Wednesday, November 2, 2016

PA Ed Policy Roundup Nov 2: Follow the Money: Contributions by Senator Scott Wagner in 2016

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup November 2, 2016
Follow the Money: Contributions by Senator Scott Wagner in 2016


Blogger note: Senator Wagner has established himself as influential statewide.  Here at the Keystone State Ed Coalition’s worldwide offices, we got out our corporate helicopter, dusted it off, wound up the rubber band as tight as we could and took off to get a bird’s eye view of the PA Department of State’s Campaign Financing website….

Contributions by Senator Scott Wagner in 2016
Source: PA Department of State Campaign Finance Reporting Website

Recipient
Date
Amount
Dauphin Co Rep Com
2/5/2016
$2,500.00
Juniata Co Rep Com
2/9/2016
$1,000.00
Lewis, Andrew Friends of
6/30/2016
$5,000.00
London, Jack Friends of
10/24/2016
$25,000.00
Lycoming Co Rep Com
2/1/2016
$120.00
Lycoming Co Rep Com
2/11/2016
$1,000.00
McClure, Rohanna Team
4/8/2016
$5,000.00
McClure, Rohanna Team
10/26/116
$5,000.00
Regan, Mike for Senate
4/5/2016
$10,000.00
Sears, Joel for State House
6/25/2016
$5,000.00
Sears, Joel for State House
7/7/2016
$1,017.60
Sears, Joel for State House
6/25/2016
$5,000.00
Sears, Joel for State House
7/7/2016
$1,017.60
Senate Rep Campaign Com
4/12/2016
$15,000.00
Simmons, Justin Friends of
3/1/2016
$1,000.00
Truitt, Dan Friends of
10/28/2016
$5,000.00
York Co Rep Com Operating
12/28/2016
$2,500.00
York Co Rep Com Operating
2/1/2016
$2,500.00
York Co Rep Com Operating
2/26/2016
$2,500.00
York Co Rep Com Operating
3/30/2016
$2,500.00
York Co Rep Com Operating
5/5/2016
$250.00
York Co Rep Com Operating
8/11/2016
$250.00
York Co Rep Com Operating
5/27/2016
$2,500.00
York Co Rep Com Operating
6/7/2016
$2,500.00
York Co Rep Com Operating
6/25/2016
$2,500.00
York Co Rep Com Operating
7/20/2016
$2,500.00
York Co Rep Com Operating
8/29/2016
$2,500.00
Disanto for Senate
10/13/2016
$100,000.00
Greene Co Rep Com
3/12/2016
$1,000.00
Joswiak, Barry Friends of
5/9/2016
$500.00
Langerholc, Wayne for Senate
9/17/2016
$10,000.00
Rafferty, John Friends of
4/1/2016
$5,000.00
Rafferty, John Friends of
6/20/2016
$1,000.00
Rafferty, John Friends of
9/11/2016
$9,525.93
Voit for PA Treasurer
6/7/2016
$1,000.00
First Armstrong County Council of Republican Women
4/26/2016
$1,000.00
Keefer Wetzel, Dawn Committee Friends of
6/25/2016
$500.00
London, Jack Friends of
1/28/2016
$1,500.00
McGinnis, John Friends of
2/23/2016
$10,000.00
Rep State Com of PA
5/23/2016
$1,050.00
Rep State Com of PA
5/19/2016
$350.00
Springfield Rep Party
10/24/2016
$5,000.00
Monroe Co Rep Com
10/6/2016
$200.00
Lebanon Co Rep Com
10/14/2016
$500.00
Republican City Committee
6/6/2016
$3,000.00
         Total

$261,781.13

On Election Day, don't forget the Pa. House and Senate: Franklin L. Kury
PennLive Op-Ed By Franklin L. Kury on November 01, 2016 at 1:30 PM, updated November 01, 2016 at 1:34 PM
When you get inside the voting booth on November 8, start your voting by going first to the bottom of the ballot.  Vote first for the state House and Senate positions. Then work your way up the ballot, voting last for the President.  By doing so you will help provide a much needed balance to the importance of the public officials we elect and lay the groundwork to obtain a truly competitive state legislature.  Our Pennsylvania Legislature is elected under a gerrymandered scheme in which the Republican legislative majority has little fear of opposition at the polls and is largely resistant to true public opinion of our state, a state where the Republicans have a million fewer registered voters than the Democrats.  The candidates for President and news media commentators are giving considerable attention to the so-called "down ballot" races.

