Sunday, September 20, 2015

PA Ed Policy Weekend Roundup September 20 , 2015: Budget Op/Eds; Budget Impacts

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Weekend Roundup September 20 , 2015:
Budget Op/Eds; Budget Impacts

What Will Zuckerberg Learn from Newark?
Living in Dialogue Blog By John Thompson  Posted on Friday, September 18, 2015 8:37 am 
John Thompson was an award winning historian, with a doctorate from Rutgers, and a legislative lobbyist when crack and gangs hit his neighborhood, and he became an inner city teacher. He blogs for This Week in Education, the Huffington Post and other sites. 
Dale Russakoff’s 2014 New Yorker profile “Schooled” is a wonderful account of Mark Zuckerberg’s $100 million investment in Newark school reform, and how and why it failed. Perhaps the best new revelation in “Schooled” starts with the lesson Russakoff learned from a wealthy donor. “Investors bet on people, not on business plans, because they know successful people will find a way to be successful.” And, sure enough, when Facebook’s founder announced his plan to transform Newark schools, “One Newark,” he explained that he was persuaded by then-mayor Cory Booker, “This is the guy I want to invest in. This is a person who can create change.”  Booker created a confidential draft plan to “make Newark the charter school capital of the nation.” Because it would be driven by philanthropic donors, no openness would be required.  “Real change requires casualties,” Booker argued, and stealth was required to defeat “the pre-existing order,” which will “fight loudly and viciously.”  This raises the question of what would have happened if Booker had done all of “the right things,” and been transparent, instead of caricaturing teachers and unions. What if Booker had provided Zuckerberg with a fair and balanced analysis of school improvement issues?

Corporate ed fails the test Opinion by LISA HAVER POSTED: Friday, September 18, 2015, 12:16 AM
HOW LONG DO you keep a failed experiment going before you pull the plug - especially when you are using children as its subjects?
About 20 years ago, the seed of corporate education reform - the idea that education should no longer be a cooperative endeavor governed by school district residents, but an experiment in free-market economics overseen by millionaires and billionaires from afar - was planted.  Investors and lobbyists spun the narrative that schools were failing and that teachers and their unions were to blame. Budgets were slashed while standardized testing was ramped up; test results were used to justify handing over neighborhood schools to charters or closing them permanently. The untested Common Core standards were adopted in every state. And in cities including Philadelphia, local school boards were replaced by state appointees. Lasting decisions on the mission and direction of entire districts were being made in the corporate boardrooms of reform heavy-hitters, including The Bill and Melinda Gates and Walton foundations. Their grants came only with mandates to "turn around" schools - by forcing out faculty, converting to charter or closing permanently.  But after all of the billions spent and all of the laws passed to institute these reforms in every major city in the country, those vastly improved school systems, meeting the needs of children and communities, have yet to appear on the horizon.

"Our communities are filled with real children who only get one chance at an education. It is time for state lawmakers who claim to support our schools to back up their words with their actions. It is time for lawmakers who care about public education to go to Harrisburg to do the hard work of governing and vote for a state budget that will invest $410 million in our schools and begin to help our schools get back on track.  Our communities have done everything they can to support our children and their schools. Now it is time for state lawmakers to do their part."
Guest Editorial: Lawmakers must put up on education funding
The Sentinel Cumberlink by Susan Spicka Guest Editorial September 17, 2015 9:30 am
Susan Spicka of Shippensburg is the Advocacy Coordinator for Education Voters of PA
When I was very young, I learned in my church and from my parents that actions speak louder than words.  Anyone who has paid attention to the actions of our communities in Franklin County understands that we care deeply about our children and want them to go to good schools where they will receive the educational opportunities they need to be successful now and after they graduate.  In recent years, as school districts have faced devastating budget deficits because of inadequate state funding, home and business owners have paid higher property taxes. Parents have scraped together money for expensive fees so their children can participate in extra-curricular activities.  PTOs and booster clubs have redoubled their fundraising efforts, school district foundations have raised millions of dollars, and area businesses, veterans’ groups, and social clubs have donated what they can afford to help fund opportunities for our children.

