Established in 2006, the Keystone State Education Coalition is a growing grass roots, non-partisan public education advocacy group of several hundred locally elected, volunteer school board members and administrators from school districts throughout Pennsylvania. Our mission is to evaluate, discuss and inform our boards, district constituents and legislators on legislative issues of common interest and to facilitate active engagement in public education advocacy.
PA Ed Policy Roundup May 2: School advocates to state: Add cash to new funding formula
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advocates to state: Add cash to new funding formula
Rally in Harrisburg with the Campaign for Fair Education Funding
on May 2nd 12:30 Main Rotunda!
We're rallying for a permanent fair funding formula + increases to basic
education in 2016-17 budget
Public schools in Pennsylvania are a far cry from the
“thorough and efficient” system of education promised guaranteed under our
state constitution. That’s why we want YOU to join Education Law Center and
members of the Campaign for Fair Education Funding in Harrisburg on May 2nd!
Buses of supporters are leaving from Pittsburgh and Philadelphia - please
register below so we can help you arrive on time for the 12:30 press conference
in the Main Rotunda! Questions? Email email@example.com
for more details.
advocates to state: Add cash to new funding formula
by Mensah M. Dean, Staff
Writer Updated: APRIL 28,
2016 — 1:08 AM EDT
by the end of the state budget stalemate and the creation of a new school
funding formula this month, Philadelphia education advocates on Wednesday
called on the state legislature to pump $400 million in new money into 2016-17
school budgets. If the request becomes
reality, the city School District would receive 18.9 percent, or about $75
million, of that new funding, said the advocates, who held a news conference in
front of the district's North Broad Street headquarters. The school funding formula, used to determine
how much money each district receives from the state, is laudable for
allocating funding based on the number of students in each district weighted
for factors such as the number of students who are poor, who are learning
English, and who have newly enrolled in charter schools, advocates say. But the formula is only as good as its
funding, the advocates stressed, saying schools across the state are
underfunded annually by more than $3 billion.
House returns to session on Monday to kick off the start of the 2016-17 budget-making process by positioning legislation that
will serve as placeholders until a final budget is ready to be voted. While that is nothing more than a procedural
move, it is nonetheless important because it reduces the time involved in the
final budget approval process. House
Republican spokesman said conversations have begun between House and Senate
Republicans and Democrats and Gov. Tom Wolf's administration about next year's
spending plan. Wolf's budget proposal released in February calls
for $33.2 billion in spending and a $2.7 billion tax-increase package. But Republican lawmakers recognize some new revenue will
likely be necessary but have expressed little appetite for
increasing the state's personal income or sales tax rates. Those are the
big-money generators that would be necessary to fund a $3.2 billion increase in
spending above the $30 billion set in this year's budget that Wolf allowed the budget to become law without his
signature. "We are
trying to come to an agreement obviously earlier than this year," said
House GOP spokesman Steve Miskin. "Nobody wants to see a repeat of last
year." "We are trying to come
to an agreement obviously earlier than this year." House GOP spokesman
are on board with that. Their spokesman Bill Patton said his caucus looks
"forward to working productively with Republicans and the governor's
office to move a budget in a timely manner that answers the need for school
funding and closing the budget deficit."
— Winners and losers emerged from Pennsylvania's primary election — some
obvious and others hidden beneath the numbers.
The candidate political analysts most often mentioned as a surprise
“winner” actually finished third in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.
Braddock Mayor John Fetterman, 46, trailed Katie McGinty, 52, of Philadelphia,
the winner, and runner-up Joe Sestak, 64, a former Delaware County congressman.
Fetterman, a newcomer to statewide politics, earned 20 percent of the vote.
McGinty received 44 percent to Sestak's 34 percent, according to unofficial
returns. Fetterman “came out of nowhere.
He had no money,” said Steven Peterson, a political science professor at Penn
State's Harrisburg campus. “In the debates, he held his own.”
“Pennsylvania is among the most gerrymandered of states.
Redrawing congressional and legislative districts to protect incumbents and
extend majority power is taking its toll. Voter apathy is perpetuated.
Challengers are discouraged by daunting registration numbers and the inability
to attract campaign money.
The net result is bad government. Incumbent protectionism
neuters debate, problem-solving, compromise, reform and progress. There is hope, however, that Pennsylvania
could join a handful of states opting for independent commissions to oversee
the remapping of districts every 10 years.”
redistricting reform coming into focus | Editorial
the interest in nominating candidates for president, Pennsylvania voters may
have failed to notice what was missing on Tuesday's primary ballot, on the line
for state legislative races.
