Monday, August 6, 2018

PA Ed Policy Roundup August 6: Baer: Wolf is a white knight for public education. Wagner is more of its Darth Vader.

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Baer: Wolf is a white knight for public education. Wagner is more of its Darth Vader.

Judge slams Trump admin for suggesting ACLU, others should find deported parents
By Tal Kopan, CNN Updated 7:32 PM ET, Fri August 3, 2018
 (CNN)A federal judge called the Trump administration's slowness to track down migrant parents it had separated from their children and then deported "unacceptable," saying the responsibility is "100%" on the government. The stern admonishment from District Judge Dana Sabraw came a day after the administration argued that immigrant advocacy groups -- not the government -- should be responsible for tracking down the more than 500 parents it had separated from their children at the border and deported without them. Sabraw said during a Friday phone hearing that if the government doesn't track down the parents, it will have "permanently orphaned" their children. "The reality is there are still close to 500 parents that have not been located, many of these parents were removed from the country without their child, all of this is the result of the government's separation and then inability and failure to track and reunite," Sabraw said. "And the reality is that for every parent who is not located, there will be a permanent orphaned child, and that is 100% the responsibility of the administration," he added. Sabraw instructed the administration to name one or two officials to be a single point of command in the reunification effort, and to submit a detailed plan for how they will reunify children with parents either deported or, in a smaller number of cases, released into the US. "In reviewing the status report it appears that only 12 or 13 of close to 500 parents have been located, which is just unacceptable at this point," Sabraw said.

Cutting through the Wolf/Wagner school-funding war
Democratic Gov. Wolf and Republican challenger Scott Wagner are fighting over something that’s not happening.
Philly Daily News by John Baer STAFF COLUMNIST Updated: AUGUST 5, 2018 — 6:52 PM EDT
Let’s start with two things. First, Scott Wagner is wrong when he says Gov. Wolf wants to cut funding to rural schools to give more to urban schools. He’s wrong because Wolf doesn’t want to do that (couldn’t if he did); and because this is just the old dog whistle pitting rural Pennsylvania against Philadelphia. Second, Wolf was wrong when he said “yes” he supports driving education dollars through a formula that helps poorer, larger schools — without adding “when and if” the legislature provides a boatload of new money to fairly fund all schools. For Wolf, it was a public blunder. Or a political pander to Philadelphia and public education advocates in an election year. Whatever it was, the result has Republican Wagner hammering the notion Wolf wants to feed his own Democratic base and starve the rest of the state. This includes a new TV ad: “The cat’s out of the bag. Tom Wolf’s plan for a drastic school funding change. Your school could see a big cut so that Philadelphia gets a whole lot more. Hundreds of our schools would see crippling cuts. Even Democrats are saying Tom Wolf’s plan would be immediately devastating. Typical Tom Wolf. Scott Wagner is on our side, fighting so that all our children have the opportunity to receive a great education.” The irony here is too heavy to lift. Wolf is a white knight for public education. Wagner is more of its Darth Vader. And the ad is misleading. There’s no plan to cut funding to any school district. So, there’s no cat.

Sponsors for Education Savings Account Voucher Bill Senate Bill 2
Short Title: An Act amending the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, providing for education savings account; and conferring powers and imposing duties on the Department of Education and the State Treasury.

