Sunday, April 23, 2017

PA Ed Policy Roundup April 23: #HB97: Written to remove local control over charter schools and make sure that state control is pro charter expansion

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup April 23, 2017:
#HB97:  Written to remove local control over charter schools and make sure that state control is pro charter expansion

“A bad bill, written to remove local control over charter schools, and make sure that state control is pro charter expansion.  It also doesn’t fix the core funding problem, meaning one family's decision will take resources out of the classrooms of other kids.”  Tweets by Dan Urevick-Ackelsberg

We will not be publishing the Roundup on Monday April 24th; we’ll be in Harrisburg asking legislators to support fair funding and responsible charter school reform.  Please call your legislators on Monday and urge them to work with PSBA/PASA to improve HB97

#HB97: House vote as soon as Monday; Urge legislators to work with PSBA/PASA to improve the bill

#HB97 None of Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman .@SenatorBrowne's school districts ever authorized a cyber charter.  In 2015-16 they had to pay over $19.5 million in cyber charter tuition.  Not one of Pennsylvania’s 13 cyber charter schools has ever achieved a passing score of 70 on the School Performance Profile.  Many school districts have in-house cyber programs that are able to serve students at considerable savings over cyber charter costs.

#HB97 None of House Appropriations Committee Chairman .@RepStanSaylor's school districts ever authorized a cyber charter.  In 2015-16 they had to pay over $3.8 million in cyber charter tuition. 

#HB97 None of gubernatorial candidate .@SenScottWagner's school districts ever authorized a cyber charter.  In 2015-16 they had to pay over $11.9 million in cyber charter tuition.

#HB97 None of Senate Education Committee Minority Chairman @SenatorDinniman's school districts ever authorized a cyber charter.  In 2015-16 they had to pay over $13.4 million in cyber charter tuition.

#HB97 None of House Education Committee Chairman Eichelberger's school districts ever authorized a cyber charter.  In 2015-16 they had to pay over $11.6 million in cyber charter tuition.

#HB97 Neither of House Speaker .@RepTurzai's school districts ever authorized a cyber charter.  In 2015-16 they had to pay over $1.8 million in cyber charter tuition.

#HB97 None of Senate President .@senatorscarnati's school districts ever authorized a cyber charter.  In 2015-16 they had to pay over $9.4 million in cyber charter tuition.

#HB97 None of Senate Majority Leader .@JakeCorman's school districts ever authorized a cyber charter.  In 2015-16 they had to pay over $5.1 million in cyber charter tuition.

Thanks to PCCY for compiling these cyber tuition figures from data on PDE’s website.

HB97: Pennsylvania lawmakers take another stab at charter school law reform
Lancaster Online by ALEX GELI | Staff Writer April 21, 2017
Pennsylvania lawmakers introduced legislation this week aimed at reforming the state's 20-year-old charter school law.  Democrats in the state House, including Lancaster Rep. Mike Sturla, introduced an eight-bill package in an attempt to improve accountability, transparency and funding for charter schools.  Their proposals come a week after Republican state Rep. Mike Reese introduced a charter school reform bill — House Bill 97 — that some say doesn’t do the necessary reforms justice. His bill already has been considered twice by the state House.  Sturla, who co-sponsored seven of the Democrats' eight charter school reform bills, said the proposed legislation “improve(s) the efficiency and accountability for all public schools in the state of Pennsylvania.”  The problem with charters - “We’ve let the experiment run long enough,” Sturla said, referring to the two decades-old charter school law.  Signed into law by Republican Gov. Tom Ridge in 1997, the original legislation was meant to provide school choice for students who didn’t fit into the traditional public school system. Charter schools were to be, as Sturla put it, “laboratories of innovation.”  That, some say, hasn’t been the case — hence, the need for reform.  “Overall, public school districts are asking for a level playing field in terms of state mandates and regulations,” Conestoga Valley superintendent Gerald Huesken said.  Charter school overpayments, he said, are his primary concern.
“If we can run a program for half of (a charter’s) cost, where is that extra funding going?” he asked.

