Monday, May 8, 2017

PA Ed Policy Roundup May 8: The shameful inequity in Pa. school funding

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup May 8, 2017:
The shameful inequity in Pa. school funding


Editorial: The shameful inequity in Pa. school funding
Delco Times Editorial POSTED: 05/07/17, 12:09 AM EDT
This newspaper has long been at the forefront of the argument for fair schools funding in Pennsylvania, arguing that the state Constitution guarantees every child a quality education regardless of wealth or address.  Now, two recent studies show the issue is about more than just zip code; it’s also a matter of black and white.  A report last Sunday by Digital First Media reporter Evan Brandt highlighted research which shows that the less white a district’s students are, the wider the funding gap in state basic education dollars.  The discovery was made by two separate fair funding advocacy groups as they began applying Pennsylvania’s new “fair funding formula” to the finances of the state’s 500 school districts, Brandt reported.  The findings came to light when researchers applied state funding criteria to see what schools would get if fully funded. Currently, the state only applies the funding formula to 6 percent of total school funding.  The researchers found that applying the formula to all state funding would significantly change the education dynamic in Pennsylvania for poorer districts, boosting state aid and, consequently, opportunity for students who generally begin school further down the learning curve than their wealthier peers, Brandt reported.  But they also found that race was even more of a factor than poverty in funding share.
http://www.delcotimes.com/opinion/20170507/editorial-the-shameful-inequity-in-pa-school-funding

Studies show racial bias in Pennsylvania school funding
By Evan Brandt, The Mercury POSTED: 04/30/17, 9:49 AM EDT | UPDATED: 6 DAYS AGO
POTTSTOWN >> People objecting to Pennsylvania’s status as the state with the widest gap between funding for rich and poor school districts have argued that a zip code all-too-often determines the quality of a student’s education.  Apparently the color of a student’s skin matters even more.  New research has found that the less white a district’s students are, the more unfair the funding gap in state basic education dollars.  The discovery was made by two separate fair funding advocacy groups as they began applying Pennsylvania’s new “fair funding formula” to the finances of the state’s 500 school districts.
http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20170430/studies-show-racial-bias-in-pennsylvania-school-funding

Pa.'s budget woes will deepen with aging population
Penn Live By Marc Levy | The Associated Press  on May 07, 2017 at 3:28 PM, updated May 08, 2017 at 1:45 AM
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- Pennsylvania state government is facing perhaps its most difficult budget dilemma since the recession, and demographic trends will provide no relief in coming years.  Already one of the nation's oldest states, the growth of Pennsylvania's retirement age population is projected to balloon in the coming decade, while its working-age population shrinks.  The projections, by the Pennsylvania State Data Center, were cited by the Legislature's nonpartisan budget analyst, the Independent Fiscal Office, as it assesses the state's fiscal future.  That immediate future involves a roughly $3 billion two-year projected deficit, compared with a $31.5 billion approved budget for the fiscal year ending June 30. Much of the deficit is driven by lackluster tax collections, making good on long-overdue pension obligations and rising costs for health care and prisons.
http://www.pennlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/05/pas_budget_woes_will_deepen_wi.html#incart_river_index

Even with progressive education funding, 'fairness' eludes Berlin schools Part one
Kevin McCorry Published in Keystone Crossroads
When it comes to fairness in public education, advocates put much of the emphasis on the resource disparities between school districts.  And this is a hallmark of Pennsylvania’s school system, where leaders allow school funding to be based largely on zip code. In Pa., the state’s wealthiest districts spend an average of $3,000 more per student compared to the poorest districts.  But imagine a system where school funding is not only equalized, but progressive — where the greatest resources are spent in the schools facing the toughest challenges.  Would issues of fairness be solved?  In this three-part special series, Keystone Crossroads travels to Berlin, Germany to explore such a system, where, in short, the answer is ‘no.’
https://keystonecrossroads.atavist.com/berlin-the-social-wall

