Tuesday, February 12, 2019

PA Ed Policy Roundup Feb. 12: State’s Charter Appeals Board still run by Corbett appointees

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State’s Charter Appeals Board still run by Corbett appointees

In 2016-17, taxpayers in Senate Ed Cmte Minority Chairman .@SenatorDinniman’s districts had to send over $12.9 million to chronically underperforming cybers that their locally elected school boards never authorized. SB34 (Schwank) could change that.
Data source: PDE via PSBA

Avon Grove SD
Coatesville Area SD
Downingtown Area SD
Great Valley SD
Kennett Consolidated SD
Octorara Area SD
Oxford Area SD
Phoenixville Area SD
Tredyffrin-Easttown SD
Unionville-Chadds Ford SD
West Chester Area SD

Blogger note: Total cyber charter tuition paid by PA taxpayers from 500 school districts for 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 was over $1.6 billion; $393.5 million, $398.8 million,  $436.1 million and $454.7 million respectively.
Bipartisan, bicameral interest in saving our 500 PA school districts up to $450M/year. 
SB34 @SenJudySchwank, (D-11 Berks) referred to Senate Education Committee January 11, 2019:
“Under my legislation, a district that offers a cyber program equal in scope and content to the cyber charter school will not be responsible for the tuition costs. Instead, tuition costs will be treated in cyber situations the same as they are when resident students attend non-district brick-and-mortar schools.”
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billInfo/billInfo.cfm?sYear=2019&sInd=0&body=S&type=B&bn=0034 …
House Education Committee Chairman Curtis Sonney (R-4, Erie) co-sponsorship memo dated Feb. 5, 2019:: 
“I am preparing to introduce legislation that will require a student or the student’s parent/guardian to pay for the student’s education in a cyber school if the student’s school district of residence offers a full-time cyber education program”
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20190&cosponId=28226 …

“Stanford University researchers said their analysis showed severe shortfalls in reading and math achievement. The shortfall for most cyber students, they said, was equal to losing 72 days of learning in reading and 180 days in math during the typical 180-day school year.”
Reprise 2015:Study: Cyber charter schools failing their students
By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer, Posted: October 27, 2015
A massive national study of online charter schools has found that 70 percent of students at cyber schools are falling behind their peers at traditional public institutions. The study, released Tuesday by three policy and research centers, found the online schools have an "overwhelming negative impact."  Stanford University researchers said their analysis showed severe shortfalls in reading and math achievement. The shortfall for most cyber students, they said, was equal to losing 72 days of learning in reading and 180 days in math during the typical 180-day school year. "While the overall findings of our analysis are somber, we do believe the information will serve as the foundation for constructive discussions on the role of online schools in the K-12 sector," said James Woodworth, senior quantitative research analyst at Stanford's Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO). Another scholar, Brian Gill, a researcher at Mathematica Policy Research in Cambridge, Mass. cautioned, "I don't think we should view these findings as saying that online education does not work." The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, an advocacy group based in Washington, said the findings were so troubling that the report should be "a call to action for authorizers and policymakers." Pennsylvania's 14 cyber schools, which enroll more than 35,000 students, were among those studied. Pennsylvania, Ohio, and California account for half the nation's 200,000 students who were enrolled in approximately 200 cyber schools in 2011-12.

