Tuesday, November 1, 2016

PA Ed Policy Roundup Nov 1: PCCY: number of Philly children living in poverty up by 16% since 2008

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PA Ed Policy Roundup November 1, 2016
PCCY: number of Philly children living in poverty up by 16% since 2008

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A win-some, lose-some final week for the General Assembly: Editorial
PennLive Editorial Board on October 31, 2016 at 9:58 AM, updated October 31, 2016 at 11:38 AM
If the Pennsylvania General Assembly was a professional baseball team, the 253-member institution batted, maybe, .250 as it closed out its final voting sessions of the 2016 legislative session last week.  Yes, the Republican-controlled House and Senate did score a few home runs by finally giving beer distributors the right to sell six-packs and by passing bills aimed at curbing prescription opioid and heroin abuse.  We'll also credit lawmakers for what they didn't do: They didn't punch a $13.3 million hole in the budget by revising the state's new tax on eCigarettes (one can also debate the rosiness of that projection).  They didn't pass an invasive and unnecessary bill curtailing a woman's right to choose. And they didn't pass an odious bill that would have given the too-powerful NRA another tool to challenge local gun ordinances.  But when it came to the serious issues: Passing pension reformapproving a comprehensive rewrite of Pennsylvania's civil and criminal statutes of limitation governing sexual abuse and fixing so-called "local-share" language in the state's casino-gambling law, legislators struck out.  And that's not to minimize the serious intellectual and political heavy lifting that goes into addressing the Big Questions. Don't forget that the House came within a mere three votes of sending a pension bill to Gov. Tom Wolf's desk.  Instead, the 203-member chamber voted to send the bill back to a joint House/Senate conference committee, leaving open the possibility, however remote, that Pennsylvania's biggest public policy challenge might be resolved before the lights finally blink out on this year's legislative session on Nov. 30.

Erie School District is in unique class as it strives for solvency
The Erie School District is between 'financial watch' and 'financial recovery'
By Ed Palattella Erie Times-News Posted Oct 30, 2016 at 12:01 AM Updated Oct 30, 2016 at 6:36 AM
The Erie School District has company in its financial distress.  But the district's situation is also unique — a development that district officials said should help as it seeks more state funding to eliminate its chronic budget crisis.  Of Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts, those in Duquesne, York, Harrisburg, Aliquippa and Chester-Upland, near Philadelphia, are among the eight in either financial recovery status or financial watch status with the Pennsylvania Department of Education.  The Erie School District has been under financial watch status since late September.  The terms of the arrangement, however, mean the district is really in a hybrid status.  It is in between traditional financial watch, which largely involves state monitoring and no additional funding, and the more drastic financial recovery, in which a state-appointed chief recovery officer takes over control of the troubled school district as additional state aid typically flows in.

Report: More Philly children living in poverty
Inquirer by Martha Woodall, Staff Writer Updated: NOVEMBER 1, 2016 — 1:08 AM EDT
Although Philadelphia largely has rebounded from the Great Recession, the economic status of the city's youngest residents has not kept pace.  A new report on child wellness by Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY) released Monday found the number of children living in poverty in the city has grown by 16 percent since 2008.  "Philadelphia has long had the unfortunate distinction of having the highest child poverty rate of any large city in the country," PCCY said in "Left Out: The Status of Children in Philadelphia."  "The problem intensified during the recession, as the child poverty rate rose from an already too high rate of 31.5 percent in 2008 to 36.9 percent in 2014."  PCCY found the increase continued in 2015 when 38.3 percent of the city's approximately 342,000 children- 130,800 - were living in poverty compared with 17.9 percent of seniors.  And the racial disparities are stark. Fifty-eight percent of low-income families in Philadelphia are black, 22 percent are white, and 20 percent are Hispanic, the report said.

Left Out: Regional Reports on Child Well Being
PCCY Website
While recent headlines tout a national recovery from the Great Recession, more children in the four suburban counties surrounding Philadelphia, and in Philadelphia itself, are worse off now than during the depths of the recession.  The new PCCY Child Wellness Index shows children in every county are still suffering the impact of the recession.  The Index examines four key areas to measure how children have fared since the start of the recession in 2008, including: economic well-being, child health, early childhood education, and K-12 education.   PCCY plans to release the five reports on the status of children in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, titled, “Left Out: The Status of Children”.  Click the images below to download a copy of the county reports.

“It all comes down to the heavily populated Philadelphia suburbs where Clinton is leading Trump by 36 points, 64 percent to 28 percent.  Her lead in Philadelphia is even larger at 55 points, 72 percent to 17 percent.  "Trump isn't doing well enough in suburban Philly, or among women and college-educated voters," Madonna said.  Clinton is leading Trump among women by 19 points, 53 percent to 34 percent. She's leading him by 40 points among college-educated voters, 64 percent to 24 percent.  And she leads in things that right now matter to voters – experience, foreign policy, character and judgment, Madonna said.”
Clinton up 11 points in Pa. despite latest email news: F&M poll results
Penn Live By Candy Woodall | cwoodall@pennlive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on November 01, 2016 at 5:51 AM, updated November 01, 2016 at 6:18 AM
With a week until Election Day, Democrat Hillary Clinton holds an 11-point advantage over Republican Donald Trump in Pennsylvania, according to the latest Franklin & Marshall College Poll.  The poll released Tuesday was largely conducted before FBI Director James Comey's recent announcement that the bureau was reviewing newly discovered emails that may be relevant to the prior investigation of Clinton's use of a private server while secretary of state.
But analysts say the latest addition to the email scandal is unlikely to pull Pennsylvania out of Clinton's favor.  She's leading Trump 49 percent to 38 percent in the latest F&M poll.

