Friday, June 2, 2017

PA Ed Policy Roundup June 2: Happy 1st Birthday PA Funding Formula; Now let’s fund it!

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup June 2, 2017:
Happy 1st Birthday PA Funding Formula; Now let’s fund it!



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



One year ago, the PA General Assembly overwhelmingly passed HB1552 establishing a fair funding formula for basic education.  However, the formula only applies to new dollars.

If you take into account the student and local district factors in that formula and actually run the numbers we come up about $3 billion short of adequate funding.  Unless the legislature makes a commitment for sustained and significant increases it will be years before students in our underfunded districts have the resources they need to succeed.

Reprise June 2, 2016: Governor Wolf Signs Fair Funding Formula, Renews Call To Restore Funding
Governor Wolf’s Website June 02, 2016
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf signed House Bill 1552 into law, which establishes a fair funding formula and provides emergency funds for two of the commonwealth’s financially distressed school districts. Governor Wolf also called for new funding to help restore equity to Pennsylvania public school districts.  “Prior to today, Pennsylvania was one of only three states in the nation without a fair funding formula,” said Governor Wolf. “Following great work by the Basic Education Funding Commission, the commonwealth finally has a permanent formula for the distribution of basic education funding that takes into account each district’s unique needs.”
“I look forward to continuing to work with leaders in the coming weeks to further address our challenges and reach agreement on a budget that is balanced, fixes the deficit and further invests in education at all levels,” Governor Wolf continued. “We still have a lot of work to do in order to restore funding, but we are now closer to resolving the inequity in Pennsylvania’s school funding distribution.”  House Bill 1552, now Act 35, establishes a fair, equitable formula for allocating new state funds to Pennsylvania schools.  The Basic Education Funding (BEF) Formula accounts for district based factors including the wealth of the district, the district’s current tax effort, and the ability of the district to raise revenue. It also includes student-­based factors like:
·         Number of children in the district who live in poverty,
·         Number of children enrolled in charter schools, and
·         Number of children who are English language learners.
·         The BEF Formula was created and unanimously adopted by the bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission in June 2015. Having a formula in place will assure school districts that new funding will be distributed equitably and investments in education will no longer be determined by the influence of one legislator over another.
https://www.governor.pa.gov/governor-wolf-signs-fair-funding-formula-renews-call-to-restore-funding/

“For the life of me, I can’t figure out the whys and the hows,” William Penn School Board Vice President Rafi Cave said, “how the Pennsylvania General Assembly could maintain and support a system that boasts the worst funding disparity from wealthy to poor districts in the entire country and why it’s OK for students in schools just a few miles apart, even in the same county, to receive more than $5,000 less than another student.”
Delco officials call on state to adequately fund public schools
By Kathleen E. Carey, Delaware County Daily Times POSTED: 06/01/17, 9:25 PM EDT
DARBY TOWNSHIP >> William Penn Schools Superintendent Jane Harbert says she lies awake at night grappling with a teacher’s complaint that the duct tape binding classroom books is failing. Rose Tree Media Superintendent James Wigo says the only time state legislators will care is when wealthier districts reach that point.  “We are all destined to the same fate,” Wigo said Wednesday at a press conference staged by the Campaign for Fair Education Funding at Southeast Delco’s Kindergarten Center attended by several Delaware County superintendents and school board members.  One of the main messages was how Pennsylvania ranks 46th in the United States for the state’s share of education funding as the state pays for 37 percent of educational costs. Advocates say in a state with such difference among districts coupled with mandates and various funding pressures such as limited resources due to socio-economics or aging populations, this percentage is no where near enough.  “For the life of me, I can’t figure out the whys and the hows,” William Penn School Board Vice President Rafi Cave said, “how the Pennsylvania General Assembly could maintain and support a system that boasts the worst funding disparity from wealthy to poor districts in the entire country and why it’s OK for students in schools just a few miles apart, even in the same county, to receive more than $5,000 less than another student.”
http://www.delcotimes.com/general-news/20170601/delco-officials-call-on-state-to-adequately-fund-public-schools

