Friday, June 26, 2015

PA Ed Policy Roundup June 26: Not one of PA's 500 school districts ever authorized a cyber charter but all are required to send tax dollars to them. Not one cyber has achieved a passing SPP score of 70 in the past two years; most never made AYP under NCLB

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup for June 26, 2015:
Not one of PA's 500 school districts ever authorized a cyber charter but all are required to send tax dollars to them.  Not one cyber has achieved a passing SPP score of 70 in the past two years; most never made AYP under NCLB

Just a heads-up that the PA Ed Policy Roundup may be intermittent and/or late next week while some of us pretend we're on vacation

Blogger's note: Not one of PA's 500 school districts ever authorized a cyber charter but all are required to send tax dollars to them, even if the district operates it's own cyber or blended program.  Not one of PA's cyber charters has achieved a passing score of 70 on the state's School Performance Profile in the past two years.  Most cybers never made AYP under No Child Left Behind.
Senate Education Committee will consider HB530 charter reform bill today
PA Senate EDUCATION Committee Meeting Today 10:00 AM Room 461 Main Capitol
To consider Senate Bill No. 731; and House Bill No. 530)

EPLC Education Notebook Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Education Policy and Leadership Center

In 2011 Philly was subjected to 30% of the state’s funding cuts that year while educating 12% of the state's kids.

"Staffers familiar with the Republican plan said it would contain increases for public education, although less than the $400 million in basic education funding the governor had proposed.  Another issue is whether the proposed new education funding formula announced last week will be applied to the 2015-16 budget.  For the Philadelphia School District, at least, the question is worrisome.  If it will apply to the 2015-16 spending plan, Philadelphia would stand to receive $65 million less than what Wolf originally proposed in his budget.  Getting Wolf's proposal passed "is crucial for school districts across Pennsylvania that were hardest hit by funding cuts over the past several years," Philadelphia district spokesman Fernando Gallard said.  Although Gallard said the new proposed formula "acknowledges and addresses the challenges facing high-poverty, high-needs districts," he argued that the playing field needed to be leveled first."
GOP Pa. budget said to ignore Gov. Wolf
HARRISBURG - Republicans who control the legislature spent Thursday putting the finishing touches on their own budget blueprint, one that will exclude many of Gov. Wolf's priorities and pave the path for a veto.  The GOP-backed plan, details of which could be made public as early as Friday, will not contain any of Wolf's proposed tax increases, top Republicans said. It would seek to raise new revenue through privatizing liquor sales and making changes to the state's pension system.  Wolf has said he will not sign a budget that does not contain adequate funding for public schools and property-tax relief for homeowners.

Democrats decry Republican agreed-to budget prospects
The PLS Reporter Author: Jason Gottesman/Thursday, June 25, 2015
House and Senate Democrats Thursday responded to reports of an agreed-to budget among the Republican caucuses that is likely to take more detailed shape over the next several days.  Legislative Democratic leaders held a closed-door discussion with Gov. Tom Wolf Thursday to detail strategy and plan for the coming days.  House Appropriations Committee Minority Chairman Joe Markosek (D-Allegheny) couched the coming budget proposal as “more of the same.”  “They’re really not serious about talking,” he said. “The governor and Democrats have been at the table and offered some things to them that have been pretty much ignored and they just want to do what they’ve done for the last four years and kind of go on their merry way with all their really non-budget, gimmick-filled budgets, missed opportunity budgets.”  He said Republicans are daring the governor to veto whatever proposals they send him.

Lawmakers prepare for the 'long haul' of budget negotiations
Morning Call By Sam Janesch Call Harrisburg Bureau June 25, 2015
HARRISBURG — State Rep. Mike Schlossberg traveled Thursday to the Capitol knowing it could be a while before the state budget passes and he has a chance to return to his Allentown home.  "I've got a lot of clothing in my trunk right now and I'll suspect I'll be using all of it," he said.  With the fiscal year ending Tuesday and little hope for a punctual 2015-16 budget agreement between the Republican-led Legislature and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, rank-and-file legislators are expecting to stay in Harrisburg until it passes. Some say it could take months, such as the 101-day delayed budget under Gov. Ed Rendell in 2009.  State Rep. Gary Day, R-Lehigh, said legislators still will work on moving other bills and having meetings while party leaders engage in budget discussions with the governor's team. But if the negotiation process extends far past the deadline, he said, it will be difficult to set a schedule and get things done.

