Thursday, August 3, 2017

PA Ed Policy Roundup Aug 3: State ESSA plan available for public comment until Sept. 2

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 4050 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers, Governor's staff, current/former PA Secretaries of Education, Wolf education transition team members, superintendents, school solicitors, principals, PTO/PTA officers, parent advocates, teacher leaders, business leaders, faith-based organizations, labor organizations, education professors, members of the press and a broad array of P-16 regulatory agencies, professional associations and education advocacy organizations via emails, website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup Aug 3, 2017:
State ESSA plan available for public comment until Sept. 2

September 19 @ 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM Hilton Reading
Berks County Community Foundation

Wolf To House GOP: 'Time To Get The Job Done' On Revenue Package
WESA By KEVIN GAVIN  August 2, 2017
Gov. Wolf tells 90.5 WESA's Kevin Gavin the Senate revenue package to pay for state spending is " a logical step in the right direction."
Nearly five weeks after adopting a $32 billion budget for this fiscal year, state lawmakers are still arguing over how to fund it—precisely, how to fill a $2 billion shortfall in revenues.  “It’s time to get the job done,” said Gov. Tom Wolf.    The governor said he supports a revenue package barely approved by the state Senate, 26-24, last Thursday.  “It's a responsible step in the right direction,” Wolf said. “It provides the revenues to pay for the things the members of the Senate and the House overwhelmingly said they wanted to spend.”  The Senate-passed plan includes borrowing $1.3 billion against the commonwealth’s annual share of the multistate, multiyear settlement with tobacco companies. The revenue package also counts on $571 million in new or increased taxes, including hikes in taxes on phone service, electricity consumption and a reinstatement of a levy on gas utility bills.  “No one wanted to be voting for tax increases,” said Senate Republican leader Jake Corman. “Unfortunately we’re basically out of options.”

As Pennsylvania's budget battle drags on, Gov. Wolf tries new negotiating tactic: Keep quiet
Post Gazette by ANGELA COULOUMBIS Harrisburg Bureau 7:00 AM AUG 3, 2017
HARRISBURG — Over the last six weeks, Gov. Tom Wolf has cut a pair of ribbons, hosted nearly a dozen roundtables and discussions on everything from tech jobs to protecting senior citizens from fraud, toured businesses and signed a half-dozen bills, his public schedule shows.  None of the events dealt with balancing the state budget.  As the battle over how to pay for Pennsylvania’s nearly $32 billion spending plan drags into its fifth week, the Democratic governor is trying a new tactic: near invisibility.  Mr. Wolf has not issued any big, public warnings about the dangers of not having a timely budget, as he has in the past two years. Nor has he expressed even the slightest frustration over the breakdown in talks with the Republican-controlled Legislature. He hasn’t been spied walking into legislative offices or convening meetings with legislative leaders in the executive offices, either.  Both House Majority Leader Dave Reed, R-Indiana, and House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Marshall, have complained over the last few weeks that the governor has been disengaged.  “We haven’t had a whole lot of interaction with him directly for several months now,” Mr. Reed told reporters as he raced back and forth between offices during the thick of negotiations last month.  One thing is clear: Wolf has changed his approach, and people in the Capitol have noticed.  Mr. Wolf has said that he doesn’t negotiate in public, and that he remains available to meet with legislative leaders.

A tax on gas drilling is a necessity in an unsatisfying spending plan
Lancaster Online Editorial by The LNP Editorial Board August 2, 2017
THE ISSUE: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf allowed the state budget to become law July 10 — without his signature — but it lacked a revenue plan. The Associated Press reported Thursday that the state Senate had approved a revenue plan that “includes heavy borrowing and hundreds of millions of dollars in tax increases, including on Marcellus Shale gas drilling, consumers’ utility bills and online purchases.” The tax on drilling is expected to generate about $100 million per year. The plan next goes to the House where it is expected to face resistance among GOP leaders.
So the Senate held its schnoz and passed a revenue plan that went down about as easily as a ball-bearing sandwich.  “The only winner is the beast that is state government,” said Republican state Sen. Scott Wagner, who is running for the GOP nomination to challenge Gov. Wolf.  We wouldn’t be going out on a limb to assume that many Pennsylvanians share Wagner’s pessimism.  If this plan passes the House, it will once again fall on the taxpayers to help compensate state government for years of shoddy budgeting.  We didn’t get to this point by accident. The galling part is that we were forced to watch helplessly as the Legislature spent money while ignoring looming disasters, and is now turning out its pockets looking for help.

