Tuesday, October 10, 2017

PA Ed Policy Roundup Oct. 10: Health care at risk for 176K PA kids as CHIP funding lapses

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 Oct. 10, 2017:


Every election matters. And even a few votes can make a difference. Deadline for PA registration is today, October 10.



Reclaiming Our Democracy: The Pennsylvania Conference to End Gerrymandering Saturday, October 14th, 2017  9:00am-5:00pm Crowne Plaza Harrisburg, PA



“In the last three school years, 12 of the state’s 14 cyber charter schools spent more than $21 million combined in taxpayer dollars promoting their schools, PublicSource found through Right-to-Know requests.”
Is a charter school public? How do they get funds? Reader questions answered.
PublicSource By Mary Niederberger OCT. 10, 2017 PART OF THE SERIES The Charter Effect
For the past two months, PublicSource’s “Charter Effect” series has covered various topics related to local brick-and-mortar and statewide cyber charter schools. Among the issues we’ve examined are finances, along with teacher turnover and transparency. We also wrote about cyber charter attendance policies and the amount of money charters have spent on advertising. The project also features an easy-to-use interactive on all of the brick-and-mortar charter schools in Allegheny County. Along the way, you, our readers have asked for additional information. We selected five questions you asked and got the answers for you, based on information from the state Department of Education and charter school operators.


Pa. Supreme Court likely to change how we fund schools (column)
York Daily Record Opinion by Charlie Bacas Published 12:31 p.m. ET Oct. 9, 2017
When a Supreme Court expands upon or clarifies the meaning of a few words in a Constitution, it can set in motion enormous changes.  Pennsylvania should get itself ready for just such changes. On Sept. 28, the state Pennsylvania Supreme Court gave orders that a group of distressed school districts be given a chance to go to trial before the Commonwealth Court on their claim of discrimination by the state in education funding.  The order reversed the Commonwealth Court’s decision of some three years ago to not hear this case. In the kind of foreshadowing that courts do in legal opinions, five of the seven high Court judges have signed on to statements that indicate they are sympathetic to the legal challenges that are before them and that it is highly likely they will find in favor of the plaintiffs. The question of fair distribution of education dollars has been a hot-button issue in Harrisburg ever since suburban home builders in the 1960s began to pivot their sales on having the best schools. Since those days, a virtually constant political and cultural battle has waxed and waned in the state Capitol over the money allocated to the state’s more than 500 school districts.

176,000 Pennsylvania children's health care at risk as CHIP funding lapses
York Dispatch by Jason Addy, 505-5437/@JasonAddyYD Published 2:57 p.m. ET Oct. 6, 2017 | Updated 3:41 p.m. ET Oct. 8, 2017
As Republican lawmakers made one final push to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act at the end of September, federal funding expired for almost 9 million children and teens covered by the Children’s Health Insurance Program.  Congress took no action to reauthorize the federal program by the Sept. 30 deadline, leaving more than 176,000 Pennsylvanians at risk of losing their health insurance if lawmakers do not fund the program within the next few months, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. Since CHIP's inception in 1997, the reauthorization of CHIP funding has been an easy initiative that generally has wide bipartisan support, said Jenny Englerth, president and CEO of Family First Health, a community-based health center with locations in York, Lancaster and Adams counties.  'No-brainer': The Children’s Health Insurance Program provides free or low-cost health insurance options for children in families who earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid but do not have access to health coverage through other means. 