Editorial: It’s time to get a budget deal in Harrisburg
Delco Times Editorial POSTED: 09/17/15, 10:01 PM EDT
Enough.  Pennsylvania’s constitution mandates that a new budget be in place by July 1.
So much for the law of the land. For 11 weeks and counting, Gov. Tom Wolf and Republicans in the state Legislature have been thumbing their nose at the law – and the citizens of Pennsylvania – locked in a battle over a new fiscal plan.  It wasn’t hard to see this one coming. Democrat Wolf booted Republican Tom Corbett from the governor’s mansion on a campaign in which he vowed to restore years of education cuts, a result of four years of austere budgets rammed through by Corbett and his GOP pals.  Wolf envisioned a severance tax on natural gas extraction in the state as a way to not only restore the Corbett cuts, but increase education funding. Even some Republicans, including Springfield’s Tom McGarrigle in his campaign for the 26th District state Senate seat, offered support for the new levy on the state’s booming gas business.  It’s one thing to support that line of thinking here in Delaware County, where many struggling school districts have been hard hits by years of brutal budgets. It’s another altogether in Harrisburg, where Republican leaders would rather undergo root canal than increase taxes.

Guest Column: Wolf offers compromise; GOP offers spin
Delco Times Opinion By John Hanger, Times Guest Columnist 09/18/15, 10:04 PM EDT
John Hanger is Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Policy and Planning.
If you needed another example of how broken Harrisburg has become, look no further than this past Wednesday. Not long after Gov. Tom Wolf put historic compromises on the table for Republican leaders’ biggest priorities – pension reform with a 401(k)-style component and liquor privatization – Sens. Jake Corman, R-Centre, and Joseph Scarnati, R-Jefferson, took to the Capitol rotunda to score political points. Rather than being accurate about Gov. Wolf’s proposed historic reforms on these priorities, Sens. Corman and Scarnati misrepresented what had been discussed in budget negotiations.  The governor remains committed to helping middle class families in Pennsylvania by reversing Republican cuts to education and human service providers, providing property tax relief and fixing our mess of a budget deficit without gimmicks or games.  While standing firm in his commitment these priorities, Gov. Wolf has also been consistently willing to compromise with Republican leaders to pass a real budget. While other compromises have fallen on deaf ears to Republican leaders, Wednesday’s offer was a big deal.

Budget bluster: Wolf offers nothing on liquor, little on pensions
Post Gazette By the Editorial Board September 18, 2015 12:00 AM
You’d think a former businessman would know the art of compromise. What Gov. Tom Wolf has offered state legislative leaders is no compromise at all.  The Democratic governor says he wants the Republicans who control the General Assembly to give him a severance tax on shale drilling, more money for education and options for property tax relief. What he has offered is a private lease proposal that doesn’t privatize the state liquor monopoly and some changes on public pensions that don’t really reform the pension system. (A 401(k) plan for new employees making at least $75,000? How many state or school employees start at that salary?)  No wonder Mr. Wolf’s negotiating opposites are unimpressed. The Republicans should stand their ground until the governor is ready to offer something significant.

A look at the differences in what Republicans, Wolf want
The Sentinel Cumberlink  Associated Press September 18, 2015
The budget stalemate between Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and leaders of the House and Senate Republican majorities in the Pennsylvania Legislature has hit 80 days. Here is a summary of their key objectives and what they have made public about their compromise offers:

