“With very few exceptions, the report found that Wonderland did not identify students in any other disability categories or provide Individual Education Programs for those other than in speech and language impairment, which is considered a low-risk, high-return category. The report found the school overidentified those students by as much as 1,000 percent, while failing to identify students in any other disability category for at least a three-year span.”
Charter school law, health code and ethics violations. What was happening at Wonderland?
Centre Daily Times BY LAUREN MUTHLER firstname.lastname@example.org August 14, 2018 12:44 PM Updated August 14, 2018 01:12 PM
Presenting his findings to the board Monday night, State College Area School District solicitor Scott Etter painted a troublesome picture of the policies and programming at the former Wonderland Charter School. Etter said his updated report, which is not yet finalized, further supports the conclusions he shared with the board in June that Wonderland had systemic and long-term shortcomings in the area of special needs. The charter school, he said, actively took steps to discriminate against students who needed special education services and preclude them from those services in order to save costs. Wonderland on July 31 voluntarily surrendered its charter and closed its doors, after the board voted on June 4, based upon Etter’s recommendation, to initiate the non-renewal/revocation process after finding charter law violations. As a public charter school, Wonderland was held to the same Department of Education and legal standards as other Pennsylvania public schools.
Failing the Future: Will the school funding crisis in Pa. ever be solved?
Is the way Pennsylvania funds public education the reason some students are left behind?
Public Source August 2018
About this project: In Pennsylvania, a state with 500 school districts, the funding crisis of public education is not a breaking news story. It's been the reality for years. Students study in decaying buildings, can only dream about art classes and fight the stigma of being from "that school." The crisis of funding public education is imminent as the court is set to look into how Pennsylvania funds public education and if it violates the State Constitution. In this series, we explore deepening inequities across school districts and ask: Will the school funding crisis in Pa. ever be solved?
Failing the Future: Is Pennsylvania’s school funding unfair? This lawsuit hopes to upend the model.
By Mary Niederberger August 14, 2018 Part of the PublicSource series Failing the Future
A lawsuit pending in Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court has the potential to significantly change the way the state funds schools. The plaintiffs, including six school districts, have sued the Pennsylvania Department of Education, governor and other state officials, seeking to throw out the current school funding system and spur the creation of a new one that would provide equitable funding to districts. It’s a move that could significantly change the course of education for students in financially struggling districts… At present, much of school funding in Pennsylvania depends on property taxes, so districts in more affluent areas can bring in more money. As a result, students in some districts have state-of-the-art technology and a wide array of courses, but those in other districts, sometimes located side by side, are working with paper and pencil and have limited access to courses beyond the basics. The effects of inequitable education are measurable by academic achievement. In the 2012-13 school year, more than 300,000 of the roughly 875,000 students tested in Pennsylvania were not able to meet the state academic standards on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment exams, the lawsuit states.
Failing the Future: Two adjacent districts. Different academic worlds. The story of Sto-Rox and Montour.
By Mary Niederberger August 14, 2018 Part of the PublicSource series Failing the Future
This fall was supposed to be a dream-come-true football season for the Sto-Rox Vikings. They would charge across new turf at their high school stadium instead of the rugged, rutted grass field that teams have played on for decades. An alumni fundraising effort had hit its $600,000 goal near the end of the school year. Work was set to start on the new turf in July and games would be played there in September. No longer would the high school players have to maneuver around humps and hollows that could turn ankles and break bones. But then came the announcement by coach LaRoi Johnson in late June that the amount raised fell about $100,000 short of the cost to install the turf. It would be delayed another year while fundraising resumed. “They led us on and then they just snatched it away from us,” said Drey Frenzley, a senior who plays defensive tackle.
For Drey, 17, it was just one more example of how the adult world disappoints students in the Sto-Rox School District. “It happens all the time,” he said.
Failing the Future: Sto-Rox parent: ‘I get embarrassed… It just reminds me of the failure that I am for my kids.’