“Despite their zeal for charter reform and to, in their opinion, bring more parity between charter and traditional public schools, the Democrats’ effort to amend the bill was met with mixed results – only two of the eight proposals in the package gained enough support to be included in House Bill 97.  The first, a proposal from Rep. Mike Schlossberg (D-Lehigh), would require charter and cyber-charter schools to note that advertisements and transportation costs are paid for by taxpayers.  “No charter or cyber-charter school is free; taxpayers pay for these schools, like any other,” he said of his amendment. “Taxpayers deserve to be given credit for footing the bill.”  The amendment was incorporated into House Bill 97 by a vote of 186-1.”
HB97: Charter school reform effort gets restarted in House
City and State By:  JASON GOTTESMAN APR 19, 2017 AT 7:34 AM
Jason Gottesman is the Harrisburg bureau chief for The PLS Reporter, a non-partisan, online news site devoted to covering Pennsylvania government. 
Harrisburg – For the last several sessions, lawmakers in Pennsylvania have tried – and failed – to enact comprehensive reforms to the commonwealth’s charter school system.  This week, that Sisyphean effort was restarted by the House moving along House Bill 97, vehicle legislation sponsored by Rep. Mike Reese (R-Westmoreland) that he said was akin to legislation that nearly got across the finish line last session in the form of House Bill 530.  According to Reese – the House member whose name has been attached to charter school reform the last two legislative sessions – the bill is aimed at leveling the playing field between charter schools (both brick-and-mortar and cyber) and traditional public schools.  “The goal of this legislation is straightforward: to improve school choice by strengthening the laws under which charter schools operate while, at the same time, creating immediate savings to our traditional public schools that pay for our charters and ultimately creating a level playing field for our traditional public schools and our charter schools by requiring them to play by the same rules when it comes to ethics, accountability and transparency,” he told members of the House Education Committee when the bill advanced from there on Tuesday.

HB97: House bill takes aim at 'conflict of interest' in charter school leases
Philly Trib Stacy M. Brown Tribune Harrisburg Correspondent April 21, 2017
House Democrats on Wednesday unveiled a package of eight charter school reform bills they said are designed to treat all Pennsylvania public schools – both traditional and charter – and their students equally under law.  One introduced by State Rep. James Roebuck, (D- Phila.), House Bill 1199, takes aim at conflicts of interest in tax-funded payments for charter school leases.  “The auditor general’s office has identified millions of dollars in questionable charter school leases,” Roebuck said in a news release announcing the legislation. “We need to prevent these conflicts of interest up front, and we need to recover taxpayers’ money to benefit students when there has been an inappropriate payment for one of these leases.  “Every dollar that goes to an inappropriate lease is a dollar that doesn’t go to educate our kids,” he added.  Ana Meyers, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools, disputed those who allege charter schools lease from themselves.  “Schools often need to lease building space and do so through affiliated nonprofit foundations,” she said. “These arrangements are all approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. These arrangements are unfortunate but necessary only because of the inequities in all the charter school law which do not provide for facilities funding.”

HB97: Pa. House tries again on charter schools
Pennsylvania's Legislature is returning to one of its toughest recurring issues — overhauling charter schools.  Among the provisions laid out in the latest omnibus proposal to get onto the House floor are a standardized application process for schools seeking charters; more consistent school performance rubrics; and an extension of the charter review period from five to 10 years.  As often happens, traditional public school and charter school advocates are divided on it.  Ana Meyers, executive director for the state Coalition for Public Charter Schools, said the proposal needs work. In particular, she opposes a $27 million funding cut for online-only charters.  However, she said she likes most of it, noting that she backs anything that makes charters more competitive.  "Charter schools and cybercharter schools are run differently than traditional public schools for a reason," she said.  Steve Robinson, with the Pennsylvania School Board Association, said he's concerned the reforms give charters too much of a leg up.  "Traditional public schools are set to a much higher standard than we believe charter schools are," he said.