Pennsylvania Senate passes short-term spending plan
WTAE by MARC LEVY Associated Press Published  2:04 PM EDT Sep 18, 2015
HARRISBURG, Pa. —The state Senate on Friday passed an $11 billion short-term spending plan that faces a certain veto by Gov. Tom Wolf amid an entrenched budget stalemate that is forcing schools to take out loans and shutting off some social services.  Pennsylvania's Democratic governor says Wednesday that Republicans misrepresented the status of budget negotiations, and he insists he made a far-reaching offer to bridge the divide.  As Pennsylvania's budget stalemate stretches into a third month, Gov. Tom Wolf is abandoning heavily attended meetings with lawmakers and aides in favor of more private meetings without staff.  For the third time in a dozen years, counties and nonprofit agencies that make up Pennsylvania's social services safety net are girding to pay the price of partisan deadlock in Harrisburg.  There is no end in sight to the stalemate, in its 80th day, as the Democratic governor and top Republican lawmakers have sparred publicly. Meanwhile, leaders of the Legislature's huge Republican majorities forged ahead with the short-term spending measure, against Wolf's wishes.  "Let's let the money flow," Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre, told colleagues during floor debate Friday. "Let's let our school districts not have to worry about can they make payments to their employees. Can those employees, can they make their mortgage payment this month? Can they pay the food bill, pay the electric bill because they don't know if they're getting a paycheck or not? That doesn't need to happen."  The Senate's vote was along party lines, 30 to 19, as Democrats stood behind Wolf. They stopgap budget bill, they said, would simply cement in place funding cuts to schools and social services that Republicans had passed in the years before Wolf took office, cuts that he has sought to erase with increases in aid, Democrats argued.

All or nothing: Stopgap budget won’t make it past Gov. Wolf
Lancaster Online by Tim Stuhldreher Staff Writer September 20, 2015
On Friday, the state Senate passed a four-month, $11.2 billion stopgap budget on a party-line vote.  Late next week, the state House is expected to do the same. Legislative action on the measure is scheduled to begin Monday.  Gov. Tom Wolf then will veto it. Wolf will not accept a stopgap budget unless agreement on a full budget is in place, spokesman Jeff Sheridan said.  The two sides will blame each other, and the state will head toward its fourth month without a spending plan.  Wolf, a Democrat, says Republicans, who dominate both chambers of the legislature, are doing their best to maintain his predecessor Tom Corbett’s “failed policies of the past.”  Republicans say Wolf’s proposed sales tax and income tax hikes are “massive” and would cost jobs and hurt ordinary Pennsylvanians.  Among those left in the lurch are school districts and private human service providers. State funding is a key income stream for them, and increasingly they are having to look at lines of credit, loans and cutbacks.

Senate passes stopgap budget despite Wolf's veto threat
Penn Live By Jan Murphy | Email the author | Follow on Twitter on September 18, 2015 at 11:22 AM, updated September 18, 2015 at 2:43 PM
Despite the dim prospects of it ever gaining Gov. Tom Wolf's signature, the GOP-controlled state Senate on Friday went ahead and approved an $11 billion stopgap budget.  The partial budget bill was approved by a straight party-line 30-19 vote.  The budget plan was offered by Republicans as a way to allow state dollars to once again start flowing to school districts and social service agencies while talks with the Democratic governor on a finalized state budget continue.  Considering how far apart the sides are, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre County, said the interim spending plan is necessary to get money to agencies that need it instead of holding them hostage.  "We shouldn't shut down the government because we have a disagreement ... when we can do a third of a budget," he said. "It's not the way we want to do it by any stretch. But I don't think the people of Pennsylvania should have to pay for our disagreements."  Democrats, meanwhile, consider what some call an exercise in futility a sideshow that does nothing to advance the effort to break the budget impasse in its 80th day as of Friday and reach a budget agreement.

Is a stop-gap budget meant to make Tom Wolf a one-term governor? Democrats say it is
Penn Live By Christian Alexandersen | Email the author | Follow on Twitter on September 18, 2015 at 3:49 PM, updated September 18, 2015 at 4:44 PM
Depending on which lawmaker you talk to, the purpose of a stop-gap budget is either to provide money for social service providers and school districts or keep Gov. Tom Wolf from getting reelected in three years.  The proposal would provide four months of funding for state agencies, full-year federal funding and full-year funding for other state special funds. The $11 billion stop-gap budget is now headed to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for a vote.
Wolf has promised to veto the stop-gap budget if it reaches his desk.

