Sunday, December 6, 2015

PA Ed Policy Roundup Dec 6: #PABudget: Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water….

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

These daily emails are archived and searchable at http://keystonestateeducationcoalition.org
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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup December 6, 2015:
#PABudget: Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water….



Campaign for Fair Education Funding: PA Lawmakers need to deliver a #PABudget that meets the needs of every child.  Ask them to at:

Today might be a good day to reach out to your House members.  Phone numbers are here:



Pa. budget agreement may be collapsing
by Chris Palmer, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau. Updated on DECEMBER 6, 2015 — 1:08 AM EST
HARRISBURG - A tentative agreement to end Pennsylvania's five-month-old budget impasse appeared to be collapsing Saturday night as Republicans in the House and Senate revealed starkly different plans for moving forward after a day of closed-door meetings.  While Senate leaders announced they were closing in on agreements with Gov. Wolf about how to distribute $350 million in new education funding and changes to the state's pension and liquor systems, House Republicans said they were pursuing a plan that would scrap those initiatives altogether.
Rank-and-file House members emerged from their hours-long caucus to say they would pursue their own pared-down budget, eliminating the need to expand the sales tax to send more money to schools.  "I think the rank-and-file aren't accepting of massive tax increases," said Rep. Seth Grove (R., York). "And I think [House Republican] leadership realized that, and they backed off, and they're moving in a direction that we can go in."  Wolf swiftly released a statement tearing into Republicans for abandoning the so-called framework agreement that House and Senate leaders had agreed to more than a week ago and have trumpeted ever since.

Pennsylvania's state budget framework rattles apart over tax and spending issues
Penn Live By Charles Thompson | cthompson@pennlive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on December 05, 2015 at 9:47 PM, updated December 05, 2015 at 10:18 PM
Pennsylvania House Republicans abandoned the fragile state budget "framework" Saturday after members told caucus leaders they could not support the roughly $2 billion in new taxes needed to pay for it.  Republicans said they will start work Sunday on a smaller, $30.3 billion plan, that cuts a projected increase in funding for public schools from $350 million to $150 million, and contains no changes to the state sales or income taxes.  The move was a clear setback for a $30.8 billion deal that legislative leaders and Gov. Tom Wolf have been working on since Nov. 9, but most other parties refused to declare that deal dead last night.  Wolf, as he climbed into his Jeep to leave the Capitol Complex Saturday evening, said he was "still committed to the framework."

Pa. budget framework shakes; House GOP says it will work on a smaller plan with less new taxes
Penn Live By Charles Thompson | cthompson@pennlive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on December 05, 2015 at 6:58 PM, updated December 05, 2015 at 9:09 PM
Pennsylvania House Republicans took themselves out of the state budget framework Saturday, after members said two days of closed-door caucuses made plain that they don't have support for the $30.8 billion spending plan that needs about $800 million in new taxes to balance.  Instead, the House GOP declared its intent to call up and vote on a smaller, $30.3 billion spending plan that needs much less in new revenue to balance.  It would also provide less new money to public schools than Gov. Tom Wolf had agreed to in the more expansive plan. One GOP source said the basic education spending line will increase by $150 million in the House budget, as opposed to the $350 million increase contained in the Nov. 9 framework deal.
That deal, of course, is far from dead.

It was apparent Saturday night the reason for the pared-down approach laid in the inability to get significant support for revenue options to get to the $600 million in tax increases that would have funded framework priorities.
Competing budget bills could emerge Sunday
The PLS Reporter Author: Jason Gottesman/Saturday, December 5, 2015
The House Republican caucus seemed to emerge from a several hours-long internal meeting Saturday afternoon with bad news for fans of the five-party budget framework agreed to just before Thanksgiving.  Following what appeared to be a complicated discussion, rank-and-file members told reporters that the caucus has agreed to run a pared-down $30.2 billion budget bill that no longer includes the governor’s increases in public education and also no longer includes GOP priorities of pension and liquor reform.  That bill is slated for a Sunday vote in the House Appropriations Committee.  “It’s far pared-down,” said Rep. Seth Grove (R-York). “No sales tax, sales tax expansion, PIT, that kind of stuff.”  He said the decision to drop pension and liquor reform was made after the realization the governor would not support the concepts without his desired increases in revenue, but he did not say whether or not the proposal would fly with Senate Republicans or the governor.
“It’s above my pay grade,” he stated.

