Thursday, September 24, 2015

PA Ed Policy Roundup Sept 24: PBPC: "If legislative leaders would allow a vote on a severance tax, it would likely pass"

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup September 24 , 2015:
PBPC: "If legislative leaders would allow a vote on a severance tax, it would likely pass"

Pa. budget impasse hits school districts differently
By Karen Langley, Mary Niederberger and Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette September 24, 2015 12:00 AM
Pennsylvania schools have a new source of disparity: A state budget impasse that has driven some districts to borrow while others expect no problems for months.  School districts missed more than $1 billion in payments in August and expected to miss another $700 million in September, according to estimates by the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials.  How the state’s 500 school districts are absorbing the loss depends on their reliance on local resources and existing budget reserves.  “I believe firmly 10 percent of the districts have had to go borrow,” said Jay Himes, executive director of the association. “Some districts, the ‘have’ districts, probably can ride this out for an extended period of time, but every month we’ll pick up a segment of districts that didn’t or can’t.”

"If legislative leaders would allow a vote on a severance tax, it would likely pass. Lawmakers in both parties have introduced severance tax bills every year since 2009, and every year gas drillers have successfully fought the tax, spending $46.8 million on lobbying and $8.2 million on campaign contributions since 2007."
Way No. 6: A Severance Tax
Posted by PA Budget and Policy Center on September 23, 2015
Wolf budget severance tax would raise $1 billion
Gov. Wolf’s proposed severance tax would provide stable funding for education and help eliminate the structural deficit
Gov. Wolf has proposed a severance tax on the extraction of natural gas in Pennsylvania to provide funding for public schools, economic development and oversight of the gas drilling industry. In the first full year of collections, it would generate about $1 billion in revenue. Pennsylvania is the only major gas-producing state without a severance tax. The governor’s proposed tax is almost identical to the tax in place in neighboring West Virginia.  Under Gov. Wolf’s proposal, most of the revenue would be used to increase the state share of public school funding by $2 billion over four years. This stable, recurring source of revenue would also help eliminate the commonwealth’s structural deficit, which has led Wall Street to downgrade Pennsylvania’s credit rating five times over the last three years. 

"Wolf has continued to stand by his plan for property tax relief, a natural gas severance tax, increasing sales and income taxes, and restoring education funding cuts made under his predecessor.  “I came here because I want my state to be better,” he said. “And that means a state that actually pays its bills. Not with IOUs and not with smoke and mirrors and games and one-time fixes.”
Gov. Tom Wolf will veto stopgap budget 'very fast'
Lancaster Online by SAM JANESCH | Staff Writer September 23, 2015
Gov. Tom Wolf will veto the latest Republican-led effort to pass a state budget “very fast,” he said Wednesday during a stop in Lancaster.  The democratic governor reiterated his intention to reject a stopgap budget before the full fiscal year spending plan is agreed upon between him and the Republican legislative leaders.  “I’m not holding out for something that’s just settling,” he said outside PAP Technologies. “I want the real thing.”  The state House is expected Thursday to have a final vote on the four-month, $11 billion stopgap budget that passed the Senate in a party-line vote last week. It would use part of the Republican’s $30.2 billion budget plan that Wolf vetoed quickly after the fiscal year began July 1.  The stopgap measure would authorize spending retroactively from July through October to schools and social service organizations that haven’t seen any state funding in that time. 

Pa. House convenes for just minutes Tuesday, does almost nothing: Wednesday Morning Coffee
Penn Live By John L. Micek | Email the author | Follow on Twitter on September 23, 2015 at 8:10 AM
Good Wednesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
One half of the nation's largest full-time and best-paid General Assemblies convened for just minutes on Tuesday afternoon, didn't hold a roll call and didn't broadcast its proceedings on a television channel specifically designed for that purpose.  As our eagle-eyed friend Mark Scolforo of theAssociated Press reports, the blink-and-you-missed-it session of the state House was intended to position two stop-gap budget bills for a vote later in the week.  Gov. Tom Wolf has threatened to veto the legislation when it reaches his desk -- for those of you playing along at home.