Budget Impact: Phoenixville School District to pay half of pension obligations
By Eric Devlin, on Twitter POSTED: 09/18/15, 3:37 PM EDT | UPDATED: 1 DAY AGO
Phoenixville >> Pennsylvania’s budget impasse is being felt in all corners of the state including in the Phoenixville Area School District.  Last week, school officials discussed the district’s plan to pay 50 percent of what’s owed for the Public School Employees’ Retirement System until the state approves a new budget. The district is still deciding what to do about charter school payments. Additionally, officials say the district will be able to remain afloat financially until next spring, should the impasse continue into 2016.  Stan Johnson, executive director of operations, said Thursday the district faces two issues: PSERS payments and charter school payments.  “The normal method for that and the requirement by law is that the state of Pennsylvania pays us 50 percent of the obligation, we pay the other 50 percent,” Johnson said of the PSERS system. “Within five days of the receipt of funds from the state, we then put our money with the state’s money and give that money to PSERS.”  However, now without the state’s 50 percent share, the question becomes when does the district owe its share of the bill?  “Lawyers have taken the position that we don’t owe anything to PSERS until we receive the state’s share,” Johnson said. “That is a big unknown at this point with no state budget.”

Budget Impact: Cyber charter schools will struggle as Pennsylvania budget stalemate drags on, executives say
Lancaster Online by Kara Newhouse September 19, 2015
Charter schools are in the same boat as regular public schools when facing the state budget stalemate, according to Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School CEO Michael Conti.
And that boat is in rough water.  School districts in Pennsylvania are paying the bills with local revenue while they await a state budget and its accompanying subsidies. Recently, some districts around the state, including Elizabethtown and Lancasterdecided to withhold full or partial charter school payments as one measure to keep money in local coffers.  Those decisions are understandable but will also affect students, two cyber charter school executives said Thursday. And that's not the only reason cyber charter schools will struggle if Gov. Tom Wolf and the GOP-controlled Legislature don't reach an agreement soon.

Budget Impact: Union leader: Erie teachers willing to work without pay
Erie Times-News By Erica Erwin  814-870-1846 September 18, 2015 09:52 PM
ERIE, Pa. -- Erie School District teachers would be willing to work without pay -- for a short period of time and only under certain terms -- as the district faces the prospect of running out of money, union leader Greg Henderson said Friday.  Henderson said the teachers union and the district would need to negotiate the conditions under which Erie Education Association members would work voluntarily, and stressed that members would only do so for weeks, not months.  "If we come to the table and can figure out what those parameters are, we're willing to do that," Henderson said. "The teachers will always take the high road."  Henderson made the comments the same day the Erie School District learned it received $2 million in local property taxes that will allow it to pay teachers and other district employees until Oct. 2. Without that influx of cash, the district would not have been able to make payroll after Sept. 25 because of the ongoing state budget impasse.

Helping students with emotional needs is money well-spent
Post Gazette Letter by Cheryl Kleiman, Staff Attorney, Education Law Center September 16, 2015
As the commonwealth’s budget impasse drags on, it’s important not to get lost in the numbers. Well-funded and well-led school districts can change students’ lives.  We applaud the Post-Gazette’s Sept. 7 article “Educators Can Spot Emotional Baggage” for highlighting childhood trauma as a key issue facing our region’s students.  Many students who live in poverty come from neighborhoods and homes where they are exposed to a variety of traumas — including witnessing violence, losing a loved one and physical or sexual abuse. These children suffer harm that often manifests itself in the classroom.  When schools don’t have the resources to support students and teachers, students can be punished for behaviors that stem from the underlying trauma — including missing school, fighting and struggling academically. Schools may resort to excluding the very students who would benefit from increased attention. Such punishment reinforces a child’s trauma — penalizing the student for something that is not his or her fault — and pushes the child further away from school.

