Wednesday, November 9, 2016

PA Ed Policy Roundup Nov 9: Mass. voters reject ballot question on charter schools; 62% to 38%

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup for November 9, 2016
Mass. voters reject ballot question on charter schools; 62% to 38%

Donald Trump Elected 45th President of the U.S.
Education Week By Andrew Ujifusa November 9, 2016
Republican Donald Trump, whose brash campaign for the White House included strong support for school choice and sharp denunciations of current education policy, has been elected president of the United States, the Associated Press reported early Wednesday.  Trump’s victory in the presidential race leaves widespread uncertainty about what’s in store for public schools under the first Republican administration in eight years. Aside from school choice, Trump, a New York-based real estate developer, spent very little time talking about K-12 education during his campaign. And he has no track record to speak of or draw on for insights into what he may propose.  “We’re all engaging in a lot of speculation because there hasn’t been a lot of serious discussion about this, especially in the Trump campaign,” said Martin R. West, an associate professor of education at Harvard University who has advised Republicans, including 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., on education issues.  Trump did propose a $20 billion federal plan to dramatically expand school choice for low-income students. His plan would allow students to use federal funds to help them attend private, charter, magnet, and traditional public schools of their choice. It’s also designed to leverage additional state investments in school choice of up to $100 billion nationwide.

Donald Trump Wins Presidency, Brings Uncertainty to Big Education Issues
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Andrew Ujifusa on November 9, 2016 6:28 AM
Republican nominee Donald Trump has been elected president, according to the Associated Press. The real estate executive has largely ignored education during his successful presidential bid, except for a $20 billion federal investment in school choice he announced in September. And there are a lot of unanswered questions about what his administration will mean for public schools.   Having never held elected office, Trump's K-12 record was already relatively thin compared to some of his opponents when he began running last year. He's mostly discussed public schools in sound bites, claiming that he would get rid of the Common Core State Standards (which aren't a federal program) as well as gun-free school zones.   And his election could represent a serious threat to the U.S. Department of Education, which he has said he'd either drastically cut or eliminate altogether. Plus, key Obama-era regulations governing the Every Student Succeeds Act, which many Republicans have said they dislike, could also be rescinded by Trump. 

Republicans Keep Control of Congress, Set to Work With President-Elect Trump
Education Week Politics K12 Blog by Andrew Ujifusa on November 9, 2016 8:28 AM
Republicans have kept their control of Congress, according to election returns reported Tuesday night, meaning that the push by GOP lawmakers against what it perceives as heavy-handed oversight by the U.S. Department of Education regarding the Every Student Succeeds Act will likely continue. However, the House of Representatives will soon have a new leader of its education committee, thanks to the retirement of its chairman Rep. John Kline, R-Minn.   The election of Donald Trump as president could shift a lot of power over education policy to congressional Republicans, in part because Trump has not shown a great deal of interest in K-12 on the campaign trail—apart from his plan to create a $20 billion federal program to fund school choice at public and private schools. Congress previously rejected a similar idea during negotiations last year over what became ESSA, but Trump's presidency may get the proposal a fresh look from lawmakers.  The membership of education committees in Congress emerged largely unscathed from the election. Among lawmakers on the Senate education committee, for example, only Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., lost his bid for re-election to Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill. In the House, Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla. and who was in one of the closest-fought election battles among House education committee members, also held onto his seat.   Although public school policy wasn't a particularly big issue during the 2016 campaign, Congress could still get very busy when it comes to education in general. 

Trump Happened
Education Next By Frederick Hess 11/09/2016
Wow. I didn’t see that coming. Like most everyone else, I expected to see a comfortable Clinton win. I thought the big question was whether Republicans might find a way to hold the U.S. Senate. And then Trump happened.  Trump narrowly beat Hillary Clinton, piercing the Democrats’ “blue wall.” The Republicans lost a handful of seats but held their solid majority in the House. The GOP wound up narrowly holding the Senate—with Wisconsin’sRon Johnson, Missouri’s Roy Blunt, Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey, North Carolina’s Richard Burr, and several others fending off fierce challenges.  In other words, Trump had no coattails, but the result is that a Republican president is going to take office with Republican majorities in both houses of Congress for the first time since 1928. Yep, 1928.  What does this mean for education?

Now what?
EdExcellence by Michael J. Petrilli November 09, 2016
Like most of you I am in shock and more than a little worried. I can’t pretend to be a neutral policy analyst today; I made my deep concerns known about a Donald Trump presidency, and they haven’t gone away. His thin-skinned temperament, his bullying tendencies, his scapegoating of Mexican-Americans and Muslim-Americans, his support from White Nationalists and Vladimir Putin, his impulsive attacks on free speech and our allies around the world—none of that has evaporated in the light of day.  But as I told my young boys this morning, America will persevere. We will support our president and give him a chance to show true leadership—to bring us together, as he promised in the wee hours last night. We will trust—but verify. If he attacks our Constitution, or our fellow citizens, or our allies, we will push back. We will use the tools of our democracy—our independent media, our institutions of civil society—to resist when necessary. We will be OK.  As for what happened yesterday, we should be careful in how we interpret the “primal scream,” as one commentator put it, coming from America’s white working class, from the overwhelmingly red, rural parts of our beautiful country.

