Thursday, September 22, 2016

PA Ed Policy Roundup Sept 22: Auditor General DePasquale to release statewide cyber school audit 1:30 today

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup September 22, 2016
Auditor General DePasquale to release statewide cyber school audit 1:30 today

Southeastern PA Regional 2016 Legislative Roundtable: William Tennent High School (Bucks Co.) SEP 22, 2016 • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Auditor General DePasquale slated to be Keynote Speaker
School Leaders from Northampton, Lehigh, Bucks, Montco, Chesco, Delco and Philadelphia Counties encouraged to attend.

What are Community Schools?
Philly Mayor’s Office of Education Website
Community schools are public schools where a full-time coordinator works with the entire school community—students, parents, teachers, administrators, service providers, and neighbors—to identify the community’s most pressing needs, such as expanded medical services, after-school programming, and job training. The coordinator then works with service providers and City agencies to bring these resources directly into the school. Community schools become neighborhood centers, improving access to programs and services for students, families, and neighbors.  Successful community schools leverage public, private, and philanthropic resources to address challenges that keep our students from learning. By meeting the needs of the whole child and the neighborhoods in which they live, community schools better support students and families, and address non-academic barriers like violence, hunger, or homelessness, which too often keep students from succeeding in the classroom.

Auditor General DePasquale to release statewide cyber school audit, discuss overhauling worst charter school law in nation.
Department of the Auditor General Sept. 21 press release.
WHAT: Auditor General Eugene DePasquale will release audits of three schools — including a cyber charter school with nearly 10,000 students from 484 school districts — that demonstrate the urgent need to overhaul Pennsylvania's charter school law.
WHEN: 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016
WHERE: Capitol Rotunda, Main Capitol, Harrisburg, PA 17120
WHY: The three concurrent audits brought to light more reasons that the state's nearly 20-year-old charter school law needs to be overhauled. The charter school law changes he will outline are in addition to the recommendations to improve accountability, effectiveness, and transparency included in his special report on charter school law reform which is available online.

Governor Wolf Makes Schools That Teach Stop in Harrisburg
Governor Wolf’s Blog September 21, 2016
Harrisburg, PA – As part of his statewide ‘Schools That Teach’ Tour, Governor Tom Wolf visited today with students and staff at Camp Curtin Academy in Harrisburg. In the 2016-17 budget, Governor secured $2.6 million in increased classroom funding for the Harrisburg School District, making for a total increase over $5 million to Harrisburg schools over his first two budgets.  “We have made great strides over the last two years in restoring the massive hit schools took due to state budget cuts in 2011, but we still have a lot of work to do,” Governor Wolf said. “The Harrisburg School District is one of many across the commonwealth that continues to struggle for adequate funding while working hard to provide the best possible education to students.”  During the visit, the governor was able to see first-hand some of the district’s academic resources new to the 2016-17 school year, including a newly reopened library and a new SmartLab for STEM education.

Court eyes school funding
By Stacy M. Brown For the Pocono Record September 21, 2016
Pennsylvania’s highest court began considering arguments as to whether an inadequate school funding lawsuit can go forward.  The suit, filed by six parents and seven school districts from around the state, claims that Gov. Tom Wolf and Pennsylvania lawmakers have failed as required by the constitution to properly fund public schools and forcing districts to abide by certain academic and graduation standards.  Gary Summers, the president of East Stroudsburg Area School District Board of Directors, said East Stroudsburg and two other districts in Monroe County are adversely affected by inadequate funding and the formula used to determine how much is distributed to schools around the state.  “It’s a mixed bag for East Stroudsburg. Yes, we will get an extra and much appreciated $1 million this year, but we are so far behind that it barely makes a dent,” Summers said.  Much of the attention has been on the recently approved bi-partisan new funding formula that was signed in July by Wolf.  That represented a great step forward, but the formula only applied to the additional amount of the basic education funding for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years, Summers said.

STEAM project launches for area seventh graders
DICKSON CITY — In the corner of a ballroom, seventh-graders huddled around an infrared camera as they took turns panning the crowd.  Organizers of a new science, technology, engineering, art and math initiative hope that by the end of the school year, students will have a clearer vision of their future.  More than 800 seventh-graders from the Scranton and Riverside school districts gathered at Genetti Manor in Dickson City on Tuesday for the launch of the STEAM program, a project of the Scranton Area Community Foundation and its Women in Philanthropy program. During the next two years, the districts will host the Salvadori Center, a New York City math and science education organization, which will deliver an eight-week curriculum. Site visits and a mentorship program are also available to students.

