Thursday, June 14, 2018

PA Ed Policy Roundup June 14: “Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over”

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
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“Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over”

Tweet from NSBA | School Boards @NSBAComm June 11, 2018
Save the Date! Join @NSBAComm and @AASAHQ for a twitter chat on #equity and school safety on Thursday June 21st at 7pm Eastern. #NSBAEquity #Supts4Equity

“Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over,” British journalist Dan Hodges tweeted, citing Sandy Hook. Indeed, as I installed blackout curtains and introduced my students to our designated hiding space (bring a book to read silently, word directions carefully so no one’s alarmed, present the drill as a game), I waited for legislative change that never came. During the 2017-18 year, there has been, on average, a school shooting every single week of the year. While guns-rights advocates have come up with an appalling list of anti-solutions, what they’re unwilling to do is have a productive conversation on gun reform. As the eighth graders at St. Cornelius, let alone the students of Parkland, Santa Fe and other communities can attest, those of us responsible for protecting students have failed.”
Teachers now lead mass-shooting drills, but it's not just up to educators to save lives | Perspective
Inquirer by Samantha Facciolo, For the Inquirer Updated: JUNE 14, 2018 — 5:00 AM EDT
For teachers, June is a time of recognizing student achievement, of reflecting on the year that was and looking forward to the summer ahead. However, for a group of graduates in Pennsylvania, this week was not a time of joy but a reminder of how dangerous school has become. The eighth-grade class of St. Cornelius Catholic School in Chadds Ford received a parting gift to commemorate graduation. That gift? A SafeShield, a bulletproof insert students can place into their backpacks in the event of a mass shooting. It was a stark reminder that not all students who clamor onto yellow buses each morning make it home. I led my first mass shooting drill in January 2013, a month after the horrific Sandy Hook massacre. My colleagues and I spent hours developing plans. Was it better to escape or to shelter in place or to fight back with the blocks and tennis balls a police captain had advised we have on hand? Which students might freeze? Which might run? My classroom was less than 10 seconds from the school’s entrance. What could that mean?

“The supply of young, diverse teachers in Lancaster County and across the state is limited. And urban school districts statewide are reeling from it. “We’re continuously on the lookout and trying to think of innovative ways to attract teachers — both minority and nonminority,” city schools’ Superintendent Damaris Rau said. “Our kids need to see people who look like them in front of them.”
The unintended consequences of having teachers who, for the most part, don't resemble their students
Lancaster Online by ALEX GELI | Staff Writer June 14, 2018
When Margarete Davila was in sixth grade, she said students and staff at the private school she attended in Lancaster County failed to embrace her diversity. Born in Puerto Rico, Davila struggled with her English. She recalled one of her teachers telling her not to speak Spanish, so not to make the other kids feel uncomfortable. Davila transferred to public school the next year. But she soon learned being treated differently because of her race isn’t something she could escape. Following her was what she now calls the “white elephant in the room.” “We are far from racist,” Davila said of J.P. McCaskey High School, where she received her diploma last week, “but I definitely think there is a lot of bias here.” That bias, she said, stems somewhat from the racial disparities between students and staff. Simply put, the majority of School District of Lancaster students don’t look like their teachers, and it has brought unintended consequences. Some students say they feel overlooked — or worse, targeted — because of the color of their skin or the way they speak. And they lack adult role models in the school who understand their predicament. 'We are far from racist, but I definitely think there is a lot of bias here.” This, district officials say, is antithetical to one of the school district’s main purposes — showing students they can be successful regardless of their background. But in many ways, the officials feel as though their hands are tied.

