Tuesday, January 14, 2020

PA Ed Policy Roundup for Jan. 14, 2020 One year in, Safe2Say has fielded more than 40,000 tips

Started in November 2010, daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 4050 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers, Governor's staff, current/former PA Secretaries of Education, Wolf education transition team members, superintendents, school solicitors, principals, charter school leaders, PTO/PTA officers, parent advocates, teacher leaders, business leaders, faith-based organizations, labor organizations, education professors, members of the press and a broad array of P-16 regulatory agencies, professional associations and education advocacy organizations via emails, website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

These daily emails are archived and searchable at http://keystonestateeducationcoalition.org
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PA Ed Policy Roundup for Jan. 14, 2020

Local Journalism Is in Crisis. That's a Big Problem for Education
Education Week By Evie Blad January 7, 2020
Psst! Don’t let my editor read this! I’m a national education reporter, and I’m about to make a case that educators should care deeply about their local media.
You could be forgiven if you think all of the important news is happening on the national level lately. If you have a news app on your smartphone, you’ve likely had few mornings over the last several years when you didn’t wake up to a screen of alerts about big, national stories happening in Washington: scandals, investigations, bombastic tweets from the president. It’s easy to get caught up in it. These people—who are hundreds or thousands of miles away from many of us—are holding the future of our democracy in their hands. And we are all trying to keep up. But I’m here to tell you our nation’s future is also being written in rooms that are often not covered at all: classrooms, school board meeting rooms, principals’ offices, and state capitols where lawmakers hammer out the details of education spending that affect millions of children. The people who should be in these rooms—the education reporters and statehouse reporters who toil away at local papers, connecting threads of ideas to give readers context and clarity—are dwindling in numbers. Education and journalism are both crucial to democracy, and they need each other.

Bipartisan effort by Congress could help save some local newspapers [opinion]
Lancaster Online by THE LNP EDITORIAL BOARD January 14, 2020
THE ISSUE: Many small newspapers across America are in dire economic straits — a situation exacerbated by the business practices of the biggest technology companies — and Congress has responded with some rare bipartisan agreement, The New York Times reported in a story published in Monday’s LNP | LancasterOnline. “The proposal would give news organizations an exemption from antitrust laws, allowing them to band together to negotiate with Google and Facebook over how their articles and photos are used online, and what payments the newspapers get from the tech companies,” the Times reported.
We are pleased to see Republicans and Democrats rally around an issue that relates directly to the freedom of the press that’s so essential to democracy. Have no doubt: We cannot have “freedom of the press” without having a press. Yet that is increasingly the case in many U.S. communities. “Newspapers have faced devastating financial losses for years,” the Times explained. “One in five newspapers has closed since 2004 in the United States, and about half of the nation’s more than 3,000 counties have only one newspaper, many of them printing weekly, according to a report by the University of North Carolina published in late 2018.” Areas with little or no local newspaper coverage become “news deserts.” It is an awful thing for any community.

The kid was wrong: Pa.’s Safe2SaySomething school safety line gets 40K+ tips in its first year
Penn Live By Matt Miller | mmiller@pennlive.com Updated Jan 13, 2020;Posted Jan 13, 2020
When state Attorney General Josh Shapiro told his four kids about Safe2SaySomething, a student safety tip line his office was launching, one of them, a high-schooler, wasn’t too impressed. “He looked at me and said, ‘Dad, that’s stupid. Nobody’s going to use that’,” Shapiro recalled. Well, the kid was wrong.  As Safe2Say hits its first anniversary, it has fielded 40,382 contacts from students in every single school district in Pennsylvania, Shapiro said during a news conference Monday afternoon. “I can tell you unequivocally that the investment has paid off,” he said, as the staff at Safe2Say’s temporary center in Lemoyne worked behind him. “We receive over 100 tips every day.” He said there have been some surprises since the Legislature tasked him with setting up the 24/7 anonymous tip line in conjunction with Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit school safety group formed following a December 2012 massacre at an elementary school in Connecticut.