Let’s support efforts to level the academic playing field
Post Gazette Letter by FRANCO HARRIS, Chair, Board of Directors The Pittsburgh Promise September 22, 2016 12:00 AM
I was encouraged by friend and former Olympian Bruce Baumgartner in his Sept. 9 Perspectives piece, “The Academic Medal Count,” which equates the success of elite training of athletes at the youngest possible age to the need for doing the same with academics for students entering kindergarten. He poses a truly Olympian idea: Invest more in quality education for students to greatly improve the chances for their success at the outset of their lives.  The Pittsburgh Promise is one of many programs aimed at improving educational outcomes, closing the achievement gap and removing cost barriers for young people to succeed. The Promise has seen firsthand the need to bolster learning and ambition in children as early as possible. In fact, kindergarten-readiness is a prerequisite to Promise-readiness in our urban schools.  If our leaders in government and business would adopt such proposals to fund a game plan to enhance and expand a quality-driven prekindergarten plan for the children of Western Pennsylvania, educational interventions would conceivably be less necessary.

Congress to hear arguments on Obama administration’s proposed education spending rule
Washington Post By Emma Brown September 21 at 10:17 AM 
Members of Congress will have a chance Wednesday morning to hear arguments for and against the Obama administration’s proposal for how school districts spend billions of dollars meant to educate poor children, perhaps the most hotly contested education issue in Washington since Congress passed a federal education law late last year.  The Education Department and its allies in the civil rights movement say that the rules will ensure that children in high-poverty schools get the federal aid they are due, while a wide range of opponents have argued that the administration has overreached its authority with a proposal that would wreak havoc on classrooms nationwide.  The hearing Wednesday before a subcommittee of the House Education Committee — “Supplanting the Law and Local Education Authority Through Regulatory Fiat” — should offer a sense of how the majority Republican Congress views the administration’s proposal.

Lawmakers Spar Over Federal Overreach, Equity in House ESSA Funding Hearing
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Andrew Ujifusa on September 21, 2016 2:16 PM
Washington, D.C. Republican lawmakers and local K-12 officials sharply criticized a U.S. Department of Education regulatory proposal they said would improperly meddle in school funding decisions, while Democratic representatives defended it as promoting greater equity for poor students, during a House K-12 subcommittee hearing Wednesday.   The proposed rules that Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. released last month concern how schools must show they are using federal funds to supplement other education funding, and not using it to fill gaps left by state and local budget decisions. It's a controversial plan—and one that could end up creating a legal battle between Congress and the Education Department.  Need a quick refresher on this funding issue? The rules King's department proposed would allow districts to show federal funds are supplementing their budgets by using:

The Key Ingredient to Fixing a Failing School
How one leader took an all-girls charter from dismal to desirable.
The Atlantic by EMILY DERUY September 21, 2016
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.—I arranged a visit to the Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy here fully intending to look into the rise of single-sex public education, particularly schools that focus explicitly on educating girls of color.  In the decade since No Child Left Behind prompted changes in federal law that ultimately made it easier to create all-boys and all-girls schools, the number of single-sex public schools has exploded, many of them aimed at boys and girls of color. (Full disclosure: I attended an all-girls parochial high school.) CGLA is the first single-gender public charter school in Tennessee. More than 90 percent of its students are black or Latino. Nearly all are low income. The school’s brochure says it was founded “to improve educational opportunities for low-income, underserved girls in Hamilton County.” So it seemed like a good place to start.
Yet it became obvious minutes after my visit began that it would be difficult to glean any sort of broadly applicable insight into the the topic from looking at CGLA. Sure, proponents of single-sex and charter schools can point to its rising test scores and college-going rate as “evidence” that their respective causes are a good thing. And critics can point to research published in Science magazine that suggests single-sex schools don’t foster better academic outcomes and accuse charters of pulling resources away from neighborhood schools. (More on all of that from my fellow Atlantic writer Melinda Anderson here.)  But what became abundantly clear is that CGLA is more an example of how much of an impact school leadership can have—regardless of school type—than it is of anything else.

Boston School Committee takes up charter school question
Boston Globe By James Vaznis GLOBE STAFF  SEPTEMBER 21, 2016
The Boston School Committee, concerned about the financial impact of more charter schools, is poised to join more than 120 other school committees across the state to oppose a ballot question that would allow for the proliferation of charter schools.  At the committee’s meeting Wednesday night, chairman Michael O’Neill and vice chairman Hardin Coleman presented a draft resolution against the ballot question, which stated that state aid to charter schools “fiscally undermines the ability of the Boston Public Schools to support the cost of a quality educational program to its students.”  The seven-member committee, which is appointed by Mayor Martin J. Walsh, who opposes the ballot question, is expected to vote on the resolution at its next meeting on Oct. 5.  If approved, the School Committee will be following in the footsteps of the Boston City Council, which approved a similar resolution in August.  “We don’t want to demonize charters,” O’Neill said. “There are good charters in the city, but if we look at the way the ballot question is written — without a funding mechanism — there is serious impact on the 57,000 students in our care.”

