Philly’s 7th Ward Blog BY SHARIF EL-MEKKI MARCH 16, 2018
SB22/HB722: Senate State Government Committee to Hold Public Hearing on Redistricting Legislation
PA Senate GOP Website Posted on Mar 20, 2018
(Harrisburg) – Senator Mike Folmer (R – 48), as chair of the Senate State Government Committee, will hold a public hearing on a number of bills to change how Pennsylvania’s redistricting process is conducted. Senate Bill 22 (Senators Boscola and Scavello), Senate Bill 243 (Senator Leach), Senate Bill 464 (Senator Blake), and Senate Bill 767 (Senator Costa) are all proposed amendments to the Pennsylvania Constitution to change the process for how election lines are drawn. “Redistricting changes have long been a goal of mine and I had planned to hold a series of hearings on bills that have been referred to the Senate State Government Committee, however, lawsuits over the 2011 maps were filed and I was previously forced to put these hearings on hold,” said Folmer. Senator Folmer hopes the public hearing on possible redistricting changes will help to identify ways to better promote openness, transparency, and accountability, which have long been goals of his.
WITF Written by The Associated Press | Mar 20, 2018 12:08 PM
(Harrisburg) -- The majority leader of the state House is quitting elective politics, blaming his aborted candidacy for the U.S. House on a new map that put him in the same district as an incumbent congressman from the same party. Republican state Representative Dave Reed of Indiana County says he made the decision because he doesn't want to challenge GOP Congressman Glenn Thompson. Reed's in his eighth term and isn't seeking re-election to the state House. He says he doesn't have plans for a new job but has eight months to figure that out. Reed says the state of American politics is "more divisive and more negative" than he'd like.
As House Republican leader, he's head of a caucus that controls the chamber, 121 to 82.
Instead of nine members all chosen by the mayor, why not let citizens and City Council have input?
Billy Penn Opinion by ISAIAH THOMAS MAR 19 2018 · 1:30 P.M.
Isaiah Thomas is a coach, educator and mentor from Philadelphia, and a Billy Penn Who’s Nexter. He is a former director of community affairs for the City Controller’s Office. He currently serves as cochair of the Mayor’s Commission for African American Males, cofounder of the Thomas & Woods Foundation, and athletic director and coach at Sankofa Freedom Academy.
This is a historic moment for the Philadelphia School District. On July 1, the state-imposed School Reform Commission (SRC) will be dissolved, and control of the district will finally be returned to the city after 16 years. But there’s an unfortunate element to this much-awaited change: The school board is not being structured to give the public a real voice. I commend the citizens who fought so hard for local control. Parents, children and many organizations across Philadelphia have been advocating for years to have a say in public education in this city. Since my City Council run in 2014, I also have been advocating for the end of the SRC and the return of local control. Now is our time. But I cannot support a body that doesn’t give the public a strong, influential voice in choosing its members. Recently, Mayor Kenney created a nominating panel to ultimately recommend 27 potential members for the nine-member school board. After receiving those initial recommendations, Kenney reached out for more — especially requesting parents of district school kids be included — and an additional 18 names were submitted. That helps, but still doesn’t address the main problem: the mayor gets the final say on the board’s makeup, with no outside input.
Pennridge High School students plan more Saturday detention protests to call for stronger gun control
Pennridge High School students turned what was supposed to be punishment for holding a student walkout into another form of protest against gun violence.
Moprning Call by Binghui Huang and Jacqueline Palochko Contact Reporters March 20, 2018
Pennridge High School students — calling themselves #Pennridge 225 — are turning what was supposed to be punishment for holding a student walkout last week into another form of protest against gun violence. On Saturday, 46 students — the first group of about 225 Pennridge High students — showed up to serve detention for ignoring the district’s warning that they should not participate in a national walkout on the one-month anniversary of the shooting deaths of 17 students and staff at a Parkland, Fla., high school. Instead of sitting in their seats, the detention servers pinned the names of gun violence victims on their clothing. They linked arms and sat in a circle as classmates placed flowers in the center. A video of the students sitting on the floor of their school cafeteria on Saturday has been spreading on social media, prompting messages of support from prominent gun control advocates and celebrities, including Chelsea Clinton, actor Patton Oswald and Lauren Hogg, sister of David Hogg, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student who has become a leading student voice in the call for stronger gun laws.
Pennridge High School students churning out guitars and ukuleles
Intelligencer By Chris English Posted at 5:00 AM March 21, 2018
In a special elective in its second year, students make electric guitars and ukuleles in a starting class and acoustic guitars in an advanced class. Philip Warnke digs country music and pictures himself maybe playing in a band someday. If that happens, the senior at Pennridge High School in East Rockhill won’t have to worry about where to get instruments. He will already have them. Philip is one of 55 students at the school fashioning their own electric and acoustic guitars and ukuleles in a special elective taught by technology education teacher Matt Peitzman. Students make electric guitars and ukuleles in a beginning class and acoustic guitars in an advanced class, Peitzman said. Both are taught simultaneously in the same 50-minute daily session that lasts a semester. “When I learned about this, I just thought it would be very interesting to make an instrument and see how it turned out,” Philip said. Peitzman said he got the idea for the classes one day while perusing the Internet and running across a site called guitarbuilding.org. To get the program running, the school board approved purchases totaling about $9,200 for a special computer-controlled routing machine and various hand tools like fret files, he said. School board member Joan Cullen said the expense was well worth it. “I was thrilled to see something like that added to our curriculum because it encourages students to use their minds in a different way and experience the satisfaction of creating something useful with their hands,” she said.
