Thursday, January 4, 2018

PA Ed Policy Roundup Jan. 4: ESSA: Pa. education officials scurrying to respond to concerns with proposed roadmap for schools

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, charter school leaders, 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.

These daily emails are archived and searchable at http://keystonestateeducationcoalition.org
Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg

Keystone State Education Coalition


Help A Kid Find Their Smile!
PCCY GoFundMe
Have you ever had a toothache?  1 in 7 young children get toothaches, and too many of them go without any dental care.  These kids are in pain, can have trouble eating and paying attention in school – in fact children with poor oral health are nearly 3 times more likely to miss school due to dental pain. But you can change things for children in the Philadelphia area. You can help relieve a child’s pain, give the gift of a dental appointment and a boost to their health and confidence by donating to Public Citizens for Children and Youth’s “Give Kids a Smile” event. Our goal is to raise $25,000 by January 5th in order to make 1,000 kids in the greater Philadelphia area free dental appointments.  

ESSA: Pa. education officials scurrying to respond to concerns with proposed roadmap for schools
Penn Live By Jan Murphy jmurphy@pennlive.com Updated Jan 3, 4:47 PM; Posted Jan 3, 4:14 PM
Pennsylvania's Department of Education is now on the clock to address weaknesses in its plan for complying with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. The U.S. Department of Education sent an interim response to state Education Secretary Pedro Rivera before Christmas citing several areas in the plan where clarification or additional information is needed. It asks for a response by Monday or for the state department to request an extension. A state education department spokeswoman said the department intends to meet the upcoming Monday deadline. Requesting an extension would waive the 120-day requirement for the federal department to make a determination on the state plan submitted on Sept. 8, which "would then impede the department's ability to provide concrete guidance to parents, educators, and community members about critical components of the plan," said spokeswoman Casey Smith.

ESSA: Concerns Mount Over K-12 Education Plans
US News By Lauren Camera, Education Reporter | Jan. 3, 2018, at 4:33 p.m.
As states cement education plans for their schools under the federal K-12 law, the Department of Education is working furiously to assess them amid mounting concerns about states' commitment to following the law, their proposals to ensure historically disadvantaged students have access to quality education, and the department's capacity – and in some cases, lack of desire – to police it all. The Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, gives states new flexibility to create accountability systems that suit their unique needs. Those plans must be vetted and cleared by the Department of Education before states begin implementing them in the near future. The process has been somewhat tumultuous, triggering concern from across the education spectrum about how Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and department officials would review each submission.

Sen. Bob Casey Says CHIP Funding Is In Jeopardy
CBS By Pat Loeb January 3, 2018 at 1:33 pm
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Congress did a short-term extension of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, but still has not reauthorized the program. CHIP could be the emblem of the current situation in Washington. For decades, it’s had bipartisan support. But now, according to Sen. Bob Casey, it’s caught in the polarization of one-party rule. “The majority party in Washington — they control the executive branch, they control the legislative branch — they had a bill sitting right in front of them, the Kids Act, because it would reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program for five years. So what did we get? Not five years, no certainty for families. But, oh, yes, corporations got their tax break,” said Casey. “Because Republicans in Washington were obsessed with giving rich people more money and giving corporations a big tax cut, the Children’s Health Insurance Program got sidelined by the special interests, got pushed to the back of the room by the powerful in Washington.” Casey was headed back to Washington, vowing to get CHIP reauthorized but warning there were bigger fights ahead. “You know what their next big project is? Quote, entitlement reform, unquote,” said Casey. Casey says that means cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security, the other safety net programs for Children’s Health.