This is important for Philadelphia, where marginal applications are sometimes approved for fear of costly and ultimately successful appeals to the state board.
The notebook by Greg Windle February 11 — 11:49 am, 2019
In his entire first term in office, Gov. Wolf has not made one appointment to the state Charter School Appeals Board, leaving the decision-making body in the hands of people appointed by his predecessor, Tom Corbett. The CAB, as it is known, has the  power to reverse the decisions of local school districts to deny new charter schools or to close them. Corbett filled the body with members closely tied to the state’s charter school sector. Wolf campaigned against Corbett’s education policies, and many feel this contributed to his victory. But after four years, the CAB still consists entirely of Corbett’s appointees – with one vacancy – who all have terms that expired, two as early as 2015. This is important for Philadelphia, which has half the charter schools in the state. The School Reform Commission, which governed the District until July, approached the evaluation of new charter proposals under the assumption that denial would trigger costly, lengthy – and ultimately successful – appeals by the applicant to the CAB. The Board of Education is scheduled to vote on its first three charter applications at the end of this month, and has so far operated under the same assumption as the SRC. During the 2015 campaign Corbett, a Republican, was for school choice and charter expansion in districts with stressed and struggling schools. Wolf argued for more resources for education and for more generous targeting of aid to low-income, low-achieving districts. Neither the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) nor the Governor’s Office offered any reason why making new appointments the the CAB has taken so long.

“Aside from the policy flaws in your editorial’s “solution,” it’s simply not politically viable. Can we expect the legislators who represent 357 of the state’s 500 school districts to stand for such dramatic cuts to their own schools? To coin a phrase from your editorial, “For some reason we don’t see that happening.”
Letter to the Editor: Be careful about call for fixing education funding
Delco Times Letter by Susan Spicka, Executive Director, Education Voters of PA
To the Times: Your recent editorial, “The cold, hard reality of education funding in Pa,” was spot-on in assessing the problems with education funding in Pennsylvania – until its suggested solution to immediately redistribute all state basic education funding through the state’s new school funding formula. That “solution” would require a massive redistribution of existing dollars, slashing hundreds of millions of dollars from 357 school districts that educate nearly 813,000 students statewide. According to the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (the ones who must balance school budgets), the average cut would amount to $42,000 per classroom, requiring school districts to cut their already tight budgets by another 10 percent. Among those getting a windfall: school districts like Lower Merion, one of the wealthiest communities in the state, which already spends about $25,000 per student, more than twice what some of the losing districts have to spend. The bottom line is that Pennsylvania’s public schools need more state funding, period. Shrinking slices of a pie that’s too small to make bigger slices for others simply redistributes the pain. The only solution is growing the pie, increasing state funding so all students in every school district get the resources they need.

“As has been the case in recent years for school districts, charter schools and employee pension payments are top cost drivers. Bethlehem Area is looking at an almost $1 million increase in charter school tuition that would bring the district to paying almost $31 million. The district is likely to pay more than $37 million in pension payments this year — a 7 percent increase from last year.”
Bethlehem Area School District looking at no tax increase
Jacqueline PalochkoContact Reporter Of The Morning Call February 11, 2019
Facing one of its lowest deficits in recent years, the Bethlehem Area School District is aiming to hold the line on taxes for property owners in the 2019-20 budget. At Monday’s meeting, the board unanimously adopted a preliminary $292 million budget for 2019-20. Currently, the budget carries a $7 million deficit, but that’s without borrowing from the fund balance, or factoring in retirement savings or an increase in state funding, Superintendent Joseph Roy said. “We’re really in good shape,” Roy said. Last year, the district faced a $10.7 million deficit around this time. In previous years, the deficit has been around $15 million. Because of the low deficit, board president Michael Faccinetto said he’d like to see what the budget would look like without a tax increase. “I’m not saying it’s a done deal, but we’re in the position where we can at least entertain it,” he said. In response, Roy said the district will aim for a no-tax-increase-budget. If Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget that was presented last week is passed, the district could see a $3 million increase in funding.