GOP candidate Scott Wagner never meant to be 'mean' when he made 'young and naive' comment
Sam Ruland, York Daily Record Published 8:45 p.m. ET Aug. 5, 2018
Wagner was responding to a question about climate change at a town hall in Montgomery County on Thursday, July 19. American Bridge 21st Century
Scott Wagner, the Republican candidate for Pennsylvania governor, is a man who isn't afraid of anything.  At least that's how his running mate, Jeff Bartos, described him. At Sunday's town hall at Shiloh Fire Company, Wagner once again was reminded of his exchange with an 18-year-old environmentalist last month. When the woman asked him about climate change, he called her "young and naive." And those three words have stuck with him ever since.  The comments largely gained traction on social media, where a video of Wagner's exchange with the female has been viewed and shared more than 5 million times. When an audience member brought up the incident in York County on Sunday, Wagner said he never meant for these words to be "mean." "I don't think my 'young and naive' comment was mean or meant to be an insult," Wagner said. "But...I'm 62 years old, and the young lady asking the question was 18. I have a little more experience than she does. And that wasn't meant to insult her in any way."  "So maybe it was a bad word or choice." He made sure to show his appreciation for everyone in that audience though, addressing the crowd very broadly before jumping into discussion. "Those of you that are here — older, younger — it's a good thing that you're here," Wagner said scanning the room. "There' a lot to talk about."

Delco high school is pioneering a choice to learn at home, at school - or both
Inquirer by Kathy Boccella, Staff Writer  @Kathy_Boccella | Updated: AUGUST 3, 2018 — 1:31 PM EDT
As a freshman at Garnet Valley High School, Kevin Smith wasn’t doing as well as he’d hoped last year in his Algebra II class until he decided midsemester to try it as a so-called blended course — with some of the work online and some in the classroom with his teacher. “I like that. … You could do it on your own, go at your own pace,” said Kevin, 15. “If you didn’t understand something, you could always go back in the section and watch the videos over again as many times as you needed. The teacher was also available anytime you needed.” Kevin now is taking a completely online health class through Garnet Valley’s eSchool, but in the fall he plans to stick primarily to traditional courses. It is a highly flexible hybrid approach to learning that officials in the Delaware County district increasingly see as the future of schooling. It is a learning style found more in colleges than in high schools, which are bound to student schedules and often traditional teaching methods. Garnet Valley, which serves the rapidly growing Concordville area, is pushing ahead with an ambitious five-year goal to become what educators believe would be the nation’s first public high school to offer all its courses online, in a classroom, and in a blended or hybrid mode.

Kensington students school future teachers at Penn GSE
The "reverse internship" program is intended to be a learning experience for all.
The notebook by Hannah Melville August 3 — 12:14 pm, 2018
Jarline Herrera said her teachers growing up didn’t understand her. That is why she was sitting in a classroom in late July with several dozen students at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. With four of her schoolmates from Kensington Health Sciences Academy, Herrera was there to give the future teachers a dose of reality. Herrera, a rising senior, jumped at the chance to participate in this “reverse internship,” part of Penn GSE’s Alliance for Field Practice with Kensington Health Sciences Academy. The partnership has become a crucial part of teacher training, providing a first-hand experience for graduate students who are pursuing teaching licenses and offering a unique opportunity for the high school students. “I applied because I had terrible teachers growing up,” said Herrera. “Teachers that didn’t understand me, that didn’t understand the community.” She stressed that she was referring to teachers she had before she attended Kensington Health Sciences. This is the first summer for the “reverse internship,” which was the brainchild of professor James “Torch” Lytle. A few of the Penn GSE students also work as counselors at KHSA as part of their training.

Philly District expects to finish lead remediation at 5 schools by Aug. 27
Work on all 44 deemed to need work will likely take up to 18 months
The notebook by Sam Haut August 3 — 12:27 pm, 2018
District officials told more than two dozen parents, teachers, staff, and administrators gathered Tuesday morning at A.S. Jenks Elementary in South Philadelphia that their school is one of five where lead remediation will be completed before Aug. 27, when the District’s new academic year begins. The five are among 44 schools that the District has identified as needing the work, based on testing. The four others to be completed are Thomas K. Finletter Academics Plus School (serving K-8) in Olney, James Logan School (K-5) in Wister, Clara Barton Elementary School (K-2) in Feltonville, and Eleanor C. Emlen School (K-5) in Mount Airy. Meetings were also held at these schools. Officials said at the meeting that they were planning walk-throughs in preparation for lead remediation activities at McCall School (K-8) in Queen Village, Shawmont School (K-8) in Roxborough, and Lewis Elkin Elementary School (K-4). At the meeting, several parents and teachers brought up questions about the work being done, from wanting all the furniture moved by the contractors and not the teachers to whether there is lead in the water.