Pa. lawmakers to return to Capitol to push clashing budget plans
Delco Times By The Associated Press POSTED: 12/06/15, 5:33 AM EST
HARRISBURG, Pa. >> A revolt by Pennsylvania House Republicans is setting up competing plans to break the state government’s five-month-old budget stalemate and sowing doubt about a resolution.  Lawmakers were to return to the Capitol for Sunday committee votes in the House and Senate to advance two different plans.  House Republicans say their majority caucus won’t support a budget plan their leadership had helped negotiate. Instead, they’ll try to advance a plan with smaller spending and tax increases.  Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and Senate leaders say they remain committed to an earlier deal that involved a 6 percent increase in overall spending and public school aid.  It would require a $600 million-plus tax increase insisted on by Wolf to deliver the record boost in public school aid and narrow a long-term budget deficit.

Friday: Wolf, GOP leaders reach tentative budget deal providing historic education boost
There will be a $350 million increase in basic education aid, plus significant growth in support for special education and pre-K.
the notebook By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Dec 4, 2015 02:43 PM
Dale Mezzacappa and Paul Socolar of the Philadelphia Public School Notebook contributed to this report.
Pennsylvania's Gov. Wolf and top legislative leaders say they've reached an agreement to end the state's budget impasse of more than five months.  The tentative pact includes what would be the largest increase in education spending in at least two decades.  The basic education subsidy would see a $350 million increase, and special education and pre-K funding would each receive a $50 million boost, in addition to $10 million more for Head Start.  "This is a big win for the state of Pennsylvania," said Wolf, who described the increase in basic education funding as "historic" and worth the long wait.  "In a limited-government, free-market economy, there is nothing more important a government can do than investing adequately in education," he said. "Republicans have an overwhelming majority in the Senate and the House, I am a rookie Democratic governor. Having such a historic increase is a nice thing. In my mind, this is a big deal."  The funding increases would be paid for largely by extending the reach of the state sales tax — adding new items, closing existing loopholes, and jettisoning some exemptions for services and items that emerged in recent decades.

Lawmakers support pension reform provided it doesn't affect them
Penn Live By Jan Murphy | jmurphy@pennlive.com  Email the author | Follow on Twitter  on December 04, 2015 at 1:40 PM, updated December 04, 2015 at 4:33 PM
The pension reform proposal that is taking shape as part of the state budget package is encountering resistance from some lawmakers who don't like how it would impact their own pensions.  Sources identify that as one of the factors that could sink the chances of not only the pension reform from happening but could unravel the entire budget package that has been taking shape over the past month to end the more than five-month-old impasse.  The proposed pension reform proposal would move new state government and school employees into a side-by-side pension plan that provides them with a smaller base pension system similar to one current employees have that would be accompanied by a 401(k)-style plan.

BLOG: Education Investment Must Start Before Kindergarten
Governor's Blog By: Sarah Galbally, Deputy Secretary of Policy & Planning December 03, 2015
Improving education is at the core of everything Governor Wolf is working to achieve, and a vital component of that goal is recognizing that a quality education doesn’t start when a child goes off to kindergarten. That’s why the governor has fought so hard to secure a much-needed $60 million funding increase to pre-kindergarten programs with proven track records in Pennsylvania.
Under the current framework education budget, Pre-K Counts will see a $50 million increase, and Head Start Supplemental Assistance will get an additional $10 million. These investments will allow thousands of families living in underserved communities to enroll their children in high-quality early education programs.  Statistically, children who attend pre-k perform better in their k-12 education, graduate at higher rates, and increase earning potential throughout their lives. For example, 3- and 4-year olds who participated in Pennsylvania’s Pre-K Counts programs outperformed their peers in both math and reading by the third grade.

