Friday, October 19, 2018

PA Ed Policy Roundup Oct. 19: In resource-poor districts, vital STEAM resources are hard to come by


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
Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg

In resource-poor districts, vital STEAM resources are hard to come by


“In the world of STEAM, it’s easy to get left behind if your school district struggles financially.”
In resource-poor districts, vital STEAM resources are hard to come by
Part of the PublicSource series Failing the Future By Mary Niederberger October 18, 2018
The South Fayette School District is proud of its “STEAM Story.” In a district video, educators gently guide first graders using magnetic circuitry kits, fourth graders working with LEGO robots and seventh graders creating their own Smartphone apps. The video shows a student making musical notes by tapping a piece of cardboard connected to a computer, a group creating safety updates to a walker for the elderly and another student building a basketball trivia app. One young student featured in the video says, “I really like this technology because you get to make stuff out of it and it comes out really cool at the end.” Similarly, the Fox Chapel Area School District shares a video that features its mobile fabrication lab and stories about students using 3D printers, vinyl cutters and computerized milling CNC machines. And, in the Upper St Clair School District, the website announces that a group of middle and elementary school students are winners of a multimedia excellence award at the September World Artificial Intelligence Competition at Carnegie Mellon University.
https://schoolfundingpa.publicsource.org/stories/in-resource-poor-districts-vital-steam-resources-are-hard-to-come-by/

How the debate over guns is playing out in four Pa. swing districts
In races across the state, health care is getting more attention
PA Post by Ed Mahon October 18, 2018
In a suburban Philadelphia district, advocates for tighter gun laws split with national ones over whether the incumbent Republican or his Democratic challenger would be best for their cause. In southcentral Pennsylvania, an ad showing Army veteran and Democrat George Scott burning a semi-automatic rifle helped him in his narrow primary victory in May. Now, Republicans are trying to use that same ad against him. But across the state, other issues — most notably health care — are getting more attention in campaign ads than guns. The congressional races in Pennsylvania highlights the fractured landscape for efforts to address concerns over gun violence, one year after a mass shooter in Las Vegas killed 58 people and eight months after 17 students and staff members were killed at a Florida high school.
https://papost.org/2018/10/18/how-the-debate-over-guns-is-playing-out-in-four-pa-swing-districts/

Saving pets, slowing speeders, more: 16 bills Pa. legislators decided should become law
Penn Live By Jan Murphy | jmurphy@pennlive.com | Posted October 19, 2018 at 05:40 AM | Updated October 19, 2018 at 06:07 AM
.Gov. Tom Wolf better limber up his hand and have a good supply of ink on hand to sign or veto the cornucopia of bills that the General Assembly sent him over the course of the past few weeks. Lawmakers were moving bills at a fast pace to avoid having them die due to inaction when the 2017-18 legislative session ends on Nov. 30.  Both chambers only have one day scheduled between now and then. Much attention was paid to the heavily watched child sex crimes legislation that grew out of the grand jury report on clergy sex abuse in six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania. Work on that one didn't get completed before lawmakers went home on Wednesday.  But a lot of other bills did make it to the finish line, about 90 of them. Here's a look at what 16 of them will do.
Statewide graduation requirement alternatives
This measure would give students who don't pass the Keystone Exams an alternative pathway to earn a high school diploma, starting with this year's freshman class.
https://www.pennlive.com/expo/news/erry-2018/10/1b2c393dc44039/16-bills-your-legislators-deci.html#incart_river_index

“After 10 years of delay and deliberation, Pennsylvania lawmakers have finally revamped the requirements for high school graduation. Gov. Tom Wolf intends to sign the measure.”
After nearly a decade of debate, Pa. passes new graduation requirements
The measure provides alternatives to the original plan, which would have required students to pass state tests for a diploma.
WHYY NEWS Avi Wolfman-Arent October 18 — 5:56 pm, 2018
After much delay and consternation, Pennsylvania will change its high school graduation requirements. But the change won’t be as drastic as was first planned when state leaders committed to revisions nearly a decade ago. Rather than having to pass a set of exams, current freshmen will be eligible to graduate if they can check off one of several boxes, including having SAT or ACT scores above a state-set threshold; an industry certification; a full-time job offer; proof of military enrollment; or acceptance to a four-year college. Students will have to meet locally determined grade requirements in each of the subjects tested on the Keystone Exams: Algebra I, biology, and literature. Students can still pass those exams to get their diplomas or receive a composite score determined by Department of Education officials. The Pennsylvania Senate passed this new framework unanimously Monday, and Gov. Wolf quickly announced he would sign the bill. The struggle to revamp graduation requirements started in 2010.
https://thenotebook.org/articles/2018/10/18/after-decade-of-debate-pa-passes-new-graduation-requirements/

