Wednesday, May 16, 2018

PA Ed Policy Roundup May 16: Women Score Major Victories in PA House Primary Races

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 4050 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers, Governor's staff, current/former PA Secretaries of Education, Wolf education transition team members, superintendents, school solicitors, principals, charter school leaders, PTO/PTA officers, parent advocates, teacher leaders, business leaders, faith-based organizations, labor organizations, education professors, members of the press and a broad array of P-16 regulatory agencies, professional associations and education advocacy organizations via emails, website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

These daily emails are archived and searchable at
Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg

Women Score Major Victories in PA House Primary Races

“National Democrats need to flip about two-dozen seats to retake control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the fall. At least four of those seats are in Pennsylvania, reinforcing, and then underlining, the state's Keystone status in the country's political firmament.”
In hard-fought Congressional races, Pa. appears set to reclaim Keystone status | Analysis
Penn Live By John L. Micek Updated May 15, 11:43 PM; Posted May 15, 10:53 PM
The chess pieces have fallen into place.  The results of Tuesday's closely watched primary election set up fights for control of Congress and the Pennsylvania Governor's Mansion that will play out on a grand and expensive scale this fall. Despite a threat of rain and reports of low turn-out, candidates left no stone unturned and no hand un-shook as they canvassed for votes. As expected, unofficial tallies showed Republican state Sen. Scott Wagner of York County winning the GOP nomination for governor, defeating opponents Paul Mango and Laura Ellsworth, both of Allegheny County, in a race that was notable for its nastiness. Wagner will face Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, who is running unopposed for a second term in November.   Meanwhile, high-stakes Congressional primaries, the first under a new map imposed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court earlier this year, held plenty of potential for drama, as voters unfamiliar with both new district lines and their candidate choices headed to the polls.

Analysis: Pennsylvania primary results reflect both sides of the Trump divide
Inquirer by Jonathan Tamari, Washington Bureau  @JonathanTamari | Updated: MAY 16, 2018 — 12:16 AM EDT
Pennsylvania’s primary results Tuesday night reflected both sides of the energy stirred by President Trump. Democrats rallied behind suburban women in several high-profile races critical to their hopes of taking control of the U.S. House this fall — nominating exactly the kind of candidates that Democrats are relying on nationally to help them win a foothold on power in Congress. Pennsylvania Republicans, meanwhile, doubled down on Trump’s 2016 success in the Keystone State — tapping statewide nominees who in style, tone, and priorities show the party has wrapped its arms around Trump. Delaware County’s Mary Gay Scanlon, Montgomery County’s Madeleine Dean and the Lehigh Valley’s Susan Wild all won Democratic primaries in key House races, and Chester County’s Chrissy Houlahan walked to her nomination unopposed. With Scanlon and Dean running in deep blue districts, and Houlahan also favored in a more competitive race, Pennsylvania is poised to send at least one woman, and maybe more, to Congress for the first time in four years. (Republicans also nominated a woman, Pearl Kim, to run against Scanlon in the Fifth District, all-but assuring a woman will win that race in a strongly Democratic district.)

Women Score Major Victories in House Primary Races in Pennsylvania
New York Times By Trip Gabriel May 15, 2018
A state representative, an Air Force veteran and two high-powered lawyers — all women — won Democratic House primaries on Tuesday in Pennsylvania, where a record number of women ran for House seats in a year of intense political enthusiasm among female Democrats. It was a night of victories for at least seven Democratic women running for the House in a state that has an all-male congressional delegation of 20 and a Statehouse dominated by male politicians. Female candidates showed strength in nearly every region of Pennsylvania, from the Philadelphia suburbs to the conservative southwest. Madeleine Dean, the state House member; Chrissy Houlahan, the veteran; and Mary Gay Scanlon, one of the lawyers, each won in Philadelphia suburban districts that they are now favored to carry in November, according to results from The Associated Press. Their primary victories raise the likelihood of women cracking the state’s all-male congressional delegation. Susan Wild, the other lawyer, won a competitive primary in the Lehigh Valley but now faces a tough general election race in a district with many blue-collar voters.

