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Monday, July 6, 2015
PA Ed Policy Roundup July 6: SB6: Editorial - New layer of bureaucracy is not answer to quandary of Pa.'s lowest performing schools
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PA Ed Policy Roundup for July 6, 2015:
SB6: Editorial - New layer of bureaucracy is not answer to quandary of
's lowest performing schools Pa.
SB6: Editorial - New layer of bureaucracy is not answer to quandary of
's lowest performing schools Pa.
The LNP Editorial Board | Posted Yesterday
THE ISSUE: A bill aimed at turning around underperforming schools passed in the state Senate last week by a vote of 27-22. Senate Bill 6, the Educational Opportunity and Accountability Act, would transfer the lowest-performing schools to a new statewide entity called the
. The ASD could manage a
school directly or contract with other educational organizations — including
for-profit companies — to do so. The bill’s primary sponsor was state Sen.
Lloyd Smucker, a Achievement School District Lancaster
County Republican. First of all, we have to say this: Sen.
Smucker has proven himself to be a champion of education in the
commonwealth, and we laud his concern for the students trapped in
underperforming schools. Smucker has
been tenacious in working on behalf of our kids, both as a rank-and-file
lawmaker and as chairman of the Senate Education Committee.
He’s earned the respect he gets from people in this county.
But in this instance, on this bill, we disagree with Smucker.
SB6: Unintended consequences mar school accountability bill
Martin Hudacs, Ed.D, is the former superintendent of
retired in June 2014. Solanco
To paraphrase a famous saying, “The road to unintended consequences is paved with good intentions.” Many well-intended legislative actions have created costly and unwieldy consequences for school systems. For example, to improve student success, the Keystone Exams were implemented. To improve teacher and principal accountability, the Teacher Effectiveness Evaluation System was implemented. To improve scrutiny of volunteers, clearance requirements were extended. All of these intentions are worthy of support and action. All of the implemented actions, however, are presently being reconsidered because they not only did not achieve their purpose, but they were also extremely costly for school districts in both money and manpower. I’m afraid we are going to see the same thing with Senate Bill 6, The Educational Opportunity and Accountability Act that is being considered in
Harrisburg. The bill’s primary sponsor
is Lancaster County Sen. Lloyd Smucker, chairman of the Senate Education
"We understand charter schools give parents options when it comes to their children's education, and in general we support school choice — as long as charter schools are held to the same standards as traditional schools."
EDITORIAL: Reform charter school laws
The results of a state audit of
York City's Helen
School paint a picture of education in
disarray and highlight the urgent need to reform Pennsylvania's charter school laws. Auditor General
Eugene DePasquale — who once represented York City in the state House — summed
it up this way: "In the Thackston
charter school's case, there is no way to account for every dollar, or to know
if the school operated as intended, because of a breakdown of internal
controls," DePasquale said. "The lack of documentation makes it
nearly impossible to draw any sound conclusion." The routine review, which looked at
Thackston's operations from 2010 to 2013, found a general lack of
accountability and transparency, an insufficient number of certified teachers,
and a failure to keep proper financial and health records. It also exposed potential ethics violation,
concerns about reimbursements and double-billing for tuition reimbursements
from local school districts, according to DePasquale.
State budget talks restart today
Expectation of veto aided GOP’s legislative wins in
some say Pennsylvania
HARRISBURG >> After three years of futility, Republicans finally used their majorities in Pennsylvania’s state House and Senate to pass their top agenda items: ending the traditional pension benefit in the state’s public employee retirement systems and privatizing its government-controlled wine and liquor store system. But the GOP’s victories are expected to be short-lived — and that may help explain why they passed. Practically every lawmaker believed that the pension and liquor bills were destined for the veto pen of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf. That made it easier for some to drop misgivings, or outright opposition, and fall in line by voting “yes,” some lawmakers said. Sen. Don White is one of the lawmakers who voted for the wine and liquor bill despite concerns that he wanted addressed. “I think we all did,” said White, R-Indiana.
