Monday, January 16, 2017

PA Ed Policy Roundup Jan 16: Advocates of school property tax elimination bill overly optimistic about likely effects; blind to separate set of problems it would create

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup Jan 16, 2017
Advocates of school property tax elimination bill overly optimistic about likely effects; blind to separate set of problems it would create



Nomination of Betsy DeVos to serve as Secretary of Education:
Live video of the confirmation hearing will be available on Senate HELP Committee website (link below) Tuesday, January 17, 2017 Time: 05:00 PM
Senate Health, Education Labor and Pensions Committee website



"Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Editorial: A day to honor King’s greatness
Delco Times POSTED: 01/15/17, 11:09 PM EST | UPDATED: 2 HRS AGO
Each year on the third Monday in January this space is filled with prose extolling the life and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. While it is indeed the day the nation has set aside to honor King, such editorials somehow seem trite and even redundant. They are not; honoring greatness is never redundant.  In its relatively short existence this nation has had plenty of transformational heroes. The names Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt and Eisenhower are but a few that leap immediately to mind. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. belongs among such names.  He employed his considerable charisma and exceptional oratory skills to prompt America to begin transforming its views on race. No, the job is not finished, but it was King who set us moving toward a dream that can someday be realized.  Unlike many who possess such motivational gifts in today’s world, King did not necessarily want to be the center of attention. He never seemed completely comfortable in that role. He often was, of course, but it was only because the times demanded it.
http://www.delcotimes.com/opinion/20170115/editorial-a-day-to-honor-kings-greatness

Did you catch our weekend postings?
PA Ed Policy Roundup Jan 14: Ms. DeVos seems to have no interest whatsoever in helping poor kids get the education they need in American public schools, where 50 million (90%) kids attend. I’ve not been able to find a single instance of her ever visiting a public school.
Keystone State Education Coalition Saturday, January 14, 2017
http://keystonestateeducationcoalition.blogspot.com/2017/01/pa-ed-policy-roundup-jan-14-ms-devos.html

Editorial: School property tax elimination plan: Discuss cautiously
Williamsport Sun Gazette EDITORIALS JAN 12, 2017
School property tax collections in Pennsylvania this fiscal year likely will amount to $13 to $14 billion.  That’s a lot of textbooks, technology, pensions and salaries that need to be funded.  There yet another movement afoot this legislative session to eliminate that school property tax and replace it with increases in the state income tax and state sales tax.  The reasoning is that the school property tax is just too big of a hit on local real estate owners, in many cases the largest bill they pay in a given year. Many of the people paying that bill – often upward of $2,000 or more – are elderly and on fixed incomes. Many of the people paying that bill do not have children in the school system where they live. Many of the people paying that bill are sending their children to an alternative to the public school system and believe they are being unfairly double taxed for that choice.  So there’s an understandable logic to this proposal. People who would be paying the proposed income tax hike from 3.07 percent to 4.95 percent are, in fact, working, so they are in the best position to have money taken out of their paycheck. People who would be paying the proposed sales tax hike from 6 percent to 7 percent are, in fact, purchasing something, so the reasoning is they are in the best position to pay the increased taxes.
But as the bill’s sponsor, Sen. David Argall, a Rush Township Republican, admits, the devil is in the details.
http://www.sungazette.com/opinion/editorials/2017/01/school-property-tax-elimination-plan-discuss-cautiously/

