Tuesday, November 8, 2016

PA Ed Policy Roundup Nov 8: People don’t want to see the existing district schools, some of which are struggling, some of which are doing remarkably well, harmed by charter expansion.

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup for November 8, 2016
People don’t want to see the existing district schools, some of which are struggling, some of which are doing remarkably well, harmed by charter expansion.

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Clinton wins Dixville Notch, 4 votes to 2
By POLITICO STAFF 11/08/16 12:28 AM EST
Dixville Notch, the quirky northern New Hampshire town that traditionally votes early on Election Day, has tallied this year's results — and Hillary Clinton is the local winner.  Clinton won four votes, while Donald Trump picked up two. Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson earned one vote, as did former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who isn't running.  The small community — with a registered population of 12 in the 2010 census — is known for its tradition of casting their ballots shortly after midnight on Election Day while gathered in a single ballroom. The tradition dates back to 1960, when the town cast its nine votes for Richard Nixon's presidential bid.

WHYY Newsworks Comprehensive Election 2016 Coverage

Hour-by-hour guide to watching election results Tuesday night
Centre Daily Times BY DAVID LIGHTMAN dlightman@mcclatchydc.com November 8, 2016
The outcome of the 2016 election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will begin to unfold Tuesday night in Georgia and Virginia. And then quickly move into North Carolina, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.  The polls in those states are among those that close by 8 p.m EST, meaning exit polls and early results will be quickly available.  Will African-American voters, crucial to Hillary Clinton in those states, turn out in big numbers? Will the enthusiasm of Trump supporters motivate people to vote who haven’t in recent years?  “North Carolina now appears more like a battle for inches rather than yards,” said Jason Husser, director of the Elon University Poll in that state. He could have been talking about any of the earlier-closing states.  The magic number to win the White House is 270 electoral votes. Fifteen states, with 184 electoral votes, are too close to call. While early projections and exit polls will be available during the day, the more important data comes once the polls close. Here’s an hour-by-hour guide on how to watch the states that matter most.

“And now, whatever happens on Tuesday in Massachusetts could affect the national fight over the growth of charter schools, which supporters say give parents more educational choices for their children, and which critics say drain resources from traditional public schools, typically under-serve the highest-needs students and are not accountable to the local communities.”  … People don’t want to see the existing district schools, some of which are struggling, some of which are doing remarkably well, harmed by charter expansion.”
Massachusetts: An extraordinary battle over charter schools is consuming this state
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog  By Valerie Strauss November 7 at 10:13 AM 
Fights over charter schools have become commonplace, but the one being waged right now in Massachusetts — which has long had as fine a public education system as any state in the country — isn’t your ordinary battle.  Question 2, an initiative on Tuesday’s ballot to approve the raising of the state’s cap on charter schools, is the most expensive ballot initiative in the country — with at least $35 million reportedly raised by both sides — and it’s been as bitter as any. The campaign in support of Question 2 seemed sure to be a success when it started, enjoying bipartisan support, but as time went on, opposition grew. 

Massachusetts: Question 2 Donations — For And Against — Top $41 Million
WBUR By Louise Kennedy November 07, 2016
Money continued to flow through the campaigns for and against Question 2 up to the last days before the election, state data show. The campaign is the most expensive on a ballot question in state history, with more than $41 million raised overall — and more than $38 million spent on TV ads, leaflets, signs, door-knocking and more.  Question 2 would allow 12 new or expanded charter schools a year. Throughout the campaign season, much of the money in support of it came from a range of out-of-state donors, including individual investors like Alice Walton and pro-charter groups like Families for Excellent Schools.  That pattern continued in recent days, notably with a $250,000 contribution from Michael Bloomberg on Nov. 3 and a total of about $3.6 million since Oct. 16 from Families for Excellent Schools — more than $1 million of that since Nov. 1. (The New York-based FES has given about $17.2 million to Great Schools Massachusetts alone since the campaign began.)

