Tuesday, August 23, 2016

PA Ed Policy Roundup Aug 23: Erie to launch community schools program

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup August 23, 2016:
Erie to launch community schools program



The Fair Funding Lawsuit is moving forward!  Join us Sep. 13th at Philly City Hall.  Info & RSVP: http://ow.ly/s6sg303hLDm 
Tweet from Education Law Center ‏@edlawcenterpa  August 17, 2016



Blogger note:

Schools scrap over costs, benefits of cyber
Observer-Reporter By David Singer August 20, 2016
Washington High School was paying close to a million dollars for cyberschool education in 2012. Principal Paul Kostelnik pushed the district to host its own cyber program at an initial annual savings of $258,000, leading to a four-year reduction of $1.4 million in costs.  “Larger districts can eat up that money, but districts like ours, that is lifeblood cash flow that can be used to – as we did – hire a career coaching counselor and improve our media and fabrication labs,” Kostelnik said. The district pays nearly $11,000 for an average cyber charter student in high school – like most in the region – while it pays $1,000 for each in-house cyber student, according to Superintendent Roberta DiLorenzo.  A report released Thursday by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association found charter school tuition has increased 139 percent since 2007, while enrollment increased 97 percent. On average, districts spend 6 percent of total expenditures on administration, while charters spend 13 percent. And cyber charters spend significantly more on advertising than brick-and-mortar charters, with five cyber programs paying a collective $3.7 million, compared to $591,000 by 129 brick-and-mortar charters.  State Rep. Mike Reese, R-Somerset, has been pushing House Bill 530 to reform public education, and reining in cyber charter costs is among the proposed amendments to education laws passed in 1949.  “The bill calls for a funding commission to determine what the actual costs for cyber are in the commonwealth. … It would establish a standardized funding formula. I support school choice … but brick-and-mortar schools have costs and accountability that cyber charters don’t have to deal with,” Reese said.

Erie to launch community schools program
22 Aug 2016 — Erie Times-News gerry.weiss@timesnews.com
Nearly 3,000 city children, all living in low-income and high-poverty households, will soon be helped by a pilot program launching in five Erie School District schools.  The "community schools" model, which brings social services directly into school buildings, will likely be in place and operating by late September at Edison Elementary School, McKinley Elementary School, Wayne School, Pfeiffer Burleigh School and Emerson-Gridley Elementary School, said Daria Devlin, the district's coordinator of grants and community relations.  The Erie School District and the United Way of Erie County are hosting a news conference about the community schools and the initiative's corporate investment partners Tuesday at 10 a.m. at Edison Elementary School, 1921 E. Lake Road.  The United Way earlier this summer funded the program with $60,000 to get it started here. Estimates have the program costing about $100,000 per school per year.  Following Tuesday's news conference, project officials will begin the process of hiring a community school director at each of the five schools. Interested candidates can find the job posting online at www.eriesd.org/communityschools.  The directors will not be employed by the district, Devlin said, but by the social agencies, youth development groups, higher education organizations and nonprofits working directly with students from the five Erie schools.

Our view: Erie's school-based safety net plan makes sense
August 21, 2016 02:01 AM
ERIE, Pa. -- Many students in the Erie School District bring more to class than a need to learn.  Some are hungry. Some are homeless. A full 80 percent come from economically disadvantaged households.  Children's stomachs pinched with hunger and minds stressed by events at home or in chaotic neighborhoods can make it difficult for teachers to perform their work to the best effect. Resources exist in Erie to alleviate poverty, address mental health problems, and lift up families through education and job training.  But finding the opportunity and time to secure those services, spread throughout the city and county, is more than some families can manage.  The United Way of Erie County has joined with the school district to bring what could be life-altering help to students and their families in one place — schools.  This fall the Erie district will introduce a pilot "community schools" program at four schools serving many at-risk students: Pfeiffer-Burleigh School, Wayne School, Edison Elementary School and McKinley Elementary School.

