Tuesday, September 22, 2015

PA Ed Policy Roundup Sept 22: Parents, School Districts Ask Pennsylvania Supreme Court to Hear School Funding Lawsuit

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 3750 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 September 22 , 2015:
Parents, School Districts Ask Pennsylvania Supreme Court to Hear School Funding Lawsuit


Blogger Rant: Ubiquitous radio ads notwithstanding, there's no such thing as a "tuition-free" cyber school.
Every dollar that goes to cybers via the state's convoluted funding scheme is a dollar taken away from the remaining students in the school district paying the tuition bill.  In the Philly radio marketplace we continue to be barraged with cyber charter commercials (paid for with our school tax dollars that should be spent in classrooms).  Not one of Pennsylvania's 500 school districts ever authorized a cyber charter school, yet all of them are required to send tax dollars to these chronically underperforming schools.  Not one cyber charter has achieved a passing score of 70 in the two years that the PA School Performance Profile has been used.  Most cybers never made adequate yearly progress during all of the years of No Child Left Behind.
Reprise: How do Pennsylvania cyber charter schools stack up on state scores?
Lancaster Online By KARA NEWHOUSE | Staff Writer Nov 21, 2014
The numbers are low.
Some of the lowest.
And it's not golf, so that's not a good thing.
Pennsylvania's 14 cyber charter schools scored "among the very lowest performing schools" on the School Performance Profiles released by the state earlier this month, according to an independent research group.  Research for Action, a Philadelphia nonprofit that studies education policies and reforms, published a policy brief this week, showing that cyber charters scored an average of 48.7 on the 100-point School Performance Profiles.  Traditional public schools across the state got an average of 76.9, and regular charters got an average of 65.1.

“We are asking Pennsylvania courts to exercise their weighty responsibility to ensure that state officials abide by Constitutional commands, just as courts in many other states have done.,” said Jennifer Clarke, executive director of the Public Interest Law Center. “We hope that this Supreme Court will step up because the disparities between wealthy and poor school districts in Pennsylvania are the greatest in the country, with the wealthiest school districts spending 33% more per-pupil than the poorest. All Pennsylvanians will benefit if the Court acts to ensure a quality education is available to all students.”
Parents, School Districts Ask Pennsylvania Supreme Court to Hear School Funding Lawsuit
Thorough and Efficient Blog by bgrimaldi2015 September 21, 2015
Harrisburg, Pa. – In a brief filed Friday, public school parents, school districts, and two statewide associations continued their legal challenge of Pennsylvania’s broken school funding system, telling the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that the availability of a high-quality public education in Pennsylvania will continue to be a “function of community wealth rather than a constitutional guarantee” unless the Court agrees to hear the legal challenge.
The petitioners are asking the court to send the case to a full trial and allow them to present evidence that the state legislature has failed to adequately and equitably fund the state’s public schools, thereby violating the legislature’s constitutional requirement to provide a “thorough and efficient system of public education” and to prohibit discrimination in state programs and services.

AMICI URGE PA COURTS TO HEAR EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY CASE
State says courts should not hear the evidence
Education Law Center September 21, 2015
Harrisburg, PA -- On September 18, 2015, several Pennsylvania organizations and the national Education Law Center (ELC) filed a friend of the court, or amicus, brief in support of the plaintiffs in William Penn School District v. State, a school funding and educational opportunity case. They ask the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to allow plaintiffs to present their evidence to a trial court.  The State is arguing that plaintiffs should not have that opportunity. The State asserts that the courts should be closed to plaintiffs without hearing their claims and without learning what resources plaintiffs allege are missing from the public schools and, by their absence, causing harm to students.  The Pennsylvania-based Education Matters in the Cumberland ValleyEducation Voters Pennsylvania, the Jewish Social Policy Action Network, the Pennsylvania Association of School Nurses and PractitionersPublic Citizens for Children and Youth, and Yinzercation , joined ELC on the amicus brief. The law firm of Jones Day provided pro bono assistance to author the brief with ELC.

