Thursday, November 10, 2016

PA Ed Policy Roundup Nov 10: City Connects: Up to 2/3 of academic achievement related to nonacademic factors; Trump’s First 100 days

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

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup for November 10, 2016
City Connects: Up to 2/3 of academic achievement related to nonacademic factors; Trump’s First 100 days

“In a District where most of the students are Black and Hispanic, where nearly 10 percent are English learners and many more come from immigrant families, students worried about their futures and the futures of their families, some teachers said.  Many were terrified about Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric about building walls and expelling Muslims.”
In polyglot Philadelphia, teachers work to reassure students about election results
The notebook by Dale Mezzacappa, Darryl Murphy and Greg Windle November 9, 2016 9:20pm
Fifth-grade teacher Carolyn Gray, a 30-year teaching veteran who has been at Masterman since 1992, had her students write an essay on Monday on who they wanted to win and why – an exercise in narrative writing, in which students had to take a position and back it up. On Wednesday, they wrote how they felt about the results.  Teachers in Philadelphia schools on Wednesday worked to help their students deal with emotions that included bewilderment, disappointment, outrage, anger and fear as they processed the results of Tuesday’s election, a shocker in which Donald Trump defeatedHillary Clinton and was elected president of the United States.  In a District where most of the students are Black and Hispanic, where nearly 10 percent are English learners and many more come from immigrant families, students worried about their futures and the futures of their families, some teachers said.  Many were terrified about Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric about building walls and expelling Muslims. For her students at Feltonville Arts and Sciences Middle School, said math teacher Kelley Collings, “the election turned their world upside down and ripped the carpet out from underneath their 11-year-old Black, Brown, immigrant, non-English-speaking, Muslim, poor feet.”

Education and the election
York Dispatch by Alyssa Pressler , 505-5438/@AlyssaPressYD8:17 p.m. EST November 9, 2016
Education affects every person, whether they are on the receiving end of education, concerned for America's future with the next generation or simply paying for it through taxes.  Below is an outline of plans, policies and thoughts on education from President-elect Donald Trump, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Carol Hill-Evans, the York City Council president who was elected to the state House for the 95th District.

Owen J. Roberts High School to offer global learning program
By Nancy March, The Mercury POSTED: 11/09/16, 12:55 PM EST | UPDATED: 11 HRS AGO
South Coventry >> Owen J. Roberts High School is poised to become one of only 15 public schools in Pennsylvania offering International Baccalaureate courses to students.
The program, as outlined for the school board Monday, would expand the school’s current Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics curriculum for juniors and seniors to acquire an International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme certificate along with their high school diploma.  Students can opt to follow a course of study in their junior and senior years that includes a global perspective along with STEAM courses, explained Richard Marchini, high school principal. The courses, similar to Advanced Placement, are recognized by many colleges for credit and as preparation for global careers, Marchini said.  The program is currently offered at Downingtown S.T.E.M. Academy and at Harriton High School in Lower Merion, Montgomery County, and Manheim Township High School in Lancaster County.

“Gerrymandering: Because so many lawmakers have safe seats in districts that are drawn for them, they are free to be demagogues. Politics and governance suffer as those lawmakers dig in their heels rather than compromise, knowing that their intransigence won’t be penalized at the ballot box.  Pennsylvania is one of the most gerrymandered states in the nation. The Legislature shamefully has clung to the power to reshape districts to the majority’s liking as other states have moved toward independent commissions — changes that have been upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States.”
Editorial: How to avoid same mess in 2020, beyond
Times Tribune Editorial November 9, 2016
As the nastiest, most divisive presidential election campaign in modern history draws to a close, the question is not simply whether the animosity will carry over into Wednesday morning — it will — but whether Congress and the state Legislature will enact reforms to rescue the process far into the future.  The current rancor is due partially to the controversial presidential candidates themselves, particularly Donald J. Trump. His willingness to cross conventional lines of political discourse, to flatly disregard facts and deliberately demonize large swaths of the population are woeful precedents.  But the electoral system itself should guard against that slicing and dicing in search of the lowest political denominator. Reforms in several areas could help:

Urgent caution to members receiving recent email about transgender issues
PSBA Website November 9, 2016
The November 3, 2016, Daily Edition featured an objective, unbiased update on recent developments in the courts relating to transgender issues, which is available here on the PSBA website with a collection of resources relating to the cases and to information on the issues school districts face. The very next day school board members around the state received an email message from an organization called “Independence Law Center” that advocates for policies prohibiting transgender persons from using sex-designated restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity, and requiring them to use instead only unisex facilities or facilities consistent with their biological or birth gender. That email and the two documents attached to it purport to advise you about your legal obligations and to describe the current state of the law regarding transgender issues.
PSBA urges great caution when reading statements from partisan organizations purporting to advise you about your legal obligations or the status of the litigation over transgender issues.  These statements and mailings are generally one-sided advocacy briefs designed to convince readers of what such organizations believe the law ought to be, and should not be misunderstood as a balanced assessment of what the state of the law is or of the pros and cons of a particular course of action. Boards also may receive similar letters from organizations advocating the opposite position, and should regard them with the same wariness.

Blogger note: City Connects is an established community schools program associated with Boston College
Research at City Connects: 4 Things We Know; 4 Things We’d Like to Know
City Connects Website November 10, 2016 Alyssa Haywoode
Research is a crucial piece of what we do.
The City Connects evaluation team operates independently, analyzing data from City Connects programs and producing peer-reviewed studies.  So there’s a lot we know about boosting students’ success — and there’s more that we want to know.  Here’s a quick rundown:
Four things we know:
1. Up to two-thirds of academic achievement is related to nonacademic factors.
Growing up in challenging circumstances is one of the biggest factors that can erode students’ success.
2. City Connects has a positive impact on students’ academic achievement.
Students, for example, do much better in math and English on the statewide exam in Massachusetts.
3. City Connects has a positive impact on students’ attendance.
Students at City Connects schools attend significantly more days of school — both when they are in City Connects schools and long after they leave.
4. City Connects lowers high school dropout rates.
Years after they’ve left City Connects schools, students are less likely to drop out of high school.

Georgia Voters Defeat State-Run District for Struggling Schools
Education Week By Denisa R. Superville on November 9, 2016 12:19 AM
UPDATED Georgia voters soundly defeated a measure sought by Gov. Nathan Deal to change the state constitution to create a special district to take over low-performing schools.  Unofficial election results from Georgia's secretary of state on Wednesday showed that, with all precincts reporting, the measure to create a so-called Opportunity School District was defeated, with 60 percent of voters rejecting it, and 40 percent voting in favor.   The Opportunity School District was expected to be a signature piece of education policy for Deal.   He had framed the district's creation in personal terms, arguing that it was the state's "moral" duty to rescue some 68,000 or so students who attend schools that were among the lowest-performing for three consecutive years, and to provide those students with better education options.

Trump realigned Pennsylvania voting patterns in victory
AP By MARC LEVY November 9, 2016
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Donald Trumpbecame the first Republican presidential candidate to win Pennsylvania since 1988, and he did it in ways that turned around some conventional voting patterns in the battleground state.  It was stunning more so because the state was long a key stepping stone for Democrats to the White House: No Democrat has won the White House without Pennsylvania since Harry Truman in 1948.

What a Trump presidency means for America’s public schools
Washington Post By Emma Brown November 10 at 7:00 AM 
Trump on public schools: 'It's time to break up that monopoly'
Republican President-elect Donald Trump spoke about education only in broad terms on the campaign trail, leaving plenty of uncertainty about how his administration now intends to handle policy questions ranging from standardized testing and school accountability to the treatment of transgender students.  But Trump’s stunning election is likely to mean a clear contrast with some key Obama administration policies, including a vigorous push for federally funded private school vouchers and a downsizing of the Education Department, which has arguably exercised more influence under Obama than at any other point.  Trump’s most substantial campaign proposal on education was a $20 billion grant program that he’d use to encourage states to expand school choice — giving parents more control over the kind of education their children receive — including through vouchers, charter schools and magnet schools. The money would come from somewhere else in the federal budget, but it’s not clear where; Trump has not said.

