TrumpCare would cost Pa. 85k jobs, report: Wednesday Morning Coffee
Penn Live BY JOHN L. MICEK firstname.lastname@example.org Updated on June 14, 2017 at 8:25 AM Posted on June 14, 2017 at 8:24 AM
Good Wednesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
Anyone remember health care reform? With Attorney General Jeff Sessions' star turn before the Senate Intelligence Committee sucking up much of the oxygen on Capitol Hill this week, there's a fresh reminder this Wednesday morning that this critical policy debate is still alive and well. A new report by researchers at George Washington University and The Commonwealth Fund, a private, New York-based nonprofit, concludes that the House-passed version of TrumpCare would cost the nation an estimated 924,000 jobs by 2026 and trigger an economic downturn in every state. States, such as Pennsylvania, which expanded their Medicaid rolls, would experience "even more severe losses," the report found. The Keystone State would sustain a loss of about 85,000 jobs, putting it among the 10 states hardest hit by the House Republicans' version of the Obamacare repeal.
Report: Pennsylvania could lose 85,000 jobs by 2026 under House GOP health-care plan
Trib Live by WIRE REPORTS | Wednesday, June 14, 2017, 11:59 p.m.
A new report released on Wednesday says the House Republican healthcare overhaul plan could result in nearly 1 million jobs being lost nationwide by 2026 and almost 85,000 jobs lost in Pennsylvania, second highest only to New York. The study, titled American Health Care Act: Economic and Employment Consequences, by The Commonwealth Fund, a private health-care focused foundation, and the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., determined that the Republican-backed AHCA would cause every state to suffer an economic downturn with states that expanded their Medicaid coverage, such as Pennsylvania, enduring the worst effects. “The AHCA would initially cause a brief spurt of economic growth from tax cuts, which primarily help those with high incomes,” said Leighton Ku, the director of the Center for Health Policy Research at the Milken Institute and the lead author of the report, in a statement. “However, cuts in funding for Medicaid and health subsidies then begin to deepen, triggering sharp job losses and broad disruption of state economies in the following years.” After House Republicans passed the AHCA, it went to the Senate for consideration, but a panel of senators, including U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Lehigh Valley, is formulating a separate plan that has not been publicly released.
$143 Million in PA special ed funding would be in peril if U.S. Senate passes House bill
KATE GIAMMARISE Pittsburgh Post-Gazette email@example.com 12:00 AM MAY 15, 2017
The bill passed by the U.S. House to repeal the Affordable Care Act, now being considered by the Senate, would make deep cuts to Medicaid — which threatens millions in special education dollars for local school districts. The money pays for items such as therapy equipment, portable stair climbers, or a device that might help visually impaired students do their schoolwork, as well as certain aides. Medicaid, the health insurance coverage for low-income and disabled individuals that is jointly paid for by states and the federal government, reimburses schools for health-related services for special education students. In Pennsylvania, schools receive about $143 million annually for these services. Federal law requires schools to have individualized education plans for each special needs child and to provide appropriate services. In other words, said Steve Robinson, spokesman for the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, schools are mandated to meet the needs of special education students. The federal cuts would push costs to either the state or local communities.
G.O.P. Senators Might Not Realize It, but Not One State Supports the A.H.C.A.
New York Times By CHRISTOPHER WARSHAW and DAVID BROOCKMAN JUNE 14, 2017
t’s no secret that the American Health Care Act is unpopular. In recent national polls, only about 29 percent of Americans support the bill. It is the most unpopular piece of major legislation Congress has considered in decades — even more unloved than TARP (“the bailout”), and much more unpopular than the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Will Republican senators vote yes on a bill this unpopular? To hang on to their jobs, senators have to keep only voters in their own states happy, not the whole nation. Perhaps red-state senators, or even some senators in swing states, might think their states are friendlier to the bill than the nation as a whole. Our research indicates that is not the case. To get a sense of support by state, we combined recent polls to estimate support for the A.H.C.A. in every senator’s home state. Our estimates indicate that not one state favors it. Even though very few state polls have been conducted on views of the A.H.C.A., we are able to estimate views on the bill in each state using a statistical method called M.R.P. (multilevel regression and postratification) and eight national polls that the Kaiser Family Foundation, YouGov and Public Policy Polling shared with us on people’s views on the A.H.C.A.
