Number of women running for U.S. House breaks record; nearly two dozen file in Pa.
Morning Call by Laura Olson Contact Reporter Call Washington Bureau April 9, 2018
A record number of women have filed paperwork nationally to run for Congress, including nearly two dozen in Pennsylvania. Those candidates could change the face of the state’s 18-member delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives, which has not had a woman since the 2015 retirement of Rep. Allyson Schwartz of Montgomery County. A tally by the Associated Press released Thursday found 309 women from the two major parties have filed papers to run for the House this year. That tops the previous record of 298 in 2012, with additional filing deadlines to come in other states. Four out of every five members of the U.S. House are men. And male candidates still outnumber female contenders by a wide margin. But in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, there are women running in areas like the Lehigh Valley that have never had a female member of Congress.
Pennsylvanians have a ringside seat for midterms
Lancaster Online Opinion by Terry Madonna and Michael Young April 10, 2018
G. Terry Madonna is a professor of public affairs at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster. Michael L. Young is a former professor of politics and public affairs at Penn State University and managing partner of Michael Young Strategic Research. Madonna and Young encourage responses to the column and can be reached, respectively, at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you like white knuckle, top-of-the-ticket, competitive elections, Pennsylvania is your kind of state. For decades, Pennsylvania has been a battleground in presidential contests. A large state with a huge prize of winner-take-all electoral votes, the state in modern times has balanced its party allegiances between Republican and Democratic parties. Back to 1948, the GOP has won eight of these contests; the Democrats have won 10. Gubernatorial elections display the same competitiveness. In fact, until the last gubernatorial election, Republicans and Democrats had regularly traded the governor’s office every eight years back to the 1950s. However, this edge-of-the-seat style of electoral contest has not extended to congressional elections. Since the 1950s, Republicans have dominated U.S. Senate races in the state, winning 19 of 24. While U.S. House races have been somewhat more competitive, the GOP has also overwhelmingly dominated them since 2010. But Republican domination in congressional races may be about to change. In fact, virtually every independent national political analyst believes Pennsylvania to now be the epicenter of political forces about to unleash a blue wave of Democratic victories across the nation. This belief in a political tsunami is so widespread that one respected Pennsylvania Republican incumbent has been quoted recommending Republicans “get off the beach.”
Understanding why so many believe so much havoc is about to be let loose on Republicans is important — not because it is certain to happen, but because it captures the political zeitgeist sweeping the nation early in a midterm election year.
Deadline approaching for registering to vote in primary, state encourages online registration
Penn Live By Steve Marroni email@example.com Updated Apr 9, 1:40 PM; Posted Apr 9, 12:49 PM
It's not too late to register to vote in the May primary. The deadline for registering is one week from today on April 16, and the process is easier than ever before with the Online Voter Registration system. "Voting is the most important way in which we can participate in our democracy," Pennsylvania Acting Secretary of State Robert Torres said in a press release today, adding the online system has been used by more than 1 million voters in the state so far and is the best method for registering or updating registration information. On May 15, those who are registered as Republicans or Democrats will get to choose the two parties' nominees for U.S. senator, governor, lieutenant governor, representatives in congress, half of state senators, all representatives in the General Assembly and some state and county party members. Torres encouraged voters to use the online system, whether they are updating an existing registration or registering for the first time. For more information on voter registration, call the Department of State, 1-877-VOTESPA, or visit the department's website.
“Amid the revenue shortfall and litigation, Kenney has reduced the scope and ambition of his signature education initiatives. After initially pledging to create 25 community schools by fiscal year 2020, the administration now anticipates having 20 community schools online by fiscal year 2023, according to the latest five-year plan. The city’s pre-K expansion will now include 5,500 new high-quality seats instead of 6,500.”
