Tuesday, August 7, 2018

PA Ed Policy Roundup August 7: EdWeek/ProPublica Project – Hate in Schools

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EdWeek/ProPublica Project – Hate in Schools

No shortage of fall races for Pennsylvania voters to ponder
Penn Live By Mark Scolforo The Associated Press Updated Aug 4; Posted Aug 4
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- Midterm elections under a revamped congressional district map are certain to help transform Pennsylvania's delegation to Congress this fall. The governor and a U.S. senator, both Democrats, will learn in three months whether voters think they deserve another term. And the status of Republican majorities in both chambers of the Legislature, large margins by historical measures, hangs in the balance. Pennsylvania voters will have much to sort out in the general election, with advertising and campaign events certain to ramp up once they return from the beach, family reunions and Labor Day picnicking. The state's partisan division has made it a perennial electoral battleground, and the run-up to the Nov. 6 general election will undoubtedly bring a blanket of television ads, a forest of yard signs and an army of candidates aiming to persuade the state's inscrutable independents and finicky undecideds. Here's a look at what the fall campaign season will hold for voters in the Keystone State:

“Overall, though, the conversation remained focused on prevention at the school level. There was no mention of gun control measures, something Governor Tom Wolf and Democratic lawmakers have pushed for.”
Republican Senators Kick Off School Safety Tour In Western PA
WESA 90.5 By SARAH SCHNEIDER  August 6, 2018
A Republican State Senate Committee met with a group of school officials and school police officers from the western Pennsyvlania on Monday, to talk about what resources and support they need to keep schools safe. Many of the superintendents say they need more funding to hire armed school resource officers to protect schools and school police officers said they need consistent training and more active shooter drills. Missy Brant, a kindergarten teacher in the Waynesburg School District said teachers want better mental health training to identify students who need support. “You know we’re worried about standards and you know the academic part, but there’s this whole missing part,” Brant said. “If you’re teaching the whole child you also have to remember it’s not reading, writing and math, it’s their emotions too and we need to be trained on that.”

Niche.com 2019 Best School Districts in Pennsylvania
The 2019 Best School Districts ranking is based on rigorous analysis of key statistics and millions of reviews from students and parents using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Ranking factors include state test scores, college readiness, graduation rates, SAT/ACT scores, teacher quality, public school district ratings, and more. Read more on how this ranking was calculated.

Pocono Services for Families and Children (PSFC) receives record $2M grant
Pocono Record By Staff report Posted Aug 6, 2018 11:18 PM
East Stroudsburg — Pocono Services for Families and Children (PSFC) announced Monday that with the passing of the PA State budget, it has been awarded $2,020,500 in community and economic development funds. The funding is targeted for early childhood education investments in Monroe County and is the highest amount the organization has received from the state. A total of $1,247,000 million was awarded through the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program (HSSAP) and $773,500 was approved in PA Pre-K Counts funds. Both appropriations are for program year 2018-19 and are administered by the Office of Child Development and Early Learning, Departments of Education and Human Services. The revenue will enable PSFC to expand its work with preschoolers, assist more families, offer more programs and hire additional staff.

Surprise! Kevin Hart gifts 6 Philly kids college scholarships
Inquirer by Kristen A. Graham, Staff Writer  @newskag |  kgraham@phillynews.com Updated: AUGUST 6, 2018 — 9:33 PM EDT
Six Philadelphia students received the surprise of a lifetime Monday night when comedian and actor Kevin Hart announced he was giving them some help with college expenses. That is, the Philly native told them he will lay out $600,000 to help the students — and 12 others from around the country — realize their dream of attending college. The six students are Jada Taylor, Alexys Smith, Marjani Walton, Willie Smalls, Wayne Fuller, and Casey Adams. All graduated from KIPP Philadelphia charter schools. The Hart scholarship — a partnership between the comedian’s charity, KIPP, and the United Negro College Fund — was awarded based on students’ academic and personal achievements and may be renewed.

Black Enterprise by Kandia Johnson August 3, 2018
Vincent Cobb II and Rashiid Coleman are the founders behind The Black Male Educators Convening, an organization on a mission to triple the number of highly-effective black male teachers in Philadelphia public schools to 1,000 by 2025. Through a series of programs including a yearly conference, purpose career fair, two-year paid summer program, and membership alliance for black male educators, BMEC is sending a clear message: only 2% of teachers are black and male—and it’s not enough. On Oct. 12 – 14, the second annual BMEC conference will be held to advance and celebrate the development, recruitment, and retention of black male educators. This year’s lineup includes Marc Lamont Hill, a journalist, author, activist, and television personality; Dr. Chris Emdin, an associate professor and author of For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood… And the Rest of Y’all Too; Ericka Pittman, chief marketing officer at Aquahydrate Inc; Shavar Jeffries, American civil rights attorney, and more. In the midst of planning the conference, we caught up with the founders to learn more about their plans to increase the percentage of black male teachers in Philadelphia and beyond.