PSBA supports legislation to provide alternative pathways to graduation
PSBA website June 13, 2018
The Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) supports legislation approved today by the Senate Education Committee that provides multiple pathways for students to demonstrate readiness for high school graduation in addition to passing Keystone Exams. Senate Bill 1095 was introduced by Senator Thomas McGarrigle (R-Chester/Delaware) and amended in committee with language offered by Senator Robert Tomlinson (R-Bucks). PSBA urges the Senate to act swiftly on the legislation. “This proposal allows various assessments and pieces of evidence to be used to show proficiency rather than using Keystone Exams as the sole consideration of student success. The proposal appropriately recognizes the achievement of knowledge and skills relevant to students’ individual career pathways,” said PSBA Chief Executive Officer Nathan G. Mains. The plan under Senate Bill 1095 is the culmination of extensive discussion and collaboration with leaders in the Senate and the education community, including PSBA, and recommendations from the Department of Education. It revises the current graduation requirement that calls for students to pass the state-developed Keystone Exams in Literature, Algebra I and Biology in order to graduate. Although the graduation requirement was intended to begin in the 2016-17 school year, the General Assembly has delayed the effective date twice, with the mandate now set to become effective in the 2019-20 school year unless a new plan can be enacted. As amended, Senate Bill 1095 builds a system with multiple pathways for students to demonstrate graduation readiness beyond simply passing each Keystone Exam.

Franklin & Marshall College Poll
The 26th year of consecutive polling in Pennsylvania
Below are the highlights of the June 2018, Franklin & Marshall College Poll. Complete results can be found at

·         Half (55%) of the state’s registered voters are “very interested” in the 2018 mid-term elections; more Democrats (62%) than Republicans (50%) or independents (41%) say they are “very interested.”
·         Democrat Tom Wolf leads Republican Scott Wagner 48% to 29% in the governor’s contest among registered voters with 23% indicating they are undecided.
·         Democrat Bob Casey leads Republican Lou Barletta in the U.S. Senate contest 44% to 27% with 28% indicating they are undecided.
·         A large portion of voters, notably Republicans and independents, are undecided in the Senate and Gubernatorial races and neither Republican candidate is well known yet among voters.
·         Nearly half (45%) of the state’s registered voters believe the state is “headed in the right direction,” with 39%.
·         More than two in five (45%) registered voters in Pennsylvania believe Governor Wolf is doing an “excellent” or “good” job as governor.
·         Two in five (42%) registered voters believe Senator Casey is doing an “excellent” or “good” job as the state’s U.S. Senator, which is an increase from the March survey (37%).
·         Three in four (72%) of the state’s registered voters believe state government needs reformed, with large majorities favoring reforms to campaign finance laws, the structure and operation of the state legislature, redistricting, and state and local government financing.
·         About one in three (35%) registered voters in Pennsylvania believes President Trump is doing an “excellent” or “good” job as president, which is an increase from the March survey (30%).
·         About one in three (33%) voters say they have had an increase in their income because of the tax cut passed in December, although most (63%) of these respondents report seeing only a small increase.
This survey reflects interviews with 472 Pennsylvania registered voters, including 224 Democrats, 185 Republicans and 63 Independents conducted by the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College from June 4-10, 2018. The sample error for this survey is +/- 6.5 percentage points.  A complete methodological statement can be found in the final report.

F&M poll shows it's Wolf's race to lose, but Wagner's spokesman calls that 'a joke'
Penn Live By Jan Murphy Updated 4:45 AM; Posted 4:45 AM
GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner appears to have his work cut out for him if he wants to defeat Gov. Tom Wolf's re-election bid on Nov. 6, according to the latest Franklin & Marshall College Poll. It finds 48 percent of poll respondents say they would vote for giving the Democratic governor a second four-year term if the election were held today. Only 29 percent indicated that Wagner would be their choice and 1 percent would choose another candidate. The remaining 23 percent of the 472 registered voters who participated in the poll conducted June 4-10 were undecided. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 6.5 percentage points. The Wolf campaign takes the findings as affirmation that the governor is hitting all the right buttons with voters. The Wagner folks call the poll "a joke." But poll director G. Terry Madonna believes the poll reflects the advantage that comes with incumbency in having name recognition. Along with the poll's finding of the governor's big lead over Wagner, Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey has a 44 percent to 27 percent lead over his re-election challenger GOP candidate, U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta.