Is Wolf's stance on startup of new funding formula shifting?
Penn Live By Jan Murphy | Email the author | Follow on Twitter on June 25, 2015 at 11:29 AM, updated June 25, 2015 at 11:30 AM
While House Democrats appear adamant about holding off on implementing the new school funding formula for a year, indications are Gov. Tom Wolf may be willing to start it sooner.
House and Senate Republican leaders have made it clear that their position is to move forward right away with using the formula that was recommended by a bi-partisan task force last week.  But House Democrats as recently as Wednesday argued the state should first restore more of the nearly $1 billion in funding that was cut to schools four years ago and base the new formula off that funding base.  "To start out with the notion that we're absolutely going to lock ourselves into an inequitable system makes no sense at all and I think would be unfair to students across the state of Pennsylvania," said Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster.  That was Wolf's position last week when the Basic Education Funding Commission issued its funding formula recommendation and it remains the position that administration officials are stating publicly.

New Pennsylvania school funding formula wins panel's OK
Pike County Courier By MARC LEVY, Associated Press JUN 25, 2015 AT 3:47 PM
HARRISBURG (AP) — A bipartisan panel of state lawmakers and advisers to Gov. Tom Wolf gave unanimous approval June 18 to a new formula to distribute aid to Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts, a model that would funnel more money to districts with rising enrollment and students whose families are deeper in poverty.  The formula still does not have the agreement of the Legislature, and there are battles that remain to be fought over whether and when to start using the formula, and how much money to distribute through it. It also would not automatically correct the inequities built into Pennsylvania's current system of distributing nearly $6 billion in for classrooms and administration.  For now, the formula endorsed by the 15-member Basic Education Funding Commission is being advanced as a way to inject transparency, fairness and predictability into distributing school aid in a state branded as harboring some of the nation's worst disparities between wealthy and poor school districts.  The real-world effect of the proposed formula remained unclear, since the commission would not release a rundown showing exactly how money would flow through it to each district.

Bus tour to promote education stops in York
York Dispatch By JESSICA SCHLADEBECK 505-5438/@JessDispatch POSTED:   06/25/2015 12:23:38 PM EDT
Education advocates came together today to talk education reform.  A white bus with red words painted on the windows — "Fair PA budget now" — rolled to a stop outside a local senator's office Thursday morning.  The bus was filled with supporters Alliance to Reclaim our Schools Pennsylvania was joined by the Pennsylvania chapter of Working Families and other community members outside the office of Sen. Scott Wagner, R-Spring Garden Township during a stop in their two-week, statewide tour to galvanize public support for the restoration of school funding after years of extensive cuts.  Wagner, who has been a vocal critic of teachers unions and the need for additional education spending, was in Harrisburg and could not be reached for comment.
York was the seventh stop on the statewide bus tour, which began in Philadelphia. The tour will continue through the state before ending in Harrisburg on June 29.

Letters: First priority: School funds
Philly Daily News Letter by First Lady Francis Wolf POSTED: Thursday, June 25, 2015, 12:16 AM
Frances Wolf is the first lady of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
SINCE HE WAS SWORN in as governor in January, my husband and I have been crisscrossing the state, visiting schools, meeting with teachers and administrators, and talking with students in the classroom. We have seen the same thing in school after school and classroom after classroom: motivated students and dedicated teachers who simply don't have the resources they need to succeed.  At King Elementary School in Lancaster, I heard about how some textbooks in the library are more than 30 years old because they don't have the funds available to replace them with updated versions. At Paul Fly Elementary School in Norristown, administrators shared how vital support and program specialist positions have been cut, leaving fewer teachers in classrooms with consistently increasing numbers of students.