Pennsylvania voters face a governor's race with starkly different candidates | John Baer
Philly Daily News by John Baer, STAFF COLUMNIST Updated: MAY 15, 2018 — 11:26 PM EDT
I know they’re both 60-something rich white guys from rural York County, which normally would offer as much interest/excitement as a tag-team game of canasta in somebody’s suburban basement rec room. Without pretzels. But hold on. Fact is, Gov. Wolf, who was unopposed in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, and Republican primary winner Scott Wagner couldn’t be more dissimilar. And, trust me, they don’t like each other. I’m talking night and day, up and down, hot and cold, or any opposites of your choice, especially (weather-wise) calm and stormy. Politically and personally, these dudes are different. The differences will be central to their campaigns. And that should make it easy for voters come fall. We’re looking at a nuance-free election. Wolf’s a liberal Democrat, and just about everything that goes with that. After taking office in 2015, he was labeled on Huffington Post as America’s “most liberal governor.” Wagner’s a conservative Republican, and most of what goes with that, but in a populist Trump way, emphasizing anger against big government regulation, taxes and spending. He was and is a Trump supporter. Expect Trump to stump for him. Though not in Philadelphia.

U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta wins Republican nomination, defeats state Rep. Jim Christiana in state senate race
Beaver County Times By Marc Levy / The Associated Press Posted May 15, 2018 at 10:27 PM Updated May 15, 2018 at 11:08 PM
HARRISBURG — Four-term U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump who first got national notice as a small-city mayor for his attempted crackdown on illegal immigration, on Tuesday won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania. Barletta had paid little attention to his Republican rival, state Rep. Jim Christiana, during the primary campaign. Instead, he focused his attacks on the candidate he hopes to unseat in the fall, two-term Democratic Sen. Bob Casey. At his election night party in his hometown of Hazleton, Barletta appealed to the voters who helped Trump win the state in 2016′s presidential election. He said Casey has tried to “resist, reject and obstruct every step this president has taken.” “Bob Casey has moved so far left he doesn’t really represent Pennsylvania anymore,” Barletta said.

Braddock Mayor John Fetterman wins Pa. Democratic primary for lieutenant governor
Inquirer by Angela Couloumbis, Harrisburg Bureau  | Updated: MAY 15, 2018 — 11:23 PM EDT
HARRISBURG — Philadelphia Democrat Mike Stack III became the first lieutenant governor in modern Pennsylvania history to lose reelection in a primary. Stack was dealt a crushing defeat in Tuesday’s election, falling to Braddock Mayor John Fetterman in one of the most hotly contested primaries for lieutenant governor. Four Democrats, including Nina Ahmad, a onetime deputy mayor to Mayor Kenney, had vied to knock Stack out of the job. Unofficial vote counts showed Fetterman drawing nearly 40 percent of the vote, with Stack getting less than half as much. With the loss, Stack, who hails from an entrenched political family in Philadelphia, will make the history books: A sitting lieutenant governor has not lost a primary election since state law changed nearly a half-century ago to permit the holder of the office to serve two terms.

Keep school boards nonpartisan: Oppose the proposed elimination of cross-filing
PSBA Website May 15, 2018
Legislation pending in the General Assembly (House Bill 638 sponsored by Rep. Simmons, R-Lehigh) would bring partisan party politics into public education by  prohibiting school board candidates from cross-filing nomination petitions. Cross-filing is the ability allowed under the state Election Code for school board candidates to seek the nomination of more than one political party on the ballot. PSBA is opposed to the proposed elimination of cross-filing under House Bill 638. Cross-filing avoids politicizing public education and ensures that voters can vote for the best qualified candidate regardless of the candidate’s political party status. The focus of your school board should always be on providing quality public education to the kids in your neighborhoods in a nonpartisan manner that best meets the needs of students and district residents.

Letter to editor: Pa. spending shortfall hurts Coatesville schools
Daily Local Letter by Michael Churchill Phoenixville POSTED: 05/15/18, 8:22 PM EDT
Coatesville Area School District’s budget this year includes an 8.4 percent tax hike, which Board President Dean Snyder calls the “hardest part of the job” due to the difficulty of “balancing taxpayers’ money with the education of students.” The job of Snyder and the board is made even more difficult by the lack of investment from the state into local schools. Currently, Pennsylvania ranks near the bottom of the nation (46th) in state share contribution for public schools. PA is also the state that has the widest spending gap between poor and wealthy school districts in the country. Two years ago, the state adopted a fair funding formula that gives school districts state funding based on its students’ needs. It has yet to be fully funded. If the state would fully fund formula for education, Coatesville schools would receive at least $12 million more from the state each year – and the Coatesville Board could be making more decisions about how to bolster the education of the community’s young people, instead of taxing homeowners.

