Tuesday, November 17, 2015

PA Ed Policy Roundup Nov 17: Thanksgiving might not come until Christmas for #PABudget this year….

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 3800 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 November 17, 2015:
Thanksgiving might not come until Christmas for #PABudget this year….


PA House Education Committee Voting Meeting on SB880 (Two year delay in Keystone Exams)
Tuesday, November 17, 2015 9:30 am Room G50, Irvis Office Building
SB 880 - Legislation to delay the graduation requirement associated with the state’s end-of-course tests, known as the Keystone Exams, for two years.

Keystone exam proposal wrapped up in budget talks
York Daily Record by Angie Mason, amason@ydr.com4:42 p.m. EST November 16, 2015
The state House Education Committee will meet Tuesday to consider items including delaying the Keystone exams as a graduation requirement until 2019.  The committee will consider Senate Bill 880, which would delay making the end-of-course exams a graduation requirement, according to a memo sent by state Rep. Stan Saylor. The Senate passed that bill over the summer and sent it to the House education committee.  The committee will also consider an amendment from Saylor, which would require the state education department to investigate alternative methods for students to demonstrate proficiency for graduation, in addition to the Keystones, the memo says. The department would report on its findings within six months.  Saylor previously said the Keystones issue was part of a broader discussion and was part of ongoing state budget talks.

Judge rules against cyber school founder Nick Trombetta on wiretap evidence; U.S. case will proceed
By Torsten Ove / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette November 16, 2015 7:51 PM
A federal judge has rejected Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School founder Nick Trombetta’s last remaining bid to have his indictment thrown out on his claim that the government’s case was built on conversations that the FBI improperly recorded between Mr. Trombetta and his lawyers in violation of the attorney-client privilege.  U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti ruled Monday that Mr. Trombetta’s conversations with attorney Timothy Barry were not privileged and that he can’t prove any government misconduct.  She also said he can’t show any “specific and articulable harm” stemming from the goverment’s interception of those conversations, all in May 2012.  “[Trombetta] cannot meet his burden to establish actual and substantial prejudice based up on the undisputed record,” the judge wrote.  The ruling means the long-running case against Mr. Trombetta will proceed, with the government able to use all of the recorded conversations Mr. Trombetta has tried for the last year to suppress.

"Trombetta of East Liverpool, Ohio, retired in 2012 from the charter school in Midland. A federal grand jury indicted him on the 11 counts the next year. Trombetta siphoned off at least $1 million in tax dollars paid to the online school, prosecutors say."
Federal judge says prosecution can use phone calls of former Midland cyber school CEO
Trib Live By Brian Bowling Monday, Nov. 16, 2015, 6:45 p.m.
Federal prosecutors can use three recorded phone conversations between former Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School CEO Nick Trombetta and an attorney when Trombetta faces trial on 11 counts of mail fraud, bribery, tax conspiracy and filing false tax returns, a federal judge ruled Monday.  The U.S. Attorney's Office declined comment. Adam Hoffinger, one of Trombetta's lawyers, couldn't be reached for comment.  Trombetta asked U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti to throw out his indictment or suppress most of the evidence in the case based on his claim that the government illegally recorded his attorney-client conversations.  The judge ruled that nothing said during the 12 minutes of the three calls violated Trombetta's rights and denied Trombetta's motion to suppress any evidence.

Three kinds of schools in Beaver County to be audited, evaluated
By Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette November 17, 2015 12:22 AM
In recent months, state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale’s staff has performed concurrent audits of the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, the Midland School District and the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School in hopes of providing a comprehensive look at how the entities spend their money.  All of the schools are located within blocks of each other in Midland, Beaver County, but each represents a different education entity — a traditional public school with grades K-8, a K-12 cyber charter school and a 7-12 brick-and-mortar charter school.  At the conclusion of the audits, which are normal school audits, Mr. DePasquale plans a comparative report on costs versus educational outcomes.  “We want to look at their costs and see if there are true differences in education outcomes,” Mr. DePasquale said.

