Friday, October 16, 2015

PA Ed Policy Roundup Oct 16: PA schools' share of gaming funds diverted for charter school tuition

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup October 16, 2015
PA schools' share of gaming funds diverted for charter school tuition


State giving funding to charter schools that saw money withheld by school districts
Sarah M. WojcikChristina Tatu and Jacqueline Palochko The Morning Call October 15, 2015
School districts that withheld money to charter schools amid the budget impasse in Harrisburg were angered to learn in the past week that the state has been paying them with gaming revenue funds.  Parkland, Bethlehem Area, Salisbury and Northampton Area are among school districts in the state that have withheld some or all of their charter school payments, saying they need to hold onto as much cash as possible to weather the budget stalemate, which is reaching its four-month mark.  They also reasoned that if they aren't receiving state money, charter schools shouldn't either.  But charter schools have found a way around their move.  State law allows charter schools to appeal any non-payment of funds from school districts. It also allows the state to dip into any fund – not just the education budget – to pay them.  In this case, the state is using gaming revenue funds, the money the state uses from gambling proceeds to provide property tax relief to homeowners.

Pennsylvania schools' share of gaming funds diverted for charter school tuition
By Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette October 16, 2015 12:00 AM
School districts already struggling to make ends meet because of the state budget impasse got another blow this week when they learned that gaming revenue they were expecting has been diverted to pay charter school tuition.  One of the hardest hit is the McKeesport Area School District, which expected a gaming-proceeds payment of $1.2 million but instead is getting $41,000, said business manager David Seropian.  That means to meet next week’s payroll, the district will have to tap a $5 million line of credit it had arranged in case the budget battle dragged on.  McKeesport Area got no warning about the reduction; Mr. Seropian said he learned of it when he checked on the status of the district’s gaming-revenue payment in anticipation of preparing his next payroll.  “It’s illogical that you would take out money and give it to the charter schools so that they are not hurt at all,” Mr. Seropian said.  Gaming revenue comes from the state’s share of casino gambling taxes and is distributed to school districts to help reduce property taxes for homeowners. It comes in two payments, the second of which is due next week.  School districts base their budgets and property tax millage rates to support the budgets in part on the amount of gaming revenue they receive.  Because Pennsylvania has no budget in place, the gambling proceeds are the only state money districts are receiving, and a number of them have borrowed or plan to borrow to pay bills in the absence of their Basic Education Subsidy funds.

Upper St. Clair schools withhold state pension payments
By Clarece Polke / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette October 16, 2015 12:00 AM
Upper St. Clair School District board directors are making a statement amid the ongoing state budget impasse: We won’t pay our bills until you pay yours.  In a Sept. 21 voting meeting, board directors voted to withhold the employer’s portion of its payments into the Pennsylvania School Employees Retirement System — PSERS— until the 2015-16 state budget is passed.  The decision came after a legal analysis was distributed by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association in late August. School Boards Association general counsel Stuart Knade opined that the state’s 500 school districts could take stopgap measures to address growing cash flow problems, including delaying payment of employer contributions to the retirement system.

Future Pa. justices on display
WHYY Newsworks DAVE DAVIES OFF MIC  A BLOG BY DAVE DAVIES OCTOBER 15, 2015
The judicial course and partisan makeup of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will be mightily affected by the election in less than three weeks of three new justices for the state's highest court.  If you're confused about whom to vote for (and who isn't), you can get a decent look at the seven contenders by watching the debate held Wednesday evening sponsored by Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts.  The 90-minute forum is streamed on the Pennsylvania Cable Network site hereIf you only have five minutes, listen to my radio piece above which will give you a taste of the hopefuls.