13 PA General Assembly races to watch on Election Night
Jan Murphy Penn Live November 1, 2016

What's driving schools to close on Election Day? Security concerns and logistics
Penn Live By Ivey DeJesus | idejesus@pennlive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on November 01, 2016 at 4:33 PM, updated November 01, 2016 at 6:10 PM
Amid a contentious election cycle that has already been marred by violence and charges of a rigged election, some school districts across the country have announced closures on Election Day.  Across Pennsylvania, the decision to open or close schools rests largely with local schools districts. In some cases, district officials have framed the decisions to close against security concerns, which is the reason Easton Area School District superintendent John Reinhart decided to close schools this comingTuesday. In other cases, though, the decision to cancel classes on voting day stems largely out of logistical concerns.

House approves bill giving test options to vocational students
Tribune Democrat By David Hurst dhurst@tribdem.com  Oct 30, 2016
The Pennsylvania House has approved a bill that would give Pennsylvania’s vocational students alternatives to passing the Keystone Exam for graduation.  But legislators might have to approve that bill all over again next year for it to become law.  House Bill 2381 would allow career and technology education students to take nationally recognized exams within their fields or obtain specialized industry certifications in areas such as welding or the nurse aide program. With a state law looming that would require all students to pass the state’s standardized Keystone test in 2018, the effort is the latest of several to provide more flexibility – in this case for students who plan to begin their careers after graduating from schools like Greater Johnstown Career & Technology Center.

Pa.'s revenue picture improved in October but still has some ground to make up
Penn Live By Jan Murphy | jmurphy@pennlive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on November 01, 2016 at 5:42 PM, updated November 01, 2016 at 8:38 PM
Pennsylvania's revenue picture showed some improvement in October but those keeping a close eye on the state's finances suggest we still have to watch our pennies.  The state Department of Revenue issued its monthly revenue report showing that the state took in $2.2 billion in October, which is a little less than 2 percent, or $36 million, more than was estimated. But revenues for the first four months of the fiscal year continue to run behind.  The year-to-date collections total $8.8 billion, which is $182 million, or 2 percent, below estimate.

Segregation & Educational Inequity in Pennsylvania
Research for Action Policy Brief November 1, 2016
Segregation and educational inequity are harmful to students and weaken school systems. Researchers have found that racially and socioeconomically diverse schools and classrooms provide cognitive and academic benefits to all students. 1 Increasing school funding in poor school districts has been shown to increase years of completed education, improve earnings, and reduce poverty.2Closing the achievement gap between white children and black and Hispanic children would boost the US economy by an average of $551 billion per year and generate tax revenues that would dramatically outpace any costs associated with necessary reforms. 3 Yet 62 years after Brown v. Board of Education rendered the doctrine of “separate but equal” unconstitutional, Pennsylvania schools are among the most deeply segregated and highly inequitable in the nation. Even with school segregation on the rise across the country, 4 the degree of segregation in Pennsylvania schools stands out. The rate at which black and Hispanic students attend schools that are over 90% non-white are the 8th and 11th highest in the country, respectively. 5 A recent report found that Pennsylvania is home to six of America’s 50 most starkly segregated school district borders, which separate wealthy, predominately white districts from under-resourced schools that serve their mostly non-white neighbors.