“Pennsylvania ranks 46th in the United States when it comes to its share of education funding. The current 37 percent share of the education tab currently picked up by the state falls far short of the long-stated goal of 50 percent funding.”
Editorial: It’s time to fund the fair funding formula
Delco Times Editorial POSTED: 06/01/17, 9:27 PM EDT | UPDATED: 55 SECS AGO
It is the sound – and the numbers – of the season.
Upper Darby School District: 2.99 percent. $7 million
Southeast Delco School District: 2.75 percent.
Interboro School District: 3.4 percent.
Springfield School District: 2.5 percent.
Penn-Delco School District: 3 percent.
And those are just the ones from the past week. Earlier it was Garnet Valley and Rose Tree Media, both announcing healthy tax hikes.  In Pennsylvania, which still relies on property taxes for the bulk of school funding, that means schools will be asking home owners to dig a little deeper in their wallets to cover their school tax bill.  Relying on property taxes creates a built-in inequity in the funding that flows to our public schools.
http://www.delcotimes.com/opinion/20170601/editorial-its-time-to-fund-the-fair-funding-formula

“The situation is exacerbated by the fact that each year the cost of managing a school district increases. These costs are often outside the control of local school leaders. These include a broken funding system for charter schools; ballooning pension obligations that are mandatory, as well as morally and legally required; and rising costs for health care, special education and transportation. Our state leaders must provide our students with equitable and adequate basic education funding while simultaneously acting legislatively to deal with these escalating costs, which are siphoning classroom resources from our students.
To further complicate matters, the Trump administration is proposing major cuts to federal education funding — such as Medicaid ACCESS and Title II funding, after-school programs, teacher professional development and class size reduction —that will have a devastating effect on schools across Pennsylvania.”
William H. Kerr: Don’t starve the schools
Post Gazette Opinion by WILLIAM H. KERR 12:00 AM JUN 2, 2017
William H. Kerr is superintendent at Norwin School District and a charter member of the University of Pittsburgh School of Education’s Forum for Western Pennsylvania School Superintendents, where he also serves on the executive committee.
Each May, school districts across Pennsylvania propose education budgets that will guide educational programs for the upcoming school year. The goal of the school district budget is to strike a balance between providing a quality education for all students and doing what is fiscally responsible for local taxpayers.  However, as superintendents, we have found that creating a balanced budget for the upcoming 2017-18 school year has been especially difficult. We have seen time and again that funding for public education from Pennsylvania has been less than adequate to keep pace with the rising expenses of providing a quality educational program. In many cases, these rising expenses are due to mandated programs that are imposed upon school districts by state and federal government.  Currently, Pennsylvania pays only 37 percent of what it costs to educate students — one of the lowest state shares in the country. When the state share of funding for public education is this low, the financial burden shifts to local taxpayers. If school districts do not receive adequate funding, they are forced to shortchange students by curtailing programs, reducing staff or increasing local taxes for already overburdened residents.
http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/Op-Ed/2017/06/02/William-H-Kerr-Don-t-starve-the-schools/stories/201706020053

“The superintendent stated repeatedly throughout the meeting that Bensalem and school districts across the state have been put in an "untenable" financial position by unfunded state mandates and a lack of financial support in general from Harrisburg.  As examples, he cited the school district's required $14.3 million in charter school tuition payments for next school year, and the fact the state will cover only about $4.3 million of the district's projected $28 million special education budget in 2017-18.  Expenses the school district can control have risen an average of only 1.33 percent a year over the last eight years, Lee said.”
Bensalem Township School District plans to cut 40 positions, not raise taxes
By Chris English, staff writer Bucks County Courier Times June 1, 2017
There probably won't be a tax increase in the Bensalem Township School District next school year and, in a surprise twist, that news was greeted with anger by many of the approximately 200 people in attendance at a Wednesday marathon budget meeting.  The anger stems from the school board's decision to cut 40 teaching and support personnel positions at all three levels — elementary and middle schools and the high school — instead of raising taxes.  Especially hard hit would be teachers in specialty subjects such as music and art at the elementary level, where the elimination of seven positions is proposed. District administrators are planning to reduce music and art in the elementary schools from full-year to half-year programs.  The personnel moves are expected to save about $3.5 million, Superintendent Samuel Lee and Director of Business Operations John Steffy said. That would help close a gap of $7.1 million between projected revenue of $142.2 million and expenses of $149.3 million for 2017-18, they said.  The plan is to cover the rest by drawing from the district's $20 million savings account, Steffy said.