New Teachers Are Often Assigned to High-Poverty Schools. Why Not Train Them There?
Education Week Teacher Beat Blog By Brenda Iasevoli on August 3, 2018 1:25 PM
This fall, the Denver public schools are piloting a program aimed at training new teachers in the buildings where they are most likely to be assigned: the city's high-poverty schools. The district is testing the strategy with six new "associate teachers" who will teach part-time and spend the remainder of their day observing master teachers in action and planning their own lessons.  "I hope to end the year with my feet under me, because I know how often new teachers end the year knocked off their feet," Kyle Jordan told Education Week. He will teach at North High School, one of three high-poverty schools that will serve as training grounds for associate teachers. (News of the pilot program for associate teachers was first reported by Chalkbeat.) Many new teachers are hired in high-poverty schools where students are behind in math and reading, yet they are not trained specifically to meet the specific needs of these students. The challenge can be great for beginning teachers, as Jordan, who says he was "woefully under prepared" for his first and only year of teaching at an alternative school in Houston, quickly learned. According to a report by the Learning Policy Institute, turnover rates are 50 percent higher in under-resourced schools, which serve more low-income students. The report estimates that each teacher who quits can cost an urban district as much as $20,000 on average.

ABOUT THIS PROJECT: Schools are often a venue for hate-fueled speech and acts. To better understand the prevalence and nature of hate in schools, Education Week joined Documenting Hate, a media collaborative led by ProPublica that collects reports on hate incidents across the country. We analyzed hate incidents in K-12 settings using data from ProPublica's database, as well as incidents we tallied from news media coverage spanning 2015-2017. 
By Francisco Vara-Orta, Graphics by Vanessa Solis Published on August 6, 2018

Photos by Daryl Peveto for Education Week
Warning: this article contains racist and offensive language.
Swastikas on bathroom stalls. Chants of 'Build the wall.' Notes that say 'Go back to Mexico.' Education Week found hundreds of reports of hate and bias in schools.
Newtown, Pa. - Three swastikas were scrawled on the note found in the girls' restroom, along with a homophobic comment and a declaration: “I Love Trump.” Found inside the backpack of Latina student, a note that said: Go back to Mexico. Two other hate-filled incidents—invoking Donald Trump’s name and using swastikas—were also reported that same day. The school: Council Rock High in this mostly white, affluent Philadelphia suburb. The day: Nov. 9, 2016, the day after the election of President Trump. Council Rock school district Superintendent Robert Fraser condemned the incidents, but told parents he believed they were isolated events. The acts, he wrote in a letter on Nov. 10, were “inappropriate” and would not be tolerated. But, he emphasized, they were “likely the responsibility of a very small number of individuals whose actions should not damage the reputation of the larger group.” Soon after, the district formed a council on diversity, mostly composed of parents, and took several other steps, including training for school staff to better identify and respond to hate incidents. Despite those efforts, Council Rock High, said some parents and students, continues to have a culture where racist views are sometimes boldly expressed, but oftentimes ferment under the surface. The hate-fueled incidents at Council Rock in the wake of the divisive 2016 presidential election, and the school’s rocky path to addressing them, are not unusual.
Even as high-profile hate crimes and bias incidents grab national attention, it’s difficult to quantify how many occur in broader society, including those that take place inside the nation’s schools.
Concerns about a rise in hate crimes and bias incidents have surged since the campaign and election of President Trump, who has frequently used coarse language and racist rhetoric when describing immigrants, people of color, and women. In schools, similar worries are echoed by some students, parents, and educators who suggest that Trump’s influence has emboldened some children, teenagers, and even school employees to openly espouse hateful views.
To understand how hate, intolerance, and bias are affecting school climate and impacting students and their educators, Education Week partnered with the nonprofit news organization ProPublica in a project called Documenting Hate. We analyzed three years of media reports and self-reported incidents of hate and bias in K-12 school settings—many submitted to ProPublica.
In a review of 472 verified accounts, we found that most incidents that took place in schools between January 2015 and December 2017 targeted black and Latino students, as well as those who are Jewish or Muslim.

“Of the 4,132 children who received a scholarship in 2016 through the accountability act (the most recent data available), 983 were zoned to attend one of the state’s 76 failing schools, a rate of about 24 percent. Scholarship granting organizations can provide scholarships to low-income students as long as students from the failing schools are given preference first.”
Reality vs. intent: Alabama Accountability Act serves mostly students from nonfailing schools
Krista Johnson, Montgomery Advertiser Published 1:55 p.m. CT Aug. 3, 2018 | Updated 3:31 p.m. CT Aug. 4, 2018
Alchico Grant was a T.S. Morris Elementary second-grader when his grandmother, Antionetta Jackson, started looking to get her grandson into another school and learned about the Alabama Accountability Act. “I didn’t have a problem with his teachers, but he was coming home with too much knowledge from children — street knowledge,” Jackson said. However, she didn't have the money to pay private school tuition, and school zoning required he stay where he was enrolled.
The 2013 act, which diverts taxpayer money to provide students scholarships to qualified private schools, turned out to be the aid Jackson had been looking for. The scholarship helped the family afford Trinity Presbyterian School, she said, even though the act’s intention didn't quite match Alchico's situation. The act was created to give students at "failing" public schools the means to exit. But with T.S. Morris not in the failing category, Alchico was still able to secure a scholarship based on financial need, like the majority of students that receive scholarships through the AAA.

