Wednesday, May 31, 2017

PA Ed Policy Roundup May 31: PA shoulders only 37% of the cost of K-12 education, ranks 46th in the U.S. in state share

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 May 31, 2017:

May 31st School Funding Press Conferences with Local School and Community Leaders:

If you are a member of the press please consider covering events in your area.  If you are a public education advocate please consider attending to show your support.

Allegheny County: 10:00 a.m., West Mifflin High School, LGI Room - 91 Commonwealth Avenue, West Mifflin, PA 15122

Bucks County: 10:00 a.m. at Centennial School District Board Room, 433 Centennial Road, Warminster, PA  18974.

Delaware County: 10:00 a.m. at Southeast Delco Kindergarten Center, 1 School Lane, Glenolden, PA  19036.

Montgomery County: 10:00 a.m. at Pottstown High School - 750 N Washington St, Pottstown, PA 19464.

Lehigh County: 5:30 p.m., Corner of 7th and Hamilton, Allentown

PA Ed Policy Roundup May 27: Campaign for Fair Education Funding May 31st Press Events with Local School & Community Leaders

Two page summary of ed funding issues by the Campaign for Fair Education Funding
The State of Education Funding in PA
Education Voters PA Posted on May 21, 2017 by EDVOPA

“Rural school districts frequently lack the local tax base to raise sufficient funds through property taxes. That is a significant problem since the state shoulders only 37 percent of the cost of K-12 education, ranking it 46th in the country in state share.”
Joan Benso and Ed Albert: Small, rural school districts don't receive fair share of state funds
Morning Call Opinion by Joan Benso and Ed Albert May 30, 2017
Joan Benso is president and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children; Ed Albert is executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools.
How are small and rural districts at a disadvantage?
Insufficient school funding is not just an urban or suburban problem; it is a state problem. That is the main takeaway from a report on rural schools recently released by Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children.  The report, "Spending Impact on Student Achievement: A Rural Perspective," found that of Pennsylvania's 260 rural school districts 202 are not receiving their fair share of state funding, forcing districts to either spend less and risk student achievement or increase local taxes.  In turn, 158 rural districts spend below the amount needed to properly educate students — or the "adequacy target." When rural school districts do not reach that adequacy target, the underspending is a direct result of inadequate state support. That lack of support negatively affects student achievement.  Like urban school districts and those in less affluent suburbs, many rural schools educate significant numbers of children living in poverty. Their students live in economically disadvantaged communities that are confronting serious social challenges like the growing opioid problem. These rural schools must deal with smaller student populations across larger and sparsely populated areas that present higher transportation costs and that limit the ability to save money through economies of scale

Report: Pennsylvania among most gerrymandered states in U.S.
Lancaster Online TIM STUHLDREHER | Staff Writer May 30, 2017
A new report makes the case that Pennsylvania is one of the three most blatantly gerrymandered states in the country.  Outcomes in Pennsylvania, Michigan and North Carolina "consistently have the most extreme levels of partisan bias," according to an analysis of the last three Congressional elections released this month by the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan think tank at the New York University School of Law.  Over the years, both Republicans and Democrats have used gerrymandering to tilt elections in their favor. Gerrymandering currently gives Republicans an advantage of 16 to 17 U.S. House seats, the report said.  The Brennan Center used three tests to measure gerrymandering. Pennsylvania ranked as the most skewed state on two of them, and No. 4 on the third.  In last year's U.S. House elections in Pennsylvania, Republicans received a little over 50 percent of the vote but gained 11 of the 15 contested seats, or 73 1/3 percent. (Two Republican seats and one Democratic seat were uncontested.)   A group called Fair Districts PA is calling for redistricting to be handled by an independent commission. City Council passed a resolution supporting the initiative earlier this month.  The Brennan Center's full report, including an explanation of the three tests and their methodology, is available on the organization's website.