Letter: Time to get Pa.’s house in order
Lancaster Online Letter by Kenneth M. Ralph East Hempfield Township October 15, 2015
You know what happens when you don’t pay your bills? It is not much different when Pennsylvania doesn’t pay its bills. Except, instead of the bank foreclosing or repossessing, Pennsylvania can shift costs to county government, school boards and other local bodies. Pennsylvania can also delay payments until the following year.  This is what Pennsylvania has been doing for the last four years under the Corbett administration. Republicans say they balanced the budget, but they have only shifted the burden and delayed paying bills.
Of course bankers understand these budget gimmicks. That is why they lowered Pennsylvania bond ratings five times over the last four years. This is costing Pennsylvania taxpayers $139 million in additional interest each year.  Cutting school funding and other services cannot balance our state budget. By electing Gov. Tom Wolf, we voted for increasing school funding, decreasing property taxes and imposing an extraction tax on natural gas drillers. We voted for a businessman who would put our Pennsylvania government household budget in order.  To pay for the schools, roads, police, nursing homes, environmental protection, human services, parks and other governmental services we want, and to put our state on a sound financial footing, Pennsylvania must increase revenue. The quicker we convince our legislators of this, the less it will cost us all.

Letter to the editor: Reform is key to ending Pennsylvania budget stalemate
Delco Times By William F. Adolph, Jr., Times Guest Columnist  10/16/15, 12:41 AM EDT
State Rep. William Adolph is majority Chairman of the PA House Appropriations Committee
The state Legislature recently sent Gov. Wolf another loud and clear message that his massive tax increases do not have support from the Legislature or the public.  The Legislature and the public are demanding reforms instead of allowing the governor to rush through unprecedented tax increases on working families.  Since the governor’s first budget presentation in March, he has called for massive tax increases to support huge state spending. His initial proposal included a 40 percent increase in the sales tax and a 21 percent increase in the state income tax. The public balked at Gov. Wolf’s huge tax proposals and told the Legislature not to support such drastic measures.  Hearing the public’s message loud and clear, the Legislature sent the governor a balanced budget with no tax increases. The legislative budget relied on reforms to our state liquor system and outdated pension system to fund a nearly $400 million increase for education spending.

When it comes to the budget, Pa. must look forward - not back: Frank Dermody
PennLive Op-Ed  By Frank Dermody on October 15, 2015 at 1:30 PM
By Pa. House Minority Leader Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny
Pennsylvania is in a serious financial mess – a mess created by four years of unbalanced budgets.  We face a clear choice: We can stick with the status quo and watch things get even worse, or we can move our state in a better direction.  The numbers don't lie. Since the recession, those states that made hard choices to raise new revenue and invest more in education have seen higher average rates of job growth and better academic performance by students.  The economies in those states are moving forward and many of them have budget surpluses now. 
Here in Pennsylvania, however, we sharply cut our investments in education since 2011.
As a result, schools lost well over 20,000 teachers, guidance counselors, nurses, librarians and other support staff. Student performance went down. Many pre-K, basic education and higher education programs closed or cut back. Local property taxes skyrocketed.

Gov. Wolf: 'I've made $1b in concessions - the GOP nothing,' report: Thursday Morning Coffee
By John L. Micek | jmicek@pennlive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on October 15, 2015 at 7:45 AM, updated October 15, 2015 at 8:25 AM
Good Thursday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
As talks on the state budget stutter and restart this week, Gov. Tom Wolf said Wednesday that he's made $1 billion in concessions from the spending plan he rolled out back in March, but it hasn't been enough for Republicans who control the General Assembly, a newspaper has reported.  "I have taken $1 billion out of my original March 3 proposal ... 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, according to The Tribune-Review.  The newspaper notes that the Democratic administration did not provide details on howWolf arrived at that figure.  A spokesman for House Republicans scoffed at Wolf's claim, arguing that since the Democratic governor is proposing a $4 billion tax increase, "moving $1 billion is not really that much," The Trib reported.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)
Smart Talk: Auditor General Eugene DePasquale audits Dept. of Education; Dauphin Co. police consolidation
WITF Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Oct 15, 2015 4:16 PM
What to look for on Smart Talk Friday, October 16, 2015:
Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale's recent audit of the state Department of Education concluded the department failed to provide adequate assistance to 561 academically challenged school districts across the state.  Some 310,000 students are enrolled in those districts.  Two other significant findings of the audit were that the Board of Education hasn't updated its plan for basic education since 1999 and that former special adviser on higher education Ron Tomalis did very little work during the Corbett Administration, while being paid more than $139,000 a year.  DePasquale appears on Friday's Smart Talk to discuss his findings and recommendations.

