Wednesday, October 11, 2017

PA Ed Policy Roundup Oct. 11: Simple truth about PA school funding – 26 years later

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup Oct. 11, 2017:
Simple truth about PA school funding – 26 years later

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

“However, the Supreme Court has now said that the issue is justiciable. Since the only real service mentioned in our constitution is education, you wonder why it took so long to decide the issue. Now the case goes back to Commonwealth Court. The sad part of all of this is that we have wasted so much time -- 26 years and more -- arguing about something that appears to be so obvious. How many children have we lost since the beginning of the PARSS case? Certainly there is at least one generation of loss.”
Here's the simple truth about school funding no one wants to talk about | Opinion
Penn Live Guest Editorial By Arnold Hillman Posted on October 10, 2017 at 8:30 AM
Arnold Hilman, a founder of the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools, now runs the South Carolina Association of Rural Schools, in Bluffton, S.C.
Last month's state Supreme Court ruling in a case that could have a profound impact on the way Pennsylvania pays for public schools (William Penn School District et al v.The Pennsylvania Department of Education) brings back a flood of memories. The first one: A  1984 meeting set up by Dr. Margaret Smith, then Secretary of Education and chaired by Joe Bard, then working in the Department of Education,  concerning problems in rural schools. That session stimulated the formation of the Pennsylvania Association of Rural Schools. There was already the semblance of the organization in both the eastern and  western  Pennsylvania.  Bob Cercone of Freedom School District and Dawson Detweiler of Columbia School District were the instigators of these groups.PARSS was created to serve the needs of rural and small schools. The main focus was always the funding of these schools. It appeared, legislatively that the clout in the state was not in these areas. By 1989, PARSS was moving towards challenging the Commonwealth in Court. Dawson Detweiler, Mark Widoff (general counsel of the Pennsylvania State Education Association) and I went to Kentucky to meet with the attorneys for the Rose equity suit that was so successful. It was at that moment that we knew what the future held for us. After many meetings, PARSS decided to go to court. The case was originally called PARSS v. Casey and later PARSS v Ridge. The papers were filed in January of 1991 with 214 school districts, not just rural, but needy cities. The case dragged on for years until a decision in Commonwealth Court said that the case was not justiciable.

“Gerrymandering is now eroding the foundation of our two party system by threatening to end competitive elections. Equally important -- blatant gerrymandering has deprived millions of voters from having any meaningful influence on the political process.”
Madonna & Young: Our Toxic Gerrymandering
Politically Uncorrected by G. Terry Madonna & Michael L.Young October 10, 2017
It’s the quintessential “inside baseball” game among political aficionados: decennial reapportionment of legislative districts. The game itself is pretty simple to describe. A political party – be it Republicans or Democrats - gains control of a state legislature at the beginning of a new decade. Ideally they gain control of all three branches of government so no pesky spoilsports – such as governors - try to ruin the game. This is a game that requires no athletic ability at all, but it does require the fertile imagination and plodding persistence to turn out election district maps that maximize the congressional and state legislative seats your party will win while minimizing the seats of the opposition party.  Still, some time-tested schemes are used to achieve this, including so-called “packing” and “cracking.” The first packs the voters of one party together; the second spreads them apart among districts unwinnable by the minority party. In recent decades, sophisticated technology driven software has reduced the gerrymander to a mathematical science. Better known as “gerrymandering,” the process itself was named after an 1812 Massachusetts governor, one Elbridge Gerry. Gerry presided over an early reapportionment so blatantly unfair, one of the districts was said to resemble a salamander – hence the portmanteau word “gerrymander.” 

“The district is expected to pay almost $27 million in charter tuition this year to all charter schools its students attend.”
Lehigh Valley Dual Language Charter School agrees to cap enrollment of Bethlehem area students
Jacqueline Palochko Contact Reporter Of The Morning Call October 10,2017
The Lehigh Valley Dual Language Charter School has agreed to an enrollment cap with the Bethlehem Area School District, a move that helps give the district consistency in budgeting the costs for charter schools. Superintendent Joseph Roy asked if the charter school would consent to a school-wide enrollment cap of 187 district students during a presentation from charter School Principal Lisa Pluchinsky at a school board committee meeting on Monday. Pluchinsky said the charter’s board of trustees agrees to the enrollment cap for the Bethlehem Area students. “It seems like a reasonable request,” Pluchinsky said after the meeting. Lexington is the ultimate bourbon lover’s playground, with 9 world-famous distilleries surrounding downtown. It’s the ideal home base for those wanting to explore the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and get to know America’s Native Spirit firsthand. The charter school, which is seeking a five-year renewal of its charter, enrolls 187 district students, which is why that number was decided as the cap. The charter school serves students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The charter school already has a school-wide enrollment cap of 450 total students. But capping the number of Bethlehem Area students to 187 is something new. After the meeting, Roy said the Bethlehem Area cap will allow the district to have a better idea of how much charter tuition it must allocate for Lehigh Valley Dual Language.

