Wednesday, November 30, 2016

PA Ed Policy Roundup Nov 30: Trump's Education Pick .@BetsyDeVos: Privatization Without Accountability

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup Nov 30, 2016
Trump's Education Pick: Privatization Without Accountability

If you are a school leader in southeastern PA, I look forward to seeing you at this workshop.
Southeastern PA Regional Basic Education Funding Formula Workshop
Tuesday, December 6, 2016 @ 6:00 pm: Chester County IU 24
(455 Boot Road, Downingtown, PA 19335)

Pennsylvania Every Student Succeeds Act Public Tour
First in a series of Public Events:
Friday, December 2- Pittsburgh- 9:30 am- Community College of Allegheny County
Community College of Allegheny County Main Campus in the Tom Forester Student Service Center Auditorium 808 Ridge Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15212

“It is @BetsyDeVos's opposition to accountability that concerns me, as it suggests a misunderstanding about how markets actually work”
Quoted tweet from Joshua S Goodman, Harvard Economist
Trump's Education Pick: Privatization Without Accountability
Justin C. Cohen’s Blog November 29, 2016
Donald Trump nominated Betsy DeVos to be United States Secretary of Education, and her public record is long. DeVos has been a fixture in GOP politics for decades, while her family's financial largesse has supported the conservative movement since the 1970s.  DeVos was the chairwoman of the Michigan Republican party in the 1990s, and the easiest way to intuit DeVos’s approach to governance is through examining Michigan education policy, where she has been an instrumental player for a generation. As Kevin Carey wrote in The New York Times:
Working primarily in Michigan, Ms. DeVos has been a strong advocate of vouchers, and her charter work has often focused on making charter schools as private as possible … In her home state, Detroit’s laissez-faire choice policies have led to a wild west of cutthroat competition and poor academic results.    Whereas the majority of charter schools nationally are, by law, not-for-profit institutions, DeVos fought hard to proliferate for-profit charters in Michigan. The morass that Carey describes has elicited disavowal from critical corners of the charter commentariat. Robin Lake and her colleagues wrote in Education Next last year:
Even Michigan charter advocates have trouble defending the overall state of charter quality. Many told us there were too many low-performing charter schools in Detroit … Detroit is a powerful illustration of what happens when no one takes responsibility for the entire system of publicly supported schools in a city. Parents struggle to navigate their many, mostly low-performing options, and providers face at best weak incentives to improve academic quality. As a result, large numbers of failing district and charter schools continue to operate.
Choice without accountability is a recipe for a race to the bottom. As Harvard economist Joshua S. Goodman notes, much of what passes for free market ideology suffers from a misunderstanding of markets.

The Problem with School Choice
Harvard Graduate School of Education Usable Knowledge Blog BY LEAH SHAFER, ON NOVEMBER 29, 2016 3:32 PM
When President-elect Donald Trump tapped Betsy DeVos as his pick for U.S. Secretary of Education, he triggered a debate over whether widespread school choice — like the voucher system that DeVos supports — would really boost student achievement across the country.
The selection has raised larger questions about who should finance education, how schools should be held accountable, and even how we define the value of a public school system. Educational economist Joshua Goodman took to Twitter to explore another question: whether increased competition would definitively improve the education market.  We asked Goodman, an associate professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, to share his thoughts with Usable Knowledge.

