Thursday, March 9, 2017

PA Ed Policy Roundup March 9: Value your public schools? You’d better step up and defend them

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 4050 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, Instagram and LinkedIn

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup March 9, 2017:
Value your public schools? You’d better step up and defend them


PA’s School-Based ACCESS Program is jeopardized under proposed federal cuts to Medicaid
Pennsylvania public schools are currently at risk of losing millions of dollars in federal funding to help pay for mandated services for students with special needs.
A PSBA Closer Look March 2017
https://www.psba.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/ACL_ACCESS-program-jeopardized.pdf

Call your Congressman’s office today to let them know that Pennsylvania could lose over $400 million in reimbursement for services that school districts provide to special education students

Local congressmen on key committees shaping health care replacement plan
By Tracie Mauriello / Post-Gazette Washington Bureau March 9, 2017 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON — U.S. Reps. Tim Murphy and Mike Doyle live 17 miles away from each other, but they are a million miles apart when it comes to health care policy.  Both are getting to have their say this week as the House Energy and Commerce Committee, on which both serve, wrestles with an effort to replace the Affordable Care Act with something Republicans say provides more choice, flexibility and affordability.  Another Western Pennsylvania lawmaker, Mike Kelly, R-Butler, is grappling with the same issues on another committee, House Ways and Means.  Both committees began their work Wednesday in simultaneous meetings that pit Republicans and Democrats against each other on one of the most contentious and political fights facing lawmakers.  Outnumbered Democrats began gumming up the works immediately by forcing clerks to read the 

US House Energy & Commerce Committee Members

US House Ways and Means Committee members

“The message is simple.  Tell Congress to keep their hands off Medicaid funds for kids.”
Network for Public Education Legislative Alert March 9, 2017
Did  you know that many schools use Medicaid funding to help cover the cost of services to students in special education? Medicaid funding is used for speech therapy, occupational therapy, special education providers, school-based health services and assistive devices, such as wheelchairs. In some states, Medicaid dollars are used by schools for vision and hearing screening for eligible students.  The American Association of School Administrators (AASA) estimates that districts receive about $4 billion a year through Medicaid funding. Read their informative booklet, which you can find here to find out how our most vulnerable students could be hurt by cuts.  Right now the House of Representatives led by Paul Ryan is debating whether to slash Medicaid or to shift it to a block grant as part of their "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act.  Neither choice is good for children. If a per-capita cap or block grant is enacted, schools would lose a dedicated funding source for services, and would have to compete with health care providers and hospitals for limited funds.  And all of this would be part of a budget package with large tax cuts for the rich.
We need you to act now.
1. Click here to send an email to your Congressperson.
2. Call todayCall your representative directly, or call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.

“Under Ohio law, schools are expected to offer students 920 hours of learning. But for the average ECOT student, state officials were able to document just 227 hours spent using the school's learning software, Education Week's review found.”
Student Login Records at Ohio E-Schools Spark $80 Million Dispute
Education Week By Benjamin Herold and Alex Harwin March 7, 2017
The Ohio education department could seek repayment of more than $80 million from nine full-time online schools, based on audits of software-login records that led state officials to determine the schools had overstated their student enrollment.  The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, for example, was paid for 15,322 full-time students during the 2015-16 school year. But state officials said they could document just 41 percent of that total.  An Education Week analysis of both the login records submitted by ECOT and the results of the state's audit for that year further demonstrates the scope of the discrepancy:

“Dinniman says PSSA tests and Keystone exams have only conclusively proven one thing: that kids in poor districts perform poorly compared to wealthier peers. We’re impoverishing ourselves, he said, to prove that.  “We’re punishing the very students who we don’t give the resources to by stamping failure on them and on their teachers and on their schools,” he said. “I’m trying to understand what the philosophy of the department is.”
Standardized tests aren’t worth the hefty cost, state senator says
ABC27 by Dennis OwensPublished: March 7, 2017, 6:57 pm  Updated: March 8, 2017, 9:00 am
HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Sen. Andrew Dinniman (D-Chester) began with pleasantries.
“First, good morning to everyone and it’s good to see you all here,” he said with a warm smile to the Secretary of Education and his staff during an appropriations hearing Tuesday morning.  But his tone changed dramatically when the topic changed to the cost of standardized testing.  “Since 2008, we have spent $1.2 billion on a testing and alignment system in this commonwealth while students don’t have nurses or guidance counselors,” Dinniman said emphatically.  “Rather than put the money where the rubber meets the road, which is in the classrooms of this commonwealth.” 

