Monday, November 30, 2015

PA Ed Policy Roundup Nov 30: Day 153: Legislators hunting for #PABudget; their automatic COLA kicks in tomorrow

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup November 30, 2015:
Day 153: Legislators hunting for #PABudget; their automatic COLA kicks in tomorrow


"The automatic COLA for legislators should be repealed and all future increases voted on by each member and then only effective after they stand for re-election before their constituents. That's what the constitution says; and that's what should be done."
Unconstitutional Cost of Living Adjustment should be repealed: PennLive letters
Penn Live Letters to the Editor  by Barry Shutt November 29, 2015 at 3:00 PM
Watch for it folks ... all you taxpayers and especially those receiving social security. It's coming in a few weeks, after Black Friday and just before Hanukkah and Christmas. It's nothing to celebrate unless you're one of the elites under the capitol dome in Harrisburg. But for the rest of us it's essentially a kick in the teeth.    What is it?  It's the automatic Cost of Living Adjustment coming on December 1st for the "big shots" in Harrisburg; those elected to serve but who, more often than not, serve only themselves.    Who cares if the automatic COLA violates the intent, if not the precise language of the constitution? Who cares if Social Security recipients won't receive a COLA this year? Not that the state legislature controls Social Security benefits, but they can control the automatic COLA but they won't.  

Some lawmakers to hunt despite budget impasse
York Daily Record by Teresa Boeckel, tboeckel@ydr.com2:46 p.m. EST November 28, 2015
State Rep. Dan Moul is a hunter, but he will not be heading into the woods for the first day of firearms deer season this year.  "That would be bad," he said on Friday afternoon.
That's because it's been almost five months now that the state has been operating without a budget. Lawmakers are scheduled to come back to work after the Thanksgiving break, but it will not be Monday morning.  The state Senate hasn't scheduled session until Wednesday.
The state House has planned a non-voting session on Monday. Some Republicans have noted they might be called to work on Monday evening. That would let them hunt all morning and clean up in time to get to Harrisburg.  Moul, R-Gettysburg, said he plans to work at his district office on Monday. He can always go hunting another time.

Taxes remain key in Pa. budget after plans fail to hike sales tax, end property tax
Penn Live By The Associated Press on November 28, 2015 at 11:15 AM, updated November 28, 2015 at 12:27 PM
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania is now five months into a budget impasse with taxes the main sticking point — a scenario familiar to anyone who's tried to understand the Byzantine motives that drive elected officials in its capital city.  A "framework" agreement being worked out between Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and the Republican-controlled Legislature teetered on the edge of collapse after Republicans said a key element, increasing sales taxes to plug a budget deficit and cut school property taxes, lacked support among their ranks.  A few days later, a Senate Republican proposal to impose a $12 billion to $14 billion state tax increase to fully eliminate the hated school property taxes — legislation Wolf opposed — failed by a single vote last week.

A look how Wolf's budget proposal fared in the Legislature
By The Associated Press PA State Wire Published: November 29, 2015
Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and leaders of the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania Legislature say they expect final budget legislation to emerge for votes this week. Here is a look at what Wolf proposed in his first budget plan in March and whether it ended up in his agreement with Republicans:
THE BIG PICTURE Wolf's original budget proposal had sought a 9 percent increase in spending, to $31.6 billion, plus a $3.2 billion package to reduce school property tax bills and a new $426 million-a-year rent rebate benefit for renting households earning $50,000 or less. It appears that lawmakers are settling on a spending plan of about $30.75 billion, up about 6 percent, but without any package to reduce school property tax bills or expand rent rebates.
EDUCATION Wolf originally sought a big bump in education spending: $400 million more for public school operations and instruction, a 7 percent increase, plus $120 million more for early-childhood education programs, $100 million more in special education funding and $160 million more for higher education institutions, including state system universities, state-related universities and community colleges.  Wolf has secured an agreement for nearly all of the money he had sought for public schools - $350 million, a 6 percent increase - and about half the money for early-childhood education, special education and higher education.   Wolf also had sought to pare back $160 million in annual school district payments to cyber charter schools; it is not clear whether it will pass.

