Washington Post By Emma Brown, Valerie Strauss and Danielle Douglas-Gabriel May 17
Funding for college work-study programs would be cut in half, public-service loan forgiveness would end and hundreds of millions of dollars that public schools could use for mental health, advanced coursework and other services would vanish under a Trump administration plan to cut $10.6 billion from federal education initiatives, according to budget documents obtained by The Washington Post. The administration would channel part of the savings into its top priority: school choice. It seeks to spend about $400 million to expand charter schools and vouchers for private and religious schools, and another $1 billion to push public schools to adopt choice-friendly policies. President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have repeatedly said they want to shrink the federal role in education and give parents more opportunity to choose their children’s schools. The documents — described by an Education Department employee as a near-final version of the budget expected to be released next week — offer the clearest picture yet of how the administration intends to accomplish that goal.
“The superintendents warned that the tax credits could go national as the Trump administration pushes a federal voucher program for private schools. The report is a shot across the bow from public educators to the White House as the president and Congress tackle twin legislative efforts with broad ramifications for education: a federally financed school choice program aimed at promoting private and parochial options for public school students, and a rewrite of the tax code ostensibly to lower tax rates and close loopholes.”
In Some States, Donating to Private Schools Can Earn You a Profit
New York Times By ERICA L. GREENMAY 17, 2017
In Georgia, taxpayers who want to help low-income students afford private school tuition are enticed by more than just an appeal to their good will. On its website, Whitefield Academy, a “Christ-centered” preparatory school in the suburbs west of Atlanta, tells donors, “You actually stand to make money on this program.” The Wood Acres School, 25 minutes north of Whitefield, advertises that donors can “profit up to 29 percent” on their donation. And Pay It Forward Scholarships, an organization that doles out grants under Georgia’s tax credit program, counsels, “You will end with more money than when you started, and you will be helping students receive a good education.” AASA, the association of the nation’s public school superintendents, released an exhaustive report Wednesday on tax credit scholarship programs like Georgia’s, which allow donors to piggyback on state and federal tax breaks — often to turn a profit.
Voices for Kids by Bruce Lesley May 18
Today, the Children’s Hospital Association released new research by Avalere Health that finds the American Health Care Act (AHCA) would reduce funding for non-disabled children by $43 billion under a per capita cap model and $78 billion under a block grant.
As the report says:
Children in Medicaid could be disproportionately affected by cuts to funding and benefits leading to instability in coverage and access, which can cause higher rates of unmet healthcare needs and worse health outcomes compared to children that have continuous coverage. As policy makers debate Medicaid reform proposals, the potential impacts on children’s health and development will need to be considered.
Avalere’s report points out that, under the per capita cap, the House bill sets the allowable inflation rate for children (3.7 percent) at a level well below the expected rate of growth (4.8 percent). That shortfall accumulates over time. According to Avalere, federal funding would be reduced by 10 percent on average to children by 2026. Furthermore, Avalere estimates that the Medicaid per capita cap would cut funding to states by a range of $59 million in North Dakota to $5.1 billion in Texas from 2020–2026, and that the health coverage of millions of children could be put at risk under the per capita cap.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette MOLLY BORN 12:00 AM MAY 18, 2017
on May 17, 2017 at 8:08 AM, updated May 17, 2017 at 8:33 AM
It looks like the ranks of rich guys hoping to become governor in 2018 is about to get bigger.
The notebook by Darryl Murphy May 17, 2017 — 12:55pm
Philadelphia City Council members gathered today at City Hall to announce a multi-organization, citywide coalition to improve the environmental health of city schools such as impotable water, lead paint, asbestos, and mold. The Philly Healthy Schools Initiative is a 17-member collective of organizations, including Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, PennEnvironment, Parents United for Public Education, Public Interest Law Center, and Youth United for Change. Councilmembers Derek Green, Helen Gym, and Blondell Reynolds Brown are also involved in the effort. “Students, teachers, and other school workers have a right to feel confident in the knowledge that the school spaces that they occupy aren’t threatening their health,” said Green. The District, however, appeared to take issue with the announcement and issued its own statement on how many of the coalition's concerns are already being addressed. Earlier this month the U.S. Department of Education named The School District of Philadelphia among the 2017 Green Ribbon Schools District Sustainability Awardees. The District is just one of nine school districts nationwide to receive such recognition. Much of the work related to the award is part of the District’s sustainability plan, GreenFutures, which was established in 2016.