State test scores rise but leave room for more improvement
Penn Live By Jan Murphy | jmurphy@pennlive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on August 22, 2016 at 4:32 PM, updated August 22, 2016 at 4:38 PM
More students scored at or above grade level on state math and language arts exams administered in grades three through eight this year than the year before when a new baseline score was set due to some changes made to the tests, according to the state Department of Education.  But the statewide, aggregate Pennsylvania System of School Assessment scores released on Monday also shows there remains more work to do to get the overwhelming majority of students, particularly in math, scoring at "proficient" or "advanced" levels on the state exams.

PSSA math and English scores improve slightly, but not science
Inquirer by Kathy Boccella, Staff Writer Updated: AUGUST 23, 2016 — 1:08 AM EDT
Elementary and middle school students did slightly better on average than last year on the math and English language portions of the 2016 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA), but worse in science.  This is the second year for more rigorous exams that align with Pennsylvania Core Standards in English and math. The science test is unchanged.  Overall, 42.45 percent of students scored proficient or advanced in math - a 2.5 percentage point increase over last year, according to Casey Smith, a spokesperson for the state Department of Education. About 60 percent were proficient or advanced in English, a figure that Smith said represented a somewhat smaller improvement.  Scores on the science test, given to fourth and eighth graders, were slightly lower.  The PSSAs are administered in third through eighth grades every spring.  School districts will receive individual student scores in early September; the Education Department will release school scores at the end of that month.

John Oliver takes on Pennsylvania charter schools on ‘Last Week Tonight’
Philly Daily News by Nick Vadala, Staff Writer  @njvadala  AUGUST 22, 2016 — 12:30 PM EDT
Last Week Tonight host John Oliver turned his attention to charter schools and their shortcomings on Sunday night, using Pennsylvania laws and Philadelphia schools as examples of why he believes the institutions are something of gamble when it comes to education.  “Charter schools unite both sides of the aisle more quickly than when a wedding DJ throws on ‘Hey Ya,’ ” Oliver said to kick off his piece, further noting that the first charters emerged 25 years ago as a way to explore new approaches to education.  Now, about 6,700 such schools exist in the United States. But, as Oliver pointed out Sunday, “around the country, there have been charter schools so flawed, they don’t make it through the school year.”  Here in Pennsylvania, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale earlier this year said the state has “the worst charter school law in the United States." Oliver, for his part, agreed.

“That said, Pennsylvania was singled out for good reason. Like some other states, it needs to get cracking on fixing its outdated charter laws.”
Smith: A Few Thoughts About John Oliver’s Bleak, Unrepresentative Sample of Public Charter Schools
The 74 by NELSON SMITH August 22, 2016
Nelson Smith is Senior Adviser to the National Association of Charter School Authorizers and former CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
I love John Oliver’s epic rants. So that harrowing sound is my heart being wrenched, after watching his very funny but off-kilter takedown of charter schools.  What’s most painful is that I agree with a lot of Oliver’s talking points: Charter schools aren’t pizza joints and they should NEVER open so feebly as to shut down in the first month.  No, it’s not OK when an administrator has her hand in the till (and then cites Bible verses as an excuse!) And hell no, it’s way not OK when somebody gets a charter by plagiarizing language from another successful applicant.  If this stuff were actually typical of charter schools, I would have bailed out of the movement years ago. But it’s not, and I haven’t.

Penn Hills school district approves shared services contract with charter school
Post Gazette By Tim Means August 22, 2016 9:49 PM
The Penn Hills school board unanimously approved a contract that will provide basic maintenance, landscaping, snow removal, custodial and food service support for 2016-17 school year to the Penn Hills Charter School of Entrepreneurship. The charter school, operating out the former Washington Elementary school building will pay the school district $140,000 annually for a period of one year. Renewal of the contract in subsequent years will require separate approval. The shared services contract provides for two food service workers and one custodian daily with other services to be provided on an as needed basis. Employees providing these services will be considered Penn Hills school district employees with benefits and the school district will be responsible for the cost of benefits and insurance.

