Friday, December 2, 2016

PA Ed Policy Roundup Dec 2: .@BetsyDeVos:"I have decided to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now I simply concede the point.”

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 3950 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers, Governor's staff, current/former PA Secretaries of Education, Wolf education transition team members, superintendents, school solicitors, principals, PTO/PTA officers, parent advocates, teacher leaders, business leaders, faith-based organizations, labor organizations, education professors, members of the press and a broad array of P-16 regulatory agencies, professional associations and education advocacy organizations via emails, website, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

These daily emails are archived and searchable at
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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup Dec 2, 2016
.@BetsyDeVos:"I have decided to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now I simply concede the point.”

If you are a school leader in southeastern PA, I look forward to seeing you at this workshop.
Southeastern PA Regional Basic Education Funding Formula Workshop
Tuesday, December 6, 2016 @ 6:00 pm: Chester County IU 24
(455 Boot Road, Downingtown, PA 19335)

Pennsylvania Every Student Succeeds Act Public Tour
First in a series of Public Events:
Friday, December 2- Pittsburgh- 9:30 am- Community College of Allegheny County
Community College of Allegheny County Main Campus in the Tom Forester Student Service Center Auditorium 808 Ridge Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15212

Pennsylvania's budget hole is getting incrementally deeper
Penn Live By Wallace McKelvey | Email the author | Follow on Twitter on December 01, 2016 at 6:39 PM, updated December 01, 2016 at 6:52 PM
"Below estimate."  Those words, which strike fear into the hearts of Gov. Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Legislature, appear 13 times in the Department of Revenue's latest collections report.  In fact, they might have appeared more often had the dispatch's writer not swapped them out for "less than anticipated" three more times.  Following a trend that's persisted for much of the year, Pennsylvania's November revenue collections ran 3.8 percent behind budget estimates. In all, the state pulled in $2 billion which, in real terms, meant it fell $79.5 million behind anticipated revenue.  Since the turn of the fiscal year in July, Pennsylvania has collected about $10.8 billion for the General Fund. That's 2.4 percent, or $261.8 million, "below estimate."  The deficits were felt across the board: Sales tax collections are $122 million behind for the year to date. Income taxes are $81.1 million behind. Realty transfer taxes are $28 million behind.  According to the Independent Fiscal Office, which issued a gloomy five-year outlook last month, the state faces a projected current-year budget deficit of $500 million. That's expected to balloon to a $3 billion per year deficit by 2021.

November State Revenue $79.7 Million Below Estimates, $122.2M Below For Fiscal Year
Capitol Digest by Crisci Associates DECEMBER 1, 2016
The Department of Revenue Thursday reported Pennsylvania collected $2 billion in General Fund revenue in November, which was $79.5 million, or 3.8 percent, less than anticipated.   Fiscal year-to-date General Fund collections total $10.8 billion, which is $261.8 million, or 2.4 percent, below estimate.

Going to Pa. Society next weekend? Don't look for Gov. Tom Wolf
Penn Live By Jan Murphy | Email the author | Follow on Twitter on December 01, 2016 at 5:30 PM
Once again, Gov. Tom Wolf will be a no-show at the receptions and parties planned for next weekend's annual Pennsylvania Society gathering in New York City.  Wolf instead will be volunteering at a nonprofit and donating $30,000 from the Wolf Inaugural Fund to split evenly to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and food banks in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.  While not being there in person, the governor will show his support for a Society cause, though. He will be donating $10,000 of his own money to the Pennsylvania Society Scholarship Program, which along with the Maguire Foundation provides four-year scholarships to Pennsylvania students attending in-state colleges, according a news release.  When the state's political elite gather on Dec. 10 for the weekend's main event, the black-tie Society Dinner, at New York City's famed Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, Wolf will be attending a different type of soiree.