Secretary of Education Announces $6.5 Million in Safe Schools Targeted Grants
PDE Press Release 11/04/2016
Harrisburg, PA - Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera today announced that $6.5 million in competitive grants have been awarded for the training and compensation of school resource officers and school police officers, and to prevent and reduce violent incidents through programs and security equipment.  “Parents must feel safe sending their children to school each day, and students must feel supported academically, physically, and emotionally to succeed,” said Sec. Rivera. “This targeted funding will allow Pennsylvania’s schools to take the steps they need to provide not just a high-quality education to students, but also a safe and healthy environment conducive to learning.”  The focus of the Safe Schools Initiative Targeted Grant program is to assist schools in:
· Reducing unnecessary student disciplinary actions and promoting an environment of greater productivity, safety and learning;
· Enhancing antiviolence efforts between schools and parents, local governments, law enforcement and community organizations.

Pa. schools boss takes the temp in Marple Newtown
By Leslie Krowchenko, Delco Times Correspondent POSTED: 11/07/16, 9:18 PM EST
NEWTOWN >> From 4-year-olds in Lancaster to high schoolers in Marple Newtown, Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera returned to his classroom roots Monday as part of the “Schools That Teach” tour.  Rivera met with district administrators, principals, teachers, school board members, state Sen. Thomas McGarrigle, R-26 of Springfield, and state Reps. Bill Adolph, R-165 of Springfield and Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-161 of Swarthmore, to discuss Gov. Tom Wolf’s vision for improving education for every student. Earlier in the day, he traveled to Lafayette Elementary School, joining Mayor Rick Gray, Pre-K for PA and the United Way to call for added investments in early education programs.  “Each time I saw him I would say, ‘Please come visit Marple and see what is happening,’” said Superintendent Dr. Carol Cary. “We are so happy that you are here.”  “Schools That Teach” aims to restore critical funding and support all students from pre-K to postsecondary programs. Administration members have traveled the state the last two speaking to educators, students and community members to achieve the mission of ensuring access to a high-quality education for all Pennsylvanians. Wolf has worked with the Legislature to secure increases in education funding at all levels totaling nearly $640 million.

Easton Area School Board holds hearing on proposed charter arts elementary school
Morning Call by Daryl Nerl November 7, 2016
Where would elementary arts charter school be in Easton?
Administrators, parents and other supporters of a proposed charter arts elementary school made their case to the Easton Area School Board in a public hearing Monday night.  "I'm a firm believer that not every school is for every child," said Jacqueline Zupko, an Easton parent who described for the board how her daughter's attitude about school changed for the better after she transferred to another arts charter school. "I've seen what [these] schools can do."  More than a dozen people, about half of them parents, spoke in favor of the school, which, if approved, would be the first public charter school in the Easton Area district and the fourth charter arts school launched in the Lehigh Valley by educator Thomas S. Lubben.  The curriculum would be modeled on the Arts Academy Elementary School that Lubben opened in Allentown a year ago, with kindergarten through fifth-grade pupils studying arts — mostly dance, music, visual art and theater — for 2 1/2 of every school day and standard curriculum for the other three hours.

New Pa. law tackles chronic student absenteeism
York Daily Record  by Angie Mason , amason@ydr.com 4:37 p.m. EST November 7, 2016
Punishing parents and children when a student misses too much school doesn't usually solve the underlying problem. That's according to truancy prevention advocates, who are hopeful that new provisions in the state's truancy law will help to ensure more kids are in the classroom, where they belong.  On Thursday morning, Gov. Tom Wolf signed House Bill 1907, which makes an array of changes to the state's truancy law.  "Basically, what this truancy legislation is aiming to do is make everything less punitive," said Steve Robinson, spokesman for the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, which was part of a state work group that recommended changes.  The goal is to tackle truancy from a more student-centered perspective, Robinson said, to help figure out why a student is missing school and how those involved can help.

A lesson in social justice
Teachers strive to create a safe place for students to tackle society's most challenging issues.
The notebook by Darryl Murphy November 7, 2016 — 1:18pm
As violent images and controversial opinions make their way to the front pages of newspapers and social media, many teachers are working to guide their students through complex feelings and to help give them their own voices. Conversations about topics such as sexism, homophobia, racism, and class are no longer to be avoided. Instead, they are being used to teach and to give students a place to express their concerns about the world around them.  More teachers are bringing questions of social justice into their curriculum. They are demanding more from students than just a correct answer and are pushing them to think critically about society and their role in changing or maintaining it.  The Notebook took a look at how three Philadelphia teachers are helping students deal with issues of inequality.

