Wednesday, October 7, 2015

PA Ed Policy Roundup Oct 7: “At some point, we’ve got to vote somebody off the island, and if it’s going to be broad-based tax increases, so be it,” Reed said.

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PA Ed Policy Roundup October 7, 2015
“At some point, we’ve got to vote somebody off the island, and if it’s going to be broad-based tax increases, so be it,” Reed said.


The state House State Government Committee approved legislation to remove future Pennsylvania School Boards Association employees from participation in the Public School Employees' Retirement System.
Bill axes public pensions for school boards' lobbyists
Penn Live By Jan Murphy | jmurphy@pennlive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on October 06, 2015 at 10:57 AM, updated October 06, 2015 at 12:06 PM
A small pension reform move is afoot to remove future employees of an organization that lobbies on behalf of 4,500 school board members from being eligible to participate in a state pension plan.  The House State Government Committee on Tuesday voted 19-8 following a lengthy debate, to approve a bill to begin to disqualify Pennsylvania School Boards Association employees from membership in the Public School Employees' Retirement System.  Democratic members expressed concern about the unfairness of a two-tiered benefit system that this bill would create as well as concerns about retirement security for future PSBA employees. They also pointed out that not all PSBA employees engage in lobbying activities.  "It is not appropriate for them to be in the pension system" Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill.  Republican members argued that it was inappropriate for any lobbying organization to receive government-subsidized pensions. They also said the school employees' pension system, which one lawmaker noted is only 61 percent funded, is in dire need of reform and this is one small step toward that end.

Gov. Tom Wolf's revised tax increase package: At a glance
Penn Live By Charles Thompson | cthompson@pennlive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on October 06, 2015 at 5:15 PM, updated October 06, 2015 at 8:45 PM
Here's the highlights of the tax package Gov. Tom Wolf has introduced for possible consideration on the state House floor as early as Wednesday.  Note that this is not necessarily the full revenue package the governor would be seeking to conclude a budget deal.  Administration officials said Tuesday they can't make that promise in the absence of a final agreement.  But it is evident that, by the administration's own math, that when the proposed property tax relief piece is factored into Wolf's proposal, there is not enough income to close what he has defined as the state's structural deficit and increase education spending to the level that Wolf wants.  So, even if this measure passes, expect continued discussion about increases in cigarette taxes, the bank shares tax, etc.
Wednesday's bill is, however, intended to represent the size and scope of any broad-based tax that would be needed, and the new severance tax on natural gas production that Wolf has long championed.

“At some point, we’ve got to vote somebody off the island, and if it’s going to be broad-based tax increases, so be it,” Reed said.
Pennsylvania House to take up Wolf tax plan in bid to end budget impasse
Pottstown Mercury By Mark Scolforo, The Associated Press POSTED: 10/07/15, 5:32 AM EDT
THE WOLF TAX PLAN
A comparison of Gov. Tom Wolf’s newly revised tax agenda and what he proposed in his budget address in March:
PERSONAL INCOME TAX — Original plan: Increased from 3.07 percent to 3.7 percent. Revised plan: Increase rate from 3.07 percent to 3.57 percent.
NATURAL GAS — Original: 5 percent tax on value plus 4.7 cents per 1,000 cubic feet. Revised: 3.5 percent tax on value plus 4.7 cents per 1,000 cubic feet. This would continue the present impact fee.
SALES TAX — Original: Increased rate from 6 percent to 6.6 percent in most of the state and extended tax to services and other transactions. Revised: Not in Wolf’s proposal.
CIGARETTE TAXES — Original: Raised per-pack tax to $2.60 from $1.60, extend a 40 percent wholesale tax to sales of cigars, smokeless tobacco and electronic cigarettes. Revised: Not in Wolf’s proposal.
CORPORATE INCOME TAX — Original: Lowered tax rate from 9.99 percent to 4.99 percent over two years, closed loophole that allowed businesses based in other states to avoid the tax on their Pennsylvania operations. Revised: Not in Wolf’s proposal.
CAPITAL STOCK & FRANCHISE TAX — Original: Eliminated at end of this year. Revised: Not in Wolf’s proposal.
BANK SHARES TAX — Original: Raised from 0.80 percent to 1.25 percent. Current: Not in Wolf’s proposal.
HARRISBURG, Pa. >> The latest push to resolve Pennsylvania’s 3-month-old budget impasse is going before state lawmakers in the form of a proposal by Gov. Tom Wolf to raise billions in new taxes.
The state House plans to take up Wolf’s tax proposal Wednesday with an initial vote that will test support for the first-term Democrat’s proposal.  Wolf wants to plug a budget deficit and increase spending on education and human services by increasing the personal income tax rate and imposing a new severance tax on natural gas drilling.  The governor’s goal is to raise $1.4 billion for the current fiscal year and $2.4 billion next year.  There’s considerable Republican opposition to imposing new broad-based taxes. The governor has been working to secure the dozens of GOP votes he’d need for passage.

