Tuesday, December 13, 2016

PA Ed Policy Roundup Dec 13: How Investing In Preschool Beats The Stock Market, Hands Down

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup Dec 13, 2016
How Investing In Preschool Beats The Stock Market, Hands Down

“They found a consistent pattern: In the long run, over comparable time frames, states that send additional money to their lowest-income school districts see more academic improvement in those districts than states that don’t. The size of the effect was significant. The changes bought at least twice as much achievement per dollar as a well-known experiment that decreased class sizes in the early grades.”
It Turns Out Spending More Probably Does Improve Education
New York Times By KEVIN CAREY and ELIZABETH A. HARRIS DEC. 12, 2016
If you spend more on education, will students do better?
Educators, politicians and unions have battled in court over that crucial question for decades, most recently in a sweeping decision this fall in Connecticut, where a judge ordered the state to revamp nearly every facet of its education policies, from graduation requirements to special education, along with its school funding.  For many years, research on the relationship between spending and student learning has been surprisingly inconclusive. Many other factors, including student poverty, parental education and the way schools are organized, contribute to educational results.  Teasing out the specific effect of money spent is methodologically difficult. Opponents of increased school funding have seized on that ambiguity to argue that, for schools, money doesn’t matter — and, therefore, more money isn’t needed.  But new, first-of-its-kind research suggests that conclusion is mistaken. Money really does matter in education, which could provide fresh momentum for more lawsuits and judgments like the Connecticut decision.

How Investing In Preschool Beats The Stock Market, Hands Down
NPR by ERIC WESTERVELT December 12, 20166:47 AM ET
If you got 13 percent back on your investments every year, you'd be pretty happy, right? Remember, the S&P 500, historically, has averaged about 7 percent when adjusted for inflation. What if the investment is in children, and the return on investment not only makes economic sense but results in richer, fuller, healthier lives for the entire family?  That's the crux of a new paper out today, The Life-Cycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program co-authored by Nobel Laureate James Heckman, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago and the director of the Center for the Economics of Human Development.  There's a growing body of research on the value and importance of high-quality early education programs — especially for disadvantaged kids.  But there's surprisingly little research on its impact over time. This paper helps change that. Heckman and his co-authors examine the many ways in which these high-quality programs helped participants thrive throughout life.

How Ontario's vision of equity for schools contrasts starkly with Pennsylvania's
Keystone Crossroads by Kevin McCorry
Part one - What a difference a two hour drive can make.
Students in Erie, Pa. attend a public school district that’s teetering on the brink of collapse. 
Staffing has been downsized to bare-bones levels. Many of the schools are badly in need of repairs. And the superintendent has proposed shuttering all high schools.  The city district, though, is surrounded on all sides by better-resourced suburban schools that serve less needy children.  This is the hallmark of Pennsylvania’s K-12 landscape: stark resource discrepancies between schools in different zip codes.  In 2014, the U.S. Department of Education labeled Pa.’s system “the most inequitable in the nation.”  But if those students in Erie were born just two hours north in the Canadian province of Ontario, they’d have a completely different outlook.  That system — though close geographically, and similar in terms of size and overall levels of diversity — offers a distinctly different vision of public education.  In this five-part Keystone Crossroads’ series, with input from stakeholders on both sides, we study that divide.

Blogger note: In 1974 PA legislature provided 54% of education funding. Now it provides just 37%, exacerbating local property tax burden.
The fight to eliminate school property taxes will resume in 2017
Reading Eagle By Liam Migdail-Smith Monday December 12, 2016 12:01 AM
Activists pushing for the elimination of school property taxes have become used to disappointment.  They've seen momentum behind their plan surge and fizzle. Lawmakers made historic progress on a bill that would wipe out school property taxes and use higher income and sales taxes to finance schools; the sales tax also would have been applied to more items and services. The measure reached a vote in the state Senate last year only to fall short by one vote. But the effort's leaders say they're eyeing next year with renewed, albeit cautious, optimism. They plan to start pushing the bill through the Senate when lawmakers return to Harrisburg in January. "I have been at this for 12 years now and I've never been as encouraged as I am right now," said David Baldinger, a spokesman for the coalition behind the proposal and a Cumru Township resident.  The plan's supporters still face a tough fight. Their measure is opposed by both the state's largest teachers union and business and industry groups, powerful factions that are often at odds with each other.  But Baldinger said property tax opponents are gaining more clout in statewide politics. Grass-roots activists have taken their efforts across the state. And property taxes were a central issue in two races for Harrisburg-area Senate seats that saw candidates friendly to the proposal elected this year.