“Drawing on the family wealth of her husband, an heir to the Amway fortune, DeVos helped push through a Michigan law allowing for an explosion of charter schools without establishing a strong mechanism for regulating them.
The result has been a boon for private investors, but not for schoolchildren. Eighty percent of charter schools in Michigan are run by for-profit entities, and most of them perform below the state average. Even more, a federal review last year found that charter schools represented an "unreasonably high" fraction of Michigan's lowest-performing schools.  Meanwhile, DeVos helped defeat a measure that would have created a system for closing charter schools that failed. The irony was almost as rich as Betsy DeVos herself. Charter-school advocates have long insisted that their reform would force underperforming public schools to improve their product or close up shop. When charter schools came under fire for low performance, however, DeVos made sure their doors stayed open.”
Commentary: Get past stale debates on charter schools
By Jonathan Zimmerman Updated: NOVEMBER 30, 2016 — 3:01 AM EST
Jonathan Zimmerman, who teaches education and history at the University of Pennsylvania, is the author of "Campus Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know" (Oxford University Press)
You're an enemy of American public schools!
You're an enemy of poor American children!
Welcome to our national debate - such as it is - over charter schools, which received a shot in the arm last week after President-elect Trump nominated Michigan charter-school activist Betsy DeVos for secretary of education. In predictably lockstep fashion, DeVos' critics warned that charter schools are harming American public education; meanwhile, her champions said charters improve schooling for America's least privileged kids.  They're both wrong. Nearly three million children now attend about 7,000 charter schools, which have witnessed astonishing successes and awful failures and everything in between. So any blanket generalization about "charter schools" will almost surely be false.  We know that some charter schools like those in the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) have helped poor kids make stronger academic gains than their similarly disadvantaged peers in regular public schools. But we also know that other charter schools have been cesspools of corruption and inefficiency, enriching private entrepreneurs and giving students little or nothing in return.

The Long Game of Betsy DeVos
To understand Betsy DeVos’ vision for education, you have to know where she comes from…
I first laid eyes upon Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, at Campbell Brown’s forum for GOP presidential contenders. It was the summer of 2015, back when Trump was little more than a punchline, and Jeb Bush, despite drooping in the August heat that day, still seemed like the real contender. Because the event wasn’t an official debate, Bush, Walker, Vindal, Fiorina et al couldn’t appear on stage together—which meant that Brown asked the same questions of each, and got similar pablum-esque non-answers, in an endless *conversational* format. And then suddenly there was Betsy DeVos, a Brown chum, holding forth about an education *moonshot.* It wasn’t what she said that interested me so much as what she represented. Could the education reform coalition’s major selling point, its bipartisan-ness, really stretch to incorporate the extreme right-wing views of DeVos? Mightn’t it be better for her to remain in the favored domain of the DeVos family, the shadows, or at least in Michigan?

“DeVos may have problems not only from the left but from the political center as she appears to be out of step with many charter school advocates in cities where charters often represent 30 percent or more of student enrollment. For one thing, she has supported for-profit charters in Michigan, while the overwhelming majority of charters are run by nonprofits with an explicitly public purpose.
Second, she has not always seemed to prioritize quality over choice. There is a chasm within the charter world between those who view choice as the road to quality and those who view quality as an intentional practice and not a natural byproduct of choice. DeVos’ view that choice leads inexorably to quality is a more libertarian view than is found among most school reformers.  Most high quality charter operators are happy to see poorly performing charters challenged or even shut down. They value the relative autonomy of charters, which they claim as necessary to enable stronger performance. But they know that autonomy alone does not ensure performance. Moreover, they view the credibility of the charter movement as linked to the capacity to perform and innovate.”
A primer on how to navigate our new reality. This week: The next education battle
The Philadelphia Citizen BY JEREMY NOWAK NOV. 29, 2016
Let’s begin with the obvious: From the perspective of rewarding his base, Donald Trump owes little to cities. After all, his winning electoral numbers were overwhelmingly rural, small town industrial belt, and exurban.  But while the majority of hand-wringing these past two weeks has been from Democrats wondering how they lost the Midwest, there is another subtext to the election that warrants introspection: The cities and metropolitan regions that voted Democratic are increasingly the major generators of economic value and population in America. So if Republicans want to convert 2016 into a longer-term triumph they too have lots of work to do.  Trump has two domestic political challenges: (1) How to reward his base and (2) how to broaden his base. While those problems are common political fare, for Trump the task is especially difficult. Here are the two central policy and political problems facing the president-elect:

Blogger note: Have an opinion about the appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education?  Call these three senators today.
1. Senator Lamar Alexander, Chairman, U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
Washington, D.C. Phone:(202) 224-4944
2. Senator Toomey's Offices
Washington, D.C. Phone: (202) 224-4254
Senator Casey is a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
3. Senator Casey’s Offices
Washington, D.C. Phone: (202) 224-6324
Toll Free: (866) 802-2833

Civil Rights Advocates React Warily to Betsy DeVos, Trump's Pick for Ed. Sec.
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Andrew Ujifusa on November 29, 2016 8:12 AM
Betsy DeVos, the major Republican Party donor who's been nominated by President-elect Donald Trump to be his education secretary, is best known as an advocate for school choice of various kinds, including vouchers and tax-credit scholarships. But her views on civil rights issues for students and protections for disadvantaged learners and other student groups aren't as clear.  In a speech given at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Federation for Children, the school choice advocacy group she chairs, DeVos cast vouchers, charters, and scholarships as upholding students' rights in the context of educational opportunity, saying, "School choice is the pathway for millions of children to get the education they deserve." In the same speech, she also said choice advocates "fight for kids who don't fit in." You can watch her speech at the top of this blog post.  But how have traditional civil rights advocacy groups involved in education and others responded to Trump's nomination of DeVos? Several of them expressed concern about how school choice by itself does not address inequities and discrimination faced by minority and other communities. In fact, a few worried that school choice programs often undercut protections for students. We've rounded up some of their reactions below. Let us know in the comments if you think we're missing reactions from any notable groups or individuals. 

"It looks like oversight is one of the keys to successful school reform," Harris said. With "Betsy DeVos, the odds of that happening are not so great." For one, "she's the architect of the Detroit system," which he said has been plagued by under-regulation and for-profit companies.”
Betsy DeVos has a loud voice in Louisiana politics
By Danielle Dreilinger, | The Times-Picayune Email the author | Follow on Twitter on November 23, 2016 at 4:52 PM, updated November 23, 2016 at 11:45 PM
Trump's chosen Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her organizations have spent a lot of money in Louisiana. How much? Try $1.6 million in campaign contributions alone, according to Louisiana ethics filings.  DeVos heads the Alliance for School Choice and the American Federation for Children, which in turn runs the Louisiana Federation for Children. Trump announced her as his nominee Wednesday (Nov. 23).  Louisiana Education Superintendent John White commended the selection. He spoke at an AFC policy summit in 2015.  "Betsy DeVos has long advocated for the rights of families and children to a quality education," he said. "We congratulate her on being nominated for Secretary of Education, and we look forward to working with her."  The Louisiana federation plays in races for governor, the Legislature and local and state education boards. It is nonpartisan, supporting both Democratic and Republican candidates and committees. Its criterion seems simply to be: does this person support charter schools, which are publicly funded but run by nonprofits, and vouchers, which pay private school tuition?  

State comes together to improve STEM programs
Centre Daily Times BY BRITNEY MILAZZO NOVEMBER 29, 2016 7:26 PM
Pedro Rivera called Centre County the “epicenter” for science education defined by STEM — science, technology, engineering and math.  The state Department of Education secretary spoke to about 50 people Tuesday morning at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center during a meeting with the state STEM committee and stakeholders invested in enhancing science education.  And he said a place like Penn State is an ideal place to start.  According to a report from PDE, Gov. Tom Wolf set a goal to increase the number of full-time students enrolled in STEM majors at state universities to 10,000 by 2020. His administration also plans to secure about $640 million in additional funding for schools to help better prepare students for college and career readiness in specific fields.  But the STEM meeting Tuesday was just a start to what Rivera said will help with long-term goals for STEM programs.

