Thursday, May 19, 2016

PA Ed Policy Roundup May 19: With over half of all US kids attending public schools in poverty, fewer kids could receive free school meals under House bill

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup May 19, 2016:
With over half of all US kids attending public schools in poverty, fewer kids could receive free school meals under House bill



Make the new funding formula permanent; pass a budget for 2016-17 that increases funding for public schools by at least $400 million
Pennsylvania has the widest funding gap between wealthy & poor schools in the country.
Contributing only 36%, PA is ranked 46th in the US for its share of education funding.
Campaign for Fair Education Funding Website



Pennsylvania Congressmen Glenn Thompson and Lou Barletta are members of the House Education and the Workforce Committee
Fewer kids could receive free school meals under House bill
Inquirer by MARY CLARE JALONICK, The Associated Press MAY 18, 2016 5:11 PM EDT
WASHINGTON (AP) - Fewer students would receive free and reduced-price meals at school under legislation that Republicans pushed through a House committee Wednesday.
On a vote of 20-14, the Education and Workforce Committee backed the bill, which would scale back the number of schools in which all students receive free or reduced-price meals. The measure would allow a trial period of so-called block grants for school meals in three states - meaning those states would no longer receive unlimited federal dollars for students who qualify for the free and reduced-price lunches, and states wouldn't have to follow most federal nutrition standards.  The legislation, which the full House will consider, would also roll back some healthier school nutrition rules championed by first lady Michelle Obama. Some schools say they are too restrictive and the healthier meals are not appetizing enough to students.  Republicans, including bill sponsor Rep. Todd Rokita of Indiana and committee chairman John Kline of Minnesota, said the changes would help redirect money to other programs while ensuring that those with the highest need are still guaranteed meals.  Hunger and nutrition advocates from the American Academy of Pediatrics to the American Heart Association sharply criticized the legislation, saying it could mean that some children go hungry at school.

Just over half of all students attending public schools in the United States are now eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, according to a new analysis of federal data.
Percentage of Poor Students in Public Schools Rises
New York Times By MOTOKO RICH JAN. 16, 2015
Just over half of all students attending public schools in the United States are now eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, according to a new analysis of federal data.
In a report released Friday by the Southern Education Foundation, researchers found that 51 percent of children in public schools qualified for the lunches in 2013, which means that most of them come from low-income families. By comparison, 38 percent of public school students were eligible for free or reduced-price lunches in 2000.  According to the report, which analyzed data from the National Center for Education Statistics, a majority of students in 21 states are poor. Close to two-thirds of those states are in the South, which has long had a high concentration of poor students. In Mississippi, for example, close to three-fourths of all public school students come from low-income families.

For the 2012-13 school year, only 36.1 percent of public education in Pennsylvania was funded by the state — almost 10 percent lower than the national average of 45.6 percent. In 1974, the government funded 54 percent of public education. For this particular school year, Pennsylvania ranked 46th in the nation for state funding, trailing only Illinois, Nebraska, New Hampshire and South Dakota. While this ranking varies every year, Pennsylvania normally hovers around this same position, Cowell said.  Another way of looking at this, he said, is to analyze the state funding appropriated per student. While Pennsylvania, at $6,014 per student, is above the national average of $5,650 per student, it is still about $1,000 behind the neighboring state of Maryland. With roughly 1.7 million students in grades K-12, this means the state would have to increase the state budget by $1.7 billion to match Maryland. To get to West Virginia’s level, $7,182, the state would have to increase that budget by almost $2 billion.
Pennsylvania system for funding schools 'awful,' speaker says
Indiana Gazette by CASEY KELLY on May 18, 2016 10:59 AM
Pennsylvania’s system for funding public education is broken and creates deep inequity among school districts, an expert on the subject said Tuesday during the 43rd annual meeting of the League of Women Voters of Indiana County.  “In summary, we have the worst system in the country, by many measures,” said Ron Cowell, president of the Education Policy and Leadership Center.  Cowell, who has served as a representative in the state House and as chairman of the House Committee on Education, said EPLC is focused on four major projects: K-12 funding, arts in education, career and technical education and teacher recruitment and retention. He briefly touched on each topic during his discussion at the Park Inn by Radisson, but he concentrated heavily on K-12 funding.  “We have an awful statewide school funding system,” Cowell said. “It is not only inadequate, but it’s totally unpredictable. School districts went until April this year not knowing how much money they were going to get from the state to support anything they were trying to do.”