The rise and fall of Berlin's plan to integrate schools Part two
Kevin McCorry Published in Keystone Crossroads
Attempts to racially integrate schools in America have prompted such backlash and animosity that, at this point, the idea has been largely abandoned.  And schools today are considered more segregated than they were in 1968 — not long after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling ended racial separation by mandate.  Based on the legacy of slavery and racism, this is, in a way, a uniquely American problem.  But the underpinnings of the issue are truly universal.  Keystone Crossroads went to Berlin, Germany to explore that city’s recent integration effort, which hinged mostly on social class and language fluency.
https://keystonecrossroads.atavist.com/berlin-integration-attempt

How one Berlin school integrated by segregating Part three
Kevin McCorry Published in Keystone Crossroads
When it comes to public schools, decades of research show the debilitating effects of concentrated poverty.  So what’s the solution?   In the past few decades, policies in the U.S. have been crafted with the assumption that schools can overcome the immense hurdles related to student poverty by employing the right combination of better educators, better curriculum, and tougher accountability measures.  In short, the thinking goes, students in poverty aren’t meeting standards because their schools aren’t good enough for them.  Proving the veracity of this idea often comes down to examining schools on a case-by-case basis. Looking at the overall trend, though, it’s clear that pursuing policies along these lines has been far from a panacea. Despite some encouraging examples, a stubborn gap persists between students of high and low income backgrounds.  Others argue that inequities would subside if schools in poor neighborhoods received a dramatic influx of financial support.
https://keystonecrossroads.atavist.com/berlin-remedy-or-rehash

Editorial: New tax data end charade
Times Tribune BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD / PUBLISHED: MAY 7, 2017
State legislators facing re-election in 2016 passed a farcical state budget to avoid a tax increase. The result is that the budget will end the fiscal year more than $1 billion short, thus driving the accumulated state government deficit to more than $3 billion.  In April alone, tax collections came in $537 million, more than 13 percent, below the budget’s projection for the month. Part of that is due to a change in state tax law shifting reporting on the state corporate net income tax from April to May. But the maximum difference of that change is about $200 million, only about 37 percent of the April shortfall.  Other parts of the overall deficit simply are part of the Legislature’s pretending that it balanced the budget. It includes a $100 million projection of new revenue from expanded gambling, for example, though gambling did not expand. But don’t worry, lawmakers plan to cover that piece of the shortfall this year with ... expanded gambling.
http://thetimes-tribune.com/opinion/new-tax-data-end-charade-1.2189659#.WQ8C5lu93Ik.twitter

“An analysis by The 74 found that the majority of school choice tax credit scholarship initiatives — 13 of 21 — do not require participating private schools to administer any sort of standardized exam, potentially leaving families in the dark about how their students are progressing academically. In the handful of programs that do require some form of test, it is rarely the state exam, making comparisons to public schools difficult or impossible.”
EITC/OSTC: To Test or Not to Test: As Tax Credit Scholarships Expand, Questions About Accountability and Outcomes
The 74 by MATT BARNUM   matt@the74million.org matt_barnum May 4, 2017
Tax credit programs are growing rapidly but in most states standardized tests don’t apply
How much do parents want and value private school testing results when using tax credit scholarships?
“Parents need to have information on how their child is doing,” Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recently said at the Brookings Institution. “That is, I think, the first form and the best form of accountability. That information needs to be more broadly shared with those who would consider a choice for their child.”  Yet this vision — of families empowered with information — might contrast with DeVos’s push to expand tax credit scholarship programs, which offer tax breaks to individuals or corporations that donate money to fund private school scholarships.  An analysis by The 74 found that the majority of school choice tax credit scholarship initiatives — 13 of 21 — do not require participating private schools to administer any sort of standardized exam, potentially leaving families in the dark about how their students are progressing academically. In the handful of programs that do require some form of test, it is rarely the state exam, making comparisons to public schools difficult or impossible.  That also means that research on tax credit programs is scarce, since studies require the ability to compare students at private schools against those at public schools. 
https://www.the74million.org/article/to-test-or-not-to-test-as-tax-credit-scholarships-expand-questions-about-accountability-and-outcomes

