Tuesday, June 21, 2016

PA Ed Policy Roundup June 21: Philly Organization Hopes to Recruit 1,000 Black Male Teachers by 2020

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup June 21, 2016:
Philly Organization Hopes to Recruit 1,000 Black Male Teachers by 2020



PA Supreme Court sets Sept 13th argument date for fair education funding lawsuit in Philly



House returns with budget deadline looming, no vote on tap
AP State Wire By MARC LEVY June 20, 2016
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The Pennsylvania House of Representatives returned to session Monday as the fiscal-year deadline ticked down and a vote on the state's largest expansion of gambling in a decade loomed while lawmakers scrounged for money to prop up spending.

House Republicans were trying to assemble support for gambling legislation that could come up for a vote this week, said House Majority Leader Dave Reed, R-Indiana.  Supporters tout it as a source of cash to limit the size of a tax increase necessary to meet Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's guidelines for wiping out a long-term deficit and aiding financially strapped school districts.  With 10 days until the 2016-17 fiscal year begins July 1, tight-lipped negotiators were reporting no agreements on key elements of a budget, including how much to spend, how to pay for it and whether taxes should go up.

Legislature to vote this week on new budget
Morning Call by Steve Esack Contact Reporter Call Harrisburg Bureau June
HARRISBURG — The Legislature could begin voting this week on a budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins July 1.  Republican legislative leaders met privately Monday to review last-minute budget strategies and emerged largely mum on any progress, perhaps to protect ongoing negotiations after last year's record-setting, nine-month budget stalemate.  Republican House and Senate leaders declined to comment on a targeted spending amount for 2016-17, but House Majority Leader Dave Reed, R-Indiana, said it would be "billions" less than Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's $33.3 billion proposal.  Wolf wants more money for public education and to help close the state's $1.5 billion deficit, but Republicans and some Democrats have balked at raising taxes to support it in an election year, preferring less spending and non-tax revenues.  The sides are $200 million to $400 million apart on agreeing to a spending number, an administration source said.

As budget deadline looms again, optimism remains for quick compromise
Lancaster Online by SAM JANESCH | Staff Writer June 20, 2016
Less than two weeks before the budget deadline, cautious optimism is the mood in Pennsylvania's state Capitol.  That's because lawmawkers want to put behind a year of historic political stalemate, of finger-pointing and diminishing bank accounts for schools and government agencies who help the neediest Pennsylvanians.  A year nobody wants to repeat.  “It was a mess. It was a tremendous waste of time. It was a tremendous waste of money for many school districts, too,” said Kyle Kopko, associate professor of political science at Elizabethtown College. “I think people on both sides of the political aisle are cognizant of that.”  Now, as the June 30 fiscal deadline creeps up once again, political analysts like Kopko and lawmakers themselves acknowledge the damage last year’s nine-month state budget impasse left behind.  And unlike the gloomy forecast one year ago — when most pundits correctly expected months of negotiations — optimism remains high in the state Capitol that, in a pivotal election year, Pennsylvania’s state government can learn from its mistakes.

Philly Organization Hopes to Recruit 1,000 Black Male Teachers by 2020
The Fellowship is a newly formed group of local educators that has a plan to get more black men to become teachers.
PhillyMag BY BRIAN THOMAS  |  JUNE 17, 2016 AT 11:21 AM
A group of local teachers has put together a plan to increase recruitment of black men into the profession.  The Fellowship, a recently founded organization, has already received national attention for its work. Studies have shown that minority students’ performance in the classroom can be enhanced when their teacher is the same race as them. However, according to the organization, having diverse teachers can be beneficial to all students. It can challenge stereotypes that students may have and make them more tolerant.  The group’s motto, “2 percent is not enough,” refers to the fact that just two percent of teachers in America are black men, according to the Department of Education. Only seven percent of total teachers are black, and only eight percent are Latino, compared to 80 percent who are white. Additionally, 3/4 of educators are women nationally. Around five percent of educators are black women, which is also an incredibly small amount. All of this is despite the fact that black students make up nearly 15 percent of the nation’s student body. This means that students everywhere have very little chance of ever having a black man as their teacher.

