Friday, October 12, 2018

PA Ed Policy Roundup Oct. 12: Reprise: Everything you wanted to know about Pennsylvania’s new education formula

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Reprise: Everything you wanted to know about Pennsylvania’s new education formula

Senate Resolution 417 would require the Joint State Government Commission to conduct a comprehensive study of the issues, benefits and options related to instituting a later start time in PA.  This study would NOT lead to a mandate, but rather serve as a research tool that school districts could use as part of their own respective evaluative processes.  It would also raise awareness among legislators of this issue.  Senate Resolution 417 passed unanimously out of the Senate Education Committee on September 25.   Now it sits on the Senate Calendar waiting for the Senate Majority Chair, Senator Corman, to call it for a vote. Please consider contacting his office to urge him to bring SR417 to a vote.

This is a great piece covering the details of the funding formula….
Reprise: Everything you wanted to know about Pennsylvania’s new education formula
WHYY By Kevin McCorry June 9, 2016
But were too afraid to ask.
Last week, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed into law a new formula for distributing state education money. As a general rule, public school money that comes from the state is meant to help level the playing field for districts who have a harder time generating local revenue. A state formula is the tool used to decide how the pie of money should be sliced. In effect, it’s the state’s way of acknowledging which districts need the most help. The tenets of this newly enacted formula were agreed to by a bipartisan commission in June 2015 and passed by both houses of the General Assembly with overwhelming majorities recently. Most advocates call this a major step forward — as the state had been one of only three in the nation lacking a student-weighted formula. By counting actual enrollment shifts and acknowledging that some districts must spend more to educate their children, the formula adds predictability to a system that’s often been swayed by the political powers of the moment.

PA covers 38% of all K-12 education spending in the state, among the lowest of all states. But for #specialed, state's share is only 23%. This is especially unfair to low-wealth school districts, which have to cover the rest.
Shortchanging Children with Disabilities: State Underfunding of Special Education in Pennsylvania
PA Schools Work/Education Law Center Report October 2018
The trajectory of a person’s life is profoundly shaped by what happens in school. For students with disabilities, the stakes could not be higher, as these children are more likely to face unemployment and underemployment later in life, leading to homelessness or institutional placement. Prior to the adoption of federal and state civil rights laws, these students were literally shut out of school. Today, we recognize that students with disabilities need and are legally entitled to a free and appropriate public education (“FAPE”) in the least restrictive environment. Providing a FAPE to children with disabilities involves providing specialized instruction tailored to meet their unique needs, integration in the regular classroom with supplemental supports and services, and providing an education calculated to achieve grade advancement and true progress in light of their potential. Under the law, needed educational services must be provided through a combination of federal, state, and local funding, without additional cost to parents or students.

Where do Pa. candidates for governor stand on property taxes?
Inquirer by Laura McCrystal, Posted: 5 hours ago October 11, 20918
Asked in a recent poll which issue was most important in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race, voters' most popular answer was: taxes. Property taxes have historically been Pennsylvania's most unpopular levy and nearly always a priority for voters. But this year, there's been little heat around the issue in the race between Gov. Wolf, a Democrat, and his Republican challenger, Scott Wagner. Wagner supports eliminating school property taxes, and as a state senator co-sponsored a bill to do that. Wolf campaigned in 2014 as a supporter of property tax reform or elimination, but has not supported measures to do so — since a budget proposal in his first year as governor to raise the income and sales taxes to replace lost property tax revenue. It was rejected by the legislature. While complaints about the property tax have a long legacy, "there's no easy solution to it," said G. Terry Madonna, poll director and a professor of public affairs at Franklin and Marshall College. A Franklin and Marshall poll conducted in September found that taxation was the top issue among Pennsylvania voters; 12 percent said they would consider it the most when voting for governor, followed by 10 percent who cited education.

Keep your eye on these important Pa. Senate races | Nick Field
Penn Live Guest Editorial By Nick Field Updated Oct 11, 7:17 PM; Posted Oct 11, 8:30 AM
(*This post has been updated to correct the 12th Senate District race)
There are signs of a storm ahead. Political forecasters everywhere expect a strong midterm showing for the Democratic Party. Control of the House of Representatives and perhaps even the Senate are up for grabs. These waves tend to extend all the way down to the state level, where they can produce dividends in gubernatorial and state legislative contests. For example, our spring primaries provided some serious signs that a Democratic movement could reach Harrisburg's upper chamber. Last May, the voters of Pennsylvania chose the nominees for 25 State Senate seats. Of those twenty-five races, six saw the Democratic challenger in a Republican district receive more votes. Four involved incumbents, one concerned an open seat and another featured contested primaries. These half-dozen sets of results illustrate some enlightening trends as well as revealing the odd outlier. Therefore, we're delving deeper and taking a look at all six races.