State Reps propose gerrymandering solution
WFMZ By: Hannah Schroer  Posted: May 05, 2017 05:19 AM EDT
READING, Pa. - How do you fix gerrymandering? Give the power to the people, of course.
Local state legislators are urging residents to contact their representatives in support of HR722/S22, a proposed change to the state constitution that affects who gets to redraw district lines every 10 years.  Instead of five politicians - two Democratic, two Republican and one neutral member – determining district borders, the bills call for a citizen’s commission.  The citizen’s commission would be comprised of four Democrats, four Republicans and three Independents. Agreement would come from a 7 person majority representing each of the commission’s groups.  And the commission itself would be determined by a vetting process and two lotteries.  “It would be mathematically impossible to stack the deck, said PA Rep. Steve Samuelson.  Samuelson said party leadership was not following redistricting guidelines given in the state constitution. The situation could only be fixed by changing the state constitution, he said.
http://www.wfmz.com/news/lehigh-valley/state-reps-propose-gerrymandering-solution/482411153

Our view: Time to vote gerrymandering out of existence
Editorial POSTED ON MAY 6, 2017 BY TIMESLEADER
Oh, please, just stop it already.  Seriously, there should be no need for another editorial railing against gerrymandering legislative districts. The practice is wrong, selfish, small-minded and — most wretchedly — devastating to democracy.  The Pennsylvania legislature — indeed, any legislature anywhere where it hasn’t already happened — should remove politics from the process.  For those unfamiliar with it, “gerrymandering” is the habit of linking together voting precincts in a way that favors one party or another, regardless of the shape the resultant legislative district may take.  Locally, Congressional District 17 is a strong example. When districts were redrawn after the 2010 census by a Republican-controlled legislature, 17 became a bifurcated blotch, oozing north from Schuylkill county before splitting to the east to gobble up Easton and splitting to the north and west to poke down into Wilkes-Barre and up into Scranton.
http://timesleader.com/opinion/editorials/656565/our-view-time-to-vote-gerrymandering-out-of-existence

6 months after nomination, Richman still waits for SRC confirmation
Inquirer by Kristen A. Graham, Staff Writer  @newskag |  kgraham@phillynews.com Updated: MAY 7, 2017 — 4:09 PM EDT
Estelle Richman has been a School Reform Commission member-in-waiting for nearly six months.  Gov. Wolf nominated her to the SRC in October. Her Senate education committee hearing happened in February. The Pennsylvania Senate is poised to finally confirm her to the Philadelphia School District’s governing body this week - maybe.   Richman, a respected former federal, state and city official who faithfully attends SRC meetings as a member of the public, said she's under the impression that her nomination will be voted on by the full Senate this week, though it's not a lock.  She fully admits she’s frustrated.  “The hard part for me is not knowing whether this will happen,” Richman said. “I try to come to every meeting, but not being able to take part in anything, not being able to be briefed, is tough. It just feels like this is going on forever.”  She’s not naive to the ways of politics. Richman was Gov. Ed Rendell’s public welfare secretary and knows that, as the pick of a Democratic governor with a frosty relationship with the Legislature, her confirmation is not the easiest sell.  “Having been in Harrisburg, my take on this is the Republicans want something from the governor,” Richman said. “I’m not sure what that is.”
http://www.philly.com/philly/education/Estelle-Richman-SRC-waiting-6-months-nomination-Wolf.html

