruining Public Education Monday, April 27, 7- 9 PM Wayne, PA
The Saturday Club, 117 West Wayne Avenue, Wayne, PA
Standardized testing has long been a part of public education. Over the last ten years however, education reform has become an increasingly heated political issue and seemingly a highly profitable target market for private enterprise resulting in expanded and high-stakes testing. While some hold the view that testing is an effective assessment of student ability and teacher and school effectiveness, many feel these exams are instead undermining our students, teachers and schools.   Daniel Hornberger’s STANDARDIZED documentary raises issues about this model of  education reform and the standardized testing that goes along with it. The film includes interviews with prominent educational experts and government officials who take aim at the goal of standardization that is being promoted and imposed by our federal and state governments. It sheds light on the development, nature and use of these assessments, the consequences of high-stakes testing, and the ostensible private enterprise and government agendas behind them. 
A Q&A session with a panel of informed parents, teachers and experts will follow.
This screening is made possible through a collaboration of Radnor, Tredyffrin/Easttown and Lower Merion concerned parents and PTOs.
For questions and to RSVP, contact RTSDPTOPTSA@gmail.com

Testing Resistance & Reform News: April 15 - 17, 2015
FairTest Submitted by fairtest on April 17, 2015 - 1:21pm 
We've pulled together this special edition of our usually-weekly newsclips because of three huge stories that broke in the past several days. 
-  In New York, more than 173,000 students opted out of the first wave of state testing, at least tripling last year's boycott level. 
-  In five states (Colorado, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada and North Dakota) computerized Common Core testing systems collapsed in a replay of the widespread technical problems which plagued Florida exams earlier this spring.
Both major developments further undermine the credibility of judgements about students, teachers and schools made on the basis of standardized exam results. 
--  And, in Washington DC, the U.S. Senate education committee responded to grassroots pressure for assessment reform by endorsing an overhaul of "No Child Left Behind," which eliminates most federal sanctions for test scores.  The bill does not go far enough to reversing test misuse and overuse, but it is a step in the right direction
Remember that these updates are posted online at:http://fairtest.org/news/other for your reference and for use in Facebook posts, Tweets, weblinks, etc.

“There has been no information available as to whether Brady will return to the Avon Grove Charter School or why he was suspended.”
Head of Avon Grove Charter School suspended
By Chris Barber, Daily Local News POSTED: 04/19/15, 4:23 PM EDT 
London Grove >> Kevin Brady, head of the Avon Grove Charter School, has been suspended with pay by the board of trustees.  The board took the action at its April 14 meeting and was announced as effective April 1.  Early in April a letter to parents said that Brady was on leave effective April 2.  During Brady’s absence, the board appointed the following individuals to run the school according to the letter:  Kristen Bishop, head of the lower school, is in charge of academics.  Donna Archer, school business manager, assumes responsibility for financial matters.  Tosha Bowers, human resources director, assumes responsibility for personnel matters.
“We do not expect this circumstance to have any impact on the valuable educational experience your children receive under the leadership of our teachers and staff,” the letter said.  It was signed “School Administration.”

Philadelphia's rejected charter schools beginning to resubmit applications
WHYY Newsworks BY LAURA BENSHOFF APRIL 20, 2015
Philadelphia School Reform Commission already rejected 34 out of 39 charter school applications this year.  But any rejected charter can put its application back on the table, according to Pennsylvania charter law.  The school board — in this case the School Reform Commission — may choose to hold hearings on the revised application and "shall consider the revised and resubmitted application at the first board meeting occurring at least forty-five (45) days after the receipt of the revised application by the board."
One applicant, KIPP West Philadelphia Charter, has already resubmitted.

Public Schools Are a Public Good
The rapid growth of market-driven charter schools erodes a cornerstone of American democracy.
US News and World Report By Jerusha Conner April 16, 2015 | 11:15 a.m. EDT+ More
Many involved in K-12 education seem to be growing weary of the charter school versus public school debate. Mark Gleason, head of a private advocacy organization in Philadelphia that has invested morethan $20 million in charter schools, publicly declared: “I just would like to encourage all of us to get beyond this district versus charter concept.” And Michelle Rhee, founder of the pro-charter advocacy organization StudentsFirst, while sparring on Twitter with Julian Vasquez Heilig, voiced the opinion, “the arguments btwn charter and traditional are tired. We shld celebrate great schools regardless ofsector ... focus on quality of schl instead of sector.” These exhortations are appealing in their simplicity and attempt to move us toward a common vision, but we must not let charter proponents divert our attention from the difference between charter school and traditional public schools. Traditional public schools are a fundamental cornerstone of American democracy that is being jack-hammered away. And if we look away from their destruction, we abrogate our duty to preserve them for future generations.