“The bill does not truly eliminate school property taxes. It allows them for paying down debt. According to the state Department of Education, only eight of the state’s 500 school districts are debt-free. That means that residents in 492 districts would continue to pay property taxes and the higher state taxes.
Meanwhile, the new formula would raise enough money in the first year, but state projections show school costs rising by between $500 million and $600 million a year through the 2020-2021 school year.  Elimination also would constitute substantially larger tax breaks for residents of wealthier districts than of poorer districts, and shift the burden from wealthier to poorer taxpayers. About 70 percent of the property tax statewide is collected in the 250 wealthiest districts. That burden would be shifted statewide, including through a much more onerous sales tax, which is the most regressive of all state taxes.”
Editorial: Property tax bill faulty
Times Tribune BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD / PUBLISHED: JANUARY 15, 2017
State lawmakers should substantially reduce, but not eliminate, local property taxes.
Pennsylvania needs major property tax reform. For far too long, state legislators have refused to take sufficient responsibility for state-level education funding.  The state is far more dependent on local property taxes than most other states. That creates vast inequities in funding that belie the state constitution’s guarantee of an adequate education. It also harms local economies and diminishes local municipal governments’ ability to provide services by requiring so much of the local tax base to be dedicated to school funding.  Advocates of a bill to eliminate school property taxes are overly optimistic about its likely effects, however, and blind to a separate set of problems that it would create.
http://thetimes-tribune.com/opinion/property-tax-bill-faulty-1.2142128

Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda: Property Tax Independence Act
Senate of Pennsylvania Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session
MEMORANDUM
Posted:            January 5, 2017 04:01 PM
To:                   All Senate members
Subject:           Property Tax Independence Act
From:   Senator David G. Argall and Sen. Mike Folmer, Sen. Judith L. Schwank, Sen. John T. Yudichak, Sen. Mario M. Scavello, Sen. Scott Wagner, Sen. Lisa M. Boscola, Sen. Andrew E. Dinniman
Our constituents have told us loud and clear – from town hall meetings to the ballot box – the school property tax is the most-hated and egregious tax. While the school property tax may have made sense when it was first enacted in the 1830s, we believe it is time to shift to a fairer way to fund our public schools.  On behalf of 80+ grassroots taxpayer advocacy groups across the Commonwealth, we will re-introduce the bipartisan Property Tax Independence Act. This legislation will be similar to Senate Bill 76 of 2015.  The legislation would eliminate school property taxes and shift to an increased Personal Income Tax (PIT) and an increased and expanded Sales and Use Tax (SUT).  The new revenue sources would replace dollar-for-dollar the revenues lost by the school property tax elimination.   School districts would continue to collect the property tax until June 30, 2017. Each year thereafter, districts would receive their reimbursement from the State Treasury on a quarterly basis with a cost of living adjustment.
A portion of the school property tax would remain only to pay off debt service that is on the books as of December 31, 2016.  Under this proposal, any school district seeking to spend above the allotment from the state would have to ask the voters for their support in a referendum. School districts may locally increase the PIT or Earned Income Tax if approved by the voters in that district.  We believe this is the greatest form of local control – allowing the voters to decide the merits of spending increases.  As one grassroots advocate stated at a public hearing in 2013: No tax shall have the power to leave you homeless. We agree!

Join PSBA and the Pa. Independent Fiscal Office to discuss the proposed property tax-elimination legislation being considered by state legislators.
PSBA Webinar: Review and analysis of property tax-shift legislation
JAN 19, 2017 • 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Join PSBA and the Pa. Independent Fiscal Office to discuss the proposed property tax-elimination legislation being considered by state legislators. Learn how the legislation could impact your school district.  Presenters include John Callahan, PSBA assistant executive director for public policy; Matthew Knittel, director, and Mark Ryan, deputy director — both of the Pa. Independent Fiscal Office.

Pedro A. Rivera: Students have right to feel safe in school
What can PA students do if they feel threatened in school?
Morning Call Opinion by Pedro Rivera January 16, 2017
Pedro A. Rivera is secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Every student has the right to feel safe in their school, and a healthy and safe school environment can help every student thrive and succeed.  The Pennsylvania Department of Education and Wolf administration are committed to creating a culture of inclusiveness at all schools across the commonwealth, where students are made to feel welcome and like valued members of the school community. That's why the administration and department are working with schools and communities to create and maintain supportive settings that celebrate diversity and teach students the importance of respect for self and others.  When racially charged incidents occurred in some of our schools earlier this year, the Education Department joined Gov. Tom Wolf in condemning acts of bigotry and intolerance in Pennsylvania and around the country, and worked closely with partners from other state agencies to release a 60-second public service announcement to reinforce this message with the public.

