Posted: January 26, 2018 10:09 AM
From: Representative Judy Ward
To: All House members
Subject: Keystone Scholarship Program
In the near future, I will introduce legislation that establishes the Keystone Scholarship Program for Exceptional Students, which provides scholarships to students in Kindergarten through 12th grade to allow the parents of these children to purchase the best educational option available to education their child, these options consist of tuition and fees, textbooks, tutoring, curriculum, corresponding materials and exams, and training programs.
The goal of this legislation is to expand the options for parents of children with special needs including those who have been designated as Gifted. It allows the family to decide which educational environment most effectively accommodates the student’s needs. Among other criteria, an eligible student who can receive a Keystone Scholarship includes a child:
With an individualized education program;
With a 504 plan;
With a gifted individualized education plan;
With a diagnosed disability recognized under federal law;
With a diagnosis that qualifies for Early Intervention Services;
The PA Department of Education (PDE) will be responsible for administering the program, including approving applications submitted by parents, notifying parents of eligible students of the responsibilities of PDE and the parent, and providing a list of participating schools.
“The schools that have 20% to 30% voucher kids and 70% to 80% fee-paying kids, they look more like the private schools that we sort of put on a pedestal—that have very ambitious programs,” says Patrick Wolf, a professor of education policy at the University of Arkansas who has studied private-school choice programs for about 19 years. “Ones that enroll a very high percent of voucher students tend to be low-resourced.”
Do School Vouchers Work? Milwaukee’s Experiment Suggests an Answer
A Wall Street Journal analysis of the school system’s 27-year-old program suggests the concept works best when private institutions limit the number of public students
Wall Street Journal By Tawnell D. Hobbs Jan. 28, 2018 1:06 p.m. ET
MILWAUKEE—Almost three decades ago, Milwaukee started offering the nation’s first-ever school vouchers. Starting small, the program allowed poor children to use taxpayer money to attend private schools. Today, about a quarter of Milwaukee children educated with public funds take advantage, making the program a testing ground for a big experiment in education. Did students in the program get a better education? That depends on how participating schools handled a critical issue: how many voucher students to let in. A Wall Street Journal analysis of the data suggests vouchers worked best when enrollment from voucher students was kept low. As the percentage of voucher students rises, the returns diminish until the point when there is little difference between the performance of public and private institutions. The vast majority of private schools participating in the program today have high percentages of publicly funded students.
The city’s nearly 29,000 voucher students, on average, have performed about the same as their peers in public schools on state exams, the analysis shows. The successful voucher students, who often performed better than their public-school peers, were mainly found at private schools that worked to balance numbers of voucher students and paying ones.
Here’s this blogger’s response to the above WSJ article:
Do American Public Schools Work? PISA: U.S. schools with poverty levels of 25% or less rank first in reading and science and third in math among OECD countries
Keystone State Education Coalition PA Ed Policy Roundup Dec 21, 2016
“This very high prevalence of child poverty in the U.S. and the struggle to educate large numbers of disadvantaged students are two of the most important factors underlying the country’s discouraging showing on the PISA exam.
U.S. schools with poverty levels of 25% or less rank first in reading and science and third in math among OECD countries
By contrast, U.S. schools where >75% of students qualify for FRPL fare very poorly, ranking nearly last in all subjects. Their scores are so low that they drag the overall U.S. average below the median, just above Mexico and Chile.”
Inquirer by Liz Navratil & Angela Couloumbis, HARRISBURG BUREAU Updated: JANUARY 31, 2018 — 7:48 PM EST
PSBA Closer Look Series Public Briefings
The Closer Look Series Public Briefings will take a deeper dive into concepts contained in the proposed Pennsylvania State Budget and the State of Education Report. Sessions will harness the expertise of local business leaders, education advocates, government and local school leaders from across the state. Learn more about the fiscal health of schools, how workforce development and early education can be improved and what local schools are doing to improve the State of Education in Pennsylvania. All sessions are free and open to the public.
Connecting Student Success to Employment
Doubletree by Hilton Hotel – Pittsburgh Green Tree Feb. 27, 2018, 7-8:45 a.m.
More than eight out of 10 students taking one or more industry-specific assessments are achieving either at the competent or advanced level. How do we connect student success to jobs in the community? What does the connection between schools and the business community look like and how can it be improved? How do we increase public awareness of the growing demand for workers in the skilled trades and other employment trends in the commonwealth? Hear John Callahan, PSBA assistant executive director, and Matt Smith, president of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, give a free, public presentation on these topics followed by a Q&A period.
A Deeper Dive into the State of Education
Crowne Plaza Philadelphia – King of Prussia March 6, 2018, 7-8:45 a.m.
In the State of Education Report, 40% of schools stated that 16% to 30% of students joining schools at kindergarten or first grade are below the expected level of school readiness. Learn more about the impact of early education and what local schools are doing to improve the State of Education in Pennsylvania. A free, public presentation by local and legislative experts will be followed by a Q&A period.
Public Education Under Extreme Pressure
Hilton Harrisburg March 12, 2018, 7-8:45 a.m.
According to the State of Education Report, 84% of all school districts viewed budget pressures as the most difficult area to manage over the past year. With so many choices and pressures, school districts must make decisions to invest in priorities while managing their locally diverse budgets. How does the state budget impact these decisions? What investments does the business community need for the future growth of the economy and how do we improve the health, education and well-being of students who attend public schools in the commonwealth in this extreme environment? Hear local and legislative leaders in a free, public presentation on these topics followed by a Q&A period.
Registration for these public briefings: https://www.psba.org/2018/01/closer-look-series-public-briefings/
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
Visits with legislators will be conducted earlier in the day. More information will be sent via email, shared in our publications and posted on our website closer to the event.