Haverford activists press school board for transgender student policy
Inquirer by Kathy Boccella, Staff Writer  @Kathy_Boccella |  kboccella@phillynews.com Updated: MARCH 8, 2017 — 2:51 PM EST
On Nov. 9, stunned and depressed over the election of President Trump, Allie Armstrong of Havertown took to social media to ask her friends how to spin something positive from a result they viewed as not just a defeat but a national crisis.  “I put out a random Facebook post and had a dozen friends say, ‘Oh, me too,’ ” recalled Armstrong, a stay-at-home mom with two young children and a background in social work. “I thought that I and my dozen friends would be getting together to write letters, or protest.”  Less than four months later, nearly 60 members of the group they founded – the Havertown Area Community Action Network, or HCAN – packed a standing-room-only Haverford Township School District board meeting to demand an inclusive policy toward transgender students in response to the Trump administration’s retreat on the issue.  Last week's big turnout impelled district officials to promise a policy – either a new stand-alone or an amended nondiscrimination code that specifically addresses transgender issues — as soon as September.  HCAN's victory was emblematic of forces, unleashed by Trump’s election, that are beginning to shake up politics, even at local levels. 

Transgender complaints about bathrooms have nothing to do with access to public education: Marc A. Scaringi
PennLive Op-Ed  By Marc A. Scaringi on March 08, 2017 at 9:15 AM
Last week PennLive ran a story that featured a Camp Hill mother of a 9-year old boy who self-identifies as a girl.  The mother is calling upon "everyone in the school system to be trained just on what transgender is, what gender fluid is" so they can support transgender children and make their lives in school better.   The mother wants schools and lawmakers to "do their jobs" and guarantee the "rights" and "safety" of transgender children. There's no mention whether the Camp Hill mom will take her case to Court.  But there is ample precedent. Across the country, transgender students, encouraged by parents and advocates, are filing lawsuits to compel schools to do just that.  Last week, a federal court in Pittsburgh issued a preliminary injunction compelling the Pine-Richland School District to permit transgender students to use the communal bathroom of the sex they identify with rather than their biological sex.

Transgender student faced bias, retaliation over bathroom use, suit claims
Peter Hall Of The Morning Call March 8, 2017
Transgender second grader claims Coal Region school denied her use of girl's room.
Weeks after the Trump administration rolled back protections for transgender students in public schools, a Schuylkill County school district faces a federal lawsuit that claims a transgender second-grader and her mother are victims of discrimination and retaliation over the student's use of girls' restrooms.  Tracey Handling insisted that her daughter, who was born a boy but identifies as a girl, be permitted to use a girls' restroom at Minersville Elementary School when she started first grade, instead of boys' restrooms or unisex restrooms that the district created for her.  The Minersville School District relented last year after the Obama administration instructed public schools that federal law allows transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms matching students' gender identities, rather than the gender on their birth certificates.  But Handling's lawsuit alleges the district has systematically discriminated against her daughter and that district officials harassed and retaliated against Handling, reporting her to a child welfare agency and refusing to provide educational assessments for her daughter.

Property owners would still pay school taxes for years under relief bill
York Dispatch by Alyssa Pressler , 505-5438/@AlyssaPressYD Published 1:22 p.m. ET March 8, 2017 | Updated 2 hours ago
·         Legislation to get rid of school property taxes has been reintroduced to the Legislature.
·         Local administrators are not opposed to lessening school property taxes, but are wary of the legislation.
Legislation to eliminate school property taxes in Pennsylvania might sound like music to the ears of property owners, but it wouldn't happen overnight — in some cases, some local taxpayers wouldn't see relief for more than 15 years.  In the meantime, property owners also would be paying more in sales and income taxes.  Sen. David Argall, R-Schuylkill County, plans to introduce legislation that would shift about $14 billion in taxes from property owners, including businesses, to consumers and anyone earning a paycheck. He said he's still working with Gov. Tom Wolf on the details of the bill, but plans to unveil it in the next few weeks.  In 2015, similar legislation was defeated in the Senate with a 25-24 vote. Argall said he will re-introduce it this year because he believes the recent election has provided him with support he needs for it to pass.