One year in, crisis center to stop school violence in Pa. has fielded more than 40,000 tips
The partnership between Sandy Hook Promise and the state Attorney General's office aims to prevent mass shootings and help children dealing with problems.
WITF by Brett Sholtis/Transforming Health JANUARY 13, 2020 | 6:23 PM
(Lemoyne) — One year after the state Attorney General launched a tip line and mobile app to prevent unsafe activity at schools, his office has fielded more than 40,000 tips. The Safe2Say Something crisis center gets about 100 tips every day, and they’ve come from every school district in the state, said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. The partnership with Sandy Hook Promise aims to stop mass shootings, and there’s evidence it may have helped to do that already. Last May, two students were arrested after threatening to “shoot up” Unionville High School in Chester County. Last January, a student reported a threat of gun violence from another student on the social media platform Snapchat, leading police to investigate. Both tips came through the Safe2Say program, according to officials at those schools.

Your View by State Sen. Browne: Let’s keeping pushing fiscal responsibility in Pennsylvania
Entering the third decade of a new millennium, probably the best way to encapsulate this transition is “What a difference a decade makes.” During the past 10 years, Pennsylvania, like many states, experienced its most challenging fiscal period since the Great Depression. Historic declines in tax revenue resulted in enormous deficits requiring many programmatic sacrifices to achieve fiscal balance. Now, thanks to years of financial discipline demanded by the Senate Appropriations Committee, coupled with improvements in the state’s economy, the commonwealth’s fiscal position is considerably stronger. For the first time in over 10 years, 2018-2019 actual revenues were ahead of official estimate by $883 million, and the 2019-2020 budget was adopted with a surplus of more than $300 million. The current state budget is balanced without tax increases and controls spending to 1.8% over the prior year, less than the rate of inflation. Despite its overall austerity, the budget increases support for essential services to seniors, families and citizens with disabilities, promotes workforce development efforts and bolsters education spending at all levels.

PSBA’s 2019 Pennsylvania School Facts and Figures is now available
Do you know how many students are enrolled in Pennsylvania public schools? There are 1.72 million total (912,775 elementary and 809,686 secondary for the 2018-19 school year). These facts and many more can be found in the 2019 PA School Facts and Figures.
It is designed to help school directors respond quickly to questions from the public and contains the most current statewide information available. To request a PDF copy email 
research-info@psba.org or see it at https://www.psba.org/report/facts-figures/.

N.J. school segregation lawsuit moves forward, judge orders districts to be notified
Decision advances the case, in which plaintiffs cite de facto segregation as district boundaries align with municipal borders that divide people by race and wealth.
The notebook by Joe Hernandez WHYY NEWS January 13 — 6:22 pm, 2020
A judge ruled Friday that a major lawsuit against the state of New Jersey over racial and socioeconomic segregation in the public school system can move forward. The complaint, first filed in 2018, alleges that New Jersey has de facto segregation of its public school system, because district boundaries roughly align with municipal boundaries, which are largely segregated by race and wealth. Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson refused to toss the case but ordered the plaintiffs, a group of social justice nonprofits and parents, to notify all of the state school districts of the ongoing lawsuit. Although Jacobson did not agree to name the state’s 584 districts as defendants, as the state Attorney General’s Office had wanted, the judge did say she was “concerned” that none of the districts were participating in the case. Plaintiffs say this violates the New Jersey constitution by racially segregating students and depriving them of a “thorough and efficient” education. According to state data used in the complaint, more than 100,000 Black and Latino students attended schools that were at least 99% non-white.

Special election for 48th District Pa. Senate seat: Hours, polls and more info
Penn Live By Ron Southwick | rsouthwick@pennlive.com Today 5:00 AM
Voters will decide Tuesday who will win a seat to the Pennsylvania Senate in the 48th District. Republican David Arnold and Democrat Michael Schroeder are vying for the seat, which represents Lebanon County and parts of Dauphin and York counties. The seat was vacated when former Sen. Mike Folmer resigned following his arrest for child pornography in September. Arnold, 48, is the Lebanon County district attorney and has held that post since 2006. Schroeder is a 61-year-old college history professor and community/environmental activist. The winning candidate will receive a $90,335-a-year post and be one of 50 members in the Pennsylvania Senate.