Christmas spirit can't end Pennsylvania's budget impasse
Steve Esack Contact Reporter Morning Call Harrisburg Bureau December 4, 2015
A Christmas ode on PA's budget impasse in partial rhyme
HARRISBURG — Lobbyists mingled Friday by the Christmas tree with care,
In hopes legislative leaders had a little flare
To teach members about a middle course
That would end Pennsylvania's long-running budget discourse.
But alas, Friday ended with no deal done.
So they will be back Saturday, still on square one.
"We are back tomorrow at 10 a.m.," state House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, announced Friday after a five-hour caucus session held a week before political leaders hope to celebrate the holidays at the annual Pennsylvania Society gathering in Manhattan.  Friday marked the 157th day without a state budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year.  Without a budget, money for state programs has continued but has been halted to school districts, counties and social service nonprofits.  In recent weeks and days, the Democratic administration and Republican legislative leaders have agreed on some issues, but rank-and-file lawmakers need to be sold on it, too.
The budget would be $30.7 billion. In that, Wolf would get an extra $400 million for the basic, special and early-childhood education spending he campaigned on. In return, Wolf dropped his call for a higher income and, sales taxes and a new levy on natural gas drillers. He also made concessions on changes to the state's liquor store system and pension plans for new hires, but not the full set of packages GOP wants.

As weekend session looms, top Pa. lawmakers test budget options
Delco Times By Marc Levy, The Associated Press POSTED: 12/05/15, 5:44 AM EST
HARRISBURG, Pa. >> Republican legislative leaders huddled with rank-and-file members in earnest Friday to determine what kind of package of tax increases can get enough support to break Pennsylvania’s five-month budget stalemate.  The huge House and Senate Republican majorities each met separately for hours behind closed doors, engaging in their most substantive tax discussions yet, lawmakers said.  However, the discussions were wide open, lawmakers said, and left little settled in a search for more than $600 million to meet Gov. Tom Wolf’s demand for a record increase in aid to public schools and extra cash to help narrow a long-term budget deficit.
More Republicans say they now support the kind of tax increase called for in GOP leaders’ negotiated deal with Wolf. But the lack of consensus on how to do it left some rank-and-file Republicans lawmakers defying predictions by GOP leadership that a budget deal could be done by Wednesday.

Budget deal still on…for now?
The PLS Reporter Author: Jason Gottesman/Friday, December 4, 2015
Pennsylvania’s Capitol was a den of confusion Friday swirling with rumors, innuendo, and speculation of every degree as to what—if anything—would happen with the budget framework that has limped along in discussions since just before Thanksgiving.  After a day of long intra-caucus discussions for Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats, and House Republicans, it appears as though all parties are still moving toward an eventual budget resolution and the plan has—as of yet—not completely imploded.  House Republicans met for about three hours Friday afternoon in an attempt to test the waters on a number of different revenue options, including a slate of sales tax exemptions that may be eliminated.  “I think every revenue generator that came up, members of the caucus formed their opinion and made them known very constructively,” said Rep. Mike Vereb (R-Montgomery) after House Republicans had their discussion on revenue options and other budget related matters. “I don’t think there was any flashpoint in this caucus at all. I think it was a very positive thing.”

If there's a better plan for property tax elimination - now's the time for critics to step up: Mike Folmer
PennLive Op-Ed    By Mike Folmer on December 04, 2015 at 11:00 AM, updated December 04, 2015 at 11:56 AM
State Sen. Mike Folmer, a Republican, represents the 48th Senate District, which includes parts of Dauphin, Lebanon and York counties.
People throughout my Lebanon County-based district have repeatedly told me school property taxes are their biggest headache and they want property tax elimination to be a top priority of the General Assembly.   This much needed -- and long overdue -- goal recently fell one vote short when the Senate attempted to amend the provisions of Senate-authored property tax reform legislation into another bill.  A big problem in advancing the Senate bill are lingering concerns with its companion version in the state House.  In October 2013, the House rejected its version of the legislation on a 139-58 vote because opponents said the numbers didn't work and it was flawed.
In response to these concerns, Sen. David Argall, R-Schuylkill (who is the prime sponsor of the current Senate bill), and I worked to correct the deficiencies of the failed House bill to make sure the same fate didn't befall the legislation in the Senate this year. 