The SRC has to go
INQUIRER EDITORIAL BOARD POSTED: Monday, April 20, 2015,
Philadelphia's School Reform Commission outlived its usefulness years ago, so it's disturbing that some candidates to become the city's next mayor haven't grasped that reality.  The SRC was created in a state takeover of Philadelphia schools in December 2001 with only two goals: get the School District's finances in order and improve students' academic performance. Fourteen years later, it has failed miserably in both regards, though some of its past and current members do deserve an A for effort.

Math lesson
INQUIRER EDITORIAL BOARD POSTED: Sunday, April 19, 2015, 1:09 AM
If the contest for mayor were between a candidate who supports schools and one who doesn't, it wouldn't be much of a campaign. Declaring education important and vowing to fund it accordingly is easy. How to pay for it is the hard question - one the mayoral candidates, as their answers on today's op-ed page show, aren't especially eager to answer.  Like most core government services, public education has to be funded on a recurring basis. That means one-time windfalls like Jim Kenney's tax-lien sale and several candidates' welcome promises to collect back taxes won't get the School District that far.  Other than savaging Mayor Nutter's proposed 9 percent property tax hike, the candidates are short on concrete plans for the broad-based taxes that could significantly boost long-term school funding.

In with the new
INQUIRER EDITORIAL BOARD POSTED: Sunday, April 19, 2015, 1:09 AM
While the city's legislators have to work together, Philadelphia City Council is overpopulated by members who reflexively follow Council President Darrell Clarke. Emblematic of this was Council's refusal to hold a public hearing on a $1.87 billion offer for the Philadelphia Gas Works.
Council needs an upheaval to return it to its mission of representing the public. Fortunately, the crowd of candidates seeking five Democratic at-large Council seats includes political newcomers with impressive civic experience and potential.  Though Helen Gym is best known as a fierce advocate for Philadelphia's public schools, she has been an effective activist on a range of issues. Gym, 47, of Logan Square, cofounded the Public School Notebook, which informs and mobilizes parents, and its companion advocacy group, Parents United for Public Education. She is appropriately impatient with the status quo and, provided she maintains some daylight between herself and her union supporters, capable of being an independent Council member in the tradition of David Cohen, Michael Nutter, and John Street.

Senate Committee Votes to Kill No Child Left Behind, but the High-Stakes Testing Era Isn’t Over
The Nation by Zoë Carpenter on April 16, 2015 - 3:41 PM ET
Public school students in New York State are supposed to be taking standardized tests this week, but more than 100,000have been absent. In protest of mandatory high-stakes testing, parents are pulling their children from the classroom, and in numbers high enough to invalidate the results. More than 80 percent of students in the Comsewogue School District in Long Island have refused to take the test; 70 percent of students at the West Seneca School District near Buffalo opted out; several districts in the Hudson Valley reported that at least a quarter of their students did not show up.  Meanwhile, in the capital, members of the Senate committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions have spent the week debating a proposal to replace No Child Left Behind, the 2002 law that sanctified the use of standardized tests to evaluate and punish teachers and schools. On Thursday afternoon they voted unanimously to send a new bill drafted by Washington Democrat Patty Murray and Tennessee Republican Lamar Alexander to the floor. Congress failed to revise NCLB as expected in 2007, and since then the Obama administration has reinforced much of its underlying ideology via programs like Race to the Top. This year lawmakers are committed to replacing the law (which is a version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, signed 50 years ago by President Johnson). It’s a rare opportunity for the parents, teachers, and public-education advocates who are desperate for relief from the high-stakes testing regime.  The Senate bill has a new name—the Every Child Achieves Act—but whether it drives a stake through the heart of NCLB is a matter of debate.

