Monday, December 19, 2016

PA Ed Policy Roundup Dec 19: What’s the difference between a public school and a private charter school management company?

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup Dec 19, 2016
What’s the difference between a public school and a private charter school management company?

Blogger Commentary:

The mission of our democratically governed public schools is to create informed American citizens.

The mission of a business is to make a profit for its shareholders.

In public schools, transparency provisions designed to protect and inform taxpayers are an integral component of accountability.

In a for profit business using public tax dollars, taxpayers apparently can just go pound sand.

Last week, K12, Inc. rejected a transparency proposal because it “could place the company at a competitive disadvantage by revealing strategies and priorities designed to protect the economic future of the company, its stockholders and employees”, regardless of the fact that they are using taxpayer money to fund advertising, lobbying and windfall corporate executive compensation while providing consistently dismal academic results for school children.

Virtual Charter School Network K12 Rejects Transparency Proposal
The Journal By Richard Chang 12/16/16
Virtual charter school company K12 Inc. rejected a transparency proposal Thursday that would have required the company’s board of directors to create a new report detailing K12’s lobbying efforts.  The proposal came from a group of shareholders, represented by Arjuna Capital, who said the company spends millions on state lobbying, even as its stock has been dropping and revenues have decreased.  K12 Inc. has spent at least $10.5 million to hire lobbyists in 21 states, according to more than a decade of state lobbying disclosure forms examined by Education Week as part of a recent investigation into the lobbying efforts of for-profit virtual charter school operators.  The shareholders called on the company’s board to prepare an annual report detailing spending on “direct or indirect lobbying or … grassroots lobbying communications.” They also wanted the company to report K12’s membership in, and payments to, any tax-exempt organization that writes and endorses model legislation — such as the American Legislative Exchange Council.  The K12 shareholder effort to push for more transparency was headed by Bertis Downs, the legal counsel for the rock group R.E.M. as well as a traditional public school parent and advocate in Athens, GA.  Downs also sits on the board of the Network for Public Education, the group co-founded by education historian and traditional public schools advocate Diane Ravitch.  K12’s board of directors opposed the proposal. In a proxy statement put out ahead of the annual shareholder’s meeting, the board said the requirements outlined in the proposal are not necessary and could hurt the company.  “The expanded disclosure requested by this proposal could place the company at a competitive disadvantage by revealing strategies and priorities designed to protect the economic future of the company, its stockholders and employees,” the statement said.

“So where is that $450 million going? Much of it goes to for-profit cyber charter management companies who in turn use it on marketing, lobbying and executive compensation. Take Agora Cyber Charter, for instance.  They paid the majority of their revenue to K12 Inc, an out-of-state for-profit cyber charter manager. K12 runs around 20,000 TV commercials a year for Agora. They’ve spent over $1.3 million on lobbying in PA since 2007. And K12’s executives were handsomely rewarded in 2016 with over a million dollars each. In spite of all that spending, Agora scored in the bottom 1% of schools statewide last year.”
Cyber Charters: The $450 million scam on taxpayers
PCCY website December 16, 2018
With school districts stressed by PA’s inadequate education funding, they must make sure every penny is spent wisely.  Cyber charter schools, however, are a huge cost to districts and wisdom doesn’t factor into the equation.  School districts spent $450 million last year on cyber charter schools. The state’s cyber charter sector – the second largest in the country – continues to grow as does the tremendous amount of money that school districts must pay to cybers. In southeast Pennsylvania alone, the tab for cyber charters was over $132.5 million – a $42 million increase in the past five years.  If cyber charter schools were a sound educational investment, maybe they’d be worth the millions spent. But PA’s cyber charter schools have consistently been among the lowest performing in the state, with 90% of them languishing in the bottom fifth of schools statewide last year. No cyber school has ever met the state performance standards set in 2013.
They waste tax dollars, ‘upload’ funding out of every school, and districts still have to pay them.  

Morningstar: K12, Inc (LRN) Executive Compensation

“Total cyber charter tuition paid by PA taxpayers from 500 school districts for 2013, 2014 and 2015 was over $1.2 billion; $393.5 million, $398.8 million and $436.1 million respectively.  Not one of Pennsylvania’s cyber charters has achieved a passing SPP score of 70 in any of the four years that the SPP has been in effect.  Most PA cybers never made “Adequate Yearly Progress” under No Child Left Behind.”
Chart: School Performance Profile Scores for PA Cyber Charters 2013 through 2016
Keystone State Education Coalition October 16, 2016
Source: PA Department of Education website; A score of 70 is considered passing
Total cyber charter tuition paid by PA taxpayers from 500 school districts for 2013, 2014 and 2015 was over $1.2 billion; $393.5 million, $398.8 million and $436.1 million respectively.
Not one of Pennsylvania’s cyber charters has achieved a passing SPP score of 70 in any of the four years that the SPP has been in effect.

