Post Gazette Opinion by IRA WEISS Oakland December 14, 2016 12:00 AM
Post Gazette By Angela Couloumbis and Karen Langley / Harrisburg Bureau December 14, 2016 1:05 PM
Even with a tax hike, Scranton school deficit remains
BY SARAH HOFIUS HALL / PUBLISHED: DECEMBER 14, 2016
Borrowing $10 million and raising taxes 3.8 percent will still leave the Scranton School District with a budget deficit for 2017. During a budget and finance committee meeting Tuesday, school directors blamed much of the district’s crisis on Harrisburg, while engaging in a passionate debate about whether to raise property taxes. Board President Bob Sheridan said the district should not pass its burden onto taxpayers, while Bob Lesh, committee chairman, argued that the board must think of the city’s 10,000 students. The tax hike and borrowed money leave the district about $5 million short for next year.
State sets date for Ambridge teachers to return to work
By Katherine Schaeffer email@example.com December 14, 2016
AMBRIDGE -- Ambridge Area School District teachers must end their strike and return to the classroom Wednesday, Jan. 4, whether or not the teachers union and the district have agreed on a contract, the state Department of Education has ruled. The education department determines the maximum amount of time a teachers union can strike based on the school district's ability to complete the 180 classroom instruction days Pennsylvania law requires before June 15.
Study: Giving children computers has little impact on school performance
The study did show an unexpected benefit: a slight increase in social activity — online and in real life.
Post Gazette By Jeff Guo / The Washington Post December 14, 2016 12:52 PM
For better or for worse, homework has gone online. Children these days conduct research on the Internet, post messages to classroom discussion boards or complete Web-based learning programs. The Federal Communications Commission warns that students who don’t have fast Internet connections “are at a disadvantage relative to their connected peers,” which is one reason the government recently decided to spend billions a year helping low-income households hook up to broadband. It’s hard to deny the importance of building digital skills. But computers are not just productivity machines - they are also portals to distraction. There is the question of the teenage attention span: If fully-grown adults struggle to stay focused in front of a Web browser, how can we expect this of kids? Every moment spent playing “Candy Crush” or checking Facebook or spamming Instagram is time taken away from physical activity, or, you know, sleep.
And so, computers can sometimes feel like a necessary evil. Parents fret: Do the costs of having children use a computer at home outweigh the benefits? Several years ago, economists conducted a fascinating and first-of-its-kind experiment to answer that question. Some of the latest results from that project, which were released Monday in a working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research, show that the benefits of having a computer at home are subtle and somewhat counterintuitive.
DeVos v. Blaine
Bright is made possible by funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
In1875, a former newspaper publisher turned Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives named James G. Blaine proposed a constitutional amendment banning the use of public money for parochial education. At that time, immigrants from Germany, Ireland and Poland were swarming into New York, Boston and other east coast cities. Eyeing the political might of the fast-growing number of Catholic voters, the then-mayor of New York City, Fernando Wood, obtained $1.5 million in state funding to support Catholic schools. But supporting Catholic schools with public money was a hard sell for the wealthy Protestant establishment, which saw it as a dangerous weakening of one of the key principals enshrined in the Constitution. President Ulysses S. Grant demanded separation of church and state in all matters related to education and called for public schools “unmixed with atheistic, pagan or sectarian teaching.” Blaine’s amendment codified those sentiments. “No state shall make any law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; and no money raised by taxation in any State for the support of public schools, or derived from any public fund therefor, nor any public lands devoted thereto, shall ever be under the control of any religious sect; nor shall any money so raised or lands so devoted be divided between religious sects or denominations.”
The measure failed in Congress but 36 states adopted the so-called Blaine Amendments that prohibited the use of public funds to support parochial schools.
Education Writers Association DEC 13, 2016 EMILY RICHMOND audio runtime 22 minutes
Washington, D.C. Phone:(202) 224-4944
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:
Community College of Philadelphia
Bonnell Building, Bonnell Auditorium, Room BG-20
1700 Spring Garden Street Philadelphia, PA 19130
Bucks County Free Library Quakertown Branch
401 West Mill Street Quakertown, PA 18951
Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County
3201 Rockwell Avenue Scranton, PA 18508
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.
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/)
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.
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.