Karen Beck Pooley: Why Bethlehem school board approved charter school agreement
Bethlehem school board member explains decision on charter school renewal
Morning Call Opinion by Karen Beck Pooley November 29, 2016
A week ago Monday night, I was part of Bethlehem Area School Board's unanimous decision to renew the charter for Lehigh Valley Academy Regional Charter School.  Like other members of the board, I would have much preferred to vote no on this renewal. Over the last several months, we reviewed materials from the charter school, debated this issue at multiple public meetings, and sent a school district contingent (made up of administrators, educators and board members) to visit the school. We generated a long list of concerns and several reasons for denying the charter outright.  To highlight a few of these reasons:

Philly teachers trade tips for 'Educating in the time of Trump'
On Tuesday night a liberal group of teacher activists held a workshop in North Philadelphia and titled it “Educating in the Time of Trump.”  The organizers expected roughly 10 people to attend, about 70 showed up. Still more — some from other states — requested the session be shared on video.  Clearly the presidential election is still reverberating in city classrooms. Now the question: What happens with all that energy?  The Teacher Action Group, which organized of the event, hopes the impending presidency of Donald Trump will galvanize Philadelphia’s politically progressive teachers.  “We know people are hungry to come together around this,” said Anissa Weinraub, who co-led the workshop.  The extent of that hunger — and what exactly it means in terms of actual political muscle — remains an open question. But those who gathered Tuesday night said the recent election has touched them and their students more deeply than other current events.

Alumnus appointed as chief education officer for city
Otis Hackney was appointed to the Mayor’s Office of Education last year.
The Temple News by Erin Moran 29 November 2016
School never came easy for Otis Hackney, but struggling as a student gave the “kid from 56th Street” a deeper appreciation for education.  Now, the 1998 secondary education and mathematics alumnus is the chief education officer for the City of Philadelphia.  Hackney was appointed by Mayor Jim Kenney last year after he successfully transformed South Philadelphia High School — a school that made national headlines in 2010 due to racial violence among students — into a “community school” during his time as principal.  During the rest of his first term as the chief education officer, he said he will create 25 more community schools, which double as hubs within the community to provide families with resources. He also hopes to open 2,000 new pre-kindergarten seats for Philadelphia children.

Saul nurtures students' agriculture, science interests
Philly Trib by Chanel Hill Tribune Staff Writer November 29, 2016
Offering an experience that connects students to the community, challenge them in academics, give them hands-on experiences in the fields of science and agriculture, and prepares them for their future is what students find most appealing about W.B. Saul High School of Agricultural Sciences.  Located at 7100 Henry Ave., Saul sits on a 130-acre campus. On one side of Henry Avenue are academic, agriculture, greenhouses, physical education/health and small animal laboratory buildings bordered by an arboretum and athletic fields.  On the opposite side of Henry Avenue is the working farm, which houses poultry, dairy, swine, sheep, horses and the school’s meat science program. These buildings are bordered by the school’s golf course, nursery, field crops and pasture area for the livestock.

School performance tied to exam scores
York Dispatch by Alyssa Pressler , 505-5438/@AlyssaPressYD3:45 p.m. EST November 29, 2016
Across the state and county, two noticeable trends emerged in schools' exams and student performance scores in 2016: middle school exams and performance scores dropped, while high school performance scores increased.  Students in grades 3 to 8 take Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) exams each spring. In 2015, new, more rigorous standards were introduced to the students which caused a drop in PSSA scores for every district in the county. The 2016 exams marked the second year the more difficult standards were used. Overall school districts saw slight improvements in 2016, but middle school students tended to struggle on the exam, both locally and statewide.  Student Performance Profile scores (SPP) are given to each individual school in each district based on a variety of indicators, but they rely heavily on standardized test scores. For the first time since 2011, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) saw significant growth on math Keystone exams taken at the high school level, which affected high school SPP scores.  But some administrators believe the SPP scores rely too heavily on standardized test scores.