School budgets 101
York Dispatch by Alyssa Pressler , 505-5438/@AlyssaPressYD10:36 a.m. EST December 12, 2016
It might come as a surprise that local school districts are already working on next year's school budget, which won't be voted on or approved until May.  In fact, according to Richard Snodgrass, business manager for York City School District, planning for the upcoming budget never really stops. As the school year progresses, he is careful to keep track of what's working with the current budget as well as any weaknesses or issues that he can try to mend in the upcoming budget.  School budgets can be complicated, but nearly everyone is affected by them through school taxes, often seen in property taxes. Many aspects go into making a school budget, and Snodgrass explained the district actually controls very little of it. Many costs are fixed ahead of time.

'I have not ruled out anything for the future' - handicapping the would-be GOP gubernatorial aspirants
Penn Live By John L. Micek | jmicek@pennlive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on December 12, 2016 at 8:18 AM, updated December 12, 2016 at 6:31 PM
Good Monday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
With another Pennsylvania Society weekend officially over, we thought now was a good time to cull through our copious notes from the weekend and take the measure of the emerging field of 2018 GOP gubernatorial candidates.  At least a half-dozen Republicans are lining up to challenge Gov. Tom Wolf in less than two years' time.  And while it's still early days, a strong presence at the annual bash in Midtown Manhattan is considered critical for building legitimacy. 
"This is going to end up a battle between the outsider and the establishment figure," Jim Broussard, a veteran Society-goer and political science professor at Lebanon Valley College, said of the eventual primary fight.   While in numerical order below, our list is, by no means based on the statistical likelihood of these various and sundry Republicans actually winning their party's eventual nomination.  Rather, we base it on how pithily evasive they were.

Rep. Meehan reportedly mulls run for U.S. Senate
Delco Times By Rick Kauffman, rkauffman@21st-centurymedia.com@Kauffee_DT on Twitter
POSTED: 12/12/16, 7:42 PM EST | UPDATED: 21 SECS AGO
SPRINGFIELD >> Sen. Pat Meehan?
A month after winning re-election in the 7th District in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives, the Delco native is reportedly mulling taking a run at Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey’s seat in the 2018 election.  Sources close to the congressman said the decision is still up in the air, but he is open and considering it.  “I know Pat’s hearing a lot of enthusiasm about his candidacy,” said Delaware County Republican Party Chairman Andy Reilly. “He’s got the perfect profile to win it and he can raise the resources.”  The former Delaware County District Attorney and U.S. Attorney for Eastern Pennsylvania, Meehan, R-7, of Chadds Ford, won a fourth term in the U.S. House on Nov. 8, defeating his Democratic opponent, Mary Ellen Balchunis, by a vote of 219,314 to 147,808.

Down by 25 votes, Pa. state rep. seeks recount
Inquirer by Colt Shaw, Staff Writer Updated: DECEMBER 13, 2016 — 1:08 AM EST
With official results showing that Democrat Carolyn Comitta won a Chester County state House race by a mere 25 votes, her GOP rival, three-term Rep. Dan Truitt, on Monday asked a County Court judge to order a recount.  On Friday, the counting of 14 contested provisional ballots, ordered by Judge Jacqueline Cody, increased Comitta's lead in the 156th District contest by eight votes, but Truitt said at least one of those was questionable.  "That was one of 14," Truitt said Monday. "If 36,000 votes are reconsidered, "it will probably move more than 25. It's just a 50-50 shot which direction they move."  Comitta had asked for the counting of the provisional ballots even though she had held a razor-thin lead, arguing that every vote should count.
Truitt said he expected Cody to act on his recount request "in the next day or two."