Pa. Poll: Wolf and Casey lead GOP candidates by double-digits
Inquirer by Chris Brennan, STAFF WRITER  @ByChrisBrennan | Updated: JUNE 14, 2018 — 6:00 AM EDT
Republicans linking their campaigns for statewide office in Pennsylvania to President Trump’s political fortunes will receive mixed messages — at best — from the latest Franklin & Marshall College Poll. The poll released Thursday shows Trump lagging in popularity across the state, even as his support bumped up among his most loyal backers. And the Republican nominees for governor and the U.S. Senate trail Democratic incumbents by double digits. Former state Sen. Scott Wagner of York County, the Republican nominee challenging Gov. Wolf’s bid for a second term, started his campaign touting his strong support of Trump in 2016. U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta of Luzerne County, the Republican trying to defeat U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr.’s bid for a third term, was co-chairman of Trump’s campaign in Pennsylvania and an early supporter.

Pa. voters are fired up for November, but think the system is broken, new poll finds | Thursday Morning Coffee
Penn Live By John L. Micek Updated 4:30 AM; Posted 4:30 AM
Nearly two years after Pennsylvanians helped put President Donald Trump in the White House, overwhelming majorities of state voters remain happy with their White House picks; are fired up for the November mid-terms, but still believe our politics are deeply broken and ripe for reform. That's the bottom line of a new Franklin & Marshall College poll out Thursday, as the major parties gear up for a summer campaign season with control of Congress, the Legislature and the Pennsylvania governor's mansion on the line.  Source: The Franklin & Marshall College poll All 203 members of the state House, along with half the 50-member Senate will face the electorate in November. Democrats are hoping to flip at least five Congressional seats, thanks to map imposed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. And Democratic incumbent Gov. Tom Wolf is looking to fend off a challenge from Republican Scott Wagner, as he seeks a second term. With all that at stake, Pennsylvania voters are excited to cast their ballots, with more than half (55 percent) saying they're "very interested" in the critical mid-term contests.

Fight over redistricting, judicial elections shifts to House
Beaver County Times By Marc Levy and Mark Scolforo, Associated Press Posted Jun 13, 2018 at 5:46 PM Updated Jun 13, 2018 at 5:46 PM
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The fight over trying to take politics out of drawing Pennsylvania’s legislative and congressional districts shifted Wednesday to the state House of Representatives, where majority Republicans may be mostly interested in overhauling how state appeals judges are elected. A measure to amend the state constitution passed the Republican-controlled state Senate, 35-14, in a near party-line vote after Democrats complained that they had been blindsided by Republicans in the bill’s 11th hour after months of bipartisan work. It heads to the Republican-controlled House, where there’s been comparatively little discussion about the topic. House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, said the House would hold a “transparent and robust” discussion of the Senate bill and, although he supports electing judges by district, he was not familiar with every provision in the bill. “By no means will the House of Representatives be a rubber stamp,” Turzai said shortly after the Senate vote. Creating a citizens’ commission to redraw legislative and congressional districts every decade had garnered bipartisan support in the Senate amid Republican backlash over Pennsylvania’s Democratic-majority Supreme Court overturning the state’s GOP-drawn map of congressional districts earlier this year. Under the Senate’s bill, commission members would be picked by top lawmakers and the governor, and require approval by supermajorities of lawmakers. The bill also takes pains to ensure that the court does not put itself in a position to redraw districts, if a map is successfully challenged in court. On Tuesday, Republicans muscled in a new provision: electing state appellate judges by district, rather than statewide.

Pa. Senate passes redistricting reform bill with last-minute amendment
Pocono Record  By The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Posted Jun 13, 2018 at 9:06 PM Updated Jun 13, 2018 at 9:06 PM
The Pennsylvania Senate passed a redistricting reform bill Wednesday that had been dramatically changed the day before, drawing fire from anti-gerrymandering advocates who began lobbying against legislation they had helped craft. The bill, approved 35-14 largely along party lines, would ask voters to amend the state constitution to have political maps drawn by a citizens’ commission, rather than lawmakers. Proposals had been debated for months, but Republicans added an amendment Tuesday that would put an additional proposal before voters: Should state appellate judges, including Supreme Court justices, be elected from regional districts across the state instead of in statewide elections? With the amendment, the redistricting reform bill, SB22, became unpalatable to advocates, and Democrats called the amendment a “poison pill” meant to retaliate against the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which in January overturned the state’s congressional map as a partisan gerrymander. “What we have now is a hijacked concept [of] a bill that utilized the energy and the commitment of individuals to try to make a difference,” state Sen. Vincent Hughes, D-Philadelphia, said on the Senate floor. Republicans, he said, “hijacked that commitment ... in retaliation to the state Supreme Court’s decisions.” “This bill now not only does not decrease gerrymandering, in fact it increases gerrymandering because it adds the judicial branch,” he said.