Parents defend Central High teacher
Supporters say Tom Quinn was targeted for encouraging students to register to vote.
The notebook Commentary Rebecca Poyourow October 18 — 10:00 am, 2018
Pennsylvania Republican Party Chair Val DiGiorgio has accused Central High School teacher Tom Quinn of distributing anti-Republican material to students as an attempt at “liberal indoctrination.” DiGiorgio’s accusation triggered an exploratory investigation by the District. Quinn’s supporters say that the flier that DiGiorgio said Quinn handed out to students was actually a poster hanging in a staff office at Central High School, alongside political material of conservative viewpoints. Parents say the attack is particularly troubling because of Quinn’s position in the city as a leader of civic education. He organizes the nonpartisan Philly Youth Vote Campaign to get students ages 18 and older registered to vote. The publicity from the accusation against Quinn has led to threats against him and the students at Central High School.
Below is a commentary on this controversy from District parent Rebecca Poyourow. 
https://thenotebook.org/articles/2018/10/18/parents-show-their-support-for-teacher-tom-quinn/

Report on racism roils Main Line school district
WHYY By Avi Wolfman-Arent October 18, 2018
As Wednesday’s packed town hall would suggest, a recent report on racism in the Haverford Township School District has residents’ attention. The report, penned by a local activist group called H-CAN, detailed a series of anonymous complaints about racist language, offensive graffiti, discriminatory comments, and “microaggressions” in this upscale Delaware County suburb. It also alleged discriminatory discipline practices and bemoaned the underrepresentation of black students in advanced classes. On Wednesday, H-CAN presented its findings at a standing-room-only meeting and school district officials got a chance to respond. Though calm pervaded the town hall — perhaps because of a format that forbade testimony and required residents to ask questions via notecards — the report has clearly struck a communal nerve. In interviews afterward, some residents reaffirmed the problems outlined by H-CAN and others rebutted them, claiming the attention caused by the report and subsequent news coverage has painted the community in a false light.
https://whyy.org/articles/report-on-racism-roils-main-line-school-district/

Damaris Rau touts School District of Lancaster's growing dual enrollment program at State of the District Breakfast
Lancaster Online by ALEX GELI | Staff Writer October 19, 2018
Damaris Rau believes School District of Lancaster is doing great things for its students.
But doing so requires funding — and the district could use more. Superintendent Rau pitched a fundraising opportunity Thursday to state legislators, college administrators, health officials, church leaders and others at SDL’s inaugural State of the District Breakfast at the Hamilton Club building on East Orange Street. The district’s fundraising goal: $100,000, which would support its growing dual enrollment program. “The research shows that students who have a post-high school education are more likely to get a good job and improve their quality of life,” she said. “It is really important for us to increase access for all students.” Rau said the district’s dual enrollment program, which gives students the opportunity to enroll in free college courses, has grown from 22 students in 2015-16 to 297 this school year. That number, she added, should grow to about 350 students by spring. 
https://lancasteronline.com/news/local/damaris-rau-touts-school-district-of-lancaster-s-growing-dual/article_462e95ae-d302-11e8-ba06-47c33a0db39e.html