“It’s a nice political agenda and sounds good on paper,” he said of Wolf’s minimum salary proposal. Neshaminy’s starting salary is $44,803, less than $200 under the proposed minimum. “But they should be concentrating on pension reform,” Pirritano continued. “Our required pension contribution has gone from about $8 million in 2010 to about $28 million today.” And even though the state eventually reimburses school districts half of their annual pension contributions, it’s still a huge burden on all Pennsylvania school districts, he said.”
Mixed local reviews for Gov. Tom Wolf’s teachers salary proposal
Intelligencer By Chris English  Posted at 5:18 AM
Starting teachers at most area school districts already earn the $45,000 the governor is proposing as the new statewide minimum. Some officials said fair funding and pension reform is what the governor should focus on to really improve education in the Commonwealth. A proposal by Gov. Tom Wolf to raise the starting teacher salary to $45,000 across the state is getting a mixed reaction from area educators, school board members and legislators. While some are endorsing it enthusiastically, others feel state officials would be better served to concentrate on other areas to provide better financial support for school districts. Starting teachers at most school districts in Bucks or Eastern Montgomery counties already are at or above the minimum salary being proposed by the governor. Of the 13 school districts in Bucks County, four — Council Rock, Neshaminy, Palisades and Pennridge — have starting teacher salaries below $45,000, though starting pay by virtue of the teachers contract would pass that mark in Council Rock by next school year when Wolf’s proposal would take affect, if it’s passed. Pennridge starting teachers have the lowest salaries Bucks at $41,000, followed by Pallisades at $43,500. Statewide, 180 of Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts have starting teacher salaries below $45,000, a situation affecting about 5,000 teachers, according to a news release from the Pennsylvania State Education Association, the state teachers union. The minimum teacher salary currently set by state law at $18,500 hasn’t changed since 1989, it added.

Under Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan, one Pa. school district would receive $693,000 to raise teacher salaries
WHYY By Ed Mahon, PA Post February 11, 2019
This story originally appeared on PA Post.
In Pennsylvania, the majority of school districts pay all their teachers more than $45,000 a year. So those districts wouldn’t receive any money under Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposal to make $45,000 the minimum salary for teachers. But a few dozen districts would receive hundreds of thousands of dollars to boost teacher salaries. (See the database at the bottom of this story.) At the top of the list? Conemaugh Valley School District in Cambria County. That district would receive a little over $693,000 specifically for salary increases, according to a database provided by the Wolf administration. In Conemaugh Valley, the average classroom teacher earned less than $41,000 last year, according to Pennsylvania Department of Education records. Shane Hazenstab, the superintendent of the Conemaugh Valley School District, said the change would have a significant impact on his district and boost the salary for new teachers by $17,000. That “would obviously impact teacher morale” and “likely would lessen our teacher turnover,” Hazenstab said in a written response.

Here’s why teachers keep striking | Opinion
Penn Live Opinion By Alex Caputo-Pearl, guest contributor Updated Feb 11, 7:04 PM; Posted Feb 11, 7:04 PM
Alex Caputo-Pearl is president of United Teachers Los Angeles.
More American workers - 533,000 - were involved in strikes or work stoppages last year than at any point since 1986, according to Labor Department data released Friday. The driving force behind this remarkable development: educators who are finally fed up with years of cutbacks and government indifference to public education. The two largest labor actions of 2018 were statewide teacher strikes in Arizona (involving 81,000 teachers and staff) and Oklahoma. "Statewide major work stoppages in educational services also occurred in West Virginia, Kentucky, Colorado, and North Carolina," the Labor Department noted. In 2019, teachers will continue standing up for public education. Last month, 33,000 educators in Los Angeles picketed, and thousands of parents and students rallied in support. On Monday, Denver teachers went on strike for the first time in 25 years. The Los Angeles teachers succeeded in winning a new contract that, in addition to a 6 percent pay increase, brings reductions in class size; more nurses, counselors and librarians; and less standardized testing. The contract also includes a mayoral and district endorsement of a state school funding measure called Schools and Communities First; a district call for a moratorium on charters; a reduction of searches that criminalize students; and an immigrant defense fund.