“In Hazleton Area, 677 of 682 teachers — 99.3 percent — were white last year, while 48 percent of students were white, according to the state.  The white share of the student populations is 74 percent or more in other Luzerne County school districts, and the percentage of minority teachers in each of those districts is two or less.”
Diversity in the classroom: Districts struggle to hire minority teachers
Citizens Voice BY MICHAEL P. BUFFER / PUBLISHED: MAY 7, 2017
Mary Tranguch — a second grade teacher at Heights Murray Elementary School in Wilkes-Barre — knows first hand how minority students can benefit from having minority teachers.  “I often get smiles from students when they see I am African American — especially new students to our school,” Tranguch said. “One case in particular was when a student was called ‘dark’ by another peer. They were upset about it. So I had a great conversation about being colors of every shade and how each one of us is unique. And I asked them, ‘Do you believe this about yourself?’ And they said, ‘no.’ I said, ‘I have brown skin, and I love it. And it makes me who I am, and just because my skin is brown, I’m made up of many things. Be proud of you and embrace yourself.’ They were so happy for this encouragement.”
http://citizensvoice.com/news/diversity-in-the-classroom-districts-struggle-to-hire-minority-teachers-1.2189841

Why Funding Arts Education Is So Important
After threats to the National Endowment for the Arts, a writer reflects on what happened when some arts education was defunded in Pennsylvania.
Teen Vogue by Jamie Beth Cohen MAY 5, 2017 2:15PM EDT
“I remember pretty much everything about my first day of Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts (PGSA),” says Dr. Jamey Rorison, currently an analyst of higher education policy and PGSA class of 1996, “… [but mostly] the awe I felt being on a beautiful college campus with 199 brilliant, talented peers. I kind of wondered if I belonged, but also had a feeling that the following five weeks were going to be magical…”  In the 1990s the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts, a free, five-week long, residential arts program for high school students funded by the state started with an opening assembly. At the beginning of July each year, 200 high school students and their parents would gather in a gymnasium on the campus of Mercyhurst College and listen to a set of rules. The nervous energy of the group would have been sufficient to power the A/C that was working overtime to cool the room.  ….The Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts, along with all of the other Pennsylvania Governor’s Schools of Excellence, was defunded in the 2009-10 Pennsylvania State budget. There was a movement of PGSA alumni to save the schools. Petitions were signed; letters were sent. But the efforts were met with very practical resistance: When the state can’t provide for its most vulnerable citizens, sending a bunch of budding artists to summer camp isn’t a priority.
http://www.teenvogue.com/story/why-funding-arts-education-so-important

“During the last three budget cycles, the district has been working to absorb the significant cost increases related to the PSERS sate employees retirement system, and increases in tuition paid for district students attending charter schools.”
Avon Grove School Board’s proposed budget contains 2.5 percent tax hike
Daily Local By Marcella Peyre-Ferry, For Digital First Media POSTED: 05/07/17, 6:24 PM EDT
PENN >> A preliminary version of the 2017-18 budget was approved by the Avon Grove School Board at their Thursday, April 27, meeting. If there are no changes before the document comes back for final approval on June 8, property owners will see a 2.5 percent increase in real estate taxes.  A homeowner with a median assessed property value of $169,600 is now paying $4,9250.18 in real estate taxes at a rate of 29.04 mills. Under the proposed budget, at a new rate of 29.77 mills, taxes on the same property would increase by $123.81, going up to $5,048.99. Those figures do not reflect the tax reduction under the homestead exclusion for those who qualify.  The 2.5 percent tax increase is well below the 3.2 percent increase the district would be allowed under the state’s Act 1 index. The new millage rate does not completely cover the increase in spending and reductions in state and federal funding.  The current budget for 2016-17 stands at $91,471,853 while the proposed budget for the new year is $93,809,999. The gap is being filled by money from the district’s fund budget.
http://www.dailylocal.com/general-news/20170507/avon-grove-school-boards-proposed-budget-contains-25-percent-tax-hike