Selinsgrove schools controversial transgender practice topic of Wednesday public forum
By John Beauge | Special to PennLive on November 29, 2016 at 4:10 PM, updated November 29, 2016 at 4:11 PM
SELINSGROVE -- A controversial practice in the Selinsgrove Area School District that permits transgender students to use the bathroom and lockers of their choice will be topic of community forum Wednesday evening.  A brief overview of the issue will be presented followed by an opportunity for public comment.  Board members will be listeners at the forum scheduled for 7 p.m. in the middle school auditorium, said President Larry Augustine Tuesday.  Transgender students in the school district since the first day of classes this fall have been allowed to use the restroom and locker area of their choice, explained Superintendent Chad Cohrs.
The school board consented to the practice but has not adopted it as a policy, he said. There have been no issues in the schools, he said.

Ambridge teachers set strike date
Trib Live by TONY RAAP | Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, 7:12 p.m.
Teachers at the Ambridge Area School District plan to walk off the job next month if their contract impasse continues.  The district's 190 teachers intend to strike Dec. 13, school board member James Sas said Tuesday.  The teachers' union and district officials will meet Dec. 12 to try to reach a contract agreement.  The school district has proposed that teachers contribute more to their health care plans.  Teachers pay a flat rate for health coverage. The district wants to move to a percentage-based payment, which the teachers' union does not want.

Greensburg Salem OKs 3-year teachers contract
Trib Live by JACOB TIERNEY | Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, 6:48 p.m.
Two years of negotiations ended Tuesday as the Greensburg Salem school board voted 8-1 to approve a 3-year teachers contract.  Details of the agreement are forthcoming.  Bargaining between the district and the Greensburg Salem Education Association had been deadlocked for months. Teachers worked without a contract from July 2015 to March before agreeing to a one-year retroactive pay freeze. That expired in July, and the stalemate began again.  The union, which represents 200 teachers, nurses and counselors, threatened to strike this month if a deal was not reached.

Trib adapts to changing newspaper industry
Trib Live by AARON AUPPERLEE | Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, 11:00 p.m.
Low subscription numbers and advertising rates in the Pittsburgh area eventually forced Trib Total Media to stop printing the Pittsburgh edition of the Tribune-Review and shift its focus to digital publishing, company President and CEO Jennifer Bertetto said.  Nov. 30 is the last print edition of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. On Dec. 1, the Pittsburgh Trib will continue to publish news about the city and Allegheny County as well as the latest sports and investigative news and stories about health, politics and technology on its website,, and through a new e-edition delivered via email.

In Celebration of the Release of the Movie Hidden Figures, IBM and Vanity Fair Studios Profiles Notable and Diverse Role Models in S.T.E.M.

International Tests Show Rising, But Mixed, Math and Science Performance
Education Week By Sarah D. Sparks on November 29, 2016 4:00 AM
U.S. students are generally improving in math and science, along with their peers around the globe, but the latest Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study results—including a longitudinal look for the 20th anniversary of the tests—show more of a slow uphill slog than a breakout performance.  "The [United States] is a large and diverse country, so it's difficult to see a large increase over a short time," said Michael O. Martin, a co-executive director of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement's TIMSS and PIRLS International Study Center at Boston College. The center has conducted the TIMSS in the United States, with the National Center on Education Statistics, every four years since 1995.  The TIMSS is based on specific content areas, and NCES Acting Commissioner Peggy Carr noted that U.S. students' performance in different math topics varied significantly on the test over time. While 8th graders' performance in geometry and algebra improved significantly from 2007 to 2015, their scores flatlined on number theory and actually declined significantly on problems of data and chance. Similarly, U.S. students improved significantly in their performance on life science and biology topics, but their scores in physics and earth sciences stagnated.