Lehigh Valley, only two state House races offered intraparty contests. One
of those, the 183rd District, drew interest because of the pending retirement
of state Rep. Julie Harhart. In the 131st District, state Rep. Justin Simmons
fended off a Republican challenger, but he'll have nothing to sweat in the
fall. Only two districts in the Valley will have contested general election
races —the 132nd, held by Democratic state Rep. Michael Schlossberg, and
voters deserve better. In fact, the need
for public interest in elections has never been greater. Pennsylvania's
inability to pass an on-time budget this fiscal year was only partly about
taxes and spending decisions. The long stalemate between Democratic Gov. Tom
Wolf and Republican majorities in the Legislature was made possible by
lawmakers ensconced in "safe" districts through gerrymandering.
They knew they wouldn't be called on the carpet by enough constituents to
matter, or by credible election opponents.
With all 203 House seats up for grabs this year, 106 incumbents are
shoo-ins for re-election, having no general election opponent. In the primary
election, only 31 House members faced competition.
employees' retirement board voids special election ballots
by Joseph N. DiStefano @PhillyJoeD Updated: MAY 2, 2016 — 3:01 AM
Pennsylvania School Employees' Retirement System has voided ballots in a
special election for a seat on its controlling board, citing "minor
irregularities." Since PSERS is one
of the biggest expenses that Pennsylvanians pay - it consumed $2.6 billion from
state and local taxpayers last year, and expects to need $4 billion next year -
it's comforting that the board's 15 members, who hire the hundreds of private
investors paid to manage PSERS' $52 billion in assets, answer to the people. Or at least to politicians. The General
Assembly names four members, the governor three. The state treasurer and the boss
of the School Boards Association get seats. School workers elect four.
Retirees, one. Plus there's a rep voted in by members of the state's 500
elected school boards, who face those angry voters complaining their property
taxes rise so administrators, teachers, and support staff can retire at nearly
their old salaries.
excellence: Lindback honors top district teachers
by Martha Woodall, Staff
Writer Updated: MAY 2, 2016
— 1:07 AM EDT
Carter had planned to become a college professor, but thanks to a confluence of
unexpected events, she is happily teaching English and African American history
to ninth graders at the Hill-Freedman World Academy in West Oak Lane. Winnie Kwan, a Chinese immigrant and South
Philadelphia High School grad studied engineering, but has found her niche
teaching students at an alternative school in West Philadelphia. And after a career in the business world,
John McGlaughlin decided to use his skills to teach math at Murrell Dobbins
Career and Technical High School in North Philadelphia. All three have a lot in common: They took
unconventional paths to the classroom. They are passionate instructors, and
they are among 58 high school teachers in the Philadelphia School District who
will be honored Tuesday at the Prince Music Theater for being among the city's
best educators. They won a 2016
Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Award for Distinguished High School Educators
and will receive $3,500 from the program for exemplary teachers.
Blogger note: Vahan and Danille Gureghian’s Charter School
Management Company runs the state’s largest brick and mortar charter
school. They have also been major
political donors, primarily to GOP candidates, including being the largest individual
donors to Governor Corbett’s campaign.
“Among the few details about the fund was that it had two
major donors — $100,000 from a Pittsburgh owner of a nursing-home chain and
$25,000 from the Gureghians. Politically
connected businessman Vahan Gureghian and his wife, Danielle, both
lawyers in Montgomery County, Pa., recently received more time to finish the
French-style estate on 2 lots with 242 feet along the ocean. They had originally planned to live in the
mansion, but in March 2015 they decided to sell it. The estate now leads the
local multiple listing service as the most expensive property for sale in Palm
Beach, priced at $74.5 million.”
building mansion part of FBI drama in Philadelphia
Beach Daily News By PBDN Posted: 4:29 p.m. Sunday, May 1, 2016
Philadelphia-area couple, who is building a 36,000-square-foot mansion at 1071
N. Ocean Blvd., donated $25,000 in 2013 to a Pennsylvania political action
committee that has drawn the interest of the FBI, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. The PAC, called the Enterprise Fund, was
started by John Estey, former chief of staff to Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell,
the Inquirer story said. Estey has spent the past two decades moving in and out
of both Republican and Democratic circles in Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pa.,
according to the Inquirer. For some of
that time, he also was cooperating with the FBI, the newspaper said. Friday, Estey agreed to plead guilty to a
single count of wire fraud, the newspaper reported. The agreement also “noted
prosecutors could ask his sentencing judge for leniency based on any
“School Money is
a nationwide collaboration between NPR's Ed Team and 20 member station
reporters exploring how states pay for their public schools and why many are
failing to meet the needs of their most vulnerable students. Join the
conversation on Twitter by using #SchoolMoney.”