“Mr. Bielby discussed challenges that the district faces, such as payments to the Public School Employees Retirement System, or PSERS. He said the increase in those payments is going to cost the district about $746,114.  “That is just the increase,” board member Jerry Testa noted.  “The problem all started with the state. They’re not bailing us out, they are just dumping it on the local school districts, saying, ‘Raise taxes to pay for the increase,’ ” board member Mike Scappe said.  “It’s the unfunded balance, which is roughly about $49 billion, that is the problem,” Mr. Testa said. “Any of the fixes — such as converting new employees to a 401(k)-type pension — does not provide any relief until 35 years down the line. As a matter of fact, it makes the problem more costly because you have less people paying into the system.” He said PSERS is unsustainable.”
Tax hike planned for Moon Area schools
Post-Gazette by AMY PHILIPS-HALLER 12:00 AM JUN 2, 2017
The Moon Area School District plans to raise the property tax rate by 0.7452 mills in 2017-18 to fund a budget that it anticipates will have a deficit of $4.4 million.  The school board is scheduled to vote June 26 on a final budget that, as of now, is projected to have $74.5 million in revenue and $78.9 million in expenditures. Keith Bielby, director of fiscal and school services, noted that revenue is difficult to project because the state has yet to approve its final budget.  If the tax increase is approved, it would mean the owner of a property with the district’s median value of $160,000 would pay $119 more a year in school district taxes, or about $10 a month. The new rate would be 20.3028 mills.  “This is a little lower than the preliminary school budget we presented in January,” Mr. Bielby said of the district’s expenditures. Costs were reduced by about $600,000 through contract renegotiations.

“North Allegheny’s contribution to the Pennsylvania State Employee Retirement System has risen from $14 million in 2014-15 to $23.3 million in 2017-18 and is expected to reach $30 million in 2021-22.”
North Allegheny schools hold line on taxes, hire senior high assistant principal
Post-Gazette by SANDY TROZZO   12:00 AM JUN 2, 2017
The North Allegheny school board last week introduced a proposed final budget that holds the line on taxes and hired an assistant principal for the senior high school.  The $157.47 million spending plan is $1 million less than the preliminary plan passed in February. The district plans to have staff travel to fewer conferences next year and has deferred additional paving and telephone work at the senior high school. It will also save money because it switched health insurance plans last year, said Kermit Houser, assistant director of finance.  “I’m glad for the second year in a row that we did not have to raise taxes,” said board president Kevin Mahler, citing the board’s move a few years ago to start a fund to mitigate increases in the state pension costs.

“Before the first vote, business manager David Seropian said the most significant increases in expenditures were debt service payments, charter schools and retirement funding.  The district’s debt service increased by $2 million, retirement contributions were up $500,000 and the cost for charter schools rose by $677,000.”
McKeesport Area narrowly approves preliminary budget
Post-Gazette by DEANA CARPENTER  12:00 AM JUN 2, 2017
The McKeesport Area school board has narrowly approved the district’s 2017-18 preliminary budget by a vote of 5-4.  The $65.7 million preliminary budget includes a tax increase of 0.63 mills, raising the property tax rate to 17.37 mills. If the budget gets final approval, the owner of a property valued at $50,000 would pay $31.50 more in taxes next school year.  After two votes at the May 24 meeting, board members Joseph Lopretto, Ivan Hampton, Mary Jane Keller, Patricia Maksin and Scott Smith voted to approve the preliminary spending plan. Christopher Halaszynski, Steven Kondrosky, James Brown and Mindy Sturgess dissented.  The first motion to pass the preliminary budget failed 8-1, with Ms. Maksin casting the lone vote in favor.

Blogger note: The most specific language in the Pennsylvania Constitution relating to public education is contained in two sections of Article III: section 14, titled "Public School System" and Section 15, titled "Public School Money Not Available to Sectarian Schools." Each of these sections is exactly one sentence long, and state that "The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth (Sec.14)," and that "No money raised for the support of the public schools of the Commonwealth shall be appropriated to or used for the support of any sectarian school (Sec. 15)."
Pennsylvania’s education tax credit programs perform a sleight of hand to circumvent the constitution, diverting tax dollars to sectarian schools with no academic or fiscal accountability.