State to argue Chester Upland’s case in court
By Vince Sullivan, Delaware County Daily Times POSTED: 09/17/15, 6:50 AM EDT 
MEDIA COURTHOUSE >> President Judge Chad F. Kenney will preside over a hearing Friday morning concerning the latest amended financial recovery plan filed Tuesday by the Chester Upland School District and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.  The plan, which seeks to erase the embattled school district’s ballooning deficit, is the most recent proposal to achieve that objective. The main initiatives includes in a previous plan filed in August were rejected by Kenney after two days of hearings.  The new plan calls for the same changes in charter school tuition reimbursement changes for special education students that were called for in last month’s filing, but this time it also requests $25 million in extra funding from the state to address an existing deficit.  Currently, charter schools receive about $40,000 in tuition reimbursement for each special education student from Chester Upland. The plan seeks to reduce those payments to $16,000 per student. Kenney denied this request in August, saying that the changes didn’t address millions of dollars in budget shortfalls.  This time around, the district and the state are asking for $25 million that would wipe out the district’s existing $23.8 million deficit and provide a $1.2 million budget surplus. The charter tuition changes would prevent additional deficits from accruing, the plan suggests, setting Chester Upland on solid financial footing by the end of the current school year. Without any changes, the plan shows that the district deficit will swell to $50.9 million.

Local educators say 1-year pause right move for school profile scores
By Evan Brandt, The Mercury POSTED: 09/20/15, 2:00 AM EDT |
A recent decision by the Wolf administration may take some of the sting out of an expected drop in statewide standardized test scores.  Area school officials and teachers are reacting with cautious approval to the news that the coming low-scoring PSSA test results will not count toward this year’s School Performance Profile scores in most elementary and middle schools.  The announcement by the Pennsylvania Department of Education came in the wake of a one-year waiver from the requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act granted last week by the U.S. Dept. of Education.  Schools that use the Keystone Exams, primarily high schools, will continue to have School Performance Profile scores based, in part, on those results.  The previous school year was the first that the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests used new, more rigorous standards aligned with the Pennsylvania Core standards, associated with national the “Common Core” standards.

Read the full Philly SRC resolution on Source4Teachers contract
By the Notebook on Sep 17, 2015 12:55 PM

Casey laments sequestration's possible return
Scranton Times Tribune BY BORYS KRAWCZENIUK, STAFF WRITER September 17, 2015
The potential return of automatic annual federal budget cuts would decrease money flowing to cities and counties for community development, educating young children and other programs, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey warned Wednesday.  National defense leaders have warned all year long that automatic cuts — known as sequestration — would also harm the military’s ability to fight wars, but Mr. Casey homed in on more local effects during a conference call with reporters from across the state.  Instead of allowing automatic cuts, House and Senate budget negotiators should sit down and negotiate appropriate spending levels, he said.  “It’s about time we stopped allowing people in Washington to play games with the budget itself or appropriations, and to negotiate budgets that make a lot more sense, focus on our priorities and also finally, finally get rid of sequestration once and for all,” he said. “This isn’t just a debate about budgets and numbers and programs.”

Education Secretary Duncan pushes higher test score standards
By Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette September 18, 2015 11:03 PM
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said Pennsylvania won’t be alone in seeing lower standardized test scores after aligning its tests with core standards, and that the lower scores don’t mean students aren’t smart.  Test scores across the country are expected to be lower as they are released in the coming weeks because standards have been raised on the tests that are based on the Common Core. In Pennsylvania, the tests are aligned with Pennsylvania Core.  “Obviously, students aren’t going to be less smart than they were six months ago or a year ago,” Mr. Duncan said. “In far too many states, including Pennsylvania, politicians dummied down standards to make themselves look good.”  Mr. Duncan made his comments during a visit to Carnegie Mellon University, which was the final stop on his seven state, 10-stop tour titled “Ready for Success.”  The secretary said children and parents “were lied to and told they were on the track to be successful” when they weren’t. He called that “one of the most insidious things that happened in education.”