ARISE, BLACK MEN, AND TEACH
Only 4.5 percent of Philadelphia teachers are black men. A Mastery principal urges more to heed the call to help build a better nation
Philadelphia Citizen BY SHARIF EL-MEKKI JUN. 20, 2016
Sharif El-Mekki is the principal of Mastery Charter School–Shoemaker Campus, a neighborhood public charter school in Philadelphia that serves 750 students in grades 7-12. From 2013-2015, he was one of three principal ambassador fellows working on issues of education policy and practice with U.S. Department of Education under Secretary Arne Duncan.
A few weeks ago, I had the honor of participating in and contributing at the 2016 Summit on Teacher Diversity at the US Department of Education. Friday, I was in our state’s capitol to provide feedback about Pennsylvania’s Equity (ESSA) plan, soon to be submitted to the US Department of Education.  And, last weekend, The Fellowship held its final Black Male Educators Convening (BMEC) of the school year to celebrate ten exceptional black male educators in the Philadelphia region. These experiences continue to steel my resolve to mentor new and aspiring male educators of color.  In all of these spaces, I had the opportunity to listen, learn, contribute, and, most importantly, affirm our collective experiences as men of color in the nation building occupation of teaching and leading schools and districts.

Legislature not doing its part
Centre Daily Times Letter by DIANNE GREGG, CENTRE HALL JUNE 20, 2016 7:37 PM
Before you blame the school board for this latest tax increase, think about whether it would have been necessary had the legislature done its part.  According to the state constitution, “The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the commonwealth.” In political terms, the level discussed is 50 percent of the agreed upon costs to educate students.  Our legislature is preparing once again to fall woefully far below that standard. The Public Interest Law Center reports another $3.2 billion is the minimum appropriation necessary to bring the legislature up to its half.  School districts face huge numbers of mandates that leave them very little fat to trim. Districts weren’t reimbursed for borrowing costs to cover last year’s unconscionable delay in passing the state budget.

“Nazareth will see a $1.8 million increase in obligations to the retirement system and $1.5 million more toward the Employee Benefits Trust, she said.  It will also pay $100,000 more in medical and Social Security benefits to retirees, and $30,000 more combined for tuition and workers' compensation.”
Nazareth Area schools budget bumps up real estate tax 1.86 percent.
Kevin Duffy Special to The Morning Call June 20, 2016
Are real estate taxes rising in Nazareth Area School District?
Property owners in the Nazareth Area School District will see an increase in their real estate taxes next year.  The tax rate passed by the school board on Monday takes the district to a real estate tax rate of 52.03 mills, a 1.86 percent increase, or 0.95 mills more.  As a result, homeowners with property at the average assessed value within the district of $79,831 will pay about $75 more in taxes next year.  A mill equals one dollar for every $1,000 of assessed value.  The district was capped at raising taxes by no more than 2.4 percent, or 1.22 mills, under the Act 1 index.  Nazareth qualified for exceptions to the index tied to special education and the state Public Schools Employees Retirement System but was able to come in under the cap without exercising them, business administrator Bernadine Rishcoff said.  The $81.2 million spending plan approved by the board amounts to a 5.7 percent increase over the 2015-16 school year.  The district will pay $3.4 million more in health care benefits next year, an increase of 17.3 percent, Rishcoff said

Valley View budget includes tax increase
Times Tribune by Clayton Over June 21, 2016
ARCHBALD — The Valley View School Board voted Monday night to adopt a budget that includes a tax increase, but the school pool will remain open, at least for the time being.
The budget weighs in at $30,995,157.41 and with it comes a 3.55-mill real estate tax hike for property owners in the district, which encompasses Blakely, Archbald and Jessup. The increase bumps the total tax rate to 111.22 mills. A mill is a $1 tax on each $1,000 of assessed value. A person with a home assessed at $10,000 will pay $1,111.22.

Wilson Area School Board passes budget that includes cuts
Michelle Merlin Contact Reporter Of The Morning Call June 20, 2016
WILSON — More than 200 people signed a petition urging the Wilson Area School Board to reconsider cuts, especially those to middle school sports and of two reading specialists, in the 2016-17 budget.  About 30 people came to the board meeting Monday night, many sporting pins showing their support for the petition.  "We are asking that the school board reaches out to the community to try and work together for a plan that is better for everyone," the petition reads.  But board members went ahead and, on a 6-1 vote, approved the final budget, which includes a 1.575-mill increase, or 3 percent, the maximum allowable amount. Michael Bryant voted against the spending plan.

Central Greene to eliminate teaching positions
By Katie Anderson/Observer-Reporter June 20, 2016
WAYNESBURG – A machete couldn’t cut through the tension at the Central Greene Finance Committee meeting Monday night as teachers, support staff, administrators and the school board met to discuss district cuts for the 2016-17 school year.  The board is expected to vote today to eliminate eight positions, including placing six teachers on furlough because of budget constraints, and the teachers are begging them not to.  “Aren’t we here to do what’s best for the kids?” said Melissa Wilson, president of the teachers’ union. “We have six teachers on the chopping block. Why are we jumping right to furloughing staff before we have tried every other option?”  If approved during a 6:30 p.m. board meeting in the auditorium of Margaret Bell Miller Middle School, the eight positions would be eliminated, but only six teachers would lose their jobs, including four high school special education teachers and a life skills teacher and an art teacher at the middle school, according to Wilson.