“Created for K-12 in 2001, the EITC program was at first capped at $30 million. With the passage of HB 1606 in 2016, it increased by $25 million, with a total of $175 million.”
EITC/OSTC: State tax credit programs get boost in Harrisburg
Pittsburgh Catholic News By John Franko Staff Writer Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Sometimes it takes a giant telegram to deliver a giant message — that educational tax credits are critical to the future of Catholic schools.  Some two dozen students and supporters of the REACH (Road to Educational Achievement Through Choice) Foundation traveled to the state Capitol in Harrisburg May 10 for the annual Educational Improvement Tax Credit birthday party. EITC allows more than 50,000 students a year to choose the school that best fits their needs.  “This is our lifeline,” said Don Militzer, principal of Madonna Catholic Regional School in Monongahela. “Our parents make such sacrifices to send (their children) to a Catholic school. It’s up to us to make every effort to ease the burden a little bit.”  The supporters delivered some 40 “colossal grams” to the offices of Gov. Tom Wolf and various senators and representatives. Attached to each telegram were the signatures of more than 1,500 students and staff.  They were the brainchild of Deacon Jack Miller, diocesan director of development and public policy. Among his responsibilities is obtaining tax credit-related funding.  Deacon Miller said he has been inspired by those who support tax credits and by those who traveled to Harrisburg. When people talk about the future of the church, he noted, Catholic education is a big part of it. Not just schools, but religious education programs and other forms of instruction.

Michael Faccinetto and Joseph Roy: Cuts to Medicaid funding will hurt schools, students
Morning Call Opinion by Michael Faccinetto and Joseph Roy June 1, 2017
Michael Faccinetto is president of the Bethlehem Area School Board and president of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association; Joseph Roy is 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 already voted in favor of $880 billion in cuts to Medicaid, the program that covers one in three American children today.  Local critics have focused on the immense harm that would come from taking $2 billion away from Pennsylvania by 2020 and threaten health care that reaches 2.8 million residents.  Make no mistake, Medicaid cuts are a backdoor cut to K-12 education funding.  Pennsylvania schools stand to lose more than $40 billion in Medicaid reimbursements that pay for health care 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.

How Jay Costa wants to fix Pa.’s gerrymandered congressional districts
“I believe that most folks object to the manner that congressional districts are drawn,” the state senator from Allegheny County said.
The Incline by SARAH ANNE HUGHES MAY 31 2017  ·  11:49 AM
Advocates for redistricting reform won the first battle: They got people talking about it.
Now comes the hard part. The 2020 census is right around the corner, and with it, the redrawing of the boundaries of Pennsylvania’s legislative and congressional districts.  There are a number of bills already under consideration that take these processes out of the hands of politicians and put them into the hands of average citizens. State Sen. Lisa Boscola has introduced legislation that would create an 11-person panel to draw both sets of boundaries, a proposal that has bipartisan support. The bill also has the backing of Fair Districts PA, a nonpartisan project of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania that supports giving redistricting power to an independent commission.  But that legislation would require a constitutional amendment, and state Sen. Jay Costa knows the clock is ticking. The Allegheny County Democrat isn’t sure the legislature will advance Boscola’s bill, which is why he plans to introduce his own legislation to create an independent commission to draw congressional districts.

The 2001 changes - and a cascade of reactions that have followed - have caused the tax-funded cost of Pennsylvania's pension obligations to explode from under $1 billion in 2010 to a projected $6.4 billion in fiscal 2017-18.”
Pa. State Senate schedules Sunday committee meeting to take up a new pension reform effort
Penn Live BY CHARLES THOMPSON   cthompson@pennlive.com Updated on June 2, 2017 at 6:43 AMPosted on June 1, 2017 at 5:09 PM
Pension reform is officially back on the table in the Pennsylvania Legislature.
The state Senate Appropriations Committee has scheduled a meeting for Sunday evening to amend in proposed language of a long-sought reform to the state's major public employee pension plans.  The latest effort is a continuation of work that started in the 2015-16 legislative session, but ended last fall with the Republican-led House and Senate unable to attain passage of a common plan.  Quiet negotiations resumed earlier this year, and have now apparently resulted in language that will accomplish a cherished GOP goal of moving state workers and school teachers into a 401(k)-style retirement plan.  While that is not likely to address the severe budgetary hangover created by a major enhancement of pension benefits in 2001, legislative leaders have maintained that it will keep the current situation from getting dramatically worse.

Here are three good reasons for Pa. to expand early-childhood programs: Peter Grollman
PENNLIVE OP-ED By Peter Grollman Updated on June 1, 2017 at 12:58 PM Posted on June 1, 2017 at 8:20 AM
Peter Grollman is Senior Vice President of Public Affairs at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and serves as a member of ReadyNation.
A recent report by the ReadyNation, a business advocacy group aimed at building a skilled workforce, predicts that children growing up in America today will be the first generation to live shorter lives than their parents.   And despite high spending on health care, the U.S. now ranks 27th out of 34 developed countries in terms of life expectancy.   Besides impacting our longevity and quality of life, the state of our health is hurting the U.S. economy. Researchers estimate that sick days cost us nearly $260 billion per year.   Unpaid medical bills are the leading causes of personal bankruptcy among Americans.  With one-in-five Pennsylvania children living in poverty, it is likely that many will become or contribute to statistics such as these. 

