Tuesday, March 13, 2018

PA Ed Policy Roundup March 13: Statewide plans for student walkout tomorrow; SB2 Vouchers: School boards in Pa. lining up against proposed school choice bill

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Statewide plans for student walkout tomorrow; SB2 Vouchers: School boards in Pa. lining up against proposed school choice bill

Uncharted Territory in Delaware County – Panel Discussion on Implications of Rising Charter Enrollment in the Southeastern Pennsylvania Suburbs
Thursday, March 15, 2018; 8:00 – 9:30 a.m. Penn Wood HS
Come out and lend your voice to the discussion!

“Critics compare the program to the controversial school choice option known as vouchers, which they say strip resources from cash-strapped public schools and hurt student performance. But rather than attending private charter schools with the voucher program, Education Savings Accounts would allow students to attend private and parochial schools in the commonwealth.”
SB2: School boards in Pa. are lining up against a proposed school choice bill
MATT MCKINNEY Pittsburgh Post-Gazette mmckinney@post-gazette.com MAR 12, 2018 6:58 AM
School boards across Pennsylvania have signaled their opposition to a state Senate bill that would allow students in struggling districts to use state money for private school tuition and other pre-approved expenses, a move that critics say would hurt public schools. Proponents say the move would offer alternatives to students in low-performing school districts. More than 100 school boards — at least 1 in 5 in the state — have passed resolutions contesting the bill so far, according to the Pennsylvania School Boards Association. The group sent members a draft resolution in mid-January they could adopt if they decide to oppose the bill, PSBA spokesman Steve Robinson said. “We are strongly encouraging as many boards as possible to adopt the resolution,” he said. The proposal would create a new school choice offering through so-called Education Savings Accounts, according to the proposal by Sen. John DiSanto, R-Dauphin. The bill would allow some families who decide to not send their child to their neighborhood public school to receive the equivalent to what the state spends per pupil, which would be deducted from their home district’s subsidy. Students who attend school in bottom 15 percent of districts according to Pennsylvania System of School Assessment test scores would be eligible for the subsidies.

SB2: Local schools stand against new education bill
PA Home Page By: Crystal Cranmore   Posted: Mar 12, 2018 06:34 PM EDT Updated: Mar 12, 2018 06:34 PM EDT
WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) - Not satisfied with the public education her son was getting, this mom added a new responsibility to her list of duties. She now teaches her son at home. "when you're zoned to a certain school and that's the school that your child has to go to, you don't have than many options when you are a low income family," SAID Julia Pantallion. Homeschooling is still an investment, but more affordable than private school for Pantallion. According to Senator John DiSanto of Dauphin County, too many Pennsylvania families face similar limitations. His bill - Senate Bill 2 - would establish an education savings account that parents can use to pay for tuition at a participating private or charter school, books and more. Eligible parents who's child attends school in a low-performing district could be granted the state average funding for one child, which is about 5 thousand dollars. "It would put families in the drivers seat of their kids educational outcomes," said Micah Lovell, the vice principal at Abington Christian Academy. Educators the private academy  say school choice can make a positive academic difference in a student's life. But not everyone is on board with this particular idea. In our area, adminsitrators from Weatherly area school district, Northwest area school district and Carbondale area school district to name a few, passed a resolution opposing the plan.

PA18: Special election: It comes down to today for Rick Saccone and Conor Lamb
TRIBUNE-REVIEW | Tuesday, March 13, 2018, 12:04 a.m.
The hard-fought battle between Republican Rick Saccone and Democrat Conor Lamb ends today as voters decide who will replace former Congressman Tim Murphy in Pennsylvania's 18th District. Lamb, 33, of Mt. Lebanon, is a Marine veteran and former federal prosecutor.
He's pitched himself as a Southwestern Pennsylvania Democrat with an independent streak, unbeholden to the national party or House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Saccone, 60, of Elizabeth, is a member of the state House of Representatives. He described himself as "Trump before Trump was Trump," touting his conservative bona fides and his experience as an Air Force veteran, a state lawmaker and in the private sector.