With broader initiative on hold, some Philly community schools press forward
WHYY By Avi Wolfman-Arent April 9, 2018
Officials at Philadelphia’s newest community schools outlined their priorities Monday even as the broader initiative appears to be on hold. Citing ongoing litigation against the city’s new sweetened beverage tax, Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration doesn’t plan to name new community schools this year. A lawsuit against the beverage tax is awaiting trial before the state Supreme Court, potentially imperiling dollars earmarked for pre-K expansion, recreation center rehabilitation, and community school creation. “We currently don’t have an expansion itself planned for this year,” said Susan Gobreski, who runs the community schools initiative for the Mayor’s Office of Education. “We’ll make some decisions once the beverage tax is resolved.” In its first year, the beverage tax also generated less money than administration officials projected. Last year, the 1.5 cents-per-ounce tax raised $79 million, about $13 million less than the $92 million the city had projected.
SB1095: Bipartisan proposal would expand graduation options for students who don't perform well on Keystone Exams
Lancaster Online by ALEX GELI | Staff Writer April 10, 2018
A new bipartisan bill proposed in the state Senate last week would provide high school students alternative pathways to graduation other than demonstrating proficiency on Keystone Exams. Students would still take the Keystone Exams under the proposal, but they’d arguably be under significantly less pressure to perform well on them. Senate Bill 1095 was proposed by state Sen. Thomas McGarrigle, a Republican who serves parts of Chester and Delaware counties. Republican state Sen. Ryan Aument, of Landisville, is one of the bill’s 11 co-sponsors, nine of whom are Republicans and two are Democrats. Aument said he supports McGarrigle’s legislation because it provides students with more options to fulfill graduation requirements. “Standardized assessment has a role in our system,” he said, “but it ought not be the only measure used to determine student achievement.” McGarrigle’s proposal, which is awaiting a vote in the Senate education committee, would allow students to graduate under one of the following conditions:
“Given the 110 lives lost and 459 people injured, not including the shooter, in the last 6 months in mass shootings in this country, Marsico said, "It's the right thing to do." A recent Franklin & Marshall poll found huge majorities support tighter background checks, a ban on assault weapons, and raising the minimum age to buy a firearm from 18 to 21. "It has become clear to Chairman Marsico that he and other lawmakers need to explore ways to prevent these situations from happening in the future," said House Republican spokesman Steve Miskin.”
Could Pennsylvania be the next state to crack down on guns?
By Jan Murphy firstname.lastname@example.org Updated Apr 9, 6:02 AM; Posted Apr 9, 6:00 AM
Pennsylvania is poised this week to join the national conversation about changing gun laws in the wake of the Valentine's Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and other mass shooting incidents that have occurred in recent years. The House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. Ron Marsico, R-Dauphin County, is treading into these controversial waters by holding a series of hearings on firearms and public safety on Monday through Thursday at the state Capitol.
The hearings are to be webstreamed live at www.RonMarsico.comand www.PAHouseGOP.com from 11 to 1 p.m. Monday, 10 to 11 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, and at a time to be determined on Thursday.
At hearing, Pennsylvania lawmakers give voice to gun control measures: ' “I know that I want to do something.'
Tim Darragh Contact Reporter Of The Morning Call April 9, 2018
At a first-of-its-kind hearing, a half-dozen state legislators ticked off bills they’re supporting to stem the scourge of gun violence:
Pa. legislature becomes test bed for shifting sands on gun control
Penn Live By Charles Thompson email@example.com Updated Apr 9, 9:47 PM; Posted Apr 9, 5:40 PM
For more than a decade, the Pennsylvania legislature has been the place where gun control bills went to die. If that changes this year, it will be further evidence that the recent spate of mass shootings - and the new waves of public advocacy it has unleashed - are moving the political needle in America. At least, in an election year. One of those signs occurred last month, when the state Senate voted 50-0 in favor of a bill that would require anyone who gets a final protection-from-abuse order imposed on them to surrender any guns they own. As recently as last year, a slightly stricter version of that bill couldn't get a floor vote in the state House or Senate: in March, it passed unanimously. A second step may have occurred Monday, as the House Judiciary Committee opened a multi-day "listening session" for members to air their own gun control proposals, and field questions or concerns.