"The General Assembly and Gov. Tom Wolf should act in an equally bipartisan way by enacting the formula as soon as possible. Pennsylvania is one of only three states that fails to use a formula to allocate basic education funding, and the lack of a formula hurts students.  Of course, enacting a basic education funding formula is only part of the long-term solution to properly funding our public schools. Pennsylvania’s state leaders also need to demonstrate an ongoing, unwavering commitment to ensuring our public schools are adequately funded so students and teachers have the resources they need to succeed. A quality formula only works if it has adequate resources behind it."
Ensure formula, funds
Scranton Times Tribune Letter BY JOAN BENSO Published: June 26, 2015
The June 24 Times-Tribune editorial (“Put school cash where needed most”) made a strong case for why Pennsylvania urgently needs a fair, predictable formula for funding basic education in our public schools.  Clearly, the way Pennsylvania funds its public schools isn’t working, in part because we are failing to consider the real costs necessary to help our students meet academic standards.  Pennsylvania also is failing to consistently use accurate, reliable, verifiable and current school and community data to addresses factors that impact learning.  All of these shortcomings could be addressed if the legislature and governor move quickly to enact a common-sense funding formula like the one proposed by the state’s Basic Education Funding Commission.

Pennsylvania must close the gap on student funding
Post Gazette Letter by Carol Balance June 26, 2015 12:00 AM
Did you know that Pennsylvania has the biggest spending gap in the nation between its richest and poorest school districts? This gap amounts to over $3,000 difference per student, per year.  I worked as a substitute for the Allegheny Intermediate Unit for many years. I’ve seen the great disparity among school districts in our county. There was a high school Algebra II class that did not have graphing calculators. In today’s high-tech world, this is unacceptable. How are these students going to compete with those who have this basic tool? There are often classes without enough desks, books or equipment.  The members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the North Hills are fasting to call attention to the sacrifices the students make daily. We are located in the North Allegheny School District, which is represented by Speaker of the House Mike Turzai and receives top funding from our state.  Unitarian Universalists believe in the inherent worth and dignity of all people; therefore, the students with the most need should have the most resources. We have a moral responsibility to support more equitable distribution of funding. Poor funding in other areas is our problem, too, even if we don’t live there.  Fair funding of education is at the heart of the economic inequality and race issues in the United States. We people of faith, who recognize our unearned privilege, must support fair funding for education in our commonwealth.

Fifteen PA districts are on this list…
America’s Most Financially Disadvantaged School Districts 20112013
Districts with >50% higher census poverty rate & 2000 Pupils, County Districts Excluded, Rural Labor Markets Excluded by Bruce D. Baker, Rutgers University

Contemplating Philly's portfolio school model after a year of closures, openings
Philadelphia's public education strategy rests heavily on parents' having a wide variety of schools and school operators from which to choose. At first glance, offering these rich options seems like a no-brainer.  Closer examination reveals anything but a simple picture. People who care about public education in Philadelphia are grappling with the complexities created by this approach, which is known as the Portfolio Model.  Meditations on this subject lead to an essential question:  How should the city evaluate a system which can give parents better options, but causes systemic instability, leads to the pain of routine school closures, and sometimes leaves neighborhoods without a comprehensive school tasked with serving all students?

Policy Brief – Explaining School Fund Balances: An Update
Center on Regional Politics June 25, 2015
This policy brief summarizes fund balances for Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts as of the close of fiscal year 2013-14. It updates the policy brief summarizing such balances for fiscal year 2012-13, published by CORP last August. Accompanying this year’s brief  are fund balances for all 500 districts, as well as for charter and technical schools, for both fiscal years to allow users to understand trends for individual districts as well as for the state as a whole. Both briefs explain the four types of fund balances under government accounting standards and the restrictions on unassigned balances under state law. In addition to serving as a hedge against economic and budgetary uncertainty, fund balances for many school districts reflect to varying degrees concerns arising from Commonwealth policies, such as the underfunding of pensions, freezes in state support for capital projects, and the historical experience of state budget delays. David Davare, author of both fund balance briefs, is an advisor to CORP and the University Consortium to Improve Public School Finance and Promote Economic Growth. He also oversees the Harrisburg office of the Pennsylvania Economy League’s Central Division and formerly served as research director of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association.