“As worded, the amendment language on the ballot does not present the full scope of its impact. Should it pass, a path would be paved for the PA General Assembly to pursue legislation that would eliminate school property taxes, which in turn would significantly reduce our ability to control how our schools operate.”
Radnor Township School District School Board Urges Community to Vote “No” on Constitutional Amendment Question on Nov. 7 Ballot
Radnor Township School District Website Updated October 9, 2017
“As worded, the amendment language on the ballot does not present the full scope of its impact,” reads a news release from the district in part. “Should it pass, a path would be paved for the PA General Assembly to pursue legislation that would eliminate school property taxes, which in turn would significantly reduce our ability to control how our schools operate.”  Following a resolution passed by the Radnor Township School District School Board in February 2017 and a corresponding information campaign that encouraged community members to oppose the elimination of school property taxes, the Board continues to advocate for local control of RTSD schools by asking all Radnor citizens to vote “no” on a proposed amendment* to the Pennsylvania Constitution that will be included on the November 7 ballot. The Board voted to begin a campaign to inform the community of this constitutional ballot question at its September 26 monthly business meeting.
http://bit.ly/votenoonamendment

Gerrymandering, 'political laser surgery,' stokes fresh ire, legal fights
Inquirer by Colt Shaw, STAFF WRITER Updated: OCTOBER 9, 2017 — 3:44 PM EDT
The proposal — letting a nonpartisan citizens commission, rather than politicians, draw lines for electoral districts — isn’t novel. It was presented by Carol Kuniholm, the executive director of Fair Districts PA, last week in Center City at a forum that focused on gerrymandering — a practice in which a party in power contorts legislative and congressional boundaries to its electoral advantage. Complaints about gerrymandering, a name derived from a 19th century Massachusetts governor and U.S. vice president who was a notorious practitioner, date to nearly the founding of the republic, notes David Thornburgh, head of the nonpartisan political watchdog group the Committee of Seventy. What is different these days is that the practices and the efforts to change them have reached perhaps unprecedented levels, said Thornburgh, who participated in that forum at the Pyramid Club, 52 floors above the streets of Center City, which included business and civic leaders. And this has been a particularly brisk period. Lawsuits have been filed all over the country, and the Pyramid Club session was held on the evening after the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on gerrymandering, and the night before the commonwealth considered a petition on redistricting. “People are really fed up with how the parties have manipulated this process in a way that doesn’t seem to be serving the people,” Thornburgh said in an interview on Monday. And Pennsylvania, a political battleground state, has become a battleground in the debate over gerrymandering.

The Supreme Court and gerrymandering: what it means for Pennsylvania
The Keystone State has some of the worst gerrymanders in the country
BY JOHN KOPP PhillyVoice Staff OCTOBER 06, 2017
A political gerrymandering lawsuit heard Tuesday by the U.S. Supreme Court could have implications on Pennsylvania's congressional districts, which are considered among the most gerrymandered in the country. But experts say any ruling is unlikely to impact the 2018 election in Pennsylvania, even if the Supreme Court determines that state legislative districts in Wisconsin are unconstitutional. The Supreme Court is considering a case that claims Wisconsin legislators overstepped legal boundaries by redrawing districts to favor Republicans. A decision is anticipated early next year. But the decision will almost definitely come too late to impact Pennsylvania congressional races in 2018, including in the Seventh Congressional District, which CNN labeled the worst gerrymander in the nation.

State College Area school board delays vote on extended day plan
Centre Daily Times BY LEON VALSECHI lvalsechi@centredaily.com OCT 09, 2017 11:41 PM
The State College Area school board on Monday decided it needs more time to develop the extended school day proposal. The final vote, which was slated for Monday, has been pushed back to a later date, yet to be decided. The board made the decision after an update on the transportation component of the proposal delivered by Randy Brown, finance and operations officer, and an update on the potential fifth special subject at the elementary level delivered by Vernon Bock, assistant superintendent of elementary education. Under the proposal, the elementary start time moves from 8:44 a.m. back to 8:10 a.m. and the day would end at 3 p.m. instead of 2:50 p.m. Middle and high school students would start at 8:40 a.m. instead of 8:10 a.m. and their day would end at 3:42 p.m. and 3:40 p.m., instead of 3:12 p.m. and 3:16 p.m. respectively. In April, the district contracted Tyler Technologies, of Latham, N.Y., to conduct a transportation study to analyze any transportation changes that would need to occur if the proposal is implemented.