“Philadelphia has long offered a free breakfast to every student, but participation is typically lackluster -- less than half citywide. When principal Connie Carnivale arrived at Brown five years ago, only about 30 percent of students ate breakfast there. She and her faculty decided to make the meal more accessible, feeding students in their classrooms just after the school day began.  Since the new program was begun two years ago, the school has higher attendance, less truancy, and more students reading at grade level, and Carnivale said she thinks breakfast is a part of that.”
Free breakfasts mean better academics at one Philly school
Inquirer by Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer  @newskag |  kgraham@phillynews.com Updated: MARCH 8, 2017 — 2:05 PM EST
Breakfast at home isn’t always a given for the 512 students at H.A. Brown Elementary School.  But as soon as the bell rings, students know they can count on a meal served with the first lessons of the day. On Wednesday, fourth-grade classes worked on morning editing exercises while feasting on chocolate chip muffins, fruit, and milk.  “The food is tasty,” said Saniyah Roseingram.  “Breakfast is healthy for us,” added Senniyah Mtagwa.  Mayor Kenney, School Superintendent William R. Hite Jr., and City Councilwoman Helen Gym toured Brown on Wednesday, sharing a meal and marking National School Breakfast Week.
Brown, on East Sergeant Street in Kensington, is a leader in the Philadelphia School District’s breakfast program, with 75 percent of the students partaking in the meal daily.

“Turzai’s measure would increase the city’s charter enrollment from 65,000 students to 80,000 by the 2021-22 school year. By then charter school costs, currently budgeted at $875 million, could far exceed $1 billion.  Just think what might be done to improve traditional public schools if that money were instead invested in them. Turzai, and other legislators who think like him, have given up on making regular schools better, but that attitude does nothing to help students whose parents, for whatever reason, don’t enroll them in charters.  Choice is fine, but don’t forget about the kids who choose to stay in their neighborhood schools. “
Inquirer Editorial: Don't let Turzai dictate Philly's number of charters
Updated: MARCH 8, 2017 — 1:14 PM EST
Two years ago, then-State Rep. Cherelle Parker, a Democrat and now a member of Philadelphia City Council, seconded the nomination of Republican Mike Turzai of Allegheny County to become speaker of the House. Unfortunately, on too many occasions that gracious gesture of bipartisanship has come back to bite this city in the rear end.  Turzai, who was unanimously reelected speaker in January, has introduced a bill that would usurp all local authority and require the Philadelphia School District to add 3,000 new charter seats every year. The bill would also require Pittsburgh schools to add 500 charter seats annually.  The heavy-handed legislation is completely unnecessary since the Philadelphia district had already projected charter enrollment to grow by 2,700 to 3,000 seats annually in its five-year plan. Turzai’s bill, however, could hamstring the district’s ability to adjust charter growth to reflect future budget deficits. A $64.5 million deficit is expected in two years unless the district receives more revenue.

Nearly one thousand Philadelphia teachers take part in 'A Day Without a Woman' protests
WHYY Newsworks BY AVI WOLFMAN-ARENT MARCH 8, 2017
The Philadelphia teachers union used Wednesday's international women's strike to highlight the importance women play in schools and to call for a better contract.  Over 930 teachers in the School District of Philadelphia did not show up Wednesday, although it's unclear how many of those absences were related to the "A Day Without a Woman" protest. District officials said teacher absences were higher than normal, but not unprecedented.  "A Day Without a Woman" was intended to highlight gender inequality and the important role women play in society. The movement was not specific to teachers, but Philadelphia educators seized on the opportunity to make their own political statement about fair pay.  The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers encouraged teachers across the district to hold "informational pickets" before the school day began to underscore the lack of a valid contract for union members. Teachers and other school staff represented by the PFT haven't had a contract since 2013. They've gone without raises since 2012.  Roughly 75 percent of PFT members are female, said union officials. Teachers picketing outside of H.A. Brown School in Kensington said their plight related to broader inequities women face in the work place.

EDITORIAL: Time for answers about Thackston
The York Dispatch Published 5:29 p.m. ET March 8, 2017 | Updated 10 hours ago
·         Two years after a scathing state audit, Helen Thackston Charter School continues to struggle.
·         School officials have been tight-lipped about a recent staff shake-up.
·         The community deserves some answers.
A 2015 state audit of Helen Thackston Charter School painted a picture of a leaderless institution in disarray.  At the time, state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, in effect, threw up his hands in frustration.  "There is no way to account for every dollar, or to know if the school operated as intended, because of a breakdown of internal controls," he said. "The lack of documentation makes it nearly impossible to draw any sound conclusion."  Nearly two years later, the publicly funded independent school is still struggling, and the York City school board has notified Thackston it’s at risk of losing its charter to operate.