Mars Area budget proposal calls for 2.4 percent tax increase
Post-Gazette by SANDY TROZZO MAY 15, 2018 12:44 PM
Mars Area School District residents may see something that they haven’t seen in more than 10 years – a millage increase. The school board Tuesday approved a tentative final budget that includes a 2.4 percent real estate tax hike. The millage rate will increase from 99 mills to 101.3760 mills. The increase is the largest the district could seek under State Act 1, said Jill Swaney, business manager. One mill brings in $256,566. “For many years, we have been able to maintain programs and live within our means without raising taxes,” said Superintendent Wesley Shipley. But program growth and the “dire need” to renovate the middle school makes a tax increase necessary this year, he said.

Greater Latrobe proposes half-mill property tax hike
Trib Live JEFF HIMLER  | Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 11:45 p.m.
Property owners in Latrobe, Youngstown and Unity may have to dig a little deeper into their pockets next year after the Greater Latrobe School Board Tuesday approved a tentative $56 million budget for 2018-19 that would be balanced with a half-mill property tax increase. According to district business administrator Dan Watson, the proposed hike to 81.25 mills would add $13 to the tax bill of the owner of an average district property with an assessed value of $26,380. The tax hike would cover an expected budget shortfall of $170,000. The tentative spending plan includes a $630,522 jump in expenditures, with special education costs accounting for the largest single increase — up by $463,803, or 21.5 percent. Board member Mike O'Barto cast the sole vote against the proposed budget, citing opposition to the tax increase. O'Barto, who has suggested the district offer a tax break for senior citizens, said many older residents can't afford their tax bills.

“Some of the major expenditures include laptop replacements at School Street Elementary School for $200,000 and network upgrades at Floyd C. Fretz Middle School at $40,000. Other major expenditures include the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System funds at $327,285; health insurance at $312,512, an increase of close to 7 percent; and Cyber Charter Schools fees at $160,000.”
No tax increase expected in Bradford Area School District
Bradford Era By KATE DAY SAGER Era Reporter May 15, 2018
A preliminary budget of $41 million for Bradford Area School District’s 2018-19 school year, which represents no tax increase, was unanimously approved by the board of education at Monday’s meeting. Judith Bodamer, district director of finance, presented the preliminary budget to the board, which will vote on the final budget at its June 27 meeting. In her presentation, Bodamer said the proposed budget, if approved, will have a tax rate of 22.12 mills, with the average taxpayer paying $1,087 in school real estate taxes. She said those who qualify for Homestead/Farmstead credit could receive $309 in deductions. Bodamer said the district will receive $39,625,484 in local, state, federal and other revenue, while its expenditures will amount to $41,051,530. While this leaves a deficit of $1,426,046, Bodamer said the district will make that up through the fund balance, which will stand at $9,634,439 if used for the budget. In breaking the proposed budget down, Bodamer said instruction fees take up the bulk of the budget at $23,965,490, or 44 percent. She said instructional salaries will include adding one new guidance counselor, one social studies teacher at the high school and increasing an English Language Learner teacher from part-time status to full-time status.

Taxes and spending rise in proposed Garnet Valley schools budget
Delco Times By Susan Serbin, Times Correspondent POSTED: 05/15/18, 8:48 PM EDT
CONCORD >> The Garnet Valley School Board approved the 2018-19 proposed final general fund budget of $107,200,208 representing a $3.9 million, or 3.8 percent, increase in expenditures over the current year. However, the real estate tax is 2.33 percent, clearing the district’s Act I 2.4 percent index. The millage rate for Chester Heights and Concord is 32.49 mills. Bethel’s rate is 32.8614 mills including .3714 mills for participation in Delaware County Community College. In Chester Heights and Concord, each $100,000 of assessed value would incur tax of $3,249.00, a $74 increase over the current year. In Bethel, each $100,000 of assessed value would incur tax of $3,286.14, a $76.04 increase. The board had no substantive discussion on the budget as it had been previously reviewed in its preliminary stage and no major changes were made. As the combined work session and regular board meeting in May had only one member of the public, the board went directly to a vote, approving the budget unanimously 8-0.