Chesco recount: No change in presidential race; state House seat decided by 25 votes
Pottstown Mercury By Michael P. Rellahan, mrellahan@21st-centurymedia.com, @ChescoCourtNews on Twitter POSTED: 12/12/16, 7:23 PM EST
When volunteers for West Chester Mayor Carolyn Comitta’s campaign for the state Legislature this fall had a bad day knocking on doors, finding few voters home to speak with about the candidate’s qualifications, Comitta tried to put the matter in perspective.  “All it takes is one vote to win a race,” Comitta remembers telling her volunteers in the midst of the contest for the 156th Legislative District seat she was waging against three-term Republican incumbent state Rep. Dan Truitt of East Goshen. “Maybe the person you talked to is that one vote.”  On Monday, the Chester County Office of Voter Services officially certified the results of the race between Comitta and Truitt, more than one month since the Nov. 8 election. The results show Comitta leading Truitt by 25 votes, effectively winning the race. “We got 25 of those ‘one votes,’” she said in an interview.

East Penn looking at likely tax hike for next year
Margie Peterson Special to The Morning Call December 12, 2016
It's early in the school budget season, but East Penn School District Superintendent Michael Schilder expects to recommend that the district apply for special exceptions to the state's Act I Index that would allow for a tax hike of more than 2.9 percent.
Robert Saul, the district business administrator, told the school board Monday that early projections for the 2017-2018 school year show East Penn with estimated revenues of $140.5 million and expenditures of $147.9 million, which includes $6.7 million in budgetary reserves. childer and Saul told the board Monday that if the district made no changes in school programs or personnel, East Penn would still have to raise taxes 2.9 percent, which is the district's Act I Index. But the district will likely be eligible to apply for special exceptions due to the high costs of employee pensions and for special education expenditures. If the state Department of Education grants the exceptions, the district could raise taxes up to 3.76 percent.

Ambridge Area teachers go on strike today after negotiations break down
By Dan Majors / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette December 12, 2016 11:23 PM
The Ambridge Area School District has canceled classes affecting more than 3,000 students today due to a strike by teachers.  The district announced the cancellation in a posting on its website late Monday.  "Under state law," the district's post said, "the Department of Education will determine the date on which the strike must end. We anticipate that date to be during the first week of January 2017."  District officials said they would continue to post updates on the website. "It is our goal to resolve this matter as quickly as is possible," they said, asking parents and taxpayers "to sign [a] digital petition urging [the] union to reconsider its wage and benefit demands."  The district said about 190 teachers represented by the Ambridge Area Education Association walked off the job after months of negotiations.

Pittsburgh schools investment: Poor returns
TRIBUNE-REVIEW |Editorial Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, 9:00 p.m.
Pittsburgh Public Schools taxpayers still aren't getting their money's worth.
The Allegheny Institute for Public Policy notes that PPS enrollment has been falling, yet the district's 2017 budget is up 4.1 percent compared to 2016 — and up 20 percent compared to 2013. That will keep the city's schools among Pennsylvania districts with the highest levels of per-student spending, at about $20,000.  Yet all that additional money hasn't paid off in student achievement. Statewide academic rankings place Pittsburgh 468th among 500 regular school districts, plus another 85 technical and charter schools.   That's likely why PPS resident families increasingly send their children elsewhere. While PPS enrollment fell from 25,326 to 23,286 between 2010 and 2016, charter-school enrollment of students from the Pittsburgh district rose from 2,654 to 4,072.