Blogger note: Third term incumbent Rep. Dan Truitt has been a strong supporter of cyber charter schools
Judge considers validity of 14 stray ballots in 156th District
A neck-and-neck state House race in Chester County may have exposed a gray area in Pennsylvania's election law — leaving 14 provisional ballots in murky territory.  Both candidates for the 156th Legislative District, covering West Chester, were in Chester County Common Pleas Court Thursday to argue about whether these ballots — and one other — should count.   Many of the votes in question were cast by Chester County residents registered to vote by Field Works, a national left-leaning advocacy group that is currently under investigation for voter fraud in Pennsylvania.  Last week, the Chester County board of elections rejected provisional ballots from 14 people the group registered because the county did not receive them until after the deadline to register.  "We believed that they registered appropriately, that they cast their ballots and they should be counted," said Democratic candidate and West Chester Mayor Carolyn Comitta, who appealed the board's decision.

Report: Don't expand charters without examining consequences
Large urban school districts such as Philadelphia should account for how charter growth might harm traditional district schools when granting new charters, according to a report released Wednesday.  The left-leaning Economic Policy Institute paper examined 11 school districts — including Philadelphia — that experienced dramatic charter growth since 2000.
It recommends districts take a more holistic approach when approving charter schools. Instead of simply considering academic outcomes, the report said, districts should examine how new schools might alter a city's education landscape.

Charters punching a growing hole in public schools' budgets, report: Thursday Morning Coffee
Penn Live By John L. Micek | Email the author | Follow on Twitter on December 01, 2016 at 8:10 AM, updated December 01, 2016 at 8:14 AM
Good Thursday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
It's no secret that the money follows the kids when Pennsylvania's school children leave traditional public schools for charter schools. But a new study out this week details how much cash charter schools bleed out of urban districts, leading to budget shortfalls and funding inequities for kids overall.  Citing an Economic Policy Institute white paperThe Post-Gazette reports that traditional public schools are ""surviving but under increased stress," as a result of rapidly growing charter schools.  The study by Rutgers University professor Bruce D. Baker focused on districts that have seen the largest shift of Pennsylvania students to charter schools. In the 2015-16 school year, nearly 133,000 Pennsylvania students attended charter schools, with more than half hailing from Philadelphia, the newspaper reported.  All told, 150 brick-and-mortar charter schools and 14 cyber-charter schools now serve kids across the state.

What do 100K people say about Philly schools?
Inquirer by Kristen A. Graham, STAFF WRITER Updated: DECEMBER 1, 2016 — 3:42 PM EST
They love their school. They have concerns about safety. They feel supported; they need more help.  The results of the Philadelphia School District's 2015-16 citywide survey are in - over 100,000 of them - students, teachers, parents and principals sharing their thoughts about what works and what doesn't in the city's traditional public and charter schools.  Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said the feedback on topics ranging from school food and building conditions to how often students complete work and how respected children feel - would make a difference.  "As we work toward having a more equitable system of schools, the 2015-16 survey results are extremely valuable," Hite said in a statement. "We are reviewing the responses carefully and will incorporate this understanding into some of our efforts to improve each community based on its specific strengths and challenges."  Participation is up, with roughly 105,000 surveys completed, up from 65,000 the prior year.  But the data is still a snapshot. Fifty percent of eligible students and teachers submitted surveys, and 77 percent of principals, but just 13 percent of parents weighed in.  The data, presented in a searchable public website produced by the district and the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education, is expansive.

Attorneys argue Pine-Richland bathroom resolution
By Paula Reed Ward / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette December 2, 2016 12:00 AM
Before Pine-Richland school board members passed a resolution requiring transgender students to use the bathroom matching their biological gender, they had received just one complaint, from a high school student who felt uncomfortable when a transgender student entered a girls bathroom.  “There’s a boy in the bathroom,” she told the principal.  And that, Pine-Richland attorney Christina Lane said, prompted the board to take up the issue that has now led to a federal lawsuit.  “So, one in the record?” asked U.S. District Judge Mark R. Hornak on Thursday. “What do I make of that? The record, as it is, does not seem to reflect that there’s ever been any issue in any of the restrooms of Pine-Richland.  “The possibility that it might have happened somewhere, sometime, is the rational basis for the school district’s actions? What problem was this a solution to?” Ms. Lane said the issue was raised by community members, who brought it to the school board, which then took action. The board, in passing what is now known as Resolution Two, said students must use either the bathroom conforming to their biological gender or one of 10 unisex restrooms at the high school.

