You may have heard by now that theRepublican-controlled state House has given its approval to a new pension reform bill that proponents hope will cut benefit costs and start eating away at a multi-billion dollar unfunded liability. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Mike Tobash, R-Schuylkill, says the so-called "stacked hybrid" approach, which would apply to state and school district employees hired after 2018, is a good first step toward tackling the state's pension problem. The proposal would put the first $50,000 an employee earns into a traditional pension plan, with a 7.5 percent employee contribution. Any income beyond $50,000 would go into a 401(k)-style retirement plan, with a 4 percent employer match. But does Tobash's bill, which cleared the House on a 136-59 vote, and now heads to a skeptical state Senate, really reform anything? One House Republican says "no." "People will say, 'well, it's a step in the right direction'," Rep. John McGinniss, R-Blair, tells our pal, Dennis Owens, of ABC-27. "But it's like bringing a squirt gun to a house that's fully enflamed. It's not gonna do anything of consequence."
Times Tribune BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD / PUBLISHED: JUNE 15, 2016
School directors hear draft $31M budget
By Joshua Sterling firstname.lastname@example.org Posted: Tuesday, June 14, 2016 3:00 am
Titusville Area School District’s contribution to the state retirement program for school employees has skyrocketed over the years, and now stands at $4 million. Fortunately for Titusville Area School District (TASD), board members of years past got out ahead of the rate increases and are not facing the same crisis with which so many other districts are now wrestling. District Business Manager Shawn Sampson reported to the board of directors at Monday’s meeting that a draft $31,589,065 budget for the 2016-17 school year has been recommended by the Finance Committee. And, while revenues are up 1.8 percent, expenditures have gone up 2.6 percent. “So, if you go back, just six years, it was down around $800,000,” said Sampson. “So, you know, over a $3 million increase the last six years.”
Post Gazette By the Editorial Board June 11, 2016 12:00 AM
A group of area teachers has detailed a plan to increase the number of black men in the profession. The Black Male Educators Report, compiled by a new organization called the Fellowship, calls for the Philadelphia School District to increase its recruitment of black men, incorporate more black men as paraprofessionals, and establish summer job opportunities for black men interested in education. The Fellowship also announced it will help pilot five elective courses in Philadelphia high schools intended to attract more students to the profession and establish a residency program for black men interested in becoming teachers. The group’s goal is to recruit 1,000 black men as teachers in Philadelphia public schools by 2020.
By Molly Born and Adam Smeltz / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette June 14, 2016 3:13 PM
Diane Ravitch has been the titular leader of the grass-roots movement against corporate school reform since 2010, when her book “The Death and Life of the Great American School System” was published and quickly became a bestseller. (In fact, readers of the the pro-reform journal Education Next named it the most important book of the first decade of the 2000s.) In the book, she explained why she dropped her support for No Child Left Behind, the chief education initiative of former president George W. Bush and standardized test-based school reform. Now she has updated the book and explained why she has again changed her view on at least one important issue. This post is a Q&A I had with Ravitch about her book and the state of the public education.
PENNSYLVANIA EDUCATION POLICY FORUM Thursday, June 23, 2016
Dr. Lee Burket, Director, Bureau of Career & Technical Education, PA Department of Education
Jackie Cullen, Executive Director, PA Association of Career & Technical Administrators
Dr. William Kerr, Superintendent, Norwin School District
Laura Fisher, Senior Vice President - Workforce & Special Projects, Allegheny Conference on Community Development
James Denova, Vice President, Benedum Foundation