Downingtown Area School Board proposes budget with no tax increase
Daily Local By Ginger Dunbar, Daily Local News POSTED: 05/06/17, 9:54 PM EDT
EAST CALN >> Downingtown Area School Board members and administration drafted a $216 million budget without a tax increase for the fifth consecutive year. They plan to adopt the budget during their meeting on Wednesday.  School board member Carl Croft, chairman of the finance committee, read a statement on behalf of his committee including board member David Kring and Richard Fazio, chief financial officer for the district. He thanked the board members and administration for their work to create a “budget that not only meets, but exceeds the needs of nearly 13,000 children while keeping to the board’s goal of a zero percent tax increase.”  Croft had noted during a prior meeting that the process has been harder this year than the past few years to “perform the miracles” of not increasing taxes and balancing the proposed budget.
http://www.dailylocal.com/general-news/20170506/downingtown-area-school-board-proposes-budget-with-no-tax-increase

Alle-Kiski Valley school districts worry about lead testing cost
Trib Live by BRIAN C. RITTMEYER | Saturday, May 6, 2017, 9:57 p.m.
Regional and national news reports about lead in drinking water motivated the Allegheny Valley School District to test the water at its buildings.  There was nothing in state law requiring the district to do the tests, which found dangerously high levels of lead in the water from one of the sinks and a fountain at Colfax Upper Elementary in Springdale.  But legislation introduced by a Philadelphia-area state senator would require districts to test the water at schools for lead every year.  Sen. Art Haywood's bill also would require districts to share test results with parents and, if excessive levels are detected, to come up with a plan to ensure no child or adult is exposed to lead contamination.  Districts would have to come up with remediation plans if lead levels exceed the maximum contaminant goal, now 0.015 milligrams per liter, set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in national primary drinking water regulations.  According to the EPA, exposure to lead can cause delays in physical or mental development in infants and children.
http://triblive.com/local/valleynewsdispatch/12260005-74/alle-kiski-valley-school-districts-worry-about-lead-testing-cost

GSK and the Free Library kick off annual Science in the Summer program
27 Philly free library locations will host a free summer course in sports science.
The notebook by Darryl Murphy May 5, 2017 — 3:33pm
Registration is now open for Philadelphia’s GSK Science in the Summer program. On Friday morning, educators from the Franklin Institute joined students from General Philip Kearny Elementary School at the Ramonita G. Rodriguez Library to celebrate opening day.  The program, which is free for students in grades 2-6, provides a hands-on STEM summer enrichment program that engages elementary students to encourage and support learning and exploration. It is sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline, a global healthcare corporation, and will be administered by the Franklin Learning Center.  "We are thrilled to bring this exciting learning opportunity back to children throughout Philadelphia this year with a brand-new curriculum developed in partnership with The Franklin Institute," said Marti Skold-Jordan, manager of Community Partnerships at GSK, in a statement.
http://thenotebook.org/articles/2017/05/05/gsk-and-the-free-library-kick-off-annual-science-in-the-summer-program

“School district and bus company officials responsible for the bus problem say the mess that plagues Emma and a number of other children is not isolated, that other children across the city -- and the country -- are struggling because of a national shortage of qualified school bus drivers. One called it an “epidemic.”
Bus company with $69m contract fails some Philly students
Inquirer by Kristen A. Graham, Staff Writer  @newskag |  kgraham@phillynews.com Updated: MAY 7, 2017 — 9:00 AM EDT
When the big yellow school bus rumbles up to Emma Hertzog’s house, it’s cause for celebration. It’s doesn’t happen every day.  Rita Hertzog, Emma's mother, loses count when she tries to tally the number of times her 8-year-old has been late or absent from school, or gotten home after dark.   There was the time they stood outside for an hour in the rain; the time Rita had to scramble midday to find a way home for Emma because the driver called out abruptly and the bus company had no backup plan; the time Emma didn’t get home until 6:15 p.m., hours after her scheduled drop-off, her parents frantic when no one could tell them when their daughter would be home.  “This year has been a disaster,” Rita Hertzog said. “There’s been 20 no-shows, if not more. Maybe 30. Then every day, there’s a deviance of the scheduled pickup time for at least 15 minutes on either end, if not more.”  By law, Emma, a second grader, is eligible for bus transportation to Independence Charter School in Center City because her East Mount Airy home is more than a mile and a half from her school. The company responsible for transporting her, Durham School Services, was recently awarded a three-year contract worth up to $69 million by the Philadelphia School District, despite service problems. Still, it has been legally warned by the school system that it must remedy its issues on some routes or face consequences.
http://www.philly.com/philly/education/School-bus-blues-Philadelphia-School-District-durham-bus-problems.html