By Mary Niederberger August 14, 2018 Part of the PublicSource series Failing the Future
Tim Cerrone remembers attending Sto-Rox High School in the 1970s and having an array of electives, activities and sports available to choose from. He graduated in 1976 in a class of about 300 students. “We were a strongly middle-class area, and the high school had everything the students needed,” he said. In March, he stood outside of the auditorium at Mt. Lebanon High School where his granddaughter, Maranda Kelly, took part in a Pennsylvania Music Educators Association district band festival. He took in the surroundings of the school, where a $110 million renovation was completed in 2015, and realized just how far his alma mater, now his granddaughter’s school, has fallen behind. “It’s horrible how the education [in Sto-Rox] has dropped. If you live in a poor area, you don’t get a good education.” “This is like a college campus. I can’t believe it’s a high school,” said Cerrone, of McKees Rocks, as he left the Mt. Lebanon auditorium where his granddaughter, then in eighth grade at Sto-Rox Junior-Senior High School, played trumpet. While Mt. Lebanon High School has state-of-the-art STEM labs, dance and art studios, an auditorium with updated acoustics and an attached athletic building with an eight-lane pool, Sto-Rox Junior-Senior High School hasn’t been renovated since 1979.
Experts disagree with USED school funding report
The analysis concludes that high poverty districts in PA spend more per student than wealthier ones.
The Notebook by Lijia Liu August 14 — 4:17 pm, 2018
A recent report from the U.S. Department of Education (USED) concludes that poorer school districts in Pennsylvania receive higher average revenue than wealthier ones. According to the report, districts in the poorest quartile have 18 percent more funding per student than the wealthiest quartile. This conclusion conflicts with what experts on school funding say. Mark Price, a labor economist at the liberal-leaning Keystone Research Center, found that per-pupil spending is around 11 percent lower in Pennsylvania’s poorest districts. Attorneys at the Public Interest Law Center are currently pursuing a lawsuit against the state of Pennsylvania on the grounds of inadequate and inequitable distribution of education funding. But even if the USED data accurately represents Pennsylvania as relatively progressive regarding school funding, compared to other states, it does not mean that poorer districts have enough resources to offer the same quality of education as wealthier districts. Data consultant David Mosenkis said that low-income students in high-poverty districts face “concentrated poverty,” which is “associated with higher costs of education, such as absenteeism and disciplinary problems.” Mosenkis, however, questions if the higher per-pupil revenue – the result of state and federal aid meant to offset wide differences in local wealth and taxing capacity – is sufficient for overcoming the higher costs faced by poorer districts.
“Before joining the state General Assembly, O’Neill served as Warminster supervisor for five years and a special education teacher for 25 years at William Tennent High School, his alma mater.”
Bernie O’Neill withdraws from state representative race
State Rep. Bernie O’Neill has withdrawn from his re-election campaign for the 29th district seat. Republicans have until August 23 to name a substitute for the ballot.
Bucks County Courier Times By James Boyle Posted Aug 14, 2018 at 1:18 PM Updated Aug 14, 2018 at 1:18 PM
Incumbent Republican Bernie O’Neill withdrew his name from the general election ballot Monday, according to state records. State Rep. Bernie O’Neill has dropped out of his re-election campaign for the 29th district seat in Bucks County to focus on caring for his older sister, he confirmed Tuesday. The 16-year incumbent filed his withdrawal with the Pennsylvania Department of State on Monday, online records show. O’Neill and his wife, Linda, are the sole caregivers for his sister, who has special needs and recently developed additional health problems. His responsibilities in Harrisburg became too much of a burden in light of his sister’s treatment, O’Neill said. “The doctors would adjust treatments and her schedule around my being in town,” said O’Neill, speaking on the phone Tuesday. “It was also getting to be too much for my wife. She was at her wits’ end.” He will serve out the remainder of his 2017-2018 term, O’Neill said, then clear out of Harrisburg for his replacement. O’Neill said Tuesday he was filled with mixed emotions about leaving office and felt guilty about leaving the race at the deadline. The 29th district covers Warminster, Iyland, Warwick and parts of Buckingham.