Medicaid cuts will hurt kids, K-12 education | Guest column
EXPRESS-TIMES GUEST COLUMNIST By Michael Faccinetto and Joseph Roy Updated on May 30, 2017 at 10:04 AM Posted on May 30, 2017 at 10:00 AM
Michael Faccinetto is president of the Bethlehem Area School District School Board and president of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association. Joseph Roy is the superintendent of the Bethlehem Area School District.
Congress is making momentous decisions that could fundamentally reshape U.S. health care with a serious negative impact on our most vulnerable children. The House of Representatives already voted in favor of $880 billion in cuts to Medicaid, the program that covers one in three American children.  Local critics have focused on the immense harm that would come from taking $2 billion away from Pennsylvania by 2020 and threaten healthcare that reaches 2.8 million residents.  Make no mistake, Medicaid cuts are a backdoor cut to K-12 education fundingPennsylvania schools stand to lose more than $40 billion in Medicaid reimbursements that pay for healthcare for disadvantaged children and special-education services delivered on site. That will mean employing fewer nurses, physical therapists, speech pathologists, and other professionals. Vision, hearing, asthma and mental health screening programs may go away. It will also become more difficult to integrate the necessary support and technologies that empower disabled students to learn alongside their peers.

Families worry over federal caps that might hit aid for Pa. children with disabilities
KRIS B. MAMULA Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 12:00 AM MAY 22, 2017
“Fork food, buddy,” Beth Myers coaxes her 12-year-old son Wil, who sits on his bare feet at the breakfast table. “Fork food. Wil, try a fork.”  Wil Myers turns over a tin lunch box of toy cars, sending them clattering to the table; from a nearby iPad, a man softly sings ‘I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,’ as Wil picks at banana slices on a plate.  “Wil, we’re going to get ready to go to school today,” his father, Jason, the 44-year-old technology director at a charter school, says breezily. “You ready for school? Can you say bye to your sister?”  Over several years, Wil Myers’ mornings have been carefully choreographed to get him on the school bus that stops in front of his Point Breeze home by 8:30 a.m. He is among 62,000 children with special needs in Pennsylvania who benefit from a Medicaid program that’s available to the state’s most vulnerable people, regardless of family income.  Now, spending caps on the federal government’s contribution to Medicaid raises the prospect that the state’s needy will soon be competing for limited dollars, leading to eligibility restrictions or program cuts, critics say. Replacement of the Affordable Care Act and capping Medicaid payments, priorities for President Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans, is rattling families like the Myers who struggle to help their children live independently as cuts loom for the program that makes that help possible.

Health care interests have given Pat Toomey millions; now he gets to help write the Senate health bill
Penn Live Posted May 30, 2017 Updated May 30, 2017
An opponent of the Affordable Care Act, the Obama-era signature health bill, Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., calls the current replace and repeal House bill a mere first legislative step to that end. Toomey, who has been tapped to be part of a 13-member Senate committee tasked with authoring the chamber's own version of a healthcare bill, has vowed to ensure every Pennsylvanian has access to quality and affordable health care.  Toomey is widely considered a moderate on the all-male committee, which include Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, Health and Education Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander and conservatives Ted Cruz and Mike Lee.  Along with other Senate Republicans, members of the committee have concerns about the House bill's provisions on Medicaid and pre-existing conditions.
Members on the committee include:
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas
Sen. John Thune of South Dakota
Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming
Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming
Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas
Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado
Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio
Sen. Pat Toomey ranks 38th wealthiest Senate member. In 2014 he had an estimated net worth of $3,342,529.  Toomey - who raised in excess of $30 million in campaign funds - received millions of dollars in campaign contributions from health care stakeholders - from HMO service providers, to medical professionals and medical equipment manufacturers. 