Despite warnings, College Board redesigned SAT in way that may hurt neediest students By Renee Dudley Filed Sept. 21, 2016, 2:32 p.m. GMT
Part Six: Internal documents show the makers of the new SAT knew the test was overloaded with wordy math problems – a hurdle that could reinforce race and income disparities. The College Board went ahead with the exam anyway. 
NEW YORK – In the days after the redesigned SAT college entrance exam was given for the first time in March, some test-takers headed to the popular website reddit to share a frustration.  They had trouble getting through the exam’s new mathematics sections. “I didn’t have nearly enough time to finish,” wrote a commenter who goes by MathM. “Other people I asked had similar impressions.”  The math itself wasn’t the problem, said Vicki Wood, who develops courses for PowerScore, a South Carolina-based test preparation company. The issue was the wordy setups that precede many of the questions.  “The math section is text heavy,” said Wood, a tutor who took the SAT in May. “And I ran out of time.”  The College Board, the maker of the exam, had reason to expect just such an outcome for many test-takers.

What Clinton and Trump say about school vouchers, Common Core and free college tuition
PBS Newshour September 20, 2016 at 6:25 PM EDT
Where do Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump stand on the hot-button issues of education reform in the U.S.? Lisa Desjardins offers a rundown, and Education Week’s Andrew Ujifusa and Scott Jaschik of Inside Higher Education join Jeffrey Brown to examine the candidates’ dramatically different proposals for K-12 and higher education.

'It's disgraceful': Lawmakers grill Mylan CEO over EpiPen hikes
Trib Live BY CHRIS FLEISHER  | Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016, 2:54 p.m.
Mylan CEO Heather Bresch faced harsh questions on Capitol Hill over the dramatic price increase for the drugmaker's life-saving EpiPen device, but she defended the cost as “fair” and rebuffed lawmakers' demands to cut it.  Bresch was grilled for hours by members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, who demonstrated bipartisan outrage that the price for the emergency allergy injection has shot up more than 500 percent since Mylan bought the rights to EpiPen in 2007. They called the company's actions “disgraceful” and “sickening” and accused Mylan of putting profits ahead of concern for the lives of patients.  It's disgraceful what's going on here,” said Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass. “But in a way, you've done us a little bit of a favor by showing us what's wrong with our health care system. I think it's disgusting.”

Southeastern PA Regional 2016 Legislative Roundtable: William Tennent High School (Bucks Co.) SEP 22, 2016 • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
PSBA website August 25, 2016
Take a more active role in public education advocacy by joining our Legislative Roundtable
This is your opportunity for a seat at the table (literally) with fellow public education advocates to take an active role in educating each other and policymakers.  Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, along with regional legislators, will be in attendance to work with you to support public education in Pennsylvania.  Use the form below to send your registration information!

Thursday, September 29, 2016 at 5:30 PM
The Crystal Tea Room, The Wanamaker Building
100 Penn Square East, Philadelphia, PA
Honoring: Pepper Hamilton LLP, Signe Wilkinson, Dr. Monique W. Morris
And presenting the ELC PRO BONO AWARD  to Paul Saint-Antoine & Chanda Miller
of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

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   (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

The Sixth Annual Arts and Education Symposium – October 27, 2016
The 2016 Arts and Education Symposium will be held on October 27 at the Radisson Hotel Harrisburg Convention Center.  Sponsored by the Pennsylvania Arts Education network and EPLC, the Symposium is a Unique Networking and Learning Opportunity for:
·         Arts Educators
·         School Leaders
·         Artists
·         Arts and Culture Community Leaders
·         Arts-related Business Leaders
·         Arts Education Faculty and Administrators in Higher Education
·         Advocates
·         State and Local Policy Leaders
Act 48 Credit is available.
Program and registration information are available here.

REGISTER NOW for the 2016 PA Principals Association State Conference, October 30 - November 1, at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel in State College.
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

SAVE THE DATE LWVPA Convention 2017 June 1-4, 2017
Join the League of Women Voters of PA for our 2017 Biennial Convention at the beautiful Inn at Pocono Manor!

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