VOTING WHILE YOUNG
Philly 3.0’s engagement director breaks down Pennsylvania’s surge in youth voter registration
Philadelphia Citizen BY JON GEETING AUG. 14, 2018
Pennsylvania leads the nation in under-30 voter registration, according to a new voter data from Democratic analytics firm TargetSmart, and Billy Penn reports this cohort now outnumbers voters over 64 statewide: “Registered voters aged 34 and under in the commonwealth currently outnumber those over 64, according to July statistics from the Pa. Dept. of State. That younger cohort accounts for 22 percent of the state’s population — but 25 percent of people registered to vote […] Statewide, the share of new voters under 30 (the cut-off TargetSmart chose) increased by 16 percent — more than anywhere in the country. Youth in Allegheny County and Philadelphia helped drive that increase, but rural counties like Clarion, Juniata, and Westmoreland saw big jumps as well.” Democrats have been the net winners from these registration gains overall, widening their registration advantage over Republicans to about 814,000 voters. Colin Deppen and Sarah Anne Hughes credit some of the registration campaigns by groups like Inspire and NextGen that are underway on college campuses across Pennsylvania for the youth registration surge heading into the 2018 midterms. Another likely reason is the ease of registering to vote online in PA as a result of the Wolf administration’s roll-out of Online Voter Registration almost exactly three years ago in August of 2015. As of February 2018, over 1 million people had used the service, as of February of this year. This has made it easier for all residents to register to vote, or update their voter information, and it makes some sense that digital natives would be most drawn to this method of registering.
Per Act 39 of 2018, the use of the Keystone Exams as a graduation requirement or as a benchmark for the need for participation in a project-based assessment has been delayed:
PA Principals Association Website Tuesday, August 14, 2018 8:34 AM
Notwithstanding Section 2604-b(b)(2)(v), 22 Pa. Code §4.24 (relating to high school graduation requirements), 4.51 (relating to state assessment system) or 4.51c (relating to project-based assessment) or any statute or regulation to the contrary, the use of the Keystone Exams as a graduation requirement or as a benchmark for the need for participation in a project-based assessment shall be delayed until the 2020-2021 school year. For schools that previously submitted project-based assessments for evaluation, note that the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) employed evaluators through June 30, 2018, to evaluate all projects submitted through May 31, 2018. Projects scored as unsatisfactory have been returned to tutors and may be resubmitted once corrections have been made. While a timeline for ongoing evaluation of projects has not been determined, projects submitted will be evaluated as follows:
Projects submitted for students graduating in 2019 or 2020 will be evaluated by a single evaluator. Projects submitted for students graduating in 2021 and beyond will be evaluated by at least two evaluators; a third evaluator will be engaged if the two evaluators are not in agreement.
Questions may be directed to email@example.com.
How to make a civics education stick
WHYY By Emily Cardinali August 14, 2018
Teaching civics to students can help them be more engaged voters. (LA Johnson/NPR)
How do you teach kids to be active participants in government? Or to tell the difference between real news and fake news? In their last legislative sessions, 27 states considered bills or other proposals that aim to answer these questions. Many of those proposals are rooted in popular ideas about the best ways to teach civics, including when kids should start, what they should learn and how to apply those lessons. Here’s a look at some of those concepts.
STEM and agriculture intersect during hands-on externship at New Holland North America
Lancaster Online by ALEX GELI | Staff Writer August 15, 2018
On a typical afternoon, teacher Gidget DeJesus is behind her desk in her eighth-grade science classroom at Lincoln Middle School. On Tuesday, however, she was behind the wheel of a 10-ton tractor. “This is so cool,” DeJesus said as she drove the tractor — worth about $200,000 — around the New Holland North America campus on Diller Avenue. “I feel like I’m in a video game.” The 10-minute ride was an exhilarating conclusion to day 2 of a three-day, hands-on externship program sponsored by the Lancaster County STEM Alliance. The event provided teachers, administrators and community leaders to tour New Holland’s facilities and receive on-the-job training to bring back to their students. The STEM Alliance, which is funded by The Steinman Foundation, sponsored an externship last year at the High companies.
The invisible signs to look for on the first day of school
WHYY By Andre Perry, The Hechinger Report August 14, 2018
This story first appeared on The Hechinger Report.