Governor Wolf Vetoes House Bill 805
Governor Wolf’s website May 18, 2016
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today vetoed House Bill 805. The text of Governor Wolf’s letter to the House of Representatives can be viewed below.
TO THE HONORABLE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA:
Pursuant to Article IV, Section 15 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, I am returning herewith, without my approval, House Bill 805, Printer’s Number 1843.  For months, the Department of Education and I have sought input on how to improve accountability in education. We have engaged with stakeholders including educators, parents, lawmakers, administrators, higher education faculty, and industry and workforce leaders to determine how best to measure success in the classroom and how to increase accountability. We believe that our common goal should be working together to invest in education, strengthen accountability, and place more educators in overcrowded classrooms to provide our children with the attention they deserve as well as the tools they need.  This bill relies heavily on a single score from the teacher evaluation system, as opposed to using the entire method of evaluation. At a time when there is bipartisan agreement that we need to reduce our reliance on high-stakes testing, we should not use high-stake test scores as the benchmark for teacher quality.

Wolf shoots down teacher layoff bill
Steve Esack Contact Reporter Call Harrisburg Bureau May 18, 2016
Gov. Tom Wolf vetoes GOP-driven bill to layoff teachers for economics and student test scores
HARRISBURG — Sticking to his pledge, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has vetoed a Republican-crafted bill that would reduce teachers' seniority rights in layoffs.  And he did it quickly, announcing it via Twitter.  Wolf axed the bill within a few hours of it reaching his desk Wednesday afternoon. That ends, , for now, GOP lawmakers' plans to change how school districts can lay off teachers under a bill they coined the Protecting Excellent Teachers Act.  The veto could ignite another long budget fight between Wolf and the GOP-controlled Legislature.  On Tuesday, House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny and other GOP leaders in the House and Senate said Wolf would not get the extra education money he seeks for the 2016-17 fiscal year if he vetoes the seniority bill, which originated in the House.

Gov. Tom Wolf vetoes new rules for teacher layoffs in Pennsylvania
Penn Live By Charles Thompson | cthompson@pennlive.com  Email the author | Follow on Twitter on May 18, 2016 at 6:29 PM, updated May 18, 2016 at 8:04 PM
Gov. Tom Wolf made good Wednesday on his threat to veto legislation that would stop public school districts from making teacher layoffs based on seniority.  The bill has, and may continue to be, a policy priority for House and Senate Republicans, who mounted a major public relations effort over the last two weeks to try to get the Democratic governor to change his mind.  Under their proposal, seniority levels would be replaced with recent teacher evaluation ratings as the first priority by which school administrators assign furloughs in the event of budget-based staffing cuts.

Wolf vetoes teacher layoff bill
Inquirer by Karen Langley, HARRISBURG BUREAU Updated: MAY 19, 2016 — 1:08 AM EDT
HARRISBURG - Gov. Wolf on Wednesday upheld his promise to veto a bill that would lessen the role of seniority in teacher layoffs.  The Protecting Excellent Teachers Act, passed this month by the House and Senate, had become a political football. This week, a key Republican in the legislature warned the governor that the issue could resurface in next month's budget negotiations if he vetoed the bill.  Supporters, including the state School Boards Association, said the measure would let districts protect their best teachers by using performance ratings, not seniority, in determining layoffs. The bill also would have let districts lay off solely for economic reasons.  Opponents, including the state's largest public-school teachers union, said the evaluation systems were too new and unproven to be reliable.

Inquirer editorial: Schools suffer amid political standoff
Updated: MAY 19, 2016 — 3:01 AM EDT
It's beyond frustrating to watch Pennsylvania politicians satisfy their penchant for partisan mud fights while failing to resolve the funding and accountability issues keeping public schools in distress. Both Democrats and Republicans propose ideas that they know will get nowhere just so they can accuse the other side of being intransigent.  Take legislation to allow school districts to lay off teachers based on budget constraints and without considering seniority, which Gov. Wolf vetoed Wednesday. Schools currently may lay off teachers only when enrollment falls, programs change, or schools are consolidated. Meanwhile, seniority rules can protect underperforming teachers while innovative instructors are let go.  Given those realities, the bill seemed well-intended. But comments by Republicans after Wolf's veto suggested they cared less about enacting it than portraying him as siding with teachers' unions.