ANALYSIS: Pa. House Democrats cheap out on colleagues
Morning Call by Steve Esack Contact Reporter Call Harrisburg Bureau January 14, 2017
On the Legislature's opening day, Democratic state Rep. Steve Samuelson beseeched Republicans to postpone a procedural vote to allow more input from his minority party. The Republican House speaker, after all, had just told Democrats they had an obligation to participate in the legislative process.  "I urge the leaders to listen to their own words and vote no," Samuelson said.  They didn't. The resolution passed overwhelmingly, launching a 2017-18 legislative session in which Republicans hold a historically high 121-member majority, and 81 Democrats find themselves as relevant as rotary phones.  But if Samuelson felt left out, he can blame himself for not putting his money where his mouth is.
The Bethlehem lawmaker, unopposed in his re-election bid, raised no money for Democrats running in 113 contested House races during the 2016 election.  In fact, 26 other House Democratic lawmakers were just as stingy, contributing nothing to the House Democratic Campaign Committee, which raises money to defend vulnerable incumbents and to recruit and fund newcomers. In contrast, all but eight Republicans donated to the House Republican Campaign Committee, according to internal spreadsheets of both committees reviewed by The Morning Call.  There's little surprise, then, that the HDCC has $1.9 million heading into the next election cycle, while the RDCC has $6 million in its coffers. The imbalance is a key reason Democratic lawmakers are so outnumbered, say House members and Democratic operatives who want party leaders to get tough on those who don't contribute. House Democrats lost two more seats in November.

Avon Grove Districts readies full-day kindergarden
By Chris Barber, Daily Local News POSTED: 01/15/17, 9:35 PM EST | UPDATED: 1 MIN AGO
PENN >> Often, when families are anticipating a new member, they start to think about making room in the house or maybe even moving. But when a school district is looking at the addition of 40 more students in one grade and putting on additional hours to the day, the process becomes much more complex.  Next September the Avon Grove School District, through the actions of its boards and administration, is expanding its current half-day kindergarten program to full-day, and preparations are already underway.  “Even before I came, there has been a desire for full-day. It was something the board felt should be part of the program,” Superintendent Christopher Marchese said last week.  To accommodate the additional hours and children, Marchese and his staff have dug in their heels to prepare a welcoming environment for the estimated 290 children who will be coming through the doors in September and staying at school until mid-afternoon.

Erie School District ranks needs
List added to state-mandated financial plan.
GoErie By Ed Palattella ed.palattella@timesnews.com January 16, 2017
The Erie School District has developed a contingency plan if it gets less than the $31.8 million in additional annual funding it wants from the state.  At the request of the state Department of Education, the district has ranked its most pressing financial and educational issues, and how much money, out of the $31.8 million, it would need to address each.  The department asked for the list "given the uncertainty of the release of additional funds," according to a letter the department's second-highest official sent to the district on Jan. 5. The letter does not rule out the district getting more money.  Topping the Erie School District's priority list is a request for another $19.4 million a year, through the 2021-22 fiscal year. The school district wants that money first to eliminate its short- and long-term budget deficits.  The district's projected deficit for the 2017-18 fiscal year, which starts July 1, is $10.1 million. But the district has said it needs $19.4 million a year starting in 2017-18 not only eliminate that deficit, but to get rid of an ongoing structural deficit that has developed because of the district's chronic shortage of cash.

Lancaster County residents want Trump to improve quality of schools, reduce education costs
Lancaster Online by TIM STUHLDREHER | Staff Writer  Jan 15, 2017
Lancaster County residents who voted for President-elect Donald Trump hope his administration’s education policies will increase competition and make college affordable.
They also hope it means a decisive break with liberal “political correctness” that they say shuts out conservative viewpoints and silences debate.  Trump offers “a fresh start on everything,” said Crystal Shenk, 57, of Holtwood.  On K-12 education, Trump has promised $20 billion to expand school choice, which gives parents alternatives to traditional public schools.  “It’s worth a try to bring some competition into the education system,” said Bob Via, 56, of Pequea.  He sees the main problem as family breakdown, however. When children lack the self-discipline to learn, throwing money at the problem won’t fix it, he said.  “The family structure is the production line of citizens,” Via said.  Shenk said she’d like to see prayer permitted in public schools again, an opinion seconded by Barbara Daily, 68, of Little Britain.  “When you take God out of everything, there’s a backlash,” Shenk said.  Trump’s nominee for Education Secretary is Betsy DeVos, a billionaire philanthropist and ardent school-choice advocate. Her appointment is broadly opposed by public education advocates, who see her as a threat.