Clinton up big in PA, says new F&M College Poll
by Thomas Fitzgerald, Political Writer  @tomfitzgerald Updated: NOVEMBER 1, 2016 — 3:00 AM EDT
A new Franklin & Marshall College poll suggests that Pennsylvania is slipping from Republican Donald Trump’s grasp in the last week of the presidential campaign, with Democrat Hillary Clinton opening up an 11-point lead among likely voters.  Clinton has the support of 49 percent of those who say they are certain to vote, to 38 percent for Trump, according to the survey released Tuesday. The remainder were undecided or planning to support a third-party candidate.  “This state was always going to be an uphill fight for Trump to win,” said F&M polling director G. Terry Madonna. “Pennsylvania is simply trending more Democratic than the other big swing states.”  In Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race, the poll finds Democrat Katie McGinty with a 47 percent to 35 percent lead over Republican incumbent Sen.Pat Toomey among likely voters. Her 12-point advantage is larger than in previous F&M polls and also bigger than the average of recent  Senate race polls in the state.

Franklin & Marshall College Poll October 26, 2016

Public hearing set for Easton charter school
Michelle Merlin Contact Reporter Of The Morning Call October 31, 2016
EASTON — A public hearing has been set for what could be Easton's first charter school.
Easton Arts Academy Elementary Charter School's application is slated for Nov. 7 at the Easton Area School District. School board members are expected vote on the application at their regular meeting on Nov. 22.  The kindergarten-through-fifth-grade charter school was founded by Thomas Lubben, who opened charter schools in Bethlehem, Allentown and Salisbury Township.  The school places an emphasis on the arts and is expected to open in September 2017, according to its website.  Easton school board President Frank Pintabone said board members will listen to the school's presentation, their own attorneys, and the public.  "We'll make a decision from there," he said.

Lead testing of water in schools taking too long, advocates say
The District has made strides on water access, but safety issues remain.
The notebook/Newsworks by Greg Windle and Avi Wolfman-Arent October 31, 2016 — 5:05pm
In early 2016, the School District met with students, community advocates, and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers to discuss how to improve students’ access to safe water. Members of the advocacy organization Youth United for Change and the Food Trust, another nonprofit, were pushing the District to spend some of its reserves to install new hydration stations.  The District, however, seemed reluctant, according to the advocates.  Then the Flint, Michigan, water crisis came to light, and access to safe drinking water was catapulted to center stage in the nation’s public health discussions. A few months later, a report found that Philadelphia’s methods of testing for lead in drinking water were less accurate than those used in Flint.  The District agreed to install three new water fountains, called hydration stations, in every school after City Council held hearings about water access during the spring. City Council then passed an ordinance mandating that schools must have at least one working water outlet for every 100 students.

Lawmakers demand action on Philly's lead-paint scourge
Inquirer by Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman, STAFF WRITERS Updated: OCTOBER 31, 2016 — 8:32 PM EDT
When State Rep. Donna Bullock stood among a dozen state and local lawmakers calling for an end to the city's childhood lead poisoning crisis Monday, her cry for help was also a personal one. Four years ago, when her son was 2, her pediatrician told her the boy had high levels of lead in his blood.  "I was scared," she said. "I didn't know if he'd struggle in school or have other problems."  He had often played at his grandmother's house in Strawberry Mansion, where 21 percent of children tested had lead poisoning, the highest of any area in the city.  He used the windowsill as a ledge where he would paint and color, Bullock (D., Phila.) said Monday. "That's where he likely got it."  Bullock and her colleagues argued Monday that more money and staff were necessary to combat the scourge of lead paint in old houses in Philadelphia and elsewhere in the state.  State Sens. Vincent Hughes (D., Phila.) and Art Haywood (D., Montgomery) organized the news conference at City Hall.

Philly’s 7th Ward Blog BY SHARIF EL-MEKKI OCTOBER 29, 2016
My fervent desire to serve my community is what led me to a career as a teacher. But, it was anything but a straight path.  I have previously alluded to one of the main reasons I ended up choosing teaching as my desired profession and mission. Teaching is, by far, simultaneously, the most challenging and most rewarding career out there.  Although I had a social justice framework in my upbringing, had positive relationships and experiences with many of my teachers, and grew up in a household with a mother who taught, I did not initially consider teaching as my role in society. Even when my martial arts teacher would tell me that I should strongly consider becoming an instructor with my own class of martial artists, I would quickly demur and change the subject.  I just didn’t see myself as a teacher (of any kind). But, something changed.  I wrote about being shot here and here. That traumatic, near death, experience led me to teaching, but not directly.

Follow the Money 2016: Students First PAC Spends Over $445K to Privatize Democratically Governed Public Education in PA
Yass, Dantchik, Greenberg have contributed over a million dollars to the PAC
Keystone State Education Coalition October 30, 2016

The Need to Validate Vocational Interests
Assuming college is always the best option turns career-minded students away from true learning.
The Atlantic by ASHLEY LAMB-SINCLAIR October 31, 2016
At a recent conference, I listened to a university president boast about a program she had developed in partnership with several local high schools. She told the story of one teenager who lived in a rural area and worked full time on his family’s farm in addition to attending high school. The university president explained that the young man had little promise for attending college because of his circumstances. But through the dual-credit program, he was able to gain college credit while still in high school, which gave him the confidence to seek an associate’s degree in agriculture and return home to work on his family farm. I listened as she proudly told this young man’s story and the audience cheered for both of them, and all I could think was: What an extraordinary waste of time.  It may be shocking for a veteran high-school teacher to feel that a student gaining any kind of degree is a waste of time, but considering that 44 percent of recent college graduates are underemployed, and many employers such as Deloitte are now completely ditching college degrees as a requirement altogether, it is becoming increasingly difficult to sell the same old story—working hard to make good grades to go to college to get a good job—to millennials.

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