Philanthropist Gerry Lenfest remembered by those he helped in education
"He lived life fully and fiercely."
The notebook by Alyssa Biederman August 6 — 4:52 pm, 2018
H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, 88, a Philadelphia philanthropist who died Sunday, donated more than $1 billion to education, journalism, and the arts, among other initiatives in Philadelphia and surrounding areas. “It’s hard to look around the city and not see some pillar of our community that he has not touched,” said Pedro Ramos, CEO of the Philadelphia Foundation, who worked closely with Lenfest to create the Lenfest Institute for Journalism. Despite his large monetary contributions, the attribute that his friends and colleagues remember most is that he invested in people. Scott Gordon, CEO of Mastery Charter Schools, got to know Lenfest when he and his son, Brook Lenfest, invested in Mastery. “For someone who was an icon in Philadelphia, he was incredibly personal and down-to-earth,” Gordon said. “I remember one time we got sandwiches, and he knew the guy at the deli who made the sandwiches and his whole story.”

Gerry Lenfest’s lasting legacy: Saving local journalism | Perspective
by Jim Friedlich, For the Inquirer August 5, 2018
I first met Gerry Lenfest in 2015, not long after he purchased sole ownership of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com. Gerry told me at the time, "I just figured out how to become a millionaire in the newspaper business. It's easy. You start out as a billionaire, and you buy a bunch of newspapers." I met Gerry, who died on Sunday, after a long career at the Wall Street Journal. After leaving the Journal, my team and I had a business that advised major American newspaper owners on the digital transformation of their businesses. The question we always heard from a Chicago Tribune, a Los Angeles Times, or a Baltimore Sun was fundamentally the same: "How do I save my newspaper?" The question from Gerry Lenfest was much more expansive and profound: "How do we sustain great journalism writ large?" Gerry was especially focused on the business challenges. He asked me, "How can digital technology be used to enable and ennoble news, rather than to destroy it?" He sounded liked an 85-year-old millennial.

The local-news crisis is destroying what a divided America desperately needs: Common ground
Washington Post By Margaret Sullivan Media Columnist August 5 at 4:00 PM Email the author
Ken Doctor saw it coming. A few years ago, the media analyst looked at the trend lines and predicted that by 2017 or so, American newsrooms would reach a shocking point. “The halving of America’s daily newsrooms,” he called what he was seeing. Last week, we found out that it’s true. A Pew Research study showed that between 2008 and last year, employment in newspaper newsrooms declined by an astonishing 45 percent. (And papers were already well down from their newsroom peak in the early 1990s, when their revenue lifeblood — print advertising — was still pumping strong.) The dire numbers play out in ugly ways: Public officials aren’t held accountable, town budgets go unscrutinized, experienced journalists are working at Walmart, or not at all, instead of plying their much-needed trade in their communities. One problem with losing local coverage is that we never know what we don’t know. Corruption can flourish, taxes can rise, public officials can indulge their worst impulses. And there’s another result that gets less attention: In our terribly divided nation, we need the local newspaper to give us common information — an agreed-upon set of facts to argue about. Last year when I visited Luzerne County in Pennsylvania to talk to people about their media habits, I was most struck by one thing: The allegiance to local news outlets — the two competing papers in Wilkes-Barre, and the popular ABC affiliate, WNEP, or Channel 16 as everyone called it. The most reasonable people I talked to, no matter whom they had voted for, were regular readers of the local papers and regular watchers of the local news. (The county was one of those critical places that had voted for President Obama in 2008 and 2012, and flipped red to Trump in 2016.) By contrast, those residents who got news only from Facebook or from cable news were deep in their own echo chambers and couldn’t seem to hear anything else.

The Perseid meteor shower is always good, but this year it is extra-good. The Moon will be New during the shower's peak, providing a dark backdrop for as many as 100 meteors per hour. The best time to look is during the dark hours before sunrise on Sunday, August 12th, and again on Monday, August 13th. At those times, the shower's radiant will be high in the sky, spewing meteors in all directions: To see the greatest number of meteors, get away from city lights. Dress warmly, lie down on a blanket in a safe, dark place, and look up. Perseids can appear in any part of the sky, although all of their tails will point back toward the radiant in the constellation Perseus. Fun tip: Try looking for Perseids around 10 pm local time when the radiant is hugging the northern horizon. At that time, Perseids skim the top of the atmosphere, producing long colorful fireballs known as "Earthgrazers." You won't see many, but even one can make your day. Enjoy the show!

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 cowell@eplc.org.

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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