Stopgap is a nonstarter
INQUIRER EDITORIAL BOARD POSTED: Thursday, September 24, 2015, 1:08 AM
Responding to Gov. Wolf's modest movement toward breaking the state's long-standing budget impasse, Republican legislators have put their old, irresponsible fiscal plan in a new wrapper and called it a stopgap budget. While their plan promises to fund the state until November, it also threatens to delay sincere negotiations, allowing the state's elected officials - already nearly three months late - to go that much longer without performing one of their most basic duties: passing a budget.  The Democratic governor has already rightly rejected the legislature's proposal, which would perpetuate Harrisburg's habit of leaving bills unpaid, relying on one-time gimmicks, and raiding dedicated funds. Nor would it adequately fund schools or force the shale-gas industry to shoulder its share of the tax burden at long last.

"However, the more pressing point is that there won’t be any budget until the Republican legislators acknowledge that there is a governor, and that he has concerns and priorities that must be addressed."
Letter to the Editor: Blame Republicans for state budget impasse
Delco Times Letter by State Senator Daylin Leach POSTED: 09/23/15, 9:57 PM EDT
State Sen. Daylin Leach, D-17th, Upper Merion
To the Times:
This letter is in response to a recent guest column by state Sen. Scott Wagner, R-York.
As we in government struggle to enact a budget, people are weighing in with their opinion. Recently, my colleague, Sen. Scott Wagner, sent a letter to media outlets across the state offering the Republican Party line. In the interests of balance, I offer this competing view.  Sen. Wagner laments that people aren’t blaming Gov. Tom Wolf for the impasse. He argues: “The Legislature met its obligation to pass a balanced budget” and, therefore, it is only the governor’s obstinate refusal to sign this budget which is keeping schools, communities, and non-profits from receiving their appropriations.  It is true that the Republican majority in the Legislature passed “a budget.” But Gov. Wolf did not campaign for governor promising to sign literally anything the Legislature passed, no matter how poor and inadequate it is.  The constitution requires the governor’s signature for a reason. He is the head of a co-equal branch of government. The Legislature knew that the budget they were passing was not viable and that it would never become law. Thus, it was nothing more than a political stunt.

It’s time to put people first, pass state budget
Lancaster Online Opinion by State Senator RYAN P. AUMENT | Special to LNP Sept. 23, 2015
As many of you know, Pennsylvania remains one of the last states in our nation without an enacted, balanced budget.   I have said it before and will say it again: This is unacceptable — to the people of Pennsylvania, to the people of Lancaster County, and to me.  The current situation is financially crippling to the social service providers that help our most vulnerable friends, neighbors and community members. I recently met with human service providers from all across Lancaster County, and they are genuinely worried about what will happen to their clients — foster children, people with intellectual disabilities, families in distress, to name a few.  Many of these providers have borrowed money so their clients will still get help. To those who are sacrificing: Thank you. You represent the greatest of who we are, and your caring and generous spirit matters and deserves to be recognized and celebrated.  The long-standing impasse also has caused concern for our schools. The state has already missed more than $1 billion in payments to our schools, which rely on property tax revenue to pay the bills and keep classrooms operating and buses rolling. Sadly, our private, faith-based schools still can’t buy textbooks for their children.  If a resolution isn’t reached soon, the financial pressures will become even greater, and costly borrowing may be the only alternative school administrators and boards will have.