Pennsylvania: Aggressive Marketing Fools Philly Parents into Sending Children to Low-Performing Charter Two Hours Away
Diane Ravitch’s Blog By dianeravitch January 3, 2018 
This is incredible but true. Tricked by aggressive marketing, some parents in Philadelphia are putting their five- and six-year-old children on a two hours plus bus ride to a low- performing charter school. The Chester Community Charter School is owned by a major Republican donor. “Imagine waking your 5-year-old kindergarten student before 5 a.m., walking him to a street corner in the city’s Far Northeast, then watching him board a bus for a 2½-hour ride to a school more than 30 miles away. “Then, imagine he endures the same trip in reverse each afternoon. Five days a week. “For some parents, it’s not just a bad dream. Such a routine is customary for an increasing number of Philadelphia students enrolled at Chester Community Charter School…
”As enrollment grows, so do the profits of CSMI LLC, a for-profit education management company that operates Chester Community, and was founded and is run by Vahan H. Gureghian, a lawyer, entrepreneur, and major Republican donor. “CSMI’s books are not public – the for-profit firm has never disclosed its profits and won’t discuss its management fee. State records show that Gureghian’s company collected nearly $17 million in taxpayer funds just in 2014-15. At that time, the school had 2,911 students, and CSMI was paid $5,787 for each. At that rate, more than 1,000 additional students from Philadelphia might mean nearly $6 million in new revenue…

Blogger note: according to the PA Campaign Finance website, during 2017 Jeff Yass and his Susquehanna International Group partners Arthur Dantchik and Joel Greenberg contributed $375,000 to their Pennsylvania school choice Students First PAC.
“The OCPF review found that an organization called QXZ, whose major donor is Jeffrey Yass, donated $600,000 to Strong Economy for Growth. Strong Economy for Growth, on that same day, donated $300,000 to the pro-charter school committee Great Schools Massachusetts. Yass, of Pennsylvania, co-founder of Susquehanna Investment Group, has been a strong proponent of educational choice, including charter schools and school vouchers.”
Pro-charter school Massachusetts group fined for hiding 2016 campaign donors including Mitt Romney's campaign
MassLive By Shira Schoenberg sschoenberg@repub.com Updated Jan 2, 4:39 PM; Posted Jan 2, 3:31 PM
A secretive Massachusetts nonprofit, Strong Economy for Growth, has been fined for trying to influence the 2016 ballot questions on charter schools and marijuana and failing to disclose its donors. Among the donors was the Romney for President campaign's political action committee, which gave $20,000. Strong Economy for Growth paid the state's Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) $31,000, which was the remaining money left in its bank account, as part of a settlement. The organization also agreed not to campaign in Massachusetts in 2018. Strong Economy for Growth contributed $990,000 in 2016 to Great Schools Massachusetts, a committee formed to support a ballot question to allow more charter schools in Massachusetts. It gave another $178,000 to the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts to defeat a ballot question legalizing recreational marijuana for adults. Voters rejected the charter school question and legalized marijuana.

"The Pennsylvania Constitution does not permit discrimination against voters on the basis of their political views, which is exactly what this map does."
Gerrymandering ruling shows low expectations
Bill White Contact Reporter Of The Morning Call January 3, 2018
Pa. should have higher expectations for government integrity
Low expectations can be a curse or a blessing. The greatest beneficiary I've ever seen is President Trump. Throughout his campaign and the first year of his presidency, he got away with things no other politician could even consider doing, because ... hey, he's Donald Trump. What do you expect? President Obama had the opposite problem. He entered office in such a wave of high expectations that he got the Nobel Peace Prize before he even did anything. No one could have measured up. One thing all of us should regret is the incredibly low expectations people have for integrity in Pennsylvania government. Whenever a national group gauges the ethical standards of state governments nationwide, we finish near the bottom. We got a fresh reminder of how bad it is last month when the board of the State Employees' Retirement Systems decided former state Senate Democratic leader Robert Mellow still should get his $245,000 a year state pension after going to federal prison for corruption. As one reader pointed out to me after I included this in my year in review, the more amazing part of this awful story may be that any departed state legislator gets a $245,000 a year pension, let alone one who went to prison for cheating us in office. But I'm going to focus today on another example of low expectations for good government in Pennsylvania.