PA auditor general calls mailer blasting Liberty High School 'despicable,' calls for investigations
Sarah M. Wojcik and Jacqueline Palochko Contact Reporters Of The Morning Call August 22, 2016
CATASAUQUA — The furor over a direct mailer that went out to Bethlehem Area School District parents over the weekend has attracted the attention of the state's auditor general, fueled a #BASDProud campaign on social media and left a Catasauqua charter school scrambling to find out who sent the "appalling" flier.  Leaders at the Innovative Arts Academy Charter School on Monday said they were looking into what they can do to legally to distance the school from the mailer, which uses the arrest of a Liberty High School student on drug charges to entice parents to send students to the school at 330 Howertown Road.  State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale — using the word "dirtball" to describe the marketing tactic —said he is asking state and federal agencies to investigate the mailer. He also plans to monitor the new charter school, which opens on Sept. 6.  Unfortunately we have become accustomed to dirtball mailers and tactics like this in political campaigns. But when it spills over into our education system and one public school appears to have attacked another it becomes downright deplorable," DePasquale said in a statement issued Monday.  DePasquale, who has pressed state legislators to fix the charter school oversight law, said he is referring the matter for investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, which he said has strict guidelines for charter school advertising.

“The state's auditor general said in a statement Monday that his office has contacted the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General to urge a full investigation into the origin and content of the advertising.  "I will also refer this matter for investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, which has strict guidelines for charter school advertising," said Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.   ..The school's attorney, Dan Fennick, said the board is "appalled by the mailer" and echoed sentiments that it wasn't authorized by the school.”
Charter denies sending mailer on drug bust at public school
Inquirer by The Associated Press Updated: AUGUST 22, 2016 — 1:13 PM EDT
BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) - A suburban Philadelphia charter school has denied sending out promotional mailers referencing a 2015 drug arrest at a nearby public high school.  The postcard shows a stock image of a student, head in hands, and a headline saying a teenager was caught by Liberty High School officials with more than $3,000 of heroin and cocaine. The mailer asks: "Why worry about this type of student at school? Come visit Arts Academy Charter School. Now enrolling grades 6-12."  The mailer also lists the Bethlehem school's return address.  Photos of the mailer have taken off on social media.  The school district on Sunday said Liberty High School has been "a respected pillar" in the Bethlehem community for nearly a century.  "Liberty's long history of accomplishments and deep traditions make it immune to scurrilous attacks," Superintendent Joseph Roy said.

#BASDProud: School community rallies after negative mailer
By Sara K. Satullo | For lehighvalleylive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on August 22, 2016 at 4:03 PM, updated August 22, 2016 at 4:32 PM
The Bethlehem Area School District is heeding the old adage, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade."  This week, the district found itself dragged into a social media furor after postcards promoting a new Catasauqua charter school started landing in Lehigh Valley mailboxes.  The mailer paints  Liberty High School students as drug users by pointing to the September 2015 drug arrest of a student who had recently transferred into the district.  The charter school denies sending or paying for the mailers and Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is calling for an investigation.  School board President Michael Faccinetto and Superintendent Joseph Roy, both avid Twitter users, and other school officials frequently employ the hashtag BASDProud on social media.

State lawmakers focus on after school programs
WITF Written by Radio Pennsylvania | Aug 21, 2016 8:28 AM
 (Harrisburg) -- A newly formed legislative panel wants to ensure that what students learn while in school doesn't get lost once the bell rings.  The bipartisan Legislative After School Caucus is made up of 31 House and Senate members, whose goal is boosting participation in the STEM fields-Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.  Caucus co-chair, Senator John Yudichak, says it's about the jobs of the future.  "There's 75-thousand openings in STEM-related careers.  We have to prepare children for the 21st Century jobs.  They're going to be the entrepreneurs.  They're the one's that will lead us to the future," he said. 

Broader questions emerge in Lancaster refugee lawsuit
Keystone Crossroads/Newsworks BY EMILY PREVITI, WITF AUGUST 18, 2016
The School District of Lancaster's treatment of student refugees is on trial this week, but practices affecting a wider population of students have come under scrutiny during court proceedings.  A lot of discussions centered on the accelerated credit program at Phoenix Academy.  Phoenix, run by district contractor Camelot Education, was portrayed Wednesday as a diploma mill by attorneys representing six teenaged refugees in the lawsuit.  But Lancaster school officials say they send students to Phoenix if they're at risk for aging out, or not earning enough credits to graduate before they turn 21.  The district's lawyer says block-scheduling and limiting curriculum to the state's core let students get a diploma in less time.  In Pennsylvania, local districts run their accelerated credit programs as they see fit without much state oversight or guidance.  But one student involved in this lawsuit —18-year-old Congolese refugee Anyemou Dunia — finished high school in 16 months. Dunia's senior year spanned a week, despite English proficiency limited enough to require a translator in court.