"While Kenney mulls the most recent proposal from Barnes that calls for a reduction in charter school tuition payments from $40,000 to $16,000, negotiations are happening between the largest charter school in the state and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Kirkland said that the two entities are trying to come up with a mutually acceptable number for the tuition payments."
Chester residents take case for more education funding to Harrisburg
By Vince Sullivan, Delaware County Daily Times POSTED: 09/21/15, 12:02 PM EDT
HARRISBURG >> A sea of orange cascaded down the steps to the State Capitol Monday morning as more than 80 supporters of the Chester Upland School District rallied for the passage of a proposed bill that would bring the distressed school system out of a decades-long deficit.  Organized by the school board, elected officials, students, parents and teachers spoke in the East Wing Rotunda about fair school funding and then emerged to the Capitol steps to loudly proclaim where they are from and what they want.  “We’re excited about you all coming to Harrisburg and fighting for our school district,” said state Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland, D-159, at a press conference Monday morning in the East Wing Rotunda. “Chester students do matter. We don’t have the financial wherewithal of other school districts ... But our students and our teachers still come to school each and every day.”  Kirkland has submitted a bill, HB 1521, that would provide a $25 million payment from the state to lift the district out of its structural deficit. On July 1, that deficit stood at $23.8 million. Over the last five weeks, Chester Upland Receiver Francis V. Barnes has proposed reducing the amount of money paid to charter schools for special education students. His original proposal was denied by Delaware County Court of Common Pleas Judge Chad F. Kenney, and a second proposal seeking the same reduction, along with the $25 million extraordinary payment, is currently being considered by the judge.

"The partisanship he reads about in Harrisburg that is contributing to the budget impasse is "stupid," he said. DiBello pointed out he is a Republican and Ciresi is a Democrat but they don't let their political affiliation stand in the way of representing the community and students and neither should lawmakers."
School board questions lawmakers' commitment to education
Penn Live By Jan Murphy | jmurphy@pennlive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on September 21, 2015 at 4:09 PM
Cut off from state funding since July 1, school boards are getting restless about when astate budget will get finalized and when they might see dollars from Harrisburg start flowing again.
But that wasn't the only thing on the minds of school board members from Montgomery County's Spring-Ford Area School District, who came to state Capitol on Monday to discuss the impact of the now 83-day budget impasse with state lawmakers as well as deliver a legislative wishlist.   Their list includes fairer school funding system, a different way of funding charter schools, rising pension costs, and property tax reform but also near or the top of their list is a different school district budget year.

Guest Columnist: Lawmakers: Forego stunts and pass a Pa. budget now
By Brendan Finucane, Delco Times Guest Columnist POSTED: 09/21/15, 9:43 PM EDT
Brendan Finucane is professor of economics at Shippensburg University.
Simply stated, Pennsylvania needs a structurally sound balanced budget that achieves what polls show people want — increased school funding with a fair tax on natural gas drillers and property tax relief.  When do we need it? Now would be a good time!  Instead, we’re getting delaying tactics from some legislative leaders in Harrisburg who appear to be trying to duplicate the gridlock and dysfunction that the Republican-controlled Congress in D.C. has perfected since 2010.  Here in Pennsylvania we can, and we must, do better.  Rather than negotiating a compromise budget deal, the Republican-controlled Senate last week passed stopgap funding for schools and some programs. Republicans in the House intend to pass the bill this week. Gov. Tom Wolf has wisely promised to veto it.  Does this sound familiar? It brings to mind the budget gridlock in Washington, D.C. Congress hasn’t passed a budget since the 2010 elections, which put Republicans in charge. Since then, we’ve been subjected to posturing, sequesters and that fiscal cliff.