Here's where we were six days ago…….
Pre-Thanksgiving flurry leads to more negotiations on to-be agreed to budget framework
The PLS Reporter Author: Jason Gottesman/Tuesday, November 24, 2015
After the Senate unexpectedly announced Tuesday evening they would return to session that night and try to override Gov. Tom Wolf’s stopgap budget veto, a flurry of activity between the four legislative caucuses and the governor’s office left Republicans and Democrats to try and negotiate a full-year spending plan that can be passed sometime after the Thanksgiving holiday.  Legislators have yet to decide on when they will reconvene, but all seemed to agree that there will be no voting session held until the week of November 30th.  Staff will stay through the Thanksgiving holiday to work on legislation that can be run that week.  Details on what remains of the budget framework announced two weeks ago were scant Tuesday night as legislative leaders tried to keep mum on specifics about what lies ahead as the budget situation became as intense as ever in the nearly five-month long budget stalemate.  “These things go back and forth all the time,” said Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) after a meeting with Gov. Wolf where Republicans agreed to hold off on the veto override attempt.  “What’s important is we’re rescinding the recall and we’re going to move ahead with a framework,” added Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson).  As to what’s left, Sen. Scarnati said it’s a framework that will get all four legislative caucuses and the governor to agree.

Could PA general budget reach Wolf by Dec. 5?
York Daily Record by Flint L. McColgan, fmccolgan@ydr.com2:07 p.m. EST November 28, 2015
A Pennsylvania state budget isn't something residents can be thankful for this year, but House Republicans hope for one early next month.  In fact, while Tuesday was the last session day of this week, lawmakers will return to Harrisburg next week to cobble together the latest budget offering in hopes of having a new budget on Gov. Tom Wolf's desk by Dec. 5.  Tuesday was day 147 without a state general funds budget in place.  "All the details are still being worked out," said state Rep. Stan Saylor, R-Windsor Township. "Staff will still be here over Thanksgiving working out details and writing the budget. They will be here working diligently over the next five days."  State Rep. Keith Gillespie, R-Hellam Township, said that legislators will return to the Capitol by no later than Tuesday. Saylor added that he expects lawmakers to return on Monday for meetings and briefings, but not for a full session day.

There's seemingly no end to Harrisburg's dysfunction
29 Nov 2015 — Erie Times-News Opinion by Pat Howard
Representative democracy is all about checks and balances, but as practiced in Pennsylvania it's more like chutes and ladders.  Harrisburg has never been anyone's model of good government. But these days it's downright embarrassing.  Budget gridlock. Criminal charges. Ethical lapses. And deaf ears to the damage being done.  The worst of the dismal drama was set in motion last November when voters elected a new governor because, face it, the old guy wasn't very good at the job. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf reported for duty with a new set of priorities and the challenge of getting them through a Republican-controlled Legislature.  Wolf and GOP leaders knew from day one they'd have to compromise. And the state Constitution directs that a new budget be in place by July 1.  That was 152 days ago. And counting.  I've been sorting through adjectives trying to describe this state of affairs -- incompetent, irresponsible, arrogant, clueless, out of touch, self-serving -- but none fits quite right. All of them together get closer.  Apportion blame for the impasse by ideology or party label if that's your inclination. But as a confirmed middle-of-the-roader, I'm just looking for some responsible adults.

DN Editorial: HOSTAGE NEGOTIATIONS
Philly Daily News Editorial Updated on NOVEMBER 30, 2015 — 3:01 AM EST
LAST WEEK, local government officials across the state decided they had had it with the long budget impasse in Harrisburg.  The statewide organization of county commissioners said it was considering filing a law suit against the state for withholding needed state funding for local programs, especially for social services. n Better yet, we like what the county commissioners in Bucks did.  Rather than wait for a lawsuit to make its way through the courts, they decided to withhold local payments from taxes and fees due to the state and use them to pay for services to the poor, homeless, elderly, and those with mental and physical disabilities.  In Bucks County, government collects between $4 million and $5 million a month meant for the state, including its share of the real estate transfer tax and fines and fees collected by the county courts.  The next day Delaware County officials stepped forward and said they were considering taking the same action. As County Councilman David White said: "How can the state keep our state parks open and our liquor stores open and not fund services to our young victims of abuse the neglect?"  It's an excellent question.

Inky Editorial: Too late for a tantrum
Inquirer Editorial Updated on NOVEMBER 29, 2015 — 3:01 AM EST
For a moment, as Republican legislative leaders joined the Democratic governor to announce a hard-won budget framework, it looked as if Pennsylvania's divided government was working and even tackling difficult problems.  That was a few weeks ago, before a faction of GOP members who are too immature or incompetent to compromise began demanding more, threatening to derail a budget that was already woefully late. Gov. Wolf and legislative leaders now say the deal is back on track, but that will be hard to believe until a plan is passed.  There is no time left to play partisan games. The budget is five months overdue. Schools and charities are borrowing money, cutting services and workers, and even closing. Those legislators who don't understand the importance of their duty to pass a budget should be marginalized by those who do.