Schools celebrate musical gifts from Grammy-nominated classical pianist
Lang Lang donated keyboards, materials, and money to support instruction. He studied at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and considers the city a second home.
The notebook by Evan Durant October 9, 2017 — 4:25pm
News of a grant from Grammy-nominated classical pianist Lang Lang's International Music Foundation is music to the ears of Kimberly Yocum, general music teacher at Francis Scott Key Elementary in South Philadelphia. The money is critical to Francis Scott Key, which was on the brink of shutting down its music department.  "We have already received the keyboards," said Yocum. "And the grant money will go towards my salary to keep the department alive, allowing me to keep my job." Grants were awarded to three schools in Philadelphia this year: Francis Scott Key Elementary, Thomas Holme Elementary, and Luis Muñoz Marín Elementary. They each received a $130,000 grant that includes a state-of-the-art Roland piano lab, workbooks, materials, and a check for $30,000. A check in the same amount will be received annually for the next three years, and that money is specifically to be used to further music education. The grant awards were celebrated at Thomas Holme Elementary, which welcomed Lang with a short concert featuring two alumni, Maxim Lando and Avery Lin Gagliano.

Students from Ben Franklin see history take flight
A visit to the city's Leonardo aircraft plant also reveals a world of career possibilities.
The notebook by Darryl C. Murphy October 9, 2017 — 12:48pm
Last week, Benjamin Franklin High School students witnessed history in the making.
Eighteen students from the school’s Advanced Manufacturing & Technology program toured the helicopter division of Leonardo, a company based in Italy that specializes in aerospace, defense, and security, and saw the prototype of the first new helicopter type in 50 years. The AW609 Tiltrotor is the first commercial aircraft designed to act as a hybrid of a helicopter and an airplane. It is being built right here in Philadelphia, and the students from Ben Franklin were quite impressed with what they saw. Some even started considering a future at the company. “I am thinking about all of the possibilities,” said Richmond Hamilton, a sophomore in Ben Franklin’s Computer-Aided Drafting & Design program. “I can see myself down there working.” The field trip was organized by the city’s Chamber of Commerce and Ben Franklin High School to celebrate Manufacturing Month in Philadelphia. With the trip, state and city officials hope to raise awareness of the local career opportunities awaiting students.

Gov. Tom Wolf did what he had to do on state budget
Lancaster Online Editorial by The LNP Editorial Board Oct 9, 2017
THE ISSUE - Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf said Wednesday that he is tired of waiting for Republican lawmakers to produce a plan to wipe out a projected $2.2 billion deficit and will look to borrow $1.2 billion against profits from the state-controlled liquor system to help patch it, The Associated Press reported. The state Legislature has failed to produce a spending plan to pay for the new $32 billion budget passed in June. Wolf said his moves will be immediate. By his own admission, Gov. Wolf is not a patient man. He is, after all, a businessman, unaccustomed to having to machete his way through a bureaucratic jungle to accomplish what should be routine tasks. In state government, there should be nothing more basic than coming up with a plan to pay for the budget you’ve already passed. So, we’d say Wolf was justified when he finally blew his cork. “Too many Republicans in the Legislature are more focused on the 2018 elections than on helping Pennsylvania succeed,” Wolf said at a press conference last week. “They’d rather see me fail than Pennsylvania succeed. They’d rather protect special interests, they’d rather protect lobbyists and campaign donors than do the right thing. I’m not going to play their games anymore, so I’m drawing a line in the sand.”

Gov. Wolf's scary fairy tale, but it's for real
Philly Daily News by John Baer, STAFF COLUMNIST  baerj@phillynews.com updated: OCTOBER 9, 2017 — 5:50 AM EDT
The 47th governor of Pennsylvania, the 14th Democrat to hold the office, is suddenly making some noise. To some it sounds like clucking. For as we pass 100 days with no state budget and no signs of settlement, Gov. Wolf is playing the Little Red Hen. You know the story. Couldn’t get anybody to help her do anything so she did it all herself. Well, we now have Wolf: “Who will help me raise money to clean up the deficit I created last year?” “Not I,” said the House Republicans. Or: “Who will help me balance our new budget with a shale severance tax?” “Not I,” said the legislature, including House Democrats and moderate Republicans who couldn’t even move a shale-tax bill from committee. “Then I’ll do it myself,” said the Little Red …, I mean, said Wolf. And he announced he’ll pay for the deficit and balance the budget all on his own. For starters, he’ll borrow $1.25 billion to be paid back over 20 years with profits from our arcane booze system run by the Liquor Control Board (LCB), which, along with our legislature, is another suspect arm of a less-than-laudatory government.

