Thursday, October 15, 2015

PA Ed Policy Roundup Oct 15: Is this the "Trade Secret" that has been used to ignore Right-To-Know requests for several years?

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 October 15, 2015
Is this the "Trade Secret" that has been used to ignore Right-To-Know requests for several years?

Pennsylvania state budget talks resume, quietly
Penn Live By Charles Thompson | Email the author | Follow on Twitter on October 14, 2015 at 10:20 PM
Can Pennsylvania's stalled state budget talks find some new momentum?  We're about to find out.  Staffers from the four House and Senate caucuses began meeting at the Capitol Wednesday in an effort to see if a new, legislative-driven effort can produce a compromise that's acceptable to Gov. Tom Wolf.  No details from the first round were available Wednesday night, and it seemed as if most participants were making a conscious effort to keep details out of the press to see if any momentum could be generated.  But the staff level talks are expected to continue on Thursday and Friday, hopefully setting up new leadership meetings and full- caucus briefings by early next week.

Concessions not enough for GOP rivals, Pa. Gov. Wolf says
Trib Live By Jason Cato and Tom Fontaine Wednesday - Oct. 14, 2015
Gov. Tom Wolf said Wednesday he's made $1 billion in concessions from his original spending plan but Republicans haven't reciprocated to help end Pennsylvania's budget impasse, in its 107th day.  “I have taken $1 billion out of my original March 3 proposals … because I want to get to an agreement. That agreement has to be mathematically sound,” Wolf said during a stop at the Washington County Courthouse. His administration did not provide specifics on how the governor came up with that figure.  House GOP spokesman Stephen Miskin disputed Wolf's claim and said that given the governor's proposal to raise taxes by $4 billion to $5 billion, “Moving $1 billion is not really that much.”

Budget reality and new revenue possible in coming weeks?
The PLS Reporter Author: Jason Gottesman/Wednesday, October 14, 2015
As budget negotiations continued on the staff level Wednesday, GOP leaders pointed out that they are expecting their Democratic counterparts to come around to the new reality of what it will take to get a budget done - particularly as it relates to the unviable prospects of increasing sales and personal income taxes - but also did not close the door on the use of new recurring revenue sources to plug budget holes.  “I think the word to use now is ‘reality’,” Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) told The PLS Reporter in a brief interview. “I’ve had Senate Democrats coming to me with recognizing the reality that a sales tax increase and a personal income tax increase did not have all the votes in their caucus and I think the governor has found that out with the vote last week.”  He relayed Senate Republican leadership will be updating their caucus next week on the fiscal and financial condition of where the Commonwealth currently is and preparing them to look “at what the reality is.”

"If the charter schools are now willing and able to get by being compensated $27,000 for each special education student, why was Chester Upland, one of the poorest districts in Pennsylvania, on the hook for that $40,000 figure for years?"
Editorial: One last chance for Chester Upland
Delco Times Editorial POSTED: 10/15/15, 12:26 AM EDT
This might be the Chester Upland School District’s last chance.
After decades being under state control, none of which seem to have stemmed the tide of red ink and financial mismanagement that has been the district’s calling card, Chester Upland is getting one more chance.  This time the district needs to make it work.
Delaware County Common Pleas Judge Chad Kenney placed the paddles on Chester Upland’s chest and jolted them back to a life with two critical measures, jolt of new state funding (of course) and a new formula for reimbursement to local charter schools for special education students.
Chester Upland and the three major local charter schools have been at odds over the cost of educating special education students for years.  Just weeks before the start of the school year, the state’s appointed receiver, Francis Barnes, went into court with still another revised financial recovery plan aimed at putting the perennially broke district back on an even fiscal footing.