EdVotersPA: PA House Poised to Ram Through Horrible Charter Bill
Education Voters PA Posted on April 20, 2017 by EDVOPA
We need your help to stop HB 97. The PA House may vote on this deeply flawed charter school legislation next week, as early as Monday, April 24th.
We had hoped that the PA House would work toward charter reform that would protect taxpayers and students and improve PA’s system of public education.  Our hopes were misplaced.  On Tuesday this week, members of the House Education Committee passed HB 97 out of committee on a vote of 17 to 10.  Before they voted, lawmakers were assured that HB 97 was a work in progress and would be amended to address many significant problems and deficiencies in the bill.  That didn’t happen.
During the House session on Wednesday, Republican leadership and most Republican lawmakers opposed nearly every substantial amendment that was introduced to fix HB 97.
Click HERE to tell your state representative to oppose HB 97. The House will be in session next week and is poised to ram through HB 97 without any further improvements.
·         HB 97 does not address the $100 million profit (and growing) that charters reap off students with disabilities each year from the broken special education funding system.
·         HB 97 does nothing to address the continued abysmal academic performance of the state’s cyber charter schools — none of which have met the minimum proficiency standard on the state’s school performance profile.
·         HB 97 creates separate performance standards by which to evaluate charter/cyber charter schools and district schools, making a comparison of education quality between the two sectors impossible. Cyber charter performance won’t look as bad if cyber charters are compared only to other charter schools, many of which are also very low-performing.
·         HB 97 strips local control from school boards. If HB 97 becomes law, local school boards would be prohibited from requesting any information from charter applicants beyond the information in a state-created application form; local school boards would be subjected to the whim of charter operators to amend their charter; and local school board decisions regarding charter applications and renewals would be at the mercy of the state’s Charter Appeal Board, which would be stacked with charter school supporters.
HB 97 improves ethics and transparency standards for charters and temporarily makes very small reductions in school district payments to cyber charters. In exchange for these modest modifications to the current law, legislators are handing charter lobbyists their wish list with a bow on top.  Making charters play by similar rules as other publicly funded entities should not earn the PA legislature high praise. These are necessary and important changes to the PA legislature’s broken law that should have been made years ago.
Click HERE to contact your state lawmakers to tell them to oppose HB 97. Please share this action with your networks so that together we can stop HB 97.

“The research by WolfBrown, working with Johns Hopkins University, showed that participating in the arts help students develop traits that contribute to later success in life. Younger students especially showed measurable growth in characteristics like tolerance for other points of view, an understanding that hard work can develop their knowledge and abilities, and their motivation to achieve.
The researchers also found that students who started out highly engaged in school and more emotionally mature retained these scores if they received arts education. But students who scored as high in the beginning who did not participate in arts programming showed a significant decline in their engagement.
Another finding, not surprisingly, is that students became more interested in the arts once they were exposed to them.”
Quantifying the benefits of arts education
The notebook by Dale Mezzacappa April 20, 2017 — 2:12pm
We all hear the stories, or have experiences ourselves or with children: how learning to play an instrument, or appearing in a play, or creating something beautiful from scratch, keeps students on the path to graduation and improves their attitude and well-being.   It has long been understood that the arts are among the "protective factors" that can shield young people from debilitating effects of trauma. Yet, while arts are taken for granted as a core part of the curriculum in well-funded schools, that's not true in districts such as Philadelphia that are strapped for cash, even though generally they are the ones for which poverty and trauma wreak their havoc. In those districts, under pressure to raise test scores, nonmandated and nontested subjects often become expendable.   That is true in Philadelphia, where art and music teacher positions were slashed in the depths of the budget crisis and have still not been restored to all schools.
The William Penn Foundation, which has missions to promote both great learning and creative communities, commissioned a study to move beyond the anecdotal and see if and how students benefited from being involved in some of its grantee arts programs.  It released the results at a conference on  Wednesday.

"More than half of the rural school districts in Pennsylvania are spending less educating their children than their estimated adequacy target, or the amount expected to ensure that children can reach the state's rigorous academic standards," the report reads.  Even with a new basic education funding formula intended to level the playing field among all districts, 202 rural districts are still not receiving their fair share of state funding while 158 spend below the so-called "adequacy" target, the report shows.”
Lawmakers, Wolf need to make sure rural students aren't left behind: Editorial
By PennLive Editorial Board Email the author on April 21, 2017 at 3:14 PM, updated April 21, 2017 at 4:50 PM
When Pennsylvania's policymakers and elected leaders have their annual debate over public school funding, their conversations over funding disparities tend to take place in a very binary context.  That disparity debate generally pits the largest urban school systems - Pittsburgh and Philadelphia - against every other district in the state, both rural and suburban.  But, as a new report makes clear, that's only half the conversation.   According to new data by the Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, a Harrisburg advocacy group, students in the commonwealth's rural school districts are as at-risk of being left behind as students in any larger urban district.