Support swells as Denver teachers go on strike in the latest educator walkout
Post-Gazette by COLLEEN SLEVIN Associated Press FEB 11, 2019 7:35 PM
DENVER — Striking teachers picketed outside of schools and marched through Denver’s streets Monday as car horns blared in support of the latest U.S. walkout amid a swell of educator activism in at least a half-dozen states over the last year. Just over half of the 4,725 teachers called in absent for Denver’s first strike in 25 years. Some students crossed picket lines to get to class as schools remained open with administrators and substitute teachers. In one school, students danced and chanted in the hallways as they walked out to demonstrate to support their teachers. Other students joined hundreds of teachers and union members in a march past City Hall. Science teacher Abraham Cespedes said Denver educators were empowered by recent teacher activism elsewhere around the country. “By us doing this we finally became united,” he said. The strike affecting about 71,000 students in Denver comes about a year after West Virginia teachers launched the national “Red4Ed” movement with a nine-day strike in which they won 5 percent pay raises. There have since been walkouts in Washington state, Arizona, Kentucky and Oklahoma. Most recently, Los Angeles teachers staged a six-day strike last month. That walkout ended when teachers received a 6-percent raise and promises of smaller class sizes and the addition of more nurses and counselors.

Pottstown singled out for early education leadership
POTTSTOWN — As the state budget season kicked off with the presentation of Gov. Tom Wolf's budget, early education advocates kicked off their efforts to ensure that budget funds pre-kindergarten education. For their setting they chose the Learning Annex building on North Franklin Street where several of the Pottstown School District's Pre-K Counts classrooms are held. It is an easy program to support, said Schools Superintendent Stephen Rodriguez, because "it emotionally prepares students to deal with the world, and economically, it is the best way to invest in education." That too was the conclusion reached in a four-page study by the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia which was released during the event. Jeff Hornstein, the executive director of the Economy League, said Pottstown was chosen as a case study because it has been on the forefront of early education since 1989 when it implement half-day Pre-K classes in all its elementary schools.

STEM, computer science enhancement in Pa. schools gets nearly $10M in grants
Penn Live By Paul Vigna | pvigna@pennlive.com Updated Feb 11, 5:26 PM
Continuing the rollout of his groundbreaking PAsmart initiative, Gov. Tom Wolf announced $9.6 million in PAsmart advancing grants to enhance science and technology education in schools statewide. Combined with PAsmart targeted grants announced last month, the Wolf administration has awarded nearly $20 million this year to bolster STEM and computer science (CS) in schools, according to a news release sent out Monday. “Workers in all types of jobs increasingly need to use computers and technology,” Wolf said. “In order to meet that demand, I launched PAsmart last year to expand science and technology education. “These grants will help our schools and communities to expand STEM and computer science education. That will strengthen our workforce, so businesses can grow, and workers have good jobs that can support a family.” Over the next decade, seven in 10 new jobs in Pennsylvania will require workers to use computers and new technologies. Projects funded by the PAsmart advancing grants include CS/STEM camps and after-school programs; support for diversity and inclusion on esports teams in high-need areas; STEM programming for preK-2 students and classrooms; and a mobile fabrication lab where students gain hands-on experience in coding and robotics.

Suburban Philly lawmaker’s bill would require schools to teach students about dating violence
PA Capital Star By  John L. Micek  February 11, 2019
A Montgomery County lawmaker is hoping the second time’s the charm on bill that would require Pennsylvania high schools to teach “dating violence” education to their students. In a ‘Dear Colleague’ memo sent out late last week, Rep. Thomas P. Murt, a Republican from Hatboro, cited Centers for Disease Control data showing that “approximately 10 percent of high school students surveyed reported being hit, slapped, or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the 12 months prior to being surveyed. Source: The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, CDC “Dating violence, and teen dating violence in particular, is an alarming trend that is becoming more widespread with serious long-term and short-term effects for young people,” Murt wrote. “To combat this increasing problem, and send a message to students about the importance of developing healthy relationships, over the past several years, at least 15 states have adopted requirements for age-appropriate instruction in dating violence prevention.” The bill made the rounds in last year’s legislative session. Current state law, Murt wrote, allows public schools to develop policies on dating violence; to provide training to school personnel and to offer instruction to students on how to avoid and address violent behavior in a partner. Murt’s bill would make these recommendations mandatory.