Stop-gap budget chugs along in House
The PLS Reporter Author: Jason Gottesman/Monday, September 21, 2015
With its ultimate fate already widely known, a temporary funding measure continued to move through the General Assembly Monday as it passed along party lines out of the House Appropriations Committee.  There, familiar arguments met the spending bill and related legislation that tore through the Senate last week.  House Appropriations Committee Minority Chairman Joe Markosek (D-Allegheny) said during Monday’s committee meeting that the passage of the legislation would take away the pressure currently facing legislators to get a budget done, which is being brought by public schools and social service agencies who are lacking critical state funding.  “It buys us a little bit of time, but it really doesn’t solve the budget problem,” he said. “What we are doing here today is essentially using precious time…to go through an exercise that is essentially meaningless.”  Meanwhile, Chairman Bill Adolph (R-Delaware) noted the pain that brings the pressure is what the spending plan is trying to alleviate.  “The impact is real, the impasse is real,” he said. “I’m sure you’ve heard from these service providers, from your school boards, and the employees of the school district of what their needs are going to be in the next few weeks.”

Stopgap budget bills headed to House amid Wolf's veto threat
Penn Live By The Associated Press on September 21, 2015 at 4:47 PM
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Two Republican-written bills to provide short-term funding during Pennsylvania's nearly 3-month-old budget stalemate are ready for a final vote later this week.  The House Appropriations Committee on Monday approved the measures that passed the Senate on partisan lines last week amid a veto threat by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.  The proposal would send billions of dollars to schools and social services while Republicans who control the General Assembly negotiate with Wolf.  The House is expected to pass both bills by Friday.

Republicans should take Wolf's offer on booze, pensions: John Hanger
PennLive Op-Ed  By John Hanger on September 21, 2015 at 11:00 AM, updated September 21, 2015 at 11:10 AM
If you needed another example of how broken Harrisburg has become, look no further than this past Wednesday.  Not long after Wolf put historic compromises on the table for Republican leaders' biggest priorities – pension reform with a 401K-style component and liquor privatization –  Sens. Jake Corman, R-Centre, and Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, took to the Capitol rotunda to score political points.  Rather than being accurate about Gov. Tom Wolf's proposed historic reforms on these priorities, 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.

Despite #PaBudget setbacks, we're still looking for an agreement with Gov. Wolf: Jake Corman
PennLive Op-Ed  By Jake Corman on September 21, 2015 at 11:00 AM, updated September 21, 2015 at 2:16 PM
Frustration with the budget negotiation process continues to mount – both inside and outside the Capitol dome. With proposals for changing both the state's pension and liquor systems on the table Gov. Tom Wolf began to personally attack Republicans in both the Senate and House.  When we asked him for details, Wolf ranted on social media that we rejected his offer. We simply asked Wolf for additional detail.  The bullet-point descriptions that we received of both plans do not provide enough detail for us to be able to say yes or no.   While I look forward to returning to the negotiating table and learning the details of Wolf's proposals, others such as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette have condemned the plans saying they offer legislative leaders "no compromise at all." 

DN Editorial: MIND THE STOPGAP
Philly Daily News Editorial POSTED: Monday, September 21, 2015, 12:17 AM
AFTER 2 1/2 MONTHS of stalemate over the state budget, push has come to shove in Harrisburg.  The Republican-led Legislature appears ready to pass a so-called stopgap budget to temporarily fund state government. The Senate passed the bill last week. The state House is due to debate it this week and almost certainly will pass it.  It's a tempting proposition. The bill would appropriate $11 billion to keep the state operating until the end of October, thus giving Gov. Wolf and the Legislature extra time to come up with an agreement on the issues dividing them.  It would certainly be a relief to local governments and school districts, who depend on regular infusions of state aid to keep their operations up and running. Many are facing the option of curtailing services or borrowing money to make up the hole.  Despite this, we strongly urge the governor to veto the stopgap bill.  Although it will provide short-term relief for local governments and school districts, it does nothing to settle the larger, long-term issues facing state government.