Editorial: Students keep pushing to prevent school shootings and we admire their persistence
Lancaster Online by THE LNP EDITORIAL BOARD April 10, 2018
THE ISSUE - Eight local high school and college students organized Saturday’s “Lancaster Town Hall for Our Lives,” a conversation with elected officials and candidates about preventing school shootings. As LNP’s Tim Mekeel reported, the Lancaster event was among more than 100 student-led town halls held across the nation Saturday, at the urging of the student survivors of the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 14 students and three staff members dead. “The town halls, like the nationwide marches and high school walkouts that preceded it, have been intended to keep public attention on the issue and push elected officials into action,” Mekeel noted. Some 170 people attended the Lancaster town hall.
Manheim Central High School senior Taylor Enterline was among the dozen students who took part in an LNP Opinion discussion March 27 on school shootings. The smart and feisty young woman said then she was determined to keep the issue in the public spotlight. She said young people knew it would take time to effect real change, but that’s why they needed to “push.” “The generation before us kind of left us a mess and we’re not going to do the same to the next one,” she said. Enterline made good on her promise to keep pushing by helping to organize Saturday’s town hall. “Even though I have never experienced gun violence does not mean I should be silent about the issue ... I want to speak out before I or my school becomes the next statistic,” she said Saturday. It would have been easy for Enterline and the other students who organized Saturday’s town hall to do what the National Rifle Association clearly is hoping they’ll do: move on from their sorrow over Parkland, lose their energy for the #NeverAgain movement and their interest in gun regulation, get reimmersed in day-to-day life. To their great credit, they have not.
Pa. lawmakers have a chance to turn the tide on gun violence | Editorial
by The Inquirer Editorial Board Updated: APRIL 9, 2018 — 5:08 PM EDT
For the next two weeks, Pennsylvania’s House Judiciary Committee will hold a rare series of hearings on gun bills that range from arming teachers to disarming bad guys. This is noteworthy only because Pennsylvania has some of the nation’s weakest gun laws. Let’s hope the legislature becomes more afraid of the political wave sweeping the country in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., mass shooting of 17 children and adults on Feb. 14 than it is of the National Rifle Association. These hearings could turn out to be as useless as the thoughts and prayers of gutless politicians, but we hope the committee will consider a few fresh examples of how guns in the hands of the wrong people lead to needless death and injury — and take action to protect us. Lawmakers should know that on Easter, a 4-year-old Southwest Philadelphia boy found a loaded .22-caliber handgun lying on his dad’s bed. The boy shot himself in the leg. The father wasn’t charged, but he should have been, under the city’s gun safety ordinance, which requires parents to keep guns locked up so children can’t get them. Philadelphia, though, is ahead of the state. Pennsylvania does not even have a safe-storage law. A bill requiring safe storage sponsored by State Rep. Tim Briggs (D., Montgomery) should be passed.
Support research into gun violence
Congress should remove obstacles to academic studies that might help us reduce the death toll
Post-Gazette Opinion by SEVEN PITTSBURGH PHYSICIANS APR 10, 2018 12:00 AM
This op-ed was submitted by the following physicians who work and live in Pittsburgh: Angela Suen, Ricardo Nieves, Joe Pechacek, Michael Simonson, Anjali Rao, Molly Fisher and Amy Kennedy. This commentary reflects their personal views, not those their employer institutions.
As academic physicians who care for patients of all ages, we urge members of Congress to support gun-violence research and to fund this critical work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We ask that they remove language in what is known as the Dickey Amendment, which discourages government-funded research on gun violence. We Pittsburgh-area physicians add our voices to the multiple organizations that have also called for repeal of the Dickey Amendment, including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Institute of Medicine and the American College of Physicians. As physicians, we seek to care for our patients using evidence-based approaches to address a wide array of ailments, from cardiac disease to mental health. This often requires extensive investigation, examination and reexamination of available data to come to the best conclusions possible to improve the health of our patients. This systematic approach to data gathering, analysis and data application has yielded many of the medical marvels that have healed and saved the lives of countless people in this country. As we Americans continue to bear witness to gun tragedy after gun tragedy, we must ask ourselves, what are we missing?