'Trade secret' - Randi J. Vladimer, an attorney representing the charter school, said in the appeal, filed Monday in Delaware County Common Pleas Court, that the management company's records were not covered by the Right to Know Law because it was a private business.
She also argued that the Office of Open Records made a technical error in the timing of its decision that invalidated it. Further, she said the records were a "trade secret or confidential information" that could hurt the management company's competitive position if disclosed."
Charter school appeals to block release of records
(Blogger note: this posting is several years old; originally posted on the Inquirer's website, it is no longer there; I do not have the publication date)
The Chester Community Charter School has filed a court appeal to a recent Pennsylvania Office of Open Records ruling that gave The Inquirer access to a wide range of financial records from the management company that operates the school.
The Delaware County school, the state's largest charter, and Charter School Management Inc., a private, for-profit management company, have repeatedly denied requests by the newspaper for details about how millions of dollars in public money were spent and how much the company and its owner, Vahan H. Gureghian, were making. Because Charter School Management Inc. is a private business that hires all school employees and manages the school's finances, it has been able to keep many aspects of its financial operations secret, in contrast to most charters, which have to disclose more information in nonprofit reports.

Here's Dan Hardy's coverage of the same issue from 2012:
Chester Upland: State special ed formula drains millions from district
Inquirer By Dan Hardy, Inquirer Staff Writer
As Delaware County's financially troubled Chester Upland School District struggles to stay afloat, officials there say they are paying millions more than they should on special-education students who attend charter schools.
School districts pay charters to teach their children, using a complicated formula set by state law. About 45 percent of Chester Upland's students attend charters.
Chester Upland's payments are based on the previous year's expense of educating students in its own schools, minus some costs charters do not incur.
For regular-education Chester Upland students this year, that figure is $9,858 per child.
But flaws in the state charter-school law, district officials say, make payments to charter schools for special-education students much higher, costing Chester Upland about $8 million more than is reasonable.
Chester Upland's per-student special-education charter-school payment this year is $24,528, more than twice as much as for regular students and thousands per student more than the state average.

KEYSEC Posting Monday, August 24, 2015
PA Ed Policy Roundup Aug 24: $40,316 per speech/language special ed child: Two possible reasons special ed funding reforms that would have addressed this outrageous charter tuition rate were not adopted in 2014

"The owner is a trust linked to Philadelphia lawyer and charter-school entrepreneur Vahan Gureghian and his lawyer wife, Danielle. Three years ago, she told town officials the house was the couple’s dream home, but their plans appear to have changed."
North End mansion listed at $84.5M
Listed at $84.5 million, a mansion under construction at 1071 N. Ocean Blvd. has entered the market as the most expensive property for sale in Palm Beach, according to the local multiple listing service.
By Darrell Hofheinz Palm Beach Daily News Real Estate Writer March 30, 2015
Priced at $84.5 million, a direct-oceanfront mansion under construction on the North End has entered the market as the island’s most expensive property, according to the local multiple listing service.  Sporting its own bowling alley, the French-style house is rising on the double lot – expansive even by Palm Beach standards – that measures about 2 acres with 242 feet of beachfront at 1071 N. Ocean Blvd.  With about 35,000 square feet of living space, inside and out, the house should be ready for occupancy some time next season, according to listing broker Christian J. Angle of Christian Angle Real Estate.  Angle’s sales listing showed up Friday in the Palm Beach Board of Realtors MLS. The roughly H-shaped floor plan includes six bedrooms in the main part of the house plus a pair of two-bedroom guest apartments with ocean views. The house stands a third of a mile north of the Palm Beach Country Club.

The Tenuous Fate of Pennsylvania’s Public Schools
The legislature’s budget disagreements could mean that many of the Keystone State’s schools are about to shut down.
The Atlantic by MAREESA NICOSIA   OCT 13, 2015
Pennsylvania public schools are now at Defcon 1—borrowing millions of dollars to keep the lights on, starting to ask teachers to work without pay, and even voting to shut the schoolhouse doors and send the kids home—all because an unprecedented state budget crisis has left them within weeks of insolvency.  Funds are running out so fast in Erie, the state’s fourth-largest city, that the schools could shut down by November 1. The school board last month unanimously authorized this previously unthinkable option. If the money runs dry, Erie would consider requiring its 12,000 students to stay home for a week or two.  Yes, it would disrupt their learning. Yes, it would present families with unexpected childcare chaos. But talking to the anxious administrators on the ground, it soon becomes clear: Their options are disappearing as quickly as their bank accounts.