Wolf still seeking to raise income tax, impose tax on shale-gas drilling
Trib Live By Brad Bumsted Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015, 12:42 p.m.
HARRISBURG — House Republicans will proceed with a historic vote Wednesday enabling Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf to test support for a tax plan that would increase the personal income tax from 3.07 to 3.57 percent and impose a tax on natural gas drilling.  The vote could extend, or bring to a close, a 99-day budget stalemate, said House Majority Leader David Reed, who doubts Wolf has the votes. Schools are not receiving state funding and human service providers are not being paid.  Wolf made key concessions by withdrawing his proposal to raise the sales and cigarette taxes. He stuck by a campaign pledge to levy an extraction tax on shale-gas drillers. He reduced his two-year revenue plan from $5 billion to $3.7 billion.  Wolf altered his proposed property tax reduction for homeowners of all ages. He instead would expand state property tax relief for seniors, people with disabilities and veterans.  A tax increase is needed to close a structural deficit of more than $2 billion and boost education spending, Wolf said.

Wolf still working to get votes for his budget proposals
Legislature mulling modified tax hikes
By Karen Langley and Kate Giammarise / Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau October 6, 2015 11:26 PM
HARRISBURG — On the eve of a House vote that Republicans characterize as a make-or-break test of Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed tax increases, the governor’s office said the first-term Democrat is still rounding up votes.  “We’re still working to garner support,” said Jeffrey Sheridan, spokesman for Mr. Wolf. “He’s going to continue meeting with members from both parties leading into tomorrow’s vote to ask for their vote.”  Republican leaders have framed the vote, planned for today, as a final chance for Mr. Wolf to disprove their belief that his proposals — which include an increase in the rate of the personal income tax — lack the support needed to pass a House and Senate in which their members outnumber the governor’s fellow Democrats.  “At some point, we’ve got to vote somebody off the island,” said House Majority Leader Dave Reed, R-Indiana. “And if it’s going to be broad-based tax increases, so be it.”

Gov. Tom Wolf PA budget plan seeks higher income, drilling taxes
Wolf retools budget tax plan as lawmakers prep for a vote.
Morning Call by Mark Scolforo Of The Associated Press October 6, 2015
HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Wolf wants a half-point increase in the state's personal income tax and a new extraction tax on natural gas drilling in an effort to solve the state's 3-month-old budget impasse, according to an administration document obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.  Basic details of the proposal, which Wolf planned to formally submit later in the day, also include cuts for seniors and disabled people in the property taxes that fund public schools. The administration said the new money will close the deficit and add about $400 million annually for basic education.  Republican leaders have offered to hold a vote as a way to demonstrate that the governor's proposal for higher taxes lacks sufficient support in the Legislature, where Wolf's Democratic allies are in the minority in both chambers.  The state income tax rate would increase from 3.07 to 3.57 percent, while the natural gas drilling tax would be 3.5 percent, plus 4.7 cents per thousand cubic feet. The state's existing impact fee on gas drilling, which is targeted to areas where the activity occurs, would be untouched.  The administration said the tax package would raise more than $1.4 billion for the fiscal year that started July 1, and more than $2.4 billion next year.  An estimated 216,000 seniors and 31,000 households with disabled residents would see their property taxes eliminated, bringing the new statewide total to 331,000 households that would not have to pay the despised levies.