Federal Medicaid decisions will roll down to states
Laura Olson Contact Reporter Morning Call Washington Bureau May 27, 2017
As U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey seeks to curb Medicaid costs, states prepare for higher costs or tough choices.
President Donald Trump said during his presidential bid that he would not cut Medicaid, Medicare or Social Security, the massive entitlement programs that account for nearly half of federal spending.  But as Republicans in Congress and the White House seek to undo the Affordable Care Act, they're going beyond the 2010 health care law to also dramatically change how Medicaid is funded.  Both the president's new budget blueprint and the House GOP's Obamacare replacement would cut hundreds of billions of dollars in funding for that joint state-federal program, which serves low-income children and their caretakers, pregnant women, disabled individuals and the elderly.  U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, who is part of the Senate GOP working group drafting a health care bill and leading the effort on Medicaid changes, argues that Medicaid is growing at an unsustainable pace. The GOP group wants to limit future spending, but doing so would leave states scrambling to replace those federal dollars as costs rise, say health policy experts and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.

HB1213: North Penn officials urge residents to oppose house bill
By Dan Sokil, The North Penn Reporter POSTED: 05/26/17, 4:39 PM EDT
LANSDALE >> North Penn School District officials are speaking out against a bill in the state legislature they say could cost the district millions, even after a recent revision.  District Superintendent Curt Dietrich and school board President Vince Sherpinsky have urged district residents to speak out against House Bill 1213, which would change the way commercial properties are assessed, and which the district says could cause a huge hit to their bottom line. “House Bill 1213 is bad news for North Penn,” Sherpinsky said.  The bill would remove the ability of school districts to challenge property assessments based on purchases or sales of properties, and would make districts only able to do so when a parcel is divided, “a change has occurred in the productive use of the property,” or a county-wide reassessment is done.  Montgomery County hasn’t had a large-scale reassessment since 1998, Dietrich told the school board during their May 18 meeting, and if the bill is passed and spot assessment challenges are eliminated, North Penn could take one of the biggest hits outside of the two largest cities in the state.

Don't scold school districts that are trying to be fiscally responsible
Philly Daily News Letter by Nathan Mains, executive director, Pennsylvania School Boards Association by Daily News Readers Updated: MAY 30, 2017
JOHN BAER'S opinion piece on school fund balances leaves out some critical details. He criticizes the $4.4 billion in reserve for fiscal year 2015-16. However, he fails to mention reasons why districts need reserves in place.  For example, district pension costs have increased 337 percent since 2010-11, rising from $521 million in 2015-16 to $2.8 billion, and will remain at these levels for more than a decade. Also on the rise are health-care and special-education costs. A new legislative proposal to limit a district's right to appeal property assessments also could reduce school revenue by an estimated $677 million a year.  Industry experts recommend organizations keep from 5 to 10 percent of their overall expenses in an unassigned fund balance. On average, districts are well within that recommendation and even on the low end at about 6.5 percent.  Even though the overall fund balance dollars have increased, Baer fails to look at details. The most recent numbers show that 227 districts, or 45 percent, saw a reduction or no change in their total fund balances, and 74, or 15 percent, decreased by more than $1 million. Thirty-four districts still have a zero or negative fund balance.  Like any good business, school districts plan and budget carefully. Districts realize the importance of their institutions to their communities, state and the students they educate. Anything less than careful financial planning to ensure their stability would be careless on their part. Districts should be applauded, not criticized for their conservative financial practices.

Lancaster County school districts grow general fund balances by about $75 million in 5 years, increase taxes 9 percent on average
Lancaster Online ALEX GELI | Staff Writer May 30, 2017
Lancaster County school districts grew their general fund balances by nearly $75 million over five years while their tax rates climbed an average of 9 percent, new data show.  Combined, the county’s 17 public school districts, including Octorara Area, had total general fund balances of $210 million in 2015-16, according to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.  That was an increase of 55 percent from 2010-11, a five-year period in which nearly all school boards raised taxes.  In the cases of a few districts, general fund balances doubled or tripled in five years.  Statewide, general fund balances grew by 34 percent over the same period, according to the state data.  Differing views: School officials say the practice of saving money to cover rising pension, health care, special education and charter school costs, as well as future construction projects, is sound fiscal policy and allows them to borrow less money, thus saving in interest payments down the road.  “It’s like any good business, any family budget. You’re hopefully going to have some savings aside,” Pennsylvania School Boards Association spokesman Steve Robinson said.  But taxpayer advocates argue that property owners are taking a beating from rising property taxes.  “School districts will say that they need to save money for a rainy day,” said James Paul, senior policy analyst for the conservative-leaning Commonwealth Foundation. “I think a lot of taxpayers already feel that it is raining on them.”