Ephrata, Garden Spot top Lancaster County high schools in SAT scores improvement
Lancaster Online by ALEX GELI | Staff Writer March 9, 2017
Two Lancaster County high schools that claim to be moving away from a teaching-to-the-test approach made the most gains in SAT scores this year.  Ephrata and Garden Spot high schools, where administrators say they are dialing back on the pressure that often comes with high-stakes testing, saw their average composite scores jump 62 points and 58 points from 2015, respectively.  Manheim Township High School students earned the highest scores for the fourth consecutive year. And, students enrolled at McCaskey East and J.P. McCaskey high schools scored the lowest for the ninth straight year.  “I’d love to take credit for it, but I can’t,” Garden Spot Principal Matt Sanger said. “I would say our staff and our students have really bought into the notion of setting the bar high.”  Garden Spot, in Eastern Lancaster County School District, has revamped its math, science and language arts programs, he said, but simply adjusting the curriculum isn’t what does the trick.

Local senators leading way on redistricting reform | Letter
Express-Times Letters to the Editor  by Mary Erdman, Fair Districts PA on March 07, 2017 at 9:09 AM, updated March 07, 2017 at 9:10 AM
The march toward fairly drawn legislative districts in Pennsylvania has finally begun. Senate Bill 22 was introduced last week by its primary sponsor and author, Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-Northampton-Lehigh; co-author and sponsor, Sen. Mario Scavello, R-Monroe-Northamption; and joined in sponsorship by Sen. Pat Browne, R-Lehigh.  The Lehigh Valley should be very proud of these three local politicians who have embraced this bill and the positive impacts it will produce. This is a nonpartisan project that will result in fairly drawn districts and more fair representation; it will begin to unlock the dysfunction that exists in both Harrisburg and Washington, D.C. 

PCPCS Announces Ana Meyers (Puig) as New Executive Director
Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools Press Release February 28, 2017
The Board of Trustees of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools (PCPCS) selected Ana Meyers as its next Executive Director, replacing Bob Fayfich who will be retiring at the end of March.  In her new position, Ana will be responsible for driving the PCPCS mission of achieving choice for parents, high quality for students, and fiscal accountability for taxpayers in Pennsylvania’s K-12 educational system.  Ana moves to this position from being Director of Legislative Affairs for LeadingAge PA and, before that, Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs for the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. She also served as Pennsylvania Field Director for FreedomWorks, advocating for school choice and charter reform legislation. In all of those roles she developed a deep knowledge of the legislative process and a stellar reputation with legislators.  Ana is a native of Brazil, earned her Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing and International Business from Baylor University, and is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese as well as English.  “We were extremely fortunate to have a lot of outstanding candidates interested in this position” said Toni Rath, President of the PCPCS Board, “and even more fortunate to have a person with Ana’s passion, experience, and capabilities accept the role. We are excited to be working with her.”  One of the first actions Ana will undertake is a statewide listening and learning tour of charter schools to hear directly from the charter school leaders what issues they face and how PCPCS can be most effective in contribution their success.

“Puig formerly served as state director of Freedomworks, the Washington-based conservative advocacy group founded by former U.S. House Majority leader Dick Armey. In that role Puig was a fixture in the Capitol after Corbett took office in 2011, leading the unsuccessful effort to bring school vouchers to Pennsylvania. B That battle was marked by an unusually bitter single-issue campaign by Freedomworks and its allies to force some GOP lawmakers to sign on to the voucher bill that included mounting primary challenges against incumbent lawmakers.  Among the targets was Sen. Pat Vance a Republican from Cumberland County, who called the Freedomworks tactics "bullying." Vance withstood a primary challenge in 2012 largely funded by the pro-voucher group Students First.”
Reprise 2013: Corbett 'troubled' by statements of controversial new hire
Inquirer by Amy Worden  @AngelasInk Updated: AUGUST 26, 2013 — 7:47 AM EDT
Gov. Corbett is concerned about the inflammatory social media trail left by a Bucks County tea party leader recently hired by his administration.  A top Corbett aide said some statements made by activist-turned-Revenue Department employee Ana Puig are disturbing.  "Has she said some things that are troublesome and offensive to the governor? Yes," said  Corbett's communnications direcotr Lynn Lawson in an interview Friday.  In her role as legislative liaison Puig will be tasked with advancing the governor's agenda in the House and Senate - not her own, she said.  "He doesn't have to agree with her personal views, he doesn't agree with many of the things she has stated, but as an employee of the Commonwealth she needs to properly represent the views of the governor," said Lawson.  "If we find that is not the case, that's a different discussion," she said.  Our Inquirer colleague Tom Fitzgerald first reported Puig, 41, was hired to the $68,000-year-job last week. Puig founded Kitchen Table Patriots in 2009 to advocate for conservative causes - like tax reform and limited government.  In a 2009 interview with the Village Voice, Puig said President Obama was advancing his health-care plan just as Hugo Chavez had taken over Venezuela, by "infiltration of the education system, political correctness, class warfare ideology, voter fraud, brainwashing through the mainstream media."  In YouTube videos, Facebook posts and Tweets, Puig has variously compared Obama to Hitler, a Communist, a Marxist, a socialist.