Fix unsafe conditions inside Philly schools, new group says
Inquirer by Kristen A. Graham, Staff Writer @newskag | firstname.lastname@example.org Updated: MAY 17, 2017 — 4:08 PM EDT
Banding together to address what they say are “unacceptable” conditions inside many Philadelphia schools, a broad coalition of parents, environmental advocates, City Council members, and labor unions on Wednesday announced it had formed to partner with and pressure the city school system concerning health and safety issues. Lead paint, asbestos, mold, rodent infestations, and other potential threats to students’ health exist inside many of the Philadelphia School District’s 200-plus buildings. “Sadly, many toxic materials and deficient conditions are too commonplace in our schools and, in particular, the most extreme risks and worst conditions are present in our poorest and most vulnerable neighborhoods,” a statement announcing the new Philly Healthy Schools Initiative said. The district has said its facilities need about $5 billion in repairs. “In the 21st century, this is unacceptable,” said David Masur, executive director of PennEnvironment, a statewide advocacy organization and lead partner in the coalition announced Wednesday at City Hall. The group also includes the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and City Council members Derek Green, Helen Gym, and Blondell Reynolds Brown.
Trump Budget Reported to Use Title I, Research Aid to Push Choice
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Andrew Ujifusa on May 17, 2017 5:25 PM
By Andrew Ujifusa and Alyson Klein
UPDATED President Donald Trump's full education budget proposal for fiscal 2018 would make notable cuts to the U.S. Department of Education, and leverage existing programs for disadvantaged students and K-12 innovation to promote school choice, the Washington Post reported Wednesday. Trump's full education funding blueprint would cut $9.2 billion, or 13.6 percent, from the Education Department's current $68 billion budget, said the report, based on still-unreleased budget documents. Also, the spending plan calls for the creation of a new, $1 billion federal grant program under Title I to allow students to take federal, state, and local dollars to their public school of choice. That money would be added to the $15.9 billion Title I receives this budget year, fiscal 2017— that current funding is not "portable" to public schools of choice and goes out by formula. Both the cuts and the new grant for Title I, along with other aspects of the full budget proposal expected to be released as early as next week, are consistent with Trump's preliminary budget released in mid-March.
New charter schools debate: Are they widening racial divides in public education?
Washington Post By Mandy McLaren May 16 at 5:50 PM
VACHERIE, La. — At the new public charter school in this Mississippi River town, nearly all students are African American. Parents seem unconcerned about that. They just hope their children will get a better education. “I wanted my girls to soar higher,” said Alfreda Cooper, who is black and has two daughters at Greater Grace Charter Academy. Three hours up the road, students at Delta Charter School in Concordia Parish are overwhelmingly white, even though the surrounding community is far more mixed. As the charter school movement accelerates across the country, a critical question remains unanswered — whether the creation of charters is accelerating school segregation. Federal judges who oversee desegregation plans in Louisiana are wrestling with that issue at a time when President Trump wants to spend billions of dollars on charter schools, vouchers and other “school choice” initiatives.
Blogger note: Betsy DeVos’ American Federation for Children has contributed over $1 million to support school privatization efforts by Pennsylvania legislative candidates.
Betsy DeVos to Address American Federation for Children
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Alyson Klein on May 17, 2017 7:55 PM
Next week will be old home week for U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. She'll be addressing the American Federation for Children, a school choice advocacy organization that she chaired and helped to found before becoming secretary, at its national convention in choice-friendly Indianapolis, a source said. It's unclear whether DeVos will give the crowd further details on the Trump administration's school choice proposal, which has been sketched out in budget documents and includes a new private school program, more money for charters, and a proposal to allow some federal funding to follow students to the school of their choice. More here. At last year's gathering near Washington, D.C., DeVos, then the chairwoman of the group, sounded similar themes to the ones she's hit as secretary. "It's no surprise that we get together, there are rumors of protest and predictable rhetoric from the education establishment," she said in that 2016 speech. "The reason we gather is really quite simple, we want our children to be the best educated in the world. The problem is, and we all know this, the system is broken and too many children are missing out. School choice is the pathway for more children to get the education they deserve. ... We fight for the kids who don't fit in. For the kids who don't conform to the one-size fits all system."
Nominations for PSBA Allwein Advocacy Award due by July 16th
The Timothy M. Allwein Advocacy Award was established in 2011 by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association and may be presented annually to the individual school director or entire school board to recognize outstanding leadership in legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of public education and students that are consistent with the positions in PSBA’s Legislative Platform. In addition to being a highly respected lobbyist, Timothy Allwein served to help our members be effective advocates in their own right. Many have said that Tim inspired them to become active in our Legislative Action Program and to develop personal working relationships with their legislators. The 2017 Allwein Award nomination process will begin on Monday, May 15, 2017. The application due date is July 16, 2017 in the honor of Tim’s birth date of July 16.
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.
- 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