+$ 25M Governor Wolf’s proposed special education increase
-$144M 500 districts’ share of PSERS cost increase
One of the big questions going into Pennsylvania's budget negotiations is whether—after years of failed attempts—the legislature in Harrisburg will address tens of billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities in its two biggest pension funds. Those are the State Employee Retirement System and the Public School Employee Retirement System—commonly known as SERS and PSERS. As budget hearings continue, lawmakers are searching high and low for a way to ease that burden. Thanks to ill-advised benefit increases in the early 2000s and years of pushed-off payments, the Pennsylvania faces more than $60 billion dollars in pension liabilities over the next few decades. A 2010 bill made the situation a little better, and this fiscal year, the state met its required debt payment for the first time in 15 years. But those payments are a strain. Right now, pensions are one of the commonwealth’s single biggest expenses, and much of that weight falls to taxpayers and schools.
Republican leaders in the Pennsylvania Senate are defending comments from State Sen. John Eichelberger at a town hall meeting where he suggested that "inner city" students would benefit from "less intensive" vocational programs because they do not succeed in college. After seeing reports of the statements, State Sen. Vincent Hughes, a Philadelphia Democrat, called Eichelberger's comments "racist" and said he "is not fit to serve" as chair of the Senate Education Committee. That interpretation was rejected by a spokesman for Senate President Joseph Scarnati, who determines committee chairmanships. The spokesman, Senate Republican counsel Drew Crompton, said that Eichelberger's remarks were taken out of context and that Scarnati had no intention of removing Eichelberger, who represents a mostly rural central Pennsylvania district serving Blair, Fulton, Huntingdon, Franklin and part of Cumberland Counties. "Education issues are always sensitive, we understand that," Crompton said. "Urban education issues are also sensitive." Although Eichelberger didn't word his remarks "as precisely as he wanted to," Crompton said, "I think the message Sen. Eichelberger was carrying, that there are some high school students from all over the state [who] are better served through vocational training than college, is perfectly acceptable and accurate."
February 15 - 19, 2017 Franklin & Marshall College Poll
Standard Speaker BY JIM DINO / PUBLISHED: FEBRUARY 22, 2017
Washington Post By Sandhya Somashekhar, Emma Brown and Moriah Balingit February 22 at 9:28 PM
In the 25 years since Minnesota passed the first charter school law, these publicly funded but privately operated schools have become a highly sought-after alternative to traditional public education, particularly for underserved students in urban areas. Between 2004 and 2014 alone, charter school enrollment increased from less than 1 million to 2.5 million students. Many charter schools boast of high test scores, strict academic expectations, and high graduation rates, and for some, their growth is evidence of their success. But have these schools lived up to their promise? Opponents argue that charters, which are subject to fewer regulations and less oversight, lack accountability, take much-needed resources from public schools, and pick and choose their student body. Are charter schools overrated?
Medium.com by Jaime Casap Feb 21
Google Education Evangelist from Hell’s Kitchen working on making education the silver bullet until the world turns upside down! Education disrupts poverty.
I read Secretary DeVos’s statement after she visited Jefferson Middle School Academy in Washington DC last week:
“But I can tell the attitude is more of a ‘receive mode.’ They’re waiting to be told what they have to do, and that’s not going to bring success to an individual child. You have to have teachers who are empowered to facilitate great teaching.”
I have visited many schools and talked with thousands of educators over the past 11 years, and I have a different perspective. Before my 11 years at Google, I worked for or consulted with a broad range of organizations and companies. I’ve spent time at the New York State Department of Social Services and other state agencies in New York, American Express, United States Postal Service, Accenture, Salt River Project, Unitedhealthcare, Motorola, Dell Microsystems, Seagate Technology, Newmont Mining Corporation, Charles Schwab, and many others. I’ve also sat on the boards of various non-profits. In other words, I’ve worked with lots of workforces: government, financial services, banking, healthcare, natural resources, electronic and high-tech, mining, and non-profit, all in the name of organizational development and change. For the past 11 years, I have spent the majority of my time working with educators, while simultaneously working in the technology sector. What have I observed from working 22 years with all these workforces?
Out of all of the workforces I’ve been engaged with, educators are easily and by far the most passionate, dedicated, purpose-driven workforce you will find. Their life is their work. They show up early and stay late seven days a week. They are underpaid and overworked.
The briefings are free and open to the public, but we ask that you please RSVP.
Forum #2 – Harrisburg Area (Enola, PA) Tuesday, February 28, 2017 – Capital Area Intermediate Unit – 55 Miller Street (Susquehanna Room), Enola, PA 17025
Forum #3 – Philadelphia Thursday, March 2, 2017 – Penn Center for Educational Leadership, University of Pennsylvania, 3440 Market Street (5th Floor), Philadelphia, PA 19104
Forum #4 – Indiana University of Pennsylvania Tuesday, March 14, 2017 – 1011 South Drive (Stouffer Hall), Indiana, PA 15705
Forum #5 – Lehigh Valley Tuesday, March 28, 2017 – Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit #21, 4210 Independence Drive, Schnecksville, PA 18078
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.