PA18: Stakes high for GOP in special House election in Trump slice of Pennsylvania
Morning Call by David Weigel and Robert Costa Washington Post March 13, 2018
The stakes are high for President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans in Tuesday's special election to fill a U.S. House seat, with GOP leaders unnerved about the prospect of defeat and the implications for this year's midterm elections. A loss in Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District - a working-class slice of the country that Trump has cultivated as his political base - could shatter hopes that his core voters will turn out in droves this fall and save the GOP's 24-seat House majority. And, coming days after the president announced tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, the vote could raise fresh questions about the power of Trump's protectionist agenda to lift his party. "It really is a test that sets things in motion," former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele said. "Does the base have energy? Does the party have the structure and discipline it needs?"

Editorial: Young voices continue to be raised in gun debate
Delco Times Editorial POSTED: 03/13/18, 5:02 AM EDT | UPDATED: 29 SECS AGO
The voices are getting louder. This week they will build once again.
They are the voices of young people, tired of having targets on their backs.
Students here in Delaware County and across the country plan to walk out of school Wednesday, the one-month anniversary of the latest mass school shooting. This time it was in Parkland, Fla. A clearly troubled young man who had been expelled from the school calmly walked back in on Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, and started shooting. Before he fled, 17 people – most of them students – were dead. It’s not the first time we’ve been down this road. Young people are hoping it will be the last. And they are taking action to that effect. Wednesday’s walkout will be followed by a massive youth march on Washington, D.C., on March 24. It is being called the March for Our Lives. Students and staff across Delaware County are taking part in Wednesday’s action to pay their respects to the students and staff who lost their lives inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Students who participate in March 14 school walk out should not be punished | Editorial
by The Inquirer Editorial Board Updated: MARCH 13, 2018 — 5:22 AM EDT
More than 40 schools in Philadelphia and South Jersey have students planning to walk out of class Wednesday to protest mass shootings like the Parkland, Fla., tragedy. Not all of the schools are supporting their students in this action. But they should. It’s a shame when children feel compelled to speak up because adults have failed them, but sometimes that’s the only way to ignite groundbreaking change. Think of the children’s marches in Birmingham, Ala., organized by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., which brought the national attention he needed to fight segregation in the 1960s. The Valentine’s Day slaying of 14 children and three adults by an apparently deranged former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School should have brought immediate and dramatic changes in America’s gun laws. Instead, Congress and President Trump have discussed a variety of meager reforms without passing anything.

This Week's Nationwide Student Walkout: 6 Things to Know
Education Week By Denisa R. Superville March 12, 2018
On March 14, thousands of students across the country are expected to walk out of class or participate in events tied to what’s billed as ENOUGH: National School Walkout.
The Women’s March Youth Empower, the organizer of the event, is asking students to stage the protest at 10 a.m. in each time zone—on the one-month anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., which killed 17 students and educators. Organizers are calling for students to stay out of class for 17 minutes—one minute for each person killed in the shooting. The dominant call for action tied to the national walkout is for stricter gun laws, including a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and expanded background checks for prospective gun-buyers. Inspired by the activism of a small, but vocal group of student survivors from Stoneman Douglas, students across the U.S. have already staged dozens of walkouts in the weeks since the Feb. 14 mass shooting.

Lancaster County students prepare to address gun violence Wednesday during National School Walkout
Lancaster Online LINDSEY BLEST | Staff Writer March 13, 2018
Three times a week for the past month, Jamie Zamrin and five of her peers at Cocalico High School have met before school to plan their version of the National School Walkout.
Started by the Women’s March Network, the walkout is an event for students around the country to remember the 17 lives lost in the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and demand legislative changes to combat gun violence in schools. When Zamrin learned about the walkout, she said she knew she wanted to help plan one at her school. “Even as students we still have a voice, we still want to commemorate (the lives lost),” the 18-year-old senior said. With the administration’s approval, students will gather in the cafeteria at 10 a.m. Wednesday, where short biographies of the victims will be read followed by a moment of silence. Students also will speak about gun violence and ways in which students can make a difference. The event at Cocalico is similar to events being held Wednesday at other public and private schools in Lancaster County.