State Senate nears vote on bill to eliminate school property taxes
Pottstown Mercury By Marc Levy, The Associated Press POSTED: 11/17/15, 5:33 AM EST 
HARRISBURG >> The Pennsylvania state Senate is nearing a vote on legislation to completely eliminate $14 billion in school property taxes by replacing the revenue with higher state taxes on sales and income.  Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati said a vote is possible as early as Tuesday.  He says, if it passes, it would replace a week-old agreement between Senate Republican leaders and Gov. Tom Wolf to pursue legislation to reduce property taxes by $2 billion as part of a wider deal to end a 5-month-old budget stalemate.  A similar bill failed in the House two years ago, 138 to 59.  Under the bill, school districts would get a regular inflationary increase.
Districts wanting to spend above that allotment would have to win voter approval to increase local income taxes.

Hope fading for a Thanksgiving budget?
The PLS Reporter Author: Jason Gottesman/Monday, November 16, 2015
As the budget framework Gov. Tom Wolf and legislative leaders announced last week continues to take shape, some involved with crafting a plan to end Pennsylvania’s nearly five-month long budget stalemate were lowering expectations Monday that the impasse could be finally broken by Thanksgiving as first hoped.  “I’m hoping we can do it sooner [than December], I was hoping before Thanksgiving,” Gov. Wolf said to PJ Maloney on KQV radio Monday morning.  However, the governor later said that projections made earlier by Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) of a December budget might be “more realistic.”  “We want to do it soon, quickly,” he said.  Asked about the House’s expectations of a December budget, House Republican spokesman Steve Miskin said while House Republican leaders remain hopeful a budget can be finished by Thanksgiving, a December budget is not out of the realm of possibility.

PA-BGT: So Close, Yet So Far
PoliticsPA Written by Jason Addy, Contributing Writer November 16, 2015
The clock is running out on Gov. Tom Wolf and GOP leaders as they try to end the 20-week budget impasse by Thanksgiving.  The first-year Democrat and Republican legislative leaders are ironing out details on a deal that would bring in an additional $2 billion for the fiscal year that started July 1. Under the agreement, $400 million in additional funding will be plowed into the state’s school system, with homeowners set to see their property taxes rolled back.  The deal does not contain a natural gas severance tax but does include a 1.25% increase in the sales tax statewide, which some Democrats in the General Assembly see as a “red flag” for a regressive tax code, Marc Levy of the Associated Press reports.  “That’s a lot to ask a Democrat to vote for that,” State Sen. Daylin Leach said. “We usually ask Republicans to vote for that.”
Wolf is willing to give up on the severance tax to bring Republicans on board with his effort to close the gap between PA’s rich and poor school districts.

“Act 1 has done and continues to do what it was intended to do — and it has done this despite the fact that we’ve been seeing some of the steepest increases in mandated costs for school districts, mostly in the form of pension costs, during the same time period,” said Hannah Barrick, director of advocacy for the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials. “It is critical that school districts have some ability to increase their revenue annually, as costs, mostly mandated costs, increase every year.”
Capitolwire: Property tax elimination, back-end referendum continue to be topics of conversation in state Capitol.
Driving those discussions is the fact that two out of three school districts raise taxes every year, most within Act 1 index limits.
Campaign for Fair Education Funding website By Christen Smith Staff Reporter Capitolwire November 16, 2015
HARRISBURG (Nov.16) — The Act 1 index school districts fear losing as part of a five-month overdue budget deal shields taxpayers from footing the bill for ballooning mandated costs, advocates say.  But it doesn't prevent all tax hikes — meaning any relief generated by a proposed $2 billion sales tax increase could evaporate in a matter of years, leaving property owners paying more for schools and the things they buy.  “The fear is if we somehow temporarily reduce property taxes that it's something of a bait and switch game,” said Sen. Dave Argall, R-Schuylkill, who has long pushed for total elimination property tax plans over piecemeal proposals. “And in a few years people would be back to paying property taxes again at the same rate or higher.”  It's a reality both Gov. Tom Wolf and legislative Republicans want to change, despite the protest from scores of school advocacy groups across the state who say eliminating Act 1 will skyrocket property taxes — or force districts to make “draconian” cuts just to survive.