Art education opens new vistas for young people: Emily Moore
PennLive Op-Ed By Emily Moore Posted on December 12, 2016 at 9:36 PM
Emily Moore, of Palmyra, is an art education student at Kutztown University.  
When I was little, I loved listening to music and making crafts. Living in a home where we did that all the time was so nice.  I grew up listening to old songs from the different decades and I had a Dad who drew and painted all the time.  Even though my parents were English and Science teachers during the day, at night they never strayed away from encouraging my brother and I to be involved in the Arts.  Today, my brother plays the tenor saxophone and I am working towards my art education degree from Kutztown University. The arts are important in education because they have many ways to impact students.

School director says not enough being done to prevent ethnic intimidation at Unionville in wake of Trump’s election
By Fran Maye, Daily Local News POSTED: 12/09/16, 5:38 PM EST | UPDATED: 2 DAYS AGO
EAST MARLBOROUGH >> A Unionville-Chadds Ford school director told the board Monday night that the school board is not doing enough to prevent intimidation of minority students since the election of Donald Trump as president in early November.  “I know of at least two parents who refuse to come forward to talk about the intimidation of their kids because they fear what will happen to their kids if they come forward,” said Michael Rock, school director. “I am disappointed in the board and district’s response to our minority parents. (These parents) said their children do not feel safe and they ask us to publicly support our minority students. Silence sends a message.” There are about 4,000 students in the district’s schools, 92.6 percent of whom are white, 4.3 percent Asian, 2.1 percent Hispanic, 0.9 percent black, and 0.1 percent Native American. The Unionville Chadds Ford School District is one of the wealthiest in the state, with more than 60 percent of residents in the district having an education of a bachelor’s degree or higher, and an average annual household income of $114,355.  Rock said he sent an email to school staff about bullying from experts at The New York Times and got just two responses. One told him that his child said the students are handling the election just fine, and another said the district should not be the community police on the subject of ethnic intimidation.

Strath Haven High recognized with National Blue Ribbon status
Delco Times By Anne Neborak, aneborak@21st-centurymedia.com@AnnieNeborak on Twitter
POSTED: 12/12/16, 9:37 PM EST | UPDATED: 59 SECS AGO
WALLINGFORD >> Strath Haven High School is among the 329 public, private, and parochial K-2 schools selected from across the United States to receive the 2016 National Blue Ribbon as an Exemplary High Performing School. This is the third time the school has earned this honor. It also was awarded the Blue Ribbon in 1985 and 2002.  To meet this distinction certain criteria had to be met: attendance; graduation rates; test scores; and overall growth in Keystone Exam Performances scoring; along with a comprehensive application that describes the uniqueness that makes Strath Haven High School standout nationally.  “We were very excited when we were nominated and last week recognized as a Blue Ribbon School,” Said Dr. MaryJoe Yannacone, Strah Haven principal. “This has been a great year for us. It’s so gratifying to be recognized and to see the support for public schools in our district.  “We are one of only 70 high schools across Pennsylvania who has ever received the Blue Ribbon in the national program’s 34-year history, and one of only six high schools in the state who have received the recognition three times, the greatest frequency of any high school program. Given that there are 1,501 high schools in Pennsylvania, this is quite an honor,” said Yannacone.

School districts turn to tech to consider eliminating snow days
Trib Live by BRIAN C. RITTMEYER | Friday, Dec. 9, 2016, 9:24 p.m.
With nearly universal access to portable computers, school cancellations for snow days may be limited in the future — if not made obsolete.  A dozen Pennsylvania school districts are in the second year of a three-year test of what the state calls “flexible instructional days.” Students don't have to come to school, but they are given assignments that they're expected to complete within a few days.  Nicole Reigelman, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Education, said the practice will be evaluated after the end of the 2017-18 school year.  No Alle-Kiski Valley area districts are involved, but members of the Allegheny Valley School Board's education and technology committees met recently to talk about the possibility for their district.  Using such a day would allow students to get their work done so that the day would count toward the 180-day requirement under the state's school code and not have to be made up later.