Is There A Better Way To Pay For America's
The Kansas Supreme Court gave
state lawmakers an ultimatum: Make school funding more equitable by June 30, or
it will consider shutting down the state's public schools.
then, things have gotten ugly. Lawmakers
followed up with a plan — to make it easier to impeach Supreme Court judges who
attempt to "usurp the power" of the Legislature or governor. Then
came a plan to address the court's concerns over school funding: Send a little
more money to roughly two-dozen of the state's poorest districts without taking
money away from other districts or raising taxes.The plaintiff districts have already
responded to the plan, calling it a "shell game."It's unclear if the Kansas Supreme Court will
clear is that the politics of school funding can be bitter.
past two weeks, the NPR Ed Team has taken a hard look at how we pay for public
schools in the U.S. In Part 1 of our School Money series, we mapped the
consequences of a funding system that favors affluent districts. In Part 2, we unpacked the difference a dollar can — and
cannot — make in the classroom, finding compelling evidence that money, spent
wisely and consistently, can improve the lives and outcomes of disadvantaged
students. This week, we grapple with the
politics of school money, asking: Is
there a better way to pay for our schools?
The answer requires that we do two things: explore the challenges to
change, and spotlight a few ideas that could lead to a more balanced system. What follows is a wrap-up of our reporting.
For nearly every name and place, you'll find a hyperlink to more.
that the 1% were so sensitive to criticism?
evening the Wall Street Journal published an article called “The Union War on Charter School Philanthropists.” In
the eyes of the WSJ, charter schools are a blessing, and we should all be
grateful to the wealthy philanthropists who help them multiply. And of course,
the WSJ can’t imagine that anyone would oppose a private takeover of public
schools except teachers’ unions. The WSJ
can’t admit that charters get high test scores by excluding students with
disabilities, English language learners, and low-scoring students. Their secret
sauce: attrition, exclusion, test-prep, robotic discipline. What the WSJ loves
about charters is that more than 90% are non-union.
If you haven’t been following the charter school wars in
Washington, here’s a quick recap:
1996, 2000 and 2004, voters rejected allowing charter schools in the state. In
2012, a referendum allowing them was narrowly passed with major financial
support from philanthropists such as Microsoft founder Bill Gates; Alice
Walton of Walmart Stores (who, unlike Gates, doesn’t live in Washington state);
entrepreneur Nicolas J. Hanauer of Seattle, with $1 million; and Jackie and
Mike Bezos, about $750,000 (parents of Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com and
owner of The Washington Post).
law was challenged by a coalition of organizations which argued that the law
“improperly” diverted public school funds to organizations that are private and
“not subject to local voter control.” Those groups include the Washington
Education Association, the League of Women Voters of Washington, El Centro de
la Raza and the Washington Association of School Administrators. Last year, the Washington state Supreme Court
ruled that the 2012 referendum was unconstitutional. It violated the state’s
constitution, which explicitly says that public school funds can be used only
to support “common schools.” The justices voted, 6 to 3, that charter schools —
which are publicly funded but privately run — are not “common schools” because
their governing boards are not elected but are appointed by the founders of the
individual schools. But in March 2016, the state legislature passed a bill that
would fund charter schools with state lottery revenue — and Gov. Jay Inslee, a
Democrat, allowed it become law without his signature.
is a detailed case study about how this all transpired, along with a discussion
of the benefits and drawbacks of philanthropist involvement in school reform.
It was written by Joanne Barkan, a writer based in New York City and Truro,
Massachusetts. For the past six years, her work has focused on the relationship
between “big philanthropy” and democracy, and the intervention of private
foundations in public education policy. This article was first published in the Nonprofit
Quarterly’s spring 2016 edition, “Strategic Nonprofit Management: Frameworks
and Scaffolding.” I was given permission to republish.
Rally in Harrisburg with the Campaign for
Fair Education Funding on May 2nd 12:30 Main Rotunda!
schools in Pennsylvania are a far cry from the “thorough and efficient” system
of education promised guaranteed under our state constitution. That’s why we
want YOU to join Education Law Center and members of the Campaign for Fair
Education Funding in Harrisburg on May 2nd! Buses of supporters are leaving
from Pittsburgh and Philadelphia - please register below so we can help you
arrive on time for the 12:30 press conference in the Main Rotunda! Questions?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more
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.
Principals Association Monday, March 21, 2016 9:31 AM
To register, contact Dr. Joseph Clapper at email@example.com 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
PA Principals Association - PA Association of School Administrators
- PA Association of Middle Level Educators - PA Association of
Supervision and Curriculum Development
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
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:
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
Interested in letting our
elected leadership know your thoughts on education funding, a severance tax,
property taxes and the budget?
Governor Tom Wolf,
Speaker of the
House Rep. Mike Turzai, (717) 772-9943
House Majority Leader Rep. Dave Reed, (717)
Senate President Pro Tempore Sen. Joe
Scarnati, (717) 787-7084
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Jake Corman, (717)