Lake-Lehman School Board OKs 3 percent tax increase
Citizens Voice BY MICHAEL P. BUFFER / PUBLISHED: JUNE 21, 2016
LEHMAN TWP. — The Lake-Lehman School Board voted 6-3 Monday on a final budget that allocates almost $30.5 million for the next school year and increases the property tax rate by 3 percent.  The board also voted to spend $236,690 over three years to buy 1,000 Chromebook computers. The district plans to issue a Chromebook to each student in the junior/senior high school, and the students can take the Chromebooks home,   uperintendent Jim McGovern said.  The tax increase will boost the tax rate to 10.2806 for Luzerne County properties in the district, and the equalized rate for Wyoming County properties in the district would be 53.2213 mills. A mill is $1 on every $1,000 in property assessment.  The projects $29.1 million in total revenues and a shortfall of nearly $1.4 million. The district’s surplus reserve will cover the shortfall and is projected to drop from nearly $5.3 million to $3.9 million.

Nanticoke school board increases property taxes
Citizens Voice BY MICHAEL P. BUFFER / PUBLISHED: JUNE 21, 2016
NANTICOKE — The Greater Nanticoke Area School budget for the next school year includes $28.2 million in expenses and a 5-percent increase in the property tax rate, Board President Ryan Verazin said.  The vote at Monday’s meeting was unanimous. The tax increase boosts the tax rate from 10.4932 mills to 11.0765 mills. A mill is $1 on every $1,000 in property assessment. Revenue for the next school year is projected at $28.1 million.

Groups call for more funding for quality pre-K education programs
Delco Times By Linda Stein, lstein@21st-centurymedia.com@lsteinreporter on Twitter POSTED: 06/20/16, 11:37 PM EDT | UPDATED: 2 HRS AGO
Narberth >> A group of business leaders and retired military leaders joined with a state representative and educators at a news conference to garner support for $90 million in additional funding for quality preschool education to improve Pennsylvania children’s math and science learning.  The group cited a new report “STEM and Early Childhood—When Skills Take Root” from Mission: Readiness and ReadyNation that highlights some alarming statistics, including that 52 percent of Pennsylvania employers say they have trouble hiring people with adequate skills, training and education and 56 percent of employers expect that problem to get worse. Also, some $188.9 million is spent on retraining employees yearly in the state and two thirds of Pennsylvania eighth-graders are not proficient in math and science. And 28 percent of students who enter the state university system need remedial courses. The rate for low income students is 40 percent.

City seeks partners to expand quality pre-K in Philly
The notebook by Ellen Schoder June 20, 2016 — 2:32pm
The Mayor’s Office of Education wasted no time today in taking the next steps on its pre-K initiative.  Just after Mayor Kenney signed the sweetened-beverage tax legislation, the education office released two Requests for Qualifications – or proposals –  that will allow the city to determine which pre-K providers will receive financial support.  Philadelphia is the first major U.S. city to pass a sugary-drink tax. It is expected to bring in a total of $210 million over five years.  In a press release, Kenney, who has been a supporter of pre-K programs, expressed his excitement that the process is moving forward.

Both sides on Pittsburgh superintendent issue make their feelings known
By Molly Born / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette June 21, 2016 12:00 AM
Dozens publicly shared ardent support for the incoming Pittsburgh Public Schools superintendent during a rally and public hearing Monday, two days after the city and county's top political leaders held a meeting to discuss the controversy surrounding Anthony Hamlet.  About 65 members and supporters of the group Great Public Schools held signs and shouted calls-and-responses at a rally and walk-in backing the future top schools chief outside the entrance of the district's administration building in Oakland. Across Bellefield Street, a smaller group offered its own briefing, reiterating calls for the school board to start a new search.  "We're here today to prove that we don't care about whatever little misguided things, accusations are toward him. We support him because of his philosophies, because of the work he has done and the work that he will do for us," said Sagar Kamath, a recent Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12 graduate, who was among the students who posed a question to the three finalists for the position.  Esther L. Bush, president & CEO of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, said doing over the search for a top district administrator is "appropriate."  "I do not wish any ill will at all on Dr. Hamlet" but "let us put our children first," she said, alongside members of education advocacy group A+ Schools and others.
Those groups and three other civic organizations recently called on the nine-member school board to start again looking for new superintendent.