Pa. educators have ‘worries’ about Trump’s Cabinet nominee
By Elizabeth Behrman / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette January 16, 2017 12:04 AM
The nominee for U.S. education secretary is familiar to educators in Pennsylvania.  Or rather, her wallet is.  Betsy DeVos, a Michigan billionaire and school choice advocate, contributed more than $800,000 since 2010 to the American Federation for Children, which via the the Pennsylvania PAC Students First donated more than $3 million to Pennsylvania campaigns between 2010 and 2012 — the same period a controversial school vouchers bill was working its way through the Pennsylvania Legislature.  Her record of supporting for-profit charter schools and taxpayer-funded voucher programs has made her one of President-elect Donald Trump’s more controversial Cabinet nominees. Democrats have promised that Ms. DeVos will be among those they challenge, and public school advocates in Pennsylvania are wary of Mr. Trump’s promise to invest $20 billion in federal money toward school choice under her leadership.  “I think what’s really concerning to teachers and public school advocates is Ms. DeVos’ really lifelong efforts to undermine public schools and promote privatization of public schools,” said Wythe Keever, spokesman for the Pennsylvania State Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union.  While organization’s like Mr. Keever’s are often skeptical of school choice, even some charter school advocates have expressed misgivings about Ms. DeVos. She recently used her influence to help defeat Michigan legalization that called for more accountability from charters, raising concerns among some pro-charter educators who want to weed out unsuccessful charter schools.

“Government can be a tremendous force for good,” King said in an interview at his office recently.  “Government really sucks,” DeVos, Trump’s nominee for education secretary, said last year at the South by Southwest educational technology conference in Austin. “And it doesn’t matter which party is in power.”
Is government a ‘force for good,’ or does it ‘really suck’? Ed. Dept. at a pivot point between Obama, Trump
Washington Post By Emma Brown January 16 at 8:00 AM 
The fiercest critics and most ardent supporters of President Obama’s Education Department — which has arguably wielded more influence and sparked more controversy than any of its predecessors — generally agree that the agency’s efforts were rooted in the faith that government has a critical role to play in improving people’s lives.  Now the agency is poised for a radical shift with Donald Trump’s arrival in Washington, as the businessman-turned-president-elect has often spoken about government as a bumbling failure and an impediment to success.  Education Secretary John B. King Jr. — who says public schools saved his life after he was orphaned young — is preparing to move out of his seventh-floor office suite at the department’s D.C. headquarters. His designated successor, Betsy DeVos — a billionaire political power broker who has said public schools are a dysfunctional monopoly, and who believes in private-school vouchers and the power of the free market — is preparing to move in, her confirmation hearing set for Tuesday.

“Bush called DeVos an “extraordinary choice” after Trump nominated her late last year, and Barbara Bush, Jeb’s mother, just endorsed the Michigan billionaire in an op-ed published the Portland Press Herald, noting that she has worked with DeVos over a period of years:  I am enthusiastically endorsing Betsy DeVos to be our next secretary of education. Mrs. DeVos has a real compassion for children and a proven record of championing reforms to improve literacy and learning in our nation. I am confident that she will provide the leadership we sorely need to raise the bar on education in America and provide better opportunities for our most vulnerable students.”
Jeb Bush may have won something in the election after all: the U.S. Department of Education
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss January 14 at 12:06 PM 
Donald Trump, left, and former Florida governor Jeb Bush talk after the CNN Republican presidential debate on Sept. 16, 2015. (Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)
One of the defining Donald Trump mantras during the Republican presidential primary session was that Jeb Bush was a “low-energy” candidate — and that’s not the worst thing he said about him. He also called the former Florida governor “an embarrassment to his family,” as well as “a stiff,” and termed Bush’s support for the Common Core State Standards as “pathetic.”
The last insult makes it worth noting that the president-elect has selected a very close Bush ally to be his education secretary. Betsy DeVos donated to Bush’s unsuccessful presidential campaign and sat on the board of Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education. The two share an education reform policy that supports the transfer of public dollars to privately run schools, such as for-profit charter schools and voucher programs that use taxpayer funds to pay for private schools. They say they are providing parents with choice; critics say they are destroying the public education system.