Pa. House speaker accuses Gov. Wolf of pursuing 'formula for failure' in new video | Monday Morning Coffee
Penn Live By John L. Micek jmicek@pennlive.com Updated on October 9, 2017 at 8:32 AM Posted on October 9, 2017 at 8:30 AM
Good Monday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
Pennsylvania House Speaker Mike Turzai isn't running for governor - at least not yet, maybe never - but in a new video posted to his official Facebook page, the suburban Pittsburgh Republican is looking and sounding a lot like a candidate. In a more than three-minute attack spot that finds Turzai standing in front of some strategically placed blight in Allison Hill, the House's presiding officer laces into Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, whom he accuses of pursuing a "formula for failure" in budget talks that have dragged on for nearly four months. "It's time some of us put our careers and our reputations on the line by saying no more. No more taxes. No more unaccountable, uncontrolled spending. No more gimmicks," Turzai says in the clip.


“U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has championed charters and for-profit education, contending in congressional testimony that school choice can lower absenteeism and dropout rates. But at schools like Capital, a ProPublica-USA Today investigation found, the drop-outs rarely drop in—and if they do, they don’t stay long.”
Betsy DeVos Champions For-Profit Schools That Are Deceiving Taxpayers and Vulnerable Students
At-risk students are aggressively recruited, and then counted as fully enrolled—even when they don’t show up.
Mother Jones by HEATHER VOGELL OCT. 10, 2017 6:00 AM
This story was originally co-published by ProPublica and USA Today.
Last school year, Ohio’s cash-strapped education department paid Capital High $1.4 million in taxpayer dollars to teach students on the verge of dropping out. But on a Thursday in May, students’ workstations in the storefront charter school run by for-profit EdisonLearning resembled place settings for a dinner party where most guests never arrived. n one room, empty chairs faced 25 blank computer monitors. Just three students sat in a science lab down the hall, and nine more in an unlit classroom, including one youth who sprawled out, head down, sleeping. Only three of the more than 170 students on Capital’s rolls attended class the required five hours that day, records obtained by ProPublica show. Almost two-thirds of the school’s students never showed up; others left early. Nearly a third of the roster failed to attend class all week. Some stay away even longer. ProPublica reviewed 38 days of Capital High’s records from late March to late May and found six students skipped 22 or more days straight with no excused absences. Two were gone the entire 38-day period. Under state rules, Capital should have unenrolled them after 21 consecutive unexcused absences. Across the nation, roughly 6 percent of young people ages 16 to 24 are considered dropouts because they neither attend high school nor hold a diploma. Many more teeter on the brink of leaving. Though the school is largely funded on a per-student basis, the no-shows didn’t hurt the school’s revenue stream. Capital billed and received payment from the state for teaching the equivalent of 171 students full time in May.


Take Action Community Forum on Education Equity Saturday, October 21
Hosted by Take Action Give 5 and POWER Saturday, October 21 at 1 PM - 4 PM
Penn Wood Senior High School 100 Green Ave, Lansdowne, Pennsylvania 19050
Help Make Education in Delco More Fair! Pennsylvania has the most unfair education funding in the US. This affects every one of us. Join us October 21 to learn how you can make a difference!
POWER Interfaith and Take Action Give 5 are pleased to invite you to a free event designed to educate and activate Delaware County citizens on issues related to education equity in our schools, county, and state. The Take Action Community Forum on Education Equity will be held Saturday, October 21st from 1-4 pm at Penn Wood High School, 100 Green Avenue, Lansdowne.  We will host a panel of dynamic and illustrious speakers to explain why such education inequity exists in PA, offer ways to get involved, and answer audience questions. After the panel, our engaged and motivated audience will learn how to get involved with organizations working for education equity Delco. We aim to connect local activists - those new to the game and those with a lifetime of experience - with education equity advocacy and direct service organizations in Delco. Click here for list of panelists.