SRC’s deadlock leaves 4 charters in limbo
The District recommended non-renewal in April, but commissioners haven’t had enough votes to act. The situation shows their wide leeway in overseeing the schools.
The notebook by Bill Hangley Jr. December 12, 2016 — 10:45am
In April, the Charter Schools Office recommended non-renewal for two schools run by ASPIRA Inc. and two schools operated by Universal Companies. The School Reform Commission postponed any vote on the schools that month and each month since.  After yet another SRC meeting passed in November without any action on the issue, Commissioner Bill Green had a simple explanation: democracy in action.  “It didn’t come up because there weren’t the votes for it,” Green said after the session. “I was on City Council, and some bills sat there for two and a half years until there were enough people to vote it up [or] vote it down. I’m confident that we’ll do that here.”  To critics of the SRC, the long delay reveals evidence that the five-member appointed board can’t hold charters accountable and that it should be shut down.  “It’s a very good example why the public voted overwhelmingly in a referendum last May that it’s time for the SRC to be dissolved and an elected board take its place,” said Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.  How exactly the SRC should respond to the stalemate is a matter of opinion.

Protesters at school governance forum linked to SRC's Simms and Philadelphia School Partnership charter advocates
The notebook by Bill Hangley Jr. December 12, 2016 — 1:05pm
Last week’s public forum on school governance at Drexel University was interrupted by abrief, but loud protest, in which a small group of parents demanded that the panel focus not on governance, but on how “Black and Brown children” are being “failed” by public schools.  The protesters did not publicly identify themselves as part of a particular group or campaign. They made no specific demands during a five-minute disruption that included one protester shouting into a bullhorn.  But members of the group later confirmed to NewsWorks’ Avi Wolfman-Arent that they were affiliated with Educational Opportunities for Families (EOF) and the Parent Leadership Advocacy Network (the PLAN), two community-organizing efforts with ties to both School Reform Commissioner Sylvia Simms and the Philadelphia School Partnership (PSP), the city’s leading charter school advocate.  Neither Simms nor PSP responded to requests for comment on Thursday’s protest or whether they played any role in organizing or supporting it. During the protest, Simms told an event organizer that she had asked the group to stop yelling.
Among the protesters was Simms’ daughter, Allegra Simms, a parent at North Philadelphia’s T.M. Pierce Elementary. After the meeting, the younger Simms told theNotebook’s Noah Levinson that the EOF/PLAN group’s concern is that “low-income families … get nothing in their schools.”

PA State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky is featured in this piece
5 Badass Female Politicians Tell Us About The Women They Admire Most
Huffington Post  12/05/2016 11:26 pm ET | Updated 6 days ago
Women are sorely underrepresented in politics. In the January 2017 Congress, women will take 21 out of 100 total seats. There were some shining moments in November—like big Senate wins by Kamala Harris (D-CA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)— to help tip the scales toward gender equality. Another silver lining has been a surge in motivation among women in “secret” Facebook groups and organizations like Running Start and She Should Run who are asking, “How do I run for office? How can I get my voice heard?”  If this election taught us anything, it’s that women need to support, encourage, and raise each other up, more than ever. Role models and mentors are vital to inspiring women of all ages to enter politics. “You can’t be what you can’t see,” Marian Wright Edelman famously said. Crisanta Duran, Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives, agrees: “It sends young women the wrong message when they see American politics dominated by men. We have so many strong, intelligent women–on both sides of the aisle–coming up through the ranks. It’s critical that we work to elevate these women and their voices.”  We’ve partnered with thriller MISS SLOANE and five rising political stars, who talk about the women they admire and inspired them to get active.