"Kathy Swope, a member of the Lewisburg Area School Board in Union County, said local control of property taxes is crucial – and is already kept in check by voters.  "If we get it wrong -- and my fellow school directors will tell you this is true -- we will get phone calls at home, we will get stopped in the supermarket," said Swope. "Ultimately, if we continue to get it wrong, they will vote us out."
Pa. school officials lobby to keep taxing abilities
WHYY Newsworks BY MARY WILSON NOVEMBER 16, 2015
Tiny preschoolers and K-12 school students took Monday off to join school board members and exasperated parents calling for an end to Pennsylvania's budget impasse, as Gov. Tom Wolf signaled a budget deal wouldn't be ready before December.  Members of the advocacy coalition known as Campaign for Fair Education Funding fanned out throughout the Capitol building to meet individually with their lawmakers and ask for a finalized state budget.  "If this doesn't get done soon, there will be a domino effect of school districts unable to meet their fiscal responsibilities," said Bill Haberl, superintendent of the Pen Argyl School District in Northampton County. "And I see that happening very quickly between Thanksgiving and Christmas."

Mt. Lebanon School District opposes elimination of Act 1 Index
Post Gazette By Deana Carpenter November 16, 2015 10:01 PM
As a response to the state budget stalemate, Mt. Lebanon’s school board president Lawrence Lebowitz and Superintendent Tim Steinhauer have sent a letter to Governor Tom Wolf expressing opposition to the possible elimination of the state’s Act 1 Index.  Mr. Lebowitz said at a Monday school board meeting that the state’s current budget proposal includes language that would require school districts to place a referendum on the ballot for “any and all property tax increases.”  Act 1 went into effect in 2006 and allows school districts to apply to increase taxes for expenses such as pension payments and special education to a pre-set index based on wage inflation. Currently, a referendum is not needed for the increases as long as they don’t exceed the district’s index.  “Eliminating these exceptions is simply a bad idea,” Mr. Lebowitz said, adding that it would not only adversely affect the Mt. Lebanon School District, but all districts in the state.

"When the rally ended, Michael Faccinetto, president of the Bethlehem Area School Board, said Harrisburg can keep its extra money it if it means local school boards lose elective rights to manage taxes.  "To sell out in one year $350 million in new dollars for 50 years of back-end referendums," Faccinetto said, "I don't think that's something we are interested in."
PA budget deal causing Capitol buzz
Steve Esack Contact ReporterCall Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG — One week before Thanksgiving, the Capitol buzzed Monday with lawmakers, Gov. Tom Wolf and special interest groups gearing up for a possible deal to end the state's months-old budget stalemate.  Here, a House committee took less than 15 minutes to pass a bill to dismantle and sell the state liquor store system as state store workers and lobbyists watched in silence.  There, a Senate panel positioned fiscal bills for a possible deal that could involve a 21 percent sales tax hike to cover the state's $1.3 billion deficit, offset some local school property taxes and add about $350 million in education spending while shifting other money around to cover ballooning pension costs.  And Wolf said during a weekly radio interview that the budget package under consideration has something to "please everyone, and there's something in this framework to displease everyone."  At the grand Rotunda steps, public school officials and parents rallied for and against parts of that framework.

VIDEO: Education advocates support fair funding, oppose backend referendum proposal
The PLS Reporter Author: Alanna Koll/Monday, November 16, 2015 Runtime: 4:45
The Campaign for Fair Education Funding held a press conference in the Main Rotunda Monday to advocate for fair funding and oppose the backend referendum proposal. 

VIDEO: PSBA holds briefing for Education Budget Action Day
The PLS Reporter PLUS November 16, 2015 Runtime 3:33
Nathan Mains, Executive Director of The Pennsylvania School Boards Association answered questions about the budget stalemate after a briefing in the House majority caucus room. 

Liquor privatization components of budget framework take shape
The PLS Reporter Author: Jason Gottesman/Monday, November 16, 2015
The liquor privatization component of the budget framework began to firm up Monday as a legislative vehicle was moved from committee and negotiators continued working to pin down the specifics of what will be the final agreement.  Taking a largely procedural step, the House Liquor Control Committee voted to approve House Bill 1690 along a 14-9 party-line vote, putting the bill in place to be used as a vehicle for final liquor privatization language.  The bill was described as being nearly identical to House Bill 466, which was vetoed by the governor earlier this year.  Both bills are sponsored by House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny).