House GOP leader plays what-if game on Wolf's tax plan
Penn Live By Jan Murphy | jmurphy@pennlive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on October 06, 2015 at 5:20 PM, updated October 06, 2015 at 6:04 PM
Wednesday could prove to be a tell-tale moment for Gov. Tom Wolf and his desire to increase in the state's personal income tax rate for the first time in 11 years to address the state's structural deficit and boost education funding.  House Majority Leader Dave Reed, R-Indiana, said the House expects to vote on Wednesday on Wolf's $3.7 billion tax plan that was shared publicly on Tuesday but sounded doubtful that it would draw the necessary 102 votes.  "I personally believe the votes are not there although the administration just 30 minutes ago assured us each and every Democrat is a yes vote and they believe they have the votes for passage," Reed told reporters on Tuesday afternoon. "There's only one way to tell and that will be to vote on it tomorrow."

Revised revenue plan still a tough decision for moderate Republicans
The PLS Reporter Author: Jason Gottesman/Tuesday, October 6, 2015
As the details of Gov. Tom Wolf’s revised revenue plan were made public Tuesday, Republicans—even some moderates who could potentially be in favor of some broad-based revenue increases—were still skeptical.  The new revenue plan, which is embodied in an amendment sponsored by House Appropriations Committee Minority Chairman Joe Markosek (D-Allegheny) to House Bill 283, proposes to raise $3.6 billion over the next two fiscal years by relying heavily on increasing the personal income tax to 3.57 percent and placing a 3.5 percent tax on natural gas extraction.  The proposal would also increase the property tax forgiveness provision costing $195 million over two years while also making a transfer of $5 million to the Property Tax and Rent Rebate Program in FY 2016-2017.  According to House Democrats and the Wolf administration, the expanded Property Tax and Rent Rebate Program will provide $400 million in new property tax relief to seniors, the disabled, and veterans beginning in FY 2017-2018, resulting in the elimination of property taxes for 331,317 households, including over 247,000 new eliminations.  In the first year the revenue plan would generate over $1.3 billion, with another $2.3 billion to be generated in FY 2016-2017.  Gov. Wolf on Monday said without new revenue, Pennsylvania would be facing around a $2.2 billion deficit heading into the next fiscal year.

"But the truth is that no one will really know until lawmakers press that little red or green button on their desks at some point on Wednesday."
So just *how* many votes does Gov. Wolf have for his tax plan anyway?: Analysis
Penn Live By John L. Micek | jmicek@pennlive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on October 06, 2015 at 4:56 PM, updated October 06, 2015 at 5:11 PM
Okay, so here's a way to keep yourself amused on a Tuesday afternoon: Walk up to a Republican or Democratic state House member and ask them how many votes they think Gov. Tom Wolf has snared for his newest tax plan.  And then wait for the hilarity to ensue. Because no one really knows.  And if you don't like the answer you get, wait a couple of minutes. It'll change.  Sixty-five? Seventy-five?  And those are just the Democrats - there are 84 of them altogether - and they were meeting behind closed doors on Tuesday afternoon where they were reviewing the guts of the administration's newest tax proposal.

Editorial: A new tax plan from Tom Wolf
Intelligencer Editorial Posted: Wednesday, October 7, 2015 12:15 am
With the state budget impasse now in its fourth month. Gov. Wolf has made it clear that grave consequences will result if Republican lawmakers fail to buy into his plan to significantly raise taxes.  The governor has said over and over that without more tax revenue, the commonwealth will only be able to meet its growing pension and human service obligations by making drastic cuts in education funding. What’s more, according to Wolf, higher taxes offer the only solution to Pennsylvania’s multimillion-dollar deficit.  The governor’s original $31.6 billion budget, released in March, called for higher sales and personal income taxes, new levies on everything from diapers to day care and a severance tax on the natural gas industry. That budget went exactly nowhere. Republican lawmakers countered with a spending plan of their own that called for modest increases in education spending and no tax hikes. Wolf said it was chock-full of gimmicks and promptly vetoed it.  He likewise gave an official thumbs-down to a GOP compromise effort tying higher education spending to pension and liquor privatization reforms. And he nixed a Republican stopgap measure to temporarily fund schools and social service agencies, which are suffering during the budget stalemate.  Now, Wolf has countered with a revised tax plan that still calls for tax hikes many Republicans say Pennsylvanians cannot afford.  The real problem here is that both the governor and the GOP can make a valid case.