State ESSA plan available for public comment
Trib Live by JAMIE MARTINES  | Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, 5:33 p.m.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education on Wednesday released the proposed state plan to comply with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  The plan is available in English and Spanish on the state Department of Education website.  Public comment is accessible online, in English and Spanish, and will close on August 31.  ESSA replaced No Child Left Behind as the federal education law in 2015 and addresses several factors, including testing, academic standards and teacher evaluations.  States must submit a plan to the federal government by September 18.  The state Department of Education also announced the development of the Future Ready PA Index, a new school report card that measures academic growth, school climate, graduation rates and readiness for opportunities after high school.

PA Department of Education Website August 2, 2017  
On December 10, 2015, President Barak Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965. Developed and passed with strong, bipartisan support, ESSA replaced No Child Left Behind (NCLB) as the nation's main education law.
ESSA advances ESEA’s promise of ensuring that all students – from pre-kindergarten to postsecondary, as well as low-income students, students of color, students with disabilities, English Learners, and other historically marginalized students – have access to a world-class education that prepares them for college, career, and life.
For Pennsylvania, ESSA presents two important opportunities – the chance to move away from the prescriptive policies and unintended consequences of NCLB, and toward state-level efforts that enjoy broad, bipartisan support, including more equitable and predictable funding for public schools and valid measures of school performance that look beyond standardized test scores.
Pennsylvania’s proposed ESSA State Plan aligns well with the education vision and strategies of Governor Tom Wolf and Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera:
·         Historic investments in education funding;
·         Diverse measures of school success;
·         High quality early childhood education;
·         Investment in great teachers and leaders;
·         STEM innovation and capacity;
·         Expansion of career ready pathways; and
·         Community schools
Read Pennsylvania's Consolidated State Plan

“The plan is open to public comment until September 2nd.”
ESSA: Pa. unveils new school accountability system that puts less emphasis on standardized testing
The Pennsylvania Department of Education will unveil a new school quality metric in 2018 — dubbed the Future Ready PA Index — that it believes will foster a more holistic student experience, one less narrowly focused on state standardized tests.  The change was announced Wednesday as part of PDE's plan to comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). That is the flagship federal education law, updated under President Obama in 2015.  Under that law, states were given more leeway in how to set education policy and spend federal public school dollars.  "It's provided Pennsylvania with a once in a decade opportunity to revisit our assessment, accountability, and student support systems, and make changes with greater autonomy than we've been able to do in the past," said department deputy secretary Matthew Stem. "It's really given us an opportunity to focus on more holistic supports and holistic instructional strategies."  Pennsylvania will still have a strong, federally required commitment to standardized testing with scores broken down by subgroup, but Stem says the new plan will push schools to foster better critical thinking and collaboration skills.  He says this will happen, in part, based on a change in how the state evaluates school quality and reports the results.  "We believe that trying to use one number to say that one school is better than another is a flawed approach," said Stem.

ESSA: Pennsylvania plans to pay less attention to students' standardized test scores
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette MOLLY BORN 1:28 PM AUG 2, 2017
Pennsylvania has unveiled its proposed new plan to track the performance of its more than 1.7 million students, which includes a broader measure of academic success and places less emphasis on how they perform on standardized tests.  “If there's one thing we heard from every stakeholder, it's that we spent too much time on our standardized assessments,” said Matthew Stem, deputy secretary for elementary and secondary education at the state Department of Education.  On Wednesday, the Department released a draft of the 133-page proposal under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. Passed with bipartisan support in 2015, ESSA marked the end of No Child Left Behind, the former federal education law that critics said placed too much emphasis on standardized testing.   The new law requires states to take a more comprehensive look at student achievement and create a plan, due by Sept. 18, on how they will establish and measure performance by the new standards. So far, 17 states have submitted proposals. The full ESSA plan will be implemented in the 2018-19 school year.

ESSA: Draft of Pa.'s plan for measuring school performance released
Penn Live By Jan Murphy Updated on August 2, 2017 at 7:58 PM Posted on August 2, 2017 at 5:31 PM
draft of Pennsylvania's new report card for school performance released on Wednesday proposes moving away from generating a single aggregated score for school and replacing it with a dashboard of indicators to show how it is measuring up.  Called the Future Ready PA Index, the latest version of a school report card would put emphasis on academic growth of students, school climate through a robust chronic absenteeism measure, attention to four-year and extended-year graduation rates, and assessments of postsecondary readiness. It also calls for having students spend less time taking standardized tests.  The comment period is open until Sept. 2. The state must submit its plan to the U.S. Department of Education by September 18.  The multi-faceted plan addresses a myriad of areas of including increasing college and career readiness, bolstering teacher recruitment and retention, and focusing on school and student equity.