DN Editorial: Compromise or curse?
Philly Daily News Editorial Updated on NOVEMBER 16, 2015 — 3:01 AM EST
THERE WAS A SENSE of relief last week when Gov. Wolf and Republican legislative leaders announced a tentative agreement on a new state budget.  Our first reaction was, better late than never. The state had gone five months without the ability to spend because of the stalemate in Harrisburg, forcing school districts to borrow money to keep operating and social-service agencies to furlough workers.  Details about the deal are hard to come by because it is not completely worked out, though the governor has said he is hopeful a budget bill can be signed before Thanksgiving.  We do know that the deal calls for an increase in the state sales tax and also includes additional money - in the range of $350 million to $400 million - for public schools.  We also know that the tentative deal does not - repeat does not - include a tax on natural-gas extraction that Wolf made a centerpiece of his campaign.  Both sides portray the deal a less-than-perfect compromise where both sides get the political equivalent of half a loaf.
We wish we could cheer, but we need more information before that happens.

Pa. budget 'framework': Who's happy now?
by John Baer, Daily News Political Columnist Updated on NOV16, 2015 — 3:01 AM EST
PICKING A POLITICAL winner in the budget "framework" announced with few details last week in Harrisburg is a little like playing fantasy football.  All the right issues (just like players) are in the game - liquor, pensions, schools and taxes - but how they play out is anybody's guess.  Philadelphia, for example, stands to win more money for schools. But a proposed hike in the sales tax from an already statewide high of 8 percent to 9.25 percent is a loss for city residents and retailers.  Anybody want to a start a chartered-bus firm for shopping trips to Jersey and Delaware?  Speaking of entrepreneurial opportunity, there's likely to be another cigarette-tax increase. So as the per-pack price climbs yet again, the city's loosey market is in for boom times.  You a renter? Bend over. You'll pay more in sales tax to fund property-tax cuts you won't get.  And if you're a renter who smokes and buys lots of stuff? Get a loan, extend your credit or move.
If you're looking for good news, look someplace else.

Property tax relief at center stage
Luzerne County Citizen's Voice BY ROBERT SWIFT, HARRISBURG BUREAU CHIEF Published: November 16, 2015
HARRISBURG — School property tax relief is at center stage of a top-level effort to end the five-month state budget stalemate.  A proposal to use new state sales tax revenue to provide property tax cuts for homeowners is part of an emerging compromise framework for a budget deal announced last week by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and legislative leaders of both parties.  The framework provides for increasing the state sales tax rate to 7.25 percent from 6 percent and putting the additional revenue into a new fund for property tax relief. Meanwhile, the state’s share of revenue from slot machines at the casinos that now goes for property tax relief would be diverted into a special fund to pay down Pennsylvania’s public pension debt.
The net effect could be an additional $1.4 billion annually for property tax relief.

School officials warn of fiscal peril
Luzerne County Citizen's Voice BY ROBERT SWIFT, HARRISBURG BUREAU CHIEF Published: November 17, 2015
HARRISBURG — School district officials warned Monday of greater fiscal peril ahead amid signs that a December resolution to the state budget stalemate is more likely than one by Thanksgiving.  Craig Butler, D.Ed., superintendent of Hazleton Area School District, and Anthony Ryba, district business manager, were among educators and school advocates from across Pennsylvania lobbying at the Capitol for action to break the five-month stalemate.  Hazleton Area plans to obtain a $30 million line of credit while waiting for a budget enactment and payment of delayed state aid, Ryba said. He said this is a proactive move considering it could take weeks for missed subsidy payments to arrive once a budget is enacted.  State aid under the new budget should be distributed in a fair and equitable manner based on recommendations made by a bipartisan panel earlier this year, Butler said.  Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Bellefonte, indicated in separate radio interviews Monday it may take until December to enact the budget package. This could involve passing up to 40 separate bills of varying degrees of complexity.