Anticipated Pa. revenue for 2017 down in most categories through May
Penn Live BY PAUL VIGNA  pvigna@pennlive.com Updated on June 2, 2017 at 6:41 AM Posted on June 1, 2017 at 8:24 PM
Pennsylvania collected $2.6 billion in General Fund revenue in May, which was $98.5 million, or 4 percent, more than anticipated, Acting Revenue Secretary C. Daniel Hassell reported Thursday. Fiscal year-to-date General Fund collections total $28.4 billion, which is $1.1 billion, or 3.8 percent, below estimate.  Sales tax receipts totaled $823.7 million for May, $5.8 million below estimate. Year-to-date sales tax collections total $9 billion, which is $195.8 million, or 2.1 percent, less than anticipated.  Personal income tax (PIT) revenue in May was $911.8 million, $38 million below estimate. This brings year-to-date PIT collections to $11.4 billion, which is $362.7 million, or 3.1 percent, below estimate.  May corporation tax revenue of $230.5 million was $132.4 million above estimate. Year-to-date corporation tax collections total $4.2 billion, which is $445 million, or 9.7 percent, below estimate.

New worries for Philly's Khepera Charter School
Inquirer by Martha Woodall, Staff Writer  @marwooda |  martha.woodall@phillynews.com Updated: JUNE 1, 2017 — 6:29 PM EDT
Could the academic year end early for 450  students who attend a North Philadelphia K-8 charter school?  Khepera Charter School, whose finances were so shaky that it laid off several staffers in March, has been taken to court by its landlord for not paying its May rent.  The owner of the building that the school leases at 926 Sedgley Ave. has demanded the school vacate the property and pay more than $87,346 in past-due rent and fees.  Common Pleas Court has not acted on the May 25 filing.  Khepera’s administration said in a memo to staff on Thursday that the school’s attorneys were working with the landlord to resolve the issue.  Khepera Charter School rents the second and third floors of this building at 926 Sedgley Ave.  Lee Whack, a spokesman for the Philadelphia School District, said the district was “actively monitoring the situation at Khepera Charter School.” The Alliance for Charter School Employees, the union that represents 16 staffers at Khepera, said the principal had told the building’s representative that the school might be changing its location again but provided no more details.

Who is holding school districts and police departments accountable?
The notebook Commentary by Harold Jordan June 1, 2017 — 4:13pm
Harold Jordan is senior policy advocate, ACLU of Pennsylvania, and serves as co-chair of the Notebook's board of directors.
Controversy continues to swirl over a series of violent incidents that have occurred in the Woodland Hills School District, just outside Pittsburgh. These incidents involve allegations of violence directed against students by the school’s principal and by school-based law enforcement officials. Students have been injured. In one recent case, one of these law enforcement officials allegedly punched a student in the face and nearly knocked the student’s tooth out. An incident last year led to disciplinary action against the principal, but the principal remains at the school and was even hired in April as the school’s varsity football coach.  These incidents and the responses so far of administrators and the justice system raise fundamental questions about the role of police in our schools. They provide a textbook example of what is wrong with the way that many districts use police: lack of accountability for officers' actions; inappropriate use of force; failure to respect (and protect) the rights of students; and proposed solutions that may make matters worse.


How Education-Funding Formulas Target Poor Kids
Thirty-five states have policies engineered toward sending extra dollars to needy districts. But not all are successful.
The Atlantic  by Haley Glater June 1, 2017
Districts serving many low-income children in New Jersey receive nearly $5,000 more per pupil from the state government than districts with a fewer poor students. If that same district was located in Montana, it would only receive an extra $18 per student from the state. Despite the fact that the majority of states have education funding formulas meant to target low-income students, the effectiveness of this targeting varies widely around the country.  In states where districts are more economically segregated, policymakers have an easier time targeting funding to the neediest students. Because poor children benefit more than their wealthier counterparts from increased per pupil funding, a correctly tuned targeting formula could be an important step toward closing the achievement gap. According to a new report released by the Urban Institute, a social- and economic-policy nonprofit in Washington, D.C., the degree to which funding is targeted is inconsistent among states. In three states—Nevada, Wyoming, and Illinois—non-poor students attend better funded school districts despite state and federal government efforts to level the playing field.