Several Alle-Kiski Valley districts will allow students to protest mass shootings Wednesday
Trib Live by EMILY BALSER  | Monday, March 12, 2018, 10:45 p.m.
Students in the Alle-Kiski Valley will join their peers across the country Wednesday in a 17-minute walkout honoring the 17 victims of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14. March 14 marks the one-month anniversary of the mass shooting. Dubbed the ENOUGH National School Walkout, the idea originated with the group EMPOWER, a coalition of organizations led by the youth division of the January 2017 Women's March organizers. Each local school district is putting its own twist on the idea to personalize it and ensure students' safety. Students at Highlands and Valley high schools will be holding indoor events.

Northeast schools plan response to nationwide student walkouts
Wilkes Barre Citizens Voice BY MICHAEL P. BUFFER / PUBLISHED: MARCH 13, 2018
Area school administrators have been busy deciding how to address Wednesday’s nationwide walkout to advocate stricter gun control laws and honor the 17 people killed Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Do they allow students to walk out, forbid participation or find an alternative activity to support the cause? Dallas High School students are planning to walk out of school at 10 a.m. Wednesday, senior Andrew Francis said. “It is a nonpartisan protest and a national call for change, as schools all around the country are participating in the same walkout,” Francis said in an email. “... word has been spreading and I am hoping for a majority of students to join together and walk out.”

Here’s how local school districts are preparing for the upcoming nationwide student walkouts
Centre Daily Times BY LAUREN MUTHLER lmuthler@centredaily.com March 12, 2018 12:44 PM
In recognition of the one-month anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 students and faculty members dead, walkouts are planned at schools across the country to honor the victims and call for action against gun violence. Slated for 10 a.m. Wednesday, the nationwide walkout, organized by EMPOWER, the youth branch of the Women’s March, is set to last 17 minutes, a minute for each of the victims. Groups of students and teachers from schools across the country have already tweeted their commitment to participating in the protest. As for Centre County, school districts have issued statements on how they plan to respond to the planned walkouts. Citing safety concerns, Bellefonte Area School District issued a letter to parents on behalf of Superintendent Michelle Saylor and high school principal Michael Fedisson on Wednesday, announcing an alternative activity for students wishing to participate in the national call for action.

Pennridge board approves remembrance ceremony, but not walkout
Intelligencer By Chris English  Posted Mar 12, 2018 at 10:01 PM Updated Mar 12, 2018 at 10:02 PM
The voluntary ceremony will spend one minute each honoring the 17 victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. While emphasizing that the event should not be called a walkout, the Pennridge school board at a special activities committee meeting Monday night approved an inside remembrance ceremony at the high school Wednesday morning. At the same time, board members and administrators made it clear that any student actually walking out of the school Wednesday without being signed out by a parent or guardian will face disciplinary measures. Wednesday’s approved event will be from 9:45 a.m. to 10:20 a.m., roughly the same time as students around the country will participate in a national walkout to honor the Parkland school shooting victims and also call for stronger gun laws and other safety measures for students. Many Bucks County public and private high schools are participating in some form of a walkout. Council Rock officials said events at the district’s two high schools will be confined inside, though some students said they will not follow that dictate.

Pittsburgh-area students make plans for National School Walkout Day
ELIZABETH BEHRMAN AND MATT MCKINNEY Pittsburgh Post-Gazette MAR 13, 2018 7:23 AM
The possibility of receiving an unexcused absence on her attendance record isn’t going to deter Abby Fowler from leaving her seat Wednesday morning and marching out of her classroom to her high school’s softball fields. She and a group of her classmates at Baldwin High School are participating with thousands of other students across the country in “National School Walkout Day,” a coordinated demonstration meant to honor the 17 students and faculty members shot and killed at a Florida high school last month, and to call for stricter gun control laws.  “I do like the activist movement with kids going on right now, with them finally trying to find their voice,” said Abby, a sophomore. “I also think it’s respectful to the students in Parkland.”