Bellefonte middle school students get a taste of politics
Centre Daily Times BY BRITNEY MILAZZO bmilazzo@centredaily.com MAY 07, 2017 10:10 PM
Members of Bellefonte Area Middle School’s student council got a taste of politics on a much grander scale last month when they spent a day in Harrisburg with Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Benner Township.   “This field trip tied into what student council is all about,” teacher and adviser Erin Harrison said. “It gave our students the chance to learn about the legislative process and to better understand their roles as student leaders and school advocates.”  Harrison said the original plan was to visit Harrisburg and take a tour of legislative offices. But when organizers reached out to Corman, a representative suggested something a little different.  The Senator for a Day activities started early on April 12, with a group photo with Corman on the Senate floor, followed by a lesson on the legislative process, mock committee meetings and a mock general session meeting.
http://www.centredaily.com/news/local/education/article149208294.html

Unionville to close schools for Hindu festival
Daily Local By Staff Report POSTED: 05/07/17, 6:24 PM EDT | UPDATED: 2 HRS AGO
EAST MARLBOROUGH >> Hindus have welcomed the inclusion of Diwali – the festival of lights which is their most important holiday of the year festival – as a school holiday by Unionville-Chadds Ford School District (UCFSD) on its school calendar for 2017-18; thus closing schools on Oct. 19.  Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada, describing it as a step in the right direction, urged all other public school districts and private-charter-independent schools in Pennsylvania to do the same.  Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that it would be a positive thing to do in view of the presence of a substantial number of Hindu students at schools around the state, as it was important to meet the religious and spiritual needs of these pupils.  Zed indicated that schools should make efforts to accommodate the religious requirements of Hindu students and show respect to their faith by not conducting regular business and scheduling classes on Diwali.  “We did not want our students to be put at an unnecessary disadvantage for missing tests/examinations/papers, assignments, class work, etc., by taking a day-off to observe Diwali,” he said.
http://www.dailylocal.com/general-news/20170507/unionville-to-close-schools-for-hindu-festival

Pittsburgh-area school considers body cameras for officers
Inquirer by The Associated Press Updated: MAY 6, 2017 — 10:41 AM EDT
NORTH BRADDOCK, Pa. (AP) - A suburban Pittsburgh school district is considering requiring school resource officers and security guards to wear body cameras while inside schools.  Officials at the Woodland Hills School District sad it still needs to secure funding and get input from the municipal police departments that contract officers to work in the schools.  Superintendent Alan Johnson said Friday the body cameras "would provide for greater accountability for everyone involved" including officers, staff and students. He said he doesn't believe any other Pennsylvania schools use such cameras with police officers.
County prosecutors have been investigating allegations that a police officer assigned to a district school knocked out the tooth of a 14-year-old student during an arrest. An attorney representing the student has alleged other altercations involving officials at the school.
http://www.philly.com/philly/education/20170506_ap_5120b46f249042ca913e8deef35b59cb.html