"In a non-dysfunctional government, the need to reduce local property taxes readily would produce compromise. Significant reductions in local property taxes could be accompanied by modest increases in the regressive state taxes and establishment of a fair extraction tax on the natural gas industry, elimination of yawning corporate tax loopholes and a few other measures. That would constitute not only greater revenue but far better policy — overall tax reform that widely spreads the burden rather than concentrating it in the most regressive forms of taxation."
TT Editorial: Even now, it’s all or nothing
Scranton Times Tribune BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD Published: November 29, 2015
Gov. Tom Wolf recently called for passage of the state government budget by Dec. 4, which seems reasonable given that the actual deadline for the budget was July 1, the beginning of the fiscal year.  Remarkably, though, even as schools and social service agencies borrow money to keep the lights on and county governments ponder suing the state and withholding tax collections, the game in Harrisburg still appears to be one of all or nothing.
Nov. 23, the state Senate deadlocked on a bill to eliminate the local school property tax. Lt. Gov. Mike Stack, the president of the Senate, cast a rare vote to break the tie, killing the bill. The bill’s purpose was to replace all local school property tax revenue — about $14 billion — through increased state sales and income taxes. Republican Senate leaders proceeded with the vote even after the Independent Fiscal Office reported that the higher state taxes would produce less than $13 billion — more than $1 billion less than necessary to cover the lost local money.  The point, of course, was the bill itself, which became a vehicle for yet more political posturing rather than policy.  Mr. Wolf is not averse to property tax reform. Indeed, it is badly needed. But property tax elimination would be a bad policy idea even if the replacement taxes were to produce enough revenue. The proposal constitutes a massive, regressive tax shift.

PG Editorial: Budget blather: Wolf and lawmakers must end it this week
Post Gazette By the Editorial Board November 29, 2015 12:00 AM
It’s been nearly three weeks since Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican leaders announced they’d worked out a “framework” for the overdue 2015-16 state budget. Two weeks later, everybody agreed that plan was all but dead. Now it’s back on, moving toward a possible vote as soon as this week.  Pity the Pennsylvanians trying to keep track of what’s likely to result from this political game.  Elected officials should not lose sight of what should be fundamental in a funding plan.

DN Editorial: WHO DO THEY WORK FOR?
Philly Daily News Editorial November 27, 2015
WE HOLD TO the myth that people elect lawmakers to represent their interests, or at least the interests of the common good.  When that myth confronts money, as it does with increasing frequency, an uglier truth emerges: Special interests override the common good.
That's especially true when it comes to this state's sorry history of the natural gas industry. That industry began blossoming in 2005, when the first gas was extracted from the Marcellus Shale formation that lies under the state. In that short amount of time, billions upon billions of cubic feet of natural gas has been produced by a technology called hydrofracturing - or fracking.  The state's gas boom should have been transformative. That new and lucrative industry should have created a gold mine for the state. Instead, because of the short-sighted vision that kept the industry from being taxed for the gas they extracted - called a severance tax -state lawmakers have scrambled every year for ways to fund the state budget.

Editorial: Pennsylvania residents are victims of budget impasse
Delco Times Editorial POSTED: 11/28/15, 10:42 PM EST | UPDATED: 2 HRS AGO
Only in Harrisburg could what has been happening now for better than four months be considered governing.  Actually, in the halls of the state Capitol, they have another word for it: Business as usual.  Thanksgiving has come and gone. Pennsylvania still has not budget in place, despite a mandate that officials have a new spending plan in place July 1.  What has happened in the past 100-plus days would make even Ed Rendell — not exactly a stranger to Harrisburg budget hijinks — blush.  If you haven’t heard, there are problems with that “broad framework” of an agreement so proudly proclaimed by Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican leaders in the Legislature.  The idea was to skim a bunch of money from Pennsylvania’s slot machine take and use that to address the state’s two massively underfunded public-employee pension plans.  Then a hike in the state sales tax would be used to increase funding for education and offer long-suffering home owners property-tax relief.  There was only one problem.