Lancaster's ESL teacher ratio on par with state
Keystone Crossroads BY EMILY PREVITI, WITF AUGUST 22, 2016
The School District of Lancaster's back in court this week for a lawsuit filed by a group of student refugees over translation, enrollment, and instruction policies.   They claim the district rejects older limited English proficiency students who try to enroll or sends them to an accelerated program at Phoenix Academy, even though they'd be better off at the mainstream high school.  Phoenix Academy bills itself as providing an intensive remedial program for students in grades six through eight and an accelerated graduation program for students in grades nine through 12.  The district denies it.

Lancaster County schools reopening: Here's what's new at public schools
Lancaster Online by KARA NEWHOUSE | Staff Writer August 22, 2016
When youngsters head back to school this week, their experiences might be unrecognizable to older generations.  At some schools, students will spend time in “maker spaces” designed for hands-on do-it-yourself learning. Two districts are adding such spaces to their buildings this year.  In classrooms, many Lancaster County students will work on school-issued personal computers or tablets. Six local districts are introducing or expanding one-to-one computer programs this year.  And districts continue to develop science, technology, engineering and math opportunities for young people, like the two-day STEM summit Hempfield is planning for ninth-graders.  Here are other changes happening at local public schools for the 2016-17 year. Changes for private schools will be published next Sunday.

Commentary: Green's role as public advocate is dubious
The SRC member has been showing disdain for teachers and urging parents to see things his way.
The notebook Commentary by Lisa Haver August 22, 2016 — 11:26am
Lisa Haver is a retired Philadelphia teacher and co-founder of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools.
School Reform Commissioner Bill Green has been making the rounds lately, along with fellow Commissioner Sylvia Simms, at events sponsored by the Parent Congress and the Education Opportunities for Families, presenting himself as an advocate for poor and working-class Philadelphians, expressing outrage and disdain at what he portrays as a lack of dedication and compassion from teachers and other school professionals.    His goal seems to be the sowing of divisions between parents and teachers, and between different demographics of parents. He recounts the old story, an urban legend at this point, of the new starry-eyed teacher, whose love of teaching and children has not yet been beaten out of her by the big bad union, who stays until 4 p.m. each day until the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers rep knocks on her door one day at 3:15, demanding that she leave because “you’re making the rest of us look bad.” That, he tells the parents, is “the culture of our school district.”

Bill Aims To Curtail PA Gerrymandering
WESA By KATIE MEYER  August 22, 2016
A proposed bill is looking to change how Pennsylvania draws its legislative and congressional districts  The bill’s sponsor, Monroe County Republican David Parker said the measure would cut down on gerrymandering.  Gerrymandering is prevalent in Pennsylvania—it’s when legislative maps are drawn to benefit a political party.  Parker said the ultimate results don’t benefit constituents.  “When these districts become so large and kind of snake around and are odd shapes, it’s difficult for them to truly represent everybody in the whole district,” he said.  House Bill 1835 would amend the state’s constitution and seek to decrease party influence on districts.  It would create an independent, “citizens’ commission” to oversee drawing of legislative and congressional boundaries.

“In the pushback against Citizens United, 17 states and more than 680 local governments have appealed to Congress for a constitutional amendment, either through a letter to Congress, referendums, legislative resolutions, city council votes or collective letters from state lawmakers. In the most prominent case, California’s 18 million registered voters get to vote in November on whether to instruct their 55-member congressional delegation to “use all of their constitutional authority” to overturn Citizens United. Washington State is holding a similar referendum.”
Can the States Save American Democracy?
New York Times By HEDRICK SMITH AUG. 20, 2016
WASHINGTON — In this tumultuous election year, little attention has focused on the groundswell of support for political reform across grass-roots America. Beyond Bernie Sanders’s call for a political revolution, a broad array of state-level citizen movements are pressing for reforms against Citizens United, gerrymandering and campaign megadonors to give average voters more voice, make elections more competitive, and ease gridlock in Congress.  This populist backlash is in reaction to two monumental developments in 2010: the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling authorizing unlimited corporate campaign donations, and a Republican strategy to rig congressional districts. Together, they have changed the dynamics of American politics.  That January, Justice John Paul Stevens warned in his dissent that Citizens United would “unleash the floodgates” of corporate money into political campaigns, and so it has. The overall funding flood this year is expected to surpass the record of $7 billion spent in 2012.  Later in 2010, the Republican Party’s “Redmap” strategy won the party control of enough state governments to gerrymander congressional districts across the nation the following year. One result: In the 2014 elections, Republicans won 50.7 percent of the popular vote and reaped a 59-seat majority.