HB1213: Centennial school directors lash out at proposed legislation that would restrict property taxing authority
Intelligencer By Gary Weckselblatt, staff writer June 14, 2017
Legislation in the state House to restrict a school district's right to challenge property assessments is being described by Centennial school board members as a "disaster" and "disgrace." House Bill 1213, which passed through the Commerce Committee in a 19-8 vote, could potentially cost Centennial $3.3 million and the 500 districts in Pennsylvania $677.4 million annually, according to an analysis of revenue for the 2015-16 school year by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association. Centennial passed a resolution last month and unanimously ratified it Tuesday night. It has been sent to Gov. Wolf and General Assembly, but doesn't appear to have made an impact, according to school director Mark Miller. "Our resolution has been received but doesn't seem to have been heard," said Miller, who predicted it would soon pass the House. "It is a disaster, it is a disgrace," board member Jane Schrader Lynch said this week. At the prior board meeting, she asked residents to voice their disapproval to legislators. "It's going to affect you so deeply you won't believe it. ... Please do not just sit there and allow this to happen. ... To me this is dire." Director Michael Hartline said, "If they're going to take away our ability to at least fight some of these organizations it's going to be devastating." The board's resolution states: "Centennial would be forced to cut programs and trim investments in student achievement and growth. Our homeowners, especially those on fixed incomes, cannot absorb this revenue loss and this bill would be detrimental to the citizens of Centennial School District."
“On Wednesday's Smart Talk, we discuss the value of pumping up districts' fund balances and whether they should be factored into the annual spending budgets of the schools with James Paul and John Callahan, Assistant Executive Director for Public Policy for the Pennsylvania School Boards Association”
Do schools need budget surpluses?
Written by Rich Copeland - Producer, WITF's Smart Talk | Jun 13, 2017 Audio Runtime: 19:57
What to look for on Smart Talk Wednesday, June 14, 2017:
A recent survey commissioned by the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA) found that nearly 80% of the state's 500 public school districts needed to access emergency reserve funds in the last year for routine expenditures like payroll and maintenance. At the same time, many public schools are holding onto cash reserves - "rainy day" money - while receiving full budget funding from the state or even raising taxes. PASA recommends districts maintain a "rainy day" fund balance between 5 and 12 percent of the districts' operating costs. But, the Southern Fulton School District has a balance at 85% of its operating budget. District administrators say surpluses are necessary to bridge funding gaps and for emergency spending. Jay Himes of the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials calls the surpluses "the buffer of the unanticipated and I would say unbelievable situation that you may find yourself in in the course of a fiscal year." Critics are concerned districts are hording cash. James Paul, a senior policy analyst with the Commonwealth Foundation called the figures "eye-opening to anyone who believes Pennsylvania schools are underfunded."
Thursday's SRC meeting: 112 pages of resolutions, dozens of new policies
Advocates are up in arms about a resolution on special education services. There are 10 charter amendments, 50-plus speakers...and a demonstration against school closings.
Emma Lee/for NewsWorks June 14, 2017 — 9:41pm
Thursday's School Reform Commission meeting promises to be long and contentious, with several hot-button items on the agenda, including dozens of proposed new policies. In addition, the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools will demonstrate in opposition to any more school closings, and some of more than 50 scheduled speakers will urge commissioners to put themselves out of existence and support an elected school board. The agenda includes 112-pages of resolutions, including 10 to amend charter school agreements and several large contracts. There are also 96 pages of new and revised policies to vote on. Probably the most controversial item on the agenda is a $36 million, three-year contract with Catapult Learning, Inc. "to provide an Alternative Special Education Program...primarily for students with emotional disturbance and with severe disabilities." According to the resolution, the new school would start in September and serve 200 students. A coalition of longtime special education advocates wrote a letter to SRC members Wednesday urging opposition to the contract, saying it would "place students with a wide range of...disabilities in an entirely segregated setting" and "is a huge step backwards from hard-fought gains to end discrimination against the isolation of students with disabilities."
