Monday, November 14, 2016

PA Ed Policy Roundup Nov 14: Fiercest MA Question 2 opponents often from communities with existing charter schools


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 Nov 14, 2016
Fiercest MA Question 2 opponents often from communities with existing charter schools



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 a regional workshop 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



Did you catch our weekend postings?
Pence accomplished what Trump wants for national education: Vouchers and charters

“Still, Corman made it clear that Republicans would continue to pursue their agenda, such as advancing alternatives to traditional public schools. Larger Republican majorities also make it at least slightly more likely that Wolf will have to make even bigger concessions if he wants to advance his priorities.”
Power sharing between governor, GOP enters new territory
Morning Call by Marc Levy Associated Press November 13, 2016
Political-power sharing at Pennsylvania's Capitol will enter unexplored territory when Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and the largest legislative majorities of any political party in modern Pennsylvania history — in this case Republicans — begin a new two-year legislative session.  The legislative elections took place amid a wave breaking across Pennsylvania for President-elect Donald Trump.  Republicans picked up three seats in each chamber. Voters helped the GOP successfully defend seats in moderate suburban Philadelphia where Trump was deeply unpopular, and continued a longer-term trend of tilting western Pennsylvania to Republicans.  That means in January the House GOP will seat the largest majority of either party in the chamber in 60 years, when the Constitution allowed seven more seats, or 210. In the Senate, the GOP will seat the biggest majority of either side in almost 80 years, since the 1949-50 session.

Fate of high schools looms over Erie schools plan
Closing one is 'an eventuality,' superintendent says
By Ed Palattella Erie Times-News November 13, 2016
Erie schools Superintendent Jay Badams still is considering closing Erie's four high schools to offset a projected $10 million budget deficit in 2017-18 and more deficits in the years ahead. But even if that drastic measure does not occur, the Erie School District is likely to shut down one of the four high schools sometime in the future, Badams said.  He said shrinking enrollment has left the 11,500-district with too many "empty seats" — about 4,000, with most of those spots spread across the four high schools: East, Central Career & Technical Institute, Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy and Strong Vincent.  "We see it as an eventuality, unless Erie attracts more residents and businesses," Badams said of closing one of the high schools. "We have to make decisions based on reality — and, right now, we have too much capacity."

Running for resources at a city school
Inquirer by Kristen A. Graham, Staff Writer Updated: NOVEMBER 14, 2016 — 3:01 AM EST
The young ladies flopped onto the ground, their sneakers squeaking on the gym floor.
The Mitchell Elementary girls, gathered for a workout for their after-school running club, circled around their principal, Stephanie Andrewlevich. She leveled with them.  On Nov. 20, she told them, she's running 26.2 miles. She's a runner, but she's not entering the Philadelphia Marathon for fun or exercise. She's doing it because the school needs computers badly - 240, to be exact, at a total price tag of $94,000. The principal hopes her effort raises awareness of her students' plight.  "Mitchell doesn't have $94,000," Andrewlevich said.  The K-8 school at 55th and Kingsessing sits in a distressed neighborhood in the country's poorest big city, and its 550 students have enormous needs.

Under improved truancy law, Pa. parents still face jail and even higher fines
Inquirer by Kathy Boccella, Staff Writer Updated: NOVEMBER 13, 2016 — 1:09 AM EST
Ellen DiNino, a 55-year-old mother of seven from Reading, had accumulated more than $2,000 in fines and court costs for her children's chronic school absences. With no way to pay, she was sent to jail for two days under Pennsylvania's truancy law.  The first night, she complained of chest pains and difficulty breathing. A doctor would see her the next day, she was told. But the next day, June 8, 2014, she was dead of heart failure.  From DeNino's death grew a groundswell to radically change the way the state dealt with truancy. The law's harsh penalties, critics said, created a kind of debtors' prison for poor families already buried by social and financial crises.  But what has emerged from the sausage grinder of lawmaking in Harrisburg - a truancy overhaul package signed by Gov. Wolf earlier this month – isn't quite what reformers had in mind.


Dallas School District strike begins
Citizens Voice by SARAH SCINTO, STAFF WRITER / PUBLISHED: NOVEMBER 14, 2016
DALLAS TWP. — School’s out for the strike.
Starting today, teachers in the Dallas School District are on strike, leaving schools closed for the duration.  Dallas Superintendent Thomas Duffy planned to meet with the state department of education today to determine how long the strike can last without taking away from the number of days students are mandated to attend school.  “My hope is that I’ll be able to ... determine the potential for its duration,” he said. “We’ll put out additional communication.”


This high-poverty school succeeds by focusing on adventure, the arts, project-based learning
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss November 14 at 6:00 AM 
If you listen to the school reform debate these days, you would be forgiven for thinking that public schools across the board are failing students and that schools that are struggling can only improve if they fire all of their staff, become a charter school or let the state take them over. It’s just not so.  This is clear in a project called the Schools of Opportunity, launched a few years ago by educators who sought to highlight public high schools that actively seek to close opportunity gaps through 11 research-proven practices and not standardized test scores (which are more a measure of socioeconomic status than anything else).  The project assesses how well schools provide health and psychological support for students, judicious and fair discipline policies, high-quality teacher mentoring programs, outreach to the community, effective student and faculty support systems, and broad and enriched curriculum. Schools submit applications explaining why they believe their school should be recognized.