Black students more harshly punished in Pittsburgh, official acknowledges
Trib Live By Tory N. Parrish Thursday, June 25, 2015, 11:33 p.m.
Pittsburgh Public Schools disciplines black students more harshly than other groups, a district official acknowledges.  Black students accounted for 54.2 percent of the school district's 26,401 students in the 2013-14 school year, but they accounted for 75 percent of all the district's out-of-school suspensions for conduct, 82 percent of its out-of-school suspensions for weapons and 80 percent of all its expulsions, according to Pennsylvania Department of Education data.  “It's structural. It's a national problem,” said Dara Ware Allen, Pittsburgh Public Schools' assistant superintendent for student support services.  The district is taking steps to address the issue, Allen said. Suspensions are down, she said.
Editorial: Chester Upland receiver’s tenure reaches end
Delco Times Editorial POSTED: 06/24/15, 11:27 PM EDT 
The Joe Watkins Era in the Chester Upland School District is over.  It lasted two and a half years.  Watkins announced this week he would be leaving the perennially struggling district at the end of the month. He’s taking a job with an upstart social media company.  The pastor and political operative who was hand-picked by former Republican Gov. Tom Corbett to oversee Chester Upland may be going, but the problems remain.  Just as they always do.
The choice of Watkins raised eyebrows when Corbett tapped the former political analyst and MSNBC commentator to be the district’s chief recovery officer. Watkins was an unabashed booster of charter schools. One of the biggest issues facing Chester Upland was the exodus of students — and the resultant state funds — to charter schools. At one point more than half of the students in Chester Upland were enrolled in charter schools.
Nevertheless, an enthusiastic Watkins vowed to work with the charters and even go one on one with residents in efforts to convince them to come back to the district’s public schools. Along with new Superintendent Gregory Shannon, Watkins did just that, literally going door to door, talking to families about the district’s schools.

West Jefferson passes school budget that includes tax increase
Post Gazette By Margaret Smykla June 26, 2015 12:24 AM
A balanced $45 million final budget for the 2015-16 school year that raises taxes for the third consecutive year was adopted by a 6-2 vote at Thursday’sWest Jefferson Hills School Board meeting.  The new real estate tax rate is 0.446 mills, raising the millage rate to 19.038 mills.
The owner of a home appraised at $100,000 will pay a little over $46 more in taxes next year.  The tax increase will generate an additional $866,269 for the district.  There are no furloughs or program cuts in the budget.

"At $154.6 million, the 2015-16 budget is roughly $4.8 million larger than the 2014-15 budget, an increase driven mainly by escalating charter school and retirement costs. It includes no staffing or program cuts."
Erie School Board passes $154.6 million budget without tax increase
By Erica Erwin  814-870-1846 Erie Times-News June 25, 2015 12:01 AM
ERIE, Pa. -- Erie homeowners won't face a tax increase in 2015-16, even if the Erie School District doesn't get the extra state money it's banking on.   The Erie School Board on Wednesday unanimously passed a $154.6 million budget that holds the line on taxes but relies heavily on $6.6 million in proposed additional state revenue and savings in Gov. Tom Wolf's budget.  The School Board can reopen the budget if that money doesn't materialize, but by law the tax rate cannot change.  The board decided early in the budget process to take a tax increase off the table, President Robert Casillo said.  "We needed the discipline to make sure we can work within the allocated money we have," Casillo said.