Penn State hotline offers math tutoring to Plum students
Trib Live BY MICHAEL DIVITTORIO | Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016, 2:48 p.m.
Plum middle and high school students who need help in math can get it through a pilot program that Penn State New Kensington started.  “I think it will be tremendously helpful. I hope the kids take advantage of it,” school board Vice President Richard Zucco said.  College students tutor callers in grades 6 through 12 through the Homework Hotline at 724-334-6007. The program is available from 6 to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays.  Penn State staffers have collected district textbooks and related work materials for tutors to use.  “When the students call, our tutors will guide them through the homework,” said Penn State New Kensington STEM outreach coordinator Colleen Smith. “Our tutors will pull material the student caller identifies.”  Smith said this is the first semester for the program.  “We are aiming to have at least 10 school districts working with us by the end of this semester,” Smith said. “It's a different type of tutoring over the phone. We've been really pleased with our start. The students who have called in have been able to get help. The tutors have commented on how good it feels when the caller gets it.”

Philly District should learn from its own history in school overhauls
The notebook Commentary by Debra Weiner November 1, 2016 — 4:14pm
The Notebook and NewsWorks covered the stark contrast last week in how much community input was offered in meetings at Ben Franklin High School and Kensington Health Sciences Academy to develop school-improvement plans. This striking difference between the meetings simply underscores how little the School District has learned from its own history.  Would anyone familiar with Ben Franklin have expected more than a handful of participants at the community meeting, given the fact that the school draws most of its students from outside its neighborhood?  Assuming a non-existent "community" will select a school-improvement strategy from a variety of complex options is akin to yelling louder at a deaf person. Guaranteed futility.  Simple common sense would dictate that the School District needs a personalized approach to convening Ben Franklin's industry community partners and far-flung parents first to examine the school's strengths and needs, based on performance data. Using that framework, this group could then select the intervention best-suited to addressing its needs and building on its strengths.  

Group seeking to set up arts-centered charter school at old Bishop McDevitt High files application with Harrisburg school board
Penn Live By Ivey DeJesus | idejesus@pennlive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on November 01, 2016 at 6:00 PM
An organization that is seeking to establish a charter school at the sight of a former Catholic school in Harrisburg on Tuesday filed its application with the Harrisburg School Board.  Arts to the Core Charter School is seeking to establish an arts‑centric charter school in the former Bishop McDevitt High School property on Market Street.  The plan, which includes a sales agreement between the charter group and the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg - requires the approval of the Harrisburg City School Board. The school is being billed as an arts‑centric, kindergarten through eighth grade charter school that would deliver core academic subjects through the arts, and provide "extensive remedial, special and English language learning to those students requiring these interventions."  The school plan, if approved, would be slated to open in September 2017.


Federal regulations threaten civil rights
Cloaking Inequity Blog Posted on October 31, 2016 by rosacastrofeinberg
Do the U. S. Department of Education (USDOE) recently proposed regulations threaten the civil rights of English Learner (EL) students? The new regulation (34 C.F.R. §299.19 (c) (3)) would eliminate the use of state content assessment results and other evidence of actual classroom performance in English Learner (EL) program exit decisions, violate the rights of thousands of Hispanic, Chinese, Haitian, and other language minority parents to have meaningful input into the education of their children, silence the voice of teachers into program exit decisions, and disrupt the rules and procedures in place in most of the nation’s schools and districts and in all of Florida’s. These changes would result in harm to ELs since premature termination of language and academic support would increase their risk of school failure and negatively impact their life chances.  Entry and exit criteria determine who becomes eligible for the benefits of program participation, how students become eligible, and for how long they remain eligible.  If students are reclassified on the basis of one sole score on an English Proficiency (ELP) test and are thrust into mainstream classes before they are ready, the challenges they face in meeting achievement standards are magnified. To meet our legal and moral obligations as educators, we must provide English Language Learners opportunities to learn the English language, to learn the subject matter required for grade to grade promotion and graduation, and to acquire the academic language needed for success in school, higher education, and life.  To accomplish these goals, parents and educators must consider factors in addition to the results of an (ELP) assessment (a test of language skills that does not assess content knowledge and is administered only to ELs) when making high-stakes placement decisions.