Letter to the editor: Have Pennsylvania lawmakers forgotten who they serve?
By Joan Duvall-Flynn, Ed.D., Delco Times Guest Columnist POSTED: 11/28/15, 10:43 PM EST
Joan Duvall-Flynn is president of NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference.
An open letter to the people of Pennsylvania:
Certain State Assembly members in leadership in Harrisburg are very worried that we Pennsylvanians do not have enough wine and spirits — take that to mean hard liquor — to drink and that we cannot access it readily enough.  Apparently, even give the heroin epidemic, we are not getting “high” enough. One member of the House is so concerned about this that he is seeking co-sponsorship on legislation to make sure that we can drink more.  Such lawmakers are not, however, concerned about the many children of Pennsylvania who do not have adequate resources to get a thorough education and prepare for their futures. In fact, these folks have done all they can to prevent meeting the state’s obligation to its children. They don’t want to fund early childhood education, and yet seek to manipulate the people about being able to put the needed $410 million dollars into basic education.

"Torres has blamed the school's financial problems on the state budget impasse, and said that it is owed an unspecified amount of money from the state and districts whose students are enrolled at the cyber school. But former staffers said questionable management decisions by the school's administrators and board were also a factor in the school's fiscal woes."
Funding gone, Ed Plus Cyber lays off rest of staff
by Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer Updated on NOVEMBER 28, 2015 — 1:07 AM EST
The troubled Education Plus Academy Cyber Charter School, which closed its six learning centers across the state and laid off 30 staffers earlier this week, has laid off the rest of its staff amid questions about its ability to continue to operate.  Nicholas Torres, founding CEO of the cyber, based in Wayne, said Friday that the school had no choice after its bank shut down its line of credit. Without those funds, he said, the school was unable to meet payroll or pay for benefits.  He said that Meridian Bank of Malvern had also frozen the school's account.  The 15 cyber employees remaining after the Tuesday layoffs were notified by email that they were being laid off.  A special board meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday to "determine next steps regarding staff and school operations."  Torres said that if Education Plus obtains financing, it could rehire staff and resume operations.  In the interim, he said, the 540 K-8 students statewide who are enrolled at Ed Plus will be able to continue to use the online curriculum modules that are available on their school-issued Chromebooks, but will not be able to consult with teachers.

Senior volunteers get tax breaks and enjoyment
by Kathy Boccella, Inquirer Staff Writer Updated on NOVEMBER 29, 2015 — 1:07 AM EST
Lorraine Ferraro is pretty good with numbers after retiring from a long career as an accounting manager in Philadelphia's western suburbs.  But in a kindergarten classroom at Pottstown's Lincoln Elementary School, the number Ferraro works on is 3 - as she leans over to guide a schoolboy practicing writing the digit on a sheet of paper.  "Good . . . good. . . . Those are sloppy," she tells the kindergartner.  Sharply attired in her businesslike red blazer with a gold pin on the lapel, the 70-year-old retiree started volunteering as a classroom aide in her school district after her husband died several years ago. "I knew I just couldn't sit home," she said.  But as one of nearly 90 participants in a program for senior volunteers that the Montgomery County district calls "Golden Sage," Ferraro gets something else from the program: A $500 discount on her yearly property taxes.  In a time of bombastic political debate from the corridors of Harrisburg to local school boards about what to do about Pennsylvania's property taxes, Ferraro is part of a little-publicized network of hundreds of seniors already getting tax relief the old-fashioned way: They earn it.

Letter: End tax credit donations to private schools
Opinion: Why Pa. should end tax credit donations to private schools
Morning Call Letter by Rachel Sue Ritz November 29, 2015
To date, the Diocese of Philadelphia has paid out $11 million for its child sexual abuse scandal. No wonder it needs our tax money to get kids into Catholic school("Catholics urged to lobby governor for tax credits").  Using our tax money to fund religious and private schools is legal too. Why? Pennsylvania has a law that allows businesses to divert some of their taxes to fund private and religious schools. This money should be going into the general fund for use in the state budget. Nice scam. Speak out about against and urge repeal of this law.

York County OKs charter school tax deal
York Dispatch by Greg Gross, 505-5433/@ggrossyd5:58 p.m. EST November 27, 2015
York County commissioners this past week approved tax abatements for a city parcel that houses a charter school.  The 2-acre property at 32 W. North St. is the former Smyser-Royer building and has been home to York Academy Regional Charter School since it opened its doors in 2011.  The building, which was built before the Civil War, underwent a massive renovation project several years ago to prepare it for school children, said Jay Shaffer, controller with Kinsley Construction.  Under the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance program, property taxes on the improvements will be phased in over the course of 10 years. Taxes will still be charged throughout that time period.