“Instead of a rallying cry for property tax elimination, we suggest a measured consideration of tax reform tied to the school fair funding formula adopted last year. The formula crafted after a task force study determines school funding by taking into account things like poverty, special education population and local tax effort.  To be effective, the formula must be applied to the entire state education revenue stream instead of just 6 percent, as is the case this year.  For tax reform to be meaningful in Pennsylvania, the system of how monies are allocated must be reformed as well as the system of taxation.  We are all for property tax reform to change a system that has for too long been a burden on middle class and fixed income homeowners while benefitting real-estate wealthy school districts.
But it must be tied to fair funding to address the long standing inequities.
Just as Pennsylvania taxpayers deserve a more equitable system of taxation, so do all children in Pennsylvania deserve a fair chance at a good education.
Fair funding must be part of property tax reform to meet that most basic right.”
Editorial: Time to get property tax reform right
Delco Times Editorial POSTED: 04/22/17, 11:21 PM EDT | UPDATED: 2 HRS AGO
To be clear, we support property tax reform in Pennsylvania as a necessary step to addressing school funding inequities and an unfair burden on property owners on a fixed income.  However, we remain concerned about the current property tax elimination measure in Harrisburg.  The property tax measure currently proposed is a windfall for business and wealthy school districts and will end up costing middle-class taxpayers more than they pay now in taxes, an independent analysis has found.  “Far from providing relief for working families, recent proposals to eliminate school property taxes in Pennsylvania would increase taxes on the middle class while sabotaging the chance to adequately fund Pennsylvania schools for middle-and low-income families,” begins the study, “Who Pays for Property Tax Elimination?” by the Keystone Research Center in Harrisburg.  The group which authored the study has been widely criticized by the Pennsylvania Taxpayers Cyber Coalition as an organization with ties to the powerful Pennsylvania State Education Association teachers’ union. Keystone Research Center states on its website that a portion of its funding comes from organized labor groups, and many of its board members are affiliated with labor unions across Pennsylvania, including PSEA.  owever, that doesn’t change the statistics in the House Bill 76 proposal which show this version of tax reform does nothing to address the equally troubling issue of school funding inequity.

“Then there’s the laziness of the bill, the notion that these senators feel something has to be done to make schools safer, but rather than find money to improve security features in buildings and maybe hire more School Resource Officers, let’s just let teachers carry guns. Looks like you did something without spending a dime.  And there is the conflicting messages to students: Bring a gun to school, you get expelled. See your teacher with a gun? Heck, feel safer.  But the biggest question about this bill is how it can get any traction in a legislature that refuses to honestly grapple with big issues in education that have been around for years?”
Our view: More guns won’t fix myriad of education woes
Times Leader Editorial APRIL 22ND, 2017 - 2:41 PM
For the heck of it, let’s assume a state law allowing school staff to pack heat is a good idea. Good luck finding evidence that a plethora of concealed pistols would improve school safety, but let’s assume the proof exists.  It’s not a hypothetical. The Pennsylvania senate education committee voted 9-3 to move a bill along, toward a full senate vote. It would make it legal for school employees properly trained in the use of firearms to be armed on campus.  Even if it is a good idea — and there are potent arguments it is not — questions abound.  For starters, what’s the point? Gov. Tom Wolf has already said he’s unlikely to sign such a bill, making it almost certainly an exercise in symbolism without substance. It’s easy to vote for a bill you know faces a veto, just ask all the U.S. representatives who spent six years voting some 60 times to repeal, defund or otherwise derail the Affordable Care Act knowing full well it would be vetoed. When a Republican became president, they couldn’t muster the votes.  Funny how votes can change when they have real world consequences. 