Back-to-School: International Baccalaureate programs catch on in US schools
The Sentinel by Katherine Roth Associated Press August 5, 2018
For decades, many U.S. high schools have offered a range of college-level Advanced Placement courses to allow high achievers to shine above and beyond a standard diploma. But there’s another standard that many schools have adopted: the International Baccalaureate. “There has definitely been an uptick of IB diploma programs across the United States, and it is considered the gold standard among college admissions officials,” says Shellee Hendricks, director of college counseling at the French-American School of New York, in Mamaroneck, which recently began offering the IB diploma. Colleen Duffy, marketing manager for the International Baccalaureate Organization in the Americas, says IB diploma programs here have the greatest presence in California, Florida and Texas schools, but there are also many in the Midwest and other parts of the country.

Parkland Students Are Still Going Strong. Their Message to Students: Vote
Education Week By Stephen Sawchuk August 3, 2018
Blacksburg, Va. - They came from all over Virginia, battling gray weather and buckets of rain, to see the faces of a student-driven movement that shows few signs of stopping. They came by the hundreds, young people and older ones—at least a third of the attendees were parents, judging by a show of hands—to hear first-person testimonies from the survivors of the mass shooting in February at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. They came to learn how they might be involved in ending gun violence. In a few cases, they came to protest. The message they got from the speakers at this traveling town hall, over and over, was this: Vote. As it matures over the course of its months-long Road to Change tour through the United States this summer, the March for Our Lives movement’s broad goal of ending gun violence is increasingly focused on voting, one of the most essential of all civic responsibilities. The rally here on Thursday was the 24th since the tour hit the road in June. It took place a stone’s throw from Virginia Tech, the site of the nation’s second deadliest school shooting, in 2007, which left 33 dead.

Wendy Lecker: As public education stumbles, democracy falls
Stamford Advocate By Wendy Lecker  Published 12:00 am EDT, Sunday, August 5, 2018
Wendy Lecker is a columnist for the Hearst Connecticut Media Group and is senior attorney at the Education Law Center
There is a disturbing trend in American policy where a powerful few use government to benefit themselves at the expense of the many. The most recent example is Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s proposal to implement a $100 billion tax cut that would primarily benefit the 0.1 percent of earners, including himself. Simultaneously, there are proposals to impose punitive work requirements on SNAP and Medicaid recipients, hurting mostly children, the elderly and the disabled. This pattern extends to state policy. The American Federation of Teachers reports that more than half the states invested less in public education in 2016 than they did in 2008, even as most of these states enacted tax cuts during that period. The poorest districts are the hardest hit, as they cannot recoup lost state funding with local revenue. Scholars Jamila Michener and Sally Nuamah have found that when government is unresponsive to the most underserved, e.g., erecting barriers for Medicaid recipients or closing public schools over community objections, those communities disengage from political participation. When government serves the privileged few, democracy also suffers. U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos views her role in government as advancing the interests of the few. While accelerating privatization of public schools by expanding charters and vouchers, she has declared: “we should be funding and investing in students ... not in institutions, not in systems.” She commodifies education, likening it to Uber, cellphones and Blockbuster video. DeVos prioritizes “parents’ fundamental right to choose” over equity.