DISTRICT PROPOSAL WOULD ESTABLISH SEGREGATED SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
Public Interest Law Center Website June 2017
The School District of Philadelphia is requesting that the School Reform Commission approve a $36 – 54 million dollar contract to establish a new, segregated school for students with low-incident disabilities. This proposal to place students with a wide range of diverse, low-incident disabilities in an entirely segregated setting is a huge step backwards from hard-fought gains to end discrimination against students with disabilities. The proposal raises significant legal, educational, and financial concerns, and threatens to deny students with low-incident disabilities their legal entitlement to be educated in the least restrictive environment alongside their non-disabled peers as required by federal and state laws. We joined with Education Law Center-PA, the Philadelphia Coalition for Special Education Advocates, and other organizations in writing a letter to the School Reform Coalition, asking it to deny approval of this contract. A vote is scheduled for June 15, 2017. The segregation of students with disabilities in a separate school negatively impacts students with disabilities by depriving them of any interaction with non-disabled peers, including opportunities to learn, observe and be influenced by peers in a regular education setting. Such segregation often deprives students with disabilities of equal access to the full range of learning opportunities available to their non-disabled peers, constituting discrimination on the basis of disability.
Del Val Charter to close; staff may not be paid for June
Inquirer by Martha Woodall, Staff Writer @marwooda | firstname.lastname@example.org Updated: JUNE 14, 2017 — 6:58 PM EDT
Another Philadelphia charter school is closing this month amid allegations of financial and academic problems. Delaware Valley Charter High School in Logan, which lost its bid before the state Charter Appeal Board to remain open, has decided to close this month rather than take its case to Commonwealth Court. The move leaves 450 students looking for new schools for the fall. Charter officials also say the school may not have enough money to pay 70 staffers for their work in June. Acting Delaware Valley CEO Harold Kurtz said Philadelphia School District officials maintain the charter owes so much money for pension payments and other funds that the district is withholding the school’s charter payment for June. Uri Monson, the district’s chief financial officer, said Delaware Valley owes the district more than $700,000, including overpayments for tuition in prior years, which is more than Delaware Valley’s charter payment of $470,790 for June.
Wednesday's Education Update: Roundup of education news from around the region, state, nation
Trib Live by JAMIE MARTINES | Wednesday, June 14, 2017, 10:54 a.m.
Good Morning! It's Wednesday. It's still very hot outside. But that likely will not stop fans from taking to the streets of Pittsburgh today to celebrate the Penguins' Stanley Cup victory .
Can't make it to the festivities? Follow TribLIVE Reporters Matt Santoni , Megan Guza , Brian Rittmeyer and Kevin Gorman on Twitter for updates. Questions? Story ideas? Send them to email@example.com. Call me at 724-850-2867 or tweet at me: @Jamie_Martines .
LOCAL BUDGET UPDATES: Penn-Trafford approved a $55.2 million budget for the 2017-18 school year with a 2-mill property tax hike. The increase brings the district's Westmoreland millage to 82.25 mills; for the portion of the district located in Allegheny County, the total will be 16.08 mills. The Norwin School Board is on track to approve a tax increase of 2.4 mills for the upcoming school year. And because of uncertainty over future budgets, the district plans to use long-term substitute teachers to fill vacancies next school year.
CHARTERS: WESA continues a series offering a close look at 20 years of charter schools in Pittsburgh. Part two examines the lack of innovation and idea sharing among charter schools, while today's part three focuses on racial segregation in charter schools.