NEIU warns employees it will run out of cash by December
Scranton Times-Tribune by TERRIE MORGAN-BESECKER, STAFF WRITER Published: October 15, 2015
ARCHBALD — About 300 employees of the Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit were told they might not get paid starting in December because of the ongoing state budget stalemate.  Executive Director Robert McTiernan said the intermediate unit has enough money to meet payroll for the immediate future, but the situation will soon become dire. He called an employee meeting Wednesday afternoon to give workers sufficient time to plan for a worst-case scenario.  “The bottom line is you know we have a budget impasse. We have zero money coming through,” Mr. McTiernan told a standing-room-only crowd of teachers and other staff during the meeting at its headquarters on Line Street in Archbald. “Without additional borrowing, we project we are going to run out of cash somewhere around first payroll in December.”  The NEIU provides special education services to 20 area school districts. The NEIU board, like many area school districts, took out a $6 million loan in June to cover the revenue shortfall caused by a lack of state funds. It’s already spent about $2.8 million of the loan to cover payroll and health care benefits, which cost about $2 million a month, Mr. McTiernan said.

Pennsylvania Senate OKs limits on union dues, PAC collection
Penn Live By The Associated Press  on October 14, 2015 at 1:32 PM
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Legislation that would weaken the ability of public-sector labor unions to collect full dues and political action committee contributions from members' paychecks is on the move in the Pennsylvania Legislature.  The GOP-controlled Senate approved the legislation Wednesday, 26-23, and sent it to the House of Representatives. All 19 Democrats and four southeastern Pennsylvania Republicans opposed it.  It's opposed by Gov. Tom Wolf. Similar legislation failed last year in the Senate, 20-28. An amendment to exempt police and firefighters' unions failed.  The bill would bar the state, school districts and local government employers from deducting any portion of union dues that underwrite political activity and union political action committee contributions from the paychecks of unionized workers.  Only deductions that pay for contract negotiation costs and other non-political activity would be allowed.

Pa. Senate passes 'paycheck protection,' flexing GOP majority muscle
On the enrollment form for the largest teachers union in Pennsylvania, you can check a box that allows an annual, automatic deduction from your paycheck to go to political action committees that support "friends of public education."  The entire section would have to be erased under a proposal passed by the state Senate Wednesday and headed to the House for consideration. The approved measure would prohibit funneling an automatic deduction from a public employee's wages to any political activity.  Republican supporters say a government payroll system shouldn't be assisting in a money transfer that furthers political goals.  "They certainly can continue to collect money to represent these people in their role as a union," said the bill's sponsor, Sen. John Eichelberger, R-Blair, who has been a foe of labor unions. "Where we have to draw the line, which seems very reasonable, is that they cannot any longer collect political money."  Democrats call the plan a cynical attempt to bust public worker unions, as the lack of automatic deductions is expected to make it harder for unions to collect full dues and political contributions.

PCN will re-air the debate at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
State Supreme Court candidates debate as pivotal election nears
Chris Potter/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette October 15, 2015 12:00 AM
Several of the candidates running for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court agree there’s at least one thing that panel can’t judge: itself.  Three Democrats, three Republicans, and one independent appeared in a debate aired by public-affairs cable channel PCN Wednesday night. It was the first time all seven candidates have appeared together, and will likely be the last. With an unprecedented three seats up for grabs, the Nov. 3 election could shape the seven-member court for a generation, and ethics issues have taken center stage.