Senate Votes to Block Obama Teacher-Preparation Rules
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Andrew Ujifusa on March 8, 2017 3:03 PM
The Senate voted 59 to 40 on Wednesday to overturn regulations governing teacher-preparation programs that were approved by the Obama administration late last year.   Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., introduced the measure blocking the rules late last week. Senate Joint Resolution 26 had nine other Republican co-sponors, including Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the chairman of the Senate education committee. The House also voted last month to block the rules, approving a resolution introduced by Kentucky Republican Rep. Brett Guthrie, and President Donald Trump is widely expected to back the move.   "This regulation actually makes the assumption that bureaucrats in Washington are competent to micromanage teacher-training programs in America. That's what this regulation ultimately does, and it's absurd," Sasse said on the Senate floor before the vote.  However, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the top Democrat on the education committee, said the rules would ensure that prospective teachers have more and better information about teacher-training programs. She also said the rules would protect teacher preparation from the as-yet unknown approach that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos would take. (Murray led the opposition to DeVos in the Senate before DeVos was confirmed.)
"It helps to improve teacher-preparation program accountability," Murray said on the floor about the rules.

Trump Education Adviser Wants 'Robust Portfolio of Options' For K-12 Students
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Alyson Klein on March 8, 2017 4:39 PM
Arlington, Va. Jason Botel, a top adviser to President Donald Trump on education issues, sees school choice as a vehicle for furthering educational equity for all students. And he thinks a new pilot program in the Every Student Succeeds Act could help districts expand those student choices.  "We need to build more robust portfolio of school options," said Botel in a speech Wednesday to the National Parent Teacher Association's legislative conference. The White House and the U.S. Department of Education are working together, Botel, said, "on the best ways to ensure that all students have the resources they need, as some choose to attend public schools, some choose to attend public charter, public magnet schools, and some choose private schools, online learning."   Botel didn't say this specifically, but a federal tax credit scholarship program—like the one created in a bill introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., seems to be one likely route for furthering choice.  In kicking off his remarks, Botel framed school choice as a strategy to make sure all kids get access to an equitable education. Advocates need to collaborate to combat "our common adversaries, inequity of opportunity and inequity of outcome," he said.    Botel, who served as the president of MarylandCAN, an advocacy organization, before joining the Trump administration and who has taken some heat from Democratic education "reformers" for working with the Trump administration, gave a quick primer on how he came to embrace private school choice for at-risk students.

Trump's education adviser promotes private schools
ABC News By MARIA DANILOVA WASHINGTON — Mar 8, 2017, 5:40 PM ET
A senior presidential aide said Wednesday that American families should have various school options for their children, including private schools.  Jason Botel, Donald Trump's education adviser, told a National PTA conference that some children may not thrive in traditional public or charter schools and should have an opportunity to attend private schools.  "We need an education landscape that offers high quality options to all students and parents," Botel told the conference.  Botel, who has worked in both traditional public and charter schools, told the story of some of his students who were only able to succeed academically after going to private schools. "We are committed to ensuring that students and parents of all backgrounds for whom public school may not be the best option have access to high quality private schools," he added.
Botel's message highlighted the focus of the Trump administration on school choice. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is a longtime charter school advocate, and Trump recently visited a small, private Catholic school in Florida to promote private-school voucher programs. The administration has talked about expanding voucher programs, which are publicly funded scholarships for low-income families to attend private schools, and tax credits to give more children access to private schools.