Philly School board approves FACTS move, Solis-Cohen building funds
Board also votes on more than $12 million in contracts for supplies and equipment for school repairs.
The notebook by Darryl C. Murphy October 18 — 11:24 pm, 2018
The Board of Education approved the relocation of one school and new construction for another at Thursday night’s board meeting. The board agreed to Folk-Arts Cultural Treasures Charter School’s (FACTS) plan to move from 1023 Callowhill St. to 421 North 9th St. in the 2020-21 school year. The new location will provide 85,000 square feet of space to enable the school to grow from the current 533 students to a maximum capacity of 847 in kindergarten through eighth grade. Also at tonight’s meeting, Academy at Palumbo high school students Kamryn Sacksith and Christina Ly lambasted board members about the condition of their school building. In September, parts of the school flooded after large amounts of water built up on top of the roof and leaked into the building, causing ceilings to collapse during two rainy weekends. “When I am going to school the last thing I want to worry about is if the ceiling is going to fall on top of my head,” Sacksith said, “which has actually happened to me before.”
https://thenotebook.org/articles/2018/10/18/school-board-approves-facts-move-solis-cohen-building-funds/

Here's the case for consolidating Pa's public schools | Opinion
Penn Live Guest Editorial By Colin McNickle Updated Oct 18, 8:30 AM; Posted Oct 18, 8:30 AM
Indeed, there can be concrete benefits to consolidating local school districts in Pennsylvania. But operational concerns - contractual, economic and, to some, even parochial -- stand to trump any rush to future mergers, concludes a new analysis by the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy. "Given past experience, consolidations in Pennsylvania seem very unlikely," says Eric Montarti, research director at the Pittsburgh think tank (in Policy Brief Vol. 18, No. 39). "(F)ew consolidations occur because there are deep-seated local objections and serious economic reasons for not pursuing" them. The commonwealth today has 500 public school districts. But 66 years ago, in 1952, it was one of 15 states with at least 2,000 school districts. Pennsylvania's school district consolidation was driven by two legislative acts in 1960s. By 1972, the Keystone State's 2,506 districts had been whittled to 528. Those acts eventually paved the way for a reduction to 501 districts.
https://www.pennlive.com/opinion/2018/10/heres_the_case_for_consolidati.html#incart_river_index

We followed 15 of America's teachers on a day of frustrations, pressures and hard-earned victories
USA Today This story was reported by Beatriz Alvarado, Thyrie Bland, Jason Gonzales, Leigh Guidry, Rick Hampson, Bracey Harris, Lori Higgins, Joe Hong, Austin Humphreys, Kristen Inbody, Annysa Johnson, Byron McCauley, Amanda Oglesby, Kelly Ragan, Meg Ryan, Lindsay Schnell, Devi Shastri and Alden Woods and written by Hampson, USA Today 1:02 a.m. EDT Oct. 18, 2018

It’s shortly after dawn when Edward Lawson, one of America’s 3.2 million public school teachers, pulls his car into the parking lot of Julian Thomas Elementary in Racine, Wisconsin. He cuts the engine, pulls out his cellphone and calls his principal. They begin to pray. Lawson is a full-time substitute based at a school with full-time problems: only one in 10 students are proficient in reading and math. That may be explained by the fact that 87 percent of the students are poor and one in five have a diagnosed disability. Blame for test scores, however, often settles on the people who are any school’s single-most-important influence on academic achievement – teachers. Lawson says a prayer for the coming school day. He says a prayer for the district, the students, the upcoming state tests. He says a prayer for the second-grade teacher who had emergency back surgery and for the sub taking her class. He says a prayer for all teachers – a fitting petition for a profession in crisis.
https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/nation/2018/10/17/teachers-appreciation-pay-union-jobs-schools-education/1509500002/

English-Learners Often Denied Full Access to STEM Education, Report Finds
Education Week By Corey Mitchell on October 18, 2018 1:25 PM
School systems across the country should do more to ensure that current and former English-language learners have access to STEM education, a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine finds. The report is a follow-up to a 2017 study that detailed how under-resourced schools and underprepared educators hinder efforts to help students learn English. The latest study looks to build on those findings by exploring how those factors limit English-learners' access to high-quality and challenging science, technology, engineering, and mathematics educational opportunities. The committee behind the report, a who's who of scholars on educational equity, English acquisition and STEM-related subjects, produced a list of 24 conclusions and seven recommendations designed to address the primary concern. The recommendations cover an array of topics, ranging from how districts can remove barriers that limit English-learner participation in STEM education to tips on developing curricula and assessments to facilitate and monitor the progress of students once they enroll in courses.
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/learning-the-language/2018/10/english_earners_denied_access_to_STEM.html