ESEA Reauthorization: A Chance to Right a Wrong | Commentary
By Jitu Brown and Judith Browne Dianis Special to Roll Call Posted at 5 a.m. on April 14
Fifty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, legislation designed to support education as a force for equal opportunity. As part of his “war on poverty” agenda, Johnson was convinced the law would close the achievement gap. As Congress seeks to reauthorize ESEA this year, there is an incredible opportunity to finally right some of the grave wrongs in the public education system that have sustained the opportunity gap for low-income children.  In 2001, ESEA got off track with the passage of President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind promising achievement and accountability. Public schools have since been mired in drills of standardized testing, with a focus on test results as the sole measure of achievement. Instead of increasing investment and resources for success however, test results have led to the closure of neighborhood public schools at dramatic rates across the country. As communities of color lose their schools in the wake of disinvestment and high-stakes testing, public education dollars are being diverted toward privately operated charter schools. The irony of it all: These charters, many of which are dismally low performing and sometimes profit from taxpayer dollars, are run with practically no oversight or accountability.


Young Voters in the Capitol April 22 8:00AM - 5:00PM
N. 3RD ST.HARRISBURG, PA 17120
PCCY: Join your neighbors, meet your local legislators and make a difference as we fight for a fair education funding formula in this year’s state budget.  We’ll provide: a brief training, materials, lunch and transportation to and from the Capitol and we’ll even schedule visits with legislators for you!  If you need transportation let us know!  We will be departing from in front of the United Way Building at 1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway promptly at 8am.  We will return to Philly by approximately 4:30pm.  If you plan to meet up with us in Harrisburg, we will meet in the Capitol by 10:30am.  We will wrap up the day back in Philadelphia with a happy hour at Field House (1150 Filbert St.) from 5-7 pm.  We hope you can join us!

You're invited to our 2015 YEA!  Philadelphia Investor Panel Competition on April 22nd at Rosemont College! 5:30 meet & greet; 6:30 Presentations
Young Entrepreneurs Academy - Philadelphia and suburban middle schoolers make presentations to a panel of local investors to obtain funding for their business/social movements.  We hope you can join us for this fun and inspiring event. Registration is FREE:

DISTRICT TO HOLD SEVEN COMMUNITY BUDGET MEETINGS
PHILADELPHIA—The School District of Philadelphia, in partnership with local organizations, will host seven community budget meetings. District officials will share information about budget projections and request input on school resources and investments.  Partnering groups include the Philadelphia Education Fund, POWER (Philadelphians Organized to Witness Empower & Rebuild), Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY), local clergy and community advocates. All meetings will be held 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The dates and locations are as follows:
 Wednesday, April 15
Northeast High School, 1601 Cottman Ave.
 Wednesday, April 22
Bartram High School, 2401 S. 67th St.
 Tuesday, April 28
West Philadelphia High School, 4901 Chestnut St.
 Wednesday, May 6
Dobbins High School, 2150 W. Lehigh Ave.
 Tuesday, May 12
South Philadelphia High School, 2101 S. Broad St.
 Thursday, May 14
Congreso, 216 West Somerset St.
 Wednesday, May 20
Martin Luther King High School, 6100 Stenton Ave.

Nominations for PSBA offices closes April 30
PSBA Leadership Development Committee seeks strong leaders for the association
Members interested in becoming the next leaders of PSBA are encouraged to complete an Application for Nomination no later than April 30. As a member-driven association, the Leadership Development Committee (LDC) is seeking nominees with strong skills in leadership and communication, and who have vision for PSBA. The positions open are:
  • 2016 President Elect (one-year term)
  • 2016 Vice President (one-year term)
  • 2016 Eastern Section at Large Representative - includes Regions 7, 8, 10, 11 and 15 (three-year term) 
Complete details on the nomination process, including scheduled dates for nominee interviews, can be found online by clicking here.