Fiscal year revenues almost seven percent higher than previous year
The PLS Reporter Eye Opener email July 10, 2015
The Independent Fiscal Office released its revenue trends report for June last week, indicating that the close of the fiscal year saw state revenues increase almost seven percent over the previous fiscal year. Excepting out a large inheritance collection and certain one-time revenue transfers, revenue still increased 5.8 percent over FY 2013-2014. For the fiscal year, total revenue collections were $30.59 billion.
Wolf vetoes bills on liquor privatization, school funding
WTAE.com by Mark Scolforo Associated Press UPDATED 10:20 PM EDT Jul 02, 2015
Reach Jerry Lynott at 570-991-6120 or on Twitter @TLNews
Although the flash and bang of the Fourth’s fireworks are no more than memories and the long holiday weekend is over,
could be noisy place this week as budget talks are set to resume. The June 30 deadline passed without a new
spending plan in place for the 2015-2016 fiscal year. Last week Gov. Tom Wolf,
a Democrat, vetoed the $30.1 billion budget submitted by Republican lawmakers
who make up the majority in the General Assembly. The governor dismissed it for
failing to address the issues of adequately funding public education through
the passage of severance tax on the natural gas industry, property tax reform
and erasing a structural deficit of more than $1 billion. The standstill drew responses from a number
of groups, urging the administration and lawmakers to put aside partisan
differences and negotiate with the interests of the citizens and the future of
the Commonwealth at heart.
Our view: GOP's
budget invited Wolf veto Pa.
GoErie.com Editorial July 2, 2015 01:04 AM
Hey, Gov. Wolf - pass pension reform, don't raise taxes: Charlie Gerow
PennLive Op-Ed By Charlie Gerow on July 05, 2015 at 11:30 AM
For the first time in nearly half a century a
governor has vetoed a balanced budget. By using his veto pen Gov. Tom Wolf has
set the stage for a protracted stalemate.
The 253 members of the General Assembly did their jobs. They passed a
balanced budget, without raising taxes, before the midnight June 30
constitutional deadline. In addition to
the general appropriations bill (the budget) they also sent along two companion
pieces. One was liquor reform (which has since been vetoed), the other pension
reform. At the heart of the process is
the looming pension crisis. Denied by candidate Tom Wolf during the campaign,
the whopping pension debt is something he hasn't been able to sidestep once it
came time to confront the realities of governing.
Gov. Wolf’s budget addresses real problems
Post-Gazette Letter by BARNEY OURSLER, Executive Director,
United July 5, 2015 12:00 AM
Gov. Tom Wolf’s priorities are simple: fix the state’s structural deficit, bring property relief to homeowners and significantly restore education funding. I support Gov. Wolf’s full veto of the Republican budget plan that ignores those important points and is packed with folly and an anti-people agenda (“Pennsylvania’s Governor, Legislators Plan New Round of Budget Talks,” July 2). Last year we voted Tom Corbett out of office because we had enough of Mr. Corbett’s cuts to public schools, his corporate loopholes and handouts to gas drillers, but Republican legislators insist on playing politics with a budget that is a Corbett-era redo and doesn’t address the real problems of Pennsylvanians.
Column: Republicans' budget reflects taxpayers' priorities
Reading Eagle Opinion By Sen. David Argall Sunday July 5, 2015 12:01 AM
On June 30, after months of debate and public hearings, the Pennsylvania Senate and House of Representatives passed a balanced budget that reflects the fiscal realities of the state and the taxpayers. Unlike our federal counterparts, we must pass a balanced budget every year. The residents of Berks and
Schuylkill counties have told me
loud and clear that they would rather see the state use its current revenues
before we turn to the taxpayers and ask them for more money. The Senate- and
House-passed budget reflects those demands.
The state budget boosts spending for education by $370 million, including an additional $100 million for basic education, $20 million for special education and $30 million for early childhood programs. The budget drives out money to public schools based on a new formula that was developed by the bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission. The commission's recommendations were praised by Gov. Tom Wolf. The budget plan also includes a much-needed initiative to provide school districts with reimbursements for construction projects. Because the governor vetoed the entire state budget - for the first time in over 40 years - critical state programs and services are now at risk.