Moody’s warns cities on charter school vote
Says expanding program could weaken credit rating
Boston Globe By Frank Phillips and David Scharfenberg  GLOBE STAFF
The credit-rating agency Moody’s Investors Service is warning Boston and three other Massachusetts cities that passage of a ballot measure to expand charter schools could weaken the municipalities’ financial standing and ultimately threaten their bond ratings.  In e-mails sent Monday, Nicholas Lehman, an assistant vice president at Moody’s, warned that passage of the referendum would be “credit negative’’ for the cities.  “Depending on the Nov. 8 vote, the general credit view is the following: A vote of ‘No’ is credit positive for urban cities. A vote of ‘Yes’ is credit negative for urban cities,’’ Lehman wrote.  Lehman told the cities he would provide a draft analysis of the referendum’s impact on Wednesday and solicit their comment, publishing a full report after the election.  It was not clear Tuesday what has Moody’s concerned. But opponents of the ballot measure have stressed that city-run, traditional public schools can lose education aid as students migrate to charters.

Feeling the Bern: Will Bernie Sanders Become Head of the Senate’s Education Committee?
The74 by CAROLYN PHENICIE  carolyn@the74million.org cphenicie October 31, 2016
It turns out that the annoying 19-year-old bro in your Facebook feed may have been on to something: Surprise presidential hit Bernie Sanders and his self-described democratic socialist platform could actually have some real impact on America’s future.  There’s a not-insignificant chance that Sanders will become chairman of the Senate HELP Committee — Health, Education, Labor and Pensions — when the new session of Congress begins in January. That would give him sway over areas that were vital flash points for his campaign, including an overdue rewrite of the Higher Education Act.  To be clear, a number of things would have to break just right for Sanders to take over as chairman — not the least of which being the Democrats regaining control of the Senate.

Colin Powell challenges Dallas on pre-K initiative: 'Don't screw it up'
Dallas Morning News Written by Jill Cowan, Economy reporter November 2, 2016
The day after his tenure as Secretary of State ended, retired U.S. Gen. Colin Powell woke up and had a “leisurely cup of coffee,” with his wife and declared, “Darling, this is the first day of the rest of our life,” he recalled Tuesday night at Dallas' Meyerson Symphony Center. His wife muttered under her breath.  "I quickly found this is not sustainable,” he joked.  Powell, who delivered this year's University of Dallas McDermott Lecture, said he eventually realized that he can't change the past and that the future rests on children. And children's futures rest on education.  After years of advocating for education, Powell told Dallas educational advocates and civic leaders that he found himself shifting his focus earlier and earlier into the process.  “It starts at birth,” he said.

Number of home-schooled students has doubled since 1999, new data shows
Washington Post By Emma Brown November 1 at 12:08 PM 
Approximately 1.8 million U.S. children were home-schooled in 2012, more than double the number that were home-schooled in 1999, when the federal government began gathering data on national home-schooling trends, according to estimates released Tuesday. The estimated number of home-schooled children represents 3.4 percent of the U.S. student population between the ages of 5 and 17.  The increase was fastest between 1999 and 2007, then slowed between 2007 and 2012, according to the estimates from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Georgia Voters to Decide State's Role in Struggling Schools
Measure sparks unusual alliances
Education Week By Denisa R. Superville October 25, 2016
Georgia voters will soon decide whether to change their constitution to clear the way for state officials to play a more aggressive role in taking over long-struggling public schools.  The ballot measure—known as Amendment 1—has generated heated debate and created strange political bedfellows, with teachers' unions, the state's school boards' association, the Georgia PTA, and some conservative Republicans lining up against the measure.  On the other side is GOP Gov. Nathan Deal, who proposed and championed a state-run district modeled on  Louisiana's Recovery School District and Tennessee's Achievement School District. His allies include the state chamber of commerce, some Democrats, and supporters of charters and school choice.


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