ESSA: Under new state plan, students will see less time and emphasis on PSSAs
Jacqueline PalochkoContact Reporter Of The Morning Call August 2, 2017
For years, parents and educators have railed that the federal law No Child Left Behind law created a culture in which teachers are forced to teach to a test and young children are overwhelmed by the high-stakes exams.  With No Child Left Behind now being replaced by the Every Student Succeeds Act, Pennsylvania is listening to those concerns.  It wants to reduce the time students spend taking standardized tests and lessen the importance of the exams in rating the performance of schools, according to state plan released Wednesday to comply with the federal law signed by President Barack Obama in 2015.  The state’s ESSA plan also includes long-term goals of raising the graduation rate, emphasizing career awareness in elementary school and reducing chronic absenteeism.

Pa. schools with highest average teacher salary
Penn Live Posted August 02, 2017 Updated August 02, 2017
It probably comes as no surprise that the bulk of public school teachers with the highest average salary in 2016-17 live in the counties surrounding Philadelphia, where the cost of living is generally higher than in other parts of the state.  But teachers in some southcentral Pennsylvania school districts have average salaries that aren’t too shabby either.  According to data from the state Department of Education, York County’s Dallastown Area School District comes in with the highest average full-time teacher salary in this region at $84,701.

Teacher pay: Search the database to find out the average teacher salary in any Pa. public schools
Penn Live August 02, 2017
The following searchable database allows you to see what the average teacher salary and average years of teaching experience is in Pennsylvania's public schools. The data from the 2016-17 school year also includes the number of full-time teachers in a school district, vo-tech, charter school or intermediate unit. The department doesn't factor in salaries of less than $18,500 in calculating averages.  To use this database, you can search by selecting an individual school district or charter or career and technical school or by selecting a county to see a listing of school districts in that county.

Downingtown-based cyber charter opens office in Murrysville
Trib Live by JAMIE MARTINES  | Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, 4:42 p.m.
The Downingtown-based 21st Century Cyber Charter School is reaching new frontiers this school year with the opening of an office in Murrysville.  The office, located in the Blue Spruce Shoppes center on William Penn Highway, will house up to 15 employees, including six full-time teachers. It also provides space for students to sit for proctored state tests and to join in-person activities.  “This is really a result of parent and student requests in this part of the state,” said Benjamin Ruby, the school's director of education. Having an office in Western Pennsylvania will allow the school to bring in more teachers who know the area well, he said, adding that helps with meeting local students' needs and planning field trips.  Unlike some cyber charter schools, teachers with 21CCCS are required to report to the office every day, Ruby said.

Cyber charter expands presence in Western PA
Trib Live by JAMIE MARTINES  | Friday, July 21, 2017, 12:57 p.m.
The Harrisburg-based Reach Cyber Charter School is expanding its physical presence in Western Pennsylvania with the appointment of a Pittsburgh-based assistant principal.  Nancy Wagner, who previously worked for ten years with Agora Cyber Charter School as a teacher, administrator and truancy prevention coordinator, will lead the middle school team of faculty at Reach for grades six through eight.  “Nancy represents Reach's physical presence in the western part of Pennsylvania and we look forward to welcoming more students from every corner of the state,” Jane Swan, principal of Reach Cyber Charter School, said in a statement.

Philly, and other Pa. school districts, can learn from Chester City's radically transformative youth courts | Opinion
Inquirer Opinion by John Fan Updated: AUGUST 2, 2017 — 6:22 AM EDT
John Fan is a junior studying philosophy and mathematics at Swarthmore College. 
I first stepped into a Chester classroom last summer, as a volunteer for youth court. It was my first exposure to urban education in America. And it was the first time many of those fifth graders had seen a college student, let alone a foreigner from China.  In a youth court, peer volunteers hear cases of student offenses that would otherwise be managed by the principal or teachers. Students play the roles of judge, bailiff, youth advocate, jury foreperson, and jurors. I was working in Chester with public interest lawyer Gregory Volz to teach students how to run such courts.  Chester City is considered one of the poorest cities in America and is in one of the most under-resourced school districts. Over four weeks, I taught the students how to speak confidently, ask effective questions, and help misbehaving students recognize and fix their mistakes.  School-based youth court programs were originally devised as an alternative to punitive school discipline that disproportionately affects students of color. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, students who are removed from school due to misbehavior are significantly more likely to be involved in the juvenile justice system the next year. This phenomenon, known as the “school-to-prison pipeline,” is a national crisis.  I was initially skeptical that a student-run disciplinary program could be more effective than one handled by professionals. I was wrong.