 “The walkout will be followed by a March for Our Lives rally on March 24 in Washington, Philadelphia, and other cities, and another student walkout on April 20, the 20th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting in Colorado.”
To protest gun violence, students in Philly-area schools will walk out Wednesday
Inquirer by Michael Boren, Staff Writer  @borenmc |  mboren@phillynews.com Updated: MARCH 12, 2018 — 6:05 PM EDT
Some teachers and students in the Philadelphia region are expected to walk out of their schools for 17 minutes Wednesday, the one-month anniversary of the high school shooting in Parkland, Fla., to demand that Congress take action to better protect the public from gun violence. The protests, scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., are part of the #NationalSchoolWalkout organized by Women’s March Youth EMPOWER. Each minute will represent a person slain in Parkland. Nationally, some schools have threatened to suspend students for participating, while others have supported the right to walk out. Philadelphia schools Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. told parents that participating students will not be disciplined — but that they should return to class afterward. Some students have urged Hite to let them protest throughout the day.

So much security in Washington. Why not in schools? | Opinion
Inquirer Opinion by Lou Barletta, For the Inquirer Updated: MARCH 13, 2018 — 6:23 AM EDT
Rep. Lou Barletta has served as the U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania’s 11th congressional district since 2011. 
The horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas has sparked a national conversation about how to keep our kids and schools safe. The outpouring of grief and loss from Florida strikes deep into every American heart. I think of my four daughters, two of whom are teachers, and my eight grandchildren. I worry about their safety. No parent should fear for their child, and no child should be afraid to go to school. While we debate what new laws may have prevented this tragedy, and as we examine what existing protocols were failed to be enforced, we can all agree that we must do more to protect our kids. That is why I recently called on the Trump Administration to incorporate schools as “critical infrastructure” under the guidance of the Department of Homeland Security.

Pa. lawmaker seeks more funding for school safety
Herald Mail Media Mar 12, 2018 Updated 1 hr ago
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania state Sen. Richard Alloway II recently called on Gov. Tom Wolf and legislative leaders to include additional funding in the 2018-19 state budget to improve school safety. “We have added layers of security in our airports, our government buildings and even retail locations. There is no excuse for not providing adequate security to protect the most vulnerable citizens in our society,” Alloway, R-Franklin/Adams/York/Cumberland, said in a statement. Lawmakers passed a bill in 2013 that expanded and enhanced a grant program specifically designed to improve school safety. Alloway said that adding new funding to the program would help more schools employ enhanced violence-prevention and emergency-preparedness initiatives. Wolf’s proposed 2018-19 budget includes $8.5 million for school-safety grants.

Student Activist On Guns In Schools
NPR Heard on Weekend Edition Sunday March 11, 20188:16 AM ET
Listen·2:102:10 Queue Download
Kaila Caffey, a senior at Central High School and activist with the Philadelphia Student Union, works to make schools safe for students of color. She talks with NPR's Renee Montagne.
Just after the shooting that took 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., senior Demetri Hoth was among the students there who took action. Here he is on CNN.
DEMETRI HOTH: We just really want the lawmakers to understand the type of things that we went through by showing them that we're a united front and that we're not going to back down until change actually happens.
MONTAGNE: Now, almost four weeks later, that change is actually beginning to happen. In a move that amounted to a break with his longtime allies at the National Rifle Association, Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott signed into law new regulations on guns. The bipartisan bill, named for the Parkland school that inspired it, bans bump stocks, increases waiting periods, raises the buyer age limit to 21 and broadens the power of police to seize weapons. Governor Scott also called for more police officers in schools to protect students, but armed officers in schools are nothing new. And for students of color, it doesn't make school feel safer.
KAILA CAFFEY: Unfortunately, students of color are often targeted by police officers and tend to be victims of police violence.
MONTAGNE: Kaila Caffey is a senior at Central High School in Philadelphia. She says the issue got her attention when footage surfaced in 2016 of an officer restraining a student at a nearby school.

