Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives updated some of its ethics rules in what officials called a push for clarity. Initially, many news outlets (including NewsWorks) highlighted rule changes that aimed at greater accountability for lawmakers found to have broken the law, after state Rep. Leslie Acosta, D-Philadelphia, stood unopposed for re-election last year. Acosta secretly pleaded guilty to felony embezzlement charges in March, but the charges weren't public until the Philadelphia Inquirer broke the story in September. Upon further examination of the resolution introducing those changes, newspaper editorial boards from different corners of the commonwealth have sounded the alarm over a House procedural change they say reduces transparency. "Even as the chamber gave [reforms] with one hand, it took away with another," wrote the PennLive editorial board, by "adopting language that would require the chamber to wait just six hours, instead of the previous 24 hours, before making a final vote on proposed legislation that was amended by the state Senate."
PA Independent Fiscal Office January 09, 2017 | Research Briefs And Special Reports
on January 09, 2017 at 2:45 PM, updated January 09, 2017 at 4:29 PM
Education Policy News, Analysis, and Commentary
Email By Ronald Cowell, President The Education Policy and Leadership Center January 10, 2017
Welcome to our new EPLC e-publication, Pennsylvania Education Letter, which will be sent to subscribers only in electronic format. The Letter will highlight significant education policy issues, events and personalities with a focus on Pennsylvania, but will include some coverage of national activities as well. The Letter will be published at least once a month and replaces the Education Notebook previously published by The Education Policy and Leadership Center. We want the Pennsylvania Education Letter to be without cost to our readers, but we will welcome donations and advertising support.
EPLC Education Policy News
PA House of Representatives
January 23, 24, 25
February 6, 7, 8
March 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22
April 3, 4, 5, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26
May 8, 9, 10, 22, 23, 24
June 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30
January 23, 24, 25, 30, 31
February 1, 6, 7, 8
March 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29
April 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26
May 8, 9, 10, 22, 23, 24
June 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30
Superintendent Jay Badams, the architect of the 11,500-student Erie School District's financial recovery plan, is taking a job leading a 2,000-student school district that serves two towns in New England. Badams has accepted the superintendent's post for what is known as School Administrative Unit 70, which runs the public schools in Hanover, New Hampshire, and Norwich, Vermont. The two sit across from each other along the Connecticut River and are near Dartmouth College. The SAU 70 board on Tuesday night voted to offer Badams the job, which starts July 1, the board said in a statement. Badams said he agreed to take the position, and that he will remain until July 1 at the Erie School District, which he has led since the spring of 2010. Badams, 51, said one reason he decided to take the new job is the stress over the Erie School District's precarious financial situation. "This effort to secure the district's finances has been draining. It has been long," Badams said. "Being able to go to such a beautiful place and still do the work I love was really appealing."
Public schools in Philadelphia have suffered a 94 percent drop in the number of full-time librarians between 1991 and 2015.
Pacific Standard By Morgan Baskin January 10, 2017
Public school librarians in the City of Brotherly Love are becoming increasingly scarce, a report published Monday in the Philadelphia Inquirershows. Just eight full-time, certified librarians work in Philadelphia School District buildings, down from 11 in 2015—and a whopping 94 percent decrease since 1991, when 176 librarians staffed Philly’s public schools. The Inquirer’s Kristen A. Graham credits dwindling public school budgets for the layoffs (in 2013, for example, city officials voted to close 23 public schools, 10 percent of the city’s total number, as the city faced a budget deficit of $1.35 billion over five years). Though the layoffs aren’t that shocking—this is a city that “until very recently did not have full-time nurses and counselors in every school,” Graham reports—they are extremely damaging: Speaking to Graham, Debra Kachel, a professor at Antioch University Seattle and school library expert, estimated that the number of employed librarians in Philadelphia public schools ranks as “the worst nationally.”
By Molly Born / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette January 11, 2017 12:10 AM
Education Week By Christina A. Samuels January 9, 2017
When the U.S. Supreme Court made its first substantive interpretation in 1982 of the main federal special education law, it was careful to say that courts should not impose their own view of education adequacy upon states and districts for children covered by the law. In that case, Board of Education of the Hendrick Hudson Central School District v. Rowley, the court created a definition of a "free, appropriate public education" in the special education arena that has stood for decades. Under the definition, special education must confer "some educational benefit." But in a case set to be argued Jan. 11, the court is weighing in on what "some" should mean. The question at hand: What level of educational benefit must school districts provide to students with disabilities in order for them to receive that free, appropriate public education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act?
The members of Congress say Trump’s pick for education secretary is a threat to schools.
Rebecca Klein Education Editor, The Huffington Post 01/10/2017 03:04 pm ET
Newsweek BY ALEXANDER NAZARYAN ON 1/10/17 AT 7:00 AM
There was a brief moment in mid-November when education reformers were thrilled about President-elect Donald Trump’s swamp-draining imperative and what it might mean for the nation’s eternally beleaguered public schools. On November 16, Trump met at his Manhattan tower with Eva Moskowitz, whose Success Academy charter network has achieved impressive results with children of color across New York City. The following weekend, he entertained Michelle Rhee, the former head of Washington, D.C.’s public schools, at his golf club in New Jersey. Despite her uneven results, Rhee remains popular with those who think incompetent teachers and the unions that protect them are holding back America’s kids. Instead, Trump chose Betsy DeVos to head the Education Department, a federal agency with oversight over all of the nation’s educational institutions, from prekindergarten programs to graduate schools of business. The choice mystified all those who’d figured Trump was looking for a capable, forward-looking technocrat focused on student testing and teacher accountability. The choice horrified teachers unions, as DeVos is a billionaire Republican who has worked assiduously to weaken the public schools in Michigan.
By WMCActionNews5.com Staff
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis is in the national spotlight as the NAACP held the second of seven public hearings across the country to study the impact of Charter Schools on public education. The hearings follow the NAACP approval of a moratorium in October on Charter School expansion. The organization wants to study issues such as accountability, funding, transparency, and discipline practices. "We have one common goal across this country and that is to find out what we should be doing now during these perilous times to protect and further the education of African-American children," Alice Huffman, NAACP Task Force member, said. Charter Schools are publicly funded, but operated independently. The Task Force plans to present a report of its findings to the national NAACP in May.
on January 10, 2017 at 3:10 PM, updated January 10, 2017 at 5:24 PM
Washington, D.C. Phone:(202) 224-4944
COMMUNITY TOWN HALL - SUPPORTING PHILLY IMMIGRANT STUDENTS
Tuesday, January 24, 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Community College of Philadelphia 1700 Spring Garden Street 19130
Bonnell Building (Large Auditorium BG-20) Entrance Between Spring Garden and Callowhill on N. 17th
Councilmembers Helen Gym, Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, Jannie Blackwell
Dr. William R. Hite, Superintendent, Philadelphia School District
Faculty and Staff Federation, Community College of Philadelphia
Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition (PICC)
United Voices for Philadelphia
For more info, or to reserve free childcare for ages 3 and up,
Because no one ran for the open seat of At-Large Representative (Central) on the PSBA Governing Board during the 2016 elections, this position is currently vacant. According to PSBA Bylaws (Article III, Section 4), the Governing Board shall fill the vacancy. The Governing Board is currently seeking nominations for this position from individuals in the Central Section, including Regions 4, 5, 6, 9 and 12, (see map). The selected person will fill the position for 2017, and the seat will be open for election for the remaining two years (2018-19) of the three-year term, according to PSBA Bylaws (Article III, Section 4, Part B, 2). The selected person may run for election for the remaining two years.
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.