Reclaiming Our Democracy: The Pennsylvania Conference to End
Gerrymandering
Saturday, October 14th, 2017 | 9:00am-5:00pm Crowne Plaza Harrisburg, PA
Crowne Plaza Harrisburg-Hershey 23 S 2nd St.  Harrisburg, PA
Join us for a one-day redistricting conference in Harrisburg for volunteers, supporters, academics, press and legislators. Gubernatorial candidates, legislative leaders and national redistricting experts have been invited to speak about gerrymandering and the potential for reform.  In the afternoon there will be breakout sessions on redistricting issues of interest, including new gerrymandering standards and details on litigation in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and other states.
https://www.fairdistrictspa.com/events/2017/10/14/reclaiming-our-democracy-the-pennsylvania-conference-to-end-gerrymandering

Seventh Annual Pennsylvania Arts and Education Symposium, November 2, 2017 Camp Hill
The 2017 Pennsylvania Arts and Education will be held on Thursday, November 2, 2017 at the Radisson Hotel Harrisburg Convention Center in Camp Hill.  See the agenda here.
Early Bird Registration ends September 30.
https://www.eplc.org/pennsylvania-arts-education-network/


The Road to College Success for Students from Underserved Communities
Philadelphia School Partnership Posted on October 2, 2017
Wednesday, October 18th 6:30-8pm National Constitution Center Kirby Theater
525 Arch Street Philadelphia, PA 19106
How do we prepare students for what comes after their college acceptance? How do we equip them with the skills they need to graduate and continue into the workforce? For years, author Richard Whitmire has crossed the country, analyzing how a variety of schools address this question. Join us as we sit down with him and Drexel Professor Paul Harrington to discuss how leading urban high schools are helping first-generation college goers beat the odds and achieve college success.
Please join us! RSVP to info@philaschool.org by October 6th!

Support the Notebook and see Springsteen on Broadway
The notebook October 2, 2017 — 10:57am
Donate $50 or more until Nov. 10, enter to win – and have your donation doubled!
"This music is forever for me. It's the stage thing, that rush moment that you live for. It never lasts, but that's what you live for." – Bruce Springsteen
You can be a part of a unique Bruce Springsteen show in his career – and support local, nonprofit education journalism!  Donate $50 or more to the Notebook through Nov. 10, and your donation will be doubled, up to $1,000, through the Knight News Match. Plus, you will be automatically entered to win a pair of prime tickets to see Springsteen on Broadway!  One winner will receive two tickets to the 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 24, show at the Walter Kerr Theatre. These are amazing orchestra section seats to this incredible sold-out solo performance. Don't miss out on your chance to see the Boss in his Broadway debut. Donate to the Notebook today online or by mail at 699 Ranstead St., 3rd Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19106.
http://thenotebook.org/articles/2017/10/02/springsteen-on-broadway

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 Is Open for the 2017 Arts and Education Symposium
Thursday, November 2, 2017 8:30 a.m. - 5:15 p.m.
 Radisson Hotel Harrisburg Convention Center
Registration October 1 to November 1 - $60; Registration at the Symposium - $70
Full-Time Student Registration (Student ID Required at Symposium Check-In) - $30
Act 48 Credit Available

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.
http://myemail.constantcontact.com/PASCD-Conference-Registration-is-Now-Open.html?soid=1101415141682&aid=5F-ceLtbZDs

Save the Date! NSBA 2018 Advocacy Institute February 4-6, 2018 Marriott Marquis, Washington D.C.
Registration Opens Tuesday, September 26, 2017


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