Editorial: Second ask: Gov. Wolf’s new plan still falls short for Pennsylvania
Post Gazette By the Editorial Board October 7, 2015 12:00 AM
Gov. Tom Wolf’s scaled-back tax plan to end the political stalemate and balance the state budget for 2015-16 is more realistic than the plan he announced in March, which would have raised the income, sales, cigarette and business taxes and introduced a severance tax for Marcellus Shale drillers.   But that’s as good as it gets.  The new proposal is a big step from his overly ambitious, first “ask,” but it leaves Pennsylvanians wondering where the state would be had Mr. Wolf offered it six months ago, long before school districts and human service providers had to start borrowing to pay their bills.  The GOP leadership has been saying for months that it wants major changes to the pension plan for state and public school employees, but Mr. Wolf’s proposals in that regard have been minimal. Likewise, while Republicans are finally on board with selling off the state-owned liquor monopoly, Mr. Wolf vetoed a plan that Pennsylvanians have been seeking for generations, offering a sop to consumers when a giant leap to full privatization is necessary.
That’s why even though his changes to the tax plan are significant and welcome, they are not sufficient.

Their view | Make sure all citizens get good education
Centre Daily Times Letter BY MARY A. MCKENNA October 7, 2015 
Mary A. McKenna is a former teacher and principal in Philadelphia public and private schools.
I am one of those aging “children of the ’60s,” who will soon pass into her 70s. The words and actions of Pope Francis this past week have stirred the embers of the fires that burned in the “wilder” days of my youth. We thought that we could make all sorts of right and just things happen. The words spoken on Saturday about St. Katharine Drexel prep school struck me: “What are you going to do?” We still have to take real steps to encounter and include those who are poor and marginalized. I propose that anyone who has been blessed with a good education has a valuable resource that needs to be shared.  The news that Philadelphia is the poorest of our nation’s 10 largest cities has been directly linked to our failure to provide for all our children “a thorough and efficient education,” as set forth in the Pennsylvania state constitution. I believe that this is partially caused by our reliance on local real estate taxes in our funding formula. Where people have the ability to own their homes in more affluent neighborhoods or in areas where the cost of living and availability of jobs make good schools possible for all residents who can pay the higher real estate taxes, students are doing fairly well in meeting standards of learning. But in rural and urban areas where schools have been underfunded for decades and where jobs are scarce or non-existent for those poorly educated as a result, many can only afford to rent or make their homes in other people’s houses. There are many who don’t even have that. How can the school districts in those areas raise adequate funds from real estate taxes?

"The auditor general said he found scant evidence of work by former special adviser on higher education Ron Tomalis, who maintained his Cabinet-level status and salary of $139,542 after he resigned as state secretary of education to become special adviser on June 1, 2013."
State audit finds special adviser on higher education 'did little work'
The auditor general said he found scant evidence of work by former special adviser on higher education Ron Tomalis.
By Mary Niederberger and Bill Schackner / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette October 7, 2015 12:00 AM
A special adviser on higher education who did no work, a Basic Education Master Plan that had not been updated in 16 years, and no effort to help the majority of the state’s struggling schools were the major findings of two audits performed at the state Department of Education by the office of state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.  The long-awaited performance audits were presented by Mr. DePasquale in a news conference Tuesday during which he blasted the department for its lack of oversight on advisers and assistants and its inaction in helping what he called 561 “poor performing” schools.  He also took the state Board of Education to task for failing to update the commonwealth’s Basic Education Master Plan every five years as mandated by the state School Code and described the education department as “uncooperative” during the course of much of the audit.  The audit covered July 1, 2010, to Aug. 1, 2015, but the work took place largely during the administration of former Gov. Tom Corbett. Mr. DePasquale said the lack of cooperation seemed to stem from department leadership, rather than Mr. Corbett’s office, and improved when Gov. Tom Wolfe took office in January.