How Betsy DeVos Used God and Amway to Take Over Michigan Politics
With her nomination as education secretary, a powerful political clan will bring its overtly Christian agenda to Washington.
Politico By ZACK STANTON  January 15, 2017
On election night 2006, Dick DeVos, the bronzed, starched 51-year-old scion of Michigan’s wealthiest family, paced to a lectern in the dim ballroom of the Sheraton Hotel in Lansing to deliver the speech that every candidate dreads.  The Michigan gubernatorial race that year had been a dogfight of personal attacks between DeVos, the Republican nominee, and Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm. Gloomy, bleached-out b-roll of shuttered factories in anti-Granholm ads made the governor’s sunny economic promise that “You’re gonna be blown away” sound less like an aspiration than a threat. Anti-DeVos ads cut closer to the bone, with one depicting a cartoon DeVos cheering a freighter hauling Michigan jobs to China. It was an unsubtle reference to DeVos’ time as president of Amway, the direct-sales behemoth his family co-founded and co-owns, when he eliminated jobs in Michigan while expanding dramatically in Asia. DeVos ended up personally spending $35 million on the race—the most expensive campaign in Michigan history—and when the votes came in, lost by a crushing 14 points.

Don't prejudge Betsy DeVos
Fordham Institute EdExcellence Blog by Erika Sanzi January 10, 2017
I believe in giving people chances, whether they are my three crazy boys, my wonderful but imperfect husband, my troubled former students at an inner-city school, or the controversial new nominee for Secretary of Education—whose confirmation hearing next week should be watched closely by everyone who has a stake in U.S. education.  A quick scan of headlines and Twitter can leave one believing that she is either the one and only figure in America hell-bent on destroying public education altogether or the best thing to ever happen to U.S. schools. Yet neither extreme adds anything useful to the discussion, and both are premature.   On the former side are Democrats, union leaders, and anti-reform voices, who’ve particularly bemoaned that she herself is not the product of public schools, has never taught in a public school, and her own children didn’t attend public school.  There was a time I would have agreed with this critique. I still remember an argument I had in a San Diego bar more than ten years ago. I was a twenty-eight-year-old high school teacher, appalled by what I saw as the hypocrisy of members of Congress and even our presidents for not sending their own children to public schools. There was no convincing me otherwise.  And then I had children of my own.

The Coming Crusade Against Public Education
Secretary of Education–nominee Betsy DeVos has fought to “advance God's Kingdom” by privatizing the public-school system. 
The Nation By Zoë Carpenter JANUARY 13, 2017
Betsy DeVos, whose nomination for secretary of education will be reviewed by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on Tuesday, has never taught in a classroom. She’s never worked in a school administration, nor in a state education system, nor has she studied pedagogy. She’s never been to public school, and neither have her children. She has no record on higher education, except as an investor in the student-loan industry, which the Department of Education oversees. As Massachusetts Senator (and HELP Committee member) Elizabeth Warrenwrote recently, there is “no precedent” for an education secretary with DeVos’s lack of experience in public education.  What DeVos lacks in expertise she’s made up in money. The daughter of auto-parts magnate Edgar Prince, DeVos married Amway heir Dick DeVos, and together the DeVoses have given some $200 million to conservative organizations and politicians—including nearly $1 million to 21 of the senators who will vote on her nomination—with particular devotion to the cause of privatizing public education. DeVos is not coy about the power of her pockets: She wrote in 1997 that she had decided “to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now I simply concede the point…. We do expect some things in return.”