Taxes to rise in Upper Darby schools proposed budget
Delco Times By Kevin Tustin, on Twitter POSTED: 05/15/18, 8:48 PM EDT | UPDATED: 18 SECS AGO
UPPER DARBY >> Homeowners in the Upper Darby School District are looking at the highest tax increase in years if what was worked into the proposed final budget holds over into the final budget when adopted next month. The school board and the public got more information in a proposed $209 million budget Monday night, which would add over 40 faculty/staff positions and increase the district’s capital reserve while creating a shortfall of $12.4 million and implementing a 3.4 percent tax increase, the highest bump to real estate taxes in the district since 2012-13. District Chief Financial Officer Patrick Grant presented a still preliminary budget that has $10.4 million in expenditures over the current year. The added expenditures include a number of administration recommendations like the $3.5 million staffing request – which includes seven elementary-level assistant principals, support teachers and aides, and social workers – and increasing the lease purchase amount up to $2.4 million to accommodate security costs and the purchase of 2,700 Google Chromebooks.

Pa. can't afford to shortchange career-technical education | Opinion
By Express-Times guest columnist By Jackie Cullen Updated May 15, 10:01 AM; Posted May 15, 10:01 AM
Jackie Cullen is the executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of Career and Technology Administrators.
The basic education of our youth, especially career and technical education (CTE), is imperative to our nation's workforce development. Career and technical education is a delivery model that integrates rigorous academics with technical and skill knowledge. This type of education is essential to meeting today's workforce demands, which in turn is vital to the economic health of the commonwealth. In response to the changing economy, CTE has undergone significant changes in the past few decades. Its mission is focused on preparing students for successful careers and lifelong learning in order to enhance our nation's workforce competitiveness on a global level. CTE is now part of the college preparatory track, with an increasing number of graduates enrolling in postsecondary education and completing bachelor's degrees. There is growing evidence that it is an effective intervention for reducing high school dropout rates, as it often captures the engagement of at-risk learners.

Project-based learning and standardized tests don’t mix
WHYY By Amadou Diallo, The Hechinger Report May 14, 2018
In a city that’s struggled to meet the educational needs of many of its children, especially its most vulnerable ones, a select group of district high schools is shunning the traditional classroom model in which teachers dispense knowledge from the front of the room and measure progress with tests. Instead, the schools have adopted an approach that’s become increasingly popular among education advocates and funders: project-based learning. In this model, students embark on in-depth investigations relevant to their lives and their communities. Projects are organized around the development of skills like student collaboration, problem-solving and self-reflection through assignments that blend research with public presentations. They’re precisely the skills that colleges and employers say graduates need for success. Yet, in a school district where more than half of 8-year-olds are reading below grade level and a third of high school students don’t graduate, there’s an urgency to demonstrate improved results. One of the challenges facing a project-based learning (PBL) model lies in measuring the very benefits that characterize it. “We haven’t figured out how to assess the outcomes of PBL and that is a huge issue,” said Maia Bloomfield Cucchiara, associate professor at Temple University.

Study: Despite modest income, teachers pay for class needs
Inquirer by MARIA DANILOVA, The Associated Press Updated: MAY 15, 2018 2:10 PM 
WASHINGTON (AP) - Every year Anna Graven dips into her modest teacher salary and spends her own money to buy bulletin boards, pencils, paper, highlighters and tissues for her high school students in Oklahoma City. So do almost all of her colleagues across the nation. Nearly all public school teachers report digging into their pockets to pay for school supplies, spending nearly $480 a year, far more than the federal $250 tax deduction available to teachers, according to a study by the National Center of Education Statistics released Tuesday. The findings come as teachers across the country are walking out of classrooms to protest low pay and demand pay raises. Helping teachers pay for classroom supplies was a key demand during the Arizona teachers' strike. Ninety-four percent of public school teachers say they spent their own money on notebooks, pens and other supplies in the 2014-15 school year without reimbursement, according to the study. The average amount spent was $479. About 44 percent spent $250 or less, while 36 percent spent $251 to $500.

Parkland (Florida) parents who lost kids are running for school board
Morning Call Kelli Kennedy Associated Press May 15, 2018
Two parents who lost children in February's massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School announced their candidacies for county school board seats Tuesday, saying they want to improve safety and increase accountability. Ryan Petty, a telecom and technology entrepreneur, said he wants to help restore the Broward County School Board to its proper function as an oversight body for the administration, saying he thinks that has been lost. He is running for an at-large seat on the board, while Lori Alhadeff is running in the district that includes the city of Parkland, where Stoneman Douglas is located. "We've dedicated ourselves to change a system that would allow somebody like Nikolas Cruz to fall through the cracks," said Petty, referring to the 19-year-old former Stoneman Douglas student whom police have identified as the shooter. Petty's daughter Alaina and Alhadeff's daughter Alyssa were two of 14 students and three school officials killed. Petty said he and Alhadeff helped pass state laws strengthening gun control in the months after the shooting, but said "there's a lot more to do."