Federal judge puts Pine-Richland School District on defensive about bathroom policy
Trib Live BOB BAUDER | Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, 2:00 p.m.
Using a restroom at Pine-Richland High School is a lot more complicated than it used to be, attorneys agree.  What they don't agree on is whether students of different anatomical make-ups should be permitted to use the same bathroom.  The issue landed in federal court Thursday with attorneys representing three transgender seniors arguing for an injunction to block the school district's policy requiring students to use only restrooms that match their biological sex. The students have sued the district and are seeking the injunction while the lawsuit is heard. The school board approved the policy known as “Resolution 2” in September.  U.S. District Judge Mark Hornak grilled attorneys for about five hours, noting the district previously permitted the three students to use restrooms conforming to their gender identities with no problem and that the district has not strictly enforced its new policy.

Erie teachers approve contract proposal
School Board to vote on deal Dec. 14
GoErie By Ed Palattella Posted Dec 1, 2016 at 7:22 PM
Teachers in the Erie School District have approved a tentative contract, a deal negotiated at the same time the district has developed its $28.8 million state-mandated financial recovery plan.  The Erie Education Association approved the proposal Thursday by an overwhelming majority, said Marcus Schlegel, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania State Education Association. The EEA did not provide a detailed count of the vote. The contract will become final once the Erie School Board approves the proposal. The board vote is scheduled for Dec. 14.  "We look forward to the board review and vote," school district spokeswoman Daria Devlin said.  Neither the EEA nor the district disclosed the terms of the contract proposal. "We will be happy to offer comment once the full board has had the opportunity to deliberate and vote," said Schlegel.

Quaker Valley kindergarten teacher named a Leader in the Classroom
Beaver County Times By Katherine Schaeffer December 1, 2016
EDGEWORTH -- Edgeworth Elementary kindergarten teacher Andrea Croft thought she was escorting her class to a Thursday morning assembly to debut the Buddy Bench last year’s fifth-grade class gifted to the school.  The assembly was about more than just showcasing the bench; it contained a surprise for Croft -- one of 16 teachers throughout southwestern Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia named Leaders in the Classroom for their innovative teaching techniques and dedication to science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, education.  The announcement included a surprise appearance from former Pittsburgh Steeler Brett Keisel, who presented Croft with a Steelers jersey and a pair of signed cleats and a visit from Croft's parents, who attended the assembly especially to celebrate their daughter’s award.  The Leaders in the Classroom program, sponsored by Chevron Appalachia LLC and the Pittsburgh Steelers, with support from The Grable Foundation, Intermediate Unit 1 and Allegheny Intermediate Unit, recognized 16 teachers -- one for each week of the National Football League regular season -- with a check to support their creative efforts to “remake learning” and a special shout out during a Steelers home game.

Teachers hold workshop to discuss education in a Trump administration
The notebook by Greg Windle December 1, 2016 — 3:23pm
Nearly 100 teachers gathered Tuesday in a large room at YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School for an event called “Educating in the Time of Trump” that was organized by the Philadelphia Teacher Action Group (TAG).  “We are being called to really align ourselves and our practice with our values in order to push our society away from racism, materialism, and militarism, and towards a society really driven by equity,” said Anissa Weinraub, an organizer with TAG and a former teacher in the District.  “We know that those things don’t start in our classrooms, but they come into our classrooms,” said Hanako Franz, who is also a former teacher and a TAG organizer. She pointed out that Trump’s choice for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, supports the privatization of education.  Most of their students, the teachers said, had been feeling the effects of a fundamentally inequitable society long before Trump came on the scene. But his commitment to education privatization, among other policies, has the potential to make their lives more difficult, teachers said.