Guest Column: Are our high school grads prepared for world?
By Maurice ‘Reese’ Flurie, Delco Times Guest Columnist POSTED: 05/30/17, 6:51 PM EDT | UPDATED: 5 HRS AGO
Maurice “Reese” Flurie, Ed.D., CEO of Commonwealth Charter Academy, has more than 30 years of experience as a public school educator and administrator. CCA is a K-12 public cyber charter school with year-round open enrollment for all Pennsylvania residents.
The nation’s graduation rate is at an all-time high, with more than 83 percent of high school students receiving a diploma. That sounds great. But while the country focuses on improving the graduation rate, we need to stop and ask ourselves: What are all of these young adults prepared to do? Are they ready for the demands society will place upon them?  When high school graduates move that tassel from one side of their mortarboards to the other, they should be signifying that they’re ready to enter the world and play a meaningful part in it by working a job, joining the military or continuing their schooling.  Unfortunately, many schools seem to be warehousing students who accumulate the required random school credits, prepared only to say they graduated. In fact, a national report found that in 2016 nearly half – 47 percent – of students completed neither a college-ready nor a career-ready course of study. That represents millions of graduates unprepared and unable to contribute to their communities and our country, let alone support a family or themselves.

Is this center in Northeast Philadelphia the future of Philly pre-K?
At first glance, it's impossible to tell a big experiment is happening inside the preschool program at FitzPatrick Elementary School in Northeast Philadelphia.  Because, as administrator James Cupit says, everything here looks almost exactly the same as it did last school year.  "I don't think there's lots of evident differences," Cupit said as a group of students nibbled on wheat crackers and yogurt cups. "Kids are happy. They're having their snacks. Everybody enjoying their snack?"  Cupit strolled over to a nearby desk and pulled out a "meal and snack form" with each student's name and a number listed in corresponding columns. Students whose families live at the poverty line or below are coded with a "6." Students from slightly wealthier families have a "7" or "8" next to their names.  It's a boring, bureaucratic document intended, as Cupit put it, to tell "the person paying for those meals this is who's having the meals and this is how much." The sheet is also, in this rare case, a window into the potentially groundbreaking changes happening at the FitzPatrick public school.

“We have to implement strategies to keep people from turning to crime in the first place. Education needs to be a focal point of that strategy.”  She quoted the report in citing 40 percent of state prison inmates have not graduated from high school. On the national level, it’s 70 percent, she added.”
Pa. prisons boss: Early childhood education decreases crime
Delco Times By Kathleen E. Carey, Delaware County Daily Times POSTED: 05/26/17, 9:05 PM
CHESTER >> Pennsylvania Corrections Secretary John Wetzel stood before the State Correctional Institute at Chester Friday to stress the importance of investing in quality early childhood education to decrease incarceration and increase the number of productive citizens in society.  “It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men,” he said, quoting Frederick Douglass, before addressing statistics provided in a report entitled “Pre-K Key to Cutting Pennsylvania Prison Costs and Boosting School Success.”  The report, issued by the anti-crime organization Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, surveyed almost 600 inmates into the Pennsylvania prison system in April. It showed a clear link between lack of education and parental support and propensity towards crime.  Darby Township Police Chief Regina Price was among the law enforcement and elected officials at the event.  “I know from years of experience that we can’t simply arrest, prosecute and incarcerate our way out of ... problems,” she said.