East Penn board will discuss whether older students should sleep later
The East Penn school board will look into whether school should start later for older students.
Michelle Merlin Contact Reporter Of The Morning Call February 11, 2019
East Penn officials won’t be hitting snooze on a discussion about whether school should start later. School board members are slated to talk about the issue at their meeting Monday. Their agenda contains an item to direct district administrators to create a report on the potential obstacles and solutions to later start times for middle and high school students. Currently Emmaus High School students start at 7:23 a.m. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends adolescent school start times at 8:30 a.m. or later. Studies found that getting less than eight hours of sleep can affect grades and increase health risks like depression, substance abuse, sports injuries, or auto accidents. School board member Ziad Munson said he’s been thinking about the issue for at least two years after someone brought it up during public comment. He's seen increasing media coverage and interest from parents about the issue. In Pennsylvania, Unionville-Chadds Ford became the first Philadelphia-area school district to push back start times to 8 a.m. when they made the switch last school year. The district, which encompasses southeastern Chester County and western Delaware County, appears to have set a trend. The Phoenixville Area School District just voted to become the second area school system to adopt a later starting time next fall and other districts are considering it, according to Philly.com.

“As for his openness to charter schools, Harris described how much he values the power of education. But after watching friends fail out of school and end up in prison or dead, he thinks any paths for young people out of poverty should be kept open. “There are those who have their opinion of it, but invite them to come to my district and see the young people who have been attending failing schools for years,” Harris said. “I invite them to talk their parents who attended that same failing school. I invite them to talk to their grandparents who attended the same failing school. And then I want them to come back and talk to me about where I am on public education.”
Bipartisanship is passé. No one told Jordan Harris.
PA Capital Star By  Stephen Caruso  -February 11, 2019
Holding up fingers on just one hand, Jordan Harris can trace back the generations to when his ancestors were enslaved. Belle, the Philadelphia representative’s great-great-great grandmother, was a slave. Mary Phillips, his great-great grandmother, and Ola Wallace, his great- grandmother, were both domestic workers. His grandmother, Claudette Harris, raised three kids in the Philadelphia projects while working during the day and going to school at night — first at community college, then at Temple University — to become a teacher. That degree set Harris’ mother on a path to get her own — and for her son to get two. Now, a generational stone’s throw from slavery, the new Democratic House whip can see the course his family forged with education. When he looks at criminal justice reform and education funding, he sees them through the lens of his family’s past. “That’s how you change the trajectory of people’s lives,” he told the Capital-Star. “So when I come into [the Capitol], yes I’m results oriented because results matter to people whose lives will change, whose children’s lives will change, whose grandchildren’s lives will change. That’s what we’re doing here. And if we’re not serious about that work, what’s the point?” At 34 years old, Harris is the youngest House Democratic whip ever.

Schools paying the price for mold
Daily Item By Joe Sylvester jsylvester@dailyitem.com February 11, 2019
Last year’s soggy summer led to some expensive mold cleanup bills for two local school districts and more monitoring by all districts. Milton Area had to delay the opening of school for two weeks, to Sept. 6, after mold was found in all five district buildings. Environmental companies spent a month in the schools, mitigating humidity and mold damage and repairing aging HVAC systems. Selinsgrove Area started school on time but closed part of the middle school until the mold was cleared. The bill to the Milton district totaled $1.48 million — nearly $1 million less than the original $2.4 million bill after district officials said they disputed some of the costs with two of the four contractors. Mold remediation at the Selinsgrove district’s middle school totaled $44,870 and at the intermediate school, $78,966, for a total cost of $123,836, according to district Business Manager Jeffrey H. Hummel. Both districts still are seeking reimbursement from their insurance companies, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.