Franklin Regional budget includes tax hike
Trib Live BY PATRICK VARINE  | Monday, June 20, 2016, 8:30 p.m.
Franklin Regional school officials on Monday night approved a $54.4 million budget for the 2016-17 school year that includes a 0.75-mill tax hike.  The total millage is proposed to be 90.99 mills. The hike in millage will bring in an additional $261,000.  The budget is balanced using $700,000 from the district's pension stabilization fund and just over $1,200 from its unassigned fund balance.

“The 2016-17 budget allocates $747,000 for the school district's mandated contribution to the Pennsylvania School Employees Retirement System (PSERS).”
Taxes going up for residents of Hampton
Trib Live BY DEBORAH DEASY | Monday, June 20, 2016, 9:00 p.m.
People who own a Hampton home of median value can expect to pay about $44 more in property taxes next year to Hampton Township School District.  The school district's $48.2 million budget for the 2016-17 school year includes a 1.4 percent increase in the district's property tax rate.  Hampton school directors adopted the budget on June 13.  The new budget raises the school district's millage by 0.27 mills, from 18.12 to 18.39 mills. Last year, school directors also increased the district's real estate tax by 0.27 mills.  But Hampton Township School District's millage still is lower than 33 other school districts in Allegheny County, said Jeffrey Kline, director of administrative services for the Hampton district.


Key problems with Education Department’s plans to implement new K-12 law
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss June 20 at 12:15 PM 
Here is a critique of the rules that the Department of Education has proposed to implement regarding the “accountability” provisions of the new Every Student Succeeds Act,  the K-12 education law that Congress passed last December to replace the 2001 No Child Left Behind law.  One of the reasons that Congress passed the ESSA — eight years later than scheduled — was because many in the education world had come to think that the Obama administration had become too prescriptive and heavy-handed in education policy, which traditionally has been left to local and state agencies. The proposed rules include provisions that critics fear will allow some of the biggest problems of NCLB to continue and allow the department to dictate to states what they must do on issues such as standardized testing for “accountability” purposes.  This post looking at the draft rules was written by Monty Neill, executive director of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, known as FairTest, a nonprofit organization that works to end the misuses of standardized testing and to ensure that evaluation of students, educators and schools is fair, open, valid and educationally sound.

AASA’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) resources page
Welcome to AASA’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) resources page. Designed with a focus on supporting school superintendents in their efforts to understand and implement ESSA, these resources are focused on both explaining the law and ensuring school superintendents are a go-to source for information on what’s in the law, what it means for schools and the variety of things all stakeholders must consider as they navigate the new federal law. This is a living page and our resources will be continually updated and expanded. Please feel free to make recommendations about other information you would like us to provide, and feedback on what you see here. 

Charter Groups Call Out Virtual Schools
They may have a place, but virtual charter schools need to shape up, advocates warn.
USNews By Lauren Camera | Education Reporter June 16, 2016, at 4:14 p.m.
A coalition of charter school advocates banded together Thursday to take a shot at some of their own – virtual charter schools – and urged state policymakers to tighten regulations on their lesser-known school-choice stepsisters, which have come under fire for poor student performance.  "When national groups that advocate for and champion charter schools question the impact of virtual charter schools on student achievement, policymakers should take note," said Chad Aldis, vice president for Ohio policy and advocacy with the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative-leaning education policy organization.  The groups – the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, the 50-State Campaign for Achievement Now and the National Association of Charter School Authorizers – published a set of sweeping recommendations for how states should overhaul their virtual charter schools, complete with calls for shuttering the poorest performers.