Editorial: Close Delaware loophole and enact severance tax
Citizens Voice BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD Published: May 19, 2016
Republican majorities in the Legislature and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf don’t agree on much. But just about everyone agrees that the state government has a systemic deficit of between $1.6 billion and $2 billion. That deficit, unlike the state government’s credit rating, survived the nine-month 2016 budget impasse that ended just in time for the 2017 budget battle.  Means are available to eliminate the deficit while increasing state-level school funding to diminish pressure on local property taxes.  And there is a bonus. Acting aggressively to eliminate the deficit also would increase the fairness of the state tax structure.  Republican lawmakers and their supporters in the business community often lament the state’s very high corporate net income tax rate of 9.9 percent.  But according to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, a left-leaning policy think tank, more than 70 percent of companies that do business in Pennsylvania and are subject to the tax don’t actually pay it. They evade taxation through the gaping Delaware loophole.

“Volkman said the problems with recording attendance raise concerns about whether Agora is submitting accurate bills to school districts and is billing for students who are no longer enrolled, and whether students are receiving the education to which they are entitled.”
Pa. warns Agora Cyber: Provide accurate data - or else
Inquirer by Martha Woodall, Staff Writer Updated: MAY 19, 2016 — 1:08 AM EDT
The Pennsylvania Department of Education has delivered a stark warning to Agora Cyber Charter School, the state's second-largest online charter, which has had troubles throughout this academic year.  A top department official told the school it must provide accurate data on student testing and attendance by May 27, or the department "will take appropriate actions against the school."  Agora, based in King of Prussia, with 8,500 students statewide, has been trying to obtain a five-year renewal of its operating agreement from the department since October 2014.  According to a letter obtained by the Inquirer, David Volkman, the department's executive deputy secretary, notified Agora's CEO on Monday of "very serious data quality issues."  The data problems, Volkman wrote, "have far-reaching implications and appear to be another symptom of Agora's ongoing operational issues."

“The report said state law "does not specifically authorize school districts to monitor or hold accountable education service providers such as Aspira and Universal. . . . Nonetheless, these providers receive huge amounts of taxpayer funds to operate charter schools. There are no obvious restraints over these charter school operator organizations and how they choose to allocate millions of dollars in public money received from the school district as well as state and federal governments."
Butkovitz criticizes charter firms Aspira and Universal
Inquirer by Martha Woodall, Staff Writer Updated: MAY 19, 2016 — 1:08 AM EDT
The day before the Philadelphia School Reform Commission is scheduled to vote on several charter school renewals, the city controller on Wednesday released a report criticizing the financial management of two charter operators.  The Controller's Office outlined problems it found when it examined the operations of Aspira of Pennsylvania and Kenny Gamble's Universal Companies.  Among other things, the report found questionable financial transactions among related entities, including loan guarantees; school-lease arrangements with parent organizations; and charter board members serving on boards with ties to the schools.

Sugary drinks tax gets love at Council hearing
WHYY Newsworks BY TOM MACDONALD  MAY 18, 2016
Supporters of Mayor Jim Kenney's proposed soda tax made their case Wednesday at a City Council hearing on the school district's budget proposal.   Anne O'Brien came to Council chambers to support the sugary drink tax. As a lifelong resident of Philadelphia and a pre-kindergarten provider, she said the city must do more to help underprivileged youth.  "Law enforcement officials tell us that they support high quality pre-K because it lowers incarceration rates," O' Brien said. "I have waiting lists for my pre-K programs, but there is no waiting list for prison -  there's lots of room there."  Donna Cooper of Public Citizens for Children and Youth reminded Councilmembers that just a year ago 80 percent of voters approved a pre-K referendum.  "More 'yes' votes were cast for Pre-K than for mayoral candidates Williams, Abraham, Oliver, Diaz and Street combined," Cooper said.

"I'm urging you ... to consider passing a budget that is not balanced. Consider saying 'No.' Consider telling the state we will not cut our kids anymore,"
Badams speaks out against proposed Erie schools cuts
By Erica Erwin  814-870-1846 Erie Times-News May 19, 2016 06:09 AM
ERIE, Pa. -- Erie schools Superintendent Jay Badams laid out a menu of cuts he said are necessary to bridge a $4.3 million budget gap in 2016-17.  And then he told the Erie School Board not to make any of them.  "I'm urging you ... to consider passing a budget that is not balanced. Consider saying 'No.' Consider telling the state we will not cut our kids anymore," Badams said Wednesday.  Badams' comments drew applause from more than 60 people who had gathered at the district's administration building for a roughly two hours long School Board meeting focusing on district finances and a budget deficit that has the board members considering a host of cuts, including the elimination of sports, extracurricular activities, arts and music programs.  The state requires districts to pass a balanced budget by June 30, but the cuts required to make that happen are "unconscionable," Badams said.