Get to know the candidates for state Supreme Court
Lancaster Online Staff October 14, 2015
On Nov. 3, Pennsylvania will elect an unprecedented three new justices to the state Supreme Court, making it an election with far-reaching and lasting consequences.  The state Supreme Court, in recent years, has been rocked by scandal. One former justice was convicted on campaign corruption charges; two judges engaged in a prolonged, public and highly personal feud; and one was embroiled in the state's pornographic email scandal, and stepped down from the bench after four of his fellow justices voted to suspend him.  Repairing the reputation of the court will be a priority for those elected to it.  In an effort to help voters get to know the candidates, the LNP Editorial Board has invited them in for separate 45-minute interviews. These videos are intended to help you make your choice Nov. 3.  The first interviews took place Wednesday, Oct. 7. More will follow so please check back for more videos.

Education adrift: A tough audit says Pennsylvania has much to do
Post Gazette By the Editorial Board October 8, 2015 12:00 AM
The terrible financial hit that Pennsylvania’s schools absorbed wasn’t the only form of neglect inflicted by the state during the four-year term of former Gov. Tom Corbett. Administrators in Harrisburg also fell down on the job in performing fundamental duties that had little to do with money.  State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale’s comprehensive review of five years of records called out the state Education Department, and by extension the state Board of Education, for a long list of failures.  The most prominent example of irresponsibility was the employment of Mr. Corbett’s former Cabinet secretary, Ron Tomalis, in a do-nothing job with a salary of $139,542. Beyond Mr. Tomalis’ case, the department also failed to properly oversee other contracted workers, including retirees who were retained for specific tasks after they left the department. Although their work was supposed to be limited and on an emergency basis, the 89-page report revealed that 14 of the 38 workers were employed in three or more years; one person worked during all five years covered by the audit, 2010 to 2015.

Pennsylvania bills aim to protect students’ data
By Rich Lord / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette October 14, 2015 12:26 PM
Those apps and websites the kids bring home from school — which access everything from their grades, attendance and essays to lunch preferences — would get new scrutiny under legislation introduced Wednesday in Harrisburg.  Under a two-bill package, schools could still use education technology products that amass, sell or share student data — but only after notifying parents and allowing them to opt out. That approach should strongly deter the use of technology that doesn’t respect student privacy, without stifling classroom innovation, said bill authors Reps. Dan Miller, D-Mt. Lebanon, and Tedd Nesbit, R-Grove City.  “I want to see us utilize more technology” in schools, said Mr. Nesbit. “But at the same time, we’re putting personal data out there, and people should be aware of it. … Russians and Chinese are trying to hack our schools.”

Nazareth district officials, teachers returning to bargaining table
Sarah M. Wojcik Contact Reporter Of The Morning Call October 14, 2015
Nazareth Area School District, teachers set to continue contract talks ahead of possible strike
The Nazareth School District and its teachers will try to resolve their differences amid the threat of a strike next week, according to Superintendent Dennis Riker.  A 4 p.m. Thursday meeting is set between the district and the Nazareth Area Education Association, which has been working without a contract since Aug. 31. The two sides started negotiations last October, but failed to come to a consensus on key issues including compensation, health benefits, family leave and tuition reimbursement.  In a news release, Riker said he hoped further talks would yield results.  "The district is optimistic that the negotiation session on Thursday will serve as a springboard for future negotiation sessions in which the contract can be developed expeditiously and at the same time be fair to all parties," Riker said.

Mastery gets $9.6 million federal grant to expand
the notebook By Greg Windle on Oct 14, 2015 05:56 PM
The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has awarded Mastery Charter Schools a $9.6 million federal grant with the goal of opening 12 new schools over the next five years as a part of the department’s Replication and Expansion for High-Quality Charter Schools program.  These new schools would serve an estimated 6,800 students.  Mastery now serves about 12,000 students in grades K-12 in its schools in Philadelphia and Camden. The charter management organization operates 17 schools in the two cities, 11 of which are turnarounds of low-performing public and charter schools.  "The quality of the education and the teaching Mastery provides starts with the expectation that our kids have unbounded potential,” Mastery CEO Scott Gordon said in a press release. “The DOE award validates the effort and results our students have attained."
Mastery's grant proposal says the goal is to have schools in Delaware and Washington, D.C., in addition to Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  The money will be used to plan, design, and implement new charter programs, but Mastery said it will also be using the money to evaluate the effectiveness of its existing charters.