- See more at: http://readingeagle.com/news/article/republicans-budget-reflects-taxpayers-priorities#sthash.s0j3XMll.dpuf
Pa. schools could soon have new funding formula, but officials aren't banking on it yet
A proposal would change the way the state gives money to school districts
York Daily Record By Angie Mason email@example.com @angiemason1 on Twitter UPDATED: 07/04/2015
Some local school officials say a proposed new school funding formula is looking at the right factors, but it remains to be seen whether that formula will be used to dole out additional classroom funds for 2015-16. After about a year of work, a bipartisan state commission recently recommended a funding formula that takes into account factors such as a district's average three-year student enrollment, poverty — with greater emphasis on those with a lot of students in severe poverty — English language learners, charter school enrollment, and local tax effort.
Pennsylvania has been criticized for having no formula
and basing districts' funding on decades-old enrollment estimates.
With hundreds of volunteers, school districts scrambling to comply with background check law
Legislation brings clarification to state law requiring volunteer background checks
By Christina Tatu Of The Morning Call July 6, 2015
School districts across the
are plodding ahead
to comply with a new background check law that has been mired in confusion over
who, among the hundreds of volunteers, requires clearances. A bill that passed the Legislature last month
is supposed to bring clarity to the requirements that cover anyone who works
with children. But even with the changes, educators say the new mandate is a
major undertaking. The deadline for new
volunteers to obtain their clearances has been extended from July 1 to Aug. 25. "I think we've gotten a better
understanding of who needs to get the clearances and who doesn't. It's still a
significant expansion of what's required before people can be volunteers,"
Bethlehem Area School District Superintendent Joseph Roy said. Updates contained in House Bill 1276
specifically clarify background check requirements that were part of a package
of child-protection laws adopted in 2013 in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky
child sexual abuse scandal at Penn State. Lehigh
The Inevitable, Indispensable Property Tax
New York Times By JOSH BARRO JULY 4, 2015
If you’re a homeowner, you probably don’t like paying property taxes. But economists like property taxes for the same reason taxpayers hate them: They’re hard to avoid.
A 2008 study by researchers at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development looked at a number of countries and found that taxes on real property caused the least drag on gross domestic product per dollar of revenue raised. Next came sales taxes, personal income taxes and corporate income taxes. In other words, property taxes were the best way to collect revenue without hurting the economy too much. As the economist Greg Mankiw wrote in this space three years ago, “A good rule of thumb is that when you tax something, you get less of it.” That idea helps explain why property taxes do relatively little economic damage.
“Below are 14 pieces, most including a podcast, that NewsWorks and the Notebook put together for Multiple Choices, a series that explains the major aspects of the state's complex, puzzling, and unequal education funding system.”
Brush up on your knowledge of school funding in
By the Notebook on Jul 2, 2015 01:50 PM
The ongoing budget stalemate in
Harrisburg has left school
districts across Pennsylvania
in the dark about how much state money they'll be getting. With a new
governor, a new proposed funding formula, and constant disagreement about how
schools should be funded, lots of changes are afoot in Pennsylvania's education system.
Storify for #FairFundingPA Chat - June 2015
Finally, Congress to start debate on No Child Left Behind rewrite
Congress is finally supposed to be turning its attention to the No Child Left Behind law, the education law that passed in the administration of president George W. Bush, and was supposed to be rewritten in 2007. There are bills in both the House and Senate, both of which would make significant changes to education policy today, as explained in this post. It was written by Monty Neill, executive director of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, known as FairTest, a nonprofit organization that works to end the misuses of standardized testing and to ensure that evaluation of students, educators and schools is fair, open, valid and educationally sound.
NCLB Rewrite: New tune for piano-playing senator: Revised education policy
Philly.com by LAURIE KELLMAN, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS July 4, 2015, 7:46 AM
WASHINGTON (AP) - How does a musician-senator fill the time during yet another partisan Senate stalemate? In Sen. Lamar Alexander's case, he sits down at a borrowed piano in his Capitol Hill office and, with a grin, bangs out "The Memphis Blues." He's been blending music and politics his whole life. And this coming week, the three-term Tennessee Republican hopes Democrats and the GOP harmonize as the Senate becomes Alexander's stage. The son of a school teacher and principal, this former federal education secretary and onetime university president will be shepherding a bill he's been working on for seven years: a rewrite of the contentious No Child Left Behind law.
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
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! State
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.
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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
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