What $55M in state funding for PUBLIC instead of private/religious schools would mean for each PA school district:
WITF Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | May 10, 2017 5:03 AM
(Harrisburg) -- Around the state, advocates and frustrated Pennsylvanians are pushing lawmakers to change the rules governing how district lines are redrawn every ten years.
The current process lets politicians the skew districts in their political favor--a process known as gerrymandering. But it's going to take some serious legislative might to make changes.
On Tuesday, a crowd of protesters nearly filled the Capitol's front steps--many holding up green signs that read "end gerrymandering in PA." They're supporting bills in the House and Senate that aim to do just that, by amending the state constitution to make redistricting more impartial. Time may not be on the legislature's side though. Constitutional amendments have to be passed in two consecutive legislative sessions--a slow process. Democratic Senator Lisa Boscola, of Lehigh County, is a sponsor on her chamber's bill and said it has to pass by next summer. "When you look at these districts, they make no sense," Boscola said. "[Some look like] salamanders, mine looks like a transformer--it's got to change." Monroe County Republican Mario Scavello is the cosponsor on the bipartisan Senate bill.
Fair Districts PA Website
Pennsylvania is one of the most gerrymandered states in the union. Behind closed doors, despite the conflict of interest, lawmakers draw the borders of their own voting districts. Politicians are picking their voters, not the other way around. Many districts are no longer competitive. A growing number of candidates run unopposed. Voters feel their votes don’t count, and the gridlock in Harrisburg gets worse
York Daily Record by Paul Kuehnel , email@example.com Published 7:06 a.m. ET May 9, 2017
My Brother’s Keeper York, PA collaborated with the 6th Annual Reading IS Essential: 100 Men Reading Program in York, bringing mentors into schools to read children a story. Male students, coaches, educators and members of the community read stories to children at several York City School District elementary schools, Logos Academy and York Academy Regional Charter School on Monday. "I'm a product of this community, I went to Ferguson Elementary School, Smith Middle School and ultimately graduated from William Penn Senior High School, and I want them to know that if they stay focused that they can accomplish anything they want to," said reader Clovis Gallon, William Penn basketball coach and educator.
Wolf pushes for increase in Pre-K funding
Meadville Tribune By John Finnerty CNHI News Service May 9, 2017
HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Wolf was joined by advocates for early childhood education Monday to defend his plan to boost Pre-K funding by $75 million. Wolf's budget proposals include $2 billion in cuts where he thinks the state government can manage them. But, he stressed Monday, he thinks the state needs to target increased spending in some areas, including early childhood education. “It is proven that children who participate in high quality Pre-K perform better in school later on," Wolf said. "They graduate at higher rates, they learn more now, and they earn more later. Good early childhood education levels the playing field for high and low income students.” Wolf, a Democrat, said the investment pays off in the long run because the societal costs of not preparing children for school far exceed the upfront costs of preschool programs. It was a point backed up by Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed, a Republican. Freed said he won’t suggest the state should increase its total budget spending, but he thinks the government ought to put its money on efforts that are worth the investment. About half the inmates in Pennsylvania’s prison system dropped out of school, he said.
“That’s the reason so many in law enforcement support this,” he said. “Studies show the programs work.”
Pa.'s investment in preschool lags behind other states, study shows
Penn Live By Jan Murphy | firstname.lastname@example.org Email the author | Follow on Twitter on May 08, 2017 at 6:51 PM, updated May 09, 2017 at 6:57 AM
Advocates pushing for an increase in state funding for preschool programs in the 2017-18 state budget released a study on Monday that shows Pennsylvania's investment in pre-K programs is lagging behind other states. It shows 19 states and the District of Columbia have a higher per-capita investment in high-quality preschool programs than Pennsylvania, which invests $682.17 per child, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University. Fifteen states invest more than $1,000 per child including economic competitors New Jersey and New York. What's more, Joan Benso, president of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, said, "Sixty-four percent, two-thirds basically, of Pennsylvania 3- and 4-year-olds who are eligible for high-quality pre-k still don't get the opportunity to attend. Why? Because we don't invest enough state money." Her organization along with the Pre-K for PA campaign are calling on lawmakers to support Gov. Tom Wolf's proposed $75 million increase for Pre-K Counts and Head Start, and not the $25 million one included in the House-passed Republican budget.