Betsy DeVos: The Wrong Choice for Secretary of Education
The Shriver Center Brief By Kevin Herrera January 2017
Education is an essential tool in the fight against poverty in the United States. It lifts people up, inspires them to achieve their potential, and shapes our collective future.
We believe that removing barriers to academic success and supporting programs and policies that help all children reach their full potential is vital to ensuring that everyone can succeed. Both children and adults should have access to quality education, health, safety, and comprehensive supports. No one should be denied an excellent and equal education because of their income, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, immigration status, or where they live. To create the best educational environments and achieve the best outcomes, students must come first.
Betsy DeVos’s nomination to be the next Secretary of Education threatens to undermine our country’s commitment to public education for every child.  DeVos’s lack of education experience and her conflicts of interest clearly demonstrate that she is the wrong person for the job. DeVos has a long track record as a political lobbyist and donor in Michigan that shows a single-minded obsession with unproven — and in many cases harmful — policies. She has used her massive personal wealth to push policies that divert public tax money into schools run by for-profit companies in MichiganThose schools have mushroomed with an influx of public money, but have had virtually no accountability for their poor performance in educating children. According to Tom Watkins, Michigan’s former education superintendent, “In a number of cases, people are making a boatload of money, and the kids aren’t getting educated.”

The Red Queen
EDUSHYSTER Blog JANUARY 13, 2017  by Jennifer Berkshire
The ultimate target of Betsy DeVos’ agenda isn’t teachers unions, or even the *education establishment.* It’s the Democratic Party…
By the measures that are supposed to matter, Betsy DeVos’ experiment in disrupting public education in Michigan has been a colossal failure. In its 2016 report on the state of the state’s schools, Education Trust Midwest painted a picture of an education system in freefall. *Michigan is witnessing systematic decline across the K-12 spectrum…White, black, brown, higher-income, low-income—it doesn’t matter who they are or where they live.* But as I heard repeatedly during the week I recently spent crisscrossing the state, speaking with dozens of Michiganders, including state and local officials, the radical experiment that’s playing out here has little to do with education, and even less to do with kids. The real goal of the DeVos family is to crush the state’s teachers unions as a means of undermining the Democratic party, weakening Michigan’s democratic structures along the way. And on this front, our likely next Secretary of Education has enjoyed measurable, even dazzling success.

5 Big Ideas In Education That Don't Work
NPR by ANYA KAMENETZ January 14, 20176:30 AM ET
Small classes. High standards. More money. These popular remedies for school ills aren't as effective as they're sometimes thought to be. That's the somewhat controversial conclusion of education researcher John Hattie.  Over his career, Hattie has scrutinized more than 1,000 "meta-analyses," looking at all types of interventions to improve learning. The studies he's examined cover a combined 250 million students around the world.  Out of that, he's identified five common ideas in education policy that he says should be looked at with a critical eye. NPR Ed spoke with Hattie, a professor at the University of Melbourne in Australia, about each of these five ideas following the publication of his 2015 paper "What Doesn't Work In Education: The Politics of Distraction."

World's 8 richest have as much wealth as bottom half of global population
Based on Forbes’ net worth estimates, eight individuals have a combined $426.2 billion, highlighting global gap between rich and poor.
Post Gazette By Gerry Mullany / The New York Times January 16, 2017 6:57 AM
A report by the charity Oxfam has found that eight men now hold as much wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the world’s poorest half, highlighting the stark inequality between the planet’s rich and poor.  The report, based on Forbes’s annual list of billionaires, was prepared for release with this week’s gathering of world leaders and business elites at Davos, Switzerland. It follows up on a similar study conducted a year ago that found that the world’s richest 62 people had as much wealth as the bottom half of the population. Oxfam said it revised the findings based on new data gathered by Credit Suisse.




DeVos’s hearing will take place on Jan. 17 at 5 p.m.

We had reports from western PA of a telephone campaign by DeVos supporters asking voters to contact their senators to support her nomination.  If you have not already done so, please consider calling Senators Toomey and Casey as noted below.