Exploring the consequences of charter school expansion in U.S. cities
Economic Policy Institute Report • November 30, 2016
Executive Summary: This report highlights patterns of charter school expansion across several large and mid-size U.S. cities since 2000. In this report, the focus is the loss of enrollments and revenues to charter schools in host districts and the response of districts as seen through patterns of overhead expenditures. I begin by identifying those cities and local public school districts that have experienced the largest shifts of students from district-operated to charter schools, and select from among those cities illustrative examples of the effects of charter school expansion on host district finances and enrollments.

National Advocacy Group Launches Charter School Legal Defense Fund
Education Week Charters & Choice Blog By Arianna Prothero on November 28, 2016 11:40 AM
The nation's largest charter advocacy group has launched a legal action and defense fund. 
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools describes its new Charter School Legal Defense Fund as a "watchdog and resource" that will help defend charters in lawsuits and further charter causes through litigation.  Although charter schools have made significant inroads across the country in the last 25 years through legislation—43 states and the District of Columbia now allow for charter schools to operate—the alliance said in a statement released earlier this month that it now needs to focus more attention on the judicial branch.  One recent high-profile loss for advocates happened last year when Washington state's supreme court ruled the state's charter law was unconstitutional based largely on how charter schools were funded.

The good — and very, very bad — education news of 2016
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss November 30 at 4:00 AM 
Every year veteran teacher Larry Ferlazzo writes a list of the best/worst education news of the year. Here is his 2016 version, which includes “bad” news that includes the consequences of the 2016 presidential election, in which Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton. See what you think. Ferlazzo teaches English and social studies at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, California.  He has has written numerous books on education, writes a teacher advice blog for Education Week Teacher and has his own popular resource-sharing blog.  Ferlazzo says that he doesn’t presume that his list is all-encompassing, and he hopes readers will share their own ideas about what 2016 brought to the world of education.  In his list below, he first looks at the best news and then the worst — but does not rank them within these categories.

U.S. Department of Education releases final accountability & state plans regulations
NSBA Website on November 29, 2016  Charlotte Blane
The U.S. Department posted final regulations on the implementation of accountability, data reporting, and state plan provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to the federal register today. The Department is expected to release guidance on the regulations within the next several weeks and host a series of webinars beginning in January 2017. Following are several provisions of the regulations denoting what the Department says states can and must do, the new timeline, and links to the Department’s full regulatory document, fact sheet, timeline, and press release.

Pennsylvania Every Student Succeeds Act Public Tour
The Department of Education (PDE) is holding a series of public events to engage the public on important education topics in Pennsylvania.  The primary focus of these events will be the Every Student Succeeds Act, the federal education law signed by President Barack Obama in late 2015. A senior leader from the department will provide background on the law, and discuss the ongoing
development of Pennsylvania’s State Plan for its implementation, which will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education in 2017.  Feedback is important to PDE; to provide the best avenue for public comment as well as provide an opportunity for those who cannot attend an event, members of the community are encouraged to review materials and offer comments at
Upcoming Public Events:
Friday, December 2- Pittsburgh- 9:30 am- Community College of Allegheny County
Community College of Allegheny County Main Campus in the Tom Forester Student Service Center Auditorium 808 Ridge Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15212

Thursday, December 8- Erie- 2:30 pm- Tom Ridge Environmental Center (room TBA)

Friday, December 9- Lock Haven- 1 pm- Lock Haven University

Time and specific locations for the following events, TBA
Friday, December 16- Philadelphia
Wednesday, January 4- Quakertown
Tuesday, January 10- Scranton

“The “Success Starts Here” campaign is a multi-year statewide effort to share the positive news about public education through advertising, web, social media, traditional media and word-of-mouth with the goal of raising understanding of the value of public education in Pennsylvania. The campaign is led by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, but relies on the support of a wide variety of participating organizations.”
Share Your School’s Story: Success Starts Here Needs You!
Success Starts Here needs you! Show your support by sharing stories, using social media and applying window clings to all of your school buildings. Below are some links to resources to help you help us.
Not sure where to start? This simple tool kit will provide to you everything you need to get involved in the campaign, including ways to work with the media, social media tips, a campaign article to post, downloadable campaign logos, and photo release forms.
We know you have great stories, and it’s easy to share them! Just use our simple form to send your success story to be featured on our website. Help spread the word about how Success Starts Here in today’s public schools.
All school entities have been sent a supply of window clings for school building entrances. Need more? No problem! Just complete the online order form and more will quickly be on their way to you.