High-performing city high school given money to expand

KRISTEN A. GRAHAM, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER LAST UPDATED: Friday, June 26, 2015, 1:08 AM POSTED: Thursday, June 25, 2015, 3:48 PM

One of the city's top high schools just got more support for its newest venture, a middle school launching in the fall.  Carver High School for Engineering and Science, which is expanding to serve 120 seventh and eighth graders in September, has been awarded $200,000 from the Philadelphia School Partnership, officials announced Thursday.  That's on top of a $147,000 grant that PSP, a deep-pocketed nonprofit, already awarded to Carver to fund planning for its middle school.  The newest award will support more planning as the school develops at 16th and West Norris Streets, principal Ted Domers said.

Olney Charter teachers protest layoffs
TEACHERS AT Olney Charter High School learned yesterday that school administrators are expected to slash 36 jobs due to a deficit, the Daily News has learned.  Additionally, Olney Principal Jose LeBron's contract was not renewed by the school's charter operator, ASPIRA Inc. of Pennsylvania, multiple sources familiar with the situation told the People Paper. LeBron, a former school district principal, has worked at Olney since it opened as a charter in 2011.  Earlier in the day, LeBron held a morning meeting and informed staff that a $2.3 million budget gap would result in the loss of 22 teachers and 14 noninstructional positions from the high school, according to teachers at the meeting.  The teachers, who with other school staff voted to unionize in April, were incensed with ASPIRA, teachers said. They headed over to rally against the cuts in front of ASPIRA headquarters, on 5th Street near Bristol in North Philadelphia.  "My gut feeling is that they are doing it to retaliate for our union organizing and they're trying to eliminate positions," said Ellie Sammons, a 12th grade civics and psychology teacher, holding a sign. "With those positions go strong, active teachers."

Palmyra School Board approves 4-year contracts with teachers, support staff
By Monica Von Dobeneck | Special to PennLive on June 25, 2015 at 8:09 PM
It took two years of negotiations, but on Thursday the Palmyra Area School Board approved a four-year contract with the Palmyra Area Education Association. It also approved a four-year contract with the support staff.  Despite the length of time it took to reach an agreement, negotiators said relationships remained cordial.  The teachers' contract will provide raises of 2.5 percent for the 2014-15 school year retroactive to Sept. 1; 2 percent in 2015-16 and 2016-17; and 2.75 percent in 2018-19.  Starting in the 2015-16 school year, teachers will also pay more deductibles and copays for their health insurance. They will also pay a larger portion of their premiums, starting with 10 percent in 2014-15, 11 percent in 2015-16 and 11.5 percent in 2017-18. Employees wishing to cover their spouses will pay $300 in 2014-15, $400 in 2015-16, $450 in 2016-17 and $500 in 2017-18.

Derry Area hikes taxes, promotes assistant superintendent
Trib Live by Greg Reinbold Thursday, June 25, 2015, 11:36 p.m.
The Derry Area School District board of directors' final meeting of the 2014-15 fiscal year was a busy one.  In addition to approving a final 2015-16 district budget, the board elected a superintendent to replace Dr. David “Doc” Welling, whose retirement, effective Monday, the board accepted at its April meeting.  School directors approved a $34,669,950 budget that calls for a 2-mill increase to the real estate tax rate. Each mill generates $132,415 for the district. A 2-mill tax hike to 77.5 mills will cost the average property owner about $23.90 in new taxes.  The budget represents a 4.3-percent increase in expenditures from 2014-15, or $1,430,055. Added retirement pension expenditures totaling $667,890 account for a large part of the increase.  “Retirement is driving this budget the same way it is a lot of budgets across the commonwealth,” district administrative assistant for business affairs Joe Koluder said.
Methacton approves budget with zero percent tax increase
By Brendan Wills, The Times Herald POSTED: 06/25/15, 10:13 PM EDT 
WORCESTER>> The Methacton school board unanimously approved the district’s $101,124,091 budget without a property tax increase Thursday night. With $100,265,278 in revenues expected for the 2015-2016 school year, the board opted to utilize $858,813 from the district’s reserve fund to balance the budget and ensure the millage rate remained at 27.9, meaning $2,790 in property taxes for each $100,000 of assessed value.  “I’m glad to see for the first time in about 35 years a zero percent tax increase. I’m glad we finally did it. But I’m not happy about the fund balance aspect that was used,” said board member Jim Phillips, who suggested the school board start pressuring the municipalities, particularly Worcester, to bring business and housing developments that may be taxed into the district.