"The three biggest rising costs are charter school costs, pension contributions and health care costs, Clark said.  The district will pay about $43 million in charter school payments, which is around $5 million more than this year. Health care costs are expected to go up $2.6 million, and pension payments $4 million."
Prelim ASD budget shows tax increase
Jacqueline Palochko Contact Reporter Of The Morning Call December 4, 2015
The Allentown School Board took its first glance at the 2016-17 budget.
ALLENTOWN -- The Allentown School District took its first glance at a 2016-17 budget, even though the district is unsure how much it is receiving from the state this year due to the budget stalemate in Harrisburg.  At Thursday's finance committee, the district gave the school board a look at next year's $285 million budget, which includes a $14 million shortfall and a possible 4.1 percent tax increase.  Chief Financial Officer Jack Clark said it has been difficult putting together a preliminary budget because the district still has not received any money from the state for this school year. The state was supposed to have passed a budget July 1.  If the district raises taxes by 4.1 percent, a property owner with a house assessed at $150,000 would see an annual increase by $112. The district would have to receive permission from the state to go above a 3.6 percent hike. If taxes go up by 3.6 percent, a homeowner with the same assessed house would see an annual $98 increase.

Bill allowing districts to furlough teachers for economic reasons advances in Senate
Penn Live By Jan Murphy | jmurphy@pennlive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on December 04, 2015 at 7:13 PM, updated December 05, 2015 at 8:00 AM
By a party-line 6-3 vote, the Senate Education Committee on Friday pushed ahead an education reform bill that would allow teachers to be furloughed for economic reasons and require those layoffs to be based on performance rather than seniority.  Committee Chairman Lloyd Smucker, R-Lancaster County, said he was unsure if the bill would get folded into one of the budget-related bills or whether it would advance on its own independent of the budget process.  The House passed the bill in June by a narrow vote of 100-91 that drew no Democratic support. Its sponsor, Rep. Steve Bloom, R-North Middleton Twp., said the bill ensures that "the very best teachers remain in the classroom" in the event layoffs are necessary.  Smucker told the committee that was one of the reasons he supported the bill along with favoring giving school officials more control over the decision-making in these matters. Current law only permits layoffs of teacher and administrators if there is a reduction in enrollment, if a program is curtailed or eliminated, or if schools are consolidated or reorganized.

Bill would tie teacher furloughs to performance ratings
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette December 4, 2015 11:52 PM
The state Senate may soon vote on a House proposal that would require school districts to choose teachers to furlough on the basis of performance ratings, rather than solely by seniority.
The bill also would allow a district to suspend employees for “economic reasons.” Currently, districts may furlough professional employees only when there is a decrease in pupil enrollment, a change in education programming or the consolidation of schools, according to an analysis by House Republican staff.  The proposal cleared the Senate Education Committee on Friday on party lines, with Republicans in support and Democrats opposed. It passed the House in June, 100-91, with all Democrats and some Republicans opposed.  Jennifer Kocher, spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre, said the Senate plans to take up the bill soon.

State to examine charter school funding
Questions arise on state Department of Education funding practices
State auditor general’s office to audit PDE
Public, charter school representatives give input on audit
Centre Daily Times BY BRITNEY MILAZZO bmilazzo@centredaily.com December 4, 2015
Administration from local public and charter schools hope an audit of the state Department of Education is conducted appropriately.  But they have different opinions on how things are handled.  Some public schools think things are done unfairly at the state level in terms of education funding.  On the other hand, charter school representatives said they need all the help they can get when some public schools are withholding or delaying payments to their schools.  Public schools pay a per pupil rate for regular and special education students from within their district who attend charter schools.  Charter schools commonwealth-wide reached out to the state for funding, despite public schools not yet getting their share due to the budget impasse.  “Transparency and accountability are very important when it comes to spending taxpayer money,” Levent Kaya said. “Therefore, the announced audits are a positive step to ensure both transparency and accountability for all parties involved, charter schools, school districts and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.”