A budget solution is in sight - will Republicans take it?: Art Haywood
PennLive Op-Ed  By Art Haywood on September 23, 2015 at 3:00 PM
State Sen. Art Haywood, a Democrat, represents the Philadelphia-based 4th Senate District.
We already have the framework for a majority-supported solution to Pennsylvania's budget impasse.  That's right. We do.  Already, Republican senators and Gov. Tom Wolf have agreed to $400 million for schools.   Already, a majority of the Senate supports a modest shale severance tax to provide this funding.  Already, a majority of the Senate supports raising the minimum wage.  Last week, Wolf offered a bold compromise that includes the Senate Republicans' self-proclaimed top priority for the state: historic pension reform with a shift to 401k plans for higher-income new employees.  Wolf also offered private management of the liquor system.  Both of these proposals make many Democrats unhappy, but they demonstrate a courageous response to the pension reform and liquor demands of Republican legislators.  By my count, a majority of the Senate, including Republican members, would vote for a budget built on the compromises Wolf proposed last week. Unfortunately, Senate Republican leadership is holding the entire state hostage with disingenuous negotiations tactics.

GOP still stuck on gimmicks
Herald Standard Letter By Jeff Sheridan Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 2:00 am
Jeff Sheridan is the press secretary for Gov. Wolf.
The Republican plan to pass a stopgap budget is yet another gimmick that further highlights the Republicans’ clear comfort with politics as usual in Harrisburg and embracing a failed status quo that is holding Pennsylvania back.  For four years, the Republican legislature passed fiscally irresponsible budgets, built on one-time revenues, fund transfers, payment delays, and other gimmicks that resulted in a multi-billion dollar budget deficit and numerous credit downgrades. Equally as bad for Pennsylvania, the Republicans made drastic cuts to schools that led to soaring property taxes while at the same time letting oil and gas companies off the hook at the expense of our children and our schools.  Republicans have fought tooth and nail to protect the status quo and their stopgap budget is more of the same. It is past time for a comprehensive plan that moves Pennsylvania forward.  Instead of good faith negotiations, Republicans are intent on passing a stopgap budget that will once again hinder efforts to enact a comprehensive plan for Pennsylvania’s future. At every turn, Republicans have prevented serious negotiations, because they are unwilling to make the long-term investments and changes needed to help Pennsylvania families.

Budget impasses in the time of Twitter
Trib Live Off-Road Politics Blog BY MELISSA DANIELS Sept. 23, 2015
Gov. Tom Wolf doesn’t always sign his own tweets – but when he did this past week, it was to send a strongly worded message to Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman.  Budget impasses during the time of Twitter – what could go wrong?  The budget negotiations between the governor and legislative leaders are now in their third month, with little to show by way of consensus, but plenty of back and forth about who is in the wrong.  On Friday, Wolf sent a four-tweet message directly to @JakeCorman, the Republican Senate leader from Centre County. The tweets followed a press conference Wolf gave earlier in which he blasted the Senate’s plan to pass a stopgap budget in the wake of a nearly-three-month budget negotiation stalemate.

Inside the cloakroom: Who are the most important behind-the-scenes players in state budget negotiations?
Penn Live by Christian Alexander September 23, 2015
Just because someone is making the most noise, doesn’t mean they make the biggest difference. Often times, people behind the scenes are the ones carrying the most influence.  And that holds true in Pennsylvania politics.  As the state heads into its third month of a seemingly unbreakable budget impasse, PennLive reporter Christian Alexandersen took an informal poll to find out which behind-the-scenes Capitol staffers have the most influence over the Pennsylvania state budget.
The poll included the opinions of Democratic and Republicans policymakers, former lawmakers, leadership staff members, lobbyists, journalists, and others.

Here's another way to tackle the Pa. budget impasse: Paul Addis
PennLive Op-Ed  By Paul Addis on September 23, 2015 at 10:30 AM, updated September 23, 2015 at 10:32 AM
Now an independent investor, Paul Addis previously served as Chairman and CEO of Louis Dreyfus Highbridge Energy and Executive Vice President of American Electric Power. He resides in Delaware County.
The vast gulf between Gov. Tom Wolf and the Republican-controlled Legislature on the annual budget reflects the national split between Democrats and Republicans.  Pennsylvania's problems are acute and began years ago with the state's declining labor-intensive economy. 
A lack of economic competitiveness led to anemic growth, declining tax revenues, and new and expanded taxes that substituted government programs for economic growth.
Pennsylvania must confront the following interconnected problems:
  • An inability to create jobs and a rapidly aging population
  • Eroding physical infrastructure
  • Stressed K-12 public school systems  
  • Severely underfunded state employee and teacher pension systems
  • Growing social expenditures to help the least fortunate
These large-scale challenges require a long-term comprehensive plan that is not conducive to a one-year budget and will not emerge overnight.  The school funding crisis, however, requires immediate attention.   I propose the following compromise:  