Schools brace for massive student walkouts over gun violence
PBS Newshour Nation Mar 11, 2018 1:54 PM EDT
RICHMOND, Va. — As schools around the country brace for student walkouts following the deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida, principals and superintendents are scrambling to perform a delicate balancing act: How to let thousands of students exercise their First Amendment rights while not disrupting school and not pulling administrators into the raging debate over gun control. Some have taken a hard line, promising to suspend students who walk out, while others are using a softer approach, working with students to set up places on campus where they can remember the victims of the Florida shooting and express their views about school safety and gun control. Since the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, demonstrations have sprung up on school campuses around the country. But the first large-scale, coordinated national demonstration is planned for March 14, when organizers of the Women’s March have called for a 17-minute walkout, one minute for each of the 17 students and staff members killed in Florida.

Pa. school funding dispute on converging court tracks
Philly Trib Mar 9, 2018
Top Pennsylvania Republicans tried again on Wednesday to block a challenge to the way schools are funded in the state, but a landmark lawsuit over the issue seemed poised to proceed after a Commonwealth Court hearing. Lawyers for the plaintiffs said after the hearing they were confident the case would move forward. “The only thing in question is how long it will take us to get to trial, not whether it will get to trial,” said Michael Churchill, a Public Interest Law Center lawyer, representing the plaintiffs. The Greater Johnstown School District is among the districts bringing the lawsuit. The suit, first brought in 2014, contends the way Pennsylvania funds its public schools is unfair, inadequate and unconstitutional. It alleges state officials have “adopted an irrational school funding system that does not deliver the essential resources students need and discriminates against children based on where they live and the wealth of their communities.”
The case has broad implications for the commonwealth’s 500 school districts and the more than 1 million children they educate. The state Supreme Court last fall overturned an earlier Commonwealth Court dismissal of the suit — sending it back to the lower court. On Wednesday, the five-judge panel, sitting in Philadelphia, considered new objections by Pennsylvania’s Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-25) and House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-28).

Blogger note: this opinion column by Chris Comisac at Capitolwire focuses on average spending and completely ignores the fact that Pennsylvania has the most inequitable funding between wealthy and poor districts of any state in the country.
POINT OF ORDER: Challenging the argument that PA doesn't provide for a 'thorough and efficient system of public education'
A Capitolwire Column Capitolwire.com By Chris Comisac Bureau Chief March 6, 2018
HARRISBURG (March 6) - Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court is scheduled to hear arguments tomorrow in yet another lawsuit seeking to have the state’s courts decide what constitutes appropriate education funding in Pennsylvania. Commonwealth Court has already dismissed this case once, but the state Supreme Court overruled the lower court decision and ordered the court do a full judicial review of the arguments in the matter. Wednesday’s hearing will be to gather oral argument regarding whether to dismiss the case, or, if petitioners have offer enough reason for a full trial, to allow the lawsuit to move forward. Attorneys from the Education Law Center and the Public Interest Law Center, who are representing the plaintiffs in William Penn School District et al. v. PA Department of Education et al. argue Pennsylvania state officials have violated the Pennsylvania Constitution "by failing to adequately and equitably fund public education.”
Article 3, Section 14 of the Pennsylvania Constitution states, but offers nothing more in the way of elaboration or detail: "The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth." One of the stated underpinnings to the petitioners' claim the current system is neither "thorough" nor "efficient" is what they call the “glaring” lack of adequate state support for education in Pennsylvania. 

“What the author fails to note is that federal statistics also show that Pennsylvania has a higher difference between well-funded schools and poorly funded schools than any other state in the country. The few districts with high local levels of wealth are well funded and spend lots of money, just like Mr. Gates. But because Pennsylvania appropriates so little in state funds, the vast majority of districts without a mall in their tax base or wealthy taxpayers do not have the resources to have small class sizes, up to date text books, up to date technology or even adequate buildings, much less sufficient tutors, nurses, counselors, music and art. Shouldn’t these be parts of every school?”
By Michael Churchill, Attorney, Public Interest Law Center
This post is in response to a Capitolwire column entitled “Challenging the argument that PA doesn’t provide for a ‘thorough and efficient system of public education.”
Cherry picking numbers to suit your argument has a long pedigree, but it is disappointing to see it such a prominent part of a recent Capitolwire column declaring that Pennsylvania schools have more than enough money to adequately educate their students. Oh look, it says, federal statistics show Pennsylvania’s average expenditure per student was $15,139, but the national average was $11,984, and we are higher than all but 10 states. Any argument the state needs to spend more “is bunk.” But that is as sensible as saying that when Bill Gates walks into a bar, the average person in the bar is a multi-millionaire and doesn’t need another dime.