Pottsgrove and Spring-Ford high schools makes AP National Honor Roll list
Pottstown Mercury By Mercury Staff POSTED: 11/29/15, 12:01 AM EST | UPDATED: 2 HRS AGO
Pottsgrove and Spring-Ford Area high schools have been named to the AP National Honor Roll School District, according to the College Board.  This distinction was given to 425 school districts in the U.S. and Canada which simultaneously achieved increases in access to Advanced Placement courses for a broader number of students and also maintained or improved the rate at which their AP students earned scores of 3 or higher on an AP Exam.  In Pennsylvania, Pottsgrove and Spring-Ford are two of only 43 schools that earned this honor and only two other schools in the Montgomery County earned a spot on the AP School District Honor Roll.

AP District Honor Roll
College Board website
The College Board is announcing the 6th Annual AP District Honor Roll — a list of 425 districts across the U.S. and Canada being honored for increasing access to AP® course work while simultaneously maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP Exams. Reaching these goals indicates that these districts are successfully identifying motivated, academically prepared students who are likely to benefit from rigorous AP course work.  National data from 2015 show that among black/African American, Hispanic, and Native American students with a high degree of readiness for AP, only about half of students are participating. The first step to delivering the opportunity of AP to students is providing access by ensuring courses are available, that gatekeeping stops, and that the doors are equitably opened so these students can participate. AP Honor Roll District’s are committed to expanding the availability of AP courses among prepared and motivated students of all backgrounds.

ESEA Reauthorization: A Look at a Draft of the Bill
Education Week Politics K-12 Blog By Alyson Klein on November 29, 2015 3:01 PM
We've brought you all the details of the deal to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and a peek at what appeared to be the framework, but we know you've been on pins and needles waiting for real, live legislative language.  And it looks like we have a late stage draft, from sources in the know, of what could become the latest iteration of the ESEA, the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA. (One note: This is a draft, so expect at least a few tweaks when the bill is formally introduced, likely Monday.)  If the bill passes in the next few weeks, as lawmakers plan, it will replace the current version of the law that we all know and few folks like: the No Child Left Behind Act.   Dig into the bill below. For Title I, each part has its own PDF, except for Parts E and F, which share a PDF. All other titles have separate PDFs. 

"Does high performance on standardized assessments truly equate to what we all mean by achievement?  Research shows otherwise: In 2003, the “gold standard” of charter schools, KIPP, had a graduating class that ranked fifth in New York City on the math standardized tests. Six years after entering college, only 21 percent of that cohort had earned a college degree."
Principal to N.Y. Gov. Cuomo: Stop spreading a false narrative about public education
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss November 27  
Jamaal Bowman is the principal of the Cornerstone Academy for Social Action Middle school in the Bronx.  The school’s website says that the mission of the school is to graduate “self-aware, hard-working and socially responsible 21st century learners.” Cornerstone Academy’s curriculum, based on the Common Core State State Standards, focuses on improving the “creative, critical, collaborative and higher-order thinking skills” of students.  Implementation of the standards and aligned testing in New York was widely described as a mess, and 20 percent of students across the state refused to take the Core tests this past spring as a protest. Cuomo took notice and in September, he created a task force to review the Common Core in his state. The New York Times just reported that Cuomo, a staunch advocate of making student standardized test scores up to 50 percent of teacher evaluations, may be ready to move away from that stance (which would be a significant change) and is awaiting the task force’s conclusions. (It could happen but don’t hold your breath.)  Here’s an open letter that Bowman wrote to Cuomo about the governor’s education agenda:

"It's not as much that we're failing — the country in general is failing poor black kids in every major city," said Edward DeShazer, executive director of Greater Holy Temple Christian Academy."
Failing Milwaukee voucher schools: “These are experiments that are being run on black students”
Fox6Now Milwaukee POSTED 9:15 PM, NOVEMBER 25, 2015, BY MEGHAN DWYER AND JOHN PARNON, UPDATED AT 09:45PM, NOVEMBER 25, 2015
MILWAUKEE — A FOX6  Investigation shows poor, minority families are choosing to send their kids to some of the worst performing Choice schools in Milwaukee.  "It's not every school," said Rep. Mandela Barnes (D-Milwaukee). "It's not every school at all. But the fact is, these are experiments that are being run on black students. That is what people need to understand."  Barnes wants to encourage parents to make more informed choices.  "When these schools you never heard of show up one day and people get a glossy flyer saying 'enroll your student today for a great education' you know, everything that glitters isn't gold," Barnes said.  The FOX6 Investigators looked at voucher school test data from the last two school years — some of the only data currently publicly available for these private schools.  The schools with the worst test scores had nearly 100 percent minority enrollment (and the majority of the students at these schools are on vouchers).  While the test scores don't tell the whole story, the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program — at least in Milwaukee — hasn't yet bridged the racial gap in educational achievement.