Brain food: Columbia school district wants to serve a free breakfast to all students
Lancaster Online By ROBYN MEADOWS | LNP Correspondent  Friday, June 26, 2015 6:00 am
In the Columbia School District, 67 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch and breakfast.  Often, school is the only place they receive food consistently. But even the kids who can afford breakfast frequently skip it.  Schoolchildren who show up hungry have a hard time thinking, research has shown.  "It's critical for all of our students to have breakfast and lunch," said Tom Strickler, board president. "It's a proven fact that students who eat well do better in school and will learn more if they are not hungry."  This is why on June 18 the school board approved the application for what is called the federal Community Eligibility Provision, established under the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. The provision allows districts or schools that meet certain poverty guidelines to serve breakfast and lunch to all students at no cost, regardless of a family's ability to pay.

PSBA Video: Issues affecting public schools in PA

PSBAvideo Published on Jun 24, 2015 YouTube runtime 2:27
Board members from various districts tell us the issues affecting their districts most, what we need to do and how to get involved.  Visit the State Advocacy Network page at­advocacy-network/

Delaware passes legislation allowing students to opt out of assessment tests
WHYY Newsworks BY ZOË READ JUNE 25, 2015
Delaware passed legislation Thursday that allows the parent or guardian of a child to opt out of state-mandated exams in schools.  The bill, sponsored by Rep. John Kowalko, D-Newark, and Sen. David Lawson, R-Marydel, passed in the Senate 15-6 weeks after several amendments sent the measure back and forth between the Senate and the House.  “I’m very happy it passed by such a wide margin,” Kowalko said. “It shows (the legislators) support parental rights.”  Starting in August, the parent or guardian of school children will be given the opportunity to remove their child from the state’s annual assessment, which currently is the Smarter Balanced Assessment System.

Congress: House Appropriations Committee OKs Fiscal 2016 Education Spending Plan
Education Week Politics K-12 Blog By Lauren Camera on June 24, 2015 4:55 PM
Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee were unsuccessful in several attempts to restore funding for federal education programs during Wednesday's markup of a fiscal 2016 spending plan that would slash the current funding level for the U.S. Department of Education by $2.8 billion.  The committee cleared the measure, which funds the department and federal education programs to the tune of $64.4  billion, on party-line vote of 30-21. You can read more about how education programs would be funded here.  Democrats tried to increase funding for several programs, as well as restore funding for some 20 education programs that would be eliminated under the GOP appropriations bill, which also funds the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor.
Here's a quick recap of the education-related amendments:

Peter Greene: Campbell Brown’s Néw Assault on Public Schools
Diane Ravitch's Blog By dianeravitch June 24, 2015
Peter Greene has discovered that Campbell Brown, scourge of public schools, teachers, unions, and due process, has just created a new vehicle to advance her cause.  With funding from various billionaires who share her passion to destroy public education, she has started a new organization.  Greene writes:  “Today the Wall Street Journal is announcing that Campbell Brown is launching a new education site that “won’t shy away from advocacy.” Which is kind of like announcing that Wal-Mart is opening a new store and will not shy away from marketing or that Burger King is opening up at a new location that might sell hamburgers.  “Sadly, there are no surprises in this story. The site, called The Seventy Four in reference to the seventy-four million students in the US (and not say, the seventy-four gazillion dollars Campbell and her friends hope to make from privatizing education)….“The new site will launch with thirteen employees and a $4 million dollar budget, courtesy of backers that include Bloomberg Philanthropies (as in former anti-public ed NY mayor Michael Bloomberg), Walton Family Foundation, Johnathan Sackler, and the Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation– in other words, the usual group of charter school backers….