America is sacrificing the future
Washington Post By George F. Will Columnist August 3 Email the author
“Science, like the Mississippi,  begins in a tiny rivulet in the distant forest.”
— Abraham Flexner
In 1933, when America’s most famous immigrant settled in Princeton, N.J., Franklin D. Roosevelt tried to invite Albert Einstein to the White House. Abraham Flexner, the founding director of the Institute for Advanced Study that had brought Einstein to Princeton, intercepted FDR’s letter before the intended recipient saw it. Flexner declined the invitation and rebuked Roosevelt: “Professor Einstein has come to Princeton for the purpose of carrying on his scientific work in seclusion, and it is absolutely impossible to make any exception which would inevitably bring him into public notice.” Robbert Dijkgraaf, the institute’s current director, says that subsequently “Einstein made sure he personally answered all of his mail.” Dijkgraaf recounts this episode in a slender volume that, read in the right government places, might inoculate the nation against philistine utilitarianism. In the volume, which reprints Flexner’s 1939 essay in Harper’s magazine, “The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge,” Dijkgraaf notes that the April 1939 opening of the World’s Fair in New York — Einstein was honorary chair of the fair’s science advisory committee — featured such marvels as an automatic dishwasher, an air conditioner and a fax machine. There was no intimation of electronic computers or nuclear energy. (Four months later, Einstein urgently wrote to Roosevelt about the element uranium being turned into a new and important source of energy, including bombs, which might explain why Germany had stopped the sale of uranium from Czechoslovakian mines.)

PSBA Officer Elections: Slate of Candidates
PSBA members seeking election to office for the association were required to submit a nomination form no later than June 1, 2018, to be considered. All candidates who properly completed applications by the deadline are included on the slate of candidates below. In addition, the Leadership Development Committee met on June 17 at PSBA headquarters in Mechanicsburg to interview candidates. According to bylaws, the Leadership Development Committee may determine candidates highly qualified for the office they seek. This is noted next to each person's name with an asterisk (*). Voting procedure: Each school entity will have one vote for each officer. This will require boards of the various school entities to come to a consensus on each candidate and cast their vote electronically during the open voting period (Aug. 24-Oct. 11, 2018). Voting will be accomplished through a secure third-party, web-based voting site that will require a password login. One person from each member school entity will be authorized as the official person to register the vote on behalf of his or her school entity. In the case of school districts, it will be the board secretary who will cast votes on behalf of the school board. A full packet of instructions and a printed slate will be sent to authorized vote registrars the week of August 7. Special note: Boards should be sure to add discussion and voting on candidates to their agenda during one of their meetings in August, September or October before the open voting period ends.

Become a PSBA Advocacy Ambassador
PSBA Website July 18, 2018
PSBA is seeking applications for three open Advocacy Ambassador positions. This is a part-time, 9-month (September 2018-May 2019) independent contractor position with a monthly stipend and potential renewal for a second year. The individuals should have previous experience in day-to-day functions of a school district — on the school board or in a school leadership position. The purpose of the PSBA Advocacy Ambassador program is to facilitate the education and engagement of local school directors and public education stakeholders. Each Advocacy Ambassador will be an active leader in an assigned section of the state and is kept up to date on current legislation and PSBA positions based on the association’s Legislative Platform and Priority Issues to accomplish advocacy goals.  The current open positions are for PSBA Section 1; Sections 3 and 4; and Section 8.  (see map).  Advocacy Ambassadors are independent contractors who serve as liaisons between PSBA and their state legislators, and who also work with local school officials in their section to advance PSBA’s public education advocacy mission. To complete the application process and upload required documents go to PSBA’s Career Gateway to create an account and apply. Career Gateway questions can be directed to Michelle Kunkel at 717-506-2450, x-3365.  Questions and information regarding the specific duties of the Advocacy Ambassador position should be directed to Jamie Zuvich at 717-506-2450, x-3375. The deadline to submit cover letter, resume and application is August 10, 2018.
All other required documents must be submitted upon successful application.

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

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!

“Not only do we have a superstar lineup of keynote speakers including Diane Ravitch, Jesse Hagopian, Pasi Sahlberg, Derrick Johnson and Helen Gym, but there will be countless sessions to choose from on the issues you care about the most. We will cover all bases from testing, charters, vouchers and school funding, to issues of student privacy and social justice in schools.”
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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