"Wolf should agree to liquor privatization. Republicans should give on the severance tax. And then, with those two compromises in hand, the sides should quickly resolve to pass a responsible budget that commits to increasing the state’s share of education funding. That’s a responsible plan worthy of our state. And Wolf needs to move to make it happen or risk losing the support he still has."
LNP Editorial: Time for Wolf to make a serious concession
Lancaster Online by the Editorial Board September 22, 2015
THE ISSUE: The Pennsylvania budget is 84 days late today. Last week, the state Senate passed a four-month stopgap budget. A coalition of 110 child welfare providers, also last week, sued the administration of Gov. Tom Wolf for freezing payments to them while the standoff between the Democratic governor and Republican legislative leaders continues. This week, the state House is expected to pass the stopgap budget, and Wolf is expected to veto itFor the sake of Pennsylvania’s public schoolchildren, the governor should give on liquor privatization to get state budget negotiations on track toward a responsible resolution.  Forget his proposal last week to offer a long-term lease to manage the state liquor stores; private firms would bid on a contract to manage the system, which would stay under state ownership.  If Gov. Wolf can make a deal with Republican leaders that would make good on his promise to boost  funding for Pennsylvania’s public schools, he should  choose our children over the unions that oppose privatizing our state-owned liquor stores. If he fails to do so, he could lose the support of those who elected him because they’re rightly frustrated with the human costs of the ongoing budget impasse.  As an organization that endorsed Wolf for governor in the November 2014 election, we resist calling on Wolf to sign the Republican stopgap budget.

Erie board gives Badams authority to close schools if needed
By Erica Erwin 814-870-1846 Erie Times-News September 22, 2015 12:12 AM
The Erie School Board on Monday unanimously gave Erie schools Superintendent Jay Badams the authority to close schools if needed as the state budget impasse continues.  Badams stressed that a districtwide shutdown is a last resort, and said the district is still exploring other avenues, including borrowing money to allow the district to keep operating beyond Oct. 2, the day it will run out of funds unless it receives any additional tax revenue.  "It's preparing for any event," Badams said.  He said the district will aim to give employees and families a two-week notice before any shutdown, a massive and logistically complicated undertaking that would affect the families of nearly 12,000 students.  Employees could be asked to work without pay for a time before a shutdown, depending on if and when additional revenue comes in.

Bethlehem school district not sold on outsourcing subs
By Sara K. Satullo | For lehighvalleylive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on September 21, 2015 at 8:34 PM, updated September 22, 2015 at 12:46 AM
A year into outsourcing its substitute teacher staffing, the Bethlehem Area School District isn't sold it's been a worthwhile change.  The district is reviewing how its first year outsourcing substitute teacher staffing went.  The district is entering the second year of its contract with Substitute Teacher Services and evaluating how the switch has gone thus far.  The district pays the company a fee, 28 percent of the wages paid to subs, but avoids having to pay health benefits or retirement costs.  "Are we really getting our money's worth out of this?" board President Michael Faccinettto asked during a Monday night school board committee meeting.  The company's 2014-15 substitute teacher fill rate was actually 1 percent behind the district's rate the prior year.

Results of the 2015 NOCTI exams for Philly CTE students, school by school
the notebook By  Paul Socolar, graphic by David Limm  on Sep 21, 2015 11:54 AM
Students in career and technical education (CTE) programs take a competency exam in their field during their senior year. It's called the NOCTI, or National Occupational Competency Testing Institute, and it provides one tool for judging the quality of a CTE program.  Overall, the pass rate in Philadelphia schools on NOCTI exams was about 70 percent in 2015.  For the first time this fall, the Notebook obtained and published NOCTI competency rates school-by-school for its annual high school guide. Here you find a more detailed breakdown of the results for Philadelphia schools.

Sen. Pat Toomey fights against 'passing the trash'
Lancaster Online by TIM STUHLDREHER | Staff September 21, 2015
Reform of the federal Crime Victims Fund wasn’t the only initiative U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R.-Pa., highlighted during his Monday appearance in Lancaster.  Toomey has authored legislation that would ban a practice known as “passing the trash,” in which a school or school district helps a known pedophile find another teaching job.  You wouldn’t think someone could possibly recommend a child predator as a teacher, but “it’s all too common a phenomenon,” he said.  The Senate included the ban in the Every Child Achieves Act, which it passed in July.  The U.S. House has passed similar legislation, and Toomey said he’s “cautiously optimistic” a final bill will get to President Barack Obama’s desk.