POLS ON THE STREET: School Funding Drives Politics In Budget Gridlock
Philadelphia Public Record September 23, 2015 by Joe Shaheeli
The shoving and blocking at the line of scrimmage in Harrisburg today is partly designed to set up big plays downfield, in the 2016 elections.  Currently the scrimmage line is the Pennsylvania budget, where Republicans, who control the General Assembly, remain deadlocked with Democrats, who control the Governor’s mansion. Since the two sides have not reached a long-term compromise, schools, agencies and service providers that rely on state funding are starting to run out of operating cash. That means pain on the streets and worry for citizens in 2015 – who will be voting for state legislators in 2016.
Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf was elected in large part because of his support for added educational spending. So far he has been holding the line, demanding increased outlays for schools in the 2015 budget. While Republican budget proposals have moved some numbers onto the plus side of the Education Dept.’s ledger, they have not been nearly big enough to satisfy the Democrats.  That’s because there is no realistic way to provide more school funding without some tax increases or other revenue-raising measures; and these are anathema to the base of Republican voters. So holding the line on taxes is important to Republican legislators – especially those in conservative districts who might face primary challenges from their right flank in the spring if they give up too much this fall.

Teach to the Test: Keystone exam remediation
September 22, 2015 7:00 am  •  Jake Austin The Sentinel
For Pennsylvania high school students taking Keystone exams, the goal is simple: reach a score of proficient. But for some students, that task is easier said than done.  Schools work to bring non-proficient students up to speed by means of remediation programs. Typically, the remediation process is comprised of intervention courses or study halls constructed to strengthen students’ comprehensive knowledge of the exam’s three main subject areas: literature, biology, and algebra I.  With proficient exam scores tentatively planned to become a graduation requirement by 2017, remediation has become even more vital; districts must now put forth extra time and resources to ensure non-proficient students are able to reach full graduation eligibility.  “We do not usually have problems with remediating students, but we wish we could do it in way that was best for our students and not have it prescribed by the state,” said Cumberland Valley Superintendent Fredrick Withum. “We have to do it how [the state] tells us to do it and a lot of additional staffing is required to accomplish our tasks.”

What are the rules about opting out of standardized tests among Pennsylvania's neighbors?
Lancaster Online by Kara Newhouse Staff Writer September 23, 2015
The number of public school children not taking Pennsylvania's standardized tests for grades 3 to 8 has risen rapidly in recent years, and state law has facilitated that growth.  Pennsylvania is one of two states that allows standardized test opt outs for specific reasons, according to a report on opt out policies published by the National Association of State Boards of Education last month.  Parents here can opt their children out of state tests by citing religious objections, but many who do so have voiced other reasons, such as children's anxiety and the decrease in activities other than test prep in schools.  The number of students opted out of Pennsylvania's tests for grades 3 to 8 tripled in 2015, according to data from the state Department of Education. In Lancaster County, opt-outs more than doubled for the third year in a row, according to district reports.

Fundraising Report: Republican PA Supreme Court Nominees
PoliticsPA Written by Nick Field, Managing Editor September 23, 2015
Earlier, we took at look at the fundraising reports of the Democratic nominees for the State Supreme Court.  Now we take a peek at the GOP numbers in the race for the three open seats. The Republican nominees are Anne Covey, Michael George and Judy Olson.
These numbers cover the period of June 19th to September 22nd.