What’s the link between charter schools, political donations and teacher certification in New York?
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss August 2 at 4:47 PM 
In New York state, most teachers of publicly funded schools have to be certified through a state-run process. Now, that may change.  Many of the state’s publicly funded charter schools may soon have the right to certify their own teachers with their own processes. (In some states, charter school teachers don’t have to be certified at all.)  The specific proposal is being considered by the board of trustees of the State University of New York (SUNY) and a decision will be made shortly. The trustees oversee the SUNY Charter Schools Institute, which authorizes a good number of charter school operators in the state, including the well-known Success Academies charter network.  New York charter leaders, some of whom have been pushing for the right to certify their own teachers for a long time, argue that it will help them solve teacher shortages and give them more flexibility over whom to hire.

How a Savings Program Could Be Used to Expand School Choice
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Alyson Klein on August 2, 2017 3:22 PM
President Donald Trump and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos came to Washington promising a massive new federal investment in school choice. So far, they're having trouble getting momentum—and money—for vouchers or a tax-credit scholarship.  But some school choice supporters may have another policy up their sleeves: allowing parents to save for private school the same way many of them save for college, through the use of so-called 529 plans.  These plans—named for a section of the federal tax code—are a tax-advantaged investment fund that works somewhat like an IRA or 401(k) retirement plan. Parents or guardians put a portion of their income in the fund and can receive a tax credit or deduction, depending on the specifics of the plan, which can vary state-by-state.  Right now, 529s are primarily for college expenses. But the Heritage Foundation, a favorite think tank for the Trump team and Republicans in Congress, would love to see the accounts expanded to K-12 schools.

Trump Administration Advances School Vouchers Despite Scant Evidence
Studies show that school vouchers lead to lower math and reading scores. So why has the Trump administration embraced them?
·         The concept of vouchers originated with economist Milton Friedman. In 1955 he argued that the government should not run schools but instead offer parents educational stipends.
·         Vouchers are the centerpiece of the Department of Education's school reform plan. Until now, Washington, D.C., has been home to the only federally funded voucher program in the U.S.
·         A handful of other cities and states have experimented with small programs. Studies have found mixed to negative results in reading and math but higher high school graduation rates.
In a 1955 essay, free market visionary Milton Friedman proposed a revolutionary model of education. Rather than seeing public schools as a rich local resource and driver of social mobility, he suggested they were a reflection of government overreach. Because a stable and democratic society depends on an educated electorate, he reasoned, the government should pay for children to go to school. But that did not mean the government should run schools. Instead, Friedman said, it ought to require a minimum level of education. And to finance that education, it should give parents “vouchers redeemable for a specified maximum sum per child per year if spent on ‘approved’ educational services.” Breaking the government monopoly on education, he argued, would allow “consumers” (parents) to support the best “product”—that is, to enroll their kids in the most effective and highest-performing institutions. Mediocre public schools, subjected to market forces, would improve or perish.  he idea captured the imagination of elected officials and policy makers all over the world. Now President Donald Trump's secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, is preparing to give the scheme its first national rollout in the U.S. She has made voucher programs the centerpiece of her efforts to enhance educational outcomes for students, saying they offer parents freedom to select institutions outside their designated school zone.

PSBA Officer Elections: Slate of Candidates
PSBA Website August 2017
PSBA members seeking election to office for the association were required to submit a nomination form no later than June 1, 2017, to be considered. All candidates who properly completed applications by the deadline are included on the slate of candidates below. In addition, the Leadership Development Committee met on June 17 at PSBA headquarters in Mechanicsburg to interview candidates. According to bylaws, the Leadership Development Committee may determine candidates highly qualified for the office they seek. This is noted next to each person's name with an asterisk (*).

The deadline to submit cover letter, resume and application is August 25, 2017.
PSBA seeking experienced education leaders: Become an Advocacy Ambassador
PSBA is seeking applications for six Advocacy Ambassadors who have been involved in day-to-day functions of a school district, on the school board, or in a school leadership position. The purpose of the PSBA Advocacy Ambassador program is to facilitate the education and engagement of local school directors and public education stakeholders through the advocacy leadership of the ambassadors. Each Advocacy Ambassador will be an active leader in an assigned section of the state, and is kept up to date on current legislation and PSBA position based on PSBA priorities to accomplish advocacy goals.  PSBA Advocacy Ambassadors are independent contractors representing PSBA, and serve as liaisons between PSBA and their local and federal elected officials. Advocacy Ambassadors also commit to building strong relationships with PSBA members with the purpose of engaging the designated members to be active and committed grassroots advocates for PSBA’s legislative priorities.  This is a 9-month independent contractor position with a monthly stipend and potential renewal for a second year. Successful candidates must commit to the full 9-month contract, agree to fulfill assigned Advocacy Ambassador duties and responsibilities, and actively participate in conference calls and in-person meetings