 “The 18th is quintessentially Trump country. But there are at least six compelling forces playing out in this race that should frighten Republicans and reassure Democrats as the latter try to pick up a "safe" GOP seat heading into the momentous 2018 midterms.”
PA18: G. Terry Madonna and Michael Young: Should GOP worry about Pennsylvania's March special election?
Morning Call Opinion by G. Terry Madonna and Michael Young January 3, 2018
The March 13 special election in the Pennsylvania 18th Congressional District in the southwestern part of the state should be a ho-hum affair. It won't be! It should be ho-hum because it is a strongly Republican leaning district, rated a plus-11 advantage Republican by the respected Cook Political Report, and rated at least "likely Republican" by virtually every other election handicapper. Conventional wisdom favors Republicans so strongly because of the history and demographic makeup of the district. The now-disgraced previous incumbent, Tim Murphy, regularly won the district by 60 percent or more — while Hillary Clinton pulled only a miserly 38 percent in the 2016 presidential race. What makes the district so favorable to Republicans is the composition of the electorate, which includes the southern portion of Allegheny County, as well as Washington, Westmoreland and Greene counties. The latter three were overwhelmingly carried by President Trump in 2016. These counties are the homes of a substantial number of white, rural and small-town voters — many of them working class — the same voters that propelled Trump to his 44,000-vote statewide victory. They were a critical part of the president's Rust Belt strategy, especially in the old manufacturing and mill town portions of the district.

With high-profile retirements, Pa. to lose experience, clout in Congress
Inquirer by Jonathan Tamari, Washington Bureau  @JonathanTamari |  jtamari@phillynews.com
Updated: JANUARY 3, 2018 — 5:53 PM EST
WASHINGTON — By the end of the year, Pennsylvania will have lost more than 50 years of experience in the U.S. House, along with the clout that kind of seniority brings.
Three Republican representatives from the state are not seeking reelection, and one veteran GOP House member resigned last fall amid a scandal. The power outage comes even before voters go to the polls in November, amid a political climate that could threaten even more incumbents in the Republican majority. The latest decision landed Tuesday, when Rep. Bill Shuster, chairman of the powerful House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, announced he would not seek a 10th term. He is the state’s most senior Republican, and his exit will mark the end of a remarkable family run — Shuster and his father have held a central Pennsylvania House seat since 1973. He joins Republican Reps. Charlie Dent, of Allentown, a moderate worn down by seven terms’ worth of ideological battles; Tim Murphy, of Allegheny County, who retired under pressure in October amid revelations of an affair and abusive office behavior; and Lou Barletta, a Northeast Pennsylvanian who is running for the U.S. Senate.

PA8: Democrats rise to take on Republican Rep. Fitzpatrick in Bucks County
WHYY By Dave Davies January 4, 2018
Two more Democrats have emerged as likely candidates for the Bucks County congressional seat held by Republican U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick. Steve Bacher is an environmental activist. Scott Wallace is a wealthy progressive with a pedigree dating back to the New Deal. His grandfather, Henry Wallace served as vice president under Franklin Delano Roosevelt and ran an independent candidacy for president in 1948 under the banner of the Progressive Party. The 8th Congressional District appears to be a swing seat when you look at party registration and presidential votes, which are nearly evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. But freshman Fitzpatrick handily won the seat his brother Mike had held two years ago, and most analysts think it will take a strong national Democratic wave to take it back this year.
But there are now at least three candidates willing to try.

As Trump attacks Bannon, women Democrats in Philly suburbs take office after delicious revenge wins against the GOP | Maria Panaritis
Inquirer by Maria Panaritis, Regional Columnist  @panaritism |  mpanaritis@phillynews.com Updated: JANUARY 4, 2018 — 5:20 AM EST
I won’t lie. This was fun. As President Trump went to war with his former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, on Wednesday, I watched from a cushioned seat at West Chester University as four women exacted their own version of revenge on the commander-in-chief and the party that has refused to rein him in. We were gathered inside the ballroom of Sykes Student Union as this fearsome foursome — accomplished professionals with minimal to zero political establishment credentials — were sworn in to Chester County row-office posts not held by a Democrat since before the Civil War. Two of these barrier-breaking history makers were former Republican women who thought that their party had abandoned them over the last decade as it became a hard-right refuge of reactionary rhetoric.