Why Philly politicians want to end K-5 suspensions
“We’re missing a prime opportunity in our schools to teach young people,” said Rep. Jordan Harris, who’s created legislation to address the issue.
Billy Penn by CASSIE OWENS MAY 30 2017  ·  9:00 AM
Pa. Rep. Jordan Harris has a serious issue with this figure: 93 percent of suspensions of first- to fifth-graders in the School District of Philadelphia stem from “conduct” infractions.  “That is so subjective,” he said in an interview with Billy Penn. “Black students are 2.65 times more likely to be suspended and three times more likely to be suspended multiple times.”  His bill — HB 715 — introduced in April and now awaiting consideration by the House Education Committee, would ban educators statewide from suspending students in the fifth grade and below unless the “discipline is based on conduct that is of a violent or sexual nature that endangers others.” Expulsions would be banned with the same exceptions.  The data he was referencing on race and higher suspension rates was drawn from Department of Education numbers. He cited a letter sent to School District Superintendent William Hite last month, calling on Hite to ban school suspensions for these younger students. Led by the Education Law Center, the letter was co-signed by the ACLU of PA, Councilwoman Helen Gym, Youth United for Change, the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania and Harris, among others.

'It takes a lot of stress off': School program provides services for pregnant and parenting teens
MOLLY BORN Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 12:00 AM MAY 31, 2017
Shymari Freeman gave birth at age 12, and shortly after the start of her senior year last fall, she and her daughter, Journey, now 6, moved into an apartment in the city’s West End.
Although happy to have a place to call her own, the Brashear High School student found herself without some of the essentials: towels, a vacuum, pots and pans. She turned to the school district’s program that provides free services for pregnant and parenting teens — the same team that sent her home with diapers and clothes for her baby when Ms. Freeman was a middle-schooler at Langley K-8.  Now 19, Ms. Freeman will graduate in June and plans to attend the Community College of Allegheny County to study nursing.  “It takes a lot of things off your shoulders and a lot of stress off of you. … There’s no way you should drop out if you’re in the program,” she said. “If there’s no way, they’ll make a way.”  The district’s Education Leading to Employment and Career Training program, housed in the old South High annex building on the South Side, is led by Carolyn Rychcik, who started as assistant coordinator in 2001.

Bodine High School for International Affairs celebrates rich cultures during annual event
The notebook by Ariel Censor May 30, 2017 — 1:42pm
Bodine High School for International Affairs celebrated its 35th Annual International Day Friday. During the day, which was almost entirely student-run,  students taught their peers and teachers about different aspects of their cultures through various self-designed workshops. The event culminated in an outdoor school fair open to the public including food trucks serving Mexican to Middle Eastern fare.  “What’s great about this day is that students get to take control. The kids get to show off their cultures that they’re really proud of,” said Ashley Devoy, a biology teacher at Bodine.  “The student population is much more diverse than our faculty, so it’s a really great opportunity for us to learn from our students.”  In a school with a student body in which 90 percent are students of color, International Day serves as a yearly reminder and celebration of the school’s diversity, with celebrations of East Asian, South Asian, Middle Eastern, Latino, and African heritages and cultures.  Bodine principal Karen Thomas said that this sharing of cultures is part of being a school centered around international affairs.  “Bodine's mission emphasizes education about global issues to prepare our students for a lifetime of achievement and participation in their local, national, and global communities,” she said.