York County lawmakers tout their work at legislative luncheon
York Dispatch By GREG GROSS 505-5433/@GGrossYD POSTED:   10/15/2015 09:44:49 PM EDT
About half of York County's lawmakers discussed topics ranging from the state budget impasse to pension reform during the York County Economic Alliance's legislative luncheonon Thursday. The luncheons, held twice a year, aim to keep members of the York's business community abreast of issues being discussed in Harrisburg.  Five York County legislators — Rep. Keith Gillespie, R-Hellam Township; Rep. Seth Grove, R-Dover Township; Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill, R-York Township; Rep. Kevin Schreiber, D-York City; and Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon, Dauphin and York counties — took part in the forum.  The luncheon was held at the Wyndham Garden hotel in West Manchester Township. The other half of the county's delegation to Harrisburg took part in a luncheon held in the spring.  Each lawmaker was given a topic to talk about. Here's a look the topics they discussed:

EDITORIAL: Outsourcing doesn’t always get the best results
Pottstown Mercury Editorial POSTED: 10/16/15, 2:00 AM EDT |
There’s an old Marvin Gaye song called “Inner City Blues” in which the soul singer comments on all the bad things in life that “make me wanna holler and throw up both my hands.” Surely Philadelphians must feel that way about their poorly funded, understaffed schools.  Making matters worse are the well-intentioned responses to the district’s litany of calamities that too often fall flat on their face. Add to that list a plan to improve the daily teacher vacancy rate by hiring a private company to provide substitute teachers.  It seemed like a good idea when the district signed a $34 million contract with Cherry Hill-based Source4Teachers, which had a positive record in smaller districts like Camden’s. But the job of providing enough substitute teachers for Philadelphia’s public schools has proven to be too big for the company. It has not met the goals in its contract, and schoolchildren are suffering as a result.  Source4Teachers promised to provide 75 percent of the substitutes needed every day by September. That sounded great compared with the average 60 percent rate at which the district had been able to fill vacancies. But when the school year began, Source4Teachers had substitutes for only 11 percent of the vacancies.  There has been little improvement since then. Source4Teachers reported Friday that it had substitutes for only 19 percent of the classrooms that needed them. 

Philly SRC meeting dominated by charter conversion critics
WHYY Newsworks BY KEVIN MCCORRY OCTOBER 16, 2015
Philadelphia school leaders got an earful Thursday night.
Much of the four-and-a-half-hour School Reform Commission meeting, was filled with contentious testimony.  Teachers, parents and advocates decried the shortage of school nurses and took leaders to task for their so-far exceedingly underwhelming decision to outsource substitute teaching services — leading some in the crowd to call for ousting Superintendent William Hite.  The topic, though, of most discussion was Hite's recent proposal to convert three chronically underperforming elementary schools to neighborhood-based charters: Samuel Huey in West Philadelphia, John Wister in Germantown and Jay Cooke in Logan.

Parents, teachers voice opposition to charter conversions
SOLOMON LEACH, DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER LEACHS@PHILLYNEWS.COM, 215-854-5903 POSTED: Friday, October 16, 2015, 12:16 AM
PARENTS AND teachers last night spoke out against the school district's plan to convert three low-performing schools to charters, claiming the process excludes parents and would expand the reach of costly charters in the district.  Under the proposal, Huey, Cooke and Wister schools would be turned over to charter operators and be designated as Renaissance charters, which now include about 20 formerly district-run schools.  Deanna Lewis, a teacher at Huey, on Pine Street near 52nd in West Philadelphia, said the faculty is fully capable of helping students achieve but hasn't been given the necessary resources.

Protesters at SRC meeting angrily call for dramatic changes
KRISTEN A. GRAHAM, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER LAST UPDATED: Friday, October 16, 2015, 1:08 AM POSTED: Thursday, October 15, 2015, 9:52 PM
For more than four restless hours Thursday, anger at Philadelphia School District leaders simmered, at times boiling over.  At a School Reform Commission meeting and at a union rally held before the meeting, teachers, parents, and community members expressed anger at the district's planned conversion of three schools into charters, at its handing over substitute-teaching services to a company that has underperformed, at its nurse staffing levels, and at its overcrowding in some schools.