“The school board will control a $3 billion budget and the fates of nearly 200,000 children, 130,000 in traditional public schools and over 60,000 in publicly funded charter schools. The SRC must adopt its first financial projection, a so-called lump sum budget (basically, just the amount it intends to spend for 2019-20) in March and a final budget in May, essentially setting the fiscal course for the new school board. District and city officials want school board members to be part of that process. ….School board members, like their SRC predecessors, are unpaid. (And they work long hours and sit through meetings where they are often pilloried by the public.)”
Farewell, SRC: A Philadelphia school board primer
Inquirer by Kristen A. Graham, Staff Writer  @newskag |  kgraham@phillynews.com Updated: JANUARY 3, 2018 — 3:01 AM EST
The Philadelphia School Reform Commission’s days are numbered.
In November, the Philadelphia School District’s governing body for the last 16 years took a historic vote to dissolve itself. (It wasn’t unanimous — Commissioner Bill Green voted against dissolution, saying the time wasn’t right for the SRC to go away, and Commissioner Farah Jimenez abstained.) In late December, Pedro A. Rivera, Pennsylvania’s education secretary, officially certified the dissolution. What’s next? Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about the coming change in Philadelphia public school governance.

Philly District, radio station promote school attendance
People who post ideas on social media for getting kids up and out can win prizes. The contest runs through the end of the month.
by the Notebook January 3, 2018 — 8:36pm
Have good ideas on how to get students to school on time? The District and iHeart Media, along with Read by 4th, are sponsoring a social media contest to promote school attendance. The initiative consists of public service announcements on the radio and a contest for adults 18 and older to share tips on social media for getting students to school on time using the hashtags #AttendanceHero and #ContestEntry. In the middle of the record cold snap, Superintendent William Hite said that winter is tough for families to get up and running. "But when students miss school, they also miss out on the potential to become, confident engaged learners," he said at a press conference announcing the campaign. Jenny Bogoni, the executive director of Read by 4th, emphasized the importance of good attendance for the youngest students. "It's all connected: going to school every day on time, learning how to read, and doing well in school and in life," she said.

Philly schools looking for an #AttendanceHero
WHYY By Avi Wolfman-Arent January 3, 2018
In Eva Sanchez’s house, the best remedy for the morning rush is a plan. Sanchez lays out her son’s clothes and lunch the night before and stations his backpack by the door. When the temperature drops, she sets both of their alarm clocks 15 minutes early to account for the sluggishness that accompanies winter weather. “So when we leave, we’re all ready,” she said. “We’re not going through the whole motions of, ‘Where’s my stuff?’” Sanchez, whose third-grader attends Alexander McClure School in the Hunting Park section of North Philadelphia, developed her strategy over years of struggle with her older daughter. “With her it was more of a push and shove. ‘Let’s go, let’s go, we’re running late,’” she said. “By the time my son came, we had the routine down pat.” As the depths of winter descend and students return from the winter holidays, the School District of Philadelphia is encouraging parents like Sanchez to share their morning protocols on social media through the #AttendanceHero initiative.


Charter School Discussion in Philly Jan 11, 2018 8:00 - 9:30 a.m.
PCCY Email December 26, 2017
Serious flaws in Pennsylvania’s charter school law put the quality of charter schools on the back burner.  Join PCCY for a discussion of how other states’ laws are doing a better job and explore what makes sense in Pennsylvania. January 11, 2018 from 8:00 - 9:30 a.m., at the United Way Building 1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 19103
Featured speakers include:
·         Representative James Roebuck (D), PA General Assembly, Democratic Chairman - Education Committee
·         Representative Jordan Harris (D), PA General Assembly
·         Veronica Brooks-Uy, Policy Director, National Association of Charter School Authorizers
·         Sharif El-Mekki, Principal, Mastery Charter Schools
·         Jeff Sparagana, Ed.D, Former Superintendent Pottstown School District
·         Doug Carney, Former Springfield School Board Member (24 years), SVP Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
·         Donna Cooper, Executive Director, Public Citizens for Children and Youth
·         Tomea Sippio-Smith, Education Policy Director, Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY)