School Employees Retirement Fund Earns 10.14% In FY 2017, Exceeds Return Goal Of 7.25%
PA Capitol Digest by Crisci Associates Oct 10, 2017
The Public School Employees’ Retirement System Tuesday reported the Fund posted a positive return of 10.14 percent for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2017 (FY 2017) and earned $5 billion in investment income net of fees. PSERS Chief Investment Officer, James Grossman, Jr., explained during last Thursday's Investment Committee meeting, “This past fiscal year can be characterized as a “risk-on” period where taking concentrated equity risk significantly paid off for those investors willing and able to take that level of equity risk. By taking less equity risk and managing a more diversified portfolio, PSERS is endeavoring to achieve its actuarial return target over time with less volatility in annual returns. While this past year’s market environment was not as favorable for our allocation relative to other investors that hold a higher equity allocation, PSERS still generated a solid fiscal year return well in excess of its 7.25% return assumption.” PSERS’ top performing asset classes included U.S. and Non-U.S. Equities, Private Markets, High Yield Fixed Income, and Infrastructure.   Grossman continued, “Active management was a significant contributor to performance, adding over $1.7 billion relative to the Board-approved policy benchmark. Active management added value in most asset classes this past fiscal year relative to passively managed alternatives, as 13 of 15 asset classes outperformed their policy benchmarks.”

Will Trump Get His K-12 Budget Cuts? Washington Edu-Insiders Say No.
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Alyson Klein on October 10, 2017 7:26 AM
President Donald Trump alarmed a lot of the education community when he proposed slashing the U.S. Department of Education's nearly $70 billion budget by $9 billion. So will those cuts become a reality? Probably not, say a couple dozen inside-the-beltway education experts surveyed by Whiteboard Advisors. In fact 79 percent of them don't think Congress will follow through on the proposals. Here's a handy graphic breaking this down:

Three Ways Betsy DeVos Could Push School Choice Without Congress
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Alyson Klein on October 10, 2017 11:23 AM
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos' school choice agenda has run into roadblocks on Capitol Hill. But, from her perch at the department, she has other levers to get states and districts to offer kids more schooling options, without help from anyone in Congress.  What are they? Here's a quick breakdown:  Make it a priority for federal grants.
Okay, so far, Congress hasn't seemed to wild about DeVos' idea of a new grant program just for vouchers, or allowing Title I money to follow kids to the school of their choice. In fact, lawmakers have told her those things are a no-go for now. But the Education Department doles out more than $1 billion in federal grants every year. And if they want to, federal officials can give applicants a leg-up if they pitch something choice related, or maybe even if they are a charter school, or part of a district that's home to a voucher program. That wouldn't mean all of the money would go to choice-related activities, but it might steer a good chunk more in that direction.
DeVos and her team will have to be careful here, of course. They can't change the requirements of a grant program that Congress has designed. But they can add to them. DeVos might have the best luck setting "choice" or "personalized learning" as her priorities, as opposed to, say, "vouchers" or even "charters." DeVos is definitely considering this.

Why Cape May’s monarch butterfly migration population varies so much
WHYY By Diane Stopyra October 9, 2017 4:00 pm
This time of year, being in southern New Jersey can feel like being inside a snow globe. Only instead of snow, the sky is a blizzard of butterflies. We’re now experiencing the height of monarch migration, and while it’s too early to assess whether this has been a good season or a bad one for this remarkable insect, there’s reason to hope. “We’re verging on a big year,” says Mark Garland, director of Cape May’s Monarch Monitoring Project, a research and education arm of New Jersey Audubon’s Cape May Bird Observatory. “We’ve already seen some big pulses, and we’re expecting more to come through with the next cold front. We’re getting reports from Ontario, Connecticut, Ohio and Long Island that there are still lots of monarchs up north, heading our way.” This is welcome news for residents of Cape May, my hometown and an important migratory stopover on the butterflies’ 3,000-mile journey from Canada to Mexico. 

Panel: Education Policy in the 113th PA Legislature at PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference Thursday, Oct. 19  2-3:30 p.m.
The Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) will moderate a panel discussion with the four chairs of the House and Senate Education committees as they share their views about the education agenda for the future of Pennsylvania’s public schools. Attendees will learn about pending legislation and policy changes and the impact on their school districts. Presenters:
·         John Callahan, assistant executive director, PSBA
·         The Honorable John Eichelberger, Senate Education Majority Chairman
·         The Honorable Andrew Dinniman, Senate Education Minority Chairman
·         The Honorable James Roebuck, House Education Minority Chairman

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
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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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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