Charter school teacher hit with multiple corruption charges for leading Allentown student walkout
Jacqueline Palochko Contact Reporter Of The Morning Call December 4, 2015
Charter school teacher hit with multiple corruption citations for leading Allentown student walkout
ALLENTOWN — The charter school teacher who encouraged hundreds of students to walk out of Allentown School District schools, claiming the district is failing minority students, has been charged with corrupting youth.  Michael Frassetto is facing at least 38 charges of corruption of minors for a student walkout that occurred Sept. 28. The charges are summary offenses, similar to criminal mischief. People accused receive citations in the mail, and those found guilty at a summary trial before a district judge typically face fines.  "Encouraging Allentown School District students to commit truancy by walking out of school during normal school hours is an unlawful disruption of the students' educational process," the district said in a statement released Friday.
"While the Allentown School District supports freedom of expression, the district cannot condone actions in violation of the law," it said. "Therefore, the district's high school and middle school administrators have taken legal action to hold the organizer, Michael Frassetto, responsible for his actions."

Letters: Budget bravado costing students
Philly.com Letter by LUBIN L'AVENTURE & SEYNA MUSHINGTON .Updated on DECEMBER 4, 2015 — 3:01 AM EST
Lubin L'aventure and Seyna Mushington are the parents of two Philadelphia school children who have been awarded OSTC scholarships.
OUR KIDS ARE two of the lucky ones.
Across Philadelphia, tens of thousands of students are forced to attend schools that fail to prepare them for success in life. But thanks to the state's Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC), our children were awarded scholarships that allow them to attend high quality private schools. Without scholarships, the odds were against them; today, they're on the path to college.
But Gov. Wolf is taking away their opportunity to succeed. Under his direction, the state Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) is refusing to allow the OSTC and its companion program, the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC), to go forward until there is a budget in place. Even though state law makes clear that this program should operate independent of the budget, our children and more than 40,000 others across Pennsylvania may lose scholarships, all for political gamesmanship. Unless Gov. Wolf changes his mind, our kids will be the real losers.  Since June, the governor has been clear: He won't approve a budget that doesn't substantially increase what the state spends on education. A delay is fine, he says, because the money will eventually flow to schools. We applaud him for his leadership on increasing education funding.  But here's the thing: OSTC and EITC aren't part of the budget. It is a separate program funded by voluntary contributions from businesses around the state. These contributions must be made by the end of the year. For the program to run, DCED must send letters to businesses that say they're eligible to donate to the program. If that doesn't happen, then businesses won't be able to make their donations by the end of the year, and the money - $150 million, exclusively used to improve education - will be gone for good.

Parent group accuses Upper Dublin School District of racial discrimination
Lansdale Reporter By Linda Finarelli, lfinarelli@21st-CenturyMedia.com@lkfinarelli on Twitter
POSTED: 12/03/15, 9:19 AM EST
UPPER DUBLIN >> A group of African-American parents in the Upper Dublin School District have filed a complaint with federal and state authorities accusing the district of persistent discrimination in disciplinary practices, curricular tracking and giftedness placements.  In a complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Education Nov. 23 by the Public Interest Law Center on behalf of Concerned African American Parents, the district is accused of disproportionately disciplining black students and placing them in lower level classes. The complaint, which was also filed with the state Human Relations Commission, “asks the department to conduct a full investigation and require remedy of the problems.”  “Specifically, these policies and practices have resulted in: the disproportionately high imposition on black students of out-of-school suspensions; black students’ disproportionately high placement into lowest-track courses, and disproportionately low placement into upper-track courses; and the disproportionately low identification of black students for gifted education,” the complaint states.  There were no black students in gifted education in the district’s four elementary schools or in the middle school in 2014-15, according to the complaint.

High-poverty schools often staffed by rotating cast of substitutes
Washington Post By Emma Brown December 4 at 5:27 PM  
Mya Alford dreams of studying chemical engineering in college, but the high school junior is at a disadvantage: Last year, her chemistry teacher at Pittsburgh’s Westinghouse Academy quit just weeks after school started, and the class was taught by a substitute who, as Alford put it, “didn’t know chemistry.”  The year before, there was no permanent biology teacher until December. Students at Westinghouse, a high-poverty school in one of Pittsburgh’s roughest neighborhoods, often see a rotating cast of substitutes, Alford said.  “You’re looking at test scores,” Alford said of the school’s low performance on state standardized tests in math, science and reading. “But we didn’t have a stable teacher.”  Every U.S. classroom needs a sub from time to time. But in the troubled schools that serve some of the nation’s neediest children, it is not uncommon for classrooms to churn with substitutes as teachers leave in large numbers each June, or quit midyear, and principals struggle to fill the positions.