Mastery's CEO talks about expansion plan and Renaissance turnarounds
By Dale Mezzacappa on Oct 15, 2015 03:22 PM
Mastery Charter Schools CEO Scott Gordon said Thursday that a new $9.6 million grantfrom the U.S. Department of Education would be used to open new schools in the city and across the Delaware River.    "We're expecting to open schools in Philadelphia and Camden," Gordon said in a telephone interview. "New schools or Renaissance schools. Our preference has always been Renaissance schools, because that is the quickest way to address kids who are trapped in struggling schools."   Gordon said that Mastery would definitely participate in the District's restarted Renaissance schools initiative this year, but is still considering which schools to apply for.  The schools designated by Superintendent William Hite for charter conversion are John Wister in Germantown, Samuel Huey in West Philadelphia, and Jay Cooke in Logan.  He called it "unlikely," however, that Mastery would apply to operate all three.
Today is the deadline for the District to release a "request for qualifications" for Renaissance providers. And significant pushback is already evident against turning over any more neighborhood schools to charter operators.

Lack of volunteers with state clearances threatens Halloween events in Easton schools
Christina Tatu Contact Reporter Of The Morning Call October 15, 2015
The Easton Area School District will approve an updated volunteer background-check policy this month, but it may not come in time to prevent the cancellation of several events.  The school board introduced a policy Tuesday night to help clarify which parent volunteers need background checks and which are exempt.  The policy mirrors House Bill 1276, which was adopted in July to clarify background-check requirements that were part of a package of child-protection laws adopted in 2013.  July's clarification, along with Easton's proposed policy, requires only volunteers who routinely provide direct care or supervision of children in a chaperone capacity to undergo background checks.  Many organizations, school districts and youth programs complained the ambiguity of the original law's language made it difficult to determine which volunteers needed background checks.

Alum Helen Gym champions housing and education reform in her run for City Council
Daily Pennsylvanian By PAT ZANCOLLI  10/15/15 12:35am
Helen Gym, a 1993 College graduate, is running for the Philadelphia City Council At-Large as the Democratic nominee on a platform of education and housing reform.
A strong proponent of social justice issues, Gym — a former Daily Pennsylvanian and 34th Street editor — has been making efforts in past weeks to spark conversation on these issues. On Sept. 30, she traveled down to D.C. to join Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other passionate housing reformers to bring attention to federal regulations that are making it difficult for low-income citizens to get housing in certain areas. On Oct. 6, Gym spoke at Penn about education reform in an event hosted by Penn Democrats and the Penn Education Society.  Gym said the housing reform event was created to bring attention to a process through which the federal government is buying up delinquent mortgages and selling them to private equity groups. As a result of this process, 80 percent of mortgages end up in foreclosure, Gym said. She felt that she needed to bring attention to the issue since the process flows through federal agencies.  “If it has any stamp of government involvement, it needs to serve the public interest,” Gym said.  Gym’s Oct. 6 event at Penn also spoke to the topic of reform — but in relation to education instead. “A Conversation with Helen Gym,” as the Facebook event was titled, focused on how the conversation about public education has changed over time and how it continues to evolve, Gym said.


"Those involved say they use art in many forms across the curriculum as a way to make content more meaningful and deepen student learning.  The new strategy comes as interest in arts integration is growing nationally, driven in part by increasing research that points to academic, social and personal benefits for students, said Sandra Ruppert, director of the Arts Education Partnership, a network of more than 100 arts, education and cultural organizations. She said studies show that employing the arts in academic classrooms is associated with improvement in test scores in math and English. In particular, students living in poverty benefit from the integrated approach, she said."
More schools are working to integrate the arts into classroom learning
Washington Post By Donna St. George October 14  
The third-graders at Capitol Heights Elementary School are showing what they have learned about ancient Chinese dynasties, but there is no conventional quiz. They are gathered in small groups writing song lyrics — testing ideas, rhyming words, adding details, singing to each other.  Some perform for the class.  “The wall of China is a wall that protects us from bad guys,” one girl sings, as teacher Tifany Champouillon listens for the lesson’s main ideas.  The creative buzz in Room 19 is increasingly common in the school as Prince George’s County expands an initiative to integrate the arts into teaching and learning. Started last year in 15 schools, the growing effort now includes 41 schools in Maryland’s second- largest school system.