Why Philly's School District is a money pit | Stu Bykofsky
Inquirer by Stu Bykofsky, STAFF COLUMNIST  @StuBykofsky |  stubyko@phillynews.com Updated: MARCH 12, 2018 — 5:24 PM EDT
 “The perception is the Philadelphia School District is a money pit,” I say, sitting in the district’s boardroom at 440 North Broad. “No matter how much is poured into it, it’s never enough, schools get closed, staff is laid off, and still the costs go up.” Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. nods in agreement — not with the statement, but that it’s a widespread perception. Test scores, attendance, and graduation rates are up, he says. And they are, modestly. Some teachers and counselors have been rehired, and that’s good, but I am in Jerry Maguire mode. I want the district to show me the money. The budget is $3 billion, two-thirds the size of the proposed $4.7 billion city budget — with Mayor Kenney seeking a 6 percent increase in the real estate tax for the school district, which projects an almost $1 billion deficit over the next five years. Kenney also wants an 8.5 percent increase in the real estate transfer tax and slowing cuts to the wage tax. There are two issues here: Why can’t the school district balance its books, and why can’t the city figure out a way to better fund the district?

Bills seek to limit schools as Election Day polling locations in Pennsylvania
Morning Call by Steve Esack Contact Reporter Call Harrisburg Bureau March 13, 2018
Two bills making their way through the Legislature seek to curtail schools as primary locations counties can set up voting booths on Election Day. The bills, introduced by Rep. Marcia Hahn, R-Northampton, and Sen. Mario Scavello, R-Monroe, are far from becoming law and won’t interfere with voting sites during the May 15 primary election. But Paul Soporowski of Bushkill Township hopes the Legislature acts soon on the legislation. He still can’t shake the feeling he got when Nazareth Area School District sent him alerts that all district schools, with the exception of his daughters’, were on full lockdown because of a nearby shooting of a state trooper on Nov. 7. Butz Elementary, five miles from the Route 33 shooting scene, was partially opened as a polling place so voters could go in and out.

Conceding to N.R.A., Trump Abandons Brief Gun Control Promise
WASHINGTON — President Trump on Monday abandoned his promise to work for gun control measures opposed by the National Rifle Association, bowing to the gun group and embracing its agenda of armed teachers and incremental improvements to the background check system. After the Florida high school massacre last month, Mr. Trump explicitly called on live television for raising the age limit to purchase rifles and backed 2013 legislation for near-universal background checks. He later told lawmakers that while the N.R.A. has “great power over you people, they have less power over me.” But on Monday, it was the president who seemed to knuckle under, again dramatizing the sway that the N.R.A. still maintains in Republican circles. Students around the country might be massing for a march on Washington on March 24. The victims and survivors of school shootings from Connecticut to Florida may be pushing their states to move on gun control. But Mr. Trump cited a lack of political support for raising the age limit to purchase rifles, which is not evident in public opinion polls but is very much evident in his party.

White House officials alarmed at education secretary's '60 Minutes' performance
CNN By Kaitlan Collins and Kevin Liptak, CNN Updated 8:08 PM ET, Mon March 12, 2018
(CNN)White House officials were alarmed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' struggle to answer basic questions about the nation's schools and failure to defend the administration's newly proposed school safety measures during a tour of television interviews Sunday and Monday, according to two sources familiar with their reaction. Though DeVos was sworn in to her Cabinet position 13 months ago, she stumbled her way through a pointed "60 Minutes" interview with CBS' Lesley Stahl Sunday night and was unable to defend her belief that public schools can perform better when funding is diverted to the expansion of public charter schools and private school vouchers. At one point, she admitted she hasn't "intentionally" visited underperforming schools.

