FIRST IN A SERIES ON PENNSYLVANIA CHARTER SCHOOLS
Ana Meyers is the executive director of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools.
As Majority and Minority Chairman of the Senate Education Committee we are requesting your co-sponsorship of a bill that does the following:
First, our bill eliminates the Keystone Exams or any composite of these exams from being taken or used as a high school graduation requirement. Even the Department of Education (PDE) has stated that the "Keystone Exams are not a good predictor of college and career readiness".
Second, the bill says that in terms of federal accountability required under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the curriculum aligned Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) can be used to fulfill that requirement or the SAT can be substituted by an aligned vocational test, an aligned GED test, or the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVB) test. We also note the need for a test for students with severe cognitive disabilities. The Keystone Exams would not be available for the purpose of accountability.
Third, any test used shall not take more than two days of instructional time and it shall be scored and returned to the school entity within 30 days.
Fourth, accountability results shall be used as part of a comprehensive plan for a multi-faceted, wholistic, and rigorous approach to determine teacher evaluation and school performance, which would need to be included in any ESSA plan.
Daun Kauffman teaches in North Philadelphia public schools and blogs at LucidWitness.com. He lives in Hunting Park where he has served the children and families for 15 years. Kauffman has an M.Ed. from Temple University and an MBA from Harvard University Graduate School of Business.
Powerful and surprisingly prevalent horrors are blocking access to education and ravaging children’s lives. Sadly, they remain the elephant in the classroom: adverse childhood experiences. Adverse childhood experiences include physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, including bullying; physical and emotional neglect; a missing parent, due to separation, divorce, incarceration, or death; witnessing household substance abuse, violence, or mental illness; and witnessing environmental violence. Developmental (or childhood) trauma after these adverse experiences often goes unidentified or misunderstood, and is often worsened within school systems. Experts call it a crisis. Trauma during development is especially heinous. Some adults normalize the pain and fear of the injured child, thinking they’ll get over it. Actually, it’s the opposite. Young children have fewer coping mechanisms, and their immature brains are still developing. The impacts of trauma are greater on the still-developing brain.
“The bill is necessary, but does not help districts in the short term,” said Otto-Eldred School District Superintendent Matt Splain. “It will not change the pension costs that districts face or the under funded state system that is eating up state revenues. The poor decisions of the past will haunt us for quite some time.” In fact, this year school districts will see the pension contribution rate jump 2.54 percent to 32.57 percent, said Smethport Area School District Superintendent David London. By 2021-22, the projected rate will be 36.4 percent, he said. “These high contribution rates cause large budget increases in local school districts including Smethport,” London said. London said that funding will have to be found or budget cuts will have to be made to make up for the increases. “To make an immediate impact, the general assembly needs to pass legislation to increase the contributions of current public employees,” St. Marys Area School District Superintendent Brian Toth said. “Additionally, the general assembly needs to pass legislation to increase state revenues. Making cuts will no longer work.” Alterations in the state retirement system had to happen, he said. But he reiterated that the financial impact won’t be felt by school districts for many years, Toth said.
District residents in Crawford, Venango, and Warren all set for hikes
Titusville Herald By Natalie Dodd Herald Staff Writer | 0 comments Posted: Tuesday, June 13, 2017 5:00 am | Updated: 6:41 pm, Tue Jun 13, 2017.
As of Monday’s meeting of the Titusville Area School District board of directors, no changes were made to the 2017-18 general fund budget, which is expected to be passed at the next meeting, on June 19. The $33,179,436 general fund budget will include a tax hike, which is set at 1.14 (2.9 percent) mills for Crawford County, 28 mills (1.7 percent) for Venango County, and 1.32 mills (2.7 percent) for Warren County residents. A mill equals $1 for every $1,000 in a property’s assessed value. “The financing committee is recommending the millage where it was as proposed,” said business manager Shawn Sampson. While this millage increase, should the final budget pass at the next meeting, will mean a tax increase, board member Dwight Proper pointed out that over the past six years, the millage has only gone up by 1 mil for Crawford County taxpayers. Sampson said the goal of the tax hike is to offset a shortfall between expenditures and revenues. According to a projection displayed during the May 8 school board meeting, current revenues were projected at $31,241,996, while projected expenditures are at $32,365,690.
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