Register now for PSBA Board Presidents Panel 
PSBA Website January 2018

School board leaders, this one's for you! Join your colleagues at an evening of networking and learning in 10 convenient locations around the state at the end of January. Share your experience and leadership through a panel discussion moderated by PSBA Member Services team. Participate in roundtable conversations focused on the most pressing challenges and current issues affecting PA school districts. Bring your specific challenges and scenarios for small group discussion. Register online.

Register for New School Director Training in December and January
PSBA Website October 2017
You’ve started a challenging and exciting new role as a school director. Let us help you narrow the learning curve! PSBA’s New School Director Training provides school directors with foundational knowledge about their role, responsibilities and ethical obligations. At this live workshop, participants will learn about key laws, policies, and processes that guide school board governance and leadership, and develop skills for becoming strong advocates in their community. Get the tools you need from experts during this visually engaging and interactive event.
Choose from any of these remaining locations and dates (note: all sessions are held 8 a.m.-4 p.m., unless specified otherwise.):
·         Jan. 6, Haverford Middle School (This session is full)
·         Jan. 13, A W Beattie Career Center
·         Jan. 13, Parkland HS
Fees: Complimentary to All-Access members or $170 per person for standard membership. All registrations will be billed to the listed district, IU or CTC. To request billing to an individual, please contact Michelle Kunkel at michelle.kunkel@psba.org. Registration also includes a box lunch on site and printed resources.

NSBA 2018 Advocacy Institute February 4 - 6, 2018 Marriott Marquis, Washington D.C.
Register Now
Come a day early and attend the Equity Symposium!
Join hundreds of public education advocates on Capitol Hill and help shape the decisions made in Washington D.C. that directly impact our students. At the 2018 Advocacy Institute, you’ll gain insight into the most critical issues affecting public education, sharpen your advocacy skills, and prepare for effective meetings with your representatives. Whether you are an expert advocator or a novice, attend and experience inspirational keynote speakers and education sessions featuring policymakers, legal experts and policy influencers. All designed to help you advocate for your students and communities.

REGISTER TODAY! ELECTED. ENGAGED. EMPOWERED:
Local School Board Members to Advocate on Capitol Hill in 2018     
NSBA's Advocacy Institute 2018 entitled, "Elected. Engaged. Empowered: Representing the Voice in Public Education," will be held on February 4-6, 2018 at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, D.C. This conference will convene Members of Congress, national thought-leaders, state association executives and well-known political pundits to provide local school board members with an update on key policy and legal issues impacting public education, and tactics and strategies to enhance their ability to influence the policy-making process and national education debate during their year-round advocacy efforts.
WHAT'S NEW - ADVOCACY INSTITUTE '18?
·         Confirmed National Speaker: Cokie Roberts, Political Commentator for NPR and ABC News
·         NSBA will convene first ever National School Board Town Hall on School Choice
·         Includes General Sessions featuring national policy experts, Members of Congress, "DC Insiders" and local school board members
·         Offers conference attendees "Beginner" and "Advanced" Advocacy breakout sessions
·         NSBA will host a Hill Day Wrap-Up Reception
Click here to register for the Advocacy Institute.  The hotel block will close on Monday, January 15
.
Registration is now open for the 2018 PASA Education Congress! State College, PA, March 19-20, 2018
Don't miss this marquee event for Pennsylvania school leaders at the Nittany Lion Inn, State College, PA, March 19-20, 2018.
Learn more by visiting http://www.pasa-net.org/2018edcongress 

SAVE THE DATE for the 2018 PA Educational Leadership Summit - July 29-31 - State College, PA sponsored by the PA Principals Association, PASA, PAMLE and PASCD.  
This year's Summit will be held from July 29-31, 2018 at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, State College, PA.

Any comments contained herein are my comments, alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any other person or organization that I may be affiliated with.

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