Testing Resistance & Reform News: May 9 - 15, 2018
FairTest Submitted by fairtest on May 15, 2018 - 1:29pm 
The rich array of stories in this week's news clips -- online, in print, via video and audio -- reported from a third of U.S. states and around the world demonstrate the breadth, depth and impact of the assessment reform movement.

Nominations for PSBA’s Allwein Advocacy Award
PSBA Website May 14, 2018
The Timothy M. Allwein Advocacy Award was established in 2011 by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association and may be presented annually to the individual school director or entire school board to recognize outstanding leadership in legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of public education and students that are consistent with the positions in PSBA’s Legislative Platform. In addition to being a highly respected lobbyist, Timothy Allwein served to help our members be effective advocates in their own right. Many have said that Tim inspired them to become active in our Legislative Action Program and to develop personal working relationships with their legislators. The 2018 Allwein Award nomination process will begin on Monday, May 14, 2018. The application due date is July 16, 2018 in the honor of Tim’s birth date of July 16.
Download the Application

Electing PSBA Officers:  Applications Due by June 1st
Do you have strong communication and leadership skills and a vision for PSBA? Members interested in becoming the next leaders of PSBA are encouraged to submit an Application for Nomination no later than June 1, 11:59 p.m., to PSBA's Leadership Development Committee (LDC). The nomination process
All persons seeking nomination for elected positions of the Association shall send applications to the attention of the chair of the Leadership Development Committee, during the months of April and May an Application for Nomination to be provided by the Association expressing interest in the office sought. “The Application for nomination shall be marked received at PSBA Headquarters or mailed first class and postmarked by June 1 to be considered and timely filed.” (PSBA Bylaws, Article IV, Section 5.E.).
Open positions are:
In addition to the application form, PSBA Governing Board Policy 302 asks that all candidates furnish with their application a recent, print quality photograph and letters of application. The application form specifies no less than three letters of recommendation and no more than four, and are specifically requested as follows:

the notebook Annual Celebration - June 5, 2018 - New Location!
Please join us on June 5, 2018, at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia! Please note the new location!
Buy your tickets today!
Every June, 400 public school supporters gather in celebration at the end of the school year. This festive event features awards for outstanding high school journalism, talented local musicians, a silent auction, and the opportunity to speak with the most influential voices in the local education community. This year, the Notebook staff and board of directors would like to honor public education advocates who are committed to our mission of advancing quality and equity in our city’s schools.
Our Honorees:
Debra Weiner - A longtime advocate for public education at a variety of nonprofit organizations and higher education institutions, and a member of the Notebook’s editorial advisory board

Mary Goldman - Former 27th Ward Leader and advocate for children and public schools
Our City Our Schools - A coalition of local grassroots organizations that campaigned to return the school board to local control
The event will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5, at the National Museum of American Jewish History.

IN PHILLY, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13, 2018, 8:30-10:00 A.M.
Join Law Center attorneys Michael Churchill, Jennifer Clarke, and Dan Urevick-Ackelsberg for a free briefing on the state of education funding in Pennsylvania. They’ll cover the basics of education funding, our fair school funding lawsuit, the property tax elimination bill, the 2018-2019 state budget, and more! RSVP online here. The briefing will be held on Wednesday, June 13th at 8:30 a.m. at 1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19103.
Download a flyer for this event.

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 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.

Save the Dates PASA/PSBA School Leadership Conference – Hershey, Oct. 17-19, 2018 
Mark your calendar! The Delegate Assembly will take place Friday, Oct. 19, 2018, at 2:30 p.m.
Housing now open!

Our Public Schools Our Democracy: Our Fight for the Future
NPE / NPE Action 5th Annual National Conference
October 20th - 21st, 2018 Indianapolis, Indiana
We are delighted to let you know that you can purchase your discounted Early Bird ticket to register for our annual conference starting today. Purchase your ticket here.
Early Bird tickets will be on sale until May 30 or until all are sold out, so don't wait.  These tickets are a great price--$135. Not only do they offer conference admission, they also include breakfast and lunch on Saturday, and brunch on Sunday. Please don't forget to register for your hotel room. We have secured discounted rates on a limited basis. You can find that link here. Finally, if you require additional financial support to attend, we do offer some scholarships based on need. Go here and fill in an application. We will get back to you as soon as we can. Please join us in Indianapolis as we fight for the public schools that our children and communities deserve. Don't forget to get your Early Bird ticket here. We can't wait to see you.

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.