"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.
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
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.
“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.
Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda: Property Tax Independence Act
Senate of Pennsylvania Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session
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!
By Elizabeth Behrman / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette January 16, 2017 12:04 AM
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
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.”
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 Michigan. Those 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.”
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.
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
Washington, D.C. Phone:(202) 224-4944
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.
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.