Betsy DeVos' confirmation hearing is officially set for Jan. 17 at 5 p.m. in 430 Dirksen

Over the past three weeks, I have been unable to find any press coverage of her ever having visited a traditional public school.  She would be welcome to come visit my school district.

In a constituent response letter regarding the nomination of Betsy DeVos dated December 2, 2016, Senator Toomey stated: “I believe she is a great pick.”  His Washington, D.C. phone number is (202) 224-4254  You can find phone numbers for his Pennsylvania offices here

Senator Casey is a member of the Senate Health, Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee that will be holding the confirmation hearing.  His Washington, D.C. phone number is (202) 224-6324  You can find phone numbers for his Pennsylvania offices by clicking on the “Regions” link at the bottom of this “Contacts” page



Stop DeVos: Hearing delayed but not defeated
Tell Senators Casey and Toomey to Demand Open Hearing, Oppose Billionaire School Privatizer Betsy DeVos for Education
Education Voters PA website
As a result of massive public pressure over the past two weeks, Senate leadership has delayed the DeVos hearing until this coming Tuesday, January 17.
We are speaking out and our elected leaders are listening. But we can't stop yet. 
The HELP committee has decided to hold this hearing with only a single testifier: Betsy DeVos.
This is unacceptable. We must demand an open hearing.
That's why we're calling Senators Casey and Toomey!
Please take a few minutes to call them and then follow up with an email. 
Senator Toomey's DC office: (202) 224-4254
Senator Casey's DC office: (202) 224-6324

NPE Pennsylvania alert: Betsy De Vos
Network for Public Education January 2, 2017 by Carol Burris
The confirmation hearings for Betsy DeVos will happen shortly. Please call your senators this week and let them know you oppose her appointment as Secretary of Education. If you called already, please call again.  It is most effective to call a local office. Below is the list of local office locations to drop off a letter, and local numbers to call your senators.  If you want a script for your call, you can find it here.  Please pick up the phone and call.
You can share this alert with friends and family in your state by posting this link: http://wp.me/p3bR9v-2aO

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

MLK D.A.R.E. March for a Better America January 16, 11:30 am
POWER website By powerinterfaithadmin January 8, 2017 Publications
For the past several weeks people of good will from organizations across the region have joined together, as the MLK D.A.R.E. (Day of Action, Resistance, and Empowerment) coalition, to prepare for our Monday, January 16th “March for a Better America” march and rally. We continue the push for a progressive agenda for the United States in these trying times as we honor and move forward the unfinished business begun by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Below you will find information regarding the details and logistics of our Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day march and rally.
March & Rally Details
The “March for a Better America” will begin at the slave quarters on Independence Mall (6th and Market Streets) at 11:30 AM and conclude at historic Mother Bethel AME Church (419 S 6th St. Philadelphia, PA) for an outdoor rally. At the rally – we will unveil our 21st Century Declaration of Rights which calls on politicians, community leaders, and common citizens to support the basic human rights we cherish, such as affordable housing, health care, and quality public education for all.
http://powerinterfaith.org/mlk-d-a-r-e-march-for-a-better-america/

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
Hosted by:
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
Juntos
For more info, or to reserve free childcare for ages 3 and up,
Contact: Office of Councilmember Helen Gym 215-686-3420

Register for the 2017 PASA Education Congress, “Delving Deeper into the Every Student Succeeds Act.” March 29-30
Offered in partnership with PASA and the PA Department of Education March 29-30, 2017 at the Radisson Hotel Harrisburg - Camp Hill, PA .    Approved for 40 PIL/Act 48 (Act 45) hours for school administrators.  Register online at http://www.pasa-net.org/ev_calendar_day.asp?date=3/29/2017&eventid=63

PSBA Governing Board seeks nominations for position of At-Large Representative (Central) Nominations are due by 9 a.m. on January 16. 
PSBA Website
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.
https://www.psba.org/2017/01/nominations-at-large-central/

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

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

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

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

Save the Date 2017 PA Principals Association State Conference October 14. 15, 16, 2017
Doubletree Hotel Cranberry Township,  PA


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