Thursday, October 6, 2016

PA Ed Policy Roundup Oct 6: Time for return to local control in Philly?

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 3950 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers, Governor's staff, current/former PA Secretaries of Education, Wolf education transition team members, superintendents, school solicitors, principals, PTO/PTA officers, parent advocates, teacher leaders, business leaders, faith-based organizations, labor organizations, education professors, members of the press and a broad array of P-16 regulatory agencies, professional associations and education advocacy organizations via emails, website, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

These daily emails are archived and searchable at http://keystonestateeducationcoalition.org
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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup October 6, 2016
Time for return to local control in Philly?



Last day to register to vote is 10/11/16. Did you know you can do it online? Don't wait! http://votesPA.com 



Basic Education Funding workshops coming to your area
PA now has a permanent Basic Education Funding formula. Learn more about how it works, what it measures and why it's important. Workshops sponsored by PASA, PSBA, PAIU, PARSS, PA Principals Association and PASBO are coming to an area near you.
To register and see more details, locations and dates here.



Neff and Houstoun resign from SRC
Both said they wanted a smooth transition. Critics, including Council President Clarke, redoubled calls to abolish the five-member board and return to local control.
Thew notebook/WHYY Newsworks by Dale Mezzacappa and Avi Wolfman-Arent October 5, 2016 — 2:55pm UPDATED 7 p.m.
Full statements and reactions from officials and activists at the bottom of the story.
Marjorie Neff and Feather Houstoun both announced their intention to resign from the five-member School Reform Commission today, speeding up the timetable for Gov. Wolf and Mayor Kenney to name their replacements.  Both of their terms were due to expire in January, along with that of Commissioner Sylvia Simms. They both said they chose to resign sooner – Houstoun on Oct. 14 and Neff on Nov. 3 – so that there was a gradual change in the composition of the decision-making body instead of an abrupt upheaval.  “Critical votes start to happen in January, and there needs to be time for people to transition,” Neff said in an interview. “That’s why I thought it was important to tender my resignation a little early. It gives someone time to get oriented before January.”  Houstoun echoed that: “I had come to the conclusion ... that having a total change of SRC members in January was not as good an approach as having overlap in a transition period.”  Houstoun also cited a desire to spend more time with family.  The resignations come as questions escalate over whether the SRC, a joint state-city panel that was put in charge of the School District 15 years ago, is fulfilling its mandate or should be abolished in favor of a return to local control.

Two out at SRC: Neff, Houstoun resign
Inquirer by Kristen A. Graham, STAFF WRITER Updated: OCTOBER 5, 2016 2:53 PM EDT
The School Reform Commission will soon get a major overhaul, with its chair and its longest-tenured commissioner tendering their resignations Wednesday.  Chairwoman Marjorie Neff, a former Philadelphia principal, and Commissioner Feather Houstoun, who ran the William Penn Foundation and served as a top official in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey state governments, are both out.  The terms of both women were due to expire in January, and neither was expected to be reappointed. The term of a third commissioner, Sylvia Simms, is also up in early 2017.

“For those who fear the change, be aware that it would not happen overnight. According to the law authorizing the SRC, "The dissolution declaration shall be issued at least one hundred eighty (180) days prior to the end of the current school year and shall be effective at the end of that school year."
One Request of New SRC Candidates: Dissolve!
Caucus of Working Educators POSTED BY THE CAUCUS BLOG ON OCTOBER 05, 2016
For 15 years, Philadelphia schools have been run by an unaccountable, undemocratic, unpopular, and unsuccessful administration – the School Reform Commission.  Last year, more than 75% of Philadelphia voters approved a referendum to abolish the SRC. Why? Perhaps because the SRC’s history is plagued by corruptionunconstitutional actsdisrespect for its own employees and students, and utter inefficacy. The ongoing, state-generated budget crisis should put to rest any argument that continuing to give away control of our school district will somehow increase our access to state funding.  The only legally realistic path for the abolition of the SRC is for it to vote to disband itself. The current members have been unwilling to do so. However, the pending resignations of Commissioners Neff and Houstoun, and the upcoming end of term for Commissioner Simms, creates an opportunity for Mayor Kenney and Governor Wolf to appoint a majority who will vote to disband the SRC.  The appointment of new SRC members provides our best, and perhaps only, opportunity to make that a reality in the foreseeable future. These three appointments would immediately hold a majority and thus be able to pass any resolution. 

State officials hear testimony on equity education in Allentown School District
Jacqueline Palochko Contact Reporter Of The Morning Call October 5, 2016
What do parents of Allentown students have to tell Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission?
ALLENTOWN — State officials heard two hours of testimony from Allentown parents and community members who say Allentown teachers and administrators do not understand the culture of minority students, and are therefore giving students a failing education.  Wednesday night, members of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission held a meeting in Allentown to listen to the community on equal educational opportunity issues in the district.  Commissioners, who enforce state laws prohibiting discrimination, said they have not received any formal complaints about the Allentown School District. But they made clear they are available to help the district, if Allentown officials want to better their diversity efforts.