Homeowners fight Lower Merion schools’ takeover of their property
Inquirer by Kathy Boccella, Updated: February 12, 2019- 5:00 AM
There’s yet another snag in the Lower Merion School District’s ongoing struggle to find playing fields for a proposed Villanova middle school it wants to open in 2023 — the same effort that last year riled residents over the fate of the new public garden at Stoneleigh. Now, the owners of a 10.6-acre property near Villanova University that district officials want have gone to court to challenge the school board’s December vote to condemn the land, accusing district leaders of thwarting a more lucrative sale of the parcel to the university. Michael Flaherty, attorney for the owners of the tract, John Bennett, a physician, and his wife, Nance DiRocco, said the couple on Friday lodged a challenge in Montgomery County Court “reflecting overly aggressive and unconstitutional actions of the school district,” which has offered up to $9.95 million for the land. In court papers, lawyers assert that the couple last year engaged in conversations with university president the Rev. Peter Donahue about a $12 million sale before school district officials went to Donahue to try to dissuade him from the deal and told him that they believed the site was worth roughly $8 million.

These are corporations, not charity care
Post Gazette Letter  Ann Stanton,  Baden FEB 12, 2019 12:00 AM
It has been interesting to read the articles related to the UPMC-Highmark split and how so many people think that UPMC is the only game in town, even as it threatens to drop thousands of Highmark patients from its care. Why not try Allegheny Health Network hospitals and doctors or one of the other health care systems that offer very good care? People speak about the bond they have with their physicians but they should be able to form a new bond with another physician who may be just as good or better. Does Attorney General Josh Shapiro really think that charity care exists today? Insurers and health care systems are corporations and bringing in more money is the goal. St. Francis Medical Center was a giant when it came to charity care because it made sure that people received the best care regardless of their insurance or ability to pay. When St. Francis had to close due to financial difficulties in 2002, I didn’t see any insurer or government agency coming forward to offer any bailouts to help it remain open. Its downfall was putting patient care first. Many people lost their jobs and many patients lost their doctors, but nothing was done to help. Other hospitals that offered charity care followed the same losses and closed because today health care is about corporate profits. That is the reality that we all must face.

There’s a backlash against charter schools. What’s happening and why.
Washington Post Answer Sheet By Valerie Strauss February 11 at 6:00 AM
In the largest public school system in the country, New York City Chancellor Richard Carranza recently scolded charter school supporters for disparaging traditional public schools. The year before, he had struck a far friendlier tone. In the second-largest public school district in the country, Los Angeles teachers ended a six-day strike in January with a key concession from pro-charter Superintendent Austin Beutner: a commitment to call for a districtwide cap on new charters until their effect on district schools can be assessed. In the third-largest school district in the country, Chicago teachers at several charter schools are on strike, the second time within a month it has happened in the city. The December strike there was the first in the charter sector, which is largely (and intentionally) non-unionized and pays most teachers far less than district schools. This country is nearly 30 years into an experiment with charter schools, which are publicly financed but privately operated, sometimes by for-profit companies. Supporters first described charters as competitive vehicles to push traditional public schools to reform. Over time, that narrative changed and charters were wrapped into the zeitgeist of “choice” for families whose children wanted alternatives to troubled district schools.

The Education of Cory Booker
The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate will need to outrun his past association with the school choice movement and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, in particular.
US News By Lauren Camera Education Reporter Feb. 8, 2019, at 5:50 p.m.
IF SEN. CORY BOOKER IS looking for a way to set himself apart from the nearly dozen other Democratic candidates running in the 2020 presidential election, he has a compelling story to tell about the mentorship and tutelage that he's long credited for his swift ascent into national politics. But it's one that he's not likely to highlight. Most people are familiar by now with the New Jersey Democrat's political resume: Booker was elected mayor of Newark in 2006 and served in that position for seven years before winning a special election in 2013 to represent New Jersey in the U.S. Senate. He was re-elected in 2014 to a full six-year term. Prior to his role as mayor, Booker founded a nonprofit organization that provided legal services to low-income tenants and served on the Newark City Council. What many might not know, however, is that much of that rise can be traced to his roots as an advocate for school choice, which included intimate mentorship and financial backing by leaders of American Federation for Children, the private school choice organization that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos led before being tapped to serve in President Donald Trump's Cabinet. In fact, Booker once sat alongside DeVos on the board of The Alliance for School Choice, the organization that eventually became American Federation for Children. The experience led Booker to co-found Excellent Education for Everyone, or E3, an organization that advocated for vouchers and charter schools in New Jersey, and to back a private school scholarship bill as a city council member.