Secretary DeVos Releases Statement on President Trump's Decision to Withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord
US Dept of Education Press Release JUNE 1, 2017
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos released the following statement in support of President Trump's decision to withdraw the U.S. from The Paris Agreement known as the Paris climate accord:
"The announcement made today by the President is one more example of his commitment to rolling back the unrealistic and overreaching regulatory actions by the previous Administration," said Secretary DeVos. "President Trump is making good on his promise to put America and American workers first."

“DeVos and her family have financially supported many Republican candidates who oppose climate change, as does Trump, who has in the past called it a “hoax.” And DeVos’s primary education priority is to expand school choice, including programs that allow public funding to be used for education at private and religious schools, some of which teach that evolution and climate change aren’t real.”
Betsy DeVos applauds Trump for pulling U.S. out of historic climate accord
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss June 1 at 6:51 PM 
President Trump on Thursday announced his decision to pull out of the landmark Paris climate agreement — the one that virtually all countries in the world signed onto except Syria and Nicaragua — and his education secretary, Betsy DeVos, was part of the cheering section.
DeVos, a Michigan billionaire who has said publicly that “government really sucks” and strongly supports the president’s efforts to eliminate regulations, said in a statement:
“The announcement made today by the President is one more example of his commitment to rolling back the unrealistic and overreaching regulatory actions by the previous Administration. President Trump is making good on his promise to put America and American workers first.”
(She didn’t mention, not surprisingly, that some of the country’s largest companies and their leaders had urged Trump to stay in the accord, arguing that withdrawal could make it harder for them to create jobs.)

Some Hires by Betsy DeVos Are a Stark Departure From Her Reputation
New York Times By ERICA L. GREENJUNE 2, 2017
WASHINGTON — Since her confirmation as the education secretary, Betsy DeVos has been the Trump cabinet member liberals love to hate, denouncing her as an out-of-touch, evangelical billionaire without the desire or capacity to protect vulnerable poor, black, immigrant, gay or transgender students.  But while Ms. DeVos has been reluctant to express sympathy for those groups, she has stacked her administration with appointees whose personal and professional backgrounds challenge the narrative that she has no interest in protecting those vulnerable students.  Among her appointees: a progressive Democrat who believes a broken education system is a form of white supremacy; a sexual assault survivor who is currently in a same-sex marriage; and a second-generation American who ran a federal program that helped undocumented immigrants.  While the education secretary has done little to highlight the diversity in her administration — the department declined to make any of the appointees available for interviews — DeVos watchers say that diversity should encourage critics to focus more on her actions than their preconceptions.

Warren: It's time to hold DeVos accountable
CNN Opinion By Elizabeth Warren Updated 5:19 PM ET, Wed May 31, 2017
Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat, is the senior senator from Massachusetts. She has just launched DeVos Watch, a new initiative to hold the Department of Education accountable. The views expressed are her own.
(CNN)Betsy DeVos recently completed her 100th day as Secretary of Education, and the resistance to her agenda has spread across this country like wildfire.   Last week, Secretary DeVos and President Trump's Department of Education released a budget that would upend the student aid program and make it much harder for students to afford college and repay their student loans. At the same time, the head of the federal student aid office abruptly resigned amid reports of political meddling by DeVos.  With the educational and financial futures of millions of people hanging in the balance, here's a place to start scrutinizing Secretary DeVos.


Apply Now for EPLC's 2017-2018 PA Education Policy Fellowship Program!
Education Policy and Leadership Center
Applications are available now for the 2017-2018 Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP).  The Education Policy Fellowship Program is sponsored in Pennsylvania by The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC). Click here for the program calendar of sessions.  With more than 500 graduates in its first eighteen years, this Program is a premier professional development opportunity for educators, state and local policymakers, advocates, and community leaders.  State Board of Accountancy (SBA) credits are available to certified public accountants. Past participants include state policymakers, district superintendents and principals, school business officers, school board members, education deans/chairs, statewide association leaders, parent leaders, education advocates, and other education and community leaders. Fellows are typically sponsored by their employer or another organization.  The Fellowship Program begins with a two-day retreat on September 14-15, 2017 and continues to graduation in June 2018.

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.

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

Save the Date: PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference October 18-20, Hershey PA


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