Was Betsy DeVos' '60 Minutes' Interview a 'Trainwreck' or 'Selectively Edited'?
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Alyson Klein on March 12, 2018 4:53 PM
Ever since her rocky confirmation hearing, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos' has struggled to get her message across to educators and the public. And those problems aren't going away more than a year into her tenure: She and her team have endured hours of harsh headlines and social media hits after she seemed to stumble in her highest-profile interview yet, with Lesley Stahl on "60 Minutes" Sunday night. The most-shared clip appears to be a roughly two-minute segment in which DeVos wasn't able to point to specific examples in her home state of Michigan in which injecting more competition through charter schools or vouchers had increased student achievement. (She said this had happened in "pockets" of the state, but didn't say which ones. Click here for a full transcript and video of the interview.)   And DeVos told Stahl she hadn't "intentionally" visited low-performing schools to determine the cause of their problems. ("Maybe I should," DeVos agreed when Stahl pressed her.)  She also said that national school performance hasn't budged in decades, a point Stahl disputed. DeVos clarified to say she meant the United States isn't improving as fast as other countries.

It was hailed as the national model for school reform. Then the scandals hit.
Washington Post By Emma BrownValerie Strauss and Perry Stein March 10 Email the author
Michelle Rhee was new to town. It was 2007, she had just been named to run the District’s public schools, and she had an alluringly simple message about what it would take to transform a system known for crumbling buildings, chaotic classrooms and students who graduated without being able to read. She would use data. It was a new era of accountability, she promised, and numbers would reveal whether teachers were effective and students were learning. Data would tell the truth. Yet a cascade of D.C. school scandals in recent months has shown that data can sometimes mislead. In the decade after the city dissolved its elected local school board and turned management of the schools over to the mayor, Rhee and her successor, Kaya Henderson, created a system that demanded ever-higher accomplishments — higher test scores, higher graduation rates. They used money as an incentive: Principals and teachers were rewarded financially if they hit certain numbers.

Your invitation to explore the new myPSBA
PSBA Website March 7, 2018
The new myPSBA member portal is now live! The new portal will be a one-stop shop for event registrations and will offer many of the same features of your favorite social media platforms, with online discussion groups where members can communicate on topics related to their position in the district. Members also can access PSBA's new online learning program for training anywhere at any time. To get your feet wet, we're offering three courses complimentary to members with access to the training portal (school directors, CSAs, board secretaries, business managers and like positions in CTCs and IUs) including:
·         Welcome to PSBA
Login information was sent to all members via email on March 7 and 8. Please check your spam filters for an email. To access the portal, go directly to www.myPSBA.org or click on the myPSBA icon in the upper right corner of any page of this website. Be sure to watch these two brief videos for a quick overview of myPSBA and the new online learning courses. We hope you enjoy myPSBA and take full advantage of this online resource. Login questions should be directed to myPSBA@psba.org.

2018 PSBA Advocacy Day April 16, 2018 Harrisburg
Join PSBA and your fellow school directors for the annual Advocacy Day on Monday, April 16, 2018, at the State Capitol in Harrisburg. PSBA is partnering with Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units to have a stronger voice for public education. Hear how advocacy makes a difference in the legislative process and the importance of public education advocacy. Government Affairs will take a deeper dive into the legislative priorities and will provide tips on how to be an effective public education advocate. There will be dedicated time for you and your fellow advocates to hit the halls to meet with your legislators on public education. This is your chance to share the importance of policy supporting public education and make your voice heard on the Hill. This event is free for members; registration is required.
Register online here: 


Uncharted Territory in Delaware County – Panel Discussion on Implications of Rising Charter Enrollment in the Southeastern Pennsylvania Suburbs – Thursday, March 15, 2018; 8:00 – 9:30 a.m. Penn Wood HS
PCCY Website
Over 15,000 SEPA children attend charter schools ever year and the numbers are growing.  On Thursday, March 152018 from 8:00 – 9:30 a.m. @ Penn Wood High School, PCCY will host a panel featuring a Penn Wood student leader, Rep. James R. Santora, Sen. Anthony Williams, local school leadership, and experts from PCCY for a frank discussion on the rising impact of charter schools in Delaware County. The event will coincide with the release of PCCY’s new report on suburban charter schools in Delaware, Montgomery, Bucks, and Chester counties, “Uncharted Territory: The Implication of Rising Charter Enrollment in the Southeastern Pennsylvania Suburbs.” Come out and lend your voice to the discussion!