“Business Manager Tracy Marshall said the increase in employer contributions for retirement is the primary reason for the raise in millage. She said between 2013 and 2017 the retirement contributions have increased by $2.3 million, and the Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement System (PSERS) has estimated that by 2021 the contribution will be approximately $36.40 million.”
Penn-Delco budget hikes taxes almost 3 percent
Delco Times By Loretta Rodgers, Times Correspondent POSTED: 05/30/17, 6:49 PM EDT | UPDATED: 5 HRS AGO
ASTON >> The Penn-Delco School Board adopted a final 2017-2018 general operating budget totaling $61,209,817, reflecting an increase of 2.99 percent over the 2016-2017 budget.  Millage was set at 28.0583 mills. A homeowner with a residence assessed at $115,000 will pay $3,249.15 in real estate tax in 2018, which reflects an annual increase of $94.32 over last year’s tax bill.  The largest expenditures include $33 million for instructional salaries, benefits and supplies; $20 million for support services; $6.4 million for financing; and $1.1 million for operations.  Business Manager Tracy Marshall said the increase in employer contributions for retirement is the primary reason for the raise in millage. She said between 2013 and 2017 the retirement contributions have increased by $2.3 million, and the Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement System (PSERS) has estimated that by 2021 the contribution will be approximately $36.40 million.  The budget is available for review at the Penn-Delco business office during regular business hours.

Penn Hills lawmaker seeks state takeover of school district
Trib Live by MICHAEL DIVITTORIO | Tuesday, May 30, 2017, 4:24 p.m.
Penn Hills' longtime state representative has asked the Pennsylvania Department of Education to place the Penn Hills School District into the state's financial recovery program and appoint a fiscal overseer to run the district.  Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Penn Hills, in a letter to the education department said the current school board – facing both a massive debt and two grand jury investigations – continues to demonstrate the “inability – or simply lack of desire … to obtain the financial expertise … to forge a workable solution to their massive debt and deplorable financial situation.”  DeLuca's request is his second for state intervention – the first coming in January. He said Tuesday he does not know when the state would respond to his request.

“But advocates said the impact of the 7th Circuit’s decision could ripple far beyond Wisconsin at a time when the Trump administration has argued that decisions about accommodations for transgender students should be left to states and local school districts.  Whitaker argued that the school district’s bathroom policy violated his rights under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and under Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded schools. The judges agreed, finding that Whitaker was likely to win his case based on that argument.  The decision makes the 7th Circuit the first appeals court to interpret both Title IX and the Constitution as protecting transgender students from discrimination — and requiring schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom matching their gender identity.”
Appeals court sides with transgender student in Wis. school bathroom case
Washington Post By Emma Brown May 30 at 6:32 PM 
A federal appeals court Tuesday issued a decision that could have far-reaching implications for transgender students, siding with a transgender boy whose Wisconsin school district had sought to bar him from the boys’ bathroom to protect the privacy of other students.  High school senior Ash Whitaker sued Kenosha Unified School District No. 1 last summer, arguing that its bathroom policy violated his civil rights. In a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit upheld a preliminary injunction that temporarily stops the district from enforcing that policy while the case is tried.  The school district’s privacy argument is “based upon sheer conjecture and abstraction,” wrote Judge Ann Claire Williams, while the harm that Whitaker suffered when he was prohibited from using the bathroom that matched his gender identity is “well-documented and supported by the record.”  Whitaker is set to graduate Saturday, so the concrete impact of this court victory on his school career will be limited.

Appeals Court: Discrimination Against Trans Students Is Likely Illegal
Slate By Scott Skinner-Thompson May 30th, 2017
In an important decision for transgender rights, the influential 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that a transgender student in Wisconsin, Ash Whitaker, is likely to prevail in his suit seeking access to the school restrooms corresponding to his gender identity. The decision in Whitaker v. Kenosha Unified School District on Tuesday illustrates that transgender students are protected from discrimination under both federal civil rights laws and the Constitution. This, notwithstanding the Trump administration’s withdrawal of guidance protecting transgender students under Title IX and the Supreme Court’s corresponding unfortunate reluctance to decide the Gavin Grimm case. The 7th Circuit’s decision protecting transgender students rested on two independent grounds.  First, irrespective of the fact that the Trump administration has withdrawn guidance interpreting Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 to protect transgender students, the 7th Circuit held that the statutory text of Title IX, as interpreted by the Supreme Court, protects transgender students from discrimination. According to the court, “[a] policy that requires an individual to use a bathroom that does not conform with his or her gender identity punishes that individual for his or her gender non-conformance, which in turn violates Title IX.”
The court’s reasoning built on a long line of authority holding that sex-stereotyping—that is, treating someone differently because of their perceived failure to conform to dominate notions of what it means to be sufficiently male or female—is a form of impermissible sex discrimination. And the decision should lend support to the case of Gloucester County School Board v. Gavin Grimm, which is back before the 4th Circuit.