What's a regional judicial district? Proposal could doom Pa. redistricting bill
Penn Live By Jan Murphy Updated Jun 12; Posted Jun 12
The state Senate on Wednesday is expected to consider a proposed constitutional amendment that would turn the task of drawing congressional and legislative district boundaries over to an independent citizens commission. But the latest version of this redistricting reform, which was revised in the Senate on Tuesday passing by an overwhelming 48-1 vote, got another reform attached to it at the last minute that some consider to be a poison pill that will doom its chances of ever reaching the voters for ratification. By a near party-line 31-18 vote, the Senate approved adding to the legislation a more controversial second proposed constitutional amendment that would alter the way judges who serve on the Commonwealth and Superior courts as well as justices on the Supreme Court are elected.

Governor Wolf Announces More Than $2 Million in Teacher in the Workplace Grants to Help Students and Businesses Thrive
Governor Wolf’s website June 13, 2018
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today continued his commitment to helping students gain the education and job skills they and their employers need to succeed in a global economy by announcing the award of more than $2 million in Teacher in the Workplace grants to 48 programs across the commonwealth. “A 21st century economy demands a technically skilled, well-prepared workforce and my administration is dedicated to helping our young people get the skills they need to succeed,” Governor Wolf said. “These funds will provide educators with a more thorough understanding of the skills necessary to thrive in the workplace, make curriculum more employer-relevant, and help ensure that students are career-ready upon graduation.” The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) awarded the grants through local workforce development boards (LWDBs) across Pennsylvania. The grants allow teachers, counselors and school administrators to interact directly with industry and business leaders to learn about industry trends, needs and opportunities. This first-hand experience and knowledge can then be used to enhance classroom instruction, student learning, and career readiness.

SB1198: Effort underway to make it easier to access Pa. school performance information
Jim Hook, Chambersburg Public Opinion Published 10:27 a.m. ET June 13, 2018 | Updated 12:49 p.m. ET June 13, 2018
HARRISBURG -- Some Pennsylvania senators want to create a “one-stop shop” website where parents, students, and taxpayers can access school and district performance information. “There are multiple programs currently in place, already required by law, that report data on everything from assessment to test scores to finances to teacher effectiveness,” said Sen. John Eichelberger Jr., R-Hollidaysburg.  “Pennsylvania’s plan under the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act will create yet another reporting system and performance index.  It can be difficult to navigate through all of the links to those reports on the state Department of Education’s website. Establishing a single location online for all of these measures will make it much easier for the public to find information it needs, as well as increase transparency and accountability.” The Senate Education Committee passed the legislation (Senate Bill 1198) on Tuesday,  by a vote of 9-3. Eichelberger chairs the committee and was the prime sponsor of the bill. The legislation goes to the full Senate. The bill would require school districts, on their website home page, to clearly post a link to the new website.  The bill will also require all reported indexes to provide summary scores.