Please join Education Voters, school officials, community leaders and guest legislators at upcoming community forums in the Lehigh Valleycentral PA, and Southeastern PA to discuss school funding and state funding policy. Click HERE for more details. Pre-registration for the forum is recommended, but not necessary.
Lehigh Valley Forum April 22, 7:00-8:30
Penn State Lehigh Valley, 2809 Saucon Valley Rd, Center Valley, PA 18034
The entrance is at the back of the building and parking is available in lots by the school. 
Confirmed panelists include:
Dr. Bill Haberl, superintendent, Pen Argyl Area SD
Dr. Joe Roy, superintendent, Bethlehem Area SD
Mr. Rich Sniscak, superintendent, Parkland SD
Mr. Russ Giordano, school board director, Salisbury Township SD
Ms. Stacy Gober, CFO, Bethlehem Area SD
Ms. Susan Gobreski, Executive Director, Education Voters of PA
Moderator: Roberta Marcus, School Board Director, Parkland SD
Register HERE to attend the Lehigh Valley education forum.

Central PA education forum Tuesday, April 28, 6:30-8:30
Grace Lutheran Church (in Harkins Hall), 205 S. Garner Street, State College
Panelists
Dr. Cheryl Potteiger, superintendent, Bellefonte Area School District
Ms. Kelly Hastings, superintendent, Keystone Central School District
Mr. James Estep, superintendent, Mifflin County School District
Mr. Sean Daubert, CFO, Mifflin County School District
Dr. Robert O’Donnell, superintendent, State College Area School District
Mr. David Hutchison, school board member, State College Area School District
Ms. Cathy Harlow, superintendent, Tyrone Area School District
Mrs. Linda Smith, superintendent, Williamsburg Community School District
Register HERE to attend the central PA education forum.

Southeastern PA Regional Meeting on School Funding
Wednesday April 29th 7:00 pm Springfield High School Auditorium, 49 West Leamy Avenue, Springfield, PA 19064
Local school district leaders will discuss how state funding issues are impacting our children’s educational opportunities, our local taxes and our communities.
Hosted by Delaware County School Boards Legislative Council, Education Voters of PA, the Keystone State Education Coalition and Public Citizens for Children and Youth
Panelists:
Mr. Frank Agovino, school board president, Springfield School District and Board of Directors, Delaware County Chamber of Commerce
Dr. James Capolupo, superintendent, Springfield School District
Dr. Wagner Marseille, Acting Superintendent, Lower Merion School District 
Mr. Joe Bruni, superintendent, William Penn School District
Dr. Richard Dunlap, superintendent, Upper Darby School District
Mr. Stanley Johnson. Executive Director of Operations, Phoenixville Area School District
Ms. Susan Gobreski, Executive Director, Education Voters of PA
Moderator: Mr. Lawrence Feinberg, Chairman, Delaware County School Boards Legislative Council
Registration HERE to attend.

Your Right to a Fair Shot: Discrimination Claims, Post-Secondary and the Professions

Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia Tuesday, April 21, 2015 from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

United Way Building 1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, 19103
Attendees will learn about discrimination claims, post-secondary schools and the professions in this session. You'll learn how federal law aids students with disabilities who do not qualify for special education services, hear about recent cases, and understand strategies for getting students services.  This session is co-sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania School of Policy and Practice, a Pre-approved Provider of Continuing Education for Pennsylvania licensed social workers.  
Tickets: Attorneys $200       General Public $100      Webinar $50   
"Pay What You Can" tickets are also available

Beyond a New School Funding Formula: Lifting Student Achievement to Grow PA's Economy
Wednesday, May 6, 2015 from 7:30 AM to 10:00 AM (EDT) Harrisburg, PA
7:30 am: Light breakfast fare and registration; 8:00 am: Program
Harrisburg University Auditorium, Strawberry Square 326 Market Street Harrisburg, PA 17101 
Opening Remarks by Neil D. Theobald, President, Temple University

SESSION I: THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF ACHIEVEMENT GAPS IN PENNSYLVANIA’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS with introduction by Rob Wonderling, President, Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, and Member, Center on Regional Politics Executive Committee.            
Presentation by Lynn A. Karoly, Senior Economist, RAND Corporation 

SESSION II: WHAT CAN PENNSYLVANIA LEARN FROM THE WORLD’S LEADING SCHOOL SYSTEMS? with introduction by David H. Monk, Dean, Pennsylvania State University College of Education. 
Presentation by Marc S. Tucker, President and CEO, National Center on Education and the Economy 
Sessions to be followed by a response panel moderated by Francine Schertzer, Director of Programming, Pennsylvania Cable Network 
Program presented by the University Consortium to Improve Public School Finance and Promote Economic Growth

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