Plum School District to close elementary school, shift grades and cut kindergarten to half day
TRIBUNE-REVIEW by MICHAEL DIVITTORIO | Tuesday, March 20, 2018, 9:48 p.m.
The Plum School Board approved a plan Tuesday night to close Regency Elementary School, cut kindergarten to a half-day program and reconfigure its three remaining elementary buildings. The vote was 7-2 at a special meeting at Oblock Junior High School. School Directors Rich Zucco and Jim Rogers dissented. The board minority said they wanted to keep full-day kindergarten. So did several parents like Jennifer Clontz, who spoke prior to board action. “Taking away from the groundwork of their education, cutting it in half is essentially permanently damaging their future,” Clontz said. There will be no lunch or recess, only educational instruction, for kindergartners. Acting Superintendent Gail Yamnitzky said not cutting the kindergarten program would have resulted in teacher furloughs in other grades.
Gateway teachers union authorizes leaders to call strike
MATT MCKINNEY Pittsburgh Post-Gazette email@example.com MAR 20, 2018
Members of the Gateway teachers’ union Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to authorize its leaders to call a strike if contract talks with the district continue to flounder. The Gateway Education Association confirmed the results of a strike authorization vote Tuesday afternoon. The union voted 238 in favor and two against striking, as 99 percent of union members voted in favor of the authorization. President Mark Spinola said the vote does not mean a strike is imminent, but could happen if the sides do not make progress on contract negotiations that have been ongoing since January 2017.The union’s four-year contract expired in August 2017.
A Winning Political Issue Hiding in Plain Sight
New York Times by David Leonhardt MARCH 18, 2018
In Alabama’s recent special Senate election, the progressive group Priorities USA was looking for ways to lift African-American voter turnout. So Priorities tested several different advertisements, to see which ones made people want to vote. There was no shortage of potential ad material in Alabama. Roy Moore, the Republican nominee, had a trail of bigoted statements and alleged sexual molestation. Doug Jones, the Democrat, had prosecuted Ku Klux Klansmen for murder. Priorities tested each of these themes and others, too: Moore’s ties to white supremacists; Moore’s closeness to President Trump; Jones’s endorsements from civil-rights leaders. Yet none of these tested as well as a 15-second ad that never mentioned Moore. “My kids are going to do more than just survive the bigotry and hatred,” a female narrator says, as the video shows a Klan march and then a student at a desk. “They’re going to get an education, start a business, earn a good living, make me proud. Education is my priority. That’s why I’m voting for Doug Jones.”
Betsy DeVos Fights Dems on Vouchers, Safety, Civil Rights in Budget Hearing
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Andrew Ujifusa on March 20, 2018 1:38 PM
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos sparred with House Democrats over the Trump administration's proposed budget's support for private school choice, and its cuts to programs related to civil rights, safety, and after-school. In the Tuesday House appropriations subcommittee hearing, DeVos said the administration's fiscal 2019 budget proposal would maintain its support for disadvantaged students, while also attempting to ensure greater opportunities for them through a new, $1 billion school choice program. She also highlighted $200 million in funds for science, technology, engineering, and math education, made available through the current Education Innovation and Research program, as well as level funding for the Title I program focused on disadvantaged sudents ($14.9 billion), as well as for special education ($12.8 billion). The budget proposed by the Trump administration would cut $3.6 billion from the Education Department, a 5.3 percent reduction that would lower the department's total spending to just over $63 billion.
Democrats Grill DeVos On Guns, Schools And Money
NPR by CLAUDIO SANCHEZ March 20, 20184:51 PM ET
Democrats got their shot at Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Tuesday, when she testified before a House committee about her department's proposed budget. The hearing followed widespread criticism of DeVos for lackluster performances on 60 Minutes and the Today show earlier this month. She remains one of the most unpopular members of President Trump's Cabinet and continues to anger Democrats over many issues. Republicans at the hearing, not surprisingly, were more supportive, praising DeVos for her efforts to shrink the size of the federal bureaucracy, her support for charter schools and vouchers, and for her stance that states should decide whether teachers should carry guns. But from Democrats, there was criticism — and scorn. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., started off by taking aim at DeVos' proposed 5 percent cut in education spending for 2019. "You are turning your back on public schools," DeLauro said. "You admitted in your interview on 60 Minutes that you have yet to visit a single struggling school and said you support arming teachers, an idea most teachers oppose."
Betsy DeVos said she would visit low-performing schools. ‘Will they let me in?’ she wondered.
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss March 20 at 3:45 PM Email the author
Betsy DeVos on Tuesday said something somewhat astounding for a U.S. education secretary.
DeVos testified before a House appropriations subcommittee on Capitol Hill and was challenged on her 2019 budget proposal — with not only Democrats but Republicans opposed to some key provisions. They also challenged her on comments she made during a recent tough “60 Minutes” interview.
DeVos testified for more than two hours about a range of subjects, including:
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: http://www.mypls.com/Default.aspx?tabid=3753
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.
PASA Women's Caucus Annual Conference "Leaders Lifting Leaders"
May 6 - 8, 2018 Hotel Hershey
**REGISTRATION NOW OPEN**
*Dr. Helen Sobehart - Women Leading Education Across Continents: Lifting Leaders from Here to There
*Dr. Tracey Severns - Courageous Leadership
*Dr. Emilie Lonardi - Lead and Lift: A Call for Females to Aspire to the Superintendency
*Deputy Secretary Matt Stem - Update from the PDE
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.