School bus cut endangers students and local economy (column)
York Daily Record Opinion by Sen. Mike Regan10:59 a.m. ET April 16, 2017
Sen. Mike Regan is a Republican from Carroll Township.
Last October, a fourth-grade student in Lycoming County was flown to Geisinger Medical Center after being struck by a vehicle while walking to school. Later that very same day, a Lackawanna County teenager was left badly injured following a hit-and-run while riding his bike home from class. Just three days later, a Northumberland County high school student was left in critical condition after being struck in an intersection just minutes from her homeroom.  Buried deep in Gov. Wolf’s 2017-18 budget proposal is a drastic and shortsighted $50 million cut to pupil transportation subsidies which, if enacted, could make terrible accidents like these even more prevalent.  Citing decreased ridership, low diesel prices and an increased reliance on school bus contractors, the Wolf administration recommends this 10 percent funding cut without considering broader economic consequences, not to mention the imminent threat posed to student safety. Given the serious implications of such a policy decision, a more thorough examination is required.

Busing payment cuts worry school leaders
Meadville Tribune By John Finnerty CNHI News Service Apr 14, 2017
HARRISBURG — A proposal by Gov. Tom Wolf to cut state funding for school busing costs by almost 9 percent while changing the formula used to figure out how much they should get has school officials concerned.  School officials and lawmakers say they’re still in the dark about how the Education Department would retool the funding formula.  House Republicans included the governor’s proposal to redo the busing aid formula in their budget, said Stephen Miskin, a spokesman for House Republican leaders. But at this point, the Wolf administration has not provided legislative leaders with a description of what the reworked formula would look like, he said.  John Callahan, assistant executive director of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, said that just the funding cut alone is alarming.  Most years, the state’s payments toward busing costs have been “stable and predictable,” he said.  Not this year.  Combined with projected increased costs to school districts to pay their share of pensions, the $50 million proposed cut in transportation aid would wipe out Wolf's proposed $125 million boost in funding for basic and special education payments, he said.  “In essence, you’re in the negative,” he said.

Fearful parents demand schools near gas pipeline release evacuation plans
Inquirer by Kathy Boccella, Staff Writer  @Kathy_Boccella | Updated: APRIL 23, 2017 — 5:26 AM EDT
Behind closed doors at Rose Tree Media school headquarters in Delaware County, the “safety summit” brought together district and township leaders, first responders, officials from Sunoco Logistics, and even Homeland Security to draw up school evacuation plans in the event of a catastrophic explosion or leak from the impending Mariner East 2 pipeline.   Not in the room — barred from attending, in fact — were the people whose growing anxiety and anger prompted the summit: a coalition of more than 2,700 elementary school parents and allies who fear their children won't be able to get out of harm's way should disaster strike the pipeline as it carries 275,000 barrels of natural gas liquids daily through their densely populated suburbs.  A tight lid was kept on the late March confab. In a statement, Rose Tree Media Superintendent James Wigo joined other attendees in insisting that releasing evacuation details would “compromise student safety,” for instance in a school shooting. “Think about the horrors of a potential sniper situation.”

“Critics slam the proposal as an exaggerated attack on teachers unions spearheaded by conservative lobbyists and groups such as the Commonwealth Foundation, whose platform includes weakening public-sector unions.”
Pennsylvania GOP targets teachers paid to do union work
Trib Live NATASHA LINDSTROM AND JAMIE MARTINES | Saturday, April 22, 2017, 4:14 p.m.
Pennsylvania Republicans are reigniting a push to outlaw so-called “ghost teachers” — educators who take extended absences to work full time for their unions while accruing salaries, seniority and pension credits on the taxpayers' dime.  The state Senate is set to take up a bill that would prohibit school districts from allowing teachers to take time away from the classroom — in some cases, for a year or more — to work for local or statewide teachers unions and perform tasks such as handling personnel disputes, representing colleagues in hearings and coordinating professional development.  The biggest sticking point is whether unions fully reimburse retirement contributions — particularly as districts lament mounting pension costs and the state grapples with a $50 billion unfunded pension liability.