Auditor General: School districts feel like the Department of Education does not help them
The PLS Reporter  Author: Jason Gottesman/Tuesday, October 6, 2015
In releasing a much anticipated performance audit of the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the state Board of Education Tuesday, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said a culture within the department has existed over the last several years that leaves local school districts feeling as though they have been forgotten.  DePasquale pointed out his audit revealed—among other things—that PDE has left 561 academically challenged schools (with around 310,000 students) without adequate support.  “It is absolutely stunning…that basically, the Department of Education is overlooking some Title 1 schools and every poor performing school that is not Title 1,” he said. “It does worry me that it appears the department is doing the bare minimum to get by.”  Along with the failure to provide adequate support, the audit found three other major failures, including the lack of an updated master plan from the State Board, poor hiring practices with regard to annuitants, and a failure to monitor special advisors and assistants.

Audit finds fault with Pa. education agencies
WHYY Newsworks BY MARY WILSON OCTOBER 6, 2015
A new audit gives Pennsylvania's Department of Education poor marks for the way it deals with academically struggling schools and special employees.  The report, covering mid-2010 to mid-2015, finds that the agency failed to provide special help to most poor-performing schools unless it were expressly required by federal law.  The new scores were adopted in 2012 to assess and compare schools. Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said during a press conference Tuesday that merely labeling sub-par schools is of little service.  "If you're going to come up with criteria for what is poor-performing ... you've got to be prepared to do something to deal with it," said DePasquale. "There has to be an action, or why else have a Department of Education?"

Audit slams Pa. Education Dept. as inept, lumbering
CHRIS PALMER, INQUIRER HARRISBURG BUREAU LAST UPDATED: Wednesday, October 7, 2015, 1:08 AM POSTED: Tuesday, October 6, 2015, 5:36 PM
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania's auditor general on Tuesday assailed the state Department of Education as slow to change, beset by apathy, and mired in what he called "bureaucratic ineptness."  In an 81-page report summarizing what he said was his most difficult examination of a state agency, Eugene DePasquale slammed the department for doing little or nothing to help improve 561 schools it identified as low-performing two years ago, for not updating its master education plan in 16 years, and for letting a former education secretary collect a $140,000 consulting paycheck for essentially doing no work.  "To me, it is a dereliction of duty," DePasquale said during a Capitol news conference.  Pointing at a map of the poor-performing schools he believed the state has neglected - including 153 in and around Philadelphia - DePasquale continued: "Our job is to give every one of these kids an equal shot. Right now, that is not happening in Pennsylvania."

Special Performance Audit Report
Pennsylvania Department of Education October 2015
PA Department of Auditor General

Nazareth to vote on fact-finders report amid stalled teacher contract negotiations
Sarah M. Wojcik Contact Reporter Of The Morning Call October 6, 2015
The Nazareth Area School Board on Thursday is expected to vote on a fact-finder's report aimed at reaching the middle ground in stalled teachers contract negotiations.  The special 9 p.m. public meeting comes more than a month after the district's contract with the Nazareth Area Education Association expired.  The fact-finder, an impartial third-party appointed by the Pennsylvania Labor and Relations Board, was requested by the district, according to Nazareth School Board solicitor Gary Brienza.  Thursday marks the 10th day since the compilation of the report and the deadline by which both sides must take a vote, according to Brienza. The board will have its say Thursday. If accepted by both parties, the report would become the foundation for a new contract agreement, Brienza said.