Fewer college students opt to pursue career as teachers
Washington Times By DEBRA ERDLEY - Associated Press - Saturday, August 20, 2016
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Abbie Yasika is part of a rare breed of college students who want to be teachers.  The 22-year-old from Greensburg discounted comments from friends and classmates who warned she would never find a teaching job.  She graduated from college in May, and this month she’s launching a career as a kindergarten teacher in the Pittsburgh Public Schools.  But she’s among a rapidly shrinking pool of students opting to teach.  The trend is apparent at local colleges where enrollment in teacher prep programs has declined dramatically.  And statistics from the state Department of Education show a steep drop in the overall number of teaching certificates issued: from a 15-year high of 18,590 in 2013 to 7,280 last year.

Audit Finds Chaotic Financial Management at Tennessee's Achievement School District
Education Week By Andy Sher, Chattanooga Times/Free Press (Tenn.) August 18, 2016
Nashville - It's in charge of turning around Tennessee's failing schools, but the state's Achievement School District now has its own flunking grade from state Comptroller watchdogs.  The just-released audit by the Division of State Audit provides a blistering critique into what auditors say is the agency's lack of internal financial controls over basic functions.  So just how bad are things at the agency that directly manages five public schools and contracts with private charter groups to operate 24 other schools falling into the bottom five percent of schools statewide in terms of student performance?  Even as Division of State Audit accountants' examination was still underway this spring, the state Department of Education, which had allowed the ASD to operate independently, informed the Comptroller's office in April that it had staged an intervention and seized control over the ASD's "fiscal and federal processes."

Fed Up With State's K-12 Stance, Okla. Teachers Run for Office
Education Week State Ed Watch By Daarel Burnette II August 19, 2016
Oklahoma City - Fueled by their fury over cuts to K-12 budgets, low pay, and an array of other grievances, a scrappy group of teachers is attempting to upend Oklahoma's political establishment this election season.  After ousting the state's superintendent in a 2014 primary, the loosely organized group of educators from around the state successfully campaigned to scrap the state's teacher-evaluation system that was tied to students' test scores. They notched another victory when they lobbied to defeat a bill backed by Republican Gov. Mary Fallin that would've expanded the use of vouchers.  So last spring, when someone suggested to their Facebook group that they start legislating themselves, more than 40 teachers filed to run for one of the 126 open seats in the state's Senate and House of Representatives.

Vergara v. California: California Supreme Court decision leaves state’s teacher tenure law in place
Washington Post By Emma Brown August 22 at 4:21 PM 
The California Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a case challenging the state’s laws on teacher tenure, dismissal and layoffs, a decision that leaves the laws in place and hands a major victory to teachers’ unions.  The plaintiffs were nine schoolchildren backed by the nonprofit advocacy group Student Matters, and they had argued that job-protection statutes for teachers created illegal inequalities: They said poor and minority children were more likely to be saddled with ineffective teachers who were difficult to fire.  It was a new civil rights argument against teacher tenure laws, and at first it seemed successful. After a 10-week trial in 2014, the trial court sided with the plaintiffs, whose lawyers described the California case as the first in a series of state-by-state legal challenges to tenure laws.