Do school reformers spin their wheels?
Inquirer Opinion by Kevin Ferris, Inquirer Columnist Updated: APRIL 22, 2017 — 8:42 AM EDT
Robert Maranto ( is the 21st Century Chair in Leadership in the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas. He serves on the boards of Achievement House Cyber Charter School, in Pennsylvania, and Fayetteville Public Schools in Arkansas.
As the Pennsylvania Department of Education imposes the Future Readiness Index (FRI) in place of the old School Performance Profile (SPP), which itself replaced Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), one cannot help but recall the French saying plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.  The more things change, the more they stay the same could describe the past three decades of school reform.  George Herbert Walker Bush’s education summit, Bill Clinton’s Goals 2000, George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind, and Barack Obama’s Race to the Top have come and gone, infusing bits of innovation and measurement, but largely leaving traditional public schools intact. At least in the short term, President Trump’s push to expand school choice also seems more evolutionary than revolutionary, notwithstanding the hysterical reactions it evokes.
Why have school reformers (like me) accomplished so little?

All-Delco Hi-Q: Best & brightest shine bright in quiz competition
Delco Times By Colin Ainsworth, POSTED: 04/22/17, 11:23 PM
When Scott Paper Co. began to expand its Chester facilities in the 1920s to become the nation’s largest paper manufacturer, the figure of oil magnate John D. Rockefeller still loomed large in American industry. While history’s assessment of Rockefeller may fluctuate over time, his assessment of needing hard work to enjoy the pleasure of success has held true: “I can think of nothing less pleasurable than a life devoted to pleasure.”  The top competitors in Delco Hi-Q, the nation’s oldest academic competition founded by Scott Paper as a community relations project in 1948, have made the most of their time in high school and forged promising futures through working hard not only in Hi-Q, but in the arts, athletics and volunteer roles.  The 2017 All-Delco Hi-Q Team is made up of an outstanding member from each of the 21 competing teams chosen by their faculty adviser. Today the competition is sponsored by Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union and the Delaware County Intermediate Unit, running for 69 continuous years since one of Chester’s top industrial players began a showcase for the county’s most industrious students.

What the latest assaults on science education look like
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss April 22 at 12:49 PM 
Each year, anti-science education legislation is introduced in state legislatures around the country — and, in a few cases, has been passed. So what is an anti-science education bill — and how many have been introduced in 2017?  There are essentially two different kinds of anti-science legislation, according to the nonprofit National Center for Science Education.  One involves efforts to repeal the adoption of state science standards or challenge science textbooks. There are also bills that attempt to allow science (and other) teachers to present unscientific criticism of scientific principles as legitimate — usually aimed at affecting classroom discussion on evolution and climate change.  Since 2014, more than 60 such bills have been filed in state legislatures all over the country; two have been enacted, in Louisiana in 2008 and in Tennessee in 2012.
[‘But it’s just a theory!’ — How to teach evolution to a skeptical crowdThese bills are worded as “academic freedom” bills, but they really are efforts to present foundational science as controversial. For example, evolution is the animating principle of modern biology, but these laws attempt to allow creationism and evolution to be debated in a science classroom as though they had equal scientific basis. There is no scientific basis to creationist thinking.

Scientists, Feeling Under Siege, March Against Trump Policies
New York Times By NICHOLAS ST. FLEUR APRIL 22, 2017
WASHINGTON — Thousands of scientists and their supporters, feeling increasingly threatened by the policies of President Trump, gathered Saturday in Washington under rainy skies for what they called the March for Science, abandoning a tradition of keeping the sciences out of politics and calling on the public to stand up for scientific enterprise.  As the marchers trekked shoulder-to-shoulder toward the Capitol, the street echoed with their calls: “Save the E.P.A.” and “Save the N.I.H.” as well as their chants celebrating science, “Who run the world? Nerds,” and “If you like beer, thank yeast and scientists!” Some carried signs that showed rising oceans and polar bears in peril and faces of famous scientists like Mae Jamison, Rosalind Franklin and Marie Curie, and others touted a checklist of the diseases Americans no longer get thanks to vaccines.
Although drizzle may have washed away the words on some signs, they aimed to deliver the message that science needs the public’s support.  “Science is a very human thing,” said Ashlea Morgan, a doctoral student in neurobiology at Columbia University. “The march is allowing the public to know that this is what science is, and it’s letting our legislators know that science is vitally important.”

Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars wasted in California show why the Trump-DeVos charter school plan won’t work
Huffington Post by Donald Cohen, ContributorExecutive Director, In the Public Interest 04/20/2017 01:05 pm ET
Conservatives seem to have a thing for fast food. The founder of what would eventually become the country’s largest private prison corporation, CoreCivic (formerly CCA), once declared, “You just sell [private prisons] like you were selling cars or real estate or hamburgers.” More recently, the Foundation for Excellence in Education, an organization founded by Jeb Bush that has lobbied for its corporate funders, including the world’s largest education corporation, Pearson, wrote that public schools should be thought of as fast food restaurants.  But providing public goods and services is nothing like selling hamburgers. In a democracy, human beings should control the public schools, infrastructure, and social services in their communities. Fast food customers vote individually with their wallets, which means they really have very little say. Does anyone really want a handful of corporations, the likes of McDonalds and Burger King, teaching children and locking people up in prisonThis point is especially true of public education, and is driven home by a report In the Public Interest released last week authored by Gordon Lafer, an associate professor at the University of Oregon. Lafer found that taxpayers have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on charter school buildings in California, yet the state has little to show for it.

PSBA Spring Town Hall Meetings coming in May!
Don’t be left in the dark on legislation that affects your district! Learn the latest from your legislators at PSBA Spring Town Hall Meetings. Conveniently offered at 10 locations around the state throughout May, this event will provide you with the opportunity to interact face-to-face with key lawmakers from your area. Enjoy refreshments, connect with colleagues, and learn what issues impact you and how you can make a difference. Log in to the Members Area to register today for this FREE event!
  • Monday, May 1, 6-8 p.m. — Parkway West CTC, 7101 Steubenville Pike, Oakdale, PA 15071
  • Tuesday, May 2, 7:30-9 a.m. — A W Beattie Career Center, 9600 Babcock Blvd, Allison Park, PA 15101
  • Tuesday, May 2, 6-8 p.m. — Crawford County CTC, 860 Thurston Road, Meadville, PA 16335
  • Wednesday, May 3, 6-8 p.m. — St. Marys Area School District, 977 S. St Marys Road, Saint Marys, PA 15857
  • Thursday, May 4, 6-8 p.m. — Central Montco Technical High School, 821 Plymouth Road, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
  • Friday, May 5, 7:30-9 a.m. — Lehigh Carbon Community College, 4525 Education Park Dr, Schnecksville, PA 18078
  • Monday, May 15, 6-8 p.m. — CTC of Lackawanna Co., 3201 Rockwell Avenue, Scranton, PA 18508
  • Tuesday, May 16, 6-8 p.m. — PSBA, 400 Bent Creek Boulevard, Mechanicsburg, PA 17050
  • Wednesday, May 17, 6-8 p.m. — Lycoming CTC, 293 Cemetery Street, Hughesville, PA 17737
  • Thursday, May 18, 6-8 p.m. — Chestnut Ridge SD, 3281 Valley Road, Fishertown, PA 15539
For assistance with registration, please contact Michelle Kunkel at 717-506-2450 ext. 3365.

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!

Pennsylvania Education Leadership Summit July 23-25, 2017 Blair County Convention Center - Altoona
A three-day event providing an excellent opportunity for school district administrative teams and instructional leaders to learn, share and plan together
co-sponsored by PASA, the Pennsylvania Principals Association, PASCD and the PA Association for Middle Level Education
**REGISTRATION IS OPEN**Early Bird Registration Ends after April 30!
Keynote speakers, high quality breakout sessions, table talks on hot topics, and district team planning and job-alike sessions will provide practical ideas that can be immediately reviewed and discussed at the summit and utilized at the district level.
Keynote Speakers:
Thomas Murray
, Director of Innovation for Future Ready Schools, a project of the Alliance for Excellent Education
Kristen Swanson, Director of Learning at Slack and one of the founding members of the Edcamp movement 
Breakout session strands:
*Strategic/Cultural Leadership
*Systems Leadership
*Leadership for Learning
*Professional and Community Leadership 
CLICK HERE to access the Summit website for program, hotel and registration information.

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

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