“The problem with casual charter rules is that they invite failure. A 2013 Stanford University study showed that 31 percent of charter schools performed worse than their public school counterparts. That’s a lot of public dollars down the drain.”
Charter schools need oversight, accountability
The Spokesman Review Opinion FRIDAY, DEC. 16, 2016
Charters schools in Washington state are more polarizing than they ought to be, because stringent oversight helps ensure that public dollars are not being wasted. In fact, the state’s model was judged the nation’s best by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers.  “Its law strikes the right balance that gives charter schools the freedom they need to thrive, while ensuring these schools meet a high bar and are good schools for students and taxpayers,” said John Hedstrom, vice president of policy for NACSA, in a news release.  The report was issued on Dec. 6, and it gave Washington, Indiana and Nevada perfect scores. Idaho was ranked 20th.  States with lax controls fared worse. Some charter school advocates believe the schools should have more autonomy and less government interference. As for accountability, they believe parents can “vote with their feet” if they don’t like the schools. This is the view of Betsy DeVos, a powerful charter school advocate from Michigan, who is Donald Trump’s selection as education secretary. DeVos fought Michigan legislators who wanted greater accountability measures for charter schools, according to a New York Times article.  Michigan as a whole ranks poorly on education measures, and on average its charter schools perform worse than traditional schools. The problem with casual charter rules is that they invite failure. A 2013 Stanford University study showed that 31 percent of charter schools performed worse than their public school counterparts. That’s a lot of public dollars down the drain.  Washington state is about to take the final step of a contentious process to fully fund basic education. We can’t afford to squander money with a “y’all come” attitude on charter schools. They need to held to the same standards as traditional schools, and that means government oversight.

Editorial: Bad signs looming on state budget
Delco Times Editorial POSTED: 12/18/16, 10:20 PM EST
As its name indicates, Pennsylvania’s Independent Fiscal Office is supposed to be a nonpartisan agency.  Its function is to prepare revenue projections for the governor and state lawmakers to review in preparing the state budget. The agency specifically stays away from supporting policies, only giving the facts and figures of its revenue projections.  In other words, taxpayers should be able to trust the numbers in its reports since the office is not supposed to be influenced by politics.  If that is indeed the case, then all Pennsylvanians should sit down and take a good, hard look at some recent numbers compiled by the office.  In a special five-year outlook, Matthew Knittel, the director of the office, noted that the state could face a budget deficit of $500 million by the end of the current fiscal year next June.  He added that budget deficit could expand to $1.7 billion the following year and $3 billion by 2022 if there’s no change in the state’s current financial plans.  In the short term, Knittel said the deficit could be blamed on the state relying on optimistic revenue projects, a slowdown in the economy in the first quarter and the General Assembly not following through with plans to raise $150 million by enacting an internet gaming bill and selling a second casino license in Philadelphia.

Pennsylvania budget shortfall not without precedent, but still dire
WHYY Newsworks BY KATIE MEYER, WITF December 19, 2016
Pennsylvania's mid-fiscal year budget report has confirmed what the Independent Fiscal Office has been warning for well over a month: Underperforming revenues are putting the commonwealth on track for a shortfall of around $600 million.  So how bad is that?  By all accounts, it's a tenuous place for the state's bank account to be. But it's not without precedent.  Budget Secretary Randy Albright said this year's financial outlook is at least as bad, if not worse than any he's seen in his time in state government. But Terry Madonna, pollster and analyst with Franklin & Marshall College, noted that the commonwealth is by no means a stranger to being strapped for cash.  "Routinely we had them in the 1960s ... in the late 1970s, [and] we had some tough budgets in the early '90s," he said. "So budget deficits have been commonplace in this state."  The 2016/17 fiscal year budget hole is also compounded by an even deeper problem — an existing $1.7 billion  structural deficit.