Last week, when many students were beginning the new academic year in some public schools in the United States, my family and I took a cruise to Cuba. My 7-year-old-son Roby could barely wait to get off the ship to enjoy the sights and sounds of Havana. This was not his first vacation abroad. In past trips, he had gawked at Big Ben in London, strolled through the United Nations in Geneva and fallen down a set of stair in the Eiffel Tower. (He always tells people, “Daddy let me fall!” to embarrass me.) After docking in Old Havana, we strolled through the center of town, and the sight of classic automobiles cruising through the streets, carrying photo-happy tourists, delighted Roby. His eyes bounced between the horse-driven carriages, timeworn buildings and buskers singing folk songs. He saw women gyrating to the rhythms thumping from a standing bass and congas, reminiscent of the dancing he knew from his hometown of New Orleans. Then something else caught his eye: the signs of poverty all around us. There were the feral cats that sat at our feet in restaurants, panhandlers on the roads, and ragged clothing worn by children at his eye level. At one point, Roby looked up to me and asked plainly, “Is this a poor country?”
Pa. school pensions: To cut fees, we should hire more people
Inquirer by Joseph N. DiStefano, Staff Writer @PhillyJoeD | JoeD@phillynews.com Updated: AUGUST 14, 2018 — 3:55 PM EDT
Told it needs to save money, Pennsylvania’s biggest pension fund says it wants to spend more first. Pressed by Pennsylvania’s elected Joe Treasurer Torsella and the Public Pension Management and Asset Investment Review Commission — whose job is to shave $3 billion off the fees paid to hedge fund, real estate and buyout fund managers and other financial pros over the next 20 years — the $50-billion-asset Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System today issued a 29-page glossy report that says it can meet its share of that target, if it spends what it calls a “conservative” estimate of $3.15 million extra a year, on hiring more people. The money would go to hire 9 additional money management professionals, so they can make the investments in-house, instead of farming them out to private managers. PSERS, which already employs 300, says these new staff, costing at least $350,000 a year each in salary, benefits and supporting expenses, would enable the system to save around $39 million a year by investing some of the money currently farmed out to private firms, without cutting investment profits. The system also detailed how it expects to negotiate lower fees with some of its money managers.
Charter Schools: 7 Common Questions, Answered
Education Week By Arianna Prothero Published: August 9, 2018
Are charter schools public or private? Do they pick and choose who can enroll? Who oversees them? And are they better at educating students than regular public schools? We answer these questions and more about charter schools in this explainer.
What Are Charter Schools? How Do They Work?
A charter school is a tuition-free school of choice that is publicly funded but independently run. Conceived over 25 years ago in Minnesota as a means to loosen red tape around public schools and free up educators to innovate, charters have since grown into a national movement that spans 44 states plus the District of Columbia, and includes around 7,000 schools and 3 million students, according to federal figures. In exchange for exemptions from many of the state laws and regulations that govern traditional public schools, charters are bound to the terms of a contract, or “charter,” that lays out a school’s mission, academic goals, fiscal guidelines, and accountability requirements. On the other side of a charter contract is an authorizer—such as a state agency, a university, or a school district, depending on the state—that has the power to shut down charter schools that do not meet the terms of their contracts.
School Districts Have Long Green-Lighted the Most Charter School Openings. That's Changing.
Education Week Charters & Choice Bog By Arianna Prothero on August 14, 2018 12:01 AM
Here's a little-known fact: in many states, school districts have the power to open and close charter schools. Despite often being cast as foes, for years school districts have approved the most new charter school openings compared to all other types of authorizers—the groups granted authority under state law to green light and oversee charter schools. But that appears to have shifted in the past few years, according to a new report. For the first time, school districts are no longer granting the most new charters, says the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, which analyzed charter school application data from 19 states and the District of Columbia from 2013 to 2016. And nobody is quite sure why. In 2013, school districts approved the opening of 56 percent of all new charter schools, or 357 new campuses. By 2016, that percentage dropped to 41 percent, or 135 new campuses. The largest drops were seen among school districts that authorize relatively fewer charter schools to begin with. School districts that oversee fewer than five charter schools had green-lighted a comparatively large number of charter schools in 2013.