“Pennsylvania ranks as the worst state in the nation for funding inequality between its wealthiest and poorest school districts, with the spending gap per student between these two groups more than double the national average,” education analyst Waslala Miranda, the author of the study, wrote."
Editorial: How to bridge the school funding gap?
Delco Times Editorial POSTED: 11/16/15, 10:15 PM EST | UPDATED: 2 HRS AGO
Debate about funding education in Pennsylvania was the driving force to the election of Gov. Tom Wolf and the subsequent stalemate in getting a state budget passed.  Now, with reforms and potentially more money on the horizon for schools, there remains a concern even with more funding, the gap between rich and poor continues to widen.  A recent study by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, titled “Undermining Educational Opportunity,” showed that “bottom line, the funding cuts hurt most the students who could least afford it, and continue to do so,” said Stephen Herzenberg, director of both the policy center and the Keystone Research Center.

For passionate principal Hackney, new role
by Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer Updated on NOVEMBER 16, 2015 — 3:01 AM EST
It was a hot summer day five years ago, a getting-to-know-you lunch between the new principal at South Philadelphia High and a veteran City Council member from the neighborhood.  In front of Otis Hackney was a seemingly impossible task: healing a school thrust into the national spotlight by violence against its Asian students, a school where the academics were abysmal and morale was worse. By the end of their meeting, Jim Kenney knew that Hackney, a Philly guy who was giving up a good job in the suburbs to come home, was going to succeed.  "Jim saw something in me that I wasn't sure of myself," Hackney said Friday after Mayor-elect Kenney announced that South Philadelphia High's principal would be Philadelphia's next chief education officer.
It's telling that Kenney plucked Hackney to lead on an issue the incoming mayor has said is a top priority.   Hackney, 43, has been a voice for neighborhood schools, a partner, a problem solver, a hard worker. He has spoken out for equity, for fair funding for the Philadelphia School District.

Philly schools see fewer charter applications
by Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer Updated on NOVEMBER 16, 2015 — 6:00 PM EST
The Philadelphia School District received fewer applications for new charter schools in 2016 and 2017 than officials expected.  A total of 22 would-be operators told the district last month they planned to apply, but only 14 groups submitted their proposals by Sunday's deadline, a district spokesman said Monday.  Ten proposals were came from operators seeking to replicate or expand charter schools already operating in the district, such Folk Arts Cultural Treasures Charter, which wants to open a second K-8 campus in Chinatown.  The roster includes six applicants that had not applied last year, such as James Baldwin Charter High School which wants to open in Mantua.  Most of the proposed schools would open next fall, but five would wait until the 2017-18 academic year.  If approved, the 14 new schools would add 9,845 students to the charter roster over the next six years.

Give Philly's Renaissance School turnaround process a chance
WHYY Newsowrks COMMENTARY  BY STEPHANIE CAPEHART NOVEMBER 16, 2015 ESSAYWORKS
As someone who has been through the Renaissance School turnaround process, I would like to share my story in hopes of helping the parents at Cooke, Huey and Wister find some comfort during what I know is a difficult time.  My daughter was in second grade at Grover Cleveland Elementary when the district announced that our school was entering the Renaissance Turnaround Initiative. To be completely honest, I was angry at first. I'm an alumna of the school with deep ties in this community, which Cleveland has always been a major part of. I had a lot of anxiety, because I was uncertain about what the future held for my family.

Report notes academic gains in Pittsburgh Public Schools
By Clarece Polke / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette November 16, 2015 11:44 PM
Amid ongoing struggles with declining enrollment and student discipline in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, an education advocacy group said it has found noticeable improvements in student outcomes.  “This is more than a notion ... there are some serious gains being made here in the district, but of course we still have a very long way to go to make sure every child in this district gets a great and equitable education,” Carey Harris, executive director of the group A+ Schools, said of the findings in a report released Monday.  The 11th Annual Report to the Community on Public School Progress in Pittsburgh used district- and state-reported data from the 2014-15 school year for 50 district schools and six charter schools.