CCIU to host documentary screening and educational discussion
By Ginger Dunbar, Daily Local News POSTED: 11/21/16, 3:25 PM EST 
DOWNINGTOWN >> Joining a worldwide campaign to re-imagine education, the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) will host a screening and discussion of “Most Likely to Succeed.”
The documentary screening will be on Nov. 30 from 5:45 – 8 p.m. at the Technical College High School Brandywine Campus at 455 Boot Road. It will feature a student panel, round-table dialogue and an open forum discussion following the screening. Complimentary dinner will be served at 5 p.m.  “Most Likely to Succeed” offers an innovative look at the current educational system and asks audiences to consider a new vision. The film examines the history of education in the United States, revealing the growing shortcomings of conventional education methods in today’s technology-driven world, according to film-makers. They added that the film offers an “inspiring look at what students and teachers are capable” of with a vision and the courage to transform their schools.

Webinar: PSBA Board President’s Forum DEC 7, 2016 • 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Join fellow board presidents and superintendents for the latest topics affecting public education in this new webinar series hosted by 2016 President Kathy Swope.  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

PASBO is seeking eager leaders! Ready to serve on the board? Deadline for intent letter is 12/31.
PASBO members who desire to seek election as Director or Vice President should send a letter of intent with a current resume and picture to the Immediate Past President Wanda M. Erb, PRSBA, who is chair of the PASBO Nominations and Elections Committee.

Regional Basic Education Funding Formula Workshop
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.
Tuesday, December 6, 2016 @ 6:00 pm: Chester County IU 24
(455 Boot Road, Downingtown, PA 19335)

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.

PSBA Virtual New School Director Training, Part 1
JAN 4, 2017 • 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM
The job of a school board director is challenging.  Changing laws, policies, and pressures from your community make serving on your school board demanding, yet rewarding at the same time.  Most school directors – even those with many years of experience – say that PSBA training is one of the most important and valuable things they have done in order to understand their roles and responsibilities.  If you are a new school board director and didn’t have the opportunity to attend one of PSBA’s live New School Director Training events, you can now attend via your computer, either by yourself from your home or office, or with a group of other school directors.
This is the same New School Director Training content we offer in a live classroom format, but adjusted for virtual training.
Part 1
·         Role and responsibilities of the school board director.
·         How to work with PSBA’s member services team.
·         Your role as an advocate for public education.
·         The school board’s role in policy.
(See also: Part 2, Jan. 11Part 3, Jan. 18)
Fee: $149 per person includes all three programs. Materials may be downloaded free, or $25 for materials to be mailed to your home (log in to the Members Area and purchase through the Store/Registration link).
Register online:

PSBA Third Annual Board Presidents Day
JAN 28, 2017 • 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM Nine Locations Statewide
Jan. 28, 2017 (Snow date: Feb. 11, 2017)
Calling all school board presidents, vice-presidents, and superintendents — Join us for the 3rd Annual PSBA Board Presidents Day held at nine convenient locations around the state.
This is a day of meeting fellow board members from your area and taking part in thought-provoking dialogue about the issues every board faces.  PSBA Past President Kathy Swope will start things off with an engaging presentation based on her years as board president at the Lewistown Area School District.  Bring your own scenarios to this event to gain perspective from other districts.  Cost: $109 per person – includes registration, lunch and materials. All-Access Package applies.  Register online by logging in to the Members Area (see the Store/Registration link to view open event registrations,

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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