WSJ: How Trump’s Schools Chief Helped Turn Around Detroit
There’s still work to do, but thanks to Betsy DeVos more than half the city’s students attend charters.
Wall Street Journal By INGRID JACQUES Dec. 9, 2016 6:35 p.m. ET
To the dismay of teachers unions nationwide, President-elect Donald Trump has picked Betsy DeVos, a Michigan school reformer, to be the next education secretary. The day Ms. DeVos’s selection was announced, the president of the American Federation of Teachers,Randi Weingarten, called her “the most ideological, anti-public-education nominee put forward since President Carter created a Cabinet-level Department of Education.” But as it often goes, what is bad for the teachers unions is good for the school kids. Ms. DeVos has a strong record of fighting for the latter here in her home state.  Her history of promoting charter schools goes back to 1994, when she worked closely with former Republican Gov. John Engler to pass Michigan’s charter law. These alternative public schools, free from union constraints, have flourished—especially in Detroit, where more than half of students attend charters. Only New Orleans has a higher percentage of students in charter schools.  But time and again, Michigan has resisted comprehensive reform. In 2000, Ms. DeVos and her husband funded a ballot initiative that would have created vouchers for students to use state funding at private schools. But the measure was defeated 69-31.  In 2003, a retired industrialist named Bob Thompson tried to give Detroit $200 million to establish a network of high-quality charter schools. His generous offer was originally accepted by then-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and Gov. Jennifer Granholm. But the Detroit teachers union protested and the politicians withdrew their support. In frustration, Mr. Thompson also changed his mind.  But despite facing backlash, Ms. DeVos hasn’t given up. In 2011 a Republican-controlled legislature voted to lift the cap on the number of charters, which had been set at 150 university-authorized schools. This has helped them flourish further.

“”Betsy DeVos stands at the intersection of two family fortunes that helped to build the Christian right. In 1983, her father, Edgar Prince, who made his money in the auto parts business, contributed to the creation of the Family Research Council, which the Southern Poverty Law Center identifies as extremist because of its anti-L.G.B.T. language.  Her father-in-law, Richard DeVos Sr., the co-founder of Amway, a company built on “multilevel marketing” or what critics call pyramid selling, has beenfunding groups and causes on the economic and religious right since the 1970s.  Ms. DeVos is a chip off the old block. At a 2001 gathering of conservative Christian philanthropists, she singled out education reform as a way to “advance God’s kingdom.” In an interview, she and her husband, Richard DeVos Jr., said that school choice would lead to “greater kingdom gain.”
Betsy DeVos and God’s Plan for Schools
New York Times By KATHERINE STEWART DEC. 13, 2016
BOSTON — At the rightmost edge of the Christian conservative movement, there are those who dream of turning the United States into a Christian republic subject to “biblical laws.” In the unlikely figure of Donald J. Trump, they hope to have found their greatest champion yet. He wasn’t “our preferred candidate,” the Christian nationalist David Barton said in June, but he could be “God’s candidate.”  Consider the president-elect’s first move on public education. Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University, the largest Christian university in the nation, says that he was Mr. Trump’s first pick for secretary of education. Liberty University teaches creationism alongside evolution.  When Mr. Falwell declined, President-elect Trump offered the cabinet position to Betsy DeVos. In most news coverage, Ms. DeVos is depicted as a member of the Republican donor class and a leading advocate of school vouchers programs.  That is true enough, but it doesn’t begin to describe the broader conservative agenda she’s been associated with.

Civil Rights Groups Blast Betsy DeVos' 'Lack of Respect' for Student Diversity
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Andrew Ujifusa on December 12, 2016 12:13 PM
UPDATED A coalition of civil rights groups are registering their concern that education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos' track record does not square with the U.S. Department of Education's mission of "fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access" for all students.
At the same time, DeVos is pushing back on the specific idea that she favors school choice at the expense of public education.   In a Dec. 12 statement, the 33 groups argue that DeVos' record of support for groups opposed to LGBTQ rights, and her criticism of affirmative action policies, "demonstrate a lack of respect and appreciation for the diversity of our nation's classrooms and fail to recognize a long and pernicious history of discrimination against groups of students."
And more broadly, they say her support for vouchers and opposition to "appropriate oversight" for charter schools, among other things, indicate a disregard for concerns about school segregation and raise questions about her commitment to fairness in education.  "While we have heard little of DeVos' record with regard to the rights and interests of English learners, immigrant students, students with disabilities and religious minorities, we are deeply troubled by the unacceptable rhetoric of the President-elect during his campaign and the absence of a record of DeVos' support for these students," says the statement from the coalition, which includes the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the NAACP, and GLSEN.