"I co-founded First Book with two friends in 1992. I had been volunteering at a D.C. soup kitchen when I learned that not only were there no books available but the children didn’t have books at home either.
I started talking to other programs and schools and became aware of this enormous problem – with clearly disastrous implications – for individual children and our broader society. In a resource-rich country like ours, how can millions of children grow up without books, at home, at school and in their communities?"
CREATING A MARKET FOR DIVERSE BOOKS: AN INTERVIEW WITH FIRST BOOK CEO KYLE ZIMMER
Today we are thrilled to have Kyle Zimmer, President, CEO, and Co-founder of First Book, with us. Here’s how Kyle describes her organization: “First Book supports educational equality by providing high quality, new and relevant books and educational resources to teachers and caregivers serving the millions of children growing up in low-income families.”  Welome, Kyle!
How did First Book begin? Has the organization’s mission evolved since it was founded?

Georgia Governor's 'opportunity school district' part of national attack on public education, says GAE president
Online Athens By LEE SHEARER updated Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 12:26am
The 2016 general election is more still more than a year away, but education groups are already on the campaign trail to oppose a proposed Constitutional amendment that will be on the Georgia ballot.  The so-called Opportunity School District proposal is billed as a way to help so-called failing schools. But what it would really do is take away local control of schools, bypass Georgia’s elected State School Superintendent and the state Board of Education, and open the door for privatization of schools, said Sid Chapman, president of the Georgia Association of Educators.

Attorneys make new arguments in Miss. school funding lawsuit
Washington Times By EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS - Associated Press - Tuesday, October 13, 2015
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Former Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove made a new round of arguments Tuesday in his lawsuit that seeks $240 million that 21 school districts say they have been shortchanged by the state in the past few years.  The state attorney general’s office is defending legislators’ budget decisions.  Hinds County Chancery Judge William Singletary ruled against Musgrove and the school districts in July, but he later agreed to hear new arguments.  “We’re here today arguing that you got it wrong,” Musgrove told Singletary on Tuesday.  Musgrove said Singletary should have looked at the “plain language” of a bill that legislators passed in 2006. It said the state would spend three years phasing in full funding for a school budget formula known as the Mississippi Adequate Education Program. Then, starting with the fiscal year that began in July 2009, the bill said legislators would fully fund MAEP.

Angry parents, teachers drive Arizona school-funding debate

By Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, The Arizona Republic | azcentral.com4:50 p.m. MST October 14, 2015
After years of ignoring pleas to put significant money into schools, Arizona politicians are suddenly tripping over each other to find a way to pump billions of dollars into education.
Gov. Doug Ducey, Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas, and many Republican and Democratic lawmakers want to dig deeper into state coffers to get more money to schools, and each has a plan.  But there's another force driving the competition: Angry parents and teachers who say they are bearing the brunt of education cuts made during the recession.  Some lawmakers say they have been yelled at, taken aside during events and chastised for low funding. They've been barraged with e-mails and phone calls inviting them to see firsthand the consequences of inaction.  As the governor and lawmakers consider a special session, there's no unified front on the best way to boost school funding.

Charter-School Movement Grows—for Real-Estate Investors
New niche develops as more charters open doors; some states help with financing
Wall Street Journal By PETER GRANT Oct. 13, 2015 11:33 a.m. ET
Real-estate investors are showing an increasing interest in charter school development as the demand grows for classroom seats and some state and local governments become more willing to help finance charter-school projects.  Almost all charter schools are operated by nonprofit organizations. But these groups often rent and buy their buildings from private real-estate developers, and that is creating a new niche asset for some investors.  One of the latest entrants to the charter real-estate business is Northstar Commercial Partners, a Denver-based private-equity firm that is raising a $100 million fund. It will focus on converting charter schools out of vacant office, industrial and retail properties that can be purchased for less than half of what they would cost to build, according to Northstar Chief Executive Brian Watson.


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 www.nsba.org/advocacyinstitute for more information.

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.
Topics
  • Early Intervention
  • Inclusion
  • Assistive Technology
  • General update on the state of special education, both in Philadelphia and nationally
Presenters
  • 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 mberton@pilcop.org 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 https://www.paiu.org/epaseac/conf_registration.php

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.

SCHOOL CHOICE: THE ROLE OF THE CONSTITUTION AND THE COURTS IN IMPROVING EDUCATION
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 www.pascd.org <http://www.pascd.org/>

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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