Pa. state Senate special election: Everything you need to know before you vote
York Daily Record by Nora Shelly, Lebanon Daily News Published 10:41 a.m. ET Jan. 13, 2020 | Updated 2:58 p.m. ET Jan. 13, 2020
Voters in Lebanon, York and Dauphin counties will be heading to the polls Tuesday to decide who should replace former State Sen. Mike Folmer.  Folmer resigned in September after being arrested on child pornography charges. Lebanon County District Attorney Dave Arnold is running for his seat on the Republican ticket, against Democrat Michael Schroeder, a history professor at Lebanon Valley College. The 48th Senate District encompasses all of Lebanon County and slivers of Dauphin and York counties, including Mount Wolf, the York County borough where Gov. Tom Wolf lives. It also includes Springettsbury Township and other northeastern area York County municipalities. Arnold and Schroeder differ greatly on key issues, including gun control, marijuana legalization and property taxes. Read more about Arnold's positions here, and Schroeder's here.

Liberal Super PAC Targets Killion, Laughlin Races
PoliticsPA Written by John Cole, Managing Editor January 11, 2020
Flipping Republican controlled state legislatures is a key focus of various Democratic backed groups heading into the 2020 election prior to redistricting.  American Bridge, a liberal Super PAC that describes itself as “the largest research, video tracking, and rapid response organization in Democratic politics” announced that they are targeting state legislature races in four specific states that includes two state Senate races in Pennsylvania, according to the Huffington Post.  “If Democrats don’t win back state chambers in 2020, another decade of Republican gerrymandering could really hamper our ability to keep our majority in the House,” said Katie Parrish, Gubernatorial & State Legislative Campaigns Communications Director, American Bridge 21st Century in an interview with PoliticsPA. “Plus state legislatures make policies that impact our daily lives.”  As of now, the super PAC is targeting Senate Districts 9 and 49, held by state Sens. Tom Killion (R-Delaware) and Dan Laughlin (R-Erie). 

Pa. House staffer to run for Pa. House seat representing part of Dauphin County
Penn Live By Jan Murphy | jmurphy@pennlive.com Posted Jan 13, 2020
A policy and research analyst for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives has announced her candidacy for the 105th House District representing a portion of Dauphin County. Brittney Rodas, 24, of West Hanover Township, is seeking the Democratic nomination in the April 28 primary to take on Republican one-term incumbent Andrew Lewis in the fall. Lewis announced his re-election bid last week. Rodas touts the experience and knowledge she has gained in her work in the state House in crafting policy and working with stakeholders and constituents as qualifying her for the position and making her ready to begin serving on day one. She currently is on leave from her job to run for office.

Master’s of None
Teachers across the country earn grad degrees to get raises. Turns out those degrees don’t improve student learning—they just fatten universities’ bottom lines.
David Firestone, an associate special ed teacher in New York City, is in his final semester of a master’s program at the Hunter College School of Education. Yet he still feels like he hasn’t learned one of the core skills of teaching.  “No one has ever bothered to teach us how to write a real lesson plan,” he told me in November. “They just care that we know how to write edTPA lesson plans.” He was referring to the test you’re required to pass in New York State to become certified as a teacher. A real-world lesson plan is usually half a page, maybe a little more. What the program has instead drilled into him is how to write the kind of document he will submit to get his teaching license: a super-detailed, eight-page plan, essentially a script of everything he’d say in a class.  As a full-time associate special ed teacher and a graduate student on the side, Firestone has a finely calibrated sense of time—how to divvy it up, maximize it, save it. He leaves his house in central Brooklyn at seven to get to school in south Brooklyn by eight, teaches a full day of classes, and finishes just before three. Then he spends an hour and 20 minutes trekking to the Upper East Side of Manhattan to take grad school classes, which can run until 9:40 p.m. He often doesn’t get home until after 11. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for eight-page lesson plans. Frequently he writes his on the subway. It’s a schedule that he described alternately as “brutal” and “God awful.”  So why do it? Because he has to. Right now, one of the most common ways that school districts attempt to increase teacher quality is through master’s degrees. Some states, like New York, Maryland, and Connecticut, require that teachers get master’s degrees in order to keep teaching. Far more states encourage teachers to get them by tying them to pay raises.