Pa. likely to lose an electoral vote in 2020
The U.S. Census is conducted every 10 years, and in each one since the 1920s, Pennsylvania has lost at least one congressional district. As a result, every 10 years, it has also shed at least one electoral vote.  This year, population data show the commonwealth is on track to continue that trend, and it's not the only one. The Keystone State currently has 20 electoral votes — tied with Illinois for fifth most in the country.  The votes are distributed by population. And according to a demographics report from the Election Data Services, several states in the North and East — including Pennsylvania, Michigan, New York and Ohio — are likely to lose at least one congressional seat in 2020.

“States must continue to administer standardized tests in math and reading to students in grades 3 through 8, and once in high school. But rather than judging schools solely by test scores, states now have a new opportunity to include other measures — such as chronic absenteeism or access to Advanced Placement courses — in their school ratings.”
Obama administration releases new rules for judging schools
Post Gazette By Emma Brown / The Washington Post November 29, 2016 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Education Department on Monday released final regulations governing how states should judge which schools are doing well and which are struggling and require help, a contentious set of rules that has pitted the Obama administration and its civil rights allies against an unusual alliance of teachers unions and GOP leaders.  But for all the debate, it is unclear — given Republican Donald Trump’s surprise election — whether the new rules will much matter. Mr. Trump has pledged a smaller federal footprint in public education, giving rise to speculation that his administration is likely to either rewrite the new regulations entirely, giving states more leeway to handle school accountability as they wish, or render the rules meaningless by declining to enforce them.  The new regulations explain in detail what states must do to comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act, the federal education law that replaced No Child Left Behind when it passed with bipartisan support last year.  Education Secretary John B. King Jr. said he could not speculate on how the incoming Trump administration might handle the regulations, but said he believes that state education chiefs and district leaders are eager to move forward with implementing the new law.

“The National Institute on Money in State Politics has a rundown of campaign donations Betsy DeVos has made as an individual
In 1997, Betsy DeVos wrote an op-ed for the newspaper Roll Call in which she defended "soft money" (campaign contributions to political parties that avoid legal limits on contributions to individual candidates). DeVos, who was chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party at the time, wrote that her family was the biggest contributor of soft money to the national Republican Party, and that "o]ccasionally a wayward reporter will try to make the charge that we are giving this money to get something in return, or that we must be purchasing influence in some way."   "I have decided, however, to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now I simply concede the point. They are right. We do expect some things in return," DeVos wrote in Roll Call. "We expect to foster a conservative governing philosophy consisting of limited government and respect for traditional American virtues. We expect a return on our investment; we expect a good and honest government. Furthermore, we expect the Republican Party to use the money to promote these policies, and yes, to win elections."
See Betsy DeVos' Donations to Senators Who Will Oversee Her Confirmation
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Andrew Ujifusa on December 1, 2016 7:30 AM
President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for U.S. secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, is best known in the education policy world as a school choice advocate. But on the national political stage, she and her husband, Dick DeVos Jr., the son of the founder of Amway, are perhaps best known as big-time donors to Republican candidates and groups.  In the 2016 election year, for example, the two gave $2.7 million to Republican candidates and nothing to Democrats, as we reported earlier. But their campaign-donation record goes back much further. And it includes contributions to several senators who may vote on Betsy DeVos' confirmation in the Senate education committee and subsequently on the Senate floor—more on that below. We haven't seen any campaign finance records, however, showing they donated to Trump's presidential campaign.  A Michigan resident who's been a major player in state politics for over two decades, Betsy DeVos is not the first individual for whom issues of campaign donations and Cabinet appointments have mixed. For example, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny S. Pritzker has given money to Democratic Party candidates and causes for many years and was a campaign-donation "bundler" for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012; she became President Obama's commerce secretary in 2013. 