Saucon Valley budget proposal calls for property tax hike
Charles Malinchak Special to The Morning Call May 9, 2017
The tax hike machine might being coming out of storage in the Saucon Valley School District with a proposed budget calling for a 2.5 percent tax increase. It would be the first increase in eight years. The proposed $46 million budget calls for a tax hike of 1.29 mill,s which would raise the tax rate from the current 51.74 mills to 53.03 mills. The hike is expected to generate about $737,000, which district business manager David Bonenberger said would be used to pay for about half of the district's $1.4 million deficit. The other half of the deficit will be taken from the district's $11 million fund balance, which is similar to a savings account. School Director Sandra Miller said if the budget with the tax hike gains final approval in June it would mark the first hike in eight years. For the owner of a property assessed at $100,000, the tax bill would rise from $5,174 to $5,303, a hike of $129.
Hanover teen earns college degree before high school diploma
York Dispatch Staff report Published 9:03 a.m. ET May 9, 2017 | Updated 10 hours ago
HARRISBURG — A Hanover student has earned an associate’s degree at a community college even before she’ll receive her high school diploma next month. Seventeen-year-old Sadira Stallings will receive her degree in business administration from Harrisburg Area Community College on Thursday, according to the college. Stallings completed 63 credit hours through HACC’s dual-enrollment program and is the first high school student from the community college’s Gettysburg campus to earn her degree before finishing high school, the school said. Stallings completed most of her classes online through the college’s virtual learning program, allowing her the flexibility to work two jobs to pay tuition and maintain high school activities, according to the college.
Cheltenham residents air grievances, rally support after student brawl
WHYY Newsworks BY AVI WOLFMAN-ARENT MAY 9, 2017
For each person who wanted more discipline, there were those who worried about stigmatizing problem students. For each person who said staff was inconsistent in how it doled out punishment, there were those who said staff doesn't have the leeway needed to intervene when fights develop. And for each person who bemoaned a lack of safety, there were those who said their school isn't as lawless as it's been portrayed. Less than a week after a student brawl left 10 staff members injured and led to four student arrests at Cheltenham High School, residents of the Cheltenham School District just north of Philadelphia gathered to air grievances and rally support. The opinions were as numerous as the attendees. Before a packed high school auditorium — and over more than four hours of testimony — they held forth on topics as diverse as school safety, the treatment of black students, property taxes, mentoring, and academic tracking.
New study shows girls of color are more likely to be suspended than white classmates
WHYY BY DAVE HELLER MAY 9, 2017 NEWSWORKS TONIGHT Audio Runtime: 12:47
Nationwide, black girls are five and a half times as likely to be suspended from school than white girls. The same National Women's Law Center study places Pennsylvania and New Jersey near the top of that list. Neena Chaudhry, the center's education director teaches us more about the issue. Listen below. For more information and interactive maps visit nwlc.org.
Essay: The negative effects of implicit bias in schools
WHYY Newsworks COMMENTARY BY GINA GULLO AND FLOYD BEACHUM MAY 9, 2017 SPEAK EASY
Last week at Colgate University in central New York, reports of a black male carrying a gun — which in reality was a Colgate student carrying a glue gun for a school project — prompted school officials to put the campus on lockdown. In a message to the university, President Brian W. Casey wrote: "It is important that we understand the role that implicit racial bias had in the initial reporting of and responses to the events of last night." African Americans have learned to expect bias in their lives from an early age, and very little has been done to counteract the effects associated with implicit biases. If black students experience the effects of implicit bias from the first day they step into a school, how can we expect them to develop healthy or positive attitudes toward authority figures later in life? While we may think of ourselves as unbiased, it is important for educators to recognize and purposefully counteract any effects of implicit bias by beginning with staff and then spreading understanding beyond schools and into the public mindset.