Secretary Of Education Ben Carson? Here’s A List Of Potential Trump Cabinet Picks
The list isn’t final but includes plum roles for Chris Christie, Jeff Sessions, and Reince Priebus.
John Stanton  BuzzFeed News Reporter posted on Nov. 9, 2016, at 9:00 p.m.
President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team has put together a who’s who short list of Trump surrogates and advisers to take top positions in his administration next year, ranging from former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for attorney general to 39-year-old Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr. to be the secretary of defense.  The list of 41 names, obtained by BuzzFeed News, covers 13 departments, the attorney general, Office of Management and Budget, White House chief of staff, and White House counsel.  A source familiar with the list stressed it was not final, and it is unclear whether transition officials have narrowed it down or added more potential candidates for consideration by Trump.

Trump Might Want to Scrap the Education Department; How Doable Is That?
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Alyson Klein on November 9, 2016 7:24 PM
Some Republicans have been trying to get rid of the U.S. Department of Education since President Ronald Reagan took office, when the agency was only about a year old.
Now, with Republican Donald Trump headed to the White House and a GOP-controlled House and Senate, Republicans have their best chance yet to scrap—or at least seriously scale back—the agency.  Trump talked about eliminating the Education Department on the campaign trail or cutting it "way way down," but didn't offer details about how he would do that, or what would happen to key programs if he did downsize.  For now, it looks like this idea remains on the table. Former Florida and Virginia state schools superintendent Gerard Robinson, who is now a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said in an interview Wednesday that he expects that the new president will "streamline, at least" the Education Department. (Robinson is serving on Trump's transition team but spoke only on his own behalf.)

“School Choice And Education Opportunity Act. Redirects education dollars to give parents the right to send their kid to the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school of their choice. Ends common core, brings education supervision to local communities. It expands vocational and technical education, and make 2 and 4-year college more affordable.”
Here Is What Donald Trump Wants To Do In His First 100 Days
Natalie Keyssar for NPR November 9, 20163:45 PM ET
At the end of October, Donald Trump spoke in Gettysburg, Pa., and released a plan for his first 100 days in office.  The plan (below) outlines three main areas of focus: cleaning up Washington, including by imposing term limits on Congress; protecting American workers; and restoring rule of law. He also laid out his plan for working with Congress to introduce 10 pieces of legislation that would repeal Obamacare, fund the construction of a wall at the Southern border (with a provision that Mexico would reimburse the U.S.), encourage infrastructure investment, rebuild military bases, promote school choice and more.

President Elect ‘s Transition Website: Education
The American Dream remains an illusion for too many families and taxpayers.  We fail too often to provide our schoolchildren with a high-quality education to prepare them to be successful adults in a knowledge economy that rewards creativity and a smart work ethic, which in turns fails to provide our workforce with relevant intellectual and career competencies necessary for advancement in the U.S. or international business community.  Each time our nation forgoes the academic preparedness of one child or adult we miss a window of opportunity to invent a roadmap for greatness our founding generation envisioned 229 years ago.
To Make America Great Again for approximately 70 million school-age students, 20 million post-secondary students, and 150 million working adults, the Trump Administration will advance policies to support learning-and-earning opportunities at the state and local levels – where the heart and soul of American education takes place. We will accomplish this goal through high-quality early childhood, magnet, STEAM or theme-based programs; expansion of choice through charters, vouchers, and teacher-driven learning models; and relief from U.S. Department of Education regulations that inhibit innovation. A Trump Administration also will make post-secondary options more affordable and accessible through technology enriched delivery models.