Zahora helms last Pottstown School Board meeting after 20 years of service
By Evan Brandt, The Mercury POSTED: 09/22/15, 11:25 PM EDT 
POTTSTOWN >> You might say that Pottstown School Board President Judyth Zahora closed out the last meeting of her 20-year school board career as a talking head.  Zahora, who has moved to Boston to take another job, announced her resignation last month and it becomes official at the end of the month.  But Monday was her last school board meeting and she presided over it from Boston, her face appearing on a computer screen thanks to the Internet.  For the past few months, as she travels between Boston and Pottstown, Zahora has often participated in school board meetings via speaker phone, but for her last two, she had a cyber-presence as well as an audio one.  Zahora has been a presence, she said when she announced her pending resignation, since her triplets, Matt, Greg and Sarah, first entered Pottstown schools.

‘Dark money’: A Pa. bill would bring political cash into the light
Post Gazette By the Editorial Board September 24, 2015 12:00 AM
The Federal Election Commission requires candidates for office to reveal who paid for their ads. But “dark money” offers a sneaky way around this, letting donors secretly influence elections by funneling money to nonprofit groups with vague names and motives.  A proposal before the Pennsylvania Senate comes too late to affect dark-money ads now airing about the state’s budget impasse, but it would keep shadow donors from exercising untoward influence again.  The Internal Revenue Service exempts nonprofit groups called 501(c)(4)s from revealing their donors, so long as they do not “expressly advocate” for a candidate or political party. They can, however, advance ideas and issues, even when doing so supports a candidate or party.

A forum debates the future of Camden's schools
ALLISON STEELE, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER POSTED: Wednesday, September 23, 2015, 1:08 AM
Inside an auditorium at Camden County College's downtown campus Tuesday morning, charter school advocates, state educators, and politicians discussed the future of the city's public schools.  One presenter with the New Jersey School Choice and Education Reform Alliance, the North Jersey group hosting the event, said that within a few years, the district's expanding network of charter and public-charter hybrid "Renaissance" schools could serve all the city's students, essentially abolishing Camden's traditional public schools.  Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard sought to distance himself from that message.  "We must make Renaissance schools a choice for students and families," said Rouhanifard, who was appointed by Gov. Christie in 2013 after the state took over the failing district. "But . . . flipping the switch and converting all schools to charters and Renaissance schools isn't the answer."

"MONTAGNE: And as I suggested, some pretty influential people and foundations are listed in this proposal as potential donors. Name some names because they're recognizable.
BLUME: Basically, if you had a billion in your bank account in Los Angeles, you were on the list, and in some cases, wealthy people from outside Los Angeles. The three foundations most mentioned as funders for this would be, of course, Eli Broad's Foundation, also the Walton Family Foundation - that's the fortune created by the Walm-Mart stores. I mean, Elon Musk of Tesla is on the list - Stephen Spielberg, Donald Sterling, the former owner of the LA Clippers. Basically again, it's a list of really rich people."
Group Led By Billionaire Proposes Overhaul Of LA Public Schools
NPR Morning Edition Audio runtime: 3:50 SEPTEMBER 23, 2015 5:19 AM ET
A memo obtained by the Los Angeles Times reveals a controversial plan to put half of the city's public school kids in charter schools. Renee Montagne talks with Timeseducation reporter Howard Blume.
A new and controversial plan could significantly transform public education in Los Angeles in the coming decade. Los Angeles has the second largest system in the country after New York City. The plan, initiated by a group of rich and powerful leaders - city leaders - led by philanthropist and billionaire Eli Broad, proposes placing half the city's students in charter schools. That's according to a 44-page memo obtained by the Los Angeles Times. For more, we turn to L.A. Times education reporter Howard Blume. Good morning.
HOWARD BLUME: Good morning.
MONTAGNE: To begin, give us a brief description of what this memo reveals.
BLUME: It describes a plan, as you said, to put 50 percent - more than half a million students in total - in charters over the next eight years. It envisions creating 260 charter schools for at least 130,000 students. And this plan was essentially being designed outside of public view with no larger community or political discussion.