September 19 @ 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM Hilton Reading
Berks County Community Foundation
Carol Corbett Burris: Executive Director of the Network for Public Education
Alyson Miles: Deputy Director of Government Affairs for the American Federation for Children
James Paul: Senior Policy Analyst at the Commonwealth Foundation
Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig: Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and the Director of the Doctorate in Educational Leadership at California State University Sacramento
Karin Mallett: The WFMZ TV anchor and reporter returns as the moderator
School choice has been a hot topic in Berks County, in part due to a lengthy and costly dispute between the Reading School District and I-LEAD Charter School. The topic has also been in the national spotlight as President Trump and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos have focused on expanding education choice.  With this in mind, a discussion on school choice is being organized as part of Berks County Community Foundation’s Consider It initiative. State Sen. Judy Schwank and Berks County Commissioners Chairman Christian Leinbach are co-chairs of this nonpartisan program, which is designed to promote thoughtful discussion of divisive local and national issues while maintaining a level of civility among participants.  The next Consider It Dinner will take place Tuesday, September 19, 2017, at 5 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton Reading, 701 Penn St., Reading, Pa. Tickets are available here.  For $10 each, tickets include dinner, the panel discussion, reading material, and an opportunity to participate in the conversation.

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.

Using Minecraft to Imagine a Better World and Build It Together.
Saturday, September 16, 2017 or Sunday, September 17, 2017 at the University of the Sciences, 43rd & Woodland Avenue, Philadelphia
PCCY, the region’s most influential advocacy organization for children, leverages the world’s greatest video game for the year’s most engaging fundraising event for kids. Join us on Saturday, September 16, 2017 or Sunday, September 17, 2017 at the University of the Sciences, 43rd & Woodland Avenue for a fun, creative and unique gaming opportunity.

Education Law Center’s 2017 Annual Celebration
ELC invites you to join us for our Annual Celebration on September 27 in Philadelphia.
The Annual Celebration will take place this year on September 27, 2017 at The Crystal Tea Room in Philadelphia. The event begins at 5:30 PM. We anticipate more than 300 legal, corporate, and community supporters joining us for a cocktail reception, silent auction, and dinner presentation.  Our annual celebrations honor outstanding champions of public education. This proud tradition continues at this year’s event, when together we will salute these deserving honorees:
·         PNC Bank: for the signature philanthropic cause of the PNC Foundation, PNC Grow Up Great, a bilingual $350 million, multi-year early education initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life; and its support of the Equal Justice Works Fellowship, which enables new lawyers to pursue careers in public interest law;
·         Joan Mazzotti: for her 16 years of outstanding leadership as the Executive Director of Philadelphia Futures, a college access and success program serving Philadelphia’s low-income, first-generation-to-college students;
·         Dr. Bruce Campbell Jr., PhD: for his invaluable service to ELC, as he rotates out of the chairman position on our Board of Directors. Dr. Campbell is an Arcadia University Associate Professor in the School of Education; and
·         ELC Pro Bono Awardee Richard Shephard of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP: for his exceptional work as pro bono counsel, making lasting contributions to the lives of many vulnerable families.Questions? Contact Tracy Callahan or 215-238-6970 ext. 308.

STAY WOKE: THE INAUGURAL NATIONAL BLACK MALE EDUCATORS CONVENING; Philadelphia Fri, Oct 13, 2017 4:00 pm  Sun, Oct 15, 2017 7:00pm
TEACHER DIVERSITY WORKS. Increasing the number of Black male educators in our nation’s teacher corps will improve education for all our students, especially for African-American boys.  Today Black men represent only two percent of teachers nationwide. This is a national problem that demands a national response.  Come participate in the inaugural National Black Male Educators Convening to advance policy solutions, learn from one another, and fight for social justice. All are welcome.

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

Registration now open for the 67th Annual PASCD Conference  Nov. 12-13 Harrisburg: Sparking Innovation: Personalized Learning, STEM, 4C's
This year's conference will begin on Sunday, November 12th and end on Monday, November 13th. There will also be a free pre-conference on Saturday, November 11th.  You can register for this year's conference online with a credit card payment or have an invoice sent to you.  Click here to register for the conference.

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