Erie County school district gives teachers bats to fight school shooters
Trib Live by MATTHEW SANTONI | Monday, April 9, 2018, 5:51 a.m.
A school district outside Erie is giving its teachers small baseball bats as a reminder that fighting back is an option if confronted by a school shooter,according to GoErie.com . The website reports that the Millcreek Township School District distributed the 16-inch wooden bats to all 500 of its teachers at an in-service training day last week on how to respond to school shootings. Millcreek Township Schools enroll about 6,800 students in a suburb outside of Erie. Superintendant William Hall said the bats were symbols that fighting back or disrupting a shool shooter were options in the district's overall response, outlined with the acronym “TROJAN:” Threat assessment, Run, Obstruct & barricade, Join forces, Attack and Never give up. “It's not about just hiding and waiting,” he told GoErie.com. “There are options, and one of those is to fight.” Jon Cacchione, president of the union representing Millcreek's teachers, also supported the bats, which will also be kept in offices and other areas of the school. They cost about $1,800 in total, GoErie reported. Modern school shooting response training, including the ALICE program taught by a company out of Ohio and used at many Southwest Pennsylvania schools , often includes an option to distract or disrupt a school shooter by throwing objects or fighting back, potentially buying others time to flee or even stopping the shooter entirely. Last month, the Blue Mountain School District in Schuylkill County gave each classroom a 5-gallon bucket of river rocks to hurl at an attacker as a last resort.
Norwin students plead for metal detectors at school, more safety training
Trib Live by JOE NAPSHA | Monday, April 9, 2018, 10:45 p.m.
A group of Norwin High School students urged school officials Monday to install metal detectors at the entrances to deter someone from bringing a weapon into school, and to do a better job of training students and teachers how to react when the panic alarm is sounded – as happened accidentally last week. “The safety of our school must start at the door,” so the district should install metal detectors at four entrances, which would cost about $16,000, said Norwin senior Emily Sheffler. As of now, a student or disgruntled parent could bring a knife, a gun or bomb into the school undetected, Sheffler said. “Stop the shooter from getting into the school in the first place. You have to have some kind of deterrent in place” Sheffler said. The panic alarm was accidentally sounded at about 11:45 a.m. April 2, sending students in the cafeteria running out of the building while others were barricaded behind classroom doors.
Creative arts therapists tap into the 'antidote to anxiety'
It is a growing trend in dealing with behavioral health issues in schools.
The notebook by Paul Jablow April 9, 2018 — 2:42pm
Her dance/movement therapy class at Mastery Charter School’s Shoemaker Campus had just started when Amy Hunter asked the seven high-schoolers to say and show how they were feeling. “Tense,” said one. “Tired,” said another as several took slumping poses. Soon Hunter had the group, gathered in a circle, doing lively exercises — rocking in their seats, passing and throwing a fabric ball and bouncing small objects on a circular cloth that looked like a parachute. When the hour was up and she asked the seven to describe their mental states, the adjectives were very different: “Happy.” “Great.” “Proud.” “It makes me feel safe here,” 10th-grader Naeem Scott said after the class. “I can be myself here.”
2017|NAEP Mathematics & Reading Assessments
Highlighted Results at Grades 4 and 8 for the Nation, States, and Districts
The 2017 grades 4 and 8 mathematics and reading results are in!
Below are key findings for the nation, states, and participating urban districts. Score changes are compared to the previous assessment years. Scroll down the page for more details.
America’s Gradebook: How Does Your State Stack Up?
Updated April 10, 2018 to include data from the 2017 NAEP.
Urban Institute April 10, 2018
Often called the “nation’s report card,” the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading and mathematics assessments are administered to a representative sample of fourth- and eighth-grade students in each state every two years. NAEP scores offer something rare in education policy: data that are standardized across states and across time. Policymakers and pundits seize upon these data as evidence to support their preferred policies. But comparing NAEP scores assumes that states serve the same students—and we know they don’t. A better way to compare and talk about NAEP performance is to use adjusted NAEP scores that account for demographic differences across students in each state. These adjusted scores allow for students to be compared with their demographically similar peers using factors such as race, receipt of special education services, and status as an English language learner. These are factors we know can affect test results, yet they are not shown in NAEP scores. The interactive tool below brings those adjusted NAEP scores to life.