“And he’s one of very few minorities to hold statewide office in Pennsylvania. Billy Penn analyzed archived news reports, research, Census records, birth records, death records, marriage license applications and county histories, among other sources, 1  to see how many women and people of color have served in statewide offices. Between the 18th Century and today, just five women have been elected to seven 2 statewide executive positions. Another 25 have been elected to statewide judicial seats, out of more than 200 judges. Five African-Americans have been elected to these same courts, according to the Pennsylvania Interbranch Commission for Gender, Racial and Ethnic Fairness. No woman has been elected governor or sent to the U.S. Senate. In history of the Commonwealth, there have been no Asian-Americans, nor anyone Latinx and no one openly LGBT.
Pennsylvania’s electeds aren’t representative of the state at the district level, either. In 2015, 77 percent of the population was white, compared to the 91 percent of the General Assembly who identified as White, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures. Fifty-one percent of Pennsylvanians were women, yet 18 percent of our lawmakers have been.”
Why Pennsylvania’s statewide offices are almost always white and male
Billy Penn By Cassie Owens October 5, 2016
Pennsylvania Treasurer Tim Reese knows his circumstances aren’t the norm. In 2015, the Montco-based entrepreneur became the first person of color to serve in elected statewide executive row office, but he did not land there through the will of voters. Reese is an appointee.  Predecessor Rob McCord, who was elected in 2008, resigned from his post in 2015 shortly before pleading guilty to extortion. Gov. Tom Wolf picked Reese, who previously managed investment firms, to serve out the remainder of McCord’s term. Reese stated early on that he had no intention to run to keep his seat, which is up for grabs this November. Why did it take so long for a person of color to serve on the executive row?  “I don’t know; I can’t really answer that. I’m not a part of the political machine. I’m a businessman,” Reese told Billy Penn.  But he’s well aware that he’s a rarity in mostly white, mostly male Harrisburg.

A+ Schools names new director
Adam Berry/Getty Images October 6, 2016 12:02 AM Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A+ Schools named its interim executive director James Fogarty as the new head of the ​​educational advocacy organization, it announced Wednesday.  Thirty-two applicants put in for the position in a national search that began after longtime executive director Carey Harris left in May to run the Pennsylvania Early Learning Investment Commission.  A screening committee that included Pittsburgh Public Schools parents, a PPS principal, community organization leaders and foundations recommended Mr. Fogarty, 39. Board members voted him in Tuesday.  “We are excited to have someone with the depth and breadth of James’ experience to take the reins of the organization at this critical time in our city’s history,” said Tracey Reed Armant, chairwoman of the A+ Schools board, in a news release. “We are confident that he will continue to rally this community around the urgent need for access to quality schools for all children. And that he will continue to focus attention on the persistent gaps in opportunities and achievement for black and brown children in Pittsburgh.”  Mr. Fogarty, who has worked on political and advocacy campaigns and trained to be an attorney, has been A+ Schools' communications director since 2012.

Milken foundation honors Andrew Jackson Elementary teacher with surprise assembly and $25,000
The notebook by Darryl Murphy October 5, 2016 — 4:12pm
This morning, students and faculty at Andrew Jackson Elementary School in South Philadelphia gathered for a surprise, courtesy of the Milken Family Foundation.  Sometimes called the “Oscar of teaching,” the Milken Educator Award is presented to teachers from across the country who are doing exceptional work. The ideal candidates are in the early to middle stages of their careers, showing great potential for the future.  The first Milken Educator Award presented in 2016-17 went to … 5th-grade science and math teacher Jayda Pugliese.  Candidates aren’t nominated, nor do they apply for the award. They’re chosen through a secret process, then reviewed by blue ribbon panels appointed by the state Departments of Education. Once the finalists are selected, the Milken Family Foundation makes the final choices.


“The newly released report comes just as the department announced $245 million in new grants to state educational agencies and CMOs under its Charter Schools Program, which funds the creation and expansion of charters around the country. The Charter Schools Program has invested more than $3 billion into these schools since 1995, helping more than 2,500 charter schools open.”
Education Department slammed for charter school oversight — by its own watchdog office
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss October 5 at 1:03 PM 
The Education Department has for more than 10 years poured in excess of $3 billion into the creation and operation of charter schools, but according to a new audit by the agency’s own inspector general’s office, it has failed in some cases to provide adequate oversight and as a result has put its own grants at risk.  The audit, titled, “Nationwide Assessment of Charter and Education Management Organizations” and conducted by the department’s inspector general (see below), looked at the relationship that several dozen charter schools have had with their own charter management organizations (CMOs). It found, among other things that there were “internal control weaknesses” related to the schools’ relationships to their CMOs that were so severe that the department’s own program objectives were at “significant risk.” And it says:  The Department’s internal controls were insufficient to mitigate the significant financial, lack of accountability and performance risks that charter school relationships with CMOs pose to Department program objectives.