The Morning After
Diane Ravitch’s Blog By dianeravitch November 9, 2016 
I’m still in a state of shock, after watching the election returns. The best qualified candidate in modern history was defeated by the least qualified candidate in history. President-elect Donald J. Trump appealed to fear of the Other….and won. The pundits and editorial writers will have much to feed upon in the days ahead.  The world is reacting. Global stock markets are in free fall. That affects our savings, our pensions, the equity in our homes.  What does this mean for education? The Republican Party is committed to school choice. Trump rarely spoke about education but this is the little we know. He pledged to take $20 billion from existing federal programs, probably Title I, and give it to the states to be used for charters and vouchers. It will be up to the states to protect what they can of public education.

Sept 2016: See Who's Been Tapped to Lead Trump's Transition Team for Education
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Andrew Ujifusa on September 19, 2016 7:21 AM
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has picked Williamson M. Evers, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and Gerard Robinson, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, to be on his presidential transition team for education, according to multiple sources.  Evers served as an assistant secretary for policy at the U.S. Department of Education from 2007 to 2009, and also was an adviser to former U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings in 2007 under President George W. Bush. Robinson served as Florida's education commissioner from 2011 to 2012, and has also served as Virginia's education secretary and as the president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options.  Neither the Trump transition team nor the Trump campaign responded to requests for comment. Both Evers and Robinson referred questions about their positions to the Trump campaign. 

PA Republicans build on their majorities in the General Assembly in Tuesday's election
Penn Live By Jan Murphy | Email the author | Follow on Twitter on November 09, 2016 at 4:04 AM, updated November 09, 2016 at 7:07 AM
If Gov. Tom Wolf thought he had his hands full dealing with the Republican-controlled General Assembly in his first two years on the job, it's not going to get any better in the next two.  When the next legislative session begins, Wolf will be working with a larger Republican majority in the House and a more powerful one in the Senate.  The House will begin with the largest Republican majority it has had in 60 years following Tuesday's general election that increased the GOP-held seats by three, giving the Republicans a 122-81 advantage over Democrats.  …Over in the Senate, the defeat of Democratic incumbents Rob Teplitz and Sean Wiley, along with flipping an open seat controlled by Democrats, brings the Republicans' advantage to 34-16 over Democrats.
With 34 votes, Republicans have the ability to guarantee that their chamber can override any of Wolf's vetoes, of which there have been plenty in his first nearly two years in office. Time will tell if this leads to more gridlock or a more compromising attitude between the legislative and executive branches.

Editorial: Pension crisis remains unresolved
Bucks County Courier Times November 9, 2016
Among the myriad problems confronting Pennsylvania government, the most critical might well be the $60 billion unfunded liability in the state's two largest pension funds: the Public School Employees' Retirement System (PSERS) and the State Employees' Retirement System (SERS).  Compounding what is already a financial meltdown in the making has been the utter futility of state lawmakers to address the crisis in any meaningful way, even though all the warning signs have been pointing to disaster for several years.  In the weeks leading up to Tuesday's election, we interviewed several candidates for the state House, both incumbents and challengers. A disappointing common thread running through most of those interviews was the absence of any ideas that might hold a solution to the pension problem. We heard everything from teachers aren't paid enough and 401(k)s are not a good option to pensions could be reduced a little and more money needs to be spent on education. Implicit in almost every candidate's response to the pension question was a strong hint of resignation, as if to say, "I don't know how we can fix this."

Who should run Philadelphia's schools?
The notebook November 8, 2016 — 11:38am
The Notebook, Philadelphia Media Network and Drexel University's School of Education will host a public forum to discuss alternative models of school system governance Dec. 8.  Who should run Philadelphia's schools? Join us Dec. 8 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.  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? Should the governing body be controlled by the mayor? Are there models in other cities that could help us rethink our District's 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. We’ll explore it from a variety of angles, including findings from important research on school governance and a panel discussion among city, state and civic leaders.

Commentary: Lancaster schools adapt to meet needs of refugees By Harvey Miller and Damaris Rau Updated: NOVEMBER 9, 2016 — 3:01 AM EST
Harvey Miller is president of the School District of Lancaster Board.  Damaris Rau is the district superintendent.
The School District of Lancaster is proudly and effectively serving and educating one of the largest per capita refugee student populations in Pennsylvania. Yet, despite our many programs to help these students and their families, we currently find ourselves the target of a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union, which claims our educational decisions are somehow discriminatory.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Last school year, nearly 600 refugee students were enrolled in our district at all grade levels. The lawsuit centers on fewer than 20 of those students, young adults from 17 to 21 who would stand little chance of graduating by their 21st birthday if they attended the district's main high school.  In order to give them - and any overage and under-credited student in the district - a better opportunity to graduate they attend a smaller alternative school called Phoenix Academy, which has smaller class sizes and more personalized instruction. Phoenix Academy also has certified English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers to ensure foreign language-speaking students learn English.