Argall to go after property tax elimination again
WITF Written by Radio Pennsylvania | Dec 18, 2016 8:27 AM
 (Harrisburg) -- A state lawmaker pushing for full property tax elimination in the commonwealth says he believes 2017 is the year it will get done.  A bill to stamp out property taxes from Republican Senator David Argall failed on a tie-breaker vote in the last session, but he's hopeful the new class of legislators will see the measure over the finish line in the coming year.  Argall says he believes Pennsylvanians want to see property taxes completely eliminated, not just reduced or reformed.  "They know that the property tax system is old, it's archaic, it's rotten at the core. The only way to fix it is to eliminate it, and that is our number one goal for next year," Argall said.  Specifics on the new bill haven't been released.  Argall's previous bill raised the sales and personal income tax in order to do away with property taxes. 

Pa. school districts brace for higher pension costs
Morning Call by Kathy Boccella The Philadelphia Inquirer (TNS) December 18, 2016
Pennsylvania's school districts have gotten an early lump of coal this holiday season from Harrisburg: word that teacher pension costs, which have taken ever larger bites out of budgets in recent years, will rise faster than expected in 2017-18.  The board that administers the state's Public School Employees' Retirement System, or PSERS, voted earlier this month to increase the rate of districts' per-worker pension contributions from the current 30.03 percent to 32.57, amounting to an 8.5 percent hike.  PSERS officials put the blame, in part, on the $50 billion fund's flat investments for its fiscal year that ended in June. But they also sought to cast the looming rate increase in a positive light, hailing it as the smallest percentage hike since 2009-10, the dawn of Pennsylvania's school funding crisis.  However, the news felt like an icy winter blast to school district business managers, who already have watched skyrocketing pension contributions become a leading cause, along with employee health care, of spending shortfalls and rising property taxes.  Between higher payouts to teachers and lower investment returns, the percentage that each school district must contribute for an employee in the PSERS system has gone up dramatically from 5.64 percent in 2010-11.

Pa. schools revamp would give less weight to testing
York Daily Record By MICHAEL RUBINKAM, Associated Press 6:05 p.m. EST December 17, 2016
Parents, students and taxpayers in Pennsylvania would get a new look at how their public schools are doing under a proposed revamp of the statewide grading system that gives less weight to standardized testing.  Calling it the Future Ready PA Index, state education officials say the new grading system is meant to tell a more accurate story about Pennsylvania's 500 school districts. While testing would still play an important role in gauging school performance, officials say, other indicators of student learning and achievement would take on greater importance than they do now.  "Our current system of accountability is far too reliant on standardized tests and not focused enough on skills students need to be successful," Education Secretary Pedro Rivera said in an interview. The result, he said, is "we've created this test-taking culture."  Rivera unveiled Future Ready PA at the education department's annual professional-development conference this month.

Democrat declared winner in Pa. House race -- by 25 votes
West Chester's Mayor Carolyn Comitta will be the 156th District's new representative.
Inquirer by Michaelle Bond, Staff Writer Updated: DECEMBER 17, 2016 — 1:07 AM EST
Five weeks after the election, the ultra-tight race for a state House seat in Chester County has been decided.  Following challenges to provisional ballots and a recount, West Chester Mayor Carolyn Comitta, a Democrat, will be the 156th District's new representative, winning by 25 votes over three-term Republican State Rep. Dan Truitt.  County officials finished their recount Friday, and a judge certified the results.  Comitta also was up by 25 votes before the recount, which Truitt requested.  Comitta thanked Truitt for his six years of service.  "When it became clear that I had won, before anything went to the judge, Dan said, 'Carolyn, you won, and I congratulate you,' " Comitta said Friday.

Stop pointing fingers at charter schools and improve the public education system
Post Gazette Letter by JON McCANN, CEO Environmental Charter School Regent Square December 19, 2016 12:00 AM
Regarding “Charter Schools Aren’t a Real Option for Many Families” (Dec. 14 letters): I am forced to wholly reject the Pittsburgh school district solicitor’s indirect assertions that the Environmental Charter School has screened, selected or otherwise manufactured its student body. Ira Weiss knows full well the lengths to which our institution will go to ensure a fair and equitable lottery process.   Unlike the PPS magnet enrollment system, the ECS lottery is a transparent, open and fair process audited by a respected third-party CPA firm to ensure ethical objectivity. Public education, in all its forms, has a duty to taxpayers to provide high-quality education for all, and I am offended by the the solicitor’s charges that charter schools “routinely screen” students. 
I suggest the solicitor turns his efforts toward supporting the Pittsburgh Public Schools, a district that has for decades failed to support or challenge so many of the city’s most vulnerable students. Please stop throwing generalizations about all charters and get on with the job of supporting PPS, which has had many years and expended billions in taxpayer dollars to get it right with little to show other than more excuses, the latest being charters.  Pointing fingers at a small group of brave public educators daring to do school differently is yet another mechanism to preserve the status quo in Pittsburgh. If our city is to grow its economy, we need a young and energetic vision for our public schools, not a dinosaur with a new hat.