Here’s another view on SB1198 from Education Voters PA:
SB1198: Alert: A brand new attack on PA's public schools
Education Voters PA email alert June 11, 2018
On Tuesday, June 12, the PA Senate Education Committee will consider Senate Bill 1198, legislation that would:
1.         Continue to mandate publicly labeling schools as successful or failing based primarily on students’ standardized test scores using the School Performance Profile (SPP).
2.         Give state lawmakers power to micromanage changes to PA’s federal accountability plan.
This may not sound like a big deal, but it is.
We cannot stand by as anti-public education lawmakers attempt to hijack our children’s public school evaluation and accountability system in order to promote the interests of the deep-pocketed school privatization lobby. As part of complying with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the Pennsylvania Department of Education spent more than a year meeting with parents and public education stakeholders throughout PA to learn what they wanted to know about their students’ schools.Pennsylvania then developed the Future Ready PA Index, a system that recognizes our children and our schools are more than test scores.
The Future Ready PA Index reduces emphasis on standardized testing by ending the practice of labeling schools with a single number. Instead, it provides parents with a dashboard approach that presents significant and meaningful information about student opportunities, achievement, and success. Anti-public education lawmakers want to continue reducing students to test scores and schools to a number. They want to continue using the SPP as a public measure of school quality to guarantee that under-resourced schools will be labeled as failing so that they can justify punitive interventions, such turning schools over to private charter school operators or implementing new private/religious school voucher schemes.
Please tell your state lawmakers to oppose SB 1198 because our students are more than a test score and our schools are more than a number.

Thackston charter, facing closure, and York City Schools outline their cases ahead of trial
David Weissman, York Dispatch Published 3:48 p.m. ET June 13, 2018 | Updated 4:18 p.m. ET June 13, 2018
Audits from the 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years will be at the center of a trial to determine whether Helen Thackston Charter School will exist for the 2018-19 school year. The nonjury trial between Thackston and York City School District is set to begin at 9:30 a.m. Friday, June 15, at the York County Judicial Center. The crux of the legal battle is whether Thackston complied with an agreement to turn in completed audits by turning in audit reports that came with a disclaimer, as Thackston's auditing firm noted missing documents prevented it from rendering an opinion on the financial situation of the charter school. Facing charter revocation hearings, Thackston's board signed an agreement in October with the school district to close following the 2018-19 school year. But the agreement included a clause that the school must close following the 2017-18 school year if it didn't complete and turn in the overdue audits by the end of January. The district's school board, not satisfied with the disclaimer in those audits, authorized its solicitors in February to pursue legal action to ensure the closure of the charter school by the end of the current school year. Thackston then sued the school district to stay open through 2018-19, and the school district countersued to close it this year.

“School Board President Donna Usavage noted that over the past 10 years, the average Boyertown tax hike has matched the state tax ceiling known as the Act 1 Index. This is despite the fact that increased costs for the state retirement system and increases in special education programs were not covered by the increased revenue from the tax hikes allowed by the state.”
Boyertown school budget will raise taxes 5.4%, per capita tax reinstated
By Evan Brandt, The Mercury POSTED: 06/13/18, 5:58 PM EDT | UPDATED: 18 MINS AGO
BOYERTOWN >> With a 6-3 vote Tuesday, the Boyertown Area School Board approved a $118 million final budget that raises property taxes by 5.4 percent. Board members Ruth Dierolf, Christine Neiman and Clay Breece voted against the budget adoption. With a 7-2 vote, the board also undertook a last-minute rescue of the $14.70 per capita tax, which was scheduled to disappear on July 1. And a unanimous board vote approved a one-year contract with the district’s teachers union that includes $1,500 raises and will add more than $1.2 million to the new budget. In comments before his vote, Breece chided the district for not working harder, putting in more meetings, to try to lower the tax increase. In February, when the board took its first vote on the budget, the tax hike was forecast at 5.44 percent, and little has changed since then, he said. Calling public schools “a government monopoly,” Breece said “the plan of some school board directors is simply to raise taxes.” “We don’t have anybody here who wants to make tough decisions. I don’t think most of the people here would know a tough decision if it was staring them in the face,” he said. “And they will raise taxes again if we keep electing the same people.”

South Butler teachers accept contract proposal ending 4-year stalemate
Trib Live CHUCK BIEDKA  | Wednesday, June 13, 2018, 10:36 p.m.
South Butler School District teachers on Wednesday accepted a nonbinding arbitration panel's contract proposal, teachers union representative Brooke Witt said. The vote ends a four-year labor dispute between about 170 teachers and the district. School board members welcomed the vote. If teachers had voted to reject the proposal, they and the district would have been required to start negotiations over again. On May 21, the arbitration panel spent about eight hours in a hearing and issued a report on June 6. The proposal was made by a three-member panel, which included one neutral member and one representing teachers and one representing the school district.