High school sports booster clubs lack oversight
Beaver County Times By Andrew Chiappazzi and Daveen Rae Kurutz Times Staff May 8, 2017
It’s a game of hot potato that no one wants to lose.
Each year, thousands of high school sports booster clubs across Pennsylvania spend countless hours raising money for uniforms, trips and equipment for student athletes. But there’s no mandated oversight of the groups -- or the money they raise -- and state and local leaders say there’s no easy solution.  “I’m always reluctant of Harrisburg trying to come in to 500 different school districts and try to micromanage every detail,” said state Rep. Jim Christiana, R-15, Brighton Township. “And this would be one of them where we would rely on school districts to police this behavior and to set reasonable guidelines and expectations.”  Act 82, passed by the state Legislature in 2012, requires school districts to report contributions and purchases made to teams by booster clubs and other donors and to disclose athletic opportunities available to public school students. Beyond that measure, though, state legislators are hesitant to institute further legislation to oversee booster contributions.
http://www.timesonline.com/news/local_news/high-school-sports-booster-clubs-lack-oversight/article_b744be5e-2f5b-11e7-b1bf-f76f79a80a42.html


US Magistrate Judge Stephen Smith agreed, saying that "high stakes employment decisions based on secret algorithms (are)incompatible with... due process" and the proper remedy was to overturn the policy.”
Houston: Court Throws Out VAM
Curmuducation Blog by Peter Greene Friday, May 5, 2017
A while back, some Houston teachers backed by AFT took EVAAS (the Texas version of Value Added Measure) to court. It did not go well for reformsters.
EVAAS is the VAM of choice in Houston. This is the system developed by William Sanders, an agricultural statistician who thought that a statistical model for modeling genetic and reproductive trends among cattle could be used to figure out how much value teachers were adding to students. The result was a system that nobody could really explain to anybody, but which spread like kudzu across the educational landscape because science! numbers! The explanation of the secret VAM sauce looks like this:
http://curmudgucation.blogspot.com/2017/05/houston-court-throws-out-vam.html?spref=tw

How Successful Are Charter Schools?
New York Times Sunday Review | LETTERS MAY 6, 2017
To the Editor:
David Leonhardt states, “Crucially, many charters are open to all comers, which means their success doesn’t stem from skimming off the best” (“School Choice Works While Vouchers Don’t,” column, May 2). In fact, charter schools do skim in several ways: Parents with the wherewithal to apply, which must often be done well in advance and by filling out many forms, have to be organized, aware and English-speaking and have the time to devote to it. That description may not apply to very poor, single-parent or struggling families.  Second, although charters often use a lottery system, many do not accept special-needs students on the grounds that they cannot meet those needs. In addition, charter schools such as the Success Academy network in New York City expel students whose behavior does not meet school standards — standards that have been shown to be punitive, harsh and controlling.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/06/opinion/sunday/how-successful-are-charter-schools.html?_r=0

Is Dennis Kucinich right about charter schools draining dollars from districts? Mostly. Here's how
By Patrick O'Donnell, The Plain Dealer Email the authorFollow on Twitter Updated on May 07, 2017 at 08:53 AM EDT
CLEVELAND, Ohio - The Brooklyn schools receive a tiny amount of aid from the state - a whopping $650 per student.  But the district pays the bill for more than $7,600 in "state aid" for every student that decides to go to a charter school.  A similar thing happens with the Brecksville-Broadview Heights schools.  That district receives $1,220 in state funding for each student. But it, too, is billed a much higher amount - $7,049 - for every student that picks a charter school instead of the district.  In Parma, the gap in payments per student is a bit lower - $7,290 going to charter schools out of $2,542 in per-student state aid. But the effects are much higher, since that's multiplied over more students going to charters.  Wiped out is about $7 million the Parma schools would have received, but which now goes to charter schools instead.  For former Congressman and Cleveland Mayor Dennis Kucinich, these "deductions" to pay charter schools out of much-lower state aid to districts are equivalent to charter schools receiving millions in local tax revenue meant for districts.  "This creates a loss of anticipated state revenue for public schools," Kucinich said in a Columbus press conference earlier this month, before launching a road trip to air complaints with charters across the state. "When state revenue for public schools decreases because of money which goes to private for-profit charters, public school officials must make up the difference by asking local property taxpayers for more money."
http://amp.cleveland.com/v1/articles/20613988/is_dennis_kucinich_right_about.amp


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.
https://www.psba.org/about/governance/electing-psba-officers/

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 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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