Hite 'out of patience' with sub firm
Inquirer by Kristen Graham POSTED: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2015, 3:46 PM
The official business was a City Council hearing: Philadelphia School District officials called to testify on the remaining $25 million in new money Council has yet to appropriate to the school system.  But the Wednesday hearing was brief - a record 21 minutes - and it was clear that last week's announcement that the district had agreed to a data-sharing deal with Council had smoothed the way for the transfer. Council President Darrell Clarke, who for the last several months has expressed frustration and disappointment with district leaders, essentially said the agreement was a reset of the relationship. 

"According to Farnese, a budget that looks forward includes the fair funding formula for state public schools as well as increasing funding for education and human services.  On the fair funding formula, Farnese referenced recommendations made in June by the Basic Education Funding Commission. “The commission recommended a series of factors to determine how schools should be funded such as the number of children living in poverty, density and special needs,” Farnese explained."
State Senator Farnese engaged with residents at Center City Town Hall
Philadelphia Free Press By Nicole Contosta Staff Reporter October 14, 2015
Approximately sixty center city residents filled the Broad Street Ministry for a town hall styled meeting with Pennsylvania’s First District State Senator Lawrence Farnese Thursday, October 8th.  The Republican and Democratic stalemate over the state budget underscored Farnese’s discussion. Nonetheless, Farnese also reviewed other priorities and answered constituent questions. Farnese’s top priorities included the Fair Funding Formula, SLAPP Legislation, the PA Fairness Act and gun control. Constituent questions ranged from gun laws to the state introducing legislation that would allow Philadelphia to tax commercial property owners at a higher rate than residential and small business owners. 

Philly charter schools getting by during budget impasse — for now By Evan Grossman  /   October 14, 2015
PHILADELPHIAPennsylvania schools, if the budget impasse lingers on, could be forced to close until lawmakers pass a new plan.  Through the first three months of the stalemate, public schools have taken out loans and dipped into their reserves to pay bills while state funding is frozen.  But, in some places, those reserves are on the verge of drying up.  “It’s hard to imagine a scenario where they’re just letting school districts crumble and fold and they’re just letting kids run loose in the streets because there’s no public schools open,” KIPP Philadelphia charter network CEO Marc Mannella told Watchdog.

Advocacy group to Gov. Wolf: Get rid of SRC member
A LOCAL GROUP of education advocates has sent Gov. Wolf a letter asking for the removal of Farah Jimenez from the School Reform Commission because of her husband's association with charter schools.  The Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools says it is also concerned about Jimenez's oversight of the school district's Charter School Office, which she details on her LinkedIn page.  The group alleges in an Oct. 8 letter obtained by the Daily News that Jimenez, who was appointed to the SRC in February 2014 by former Gov. Tom Corbett, "has taken actions which raise additional problems with her continuing as a Commissioner."  SRC Chairwoman Marjorie Neff calls the alliance's contentions "misplaced allegations."

Inaugural cohort of Fellowship in School Governance recognized at PASA-PSBA conference
PSBA website October 15, 2015
Twenty school board directors from across the state were recognized at the 2015 PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference Oct. 14 for their completion of the Fellowship in School Governance program. The program was started by The Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) in early 2015 and is a capstone program for interested school board members who wish to go “above and beyond” in their commitment and professional preparation.  Program graduates will received pins at the conference and will deliver an education session outlining the findings of a team project.  The Fellowship program requires a time commitment over the course of a program year (January-October). Candidates are expected to actively participate and contribute to the work of the cohort for the entire program year.