Chesco D.A. talks about school shootings at OJR visit
The Mercury by Evan Brandt @PottstownNews on Twitter October 11, 2018
SOUTH COVENTRY — Facing a slow-but-steady increase in the number of school shootings nationwide, Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan outlined ways to prevent them during a presentation Wednesday at Owen J. Roberts High School. Hogan was joined by Downingtown Police Detective Andy Trautmann and together they outlined what they have learned over the years — Hogan as an agent fighting terrorism before being elected district attorney and Trautmann as both a SWAT team commander and former School Resource Officer. They started with the basics. There are 360 million guns in the United States and only 325 million people so, as Hogan put it, "guns aren't going anywhere."

EDITORIAL: More pre-K funds needed
York Dispatch Editorial Board Published 6:25 a.m. ET Oct. 12, 2018
Local advocates for high-quality early education recently celebrated the expansion of pre-K funding that allowed them to accommodate more children and expand programming.
An additional $25 million in funding was added to the state budget this year for early childhood education — $20 million going to PA Pre-K Counts programs and $5 million to Head Start Supplemental. That’s a good start, but experts say much more is needed to reach all of Pennsylvania’s eligible children. More than 200 for Pre-K Counts grants were awarded this fiscal year, and one recipient  was the YWCA York, which was able to open a new pre-K classroom for 20 additional students. That brings the YW’s program, which serves families with incomes up to 300 percent above the poverty level and provides free tuition and subsidies or scholarships for before- or after-school care, up to eight classes for children age 3 to 5. As supporters rightly point out, high-quality early education is an investment that provides young children the solid start needed to succeed both academically and socially in school.

The Foundational Fallacy Of Charter Schools
Forbes by Peter Greene Contributor Oct 11, 2018, 01:16pm
Before we talk about the quality of education or the importance of freed, when it comes to charter schools, there's a much more fundamental fallacy that we must address first, a fallacy that addresses a premise of virtually every charter program launched in this country. You cannot run multiple school districts for the same amount of money you used to spend to operate just one. This really should not come as a surprise to anyone. When was the last time you heard of a business of any sort saying, "The money is getting tight, and we need to tighten our belts. So let's open up some new facilities." Opening up charter schools can only drive up the total cost of educating students within a system, for several reasons. Let's imagine a school district that serves 1,000 students. Five charters open up in the district, so that now the public system serves 500 students, and each of the charters enrolls 100. What exactly makes this more expensive?

Bonuses of Up to $8,000 to Teach in Struggling New York Schools
New York Times By Eliza Shapiro October 11, 2018
At 180 public schools in New York City, many in the Bronx, hiring and keeping teachers is a constant struggle. These are schools that are in some of the poorest neighborhoods and are often a long trek from the nearest subway stop. On Thursday, the city reached an agreement with the powerful teachers’ union on an initiative that Mayor Bill de Blasio called a “very powerful pointed tool” to address this problem. Under the agreement, the de Blasio administration will give bonuses of $5,000 to $8,000 to teachers who work in schools that many teachers avoid. The United Federation of Teachers signed a $2.1 billion contract with the city seeming to acknowledge that union rules about how teachers can be paid, hired and fired have stymied progress in the city’s struggling schools.

NSBA 2019 Advocacy Institute January 27-29 Washington Hilton, Washington D.C.
Register now
The upcoming midterm elections will usher in the 116th Congress at a critical time in public education. Join us at the 2019 NSBA Advocacy Institute for insight into what the new Congress will mean for your school district. And, of course, learn about techniques and tools to sharpen your advocacy skills, and prepare for effective meetings with your representatives. Save the date to join school board members from across the country on Capitol Hill to influence the new legislative agenda and shape the decisions made inside the Beltway that directly impact our students. For more information contact

2019 NSBA Annual Conference Philadelphia March 30 - April 1, 2019
Pennsylvania Convention Center 1101 Arch Street Philadelphia, PA 19107

Registration Questions or Assistance: 1-800-950-6722
The NSBA Annual Conference & Exposition is the one national event that brings together education leaders at a time when domestic policies and global trends are combining to shape the future of the students. Join us in Philadelphia for a robust offering of over 250 educational programs, including three inspirational general sessions that will give you new ideas and tools to help drive your district forward.

EdPAC reception helps support election of pro-public education leaders
Join EdPAC for an evening reception with lieutenant governor candidates Jeff Bartos and John Fetterman on behalf of EdPAC, a political action committee that supports the election of pro-public education leaders to the General Assembly. The reception will be held during the 2018 PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference on Wednesday, Oct. 17 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. in Cocoa Suite 2 and 3. Visit the conference website for details and to register online. Walk-ins are welcome!

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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