School choice advocates divided over Trump and his education pick, Betsy DeVos
Washington Post By Emma Brown December 12 at 6:00 AM 
Teachers unions have — predictably — attacked President-elect Donald Trump and his nominee for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, a conservative Michigan power broker who has pushed to expand taxpayer-funded vouchers for private and religious schools, moves that some teachers see as a threat to public education.  Perhaps less predictably, the Trump-DeVos team also has divided those who consider themselves part of the education reform movement: Some are cheering what they see as an extraordinary opportunity to bolster alternatives to traditional public schools, while others fear that the duo could split the bipartisan alliance that has helped vouchers and charters expand quickly during the past two decades.  Some worry that Trump’s rhetoric about immigrants, inner cities and women — and the support he has won from those who promote racism and anti-Semitism — could drive Democrats and people of color away from any education policies he embraces. Others are concerned that, based on her record in Michigan, DeVos will push for a rapid expansion of school choice — via vouchers and charters — without concern for school quality, leaving families with more, but not necessarily better, options and undermining the ­argument for choice.  “Will the new administration love school choice to death?” Robin Lake, a charter school supporter at the University of Washington’s Center on Reinventing Public Education, asked last month in the journal Education Next.

Can A President Trump Get Rid Of Common Core?
NPR by CORY TURNER November 10, 20166:00 AM ET
"Common Core is a total disaster. We can't let it continue."  So said presidential candidate Donald Trump in a campaign ad on his website.  To make sure there's no confusion about where he stands on the learning standards that are now used by the vast majority of states, Trump also tweeted earlier this year:  "Get rid of Common Core — keep education local!"  The question for President-elect Trump and for the millions of teachers, parents and students living in Common Core states is pretty simple:  Can he do it? Can he get rid of the Core standards?  First, a bit of backstory.  The Common Core standards were developed by governors and state school superintendents and adopted at the state level. They were not created by the Obama administration or forced on states. Indeed, several states chose not to make the switch. That said, President Obama did use federal dollars, through the Race to the Top program, to encourage (critics prefer "coerce") states to adopt new, more rigorous standards. And, in the throes of a downturn, that extra school money was a powerful enticement.

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

PHLpreK Now Enrolling!
Philadelphia Mayor's Office of Education
Did you know that quality early childhood education sets our children up for success? It reduces the need for special education, raises graduation rates, and narrows the achievement gap. These benefits ripple throughout our schools, neighborhoods, and local economy.
That’s why the City of Philadelphia is expanding free, quality pre-K for 6,500 three- and four-year-olds over the next five years. In fact, the first 2,000 pre-K seats are available now. Families should act fast because classes begin on January 4th at more than 80 locations.
Please help us spread the word. Parents/caregivers can call 844-PHL-PREK (844-745-7735) to speak with a trained professional who will help them apply and locate quality pre-K programs nearby.  For more information, visit www.PHLprek.org

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 http://www.education.pa.gov/Pages/tour.aspx#tab-1
Upcoming Public Events:
Friday, December 16- Philadelphia- 11:00 am- Community College of Philadelphia
 Community College of Philadelphia
 Bonnell Building, Bonnell Auditorium, Room BG-20
 1700 Spring Garden Street  Philadelphia, PA  19130
Wednesday, January 4- Quakertown- 5:30 pm- Bucks County Free Library
Bucks County Free Library Quakertown Branch
401 West Mill Street Quakertown, PA  18951
Tuesday, January 10- Scranton- 4:00 pm- Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County
Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County
3201 Rockwell Avenue Scranton, PA  18508

“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.

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.

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: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6607237329490796034

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, https://www.psba.org/members-area/store-registration/)

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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