Ed. Dept. Has No Plans for a 'Federal Voucher Program.' Let's Break That Down.
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Andrew Ujifusa on May 31, 2017 6:20 AM
Since President Donald Trump's proposed budget for fiscal 2018 was released last week, a lot of attention has been paid to a $250 million plan in the U.S. Department of Education's budget that would pay for, and study the impacts of, private school vouchers. But if you listen to the department's description of that plan, how you talk about the program matters a great deal.
In an email, department spokeswoman Liz Hill told us last week that, "To be clear, there is no federal voucher program. The [private school voucher] grant program would support states who apply for funding to develop school choice programs, and those States' plans must adhere to Federal law."   Here's where the budget proposal isn't strictly a direct voucher plan: The proposal in the budget blueprint would not send money directly from Washington to use for tuition vouchers at private school. That makes it different than state voucher programs. Instead, it would be run through a competitive grant program, as my colleague Sarah Sparks described here.
Still, on another level, Hill's distinction might be confusing. Federal money under Title I, for example, flows by a set of formulas (approved by Congress) to local districts, who then spend that money on their schools, within certain federal requirements. Yet you might be hard-pressed to find an education funding expert who says Title I isn't a federal program just because the federal money doesn't go directly from Washington to students.

When Schools Meet Trauma With Understanding, Not Discipline
NPR Heard on Morning Edition By MALLORY FALK and EVE TROEH May 30, 20174:34 AM ET
If you know anything about New Orleans public schools, you probably know this: Hurricane Katrina wiped them out and almost all the schools became privately run charters.  Many of those schools subscribed to the no excuses discipline model — the idea that if you crack down on slight misbehavior, you can prevent bigger issues from erupting.  That was also true of Crocker College Prep, an elementary school in New Orleans. It had strict rules about everything. Students had to sit up straight at their desks, eyes tracking the speaker. They had to walk the halls in silence and even wear the right kind of socks. Students who broke these rules, or acted out in other ways, were punished.  The thing is, students across New Orleans face high rates of exposure to trauma, but school discipline policies have rarely accounted for that.  Crocker College Prep is now one of five New Orleans charter schools in a collective to become more trauma-informed. That means Crocker aims to account for the social, emotional and behavioral needs of all students, and their lives outside of school.

Public hearing on the Keystone Exams: West Chester June 2nd 12:30 pm
Senate Education Committee Meeting FRIDAY - 6/2/17 12:30 p.m., West Chester University, Business and Public Management Center, 50 Sharpless Street, West Chester

Public hearing on graduation requirements as tools for assessments and accountability June 5th 10 am Capitol
Senate Education Committee Meeting MONDAY - 6/5/17 10:00 a.m., Hearing Room 1, North Office Building

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:
·         2017-19 Central Section at Large Representative – includes Regions 4, 5, 6, 9 and 12  (for the remaining two years of a three-year term)
·         2018-20 Western At Large Representative – includes   Regions 1, 2, 3, 13 and 14 (three-year term)
In addition to the application form, PSBA Governing Board Policy 302 asks that all candidates furnish with their application a recent, print quality photograph and letters of application. The application form specifies no less than three letters of recommendation and no more than four, and are specifically requested as follows:
o    One from superintendent or school director of home entity
o    One from a school director from another school district
o    Other individuals familiar with the candidate's leadership skills
PSBA Governing Board Policy 108 also outlines the campaign procedures of candidates.
All terms of office commence January 1 following election.

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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