California Governor Calls for Expert Panel on Charter Schools' Financial Impact
Education Week Charters & Choice By Sasha Jones on February 8, 2019 4:46 PM
Following the Los Angeles teachers' strikes, California Governor Gavin Newsom has asked state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond to convene an expert panel on the effects of charter schools on the finances of traditional public schools.  Newsom asked that a report be due by July 1. A spokesperson for Thurmond said that the state department of education is in the process of deciding what the panel will look like and who will be involved.  "As Governor Newsom stated in his first budget proposal, rising charter school enrollments in some urban districts are having real impacts on those districts' ability to provide essential support and services for their students," Newsom's spokesman Brian Ferguson said in a statement reported by the Los Angeles Times.  In addition to striking for higher wages and smaller class sizes, United Teachers Los Angeles called for the end of the growth of charter schools. The strike resulted in a tentative agreement that led the district to increase salaries, hire more staff, reduce assessments, and "protect district neighborhood schools from charter co-locations." 

Charter schools and the damage to real public schools
Arkansas Times Posted By Max Brantley on Sat, Feb 9, 2019 at 7:31 AM
Charter schools have become a growing political issue nationally (if not so much in Arkansas) as advocates of democraticaly run conventional public school districts come to understand the  peril. For reading, an essay on how charter schools are "pushing public schools to the breaking point." In Little Rock there's ready evidence of some familiar points in the article: First, the transfer of students to charters with loss of state financial support; the loss of voter support for the eroding public school district in tax elections, and the concentration of less-advantaged students in the public school district. Efficiency is an issue, too. Little Rock, already overbuilt in some neighborhoods, has been losing still more students in those neighborhoods to charters that have taken over old buildings (purchased by the Walton Family Foundation for lease to private operators.

PSBA Members - Register for Advocacy Day at the Capitol in Harrisburg Monday April 29, 2019
All PSBA-members are invited to attend Advocacy Day on Monday, April 29, 2019 at the state Capitol in Harrisburg. In addition, this year PSBA will be partnering with the Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units (PAIU) and Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA) to strengthen our advocacy impact. The focus for the day will be meetings with legislators to discuss critical issues affecting public education. There is no cost to attend, and PSBA will assist in scheduling appointments with legislators once your registration is received. The day will begin with a continental breakfast and issue briefings prior to the legislator visits. Registrants will receive talking points, materials and leave-behinds to use with their meetings. PSBA staff will be stationed at a table in the main Rotunda during the day to answer questions and provide assistance. The day’s agenda and other details will be available soon. If you have questions about Advocacy Day, legislative appointments or need additional information, contact Jamie.Zuvich@psba.org  Register for PSBA Advocacy Day now at http://www.mypsba.org/
PSBA members can register online now by logging in to myPSBA. If you need assistance logging in and registering contact Alysha Newingham, Member Data System Administrator at alysha.newingham@psba.org or call her at (717) 506-2450, ext. 3420

PSBA Board Presidents Panel -- new dates in February
Due to inclement weather, six dates for the Board Presidents Panel were rescheduled in February. The new dates and locations are below:
Lackawanna Co. CTC - Feb. 12, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Parkland HS - Feb. 12, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Bedford Co. CTC - Feb. 13, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Danville Area HS - Feb. 21, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
If you are a board president, vice president or superintendent don't miss this opportunity to workshop your real-life scenarios with a moderated panel of peers. Check the website for details and two new dates to come.