Pasi Sahlberg on Parental Choice: ‘Lazy’ strategy set to result in poorer learning - expert
The Irish Times by Joe Humphreys First published:Fri, Jun 26, 2015, 01:00
By making parental choice the cornerstone of its education system, Ireland is following a “lazy”, market-based strategy which is likely to produce greater inequalities and poorer learning outcomes, renowned educational expert Pasi Sahlberg has said.  Addressing a Department of Education policy seminar in Dublin, the Finnish scholar said “either you are serious about equality” or you rely on parental choice “and you just hope that this will somehow create good things”.  The latter was “a clear sign of a lazy or reluctant education policy: If you don’t know what you are doing you say ‘Let’s expand parents’ choice’ ”.   “If you want to have a more equity-based system, that requires very systematic and deliberate policy by the Government,” he said.
Equality does not materialise at local level by accident, said Dr Sahlberg, a visiting professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Don’t Miss Tuesday, June 30, 8 p.m. #FairFundingPA chat on Twitter
You are invited to join the next monthly Twitter chat with Pennsylvania’s major education leadership organizations on Tuesday, June 30 at 8 p.m. They will discuss details of the recommendations for a fair, school funding formula made by the General Assembly’s Basic Education Funding Commission. Use hashtag #FairFundingPA to participate and follow the conversation.
On the last Tuesday of each month at 8 p.m., the following organizations go to Twitter to discuss timely topics, ask questions and listen to the public’s responses:
  • The Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA);
  • The Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA);
  • The Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO);
  • The Pennsylvania Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals (PAESSP)
  • The Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools (PARSS)
Join the conversation. Share your ideas, lurk, learn and let us know what you think about the state’s support for public schools. It’s a simple, free and fast-paced way to communicate and share information. If you’ve never tweeted before, here are directions and a few tips:

Register Now – PAESSP State Conference – Oct. 18-20 – State College, PA
Registration is now open for PAESSP's State Conference to be held October 18-20 at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel in State College, PA! This year's theme is @EVERYLEADER and features three nationally-known keynote speakers (Dr. James Stronge, Justin Baeder and Dr. Mike Schmoker), professional breakout sessions, a legal update, exhibits, Tech Learning Labs and many opportunities to network with your colleagues (Monday evening event with Jay Paterno).  Once again, in conjunction with its conference, PAESSP will offer two 30-hour Act 45 PIL-approved programs, Linking Student Learning to Teacher Supervision and Evaluation (pre-conference offering on 10/17/15); and Improving Student Learning Through Research-Based Practices: The Power of an Effective Principal (held during the conference, 10/18/15 -10/20/15). Register for either or both PIL programs when you register for the Full Conference!
REGISTER TODAY for the Conference and Act 45 PIL program/s at:

Apply now for EPLC’s 2015-2016 PA Education Policy Fellowship Program
Applications are available now for the 2015-2016 Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP).  The Education Policy Fellowship Program is sponsored in Pennsylvania by The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC).  With more than 400 graduates in its first sixteen years, this Program is a premier professional development opportunity for educators, state and local policymakers, advocates, and community leaders.  State Board of Accountancy (SBA) credits are available to certified public accountants.  Past participants include state policymakers, district superintendents and principals, charter school leaders, school business officers, school board members, education deans/chairs, statewide association leaders, parent leaders, education advocates, and other education and community leaders.  Fellows are typically sponsored by their employer or another organization.  The Fellowship Program begins with a two-day retreat on September 17-18, 2015 and continues to graduation in June 2016.
Click here to read about the Education Policy Fellowship Program.

Sign up here to receive a weekly email update on the status of efforts to have Pennsylvania adopt an adequate, equitable, predictable and sustainable Basic Education Funding Formula by 2016
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Campaign for Fair Education Funding website
Our goal is to ensure that every student has access to a quality education no matter where they live. To make that happen, we need to fundamentally change how public schools are funded. The current system is not fair to students or taxpayers and our campaign partners – more than 50 organizations from across Pennsylvania - agree that it has to be changed now. Student performance is stagnating. School districts are in crisis. Lawmakers have the ability to change this formula but they need to hear from you. You can make a difference »

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