“The most radical outcome would be a federal government that vastly increases profit-making opportunities in public education while declining to investigate discrimination in schools.  To game out the possibilities, I spoke to two experts with deep knowledge of how federal education policy is crafted. Mike Petrilli is president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a center-right education think tank, and from 2001 to 2005 he worked for the Department of Education under President George W. Bush. Andrew Rotherham is the founder of Bellwether Education Partners, a nonprofit consulting firm, and worked for President Bill Clinton from 1999 to 2000 as a special assistant for domestic policy. They both said that many of Obama’s education priorities could be easily reversed, since they were accomplished through executive regulation and letters of guidance, not legislation. And even if Trump and DeVos don’t take decisive action to overturn Obama regulations, those measures could end up withering on the vine. (“You can ignore some regulations,” Rotherham says. “That happens a fair amount. One option is atrophy.”) Here, policy area by policy area, are some of the possibilities:”
Will Trump Overhaul Public Education?
From privatization to civil rights, his Department of Education could transform the American system.
Slate By Dana Goldstein DEC. 1 2016 2:29 PM
Last week, President-elect Donald Trump announced a strongly ideological pick for secretary of education: Michigan philanthropist Betsy DeVos. Unlike the current secretary, John King, or the previous one, Arne Duncan, DeVos has never led a state education department or school district. As an advocate and donor, she has been  committed to the concept of school choice, not necessarily as a driver of improved student achievement—she has supported for-profit and virtual charter schools, as well as private school vouchers, all of which have disappointing academic track records—but to choice as a good in and of itself. DeVos is also a social conservative. She and her husband, Amway heir Dick DeVos, have funded anti–gay marriage and anti–affirmative action efforts. If she is confirmed, which is likely, she will inherit a department that spends $68 billion per year.  As I wrote last week, DeVos will certainly try to direct federal education dollars toward vouchers that parents could use at any school, private or public. However, the work of the Department of Education is much broader than that, encompassing a number of areas, from school discipline to campus sexual assault to pre-K, where DeVos has essentially no record. Trump will have the opportunity to appoint at least seven other high-level officials to the Department of Education, who in turn will hire dozens of political appointees. What could happen to President Obama’s legacy on education, which emphasized civil rights and school accountability? What can the Trump administration do on its own, and what would require action from Congress? The most radical outcome would be a federal government that vastly increases profit-making opportunities in public education while declining to investigate discrimination in schools. But what is actually likely to happen?

“In contrast, partly as a result of Mrs DeVos’s lobbying, Michigan is the wild (Mid)west of charter schools. Dozens of different outfits, including public universities, can authorise charters in exchange for a cut of the revenue going to those schools. Operators can therefore shop around until someone lets them set up a school. There are few rigorous, transparent and standard measures that allow parents to play an easy part in this market. Some schools in Detroit compete for pupils by offering them raffle tickets for iPads, rather than impressing their parents with academic results. No one holds the authorisers accountable, though they oversee $1bn in taxpayers’ money every year.”
Long-haul charters
Betsy DeVos’s appointment has given the school-reform movement a shot in the arm. Yet she may end up splitting it
The Economist Dec 3rd 2016
IN 1983 the Reagan administration published “A Nation At Risk”, an apocalyptic report into the state of American schools. It ushered in 33 years of uneven yet enduring bipartisan support for presidents’ efforts to raise school standards. George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act and its successor, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), share more than quixotic names. Both were backed by majorities of both parties in Congress. Unfamiliar with such harmony, Barack Obama called ESSA, signed into law last December, a “Christmas miracle”.  That sort of collaboration could soon become a rarity. On November 23rd Donald Trump, the president-elect, nominated Betsy DeVos, a philanthropist, as the next secretary of education. For three decades Mrs DeVos has used her family foundation and her leadership of conservative groups to lobby for “school choice”, a broad term that can divide Republicans even from moderate Democrats.
For Mrs DeVos this has meant support for two causes. The first is the rapid expansion of charter schools, fee-free schools that are publicly subsidised but independently run. Her activism is one reason why charters in Michigan, her home state, have less oversight than almost any of the 43 states that allow them. And about 80% of Michigan’s charters are run for profit, compared with 13% nationwide. The second cause is school-voucher schemes, which typically give public funds to poor parents to pay for the cost of places at private schools. Though Michigan voted against adopting vouchers in 2000, Mrs DeVos has helped to elect more than 120 Republicans across the country who are in favour.