Beaver Area graduate asked to remove elements of Christian prayer from commencement address, alleges First Amendment violation
Controversy arose after the 2017 graduation ceremony at Beaver Area High School after the district told a student she could not include a prayer in her graduation address.
Beaver County Times By Katherine Schaeffer firstname.lastname@example.org June 14, 2017
BEAVER -- When Beaver Area School District administrators instructed a student to remove elements of Christian prayer from her high school commencement address, they were just trying to comply with federal law. But the student and her family didn’t see it that way. Graduating senior Moriah Bridges had structured her graduation remarks as a prayer, intended to mesh well wishes for her classmates with her Christian faith. Per district policy, Beaver’s high school principal and superintendent both reviewed Bridges’ remarks days before the ceremony. They asked the senior to revise her speech after the district’s solicitor advised that allowing a student to lead prayer during commencement violated the U.S. Constitution's Establishment Clause, which forbids the government from promoting a specific religion. Bridges alleges the school district violated her First Amendment rights and has enlisted First Liberty Institute, a Texas-based religious freedom advocacy group, to urge the district to reconsider its stance. The controversy has generated national attention. As of Wednesday afternoon, the story had been blasted across both local television outlets and Fox News.
Best ACT scores in Pa.:The 50 schools with the highest rankings
Penn Live By Ivey DeJesus Posted June 14, 2017 Updated June 14, 2017
The ACT (originally known as American College Testing) like its cousin the SAT, measures knowledge gained in high school and college readiness. It is often the first thing most admissions counselors scrutinize. The higher the score, the more likely a student will excel in college.
N.J. Democrats announce school-funding deal
Inquirer by Maddie Hanna, Trenton Bureau @maddiehanna | email@example.com Updated: JUNE 14, 2017 — 8:55 PM EDT
New Jersey’s legislative leaders said Wednesday that they had agreed on a school-funding plan for the coming year, reaching a compromise on a source of budget drama, though not resolving the state’s long-running funding woes. It was not immediately clear whether Gov. Christie, who can veto spending from the budget, supported the deal announced Wednesday evening by Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester) and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D., Hudson). They said the agreement would send additional money to underfunded schools in 2017-18, in part by stripping some aid from schools receiving more state money than the funding formula provides. But the agreement is not a complete fix. While Sweeney and Prieto would provide an additional $146 million to underfunded districts, officials say the state’s formula is at least $1 billion underfunded. And while Sweeney had been pressing to phase out so-called adjustment aid — given to districts to ensure that they would not receive less money under the 2008 funding formula, but intended to be temporary — the deal announced Wednesday would shift just a portion of it. In the statement, Sweeney called the agreement a “landmark first step toward restoring fairness to the School Funding Reform Act for schoolchildren and taxpayers” that would help fast-growing districts.
“How? The DeVoses alone have given more than $4 million to the school. Mr. DeVos donated an airplane from his private collection. Delta Air Lines donated another.”
Charter School Founded by DeVos Family Reflects National Tensions
New York Times By ERICA L. GREEN JUNE 14, 2017
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Julia Stevenson scurried through the hallway as her school day came to a close, hoping to take advantage of as much daylight as possible to complete one of the last assignments of her high school career. “I’m flying home today,” Ms. Stevenson, 18, said with a broad smile, explaining that she was hoping for clear skies and a beautiful view of Lake Michigan on the 300-mile round trip from Gerald R. Ford International Airport to her hometown, Traverse City, Mich. With her pilot’s license in sight, Ms. Stevenson was about to graduate from the West Michigan Aviation Academy, a public charter school here founded by Dick DeVos, the billionaire husband of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Ms. DeVos has called it an inspiration for her dogged support for school choice, a shining example of what is possible when schools are able to meet students’ unique interests and needs. On Tuesday, she told thousands of charter school advocates that her husband’s school prepared students “to contribute in significant ways to our 21st-century economy.” But with its deep-pocketed founder, corporate sponsors and remarkable capacity to raise money, the Aviation Academy may be more an example of what education can achieve with seemingly limitless funds than a model for other schools.
