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.”
Posted: April 20, 2017 04:17 PM
From: Senator Andrew E. Dinniman and Sen. John H. Eichelberger, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Elimination of Keystone Exams
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, holistic, and rigorous approach to determine teacher evaluation and school performance, which would need to be included in any ESSA plan.
Fifth, the bill guarantees the right of parents to be notified of their right to opt their children out of any accountability test (a right recognized in the ESSA legislation). It also requires notification of the specific basis upon which an opt-out request can be made and states the obligation of school districts to respect parental rights concerning decisions with regards to their own children. Some school districts have created road blocks to recognizing parental rights.
Standard Speaker BY JILL WHALEN / PUBLISHED: JUNE 3, 2017
We believe that taxpayers bear the responsibility for funding those schools and that funding should be ample and equitable to address the needs of the served community. We also believe that taxpayers have the right to examine how schools use tax dollars to educate children.
Most importantly, we believe that such schools should be accountable to the community they serve, and that community residents have the right and responsibility to elect those who govern the school. Citizens also have the right to insist that schooling be done in a manner that best serves the needs of all children.
The NPE statement addresses in simple, clear, non-hyperventilating language, the fact that charter schools simply are not public schools. This does not make charter schools a Terrible Evil Thing, but it gets at the heart of the great charter bait-and-switch. Charters repeated pitch themselves as free public schools, and the public takes them at their word, only to be shocked later when some charters won't take all students, make operators rich, and engage in all manner of bizarre shenanigan. "Wait! How can they do that-- aren't they a school??" Modern charters have worked hard to be seen as public schools, rather than what they are-- private schools funded with public tax dollars.
NSBA Email June 2, 2016
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will be testifying before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health & Human Services, Education and Related Agencies this Tuesday, June 6, at 10:00 am Eastern. You can watch the hearing online here. Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), a former history teacher, is chairman of the Subcommittee; and, former school board member, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), is ranking member.
Secretary DeVos will be reviewing the Administration's Fiscal Year 2018 budget request for the Department, and has stated that the request "fulfills [the] promise to devolve power from the federal government to parents and students." Key concerns regarding the budget request are the proposal for $1 billion in new FOCUS grants that would fund school choice and proposed program eliminations and reductions of more than $3.5 billion.
"NSBA is committed to keeping public schools as a top priority in ... budget deliberations," stated Thomas J. Gentzel, NSBA Executive Director and CEO. "The Association will vigorously oppose the cuts proposed by the Administration." NSBA's statement regarding the budget request is available here. An analysis of the proposed budget is posted here.
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