Foltz receives PSBA advocacy award
PSBA website October 14, 2015
The Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) today awarded Lynn Foltz, school director from Wilmington Area School District, with the Timothy M. Allwein Advocacy Award at the PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference in Hershey, Oct. 13.  The award was established in 2011 by PSBA in memory of Tim Allwein, the association’s former assistant executive director for Governmental and Member Relations. It is presented annually to an individual school director or entire school board to recognize outstanding leadership in legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of public education and students that are consistent with the positions in PSBA’s Legislative Platform.  A nominator praised Foltz for being a “tireless advocate for public education, a fearless champion for children, and an extremely dedicated board member.” Another said, “She continually mobilizes us into action relative to contacting our legislators regarding these important education issues. We have heard Lynn speak on many occasions at numerous venues, and only walk away more impressed each and every time.”  Foltz is a PSBA Region 2 Director,  serves on the board at Midwestern Intermediate Unit 4 and co-chairs the Keystone State Education Coalition, a non-partisan public education advocacy group. In the past, she has been a member of the PSBA Board of Directors.

NSBA Advocacy Institute 2016; January 24 - 26 in Washington, D.C.
Housing and meeting registration is open for Advocacy Institute 2016.  The theme, “Election Year Politics & Public Schools,” celebrates the exciting year ahead for school board advocacy.  Strong legislative programming will be paramount at this year’s conference in January.  Visit for more information.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:  School Play is going on tour!  Click below for more information about tour dates in your county.  All performances are FREE!
School Play, a documentary-based live theatre piece, is here to put school funding center stage. Compiled from a series of interviews, the play premiered in Philadelphia in April, 2015 and is now available for free for performances around the Commonwealth.

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:

Back to School Special Education Seminar October 20th
Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia
Join us on October 20, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for our first special education conference of the 2015-2016 school year!
Building on last year’s successful Back to School seminar, this year you will hear about the current state of special education law and engage in dialogue about today’s most pressing matters.
  • Early Intervention
  • Inclusion
  • Assistive Technology
  • General update on the state of special education, both in Philadelphia and nationally
  • HUNE
  • The PEAL Center
  • Sonja Kerr
Our “Know Your Child’s Rights” Special Education workshops aim to educate parents, educators, attorneys and advocates so that they can advocate for the rights of children with disabilities. CLE credit is available for attorneys in Pennsylvania that attend the seminar in person.  Questions? Email or call 267.546.1303.

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.

Constitution Center, Philadelphia Monday, November 2, 2015 at 4 p.m.
Free for Members • $7 teachers & students • $10 public
Become a Member today for free admission to this program and more!
Click here to join and learn more or call 215-409-6767.
Does the Constitution guarantee an “equal education” to every child? What do the U.S. and Pennsylvania Constitutions say about school choice, teacher tenure, standardized testing, and more? The Constitution Center hosts two conversations exploring these questions.
In the first discussion, education policy experts—Donna Cooper of Public Citizens for Children and Youth, Mark Gleason of the Philadelphia School Partnership, Deborah Gordon Klehr of the Education Law Center, and Ina Lipman of the Children's Scholarship Fund Philadelphia—examine the state of Philadelphia public education, what an "equal education" in Philadelphia would look like, and their specific proposals for getting there. They also explain what, if anything, the Pennsylvania state constitution says about these questions, and how state government interacts with local government in setting education policy.
In the second discussion, James Finberg of Altshuler Berzon and Joshua Lipshutz of Gibson Dunn—two attorneys involved in Vergara v. California, a landmark dispute over the legality of teacher retention policies—present the best arguments on both sides and discuss what's next in the case. They also explain what the U.S. Constitution and major Supreme Court cases like Brown v. Board of EducationSan Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez and Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 say about education and our national debates.

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 <>

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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