NPE: Join us in a Day of Action April 20th to Stop Gun Violence in our Schools
Network for Public Education February 16, 2018 by Darcie Cimarusti
After the slaughter of students and staff in Parkland, Florida, the time for action has never been more urgent. The politicians sit on their hands as our children and their teachers are murdered in their schools. We will be silent no more! The failure to enact rational laws that bar access to guns designed for mass shootings is inexcusable. It is past time to speak out and act. Pledge your support to stop gun violence here. We call for mass action on April 20, the anniversary of the horrific shootings at Columbine High School. We urge teachers, families, students, administrators and every member of the community to engage in acts of protest in and around their schools. Create actions that work best in your community.  Organize sit-ins, teach-ins, walkouts, marches–whatever you decide will show your school and community’s determination to keep our students safe. One elementary teacher suggested that teachers and parents link arms around the school to show their determination to protect children.

Help draft a plan to implement a statewide vision for the future of public education in PA!
(Updated) PSBA Member Roundtables/Receptions – February and March Dates
Member Roundtable and Receptions
Join your PSBA Member Roundtable and Reception to hear the public education advocacy and political updates affecting your school district. Take this opportunity to network, learn and develop your leadership skills. Enjoy light hors d'oeuvres and networking with fellow school leaders in your area, then provide your input on the future vision for public education in PA.
Roundtable Discussion: Help draft a plan to implement a statewide vision for the future of public education in PA! PSBA would like to capture your thoughts on what education should look like in the coming decades. We will compile your expertise with the perspectives of others from across the state to develop the Commonwealth Education Blueprint. The Blueprint will then serve as our guiding resource and will set milestones for creating the best public education experience for future generations of students. Don’t miss your opportunity to weigh in!
6:00 pm – 6:15 pm Association Update
Learn the latest news, initiatives and upcoming events from your association.
6:15 pm – 7:00 pm Government Affairs
Bring knowledge back to your district of how the commonwealth budget will fiscally impact it. Discuss the top legislative issues affecting public education. Learn how you can advocate for your school district taxpayers, students and public education success.
7:00 pm – 7:45 pm Networking
Enjoy productive conversation with your school leader colleagues. Boost your network, share your experiences and build a stronger voice for public education.
7:45 pm – 8:30 pm Commonwealth Education Blueprint: Developing a vision for public education
This focus group is your opportunity to share your input in drafting a blueprint for the future of public education. The Commonwealth Education Blueprint is a multiyear effort founded and managed by PSBA to develop and implement a statewide vision for the future of public education. Through this comprehensive project, education stakeholders from across the state and from many areas of expertise are coming together to proactively determine what education should look like in years to come. Having a clear and comprehensive statewide vision will ensure that we provide an increasingly excellent public education experience for children. This is your opportunity to get involved, share your feedback, and help draft the plan for the future of education!
Pricing: This is a complimentary PSBA member event.
·         Mar. 13, Altoona Area HS (Section 6)

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 

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD! Join the PA Principals Association, the PA Association of School Administrators and the PA Association of Rural and Small Schools for PA Education Leaders Advocacy Day at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, June 19, 2018, at the Capitol in Harrisburg, PA.  
A rally in support of public education and important education issues will be held on the Main Rotunda Steps from 1 p.m. - 2 p.m.
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.
To register, send an email to Dr. Joseph Clapper at clapper@paprincipals.org before Friday, June 8, 2018.
Click here to view the PA Education Leaders Advocacy Day 2018 Save The Date Flyer (INCLUDES EVENT SCHEDULE AND IMPORTANT ISSUES.) 

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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