A Philly schools program draws international praise
KRISTEN A. GRAHAM, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER POSTED: October 6, 2015, 5:00 PM
It was a big day at McKinley Elementary. A delegation of international visitors was coming to North Philadelphia to learn how students and teachers are managing to keep their school calm and peaceful.  That 13 teachers and education officials from South Africa trooped to Philadelphia on Tuesday to learn lessons from a district often better known for financial trouble and other dysfunction was not lost on Marilyn Carrion-Mejia, McKinley's longtime principal.  "We are so, so excited," said Carrion-Mejia.  The South African delegation came to McKinley to learn about Positive Behavior Interventions and Support, a program that sets up a schoolwide system of rules and consequences, a way to embed good behavior in a school's culture rather than only punishing troublemakers after the fact.  In the Philadelphia School District, 24 schools officially use the proactive program now, with six more in the pipeline this year. A grant will allow 20 more schools to add it.

Parents react to news of Wister's planned charter conversion
the notebook By Connie Langland on Oct 6, 2015 05:18 PM
Parents from John Wister Elementary School have mixed opinions about the prospect of big changes at the school, but several who were interviewed agreed on a key point: Wister is a fixture in the Germantown neighborhood and should remain open.  On Thursday,  Superintendent William Hite proposed closing some schools, creating others, and turning three elementary schools -- Wister, Jay Cooke in Logan and Samuel Huey in West Philadelphia -- over to charter management. Decisions about which operators will take over the schools, the District says, will be made after a lengthy process involving community meetings and extensive parental input.  In interviews Friday morning, a day after the plan was announced, parents barely had time to digest the news. Three of six said they had heard nothing about it. 

Touring Play at State High Brings Education Funding Into the Public Eye
StateCollege.com by Michael Martin Garrett on October 07, 2015 6:00 AM
Playwright and concerned mother Arden Kass thinks we sometimes lose sight of what really matters when we talk about hot-button issues.  And when it comes to funding for public education – a major topic in the state budget debates raging in the Pennsylvania legislature – she said it’s easy to get caught up in Right vs. Left rhetoric, or to shut yourself off from the conversation altogether.  But when we can’t see the forest through the trees, what happens to the kids?  “School Play” – a free documentary-style play based off over 100 interviews with students, teachers, parents and politicians – is coming to the State High auditorium on Thursday night, and challenges all Pennsylvanians to think about this question.


Test Scores Under Common Core Show That ‘Proficient’ Varies by State
New York Times By MOTOKO RICH OCT. 6, 2015
COLUMBUS, OhioOhio seems to have taken a page from Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average.  Last month, state officials releasing an early batch of test scores declared that two-thirds of students at most grade levels were proficient on reading and math tests given last spring under the new Common Core requirements.  Yet similar scores on the same tests meant something quite different in Illinois, where education officials said only about a third of students were on track. And in Massachusetts, typically one of the strongest academic performers, the state said about half of the students who took the same tests as Ohio’s children met expectations.  It all came down to the different labels each state used to describe the exact same scores on the same tests.  That kind of inconsistency in educational standards is what the Common Core — academic guidelines for kindergarten through high school reading and math that were adopted by more than 40 states — was intended to redress. 

Testing Resistance & Reform News: September 30 - October 6, 2015
Submitted by fairtest on October 6, 2015 - 12:56pm 
Though recent leadership upheavals in the Obama Administration and Congress have temporarily slowed the overhaul of "No Child Left Behind," there's substantial assessment reform progress at the state and local levels as well as in college admissions.   Remember that back issues of these weekly news summaries are archived online at: http://fairtest.org/news/other


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

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.

"This will be an opportunity for the community to discuss its collective aspirations for our next superintendent. We hope you'll join us for an evening of learning and discussion about how we as a community can support our Board in its search for our schools next leader."
Getting a Great Superintendent
Pittsburgh, PA Wednesday, October 7, 2015 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM (EDT)
A+ Schools and its partners are hosting a community discussion about innovative talent search models that have attracted high quality leadership to key roles in the City of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Public Schools.  Come hear from Valerie Dixon, Executive Director and Founder of the PACT Initiative, Leigh Halverson, Strategic Project Advisor to the President, Heinz Endowments, Patrick Dowd, former school board member and Executive Director of Allies for Children, Robert Cavalier, Director, Program for Deliberative Democracy at Carnegie Mellon University, and Alex Matthews, former school board member discuss the key lessons they've learned from being part of selection processes for key leaders in our City.  

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

Register Now – 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 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.

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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