In a major win for teachers unions, state Supreme Court lets teacher tenure ruling stand
Los Angeles Times by Howard Blume and Joy Resmovits August 22, 2016
Monday was the end of the line for a landmark California case challenging tenure and other traditional job protections for teachers — and the teachers won.   The outcome left some union opponents looking for a different battlefield in the ongoing wars over public education, while others said they should try the courts again.   The case, Vergara vs. California, was closely watched across the country as a test of whether courts would invalidate employment rights of teachers on the argument that they violate the rights of students.  The assault on these protections is part of a broader approach to reforming education that would make schools more like the private sector, which relies on competition, measurable results and performance incentives.

WSJ Editorial: Students Lose, Liberals Elated
California denies a constitutional challenge to failing schools.
Wall Street Journal Editorial Aug. 22, 2016 6:56 p.m. ET
Remember when progressives worked to break down the barriers to minority education? You know, Brown v. Board and all that. Well, nowadays good liberals rejoice when their judicial friends deny upward mobility to poor black and Hispanic children.  That’s how the left reacted to Monday’s decision by the California Supreme Court not to hear an appeal of the Vergara v. California case charging that the Golden State has systematically denied minority kids trapped in failing schools their constitutional right to an education. The plaintiffs, backed by some public-spirited donors, had won in lower court but lost on appeal and now the state Supreme Court has doomed tens of thousands to lives of diminished possibility, if not poverty.

Letter: Teachers are not the problem, poverty is
Washington Post Letter by Stephen Krashen, Los Angeles August 18
Regarding the Aug. 12 news article “Gates Foundation to ‘stay the course’ with approach to education policy”:  Melinda Gates still thinks that teacher quality is the problem in American education. Of course we should always be trying to improve teaching, but there is no teacher quality crisis in the United States: When researchers control for the effect of poverty, U.S. students score near the top of the world on international tests. Our overall scores are unimpressive because of our unacceptably high child-poverty rate, now about 21 percent. The problem is poverty, not teacher quality.  Poverty means food deprivation, lack of health care and lack of access to books. Each of these has a strong negative influence on school performance. Let’s forget about developing new ways of evaluating teachers, fancy databases and other ideas from Gates that have no support in research or practice. Instead, let’s invest in making sure no child is left unfed, no child lacks proper health care and all children have access to quality libraries.

Support for Charter Schools Stays Steady, But Drops for Vouchers, Poll Finds
Education Week Charters and Choice Blog By Arianna Prothero on August 23, 2016 6:24 AM 
Although public support for charter schools has remained relatively steady over the past 10 years, support for school vouchers has fallen, according to a new poll released today.  Charter schools are more popular among Republicans with 74 percent supporting the publicly funded schools that are run independently from the traditional district system, compared to 58 percent of Democrats—numbers that have changed little over the last decade, according to Education Next, a journal published by Stanford University's Hoover Institution.  Meanwhile, overall support for school vouchers for low-income students, which allow eligible students to use public money to attend a private school, has dropped from 55 percent to 43 percent over the last four years among people of both political parties, according to the poll. In 2007, the first year of the survey, support for vouchers for low-income students was at 56 percent, although the question in the survey was phrased differently at that time.

U.S. judge blocks Obama transgender school bathroom policy
Reuters By Jon Herskovitz | AUSTIN, TEXAS Mon Aug 22, 2016 8:56pm EDT
A U.S. judge blocked an Obama administration policy that public schools should allow transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice, granting a nationwide injunction sought by 13 dissenting states just in time for the new school year.
While a setback for transgender advocates, the ruling is only the latest salvo in a larger legal and cultural battle over transgender rights that could be headed toward the U.S. Supreme Court.  Following milestone achievements in gay rights including same-sex marriage becoming legal nationwide in 2015, transgender rights have become an increasingly contentious issue in the United States, with advocates saying the law should afford them the same rights extended to racial and religious minorities.