"But what kind of education are my nephew and his far-flung classmates actually getting? This is a much harder question to answer. As I began looking into it, I found that quality, peer-reviewed research into virtual schooling is virtually nil. Where online schools have produced results that have actually been studied, the grades aren’t pretty. According to the latest findings of the National Education Policy Center, a nonprofit housed at the University of Colorado-Boulder, most students enrolled in full-time virtual schools do not perform as well as their classmates attending brick-and-mortar schools. Retention rates show a high level of churn, raising questions about just how cost effective it is to be funneling taxpayer dollars to online operations. And while the state standards that teachers must meet to work in a virtual classroom are largely the same as in traditional brick-and-mortar schools, we know very little about what makes for a quality online instructor."
Virtual schools are booming. Who’s paying attention?
Millions of kids, some as young as 5, now get their schooling online. Just one problem: Nobody knows how well it works.
Politico By DARREN SAMUELSOHN September 2015
My nephew’s senior year in high school is already different from mine in any number of ways—the iPhones, the Facebook account, an online encyclopedia of college essay ideas. But perhaps most astonishing is what I realized only after I talked to him about his daily routine: just how little time he's physically in a school.  This semester, he’s taking two of his classes virtually, and even for the rest, so much of his coursework is done on the Web that he rarely needs to go into the building. By the time he graduates next year, he’ll have logged nearly a full semester's worth of credits from completely virtual classes.   Everyone in his school does this at least once: thanks to a 2011 law, students in Florida, where he lives, are actually required to take a cyber course as a prerequisite to graduate. He knocked that off pretty quickly during his junior year, found that he liked the do-it-yourself approach to learning, and started to stack his schedule with them: U.S. history, AP environmental science, pre-calculus and two levels of Spanish. For his final semester next year, he’s planning to take at least two more online: perhaps U.S. government and math.

Who Got Money from the Walton Family Foundation? You Might Be Surprised
Diane Ravitch's Blog By dianeravitch September 23, 2015 //
The Walton Family Foundation gave away $375 million last year. It gave away $202 million to educational groups.  The foundation’s money is generated by the vast earnings of Walmart. The foundation was established in 1987 by Sam Walton. At least six of the Walton family members are billionaires, maybe more. As they die off, the foundation will grow larger.  The leader of the education part of the Walton Foundation is Marc Sternberg, a favorite of Joel Klein’s, who moved from New York City to Bentonville, Arkansas.  The foundation is not only very wealthy, it has an ideology. It is rightwing. It is reactionary. It does not like public schools. It favors privatization and deregulation, which is what you might expect of a powerful corporation that hates government telling it what to do (like paying its employees a living wage). It hates unions. It loves charters and vouchers.  You might ask, how can billionaires sleep at night when they know their employees are surviving on meager earnings? I don’t know. Maybe they don’t think about it. Maybe they say, “Tough. That’s life. Life is unfair. Where’s my Bentley?”  I think you will find it enlightening to see where its money went in the 2014 year.

Testing Resistance & Reform News: September 16 - 22, 2015
FairTest Submitted by fairtest on September 22, 2015 - 12:43pm 
Another week with even more assessment reform victories to report as the "Enough is enough!" movement against test misuse and overuse continues to accelerate across the nation.

Don’t Miss the Harvest Moon Eclipse Sunday Night
WHYY Newsworks September 23, 2015
Autumn officially arrives Wednesday; at 4:21 am, Earth arrives at that point in its orbit where the rotational axis is in a position that brings daytime and darktime into equality.  A Total Lunar Eclipse is visible this Sunday night – Starts at 8:45, mid-eclipse at 10:48, over at 12:45.  In addition, catch sight of Saturn lowering in the west after sunset. Venus Mars Jupiter in a line down the pre-dawn sky at 6 am ! See them all easily.

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.

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.

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:

Registration is open for the 19th Annual Eastern Pennsylvania Special Education Administrators’ Conference on October 21-23rd in Hershey. 
Educators in the field of special education from public, charter and nonpublic schools are invited to attend.  The conference offers rich professional development sessions and exceptional networking opportunities.  Keynote speakers are Shane Burcaw and Jodee Blanco.  Register at

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.

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. 

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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