Duncan Still Oblivious
Curmuducation Blog by Peter Greene Friday, September 18, 2015
Riding along with Arne Duncan on the back-to-school bus tour, Alyson Klein had the opportunity to do a little Q & A with Arne Duncan. The discussion indicates that there are some things that Arne just doesn't get. I recommend reading the whole piece, but there are a few moments I'd like to zero in on. 
In the midst of discussing whether or not certain reporting categories may have masked or weakened accountability, Arne says this: Accountability means different things to different folks. What we're asking for in the bill is not just data, which some would say is accountability, and not just transparency, which some would say is accountability, but actual action. And I think what we've been focused on the whole time with waivers is trying to transform low-performing schools.
So it's not real accountability until the big bosses tell you what you have to do next. It's a view of accountability that really tells us a lot about how Duncan sees the power dynamic. It's not just that the federal government is entitled to get whatever information they want to have, but that they are also entitled to tell the local entity what to do about any inadequacies that the feds diagnose.
Or to put it another way, in Duncan's vision of accountability, if a local district isn't getting results that the feds consider satisfactory, then that local district loses the right to local control.

Q & A: Arne Duncan's Big Mistake? 'I Should Have Done Waivers Earlier'
Education Week By Alyson Klein on September 17, 2015 11:03 AM
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's back-to-school bus tour took him through the heartland—Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and western Pennsylvania—and through the entire education spectrum, from preschool up through college.  I sat down with him on the bus somewhere between Champaign, Ill., and West Lafeyette, Ind. to ask about No Child Left Behind, waivers, School Improvement Grants, and what he sees as his biggest mistake.
What follows is a transcript that's been edited for clarity and brevity:

In one chart, the rules in all 50 states about opting kids out of standardized tests
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss September 19 at 11:31 AM  
The growing “opt-out movement” — when parents don’t allow their children to take state standardized tests — has grown significantly in various states around the country this past year, leading education officials to review their testing programs and see where they can cut back. The question for many parents is whether their state allows them to opt-out their children, and if not, what the actual consequences are if they do it anyway.  In New York state, some 20 percent of students opted out of tests this past spring, far more than the year before. With so much interest, one group of teachers within the United Federation of Teachers has set up a Web site for parents explaining how they can easily opt-out with their cell phone. In Washington state, up to 53 percent of 11th-graders opted-out of the spring Common Core exams.  The National Association of State Boards of Education has collected the rules in each state and assembled them in one chart, which you can see below.  Here is the chart, compiled by Sarah-Jane Lorenzo for the National Association of State Boards:

CNN Debate Aside, Ed. Finds Way Into Presidential Race
Education Writers Association SEPTEMBER 18, 2015 ERIK ROBELEN
Education didn’t exactly make a splash in this week’s Republican presidential debate — barely a ripple, actually — but the issue has gained considerable attention in the 2016 contest for the White House, from debates over the Common Core to proposals on higher education access and affordability.  In one exchange during Wednesday’s 11-candidate debate on CNN, apparent front-runner Donald Trump (once again) took a swipe at former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for supporting the Common Core standards, which Trump called a “disaster.” Bush touted his successful push for school choice through a major tax-credit scholarship program in Florida. And retired surgeon Ben Carson dismissed the idea of “free college” (as well as “free phones, free this and that”) as unrealistic.  For a detailed rundown and analysis of the Sept. 16 debate, check out this Politics K-12 post by Education Week’s Andrew Ujifusa, and Caitlin Emma’s write-up for Politico’s Morning Education.