Area school superintendents weigh in
Erica Erwin 19 May 2016 — Erie Times-News
Closing all four Erie School District high schools and busing the 3,200 students they serve to other schools would be an unprecedented move in northwestern Pennsylvania, one that would send ripple effects through districts across the region.  "It would obviously require a tremendous amount of planning and meetings," Millcreek schools Superintendent William Hall said.  Hall and other superintendents said it was too early to discuss how and under what circumstances their districts might accept Erie School District students should the Erie School Board decide to close Strong Vincent High School, East High School, Central Career and Technical School, and Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy as early as 2017-18.  Erie schools Superintendent Jay Badams has asked the Erie School Board to consider the possibility because, he says, deep cuts needed to balance the 2016-17 budget would only widen the divide between Erie and neighboring districts in terms of what Erie can provide to its students.  "I wholeheartedly support (Badams') vigilance in pursuing funding equity for all kids," Hall said. "That's what this is all about. If (school closures) were to come to fruition, it would have a profound effect on Millcreek, no doubt, but I think they have exhausted all of the means at their disposal. It's just sad."

“The cost for employee benefits is projected to go up 9.7 percent from $12.95 million in 2015-16 to $13.99 million in 2016-17.  That increase is largely driven by the employer contribution rate for the Public School Employees' Retirement System, or PSERS, increasing 18.3 percent for the next school year.”
Proposed Bangor school tax hike linked to salaries, benefits
By John Best | For lehighvalleylive.com on May 18, 2016 at 9:59 AM, updated May 18, 2016 at 7:44 PM
Bangor Area School District residents will see a 1.97 percent real estate tax increase for the 2016-17 year if the budget passes as proposed.  District salaries, wages and benefits are projected to increase $1.6 million, which represents 70 percent of the total $2.1 million increase in expenditures for the district next school year.  The total proposed 2016-17 budget is $55.1 million, which is up 4.2 percent from 2015-16.  Total local revenues, without a tax millage increase, are expected to increase $420,000 based on increased home tax assessment values by Northampton County and upward trending earned income tax revenues.

Greensburg Salem staring at 2.7-mill tax hike
Trib Live BY JACOB TIERNEY  | Wednesday, May 18, 2016, 11:00 p.m.
The preliminary 2016-17 budget that Greensburg Salem school board members will vote on next week would raise taxes 2.7 mills and still have a deficit of more than $500,000.
The $43.6 million budget is about $1 million larger than last year's, with most of the increase driven by an additional $877,000 in mandatory retirement contributions.  If it weren't for these pension costs, the budget would be slightly smaller than it was in 2009, according to district business manager Jim Meyer.  “We're spending less than we did five years ago when you take out the pension,” he said. “Where is your money going? It's getting funneled out in the form of a contribution back to the state.”

Franklin Regional school board approves $54.4M preliminary budget
BY THE TRIBUNE-REVIEW | Wednesday, May 18, 2016, 2:54 p.m.
The Franklin Regional school board on Monday approved a proposed $54.4 million budget that includes a 0.75-mill tax hike for the 2016-17 school year.  The budget includes $53.7 million in revenue, with the district using $700,000 from its pension stabilization fund and just over $46,000 from its fund balance to offset costs.  The proposed tax hike would bring in $261,000 and raise the tax rate to 90.99 mills.  A vote to adopt the final budget will take place in June.

“Looking into the proposed final budget, $9.6 million in expenditures have been added over the current year, with retirement contributions accounting for $3.76 million of that. Charter school expenses and special education placement tacked on $1.9 million and purchasing of professional/technical services adding on $1.6 million.  Salary increases and added staff positions add on $1.3 million.”
Upper Darby school board avoids tax increase despite $6.5M shortfall
Delco Times By Kevin Tustin, ktustin@21st-centurymedia.com@KevinTustin on Twitter POSTED: 05/18/16, 9:38 PM EDT | UPDATED: 4 HRS AGO
Upper Darby>> The school board has decided to bite the bullet and hold the line on property taxes, despite the growing amount of red ink in their first look at the proposed final budget for the 2016-17 school year.  District Chief Financial Officer Patrick Grant suggested during a special meeting of the board Tuesday evening an unprecedented zero percent tax increase for next year, despite a $6.5 million shortfall in a $189 million budget.  The use of unassigned fund balance will make up for the budget gap.  Grant said now is the time for the district to take this “one-time” opportunity to freeze taxes, a situation made possible by a projection of $4 million in revenues over expenditures realized by the end of the current fiscal year (June 30), and putting back $2.5 million of fund balance that was originally slated to balance the 2015-16 budget.