“For-profit virtual-school companies are tightly connected to AFC. The two largest such groups, K12 and Connections Academy, were among the chief sponsors of the conference. Chavous is K12 board member, and John Kirtley of AFC praised the company, saying, “They’re doing great things in digital learning.” And although the research evidence for blended or personalized learning models is mixed, the handful of studies of fully virtual schools point to a clearer verdict: Students in such schools perform dramatically worse on standardized tests relative to similar students in traditional schools, according to a study of thousands of virtual charter-school students in 18 states.”
Are Virtual Schools the Future?
Despite evidence of negative student-learning outcomes, Betsy DeVos appears to think so.
The Atlantic by MATT BARNUM JUN 12, 2017
When Betsy DeVos returned to the advocacy group she used to lead last month, she told attendees to push for systems where students could attend any kind of school. Traditional, charter, religious, and virtual schools should be options for students, the education secretary argued, as should “an educational setting yet to be developed.” “Our current framework is a closed system that relies on one-size-fits-all solutions,” DeVos said. “We need an open system that envelops choices and embraces the future.” This vision was clear throughout the American Federation for Children summit: that schools need to be reinvented with an emphasis on technology. And throughout the gathering, exclusively online schools were a key part of that vision—even though some supporters acknowledge existing virtual schools have not produced strong academic outcomes to date.
PBS Runs A Three-Hour Series Glorifying The DeVos Education Agenda
Funded by conservative foundations devoted to privatization, this program is the definition of paid propaganda.
Huffington Post by Diane Ravitch, Contributor, Research Professor of Education, New York University; Author, ‘Reign of Error’06/13/2017 11:00 am ET
Public education today faces an existential crisis. Over the past two decades, the movement to transfer public money to private organizations has expanded rapidly. The George W. Bush administration first wrote into federal law the proposal that privately managed charter schools were a remedy for low-scoring public schools, even though no such evidence existed. The Obama administration provided hundreds of millions each year to charter schools, under the control of private boards. Now, the Trump administration, under the leadership of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, wants to expand privatization to include vouchers, virtual schools, cyberschools, homeschooling, and every other possible alternative to public education. DeVos has said that public education is a “dead end,” and that “government sucks.”
DeVos’s agenda finds a ready audience in the majority of states now controlled by Republican governors and legislatures. Most states already have some form of voucher program that allow students to use public money to enroll in private and religious schools, even when their own state constitution prohibits it. The Republicans have skirted their own constitutions by asserting that the public money goes to the family, not the private or religious school. The longstanding tradition of separating church and state in K-12 education is crumbling. And Betsy DeVos can testify with a straight face that she will enforce federal law to “schools that receive federal funding,” because voucher schools allegedly do not receive the money, just the family that chooses religious schools.
Education Activists Rally June 15 to Stop More Philly School Closings
Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools Press Release: June 13, 2017
The Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools (APPS) will hold a rally in front of school district headquarters on Thursday June 15, 3:30 PM, to call attention to Superintendent William Hite’s plan to begin closing three neighborhood schools each year for the next five years, and possibly beyond. Members of APPS, a grass-roots organization of educators, parents and community members, attend all SRC meetings, usually testifying on issues of funding and transparency.
In addition to announcing his plan at a recent SRC meeting, Hite told City Council of his intention to close schools at Council’s hearings on the school district budget last month.
“School closings are not just traumatic for students, they have a devastating effect on the surrounding community”, said Karel Kilimnik, co-founder of the Alliance, “We want to help communities understand what they can do to support their school if Dr Hite selects it for closure. Our schools need advocates as they fight for survival.” A coalition of community groups has endorsed the action, including Parents United for Public Education and Our City, Our Schools.
Contact: Karel Kilimnik, 215.301.3569
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