Allegheny Valley School District opts for keeping staff, raising taxes
Trib Live by GEORGE GUIDO | Wednesday, June 13, 2018, 2:51 p.m.
Three Allegheny Valley School District educators will get to keep their jobs after almost two dozen residents pleaded on their behalf to school board members. But the decision not to furlough the employees will come with a price. The school board reversed its decision to furlough junior-senior high Assistant Principal Peter Simpson, technology teacher John McDermott and elementary teacher Kelly Slomka after residents ranging from current students to retirees turned out to support the trio at the school board's latest meeting. The pleas were compelling, causing board members to scrap plans for a zero tax increase budget that would have eliminated the three jobs, in addition to that of another teacher who is retiring. Instead, the board gave preliminary approval to a budget that retains the three educators but raises taxes by 2 percent.

Salisbury School Board OKs 2.4% tax increase
Margie Peterson Special to The Morning Call June 13, 2018
In anticipation of an anemic increase in state funding and squeezed by growing costs in pensions, special education and charter school payments, Salisbury School Board approved a final budget with a 2.4 percent tax increase. The 2018-2019 spending plan of $37.1 million was passed Wednesday night by a vote of 7-1 with school directors George Gatanis voting no and Sam DeFrank absent. The tax millage rate will rise from 18.4527 mills to 18.8955 mills. Under the new rate, homeowners with property assessed at $200,000 will pay $3,779 in real estate taxes or $89 more than last year. Under the state’s Act I Index, the 2.4 percent hike is the most the district could raise taxes without a voter referendum. School Board President Frank Frankenfield said it was unfortunate that the district had to raise taxes but it wasn’t getting enough money from the state to offset rising expenditures. Superintendent Randy Ziegenfuss said Salisbury anticipates only about $35,000 more in state funding. Meanwhile, transportation costs are estimated to rise about 2 percent and the district expects a 3.5 percent increase in its expenditures for payments to charter schools and out-of-district tuition. Salisbury is budgeting about $917,000 for tuition for charter and cybercharter schools.

Advocates Debate Charter Schools' Performance, Diversity With Lawmakers in US House
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Andrew Ujifusa on June 13, 2018 1:18 PM
Charter school supporters, along with one critic of how they've served his children, discussed charters' academic performance, whether they contribute to segregation in education, and whether they've been held properly accountable at a House education committee hearing on Wednesday. While witnesses testifying in favor of charter schools cited their ability to drive learning gains for needy students while still being held responsible through oversight and closures, one parent advocate told lawmakers that in his experience charter schools in Detroit had gotten away with breaking promises about what they would offer to his children, and worried that U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is trying to expand that troubled model to the nation.  DeVos, a long-time school choice advocate before taking over as secretary, has consistently promoted charter schools and has sought to increase federal grants for charters by 50 percent, up to $500 million—Congress agreed to a smaller increase for the Federal Charter School Program for the current budget year, appropriating $400 million for the grants. Charter school politics have also grown more complicated for some advocates and policymakers during the Trump administration, especially for Democrats who have supported them recently.

US Senate Education Committee Set to Consider Career, Technical Education Bill
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Alyson Klein on June 13, 2018 12:37 PM
The U.S. Senate education committee is planning to consider a bill to renew a long-stalled reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, the biggest source of federal funding for high schools.  And just before the markup was announced, Ivanka Trump, the president's eldest daughter and his adviser, let it be known through a White House spokesman that she will be on Capitol Hill urging senators to move on the legislation. "Adviser to the President, Ivanka Trump, will meet with several Democrat and Republican Senators on Capitol Hill this week to discuss the urgency of reauthorizing the enhanced Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which just passed the House," said Hogan Gidley, a deputy White House press secretary. "The important legislation benefits more than 11 million Americans across the country and is integral to the administration's working families and workforce development agenda."  Quick fact check on that statement: The House did indeed pass a bipartisan bill reauthorizing the Perkins law, which was last updated in 2006. But that happened last summer. The bill didn't "just" pass. The House also approved a similar bill, also with big bipartisan support, in 2016. And notably, the president's first budget request in 2017 sought to cut the CTE program, which represents the biggest source of federal funding for high schools. He sought to cut the $1.1. billion by $168 million. Congress rejected that cut, and Trump didn't ask again in his most recent request.