School Choice Is the Enemy of Justice
New York Times Opinion By Erin Aubry Kaplan Aug. 14, 2018
Ms. Kaplan is a contributing opinion writer.
LOS ANGELES — In 1947, my father was one of a small group of black students at the largely white Fremont High School in South Central Los Angeles. The group was met with naked hostility, including a white mob hanging blacks in effigy. But such painful confrontations were the nature of progress, of fulfilling the promise of equality that had driven my father’s family from Louisiana to Los Angeles in the first place. In 1972, I was one of a slightly bigger group of black students bused to a predominantly white elementary school in Westchester, a community close to the beach in Los Angeles. While I didn’t encounter the overt hostility my father had, I did experience resistance, including being barred once from entering a white classmate’s home because, she said matter-of-factly as she stood in the doorway, she didn’t let black people (she used a different word) in her house. Still, I believed, even as a fifth grader, that education is a social contract and that Los Angeles was uniquely suited to carry it out. Los Angeles would surely accomplish what Louisiana could not. I was wrong. Today Los Angeles and California as a whole have abandoned integration as the chief mechanism of school reform and embraced charter schools instead.
Kavanaugh Could Unlock Funding for Religious Education, School Voucher Advocates Say
New York Times By Erica L. Green Aug. 14, 2018
WASHINGTON — Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, in a speech last year, gave a strong hint at his views on taxpayer support for religious schools when he praised his “first judicial hero,” Justice William Rehnquist, for determining that the strict wall between church and state “was wrong as a matter of law and history.” Mr. Rehnquist’s legacy on religious issues was most profound in “ensuring that religious schools and religious institutions could participate as equals in society and in state benefits programs,” Judge Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to succeed Justice Anthony M. Kennedy on the Supreme Court, declared at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative research organization. Words like that from a Supreme Court nominee are breathing new life into the debate over public funding for sectarian education. Educators see him as crucial to answering a question left by Justice Kennedy after the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional for the state of Missouri to exclude a church-based preschool from competing for public funding to upgrade its playground: Can a church-school playground pave the way for taxpayer funding to flow to private and parochial schools for almost any purpose?
“The renewed popularity of so-called career education programs marks a shift away from the idea that all students should get a liberal-arts education designed to prepare them for college. Schools are once more deciding it is worth intervening in the lives of students who might not have the academic prowess, or the financial footing, to pursue bachelor’s degrees, and instead equip them with skills for steady employment. Nationally, the number of high-school students concentrating in career education has risen 22% over the past decade, to 3.6 million.”
Vocational Training Is Back as Firms Pair With High Schools to Groom Workers
CVS, Tesla and others help educators create skills-based programs—and future job candidates
Wall Street Journal By Michelle Hackman Aug. 13, 2018 8:00 a.m. ET
COVENTRY, R.I. — Gabe Schorner never considered himself a good student until he enrolled in his high school’s new welding program, where, in an industrial-style classroom, Mr. Schorner found himself enchanted by the molten metal and its bright blue glow as he molded it. The skills he picked up led directly to a full-time offer from Electric Boat, the Rhode Island-based submarine manufacturer, where he is now making $16.50 an hour. “I don’t like the idea of going to college — I wanted to avoid taking on that debt and everything else,” Mr. Schorner said. “Being out in the world is a lot more fun.” Coventry High School established its welding program after Electric Boat, one of the state’s largest employers, declared it was looking to hire 14,000 new employees in the next decade. The company wasn’t finding enough recruits coming out of college. So it turned to high schools — where students can be discovered early, and the training is free. Such direct ties between big companies and local high schools are multiplying. Volkswagen is helping schools in Tennessee modernize their engineering programs; Tesla is partnering with Nevada schools on an advanced manufacturing curriculum; and fisheries in Louisiana have created courses for students to train for jobs in “sustainability.”
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
“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 .
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 room. We have secured discounted rates on a limited basis. You can find that link . Finally, if you require additional financial support to attend, we do offer based on need. Go 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 . We can't wait to see you.