DePasquale: Penn Hills audit 'one of worst school audits I have ever seen'
Trib Live BY NATASHA LINDSTROM AND MICHAEL DIVITTORIO |May 18, 2016, 10:54 a.m.
Rampant fiscal mismanagement, bad business decisions and a gaping lack of oversight have thrust Penn Hills School District onto the edge of a “self-inflicted” financial cliff and might warrant criminal charges, Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said Wednesday.  Taxpayers in one of Western Pennsylvania's largest school districts are on the hook for debt that has ballooned from $11 million in 2010 to more than $170 million — almost twice as much as the Penn Hills district's annual budget of about $90 million. After ending 2011 with a surplus of nearly $1 million, the district is more than $18 million in the red, DePasquale said, and its tax rate is likely to climb later this year.  “It will take a Herculean effort to turn the district around,” DePasquale said.

Penn Hills schools could face criminal investigation
By Molly Born / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette May 18, 2016 11:30 PM
The release Wednesday of a withering audit of the Penn Hills School District underscored the school system’s precarious financial situation. What may come next is a criminal investigation.  Concerned about possible lawbreaking, state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said he referred the conclusions of his long-awaited audit to the Allegheny County District Attorney’s office, the U.S. Attorney’s office, the state Department of Revenue and the state Ethics Commission.  The DA’s office said it had been made aware of Penn Hills’ problems but would wait for a complete review of the audit before deciding whether criminal charges are necessary in the district of about 3,900 students.  Calling the audit findings the worst of his tenure, Mr. DePasquale cited a “total breakdown” in oversight and management and a “shocking” deficit that topped $18.8 million.

Investigate Lehigh Valley Academy charter school, district says
By Sara K. Satullo | For lehighvalleylive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on May 18, 2016 at 6:30 AM, updated May 18, 2016 at 6:32 AM
The Bethlehem school districtbelieves a Hanover Township charter school violated state public bidding laws each time it expanded.  The Bethlehem Area School District has sent a letter to Auditor General Eugene DePasquale asking him to explore whether Lehigh Valley Academy Regional Charter School violated state law.  "Districts really have no further power, other than to do what we've done," Superintendent Joseph Roy said Monday night.  Charter school CEO Susan Mauser said Tuesday the school has received a copy of the letter and is waiting to hear DePasquale's take on the issue and will try to comply. She declined to address further specifics.


PSBA’s Mains testifies on ESSA recommendations
Today, Nathan Mains, executive director of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA), testified before a joint meeting of the Senate and House Education committees on implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in Pennsylvania. His full testimony can be found online.  Mains’ testimony was drawn from a report with recommendations that was developed by a diverse group of more than 80 school directors, school administrators and subject experts, which PSBA convened at the beginning of March. A full list of study group participants can be found in the report.  All states, including Pennsylvania, are now in the process of crafting new state plans that are expected to be submitted for approval to the U.S. Department of Education in Fall 2016 and take effect beginning in 2017-18. ESSA was signed into law in December 2015 and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).


“For every 100 students who graduate on time, 80 do not.  Even as the national on-time graduation rate has hit a record high of 82 percent, publicly funded online schools like the Electronic Classroom have become the new dropout factories.”
Online School Enriches Affiliated Companies if Not Its Students
New York Times By MOTOKO RICH MAY 18, 2016
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, an onlinecharter school based here, graduated 2,371 students last spring. At the commencement ceremony, a student speaker triumphantly told her classmates that the group was “the single-largest graduating high school class in the nation.”  What she did not say was this: Despite the huge number of graduates — this year, the school is on track to graduate 2,300 — more students drop out of the Electronic Classroom or fail to finish high school within four years than at any other school in the country, according to federal data. For every 100 students who graduate on time, 80 do not.  Even as the national on-time graduation rate has hit a record high of 82 percent, publicly funded online schools like the Electronic Classroom have become the new dropout factories.