PSBA launches an alumni network
Are you a former school director or in your final term? Stay connected through the PSBA Alumni Network. Your interest in public education continues beyond your term of service as a school director. And as a PSBA alumnus, you have years of experience and insight into the workings of public education and school boards. Legislators value your opinions as a former elected official. Take that knowledge and put it to work as a member of the PSBA Alumni Network.
For a nominal yearly fee of $25 a year or $100 for a lifetime membership, you will receive:
  • Electronic access to the PSBA Bulletin, the leading public education magazine in Pennsylvania
  • Access to legislative information pertaining to public education and periodic updates via email.
To join, complete the registration below. For more details or questions, contact Member Engagement Director Karen Devine at or (800) 932-0588, ext. 3322.

Register Now for the Fifth Annual Arts and Education Symposium Oct. 29th Harrisburg
Thursday, October 29, 2015 Radisson Hotel Harrisburg Convention Center 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Act 48 Credit is available. The event will be a daylong convening of arts education policy leaders and practitioners for lively discussions about important policy issues and the latest news from the field. The symposium is hosted by EPLC and the Pennsylvania Arts Education Network, and supported by a generous grant from The Heinz Endowments.

The John Stoops Lecture Series: Dr. Pasi Sahlberg "Education Around the World: Past, Present & Future" Lehigh University October 8, 2015 6:00 p.m.
Baker Hall | Zoellner Arts Center | 420 E. Packer Avenue | Bethlehem, PA 18015
Free and open to the public!  Ticketing is general admission - no preseating will be assigned. Arrive early for the best seats.  Please plan to stay post-lecture for an open reception where you will have an opportunity to meet with students from all of our programs to learn about the latest innovations in education and human services.

Register now for the 2015 PASCD 65th Annual Conference, Leading and Achieving in an Interconnected World, to be held November 15-17, 2015 at Pittsburgh Monroeville Convention Center.
The Conference will Feature Keynote Speakers: Meenoo Rami – Teacher and Author “Thrive: 5 Ways to (Re)Invigorate Your Teaching,”  Mr. Pedro Rivera, Pennsylvania Secretary of Education, Heidi Hayes-Jacobs – Founder and President of Curriculum Design, Inc. and David Griffith – ASCD Senior Director of Public Policy.  This annual conference features small group sessions focused on: Curriculum and Supervision, Personalized and Individualized Learning, Innovation, and Blended and Online Learning. The PASCD Conference is a great opportunity to stay connected to the latest approaches for innovative change in your school or district.  Join us forPASCD 2015!  Online registration is available by visiting <>

Slate of candidates for PSBA offices now available online
PSBA website July 31, 2015
The slate of candidates for 2016 PSBA officer and at-large representatives is now available online, including bios, photos and videos. According to recent PSBA Bylaws changes, each member school entity casts one vote per office. Voting will again take place online through a secure, third-party website -- Simply Voting. Voting will open Aug. 17 and closes Sept. 28. One person from the school entity (usually the board secretary) is authorized to register the vote on behalf of the member school entity and each board will need to put on its agenda discussion and voting at one of its meetings in August or September. Each person authorized to register the school entity's votes has received an email on July 16 to verify the email address and confirm they are the person to register the vote on behalf of their school entity. 

Register Now for PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference Oct. 14-16, 2015 Hershey Lodge & Convention Center
Save the date for the professional development event of the year. Be inspired at more than four exciting venues and invest in professional development for top administrators and school board members. Online registration is live at:

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:

Interested in letting our elected leadership know your thoughts on education funding, a severance tax, property taxes and the budget?
Governor Tom Wolf, (717) 787-2500

Speaker of the House Rep. Mike Turzai, (717) 772-9943
House Majority Leader Rep. Dave Reed, (717) 705-7173
Senate President Pro Tempore Sen. Joe Scarnati, (717) 787-7084
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Jake Corman, (717) 787-1377

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