PSBA Sectional Meetings - Ten convenient locations in February and March
School safety and security is a complex, multi-perspective topic impacting school entities in dramatic ways. This complimentary PSBA member meeting featured in ten locations will offer essential updates and information on Safe2Say reporting, suicide awareness related to student safety, school climate, and emergency preparedness planning. Representatives from the Attorney General’s office, PEMA, and a top expert in behavioral health will be presenting. Updates on legislation impacting your schools will be presented by PSBA staff. Connect with the experts, have your questions answered, and network with other members.
Locations and Dates
Section Meetings are 6-8 p.m. (across all locations).
Register online by logging in to myPSBA.

Open Board Positions for 2019 PA Principals Association Election
Thursday, January 10, 2019 9:05 AM
Margaret S. (Peg) Foster, principal, academic affairs, in the Crestwood School District, has been appointed by President Michael Allison to serve as the chairperson of the 2019 PA Principals Association Nominations Committee to oversee the 2019 election. Her committee consists of the following members: Curtis Dimmick, principal in the Northampton Area School District; Jacqueline Clark-Havrilla, principal in the Spring-Ford School District; and Joseph Hanni, vice principal in the Scranton School District.   If you are interested in running for one of the open board positions (shown below) in the 2019 election, please contact Stephanie Kinner at kinner@paprincipals.org or (717) 732-4999 for an application. Applications must be received in the state office by Friday, February 22, 2019.

Pennsylvania schools work – for students, communities and the economy when adequate resources are available to give all students an equal opportunity to succeed.
Join A Movement that Supports our Schools & Communities
PA Schools Work website
Our students are in classrooms that are underfunded and overcrowded. Teachers are paying out of pocket and picking up the slack. And public education is suffering. Each child in Pennsylvania has a right to an excellent public education. Every child, regardless of zip code, deserves access to a full curriculum, art and music classes, technical opportunities and a safe, clean, stable environment. All children must be provided a level chance to succeed. PA Schools Work is fighting for equitable, adequate funding necessary to support educational excellence. Investing in public education excellence is the path to thriving communities, a stable economy and successful students.

Indiana Area School District Safety & Security Symposium March 15, 2019
Indiana Area School District Website
Background: It’s 2019, and school safety has catapulted as one of the top priorities for school districts around the country. With an eye toward providing educators with various resources and opportunities specific to Pennsylvania, the Indiana Area School District -- in collaboration with Indiana University of Pennsylvania, PA Representative Jim Struzzi, and as well as Indiana County Tourist Bureau-- is hosting a FREE safety and security symposium on March 15, 2019. This safety and security exchange will provide information that benefits all stakeholders in your education community: administrators, board members, and staff members alike. Presenters offer valuable resources to help prepare your organization to continue the discussion on safety and security in our schools.  Pre-registration is required, and you will be invited to choose the breakout sessions that you feel will have the most impact in your professional learning on these various topics, as well as overall impact on your District’s systems of operations. Please take time to review the various course breakout sessions and their descriptions.  Don’t miss this opportunity to connect and learn.
How to Register: Participants attending the Safety Symposium on March 15, 2019, will have the option to select a maximum of 4 breakout sessions to attend on this day.  Prior to the breakout sessions, attendees will hear opening remarks from former Secretary of Education - Dr. Gerald Zahorchak.  We want to empower the attendees to exercise their voice and choice in planning their day!  Please review the various break out session descriptions by clicking on the "Session Descriptions" on the right-hand side of this page.  On that page, you will be able to review the sessions offered that day and register for the symposium.  

Annual PenSPRA Symposium set for March 28-29, 2019
Pennsylvania School Public Relations Association Website
Once again, PenSPRA will hold its annual symposium with nationally-recognized speakers on hot topics for school communicators. The symposium, held at the Conference Center at Shippensburg University, promises to provide time for collegial sharing and networking opportunities. Mark you calendars now!
We hope you can join us. Plans are underway, so check back for more information.

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.

Save the Date:  PARSS Annual Conference May 1-3, 2019
Wyndham Garden Hotel, Mountainview Country Club
Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools

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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