Audit: Cronyism Between Charters, Management Groups Imperils Federal Aid
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Andrew Ujifusa on October 5, 2016 1:32 PM Cross-posted from the Charters and Choice blog By Arianna Prothero
A federal audit warns that cozy relationships between charter schools and the organizations that run some of them could put federal funding at risk.  Charter management organizations, or CMOs, are groups that run critical functions like finances, fundraising, communications, and curriculum for multiple charter schools.  Not all charter schools are run by a CMO—the majority of charter schools in the country are actually single-campus operations.  The level of independence between the school and the CMO varies on a case-by-case basis, and the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Inspector General, which conducted the audit, is basically saying that in some instances there is so little independence between the school and the management group that it could lead—and has led—to trouble.  The OIG audit examined 33 schools in six states and found several examples of conflicts of interest, related-party transactions, and insufficient segregation of duties—all controls designed to prevent fraud.

OIG Report: Charter Schools Pose Risk to Education Department Goals
In some cases, charter schools and the organizations that oversee them are posing a risk to federal education programs.
US News By Lauren Camera | Education Reporter Oct. 5, 2016, at 2:20 p.m.
Charter schools and their management organizations pose a potential risk to federal funds even as they threaten to fall short of meeting the goals of an array of programs the Department of Education oversees, a new audit from the Office of Inspector General found.  Investigators assessed the risk that charter schools receiving federal funds, specifically the schools’ relationships with the organizations that oversee them, posed to the objectives of department programs, including the federal K-12 law, special education, school turnaround efforts and others. The audit period covered July 2011 through March 2013 and assessed 33 charter schools in six states.  Specifically, the report found instances of financial risk, including waste, fraud and abuse, lack of accountability over federal funds and lack of assurances that the schools were implementing federal programs in accordance with federal requirements at 22 of the 33 schools they looked at, all of which were run by management organizations.

Nationwide Assessment of Charter and Education Management Organizations FINAL AUDIT REPORT
U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General September 2016

Why Don’t We Just Smoke, Drink and Gamble our Way to a Better Public Education System?
Education Commission of the States by Michael Griffith October 5, 2016
In meeting-after-meeting in state-after-state I’ve been asked the same question, “Isn’t there some new way that we can fund public education?” People wonder why we stick with the current system that relies primarily on sales and income taxes for the state share of education funding, and property taxes for local school district’s contributions. Eventually someone will ask, “Why don’t we just pay for our public education system through other revenue streams that are more expectable to the general public such as alcohol and tobacco taxes or lotteries?” While using this combination of “sin taxes” can sound appealing its just not a viable option for funding schools in the United States

Education Bloggers Daily Highlights 10/6/2016


Webinar: The End of the Campaign Season and Key Pennsylvania State Races Nov 3, 2016 • 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
As the election campaign season comes to a close, join the experts for a webinar outlining the key state races that will affect public school districts for the next several years. Presenters are Sean Crampsie, PSBA Lobbyist/Social Media Information Specialist, and David Patti, chief revenue officer at Sacunas – a global B2B marketing firm in Harrisburg. Patti is considered one of the business community’s national leaders in education issues and has more than 30 years of experience in government and public affairs at the local, state and federal levels. He is a member of Gov. Wolf’s Advisory Board on Education and Workforce and the creator of the PA Education Summit.  Fee: This webinar is available at no cost.

Want to help strengthen public education in the commonwealth? Join with EdPAC, a political action committee that supports the election of pro-public education leaders to the General Assembly.
Partner with EdPAC - fundraising reception Friday, Oct. 14 from 5-6 p.m. at the 2016 PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference
Want to help strengthen public education in the commonwealth? Join with EdPAC, a political action committee that supports the election of pro-public education leaders to the General Assembly. EdPAC will hold a fundraising reception Friday, Oct. 14 from 5-6 p.m. at the 2016 PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference. Visit the website to register online and learn more.

The Public Interest Law Center invites you to its 2016 Annual Event: “Of the People, By the People, For the People.” Thursday, Oct 6, 2016 at 6:00 PM
FringeArts 140 N. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, PA
Honoring: Soil Generation, Nicholas Chimicles, and Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP
http://www.pubintlaw.org/2016event/

PENNSYLVANIA EDUCATION POLICY FORUM  Wednesday, October 12, 2016  SUBJECT:  EPLC's 2016 Report:  High School Career and Technical Education: Serving Pennsylvania's Workforce and Student Needs
Coffee and Networking - 9:30 a.m.  Program - 10:00 a.m. to Noon   

Technical College High School (Brandywine Campus) - 443 Boot Rd., Downingtown, PA 19335
 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. 
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
Dan Fogarty, Director of Workforce Development & COO, Berks County Workforce Development Board
Kirk Williard, Ed.D., Director of Career, Technical & Customized Education, Chester County Intermediate Unit 


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.

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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