The 2018 Small Donor Boom Was Drowned Out by Big Donors, Thanks to Citizens United
Ten years later, the legacy of Citizens United is a system where the importance of wealthy donors is ballooning with no end in sight.
Brennan Center for Justice by Ian Vandewalker January 10, 2020
In much of the media, the money-in-politics story of the 2018 midterms was massive engagement by small donors across the board, especially as a weapon for Democrats in reaction to Donald Trump’s polarizing presidency. But that story obscured an even bigger increase in donations of more than $100,000 from a tiny number of people. Even after a surge in activism, grassroots energy and online fundraising tools are still no match for the boost that the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling gave to big money 10 years ago this month. On the contrary, the proportion of money coming from megadonors is rapidly increasing. In Citizens United, the Court struck down limits on political spending by corporations and unions. The opinion argued that political money won’t corrupt politicians if it’s not given directly to them, paving the way for the creation of super PACs and unlimited outside spending — money that doesn’t go directly to candidates but to groups that work to elect those candidates. These channels are the vehicles that the biggest donors use to influence who runs and who wins.  To be sure, 2018 was a banner year for small donations. Donors who gave $200 or less contributed $1.4 billion to campaigns and political committees, a more than 50 percent increase over the last midterm cycle. But donors who gave more than $100,000 together contributed almost $2 billion, well over twice the total from 2014, resulting in a much greater portion of election funding coming from them than small donors.

School Leaders: Register today for @PSBA @PASA @PAIU Advocacy Day at the Capitol on March 23rd and you could be the lucky winner of my school board salary for the entire year. Register now at http://mypsba.org

PA SCHOOLS WORK: Special Education Funding Webinar Tue, Jan 14, 2020 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM EST

Charter Schools; Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

PSBA New and Advanced School Director Training in Dec & Jan
Additional sessions now being offered in Bucks and Beaver Counties
Do you want high-impact, engaging training that newly elected and reseated school directors can attend to be certified in new and advanced required training? PSBA has been supporting new school directors for more than 50 years by enlisting statewide experts in school law, finance and governance to deliver a one-day foundational training. This year, we are adding a parallel track of sessions for those who need advanced school director training to meet their compliance requirements. These sessions will be delivered by the same experts but with advanced content. Look for a compact evening training or a longer Saturday session at a location near you. All sites will include one hour of trauma-informed training required by Act 18 of 2019. Weekend sites will include an extra hour for a legislative update from PSBA’s government affairs team.
New School Director Training
Week Nights: Registration opens 3:00 p.m., program starts 3:30 p.m. -9:00 p.m., dinner with break included
Saturdays: Registration opens at 8:00 a.m., program starts at 9:00 a.m. -3:30 p.m., lunch with break included
Advanced School Director Training
Week Nights: Registration with dinner provided opens at 4:30 p.m., program starts 5:30 p.m. -9:00 p.m.
Saturdays: Registration opens at 10:00 a.m., program starts at 11:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m., lunch with break included
Locations and dates

Congress, Courts, and a National Election: 50 Million Children’s Futures Are at Stake. Be their champion at the 2020 Advocacy Institute.
NSBA Advocacy Institute Feb. 2-4, 2020 Marriot Marquis, Washington, D.C.
Join school leaders from across the country on Capitol Hill, Feb. 2-4, 2020 to influence the legislative agenda & shape decisions that impact public schools. Check out the schedule & more at https://nsba.org/Events/Advocacy-Institute

All school leaders are invited to attend Advocacy Day at the state Capitol in Harrisburg. The Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA), Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units (PAIU) and the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA) are partnering together to strengthen our advocacy impact. The day will center around meetings with legislators to discuss critical issues affecting public education. Click here for more information or register at http://www.mypsba.org/
School directors 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

Register now for Network for Public Education Action National Conference in Philadelphia March 28-29, 2020
Registration, hotel information, keynote speakers and panels:

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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