The Notable Silence of New York's Charter-School Leaders
Betsy DeVos is an advocate of education choice, so why haven’t many of her colleagues rallied behind her?
The Atlantic by MONICA DISARE  DEC 1, 2016
When news broke that President-elect Donald Trump tapped the school-choice advocate Betsy DeVos as U.S. education secretary, New York City’s charter-school sector was relatively quiet. With the exception of the Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz, who tweeted she was “thrilled,” local charter-school leaders and advocates have mostly kept to themselves.  That might seem surprising in a city where more than 100,000 students are educated in charter schools. But DeVos’s brand of school choice, which so far has focused on fighting for private-school vouchers and less charter oversight, is very different from the type than exists in New York City—and some local charter leaders appear wary of it.   “I think a great many charter supporters, and indeed charter founders, are deeply troubled by the idea of vouchers,” said Steve Wilson, the CEO of the New York-based Ascend charter school network. “I would venture most charter-school founders are liberal Democrats who are committed to social justice and would be very troubled by free-market mechanisms.”  The distinction between charter schools and vouchers is key for Wilson. Charter schools are publicly funded but privately run institutions. Vouchers, which can fund private schools, are much more radical, Wilson said, and lumping the two together does a disservice to charter schools.

“I am writing you to respectfully ask that you do not vote to confirm Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education.  Ms. DeVos has no practical experience in education.  She has spent the last several years actively opposing public education in her home state of Michigan.  She has not attended a public school, she has not studied education, been a public school parent, or ever worked in a school.  Ms. DeVos has spent the last several years as the architect of a largely unsuccessful private and for-profit charter school system in Detroit that has diverted millions of public dollars from underfunded public schools.  Her lack of experience in the field of education should be enough to disqualify her to be Secretary of Education, but her complete disdain for public schools should make the decision to deny her confirmation very easy.  The system she devised for Detroit’s schools operates like the Wild West.  Her solution for a struggling school system was to invite those seeking to make a profit to take over schools with essentially no oversight.  Her solution has failed.  After more than a decade of getting her way on a host of educational policies (by filling the swamp with millions of dollars in contributions), Michigan is one of five states with declining reading scores.”
A Letter To My Senator Regarding Betsy DeVos
“Do not vote to confirm Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education.”
Huffington Post Letter by Patrick J. Kearney Facilitator for Teacher Leadership in the Johnston (IA) Community School District. Opinions expressed are my own.  12/01/2016 06:23 pm ET
Dear Senator Grassley,
I’m a public school teacher in Iowa.  I have even voted for you a couple of times (although in honesty I didn’t vote for you this time around.) There was a time when you were considered a moderate.  There was a time when Iowa was a state that took some pride in being governed by moderates from both parties; the name Robert Ray comes to mind.  Those days seem like a distant memory.  While much has changed in Iowa over the last 36 years, one of the things that I think has remained constant is that Iowans take pride in our public education system.  My parents had the option to move anywhere in the Midwest (in the country really) in 1973.  They did a lot of research and decided that Ames, Iowa was the best place in the country to raise a family, based primarily on the quality of the public schools.  Although my father had numerous opportunities to make more money in other places, he kept our family in Ames through his children’s graduation because he recognized that he had made the right decision in 1973.  Great public school education is what Iowa should offer to young families.

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

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:
Friday, December 2- Pittsburgh- 9:30 am- Community College of Allegheny County
Community College of Allegheny County Main Campus in the Tom Forester Student Service Center Auditorium 808 Ridge Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15212

Thursday, December 8- Erie- 2:30 pm- Tom Ridge Environmental Center (room TBA)

Friday, December 9- Lock Haven- 1 pm- Lock Haven University

Time and specific locations for the following events, TBA
Friday, December 16- Philadelphia
Wednesday, January 4- Quakertown
Tuesday, January 10- Scranton

“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.

Webinar: PSBA Board President’s Forum DEC 7, 2016 • 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Join fellow board presidents and superintendents for the latest topics affecting public education in this new webinar series hosted by 2016 President Kathy Swope.  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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.

Regional Basic Education Funding Formula Workshop
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.
Tuesday, December 6, 2016 @ 6:00 pm: Chester County IU 24
(455 Boot Road, Downingtown, PA 19335)

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.

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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