We need more high-quality public school options
Post Gazette Letter by NIKOLE BRUGNOLI SHEAFFER, Highland Park December 19, 2016 12:00 AM
The writer is a co-founder of the Environmental Charter School and serves as the innovation director.
In the Dec. 14 letter from Pittsburgh Public Schools solicitor Ira Weiss (“Charter Schools Aren’t a Real Option for Many Families”), Mr. Weiss continues to perpetuate the myth that charter schools pick and choose students, as if they were a business looking to fill seats with a certain type of student profile. This myth has been debunked numerous times, and, in fact, it is the Pittsburgh Public Schools that regularly handpicks students for its magnet schools.  The greatest obstacle to creating a just and prosperous Pittsburgh is the paltry number of high-quality public school options. We know that demand for great schools in Pittsburgh is far greater than supply, as evidenced by more than 1,700 students sitting on charter school waitlists. All stakeholders need to be singularly focused on how we increase the number of quality seats for all children, regardless of ZIP code.  Like Pittsburgh’s renaissance in other sectors, an investment in education needs to be innovative, optimistic and collaborative. However, it takes courage and vision to challenge the status quo and think beyond what we currently see.  If you don’t believe in the merits of charter schools or if you buy into the myths that are regularly presented, I dare you to visit a charter school and observe it, critique it, ask hard questions. Then visit a public school outside of your neighborhood and do the same thing. Building alternative perspectives can help dispel myths, build understanding and get us into the conversation our kids need us to have.

Percentage of school-age children living in poverty in Beaver County up
Beaver County Times By Daveen Rae Kurutz December 18, 2016
Fewer children are living in poverty in eight local school districts than 20 years ago, according to data released last week from the U.S. Census Bureau.  West Allegheny, Moon Area, Quaker Valley, Hopewell Area, Midland, Ellwood City Area, Western Beaver and South Side Area school districts have seen a drop in the percentage of children age 5 to 17 living in poverty between 1995 and 2015, according to the bureau’s Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates program. However, 11 other districts saw increases, some sharp.  “The numbers are still way too high,” said Maj. Richard Lyle, county coordinator for The Salvation Army. “It stretches our resources -- we’re still helping, providing for them despite the challenges.”  Lyle said the number of children that his organization helps in Beaver County began to spike about five years ago and grew steadily until last year. It has plateaued during the past 12 months, but it’s still difficult to serve so many children.  Four local districts -- Aliquippa, Big Beaver Falls Area, Midland and Rochester Area -- have at least 30 percent of children age 5 to 17 living in poverty. According to federal poverty guidelines, a family of four lives in poverty if their household income was lower than $24,250 in 2015.  When accounting for inflation, that’s a similar number to the federal poverty guidelines in 1995. The guideline that year was $15,150, which is about $23,562 in 2015 dollars.
In 1995, only two districts had more than 30 percent of school-aged children living in poverty -- Midland and Aliquippa.

Some Bucks, Montgomery school districts lauded for expanding number of AP courses
Intelligencer By Gary Weckselblatt, staff writer December 19, 2016
Four area high schools have made the AP District Honor Roll for increasing access to Advanced Placement classes while maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning scores of three or higher on the exams.  New Hope-Solebury and Quakertown Community are the only two districts to qualify in Bucks County, while Hatboro-Horsham and Abington made the list in eastern Montgomery County.  Overall, 433 school districts in the U.S. and Canada qualified, including 44 in Pennsylvania.  "This is exciting news for our kids," said Steven Yanni, superintendent for New Hope-Solebury. "It really speaks to our kids ability to think critically and to take rigorous courses. We do have a fairly wide range (of AP classes), and we've been growing these programs. It's really great to see the numbers of these kids willing to put themselves out there for more than resume building. It's about developing college thinkers and articulate workers."  Inclusion on the seventh annual AP District Honor Roll is based on a review of three years of AP data, from 2014 to 2016, looking across 37 AP Exams, including world language and culture.