DeVos praises Orthodox Jewish group that strongly backs public funding for religious schools
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss March 9 at 3:05 AM 
U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who has made school “choice” a policy priority, met on Wednesday with leaders of an Orthodox Jewish group that has been instrumental in pushing voucher programs across the country. She praised their “leadership and commitment” in helping communities secure schools that “meet the academic and religious needs of their families” and said she looks forward to working with them.  DeVos met with leaders of Agudath Israel of America, which is based in New York and has active branches in more than 25 states, including Texas, Florida, California, Maryland and New Jersey. Its leaders have successfully lobbied for using public taxpayer dollars to subsidize religious schools in several states.

How Trump Can Expand School Choice
A scholarship tax credit would put poor kids in good private schools—and relieve packed public ones.
Wall Street Journal Opinion By TIMOTHY MICHAEL DOLAN March 8, 2017 6:41 p.m. ET
Cardinal Dolan is archbishop of New York.
While addressing Congress last week, President Trump called for passage of “an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth.” He added that families should be able to choose “public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home” schooling. These comments, and his subsequent visit to St. Andrew Catholic School in Orlando, Fla., are encouraging. I hope Mr. Trump will push Congress to makes scholarship tax credits available to working-class families nationwide.  These programs provide tax credits for individuals or corporations that donate to nonprofit scholarship organizations. St. Andrew’s is a classic example of how students benefit. Some 300 students at the school receive scholarships through the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program. Statewide, nearly 98,000 low-income children attend parochial or private schools thanks to this program.

‘We are angry’: Families of transgender children meet with Betsy DeVos
Washington Post By Moriah Balingit March 8 at 2:04 PM 
With tears in their eyes, Vanessa and JR Ford recounted to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos the story of their transgender daughter Ellie, sharing the drawings where Ellie depicted herself as a stick figure in a little dress and telling her about Ellie’s fourth birthday, where she declared “I am a girl in my brain and my heart.”  In the Department of Education conference room, Ellie sat nearby sketching characters from Sonic the Hedgehog and munching on apple sauce. She had just met the secretary, the Fords later recalled, giving DeVos her classic fake-out handshake in which she ran her tiny fingers up the woman’s arm, squealing “squirrel!”  The Fords, who live in the District and send Ellie to a charter school, joined other families of transgender children at a Wednesday meeting hoping to persuade DeVos to do more to protect transgender students, whom they say have been imperiled by the Trump administration’s move to roll back Obama-era protections two weeks ago.  “It was very painful to have to do. Both my husband and I fought through tears trying to tel her how difficult the past two weeks have been,” Vanessa Ford told The Washington Post. “These are our families. These are our friends. And we are angry.”  The emotional meeting took place immediately before DeVos met with representatives of three LGBTQ groups — National Center for Transgender Equality; the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network; and Equality Michigan -- who echoed the parents’ message and outlined policy recommendations.


Briefing: Public Education Funding in Pennsylvania March 15, from 5:30-7:00 p.m.,
On March 15, from 5:30-7:00 p.m., join attorneys Michael Churchill, Jennifer Clarke and Dan Urevick-Ackelsberg for a briefing on public education.
Topics include:
·         the basics of education funding
·         the school funding lawsuit
·         the property tax elimination bill and how it would affect school funding
1.5 CLE credits available to PA licensed attorneys.

Ron Cowell at EPLC always does a great job with these policy forums.
RSVP Today for a Forum In Your Area! EPLC is Holding Five Education Policy Forums on Governor Wolf’s 2017-2018 State Budget Proposal
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
Governor Wolf will deliver his 2017-2018 state budget proposal to the General Assembly on February 7. These policy forums will be early opportunities to get up-to-date information about what is in the proposed education budget, the budget’s relative strengths and weaknesses, and key issues.  Each of the forums will take following basic format (please see below for regional presenter details at each of the three events). Ron Cowell of EPLC will provide an overview of the Governor’s proposed budget for early education, K-12 and higher education.  A representative of The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center will provide an overview of the state’s fiscal situation and key issues that will affect this year’s budget discussion. The overviews will be followed by remarks from a panel representing statewide and regional perspectives concerning state funding for education and education related items. These speakers will discuss the impact of the Governor’s proposals and identify the key issues that will likely be considered during this year’s budget debate.
Although there is no registration fee, seating is limited and an RSVP is required.
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

PASBO 62nd Annual Conference, March 21-24, David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Pittsburgh.
Register now for the 2017 NSBA Annual Conference March 25-27 Denver
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.

Register for the 2017 PASA Education Congress, “Delving Deeper into the Every Student Succeeds Act.” March 29-30

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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