2015 Report to the Community on Public School Progress in Pittsburgh
Graduation and Promise eligibility up; gaps persist in achievement, attendance and suspensions
A+Schools November 2015
Dear supporter of public education in Pittsburgh,
Today, we released our Annual Report to the Community on Public School Progress in Pittsburgh. I wanted to share with you some progress that's been made over the past four years that are a testament to the hard work of so many in our district to focus on getting students prepared for college and career. But that joy over the progress made is also tempered with some significant challenges for our students.  Change is difficult, but not impossible. Graduation rates are up. More of our schools are showing contributions to academic growth that exceed state averages. Performance on the Keystones is improving. This is a testament to the hard work of teachers, students, and parents in the past years. 

"On Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at The State Theatre in State College, the public is invited to attend the public screening of the new documentary on this issue: “Education Inc.”
Their view: Public education under attack
Centre Daily Times Opinion BY SUE LEMMO November 15, 2015 
Sue Lemmo is president of the Central Region, Pennsylvania State Education Association, and a high school teacher in the Curwensville Area School District.
For the past decade or more, some very powerful people and groups have promoted strategies to privatize our nation’s public schools while calling themselves “reformers.” Their not-so-hidden agenda is actually not to “reform” our public schools but to privatize and extract private profits from them.  What’s wrong with privatization? First and most importantly, it doesn’t benefit all students. Some may benefit in a so-called “free market” of tax-funded but privately operated schools; many more, including those with special needs and from impoverished communities, will be left behind.  On Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at The State Theatre in State College, the public is invited to attend the public screening of the new documentary on this issue: “Education Inc.” This powerful film exposes the public education reform agenda by corporate reform marketers to privatize and extract private profits from public education.  Admission to the event is the donation of a new child’s book for the Mid-State Literacy Council’s summer reading program. The event is sponsored by the teachers and support staff of Pennsylvania State Education Association, Central Region.


"In the last few years, nearly every state has implemented systems to evaluate teachers based in part on student test scores, largely because the Obama administration made it a condition for states to receive either a grant under Race to the Top or a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law.  But the practice has come under growing scrutiny. Last week, the American Educational Research Association became the latest organization to caution against using value-added models — complex algorithms that try to measure a teacher’s impact on student test scores — to judge the performance of teachers. It joined the National Research Council, the American Statistical Association and the Rand Corporation, which have all said that schools should not use these models to make important decisions about a teacher’s pay or employment status."
Clinton says ‘no evidence’ that teachers can be judged by student test scores
Washington Post By Lyndsey Layton November 16 at 4:19 PM  
Hillary Rodham Clinton said she is opposed to using student test scores as a way to judge a teacher’s performance, dismissing a key feature of education policies promoted by the Obama administration.  Clinton, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, made the remarks during a closed-door meeting with 25 teachers and paraprofessionals that was organized by the American Federation of Teachers on Nov. 9 in New Hampshire.  Liz Lynch, a teacher from North Bergen, N.J., told Clinton that she was in favor of teachers being held accountable but that in recent years, overtesting has consumed her school.  “Students have been made to take paper and pencil tests in PE and music just so they can be evaluated,” Lynch said, according to a transcript released by AFT on Monday. “Teachers spend an inordinate amount of time giving benchmark tests to prepare for more tests. And all the testing is crowding out time my students and I used to spend on cooperative learning, critical thinking and project-based learning.”

Four Ways Hillary Clinton Might Differ From Obama on K-12 Policy
Education Week Politics K-12 Blog By Andrew Ujifusa on November 16, 2015 12:45 PM
Having picked up the endorsement of the American Federation of Teachers in the Democratic primary earlier this year, Hillary Clinton participated in a roundtable organized by the union on Nov. 9. During the discussion with union President Randi Weingarten and several AFT members, Clinton expanded on her views on charter schools, which have been making waves over the past week, as well as her commitment to increased Title I funding.  The roundtable, which the AFT released excerpts from, also offered an opportunity for Clinton to raise issues where she might depart from President Barack Obama's policies, as well as such issues that didn't come up (at least directly) in her discussions with teachers. Let's look at four of those, and where Weingarten sees perhaps the biggest contrast. 