Are synthetic turf fields making young athletes sick?
Chron Updated 2:06 am, Saturday, August 20, 2016
TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Their son is gone.  Luke Beardemphl, a standout Tacoma soccer player during his years at Stadium High School, died last year at 24, following a seven-year battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma.  But Luke's parents, Mike and Stephanie Beardemphl, now worry about the kids who will come after him, running, rolling and diving into the more than 11,000 artificial turf soccer fields around the country — including at more than a dozen schools in the Tacoma School District — just as their goalkeeper son did.  Most of those synthetic turf fields are cushioned with a material called crumb rubber, made from ground-up used tires. The tiny pellets are loosely distributed as infill between artificial blades of grass woven into a carpet-like base. Modern turf fields are the successors to the original 1960s-era AstroTurf. Athletes who play on today's fields that use crumb rubber infill are familiar with the "little black dots" that are kicked up during a game or practice, reported The News Tribune(http://bit.ly/2aV2IjX).  Families such as the Beardemphls have added their voices to a growing chorus of concern about whether the rubber specks that stick to skin, hair and clothing, and that get in players' eyes, mouths and open wounds, contain toxic substances that contribute to cancer in young athletes.

Stargazing: Venus and Jupiter conjunction
Stargazing for August 23, 2016 Venus and Jupiter Conjunction One of the year’s best celestial displays will occur this week when Venus and Jupiter come together for a stunning close encounter after sunset.
Post Gazette By Dan Malerbo, Buhl Planetarium & Observatory August 23, 2016 12:00 AM
One of the year’s best celestial displays will occur this week when Venus and Jupiter come together for a stunning close encounter after sunset.  This Saturday, the brightest and second brightest planet will appear extremely close to each other 20 minutes after sunset, just 5 degrees above the western horizon. Distinctly brighter Venus will be shining at a dazzling –3.9 magnitude, while Jupiter will be sparkling at –1.6 magnitude. Jupiter will sit within a fraction of a degree to the left of our sister planet.  Our two bright “evening stars” are headed in opposite directions this summer. After reigning in the evening sky since March, Jupiter will drop below the western horizon in September and return to the morning sky in October. Venus is just returning to the evening sky after being a bright beacon in the morning since last autumn.
Start looking for Venus and Jupiter tonight at 8:30 when the duo is only 4 degrees apart. Binoculars will help you find Mercury closer to the horizon.


2016 National Anthem Sing-A-Long - September 9th
American Public Education Foundation Website 
The Star-Spangled Banner will be sung by school children nationwide on Friday, September 9, 2016 at 10:00am PST and 1:00pm EST. Students will learn about the words and meaning of the flag and sing the first stanza. This will be the third annual simultaneous sing-a-long event created by the APEF-9/12 Generation Project. The project aims to bring students together – as the world came together – on September 12, 2001.

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

Registration for the PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference Oct. 13-15 is now open
The conference is your opportunity to learn, network and be inspired by peers and experts.
TO REGISTER: See https://www.psba.org/members-area/store-registration/   (you must be logged in to the Members Area to register). You can read more on How to Register for a PSBA Event here.   CONFERENCE WEBSITE: For all other program details, schedules, exhibits, etc., see the conference website:www.paschoolleaders.org.

REGISTER NOW for the 2016 PA Principals Association State Conference, October 30 - November 1, at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel in State College.
The Early Bird Discount Deadline has been Extended to Wednesday, August 31, 2016!
PA Principals Association website Tuesday, August 2, 2016 10:43 AM
To receive the Early Bird Discount, you must be registered by August 31, 2016:
Members: $300  Non-Members: $400
Featuring Three National Keynote Speakers: Eric Sheninger, Jill Jackson & Salome Thomas-EL

PSBA Officer Elections Aug. 15-Oct. 3, 2016: Slate of Candidates
PSBA members seeking election to office for the association were required to submit a nomination form no later than April 30, 2016, to be considered. All candidates who properly completed applications by the deadline are included on the slate of candidates below. In addition, the Leadership Development Committee met on June 24 at PSBA headquarters in Mechanicsburg to interview candidates. According to bylaws, the Leadership Development Committee may determine candidates highly qualified for the office they seek. This is noted next to each person’s name with an asterisk (*).  Each school entity will have one vote for each officer. This will require boards of the various school entities to come to a consensus on each candidate and cast their vote electronically during the open voting period (Aug. 15-Oct. 3, 2016). Voting will be accomplished through a secure third-party, web-based voting site that will require a password login. One person from each member school entity will be authorized as the official person to cast the vote on behalf of his or her school entity. In the case of school districts, it will be the board secretary who will cast votes on behalf of the school board.
Special note: Boards should be sure to include discussion and voting on candidates to its agenda during one of its meetings in September.

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