Participation in AP Computer Science Principles Grows Again
Education Week By Sasha Jones on June 13, 2018 11:03 AM By Guest Blogger Sasha Jones
Since its launch, AP Computer Science Principles has become one of the most dramatically expanding AP courses, increasing access for both underrepresented minorities and female students to the field of computer science. And it looks like that growth continued into the 2018 testing cycle, according to an early examination of the 2018 exam data released by the College Board this week. Between 2017 and 2018, the number of students taking the AP CSP exam increased from 50,000 to 76,000—about 50 percent, according to the new data. In part, this is due to Nevada and Kentucky partnerships with the College Board to bring AP CSP to every school district within their states. In the 2017-2018 school year, Kentucky doubled the number of schools offering the course. Unlike other computer science courses, AP CSP consists of projects that students create throughout the year and submit to receive an AP score for college credit in addition to the end-of-the-year exam. While AP CSP teaches programming and computing, it emphasizes creativity and design, providing student with the time and tools needed to explore problem-solving through computing.

Apply Now for EPLC's 2018-2019 PA Education Policy Fellowship Program!
Applications are available now for the 2018-2019 Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP).  The Education Policy Fellowship Program is sponsored in Pennsylvania by The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC). 
With more than 500 graduates in its first eighteen years, this Program is a premier professional development opportunity for educators, state and local policymakers, advocates, and community leaders.  State Board of Accountancy (SBA) credits are available to certified public accountants.
Past participants include state policymakers, district superintendents and principals, school business officers, school board members, education deans/chairs, statewide association leaders, parent leaders, education advocates, and other education and community leaders. Fellows are typically sponsored by their employer or another organization. The Fellowship Program begins with a two-day retreat on September 13-14, 2018 and continues to graduation in June 2019.
Applications are being accepted now.
Click here to read more about the Education Policy Fellowship Program.
The application may be copied from the EPLC web site, but must be submitted by mail or scanned and e-mailed, with the necessary signatures of applicant and sponsor.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of the Fellowship Program and its requirements, please contact EPLC Executive Director Ron Cowell at 717-260-9900 or

Nominations for PSBA’s Allwein Advocacy Award due by July 16
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

Join with EdVotersPA and PCCY for Capitol Caravan Days and fight for our public schools! When: 9:00-3:00 on June 12 or June 20 (your choice!)
Where: The Harrisburg Capitol
Why: To show state lawmakers that their constituents expect them to support public school students in the '18-19 budget

Education Voters of PA joining together with Pennsylvania Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY) for a lobby day in Harrisburg. Join a team and meet with your state legislators and legislative leaders to talk about how the state can support K-12 students in the state budget.
Register Here:

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.) 

POWER 100% SCHOOL FUNDING Day of Action Wednesday, June 20th at 1 PM at the PA Capitol
On Wednesday, June 20th at 1 PM, students, parents, community activists, and faith leaders from different traditions will gather on the steps of the State Capitol Main Rotunda for POWER’s 100% SCHOOL FUNDING Day of Action to demand support for legislation to put 100% of the Commonwealth's Basic Education Budget through PA's Fair Funding Formula. We ask you to join us as we stand in solidarity with one another and continue demanding fair and fully funded education for Pennsylvania’s public school students. In addition to a large rally, we will march to Governor Tom Wolfe's office to pray for his support for 100% through the Formula. Join us as we hold meetings that day with our legislators asking each one to speak out in favor of POWER's 100% plan.

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.

2nd Annual National Black Male Educators Convening, Oct. 12-14, Philly
Teacher diversity works. Increasing the number of Black male educators in our nation’s teacher corps will improve education for all our students, especially for African-American boys.Today Black men represent only two percent of teachers nationwide. This is a national problem that demands a national response. Come participate in the 2nd National Black Male Educators Convening to advance policy solutions, learn from one another, and fight for social justice. All are welcome. Register to attend. Nominate a speaker. Propose a workshop. Sponsor the event.

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.

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