NAEP Results: Scores Mostly Flat, Gaps Widen
Diane Ravitch’s Blog By dianeravitch April 10, 2018 //
Education Week reports that NAEP results are flat, with few exceptions. The billions squandered on annual testing and Common Core Gabe produced meager change, especially for those already at the bottom. Achievement gaps widened. With so little change, it is time—past time—to give serious attention to rethinking the federal testing juggernaut that began with No Child Left Behind, intensified with Race to the Top, and continues with the so-called Every Student Succeeds Act. The latest national results show that many children have been left behind, we are nowhere near “the top,” and every student is not succeeding. In short, the federal policy of standards, testing, and accountability is a train wreck. It is past time to stop blaming students, teachers, and schools, and place the blame for stagnation where it belongs: On nearly 20 years of failed federal policy based on failed assumptions.
Kansas Legislature Approves $534 Million Tax Increase
Education Week State Ed Watch By Daarel Burnette II on April 9, 2018 12:56 PM
Amid teacher protests and a looming supreme court deadline, Kansas' legislature over the weekend approved a $534 million increase in school funding over the next five years.
Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer endorsed the deal and is expected to sign it into law in the coming weeks. Now the state's supreme court will have to decide if that amount of money is enough for the state's school system to provide an "adequate" education, as the state's constitution mandates. The court gave the state until the end of April or risk having the state's school system shut down. A study commissioned by the state's legislature earlier this year predicted that the state would have to come up with between $1.7 billion and $2 billion over the next five years in order to provide an adequate education. The study concluded that $400 million would merely maintain current achievement levels, while increasing the high school graduation rate. A quarter of the state's students today does not meet the state's standards. Meanwhile, the Kansas legislature is considering whether to make an amendment to their constitution in order to ban the state's court system from dictating how much money the state's school system deserves.
Poverty is moving to the suburbs. The war on poverty hasn’t followed.
Washington Post By Aaron Wiener April 5
Aaron Wiener is a senior editor at Mother Jones.
On a sunny afternoon, when deliveries at his Domino’s job got slow, Delonte Wilkins sat in his old white Chevy and thought of home. Not the place he lives now — a drab apartment block on a dead-end street behind a highway in Capitol Heights, Md., which he habitually refers to as “out there” — but rather the block where he grew up in the 1990s: a strip of stately turn-of-the-century Victorian rowhouses in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Northwest Washington. Back then, he couldn’t have imagined that he and his friends would eventually be traveling across state lines to hang out there. That they’d draw looks and “can I help you?”s and sometimes calls to the cops. That most of them would be living in Prince George’s County, where neighbors didn’t talk and apartments were hidden behind big thoroughfares and it just didn’t feel like the kind of place where you’d meet your friends. That their former houses would be selling for seven figures — and that their new neighborhoods would be the emerging epicenters of poverty in the Washington region. Nobody imagined it, really. Certainly not the original suburbanites, the mostly white pilgrims who fled cities nationwide for peace, safety, space — and sometimes to get away from people who didn’t look like them. Not the federal government, which declared war on poverty in the 1960s but got stuck on an old version of the fight, still targeting low-income clusters in urban centers today rather than the diffusion of people who can no longer afford to live near their work. Not the nonprofit organizations that help low-income populations, which began in the so-called inner city and are largely still there, spending far more money per urban poor person than per suburbanite in need — 10 times as much in the D.C. region.
Testing Resistance & Reform News: March 28 - April 3, 2018
FairTest Submitted by fairtest on April 3, 2018 - 12:59pm news other
April is the peak month for test-obsessed classrooms in many parts of the country -- simultaneously the opt-out movement and legislative assessment reform proposals are surging, as this week's rich collection of news clips demonstrates. Note that 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores for Mathematics and Reading are due to be released on Tuesday morning April 10. Expect a barrage of media coverage focused on whether decades of test-and-punish policies have had any meaningful impact on academic performance.
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.