Mass. charters, Ga. school takeovers: Voters decide four education ballot questions
Washington Post By Emma Brown November 9 at 12:43 AM 
Though the presidential race cliffhanger was taking up most of the oxygen Tuesday evening, there were also important education policy developments in the states. How four high-profile ballot initiatives fared:

Mass. voters reject ballot question on charter schools; 62% to 38%
By David Scharfenberg BOSTON GLOBE STAFF  NOVEMBER 08, 2016
Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly rejected a major expansion of charter schools Tuesday, brushing aside calls for greater choice amid concerns about the overall health of public education.
The vote is a major victory for teachers unions and civil rights organizations, which argued that charters are diverting too much money and attention from traditional public schools that serve the overwhelming majority of students.  “It’s really clear from the results of this election that people are interested in public education and value that,” said Barbara Madeloni, president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association and a leading opponent of Question 2, at an election night party at the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston. “There should be no conversation about expanding charters,” she added, until the Legislature moves to “fully fund our public schools.”
With 87 percent of precincts reporting early Wednesday, the “no” side was leading 62 percent to 38 percent.

Georgia voters say “no” to Opportunity School District
By Ty Tagami - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Updated: 1:23 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016  |  Posted: 9:59 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016
Georgia voters have demanded that schools remain under local control.
Six out of 10 votes cast on Amendment 1 opposed the constitutional amendment to allow a state takeover of the state’s worst performing schools.  The amendment would have established a statewide Opportunity School District to be run by a new state agency with authority to take schools deemed to be “chronically failing” from the control of local school boards.  Polling before the election showed strong opposition by Republicans and Democrats, as likely voters said they didn’t want to surrender local control of schools.  Gov. Nathan Deal pushed the referendum through the General Assembly last year, passing it with strong Republican support. He then campaigned for it, saying school districts had trapped mostly poor and minority students in failing schools and in a cycle of poverty spanning generations.  Opponents criticized it as a vague proposal that brought no new resources to struggling schools.

“One country where this debate is in full swing is England, where the current Conservative government in March, 2016,  published a white paper, Educational, laying out its intention to turn all 20,000 primary and secondary schools into academies, which is their equivalent of charters, by 2022. Under the plan, academies would receive funding directly from the national Department for Education, thereby sharply reducing the role of the local authorities that have traditionally been responsible for most of the publicly funded schools.
We recently traveled to England to learn what we could about the plan. We interviewed key stakeholders in London including the officials at the Department for Education, researchers, headteachers (i.e., school principals) and others. In our new Brown Center Policy Brief, we describe five lessons the U.S. can learn from England, which we briefly discuss here.”
The US charter school movement should learn from England’s academy system
Brookings/BROWN CENTER CHALKBOARD by Helen F. Ladd and Edward B. Fiske Monday, November 7, 2016
Helen F. Ladd Nonresident Senior Fellow - Governance StudiesBrown Center on Education Policy  Edward B. Fiske Former Education Editor - The New York Times
As charter schools celebrate 25 years as part of the U.S. public education system, there has been a dramatic shift in the public debate about their role. Until recently, most discussion has centered around the horse race question of how well students in charters perform in comparison to peers in traditional public schools. But growing attention is now being paid to questions of whether and how to control the growth of charter schools so that they best serve the interests of all students. For example, the NAACP recently called for a moratorium on new charters in communities with large numbers of African Americans, while voters in Massachusetts are now being asked to vote on Tuesday, November 8 on a ballot initiative to remove the cap on the number of charter schools in that state.
Charter schools originated as means of introducing educational innovation while remaining on the fringes of local school systems. As their numbers have grown, however, charters have moved from the fringes to being major players in the public school landscape in many cities. This movement raises important policy questions about how charters and traditional public schools can coexist to ensure the best education for students in the United States.

Testing Resistance & Reform News: November 2 - 8, 2016
Submitted by fairtest on November 8, 2016 - 12:49pm 
This Election Day, education issues are not center stage for most top-of-the-ticket candidates. But down ballot, teachers, parents and community have put testing policies into play in many state and local races. And, grassroots activists know that, whatever voters decide today, the assessment reform movement will continue to pressure elected officials for fewer standardized exams, an end to high-stakes test misuse, and support for better assessments. 

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 

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

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

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

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

SAVE THE DATE LWVPA Convention 2017 June 1-4, 2017
Join the League of Women Voters of PA for our 2017 Biennial Convention at the beautiful Inn at Pocono Manor!

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