Massachusetts Charter school 'No' vote: Fiercest Question 2 opponents often from communities with existing charter schools
By Phil Demers on November 13, 2016 at 6:30 AM, updated November 13, 2016 at 6:33 AM
In Tuesday's election Massachusetts voters sent a strong message on ballot Question 2 — rejecting a proposal that would have allowed the state to approve up to 12 new or expanded charter schools a year – despite strong support from Gov. Charlie Baker and significant advertising dollars behind a "Yes" vote.  Several school districts across the state with existing charters — including Somerville, Easthampton, Hadley, South Hadley, Greenfield, Holyoke and Adams/Cheshire — viewed the charter school expansion most negatively, rejecting the proposal by a 70-30 margin on average vs. the statewide 62-38 margin.  Adams-Cheshire Regional School District — comprising Cheshire Elementary, C.T. Plunkett Elementary School and Hoosac Valley Middle & High School — was, at the start of fiscal 2016 planning, stuck with a "$1 million budget deficit, and already weighs in at about $1,500 below the state average for per pupil spending," according to The Berkshire Eagle

Massachusetts charter school backers regroup after stinging setback
Providence Journal By BOB SALSBERG The Associated Press Posted Nov 11, 2016 at 2:07 PM Updated Nov 11, 2016 at 2:09 PM
BOSTON (AP) — Charter school proponents are regrouping after the lopsided defeat in Massachusetts of Question 2, a ballot initiative that would have allowed the schools to expand their presence beyond existing state caps.  More than 6 in 10 voters rejected the proposal, according to unofficial returns from Tuesday's election. And some of the widest margins of defeat came in the very cities where supporters had hoped to increase charter school options for families whose children attend underperforming or failing schools.  The measure was defeated 62 percent to 38 percent in Boston and by a slightly smaller majority in Springfield.  Backers spent more than $24 million in the unsuccessful effort, a record for any ballot question in state history.
The loss was a blow to charter school supporters not only in Massachusetts but also around the country. 

Donald Trump Is Picking His Cabinet: Here’s a Short List
By THE NEW YORK TIMES NOV. 12, 2016
Donald J. Trump’s transition team, which was handed over to Vice President-elect Mike Pence on Friday and includes a  host of corporate consultants and lobbyists in addition to independent experts, is moving quickly to assemble leaders of the new administration. Here are some possibilities for the cabinet and other key posts.

Trump Advisor Urges Extradition of Fetullah Gulen, Charter Leader
Diane Ravitch’s Blog By dianeravitch November 12, 2016 //
Newsweek reports that one of Donald Trump top advisors wants to return cleric Fetullah Gulen to Turkey, which seeks his extradition in connection with a failed coup attempt. Gulen is associated with or controls about 160 publicly funded charter schools in the U.S., many of whose teachers are Turkish nationals and all of whose boards are led by Turkish men.
““We need to adjust our foreign policy to recognize Turkey as a priority. We need to see the world from Turkey’s perspective,” retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn wrote for the conservative news website The Hill.  “What would we have done if right after 9/11 we heard the news that Osama bin Laden lives in a nice villa at a Turkish resort while running 160 charter schools funded by the Turkish taxpayers?”
Sharon Higgins, a parent activist in Oakland, keeps a list of Gulen charters.  Mark Hall’s documentary “Killing Ed,” focuses on Gulen charter schools.  If Trump were to extradite Gulen, it is not clear who would take charge of the charter schools opened by his allies.

The moon on Monday will look unlike any other since 1948
By David Templeton / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette November 11, 2016 12:39 AM
The periodic “supermoon,” as described in recent years, is larger and brighter than the average full moon and certainly worth a skyward glance as it rises like a giant spotlight above the horizon.  But on Monday, the Earth, moon and sun will conclude an orbital do-si-do that leaves them in almost perfect alignment, producing a supermoon unlike any other full moon in 68 years.  
NASA says we’re about to witness “an extra-supermoon,” which last occurred in 1948 and won’t recur until Nov. 25, 2034.  There’s a crazy scientific name for it — a perigee-syzygy moon. It occurs when the moon is on the opposite side of Earth from the sun while also at perigee, which is its closest orbital point to Earth.  The perigee-syzygy moment officially will occur at 8:52 a.m. Monday. That’s during daylight, so the best view will be moon rise on Sunday or Monday evening, with similarly sized nearly full moons occurring this weekend and a few days after.


Mayor's Office of Ed ‏@PHL_MOE – Community Schools and PreK
Tweet from Philly Mayor’s Office of Education
Want the latest on #CommunitySchools and #PHLpreK? Sign up for our newsletter to get up-to-date info about #PHLed
http://bit.ly/2dpkGkn 

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 philly.com, 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.  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/who-should-run-philadelphias-schools-tickets-28926705555
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 Jamie.Zuvich@psba.org. Learn more about the Advocacy Institute at https://www.nsba.org/events/advocacy-institute.

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 https://www.nsba.org/conference/registration. 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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