2016 U.S. Presidential Election: Where did the 2016 presidential candidates go to high school?
Quora Blog by Lee Ballentine, Poet, engineer, three time Top Writer on Quora.
The publc school kids are having a good run this cycle. The presidency has been pretty weighted toward prep school kids in the past. Here are some of the 2016 Presidential candidates and where they went to school.
Public school
  • Democrat Hillary Clinton graduated from Maine South High School, in a suburb of Chicago.
  • Republican Ben Carson graduated from Southwestern High School, Detroit.
  • Independent/Democrat Bernie Sanders graduated from James Madison High School in Brooklyn.
  • Republican Chris Christie graduated from Livingston High School, New Jersey.
  • Republican Marco Rubio graduated from South Miami High School.
Private school
  • Republican Jeb Bush went to Andover (Phillips Academy Andover) one of America's most exclusive prep schools, founded in 1778, a Massachusetts boarding school.
  • Republican Donald Trump graduated from the New York Military Academy, a military and prep school founded in 1889.
  • Democrat Martin O'Malley graduated from Gonzaga College High School in Washington DC. A Jesuit school, Gonzaga is the oldest private school in Washington, founded in 1829.
  • Republican Carly Fiorina attended both public and private schools including the exclusive Channing School in London and a school in Ghana. She ultimately graduated from Charles E. Jordan High School, a public school in Durham, North Carolina.
  • Republican Ted Cruz graduated from the religious Second Baptist School in Houston, Texas.

Who Funds Jeb Bush’s Education Foundation?
Diane Ravitch's Blog By dianeravitch November 29, 2015 //
It is common knowledge that Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Educational Excellence supports charters, vouchers, and digital learning. When he announced his run for the GOP nomination, he stepped down and brought in Condaleeza Rice to lead FEE.  Who provided the money to showcase Bush’s education platform? Bush released his list of donors from 2007-14.
“WASHINGTON (AP) — Big-time donors to a nonprofit educational group founded by Jeb Bush, disclosed for the first time Wednesday, highlight the intersection between Bush’s roles in the worlds of business, policy and politics years before he began running for president….
After leaving the Florida governor’s office in 2007, Bush formed the Foundation for Excellence in Education, with a mission “to build an American education system that equips every child to achieve their God-given potential.” With Bush serving as president, the group attracted $46 million from donors through 2014.


Kenney holding five town halls to get feedback from Philly residents
WHYY Newsworks BY KATIE COLANERI NOVEMBER 30, 2015
Got a question or concern for Philadelphia Mayor-Elect Jim Kenney? You could have your chance to tell him in person this week.  Starting tonight, Kenney will hold a series of five town hall style meetings in the north, south, west and northeast sections of Philadelphia.   During a press conference earlier this month, he said the ideas and issues that come out of these meetings will be passed along to members of his large transition team, which will put out a final report in January laying out the Kenney administration's priorities.  "I think it's always important that not only are we inclusive of every community and every neighborhood in the city, but that we listen to what people have to say," Kenney said. "They pay taxes, they live and work in our city and they have something to say and we want to make sure that they're included."  All members of the public are invited, but are encouraged to RSVP online atKenneyForPhiladelphia.com. Those who can't make the meetings in-person can give their input at the same website. 
Here's the schedule:
Central High School, 1700 W. Olney Avenue
Monday, Nov. 30, 2015, 6:00pm - 7:00pm
South Philadelphia High School, 2101 S. Broad Street
Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015, 7:30pm - 8:30pm
School of the Future, 40th & Parkside Avenue
Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, 7:30pm - 8:30pm
Mayfair Community Center, 2990 Saint Vincent Street
Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015, 7:30pm - 8:30pm
Strawberry Mansion High School, 3133 Ridge Avenue
Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, 6:30pm - 7:30pm

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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