The Future Ready PA Index
Pennsylvania Department of Education Website
In looking at ways to create a more holistic school evaluation tool, the Pennsylvania Department of Education conducted dozens of feedback sessions to solicit recommendations from more than 1,000 stakeholders around a new measure. The proposed Future Ready PA Index will serve as Pennsylvania’s one-stop location for comprehensive information about school success, and will use a dashboard model to highlight how schools are performing and making progress on multiple indicators. The proposed dashboard approach to school reporting:
Sen. Bob Casey sponsors 'lunch shaming' bill to keep kids from being singled out
Penn Live By Christian Alexandersen | email@example.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on May 09, 2017 at 10:22 AM, updated May 09, 2017 at 6:37 PM
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey joined lawmakers Tuesday to sponsor a bill to prohibit schools from "lunch shaming" children that are unable to purchase meals at school. The legislation -- which has also been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives -- would forbid schools from discriminating against or stigmatizing children who have outstanding credit or don't have enough money to pay for meals. It would ban the practice of singling out children -- like making them wear wristbands or have assigned chores. Casey sponsored the legislation with Senators Tom Udall, D-New Mexico, and Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico. The bill is officially being called the "Anti-Lunch Shaming Act."
Today's Editorial: Include taxpayers in contract talks
Daily Item Editorial May 9, 2017
A bill awaiting a final vote in the state Senate would offer a huge victory for taxpayers and the advancement of transparency in government. The measure would require any proposed contracts for state workers and school district employees to be released to the public before they are approved. “Taxpayers have a right to know how their money is spent on contracts that are negotiated behind closed doors,” said state Sen. Pat Stefano, R-Fayette County, the author of the bill. “Providing greater openness is a core tenant of good government.” Under provisions of Stefano’s bill, a contract agreement would have to be posted online two weeks before and 30 days following the signing of the collective bargaining agreement. Similar legislation has been introduced in the state House, but has not moved out of committee in that chamber. Critics say it is an unfair attack on public sector unions and that making contract proposals public inhibits the ability for parties, such as school board and teachers union representatives, to reach a compromise and agreement. The problem with that argument is that taxpayers are a party in these negotiations. They pay the bills. “Public employers across the Commonwealth currently negotiate contracts costing billions of dollars without any public review or oversight,” Stefano said. “I believe taxpayers have the right to know how their hard-earned money is being spent.”
“Another reporter asked what DeVos' plans are for helping to revamp struggling traditional public schools. DeVos quickly pivoted back to choice.
"We've attempted [fixing public schools] for many decades," she said. While she acknowledged that the feds and the state have seen some success, "There are still far too many kids being left behind. Many states have also tried to improve their traditional public education systems. ... The reality is that there are still far too many kids being left behind. Every year that we fail to give parents the kinds of choices they need for their individual children is a tragic year for [each child] that is denied that opportunity."
Betsy DeVos: Federal Progress on School Choice Coming Soon
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Alyson Klein on May 9, 2017 5:23 PM
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said the Trump administration and Congress will move forward on their vision for school choice "in the not-too-distant future." It's no secret that expanding school choice is the Trump administration's favorite K-12 policy. But the administration has yet to release a detailed proposal explaining how it plans to make that a reality. The best clues are in the administration's preliminary budget request, which was released in March and calls for ramping up charter school funding, allowing some federal funding to encourage public school choice, and a new private school choice initiative. But the request doesn't offer many specifics. DeVos didn't get into the details during a press availability on Tuesday at the Granite Technical Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah, captured on Periscope by the Salt Lake Tribune's Benjamin Wood. One reporter brought up Utah voters' rejection of vouchers at the ballot box. DeVos said that she thinks states should ultimately get to decide if they want to do school choice, but she sees energy for the policy growing. "I think it has to be up to the states what and whether to adopt in terms of choices. I'm very much a federalist in that regard," DeVos said. "I think the momentum around this has continued to build. And more and more people are supporting this notion that everyone should have the opportunity to make multiple choices."
Electing PSBA Officers; Applications Due June 1
All persons seeking nomination for elected positions of the Association shall send applications to the attention of the chair of the Leadership Development Committee, during the months of April and May an Application for Nomination to be provided by the Association expressing interest in the office sought. “The Application for nomination shall be marked received at PSBA Headquarters or mailed first class and postmarked by June 1 to be considered and timely filed.” (PSBA Bylaws, Article IV, Section 5.E.).
Open positions are:
All terms of office commence January 1 following election.
- 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
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
*Leadership for Learning
*Professional and Community Leadership