Phila. schools getting $750k in book money from DNC host committee
Inquirer by Kristen A. Graham, Staff Writer  @newskag Updated: DECEMBER 19, 2016 1:08 AM
The host committee for the 2016 Democratic National Convention is not quite finished with Philadelphia yet. It is expected to announce Monday that it will donate $750,000 to locate libraries in public-school classrooms across the city.  The donation to the Right Books Campaign - an effort of the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia - comes as the Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee closes up shop.  "We wanted to have a significant impact through the convention on the Philadelphia community," said former Gov. Ed Rendell, the committee's chair. "It's a bow on the entire convention process."  The committee's donation will bring the campaign - which aims to put nearly 80,000 books in elementary schools in the Philadelphia School District - within $1 million of its goal.

Taxpayers could be on hook for SDL legal bills
Long battle with ACLU might force district to dip into funds earmarked for students
Lancaster Online by DAN NEPHIN | Staff Writer December 19, 2016
The School District of Lancaster’s ongoing legal defense against a lawsuit filed by six refugee students has cost at least $144,555, most of which is covered by insurance.  But as an appeal winds its way through the courts, the district might be forced to use taxpayer money from its general fund and potentially dip into a $25 million reserve, officials said.  The district declined to comment extensively about its legal bills in the case, but said the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and Education Law Center, which are representing the students, are running up the tab.  “We are spending far less than our opponents by having a single attorney represent the district in court, while they send up to six, driving up the costs,” the district said in a statement. “Until we get this issue resolved with the judge, we will refrain from commenting.”  Six refugees filed suit against the district in July, alleging it denied them the “meaningful and equal education” they are due under federal and state laws.  The refugee students sought admission to McCaskey High School instead of Phoenix Academy, an alternative school, where they argued learning was impossible because of language barriers. In August, a federal judge sided with the students.
The district is appealing the ruling.

The new standardized testing craze to hit public schools
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss December 19 at 6:00 AM 
Last year, the Obama administration conceded that U.S. public school students were taking too many standardized tests, this after after a revolt among students, parents and teachers, and after a two-year study found that there was no evidence that adding testing time improves student achievement. But if you thought that the administration’s admission meant that the problem was on its way to being resolved, guess again.  Today the rise of online or computer-based testing threatens to reverse whatever progress has been made in reducing the number of tests in the last year. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing, known as FairTest, a non-profit organization that works to end the abuse and misuse of standardized tests, has put out a new fact sheet about this program, which says in part:
Education policymakers and technology providers have joined forces to accelerate a longtime push for “test data-driven” education interventions. Both sectors look to computer-based curricula and data collected with online tests to control classrooms and define educational outcomes.
Though couched in humanistic language about “personalization,” such a transformation is leading to even more frequent standardized testing. This narrows and dumbs down instruction to what low-level tests can measure, depresses student engagement, and produces inaccurate indicators of learning.
Here’s a piece on this trend, by Lisa Guisbond, a testing reform analyst at FairTest.

Carol Burris @NPE: Help Us Fight the Nomination of Betsy DeVos!
Diane Ravitch’s Blog By dianeravitch December 18, 2016 //
Carol Burris sent an email to all members of the Network for Public Education with a list of ways that you can express your opposition to the nomination of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. She is uniquely unfit for the office, as she has no relevant experience, and she is on record in opposition to public education. Her efforts in Detroit and in Michigan have harmed the children of that city and state. She supports charter schools, whether nonprofit or for-profit, vouchers, online charter schools, and everything else but public schools. If she is confirmed by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, she will do whatever she can to turn public funds over to private and religious schools. Please join with us in opposing her nomination.

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

Pennsylvania Every Student Succeeds Act Public Tour
The Department of Education (PDE) is holding a series of public events to engage the public on important education topics in Pennsylvania.  The primary focus of these events will be the Every Student Succeeds Act, the federal education law signed by President Barack Obama in late 2015. A senior leader from the department will provide background on the law, and discuss the ongoing
development of Pennsylvania’s State Plan for its implementation, which will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education in 2017.  Feedback is important to PDE; to provide the best avenue for public comment as well as provide an opportunity for those who cannot attend an event, members of the community are encouraged to review materials and offer comments at
Upcoming Public Events:
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:

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

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

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

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

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