Education Law Center Statement on the Every Student Succeeds Act
Press Release Contact: Ian Gavigan, Education Law Center-PA, 267-825-7713, igavigan@elc-pa.org December 4, 2015
 “Since its passage in 1965, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) has been a critically important federal law for ensuring educational equity and protecting the civil rights of the most at-risk students. In several ways the proposed reauthorization, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), represents an improvement over existing legislation and reaffirms the ESEA’s crucial mission ‘to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education.’ However, the current bill could do much more to protect the rights of the country’s most vulnerable students,” said Deborah Gordon Klehr, executive director of the Education Law Center.  “We are particularly concerned about the lack of federal accountability. Under the reauthorization, much of the power and responsibility to ensure educational opportunities for vulnerable students has been shifted to the states. Both current research and our experience in Pennsylvania show that when states are given unfettered control over education, the civil rights of the most educationally vulnerable students often go unprotected and their academic outcomes suffer. We are concerned that without federal oversight, states will avoid the difficult challenges of ensuring that all students have fair and equitable access to a quality education.  Given this concern, we also fear that states will be allowed to turn a blind eye to overly punitive and discriminatory discipline practices that exclude students of color and students with disabilities at disproportionately high rates. The proposed bill does little to address the discipline disparities that plague schools in Pennsylvania and across the country. While states are given the option to include school climate as a factor in their accountability plan, there is no requirement or incentive to do so. The ESEA should serve as a robust protection for the civil rights of all students. By failing to require measurable steps to eliminate disparities in school discipline, the ESSA falls short of this promise.

Alexander, Murray: Full Senate to Begin Debate on Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Fix No Child Left Behind
Following House passage yesterday by a vote of 359-64, the Every Student Succeeds Act is ready for Senate action next week
US Senate Committee on Health, Education Labor and Pensions 12.03.15
WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 3 – Senate education committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.), following Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s announcement that the Senate would take up the bipartisan, bicameral agreement to fix No Child Left Behind next week, said they look forward to a successful vote in the Senate, following passage in the House of Representatives yesterday by a vote of 359-64.
“The legislation before the Senate next week fixes No Child Left Behind by reversing the trend toward a national school board and restoring to states, communities and teachers the responsibility for improving student achievement,” Alexander said. “It passed the House of Representatives yesterday by a vote of 359-64 and received huge bipartisan support in the Senate earlier this year. I expect the same result next week so we can finally send a bill to the president’s desk to fix this broken law for our 50 million children and 3.4 million teachers in 100,000 public schools.”  “Moving forward on these last steps to finally fix No Child Left Behind is great news for students, parents, teachers, and communities in Washington state and across the country,” Murray said. “I look forward to the Senate voting to reduce reliance on high-stakes testing, invest in improving and expanding access to early learning programs, ensure all students have access to a quality education, and so much more. I will continue working hard to finish our bipartisan work in the Senate next week and send the bill the President’s desk so that this legislation can get to work for my home state and our nation.”

Jeff Bryant: Pass ESSA, But No Celebrations, Please
Diane Ravitch's Blog By dianeravitch December 3, 2015 //
Jeff Bryant has written the best analysis of the Every Students Succeeds Act that I have seen to date. It is fraught with problems and perils, but it ends the failed NCLB and RTTT. It is the first legislation to reduce the role of the federal government dramatically, because of the harmful top-down mandates from Arne Duncan. Duncan personally made the federal Department of Education repugnant to a bipartisan majority in Congress. As Jeff notes, ESSA sailed through the House yesterday by a vote of 359 to 64. With the support of Senator Lamar Alexander (R) and Senator Patti Murray (D), it is likely to move quickly through the Senate as well. President Obama has signaled that he will sign it. After 15 years of torture by D.C., the game now changes and shifts to the states.


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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