Analysis | Test expert worries kids are turning into robots
Johnstown Tribune Democrat by John Finnerty Posted: September 20, 2015 12:01 am
HARRISBURG – As states tinker with standardized tests, they aren’t making them better. Schools desperate to improve test scores aren’t arming kids with the tools needed to succeed.  That’s the verdict of Gary Gruber, who ought to know. Gruber writes guides to help kids pass those standardized tests.  This shouldn’t just be a concern for ivory tower navel-gazers. A focus on performing well on tests, at the expense of helping kids become critical thinkers, is killing intellectual curiosity in the nation’s young people, he said.  “This may sound trivial, but this is serious,” Gruber said. “This could be the reason we don’t discover the cure for cancer.”  Pennsylvania rolled out a new version of state tests for students in third through eighth grades earlier this year.  The tests are designed to follow the state’s version of Common Core, and first-year results showed a marked drop in the number of students considered advanced or proficient in math or writing.  The results were so bad that the state got permission from the federal Department of Education to ignore this year’s scores in evaluating school performance.

Teach to the Test: The challenge of ever-changing Keystone exams
Cumberlink September 20, 2015 8:15 am  •  Jake Austin The Sentinel
For many area school districts, Keystone exams signify a variety of changes: A change in structure, a change in approach, and, at the moment, an apparent change in the quality of student exam scores, scores that were released to district administrators and are projected to be low.  The exams, which replaced Pennsylvania System of School Assessment exams (PSSAs) at the high school level during the 2012-2013 school year, are aligned to new Pennsylvania core standards, which the Pennsylvania Department of Education says are still new to both students and teachers.  PSSAs continue to be offered to students in grades 3-8 now under full alignment to new state standards. However, a recent news release from Gov. Tom Wolf confirmed that PSSA results have been granted a one-year break from inclusion in School Performance Profile (SPP) scores as elementary and middle schools adapt to standard changes.  But Keystones were not overlooked this year — a decision that is believed to have contributed to a current decline in some schools’ recorded SPP scores. According to the PDE, those scores will be officially released at the end of September.

"For example, an art teacher in New York is assessed by his students’ standardized math scores. The result: teachers are assessed on the test scores of students they don’t have and/or subjects they don’t teach."
I asked if Obama, Duncan know the impact of their teacher evaluation policies. This is their answer.
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss September 22 at 5:00 AM  
A focus of the Obama administration’s education reform effort has been the remaking of teacher evaluation systems to include student standardized test scores. States that wanted to receive federal funding in President Obama’s $4.3 billion Race to the Top education funding contest had to commit to linking test scores to teacher evaluation, and the same was true for those states that wanted to receive a federal waiver from the most onerous parts of No Child Left Behind. Most states wound up passing laws linking scores to evaluation, even though assessment experts — including the American Statistical Association — have warned against the “value-added measurement” method being used to make that linkage.  This linking has had some unusual consequences. Because there are standardized tests only in math and English Language Arts are tested, policymakers determined to evaluate all teachers on the scores devised ways of getting around the problem. They did this by, for example, evaluating teachers on the average scores of all students in a school, or grouping subjects together as they appear to relate to math or English Language Arts and evaluating teachers on those scores. For example, an art teacher in New York is assessed by his students’ standardized math scores. The result: teachers are assessed on the test scores of students they don’t have and/or subjects they don’t teach.
Wondering whether President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan knew that their policies had led to this state of affairs, I asked both the White House and the Education Department to respond to individual versions of this question:

"As I wrote earlier, such critics didn’t have any actual evidence to back up their argument against school board as authorizers. I pointed to the fact that while critics constantly claimed school boards were reluctant to allow charter schools into their districts, school boards actually had a higher acceptance rate than other authorizers such as state boards of education and independent state charter boards. In the years since, not much has changed. The most recent data from the National Association for Charter School Authorizers  showed that school boards had the second highest approval rate out of the five authorizing types. Moreover, only two other authorizing types had higher closure rates as well. As I argued previously, if school boards were so threatened by charter schools why are they more likely to approve a new charter school’s application and less likely to close them?"
School boards as charter school authorizers
Center for Public Education The EDifier by Jim Hull September 21, 2015
The issue of charter schools got thrust back into the spotlight with the recent court decision from Washington State that ruled the state’s charter school law unconstitutional. I’m not going get into the particulars of the case but the decision highlights the fine line between the public’s right to determine how their tax dollars are spent and accommodating a parent’s desire to choose a school that is right for their child.  Many states walk this fine line by allowing for the creation of charter schools that any parent can choose to send their child to while making sure the charter schools are authorized by the local school board to oversee but not run the schools. In such a setup, all parents have a choice about where to send their child to school and taxpayers still have a voice in holding charter schools accountable.  Yet, there are some proponents of charter schools who argue the school boards should not authorize charter schools. For example, in its annual state charter school policy rankings, the Center for Education Reform gives credit to states when they allow agencies or institutions other than local school boards to authorize charter schools .  The CER is certainly not alone. I’ve written about similar criticisms in the past here and here.

Blogger note: looks like it helps to live in the wealthiest school districts in the state….
"Students in New York and Pennsylvania are in luck, as 14 of the top 20 school districts are located in these two states."
The 20 Best School Districts in the U.S.
Philly.com Business News Written by: Caroline Nolan 09/19/15 - 11:51 AM EDT
NEW YORK (TheStreet) – While the summer heat hasn’t yet gone away, it is clear that the new academic year has finally arrived.  However, school districts across the country have been preparing for the 2015-2016 academic year long before stores even announced their back-to-school specials. As a result, many school districts are recognized for their excellent academics and positive school cultures.  Ranking and review site Niche.com has identified the best school districts in the United States using data sourced from various government and public data sets, the website’s own proprietary data and more than four million opinion-based survey responses across a variety of topics from 287,606 current students, recent alumni and parents.
These surveys were used to grade each school district on factors including Academics, Health & Safety, Student Culture & Diversity, Survey Responses, Teachers, Resources & Facilities, Extracurriculars & Activities and Sports & Fitness.

"K-12 has been a "tricky" issue for Democratic presidential candidates because of the divide between the "reform" wing of the party and teachers' unions on issues like ending teacher tenure and expanding charter schools. It's easier to focus on the areas where most primary voters are in agreeement, like ending student loan debt, McGuinn wrote.   Finally, this past year has seen a big backlash around the federal role in education and Obama's K-12 agenda, particularly when it comes to the common core and standardized testing. "I don't think any of the Dem candidates want to be too closely associated with all that," McGuinn wrote."
Why Aren't Democratic Presidential Contenders Talking About K-12 Policy?
Education Week Politics K-12 Blog By Alyson Klein on September 21, 2015 7:27 AM
Former U.S. Secretary of State and White House contender Hillary Clinton has proposals to eliminate college-debt and expand universal pre-kindergarten. And two of her rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, have also put out far-reaching proposals for significantly boosting access to higher education.  Edu-experts have picked apart and prodded at the higher-ed plans, and even Josh Earnest, a White House spokesman, said it would good for the country to have a "robust debate" on college access.   Missing from all this discussion of the bookends of education? Any sort of comprehensive proposal, from any of the leading Democratic candidates, on how they would like to reshape K-12 policy. 

Campbell Brown’s website pays well, got help from anti-tenure group
Politico New York  By CONOR SKELDING 5:25 a.m. | Sep. 21, 2015follow this reporter
Tax filings from former CNN anchor Campbell Brown’s nonprofit education site, The Seventy Four, detail its salary structure for top editorial employees and payments for public relations, as well as help in setting up that it got from an anti-teacher tenure group.  The top editor earns about $200,000, two other editors earn about $150,000 and $125,000, respectively, and a reporter earns about $90,000, according to The Seventy Four's application to the Internal Revenue Service for tax-exempt status. (Salaries more than $50,000 were listed as estimates and without names because the January 2015 application was filed before the staff was hired.)


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 Karen.devine@psba.org 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 www.pascd.org <http://www.pascd.org/>

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. 

School Leadership Conference online registration closes Sept. 25
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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