Donald Trump and the Future of Education
The president-elect supports school vouchers and scaling back the government’s role in student lending.
The Atlantic by EMILY DERUY  NOV 9, 2016
I’ll be honest; I’d pre-written a piece on what a Clinton presidency might mean for education. The polls pointed in her direction and she’s been talking about children and schools for years, meaning there was plenty to mull. I’d interviewed a number of both conservative and liberal education wonks who had a general idea of what to expect and a relatively uniform belief that she would work across the aisle.  Now, what happens education-wise under Donald Trump’s administration is unclear.  What he’s said on the campaign trail about schools and students obviously won’t transfer directly into policy, but his words offer clues. Will Trump shutter the U.S. Education Department entirely, as he’s suggested? That seems highly unlikely, but there’s a very real chance he’ll scale back its scope drastically. Looking at the big picture, with Republicans controlling the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives, more decision-making power is likely to be transferred back to states and local governments. And Trump is likely to push what he’s called a “market-driven” approach to education. That makes civil-rights groups and many Democrats who see the federal government as something of a safety net for vulnerable low-income students and children of color nervous.

Mayor's Office of Ed ‏@PHL_MOE – Community Schools and PreK
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Regional Basic Education Funding Formula Workshops
PASA, PSBA, PAIU, PARSS, the PA Principals Association and PASBO are traveling around the state to conduct regional workshops for school leaders to provide them with more information on the new basic education funding formula. Register below to attend one of 8 regional workshops to learn more about the new formula and what it means for your school district and for the state. Please note that capacity is limited at each location and registration is required. A webcast option is also available. These regional workshops are being supported by a grant from the William Penn Foundation.
Monday, November 14, 2016 @ 6:00 pm: Colonial IU 20
(6 Danforth Drive, Easton, PA 18045)
Tuesday, November 29, 2016 @ 9:00 am: Luzerne IU 18
(368 Tioga Ave, Kingston, PA 18704)
Tuesday, December 6, 2016 @ 6:00 pm: Chester County IU 24
(455 Boot Road, Downingtown, PA 19335)
Wednesday, November 16, 2016 @ 9:30 am: Webcast

Public Forum: Who should run Philadelphia's schools? Thursday, Dec. 8, 6-7:30 p.m. Drexel University - Behrakis Grand Hall
Join us for a public forum featuring state, city and civic leaders sponsored by Philadelphia Media Network, the Philadelphia Public School Notebook and Drexel University's School of Education.
Creese Student Center 3210 Chestnut St. Philadelphia, PA 19104
It's been 15 years since the state took control of Philadelphia's schools and created the School Reform Commission. Since then, the SRC has been a polarizing presence in the city.
With the recent resignation of two members of the commission and the term of a third expiring soon, the future of the SRC and the issue of school governance is once again at the forefront of the civic dialogue. Is the SRC the only model to consider?  Should Philadelphia create an elected school board, or should the governing body be controlled by the Mayor? Are there models in other cities that could help us rethink our own school governance?   The Philadelphia Public School Notebook, Philadelphia Media Network -- owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and, and Drexel University's School of Education are hosting a public forum on this critical issue.
RSVP - Admission is free, but you must register in advance. Register now, and find out more about the panelists and other details at our registration page.

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NSBA Advocacy Institute 2017 -- Jan. 29-31, Washington, D.C.
Join school directors around the country at the conference designed to give you the tools to advocate successfully on behalf of public education.
  • NSBA will help you develop a winning advocacy strategy to help you in Washington, D.C. and at home.
  • Attend timely and topical breakout sessions lead by NSBA’s knowledgeable staff and outside experts.
  • Expand your advocacy network by swapping best practices, challenges, and successes with other school board members from across the country.
This event is open to members of the Federal Relations Network. To find out how you can join, contact Learn more about the Advocacy Institute at

Register now for the 2017 NSBA Annual Conference 
Plan to join public education leaders for networking and learning at the 2017 NSBA Annual Conference, March 25-27 in Denver, CO. General registration is now open at A conference schedule, including pre-conference workshops, is available on the NSBA website.

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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