Virtual charter schools need “bold action” for change, says national charter school advocacy group
Hechinger Report by JAMIE MARTINES June 16, 2016
The major advocacy group for public charter schools is concerned that failing online charter schools may be hurting the credibility of the movement as a whole.  In a report released Thursday, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools called on state policy makers to rethink the way virtual charter schools are governed, and to move quickly to close those that perform poorly. Further, the group argued it might be necessary for virtual (or online-only) charter schools to be separated from the charter designation completely.  “We think the extent of the problems call for state leaders and authorizers to take bold actions,” said Todd Ziebarth, the lead author of the report and the senior vice president for state advocacy and support for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Online Charter Schools Need To Better Serve Students, Charter Groups Say
“It is increasingly clear that full-time virtual charter schools are not a good fit for many children,” a new report says.
Huffington Post by Rebecca Klein Editor, HuffPost Education 06/17/2016 09:54 am ET
Three pro-charter school groups issued a critical report of online charter schools on Thursday, saying “significant problems exist within this part of the charter school movement.”  About 180,000 students attend virtual charter schools without ever setting foot inside a classroom — but such schools have a history of “well-documented, disturbingly low performance,” fellow charter school groups say. Most students enrolled in online charter schools perform significantly worse than those in traditional public schools, according to 2015 reports, and typically only stay in the full-time virtual schools for two years.  In a report released on Thursday, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, the National Association of Charter School Authorizers and the pro-charter education advocacy group 50CAN are calling for state policy changes to more stringently regulate these institutions. While the organizations note that they generally “support full-time virtual schooling ... the results clearly show that significant problems exist within this part of the charter school movement.”  The groups based their conclusions on October 2015 research from the Center for Reinventing Public Education, Mathematica Policy Research and the Center for Research on Education Outcomes that examined online charter school performance. 

Charter vs. Charter Fight Heats Up
Curmuducation Bklog by Peter Greene Saturday, June 18, 2016
K12 Inc is feeling grumpy.
Earlier this week we looked at a report co-created by the National Alliance for Public [sic] Charter Schools, the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, and 50CAN in which the bricks and mortar wing of the charter school industry took the cyber-charters to task for stinking up the whole charter sector, and very helpfully offered some advice that involved a whole lot of restrictions and rules that cyber charters should have to follow.  It did not take long for the cyber charter industry to fire back.  K12 Inc, one of the very largest cyber chains. It was founded by banker and McKinsey alum  Ronald Packer and got its initial stake from Michael and Lowell Milken (Michael is famous as the junk bond king who went to prison for fraud) and also a chunk of change from Andrew Tisch, big cheese at Loewe's (his wife served on the reform Center for Education Innovation board and opened an all-girls school in Harlem in the late nineties). In addition to running their own cyber-empire, K12 has also been the force behind spectacular cyber-failures like the Agora cyber charter chain. Oh, and they are fully unabashedly for profit, like most of the cyber charters.


Education Bloggers Daily Highlights 6/20/2016

DRAWING THE LINE
How redistricting turned America from blue to red.
The New Yorker By Elizabeth Kolbert JUNE 27, 2016 ISSUE
Sometime around October 20, 1788, Patrick Henry rode from his seventeen-hundred-acre farm in Prince Edward, Virginia, to a session of the General Assembly in Richmond. Henry is now famous for having declared, on the eve of the Revolution, “Give me liberty, or give me death!”—a phrase it’s doubtful that he ever uttered—but in the late seventeen-eighties he was best known as a leader of the Anti-Federalists. He and his faction had tried to sink the Constitution, only to be outmaneuvered by the likes of Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. When Henry arrived in the state capital, his adversaries assumed he would seek revenge. They just weren’t sure how.  “He appears to be involved in gloomy mystery,” one of them reported.  The Constitution had left it to state lawmakers to determine how elections should be held, and in Virginia the Anti-Federalists controlled the legislature. Knowing that his enemy Madison was planning a run for the House of Representatives, Henry set to work. First, he and his confederates resolved that Virginia’s congressmen would be elected from districts. (Several other states had chosen to elect their representatives on a statewide basis, a practice that persisted until Congress intervened, in 1842.) Next, they stipulated that each representative from Virginia would have to run from the district where he resided. Finally, they stuck in the shiv. They drew the Fifth District, around Madison’s home in the town of Orange, to include as many Anti-Federalists as possible.


Apply Now! EPLC’s 2016-2017 Pennsylvania Education Policy Fellowship Program

EPLC's 2016 Report:  High School Career and Technical Education: Serving Pennsylvania's Workforce and Student Needs
PENNSYLVANIA EDUCATION POLICY FORUM Thursday, June 23, 2016 
Allegheny Intermediate Unit - 475 East Waterfront Dr., Homestead, PA 15120
Coffee and Networking - 9:30 a.m.  Program - 10:00 a.m. to Noon   
 RSVP by clicking here. There is no fee, but a RSVP is required. Please feel free to share this invitation with your staff and network. Similar forums will be held later in the Philadelphia area and Harrisburg. 
SPEAKERS:
An Overview of the EPLC Report on High School CTE will be presented by:
Ron Cowell, President, The Education Policy and Leadership Center
Statewide and Regional Perspectives Will Be Provided By
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

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.

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:

PA Supreme Court sets Sept. 13 argument date for fair education funding lawsuit in Philly
Thorough and Efficient Blog JUNE 16, 2016 BARBGRIMALDI LEAVE A COMMENT


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