Hillary Clinton Says Exactly What Teachers Unions Want to Hear
US News By Lauren CameraNov. 16, 2015 | 12:09 p.m. EST+ More
Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton so far is saying everything teachers unions want to hear – and a lot of that includes bashing the Obama administration's education agenda.
On Nov. 9 in Nashua, New Hampshire, Clinton met with 25 members of the 1.6 million-member American Federation of Teachers to talk charter schools, testing, ongoing congressional efforts torewrite No Child Left Behind, and the state of education after several years of major change to the K-12 landscape. The teachers union released excerpts of the session on Sunday.
"I think there's been too much contention and lack of cooperation when it comes to education," Clinton said, taking both a shot at the administration – which has embraced education policies that run counter to union priorities – and at GOP presidential hopefuls like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who said over the summer that "the national teachers union" deserves a punch in the face.  The American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association are the two major national teachers unions. Both have endorsed Clinton, and both have called for current Education Secretary Arne Duncan's resignation.

Concrete victories won by the anti-testing movement (so far)
By Valerie Strauss November 17 at 4:00 AM  
It wasn’t that long ago that many school reformers and education policymakers gave short shrift to, or outright ridiculed, parents and educators who fought the overuse and misuse of standardized tests. It was only two years ago almost to the day when Education Secretary Arne Duncan said lots of “white suburban moms” opposed the Common Core State Standards and aligned standardized tests because they realized “their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were.”  Now, of course, Duncan and President Obama have conceded that kids do, after all, take too many standardized tests, and states and districts are moving to dial back some of the exams while Congress may pass legislation to rewrite No Child Left Behind in a way that reduces federal involvement in testing.  A new report details the advances made by the anti-testing movement in the past year. It was issued by FairTest, the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, which works to eliminate the misuse of standardized tests, and written by Lisa Guisbond with Monty Neill and Bob Schaeffer (all of FairTest). Here are some of the findings:

Education Bloggers Daily Highlights 11-16-15



PSBA New School Director Training
School boards who will welcome new directors after the election should plan to attend PSBA training to help everyone feel more confident right from the start. This one-day event is targeted to help members learn the basics of their new roles and responsibilities. Meet the friendly, knowledgeable PSBA team and bring everyone on your “team of 10” to get on the same page fast.
  • $150 per registrant (No charge if your district has a LEARN PassNote: All-Access members also have LEARN Pass.)
  • One-hour lunch on your own — bring your lunch, go to lunch, or we’ll bring a box lunch to you; coffee/tea provided all day
  • Course materials available online or we’ll bring a printed copy to you for an additional $25
  • Registrants receive one month of 100-level online courses for each registrant, after the live class
Nine locations for your convenience:
  • Philadelphia area — Nov. 21 William Tennent HS, Warminster (note: location changed from IU23 Norristown)
  • Pittsburgh area — Dec. 5 Allegheny IU3, Homestead
  • South Central PA and Erie areas (joint program)— Dec. 12 Northwest Tri-County IU5, Edinboro and PSBA, Mechanicsburg
  • Butler area — Jan. 9 Midwestern IU 4, Grove City (note: location changed from Penn State New Kensington)
  • Allentown area — Jan. 16 Lehigh Career & Technical Institute, Schnecksville
  • Central PA — Jan. 30 Nittany Lion Inn, State College
  • Scranton area — Feb. 6 Abington Heights SD, Clarks Summit
  • North Central area —Feb. 13 Mansfield University, Mansfield

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.

PASBO 61st Annual Conference and Exhibits March 8 - 11, 2016
Hershey Lodge and Convention Center, Hershey, Pennsylvania

The Network for Public Education 3rd Annual National Conference April 16-17, 2016 Raleigh, North Carolina.
The Network for Public Education is thrilled to announce the location for our 3rd Annual National Conference. On April 16 and 17, 2016 public education advocates from across the country will gather in Raleigh, North Carolina.  We chose Raleigh to highlight the tremendous activist movement that is flourishing in North Carolina. No one exemplifies that movement better than the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, who will be the conference keynote speaker. Rev. Barber is the current president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, the National NAACP chair of the Legislative Political Action Committee, and the founder of Moral Mondays.

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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