“A study published in the Review of Educational Research today suggests that school climate is something educators and communities should prioritize — especially as a way to bridge the elusive achievement gap. The authors analyzed more than 15 years of research on schools worldwide, and found that positive school climate had a significant impact on academics.”
How A Happy School Can Help Students Succeed
NPR by KAT LONSDORF November 1, 201612:05 AM ET
Every day at Weiner Elementary School starts with a dance party, usually to Best Day of My Life by American Authors — and that's before the 7:50 a.m. bell even rings.  Then comes the morning assembly, where all 121 students and the staff gather for 20 minutes in the cafeteria of the school in Weiner, Ark. They sing songs and learn about an artist, a musician and an international city of the week.  They celebrate birthdays. A lucky student is crowned Student of the Day. And Pam Hogue makes it her goal to be an educator instead of a principal.  That assembly — and the many other things this school does to create a sense of community and happiness — is part of what experts call school climate.  "It's a feeling in a building," Hogue explains. "When you walk in here, it just feels right. It looks like a place where learning is happening."  And, like a feeling, school climate is hard to define, difficult to measure and can swing positive or negative.

OZY.com By Tracy Moran THE DAILY DOSE NOV 03 2016
John B. King Jr. understood the importance of school counselors from a young age, because his own mother served as one in his school. “I can remember hearing her talk with my father about her students and the kinds of support she was providing them,” he says.  But when tragedy struck twice, taking his mother when he was just 8 and his father when he was 12, the importance of in-school support became starkly apparent. “It was an incredibly difficult experience, and I was fortunate to have teachers who really took on providing not only a great academic experience, but very significant socio-emotional support,” the U.S. secretary of education says, laying bare his personal sensitivity to the difference in-school support can make in children’s lives. So he’s “distressed” that 1.6 MILLION AMERICAN KIDS ATTEND SCHOOLS WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS BUT NO SCHOOL COUNSELOR.
That’s according to this year’s U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights report based on data collected from 2013-2014. While 95 percent of American high schoolers have access to at least one counselor, more than a fifth of high schools don’t have a single counselor, which means 850,000 American secondary students do not have any scholastic support to coach them on the transition to postsecondary education. The 1.6 million figure stems from all levels of students, K-12, who attend a school with a sworn law enforcement officer but no school counselor.

Cyber Charters: Widespread Reports of Trouble
Education Week November 3, 2016
A Colorado cyber charter school with a 19 percent graduation rate. An Ohio cyber that inflated student attendance by nearly 500 percent. A Pennsylvania cyber founder who siphoned off $8 million in public money, including $300,000 to buy himself an airplane. A Hawaii cyber founder who hired her nephew as the athletic director – for a school with no sports teams.  As part of an eight-month investigation into the poor academic performance and financial mismanagement of full-time online charter schools, Education Week reviewed hundreds of news stories and dozens of state audits and reports dating back to the early 2000s.  Together, these accounts raise a critical question: What would persuade state lawmakers to bring greater accountability to the nation’s troubled cyber charter sector?

Without Recruits, Even Lobbying Cannot Save Teach for America
Deutsch29 Blog by Mercedes Schneider November 7, 2016
In July 2016, the teacher temp agency, Teach for America (TFA) filed its latest tax form, technically for 2014, but actually spanning June 01, 2014 to May 31, 2015.
Here is TFA’s stated mission:
TFA’s total end-of-year assets for 2014-15 were $445 million, down from $494 million at the beginning of the tax year. In both 2014-15 and 2013-14, TFA’s expenses exceeded its revenue (by $26 million in 2013-14 and $75 million in 2014-15).  According to TFA’s 2014 tax form, it spent $1 million on “direct contact with legislators, their staffs, government officials, or a legislative body.” Of course, that million was spent in TFA’s lobbying for itself.
Here is the detailed description by TFA about exactly how that $1 million was spent:

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 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

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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 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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