“But if he could see the Constitution amended, the most important change, he said, would be to prohibit partisan gerrymandering. “It has adversely affected our electoral process over and over again,” Stevens said. “It would make a huge difference in how the country is governed.”  He added he does not know why the Supreme Court has failed to address partisan gerrymandering which, he said, is not harder to confront than racial gerrymandering. “It is to me a fairly simple problem.”
John Paul Stevens Calls Senate Inaction on Garland 'Unfortunate'
Marcia Coyle, The National Law Journal May 17, 2016    | 0 Comments
An eight-justice U.S. Supreme Court is an “unhappy situation,” retired Justice John Paul Stevens said on Tuesday in urging the Senate to act on the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland.
Although the justices adjust in “due course,” Stevens called for Senate action to fill the current vacancy—“the sooner the better,” he said—because the court does not function efficiently with only eight members.  Stevens made his remarks in a conversation with his former law clerk, Carol Lee, special counsel at Taconic Capital Advisors L.P., at the annual meeting of the American Law Institute in Washington.


Nominations now open for PSBA Allwein Awards (deadline July 16)
PSBA Website POSTED ON MAY 16, 2016 IN PSBA NEWS
The Timothy M. Allwein Advocacy Award was established in 2011 by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association and may be presented annually to the individual school director or entire school board to recognize outstanding leadership in legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of public education and students that are consistent with the positions in PSBA’s Legislative Platform. The 2016 Allwein Award nominations will be accepted starting today and all applications are due by July 16, 2016. The nomination form can be downloaded from the website.

Join the Pennsylvania Principals Association at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, June 21, 2016, at The Capitol in Harrisburg, PA, for its second annual Principals' Lobby Day.
Pennsylvania Principals Association Monday, March 21, 2016 9:31 AM
 To register, contact Dr. Joseph Clapper at clapper@paprincipals.org by Tuesday, June 14, 2016. If you need assistance, we will provide information about how to contact your legislators to schedule meetings.  Click here for the informational flyer, which includes important issues to discuss with your legislators.

2016 PA Educational Leadership Summit July 24-26 State College
Summit Sponsors: PA Principals Association - PA Association of School Administrators - PA Association of Middle Level Educators - PA Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development 
The 2016 Educational Leadership Summit, co-sponsored by four leading Pennsylvania education associations, provides an excellent opportunity for school district administrative teams and instructional leaders to learn, share and plan together at a quality venue in "Happy Valley." 
Featuring Grant Lichtman, author of EdJourney: A Roadmap to the Future of Education, Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera (invited), and Dana Lightman, author of POWER Optimism: Enjoy the Life You Have... Create the Success You Want, keynote speakers, high quality breakout sessions, table talks on hot topics and district team planning and job alike sessions provides practical ideas that can be immediately reviewed and discussed at the summit before returning back to your district.   Register and pay by April 30, 2016 for the discounted "early bird" registration rate:

“NATIONAL ANTHEM “SING-A-LONG”
When: September 9, 2016, 10:00 am PST/1:00pm EST
Where: Schools across America
Sponsor: American Public Education Foundation (APEF)
The National Anthem “Sing-A-Long” is a movement to teach K-12 students the words, meaning,
music and history of the Star-Spangled Banner. This annual event is held each year on the
second week of September to honor 9/11 families, victims and heroes and celebrate the historic
birthday of the National Anthem on September 14. Those who join the “Sing-A-Long” are singing in unison at the exact same time at multiple sites across the U.S. The APEF has also created a robust, companion curriculum recognized by numerous State Departments of Education, available online at www.theapef.org (see the “Educate” tab) for free download.
The Foundation hopes to have the support of the Alabama Department of Education as we
commemorate the 15th Anniversary of 9/11 this year. Teachers are encouraged to sign up
before the end of the school year at www.theapef.org. Also online is a "how-to" guide on
holding an event at your school and sample press release. If you do not wish to hold a full
ceremony at the school, your students can simply stand up and sing at 10 am PST/1:00pm EST.
The Star-Spangled Banner Movement is a simple, elegant way to honor 9/11 while also teaching students how the world came together in the days, weeks and months after the September 2001 terrorist strikes. The APEF also offers a host of other free educational material on its website, including polls, contests and grant information.

Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children (PPC), a statewide children's advocacy organization located in Harrisburg, PA has an immediate full-time opening for an Early Learning and K-12 Education Policy Manager.  PPC's vision is to be one of the top ten states in which to be a child and raise a child. Today, Pennsylvania ranks 17th in the nation for child well-being. Our early learning and K-12 education policy work is focused on ensuring all children enter school ready to learn and that all children have access to high-quality public education. Current initiatives include increasing the number of children served in publicly funded pre-k and implementing a fair basic education formula along with sustained, significant investments in education funding.

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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