Look up in the sky this weekend for shooting stars
Orionid meteor shower will peak Sunday night
WRITTEN BY READING EAGLE THURSDAY OCTOBER 18, 2018 01:21 PM
Cloud-free conditions should allow much of the United States, including Berks County, to see this weekend's Orionid meteor shower, the first major shower of the fall. The Orionids will peak on Sunday night and into early Monday morning, AccuWeather forecasters say, but stargazers should also be able to see some meteors on both Friday night and Saturday night leading up to the shower's peak, weather permitting. "Activity is expected to be a little higher this year than in years past with 20 to 25 meteors per hour, but bright moonlight will be an issue," AccuWeather astronomy blogger Dave Samuhel said. The nearly full moon will be shining brightly in the sky for most of the night, making it harder to see some of the dimmer meteors, but it will not ruin the celestial show completely. Many people heading out to spot some shooting stars this weekend are in luck as mainly clear conditions are on tap for a large area of North America on Sunday night.
https://www.readingeagle.com/news/article/look-up-in-the-sky-this-weekend-for-shooting-stars


“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.

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 federaladvocacy@nsba.org

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.
https://www.nsba.org/conference


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.


Thursday, October 18, 2018

PA Ed Policy Roundup Oct. 18: Continued push to improve oversight of virtual charter schools


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
Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg

Continued push to improve oversight of virtual charter schools




Robin Lake: Online Charters Redefine School. Now, States Must Redefine Oversight to Accommodate Them & Protect Students
The 74 by Robin Lake October 15, 2018
Robin Lake is director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education as well as affiliate faculty at the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington Bothell.
Once again, virtual charter schools are coming under heavy scrutiny. Last week, the Center for American Progress published a report that called for banning for-profit online charter school operators. Soon thereafter, two Democratic U.S. senators called for a Government Accountability Office investigation of virtual charter schools. While meaningful federal action might be unlikely under the current administration, congressional pressure might help force action at the state and local levels. States that have tried to crack down on large virtual charter schools, or hold them accountable for academic and financial issues, have faced massive pushback from online school operators. Still, state-level policymakers, as well as districts and charter school authorizers, don’t need to wait for federal action to improve oversight of virtual charter schools. In 2015, the Center on Reinventing Public Education, Mathematica Policy Research, and Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes together released a series of reports that found dismal academic results in virtual charter schools that warranted immediate action and identified concrete steps regulators and policymakers can take. Since we published our report, the need for better oversight has only become clearer.
https://www.the74million.org/article/robin-lake-online-charters-redefine-school-now-states-must-redefine-oversight-to-accommodate-them-protect-students/

SB1095: Here's what you need to know about Pa. changing the Keystone Exam graduation requirement
Lancaster Online by ALEX GELI | Staff Writer October 17, 2018
School administrators are praising a soon-to-be law that would provide alternative pathways to high school graduation other than scoring proficient on the Keystone Exams. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced Monday that he would sign Senate Bill 1095 within the next few days. Introduced in April by Republican state Sen. Thomas McGarrigle, the bill has garnered bipartisan support, including that of co-sponsor Ryan Aument, a Republican state senator from Landisville, and local educators. “This works for all learners,” Eastern Lancaster County Superintendent Robert Hollister said. “This is a victory for students and our economy.” Penn Manor Superintendent Mike Leichliter hailed the “commonsense” measure as considering the “whole child” rather than just a student’s test-taking ability. “In this era ... I think it makes a lot more sense for students and schools,” he said. So what does this mean for students? Here’s what you need to know about what’s to come.
https://lancasteronline.com/news/local/here-s-what-you-need-to-know-about-pa-changing/article_5dcc3f5c-d17e-11e8-987d-dba75641f946.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=user-share

SB1095: Wolf to sign law delaying Keystones, changing graduation requirements
Trib Live by JAMIE MARTINES  | Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, 1:12 p.m.
A bill heading to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk this week will delay the Keystone Exam graduation requirements — again — but promises to give students more options for showing that they are prepared to graduate from high school. The Pennsylvania Senate on Tuesday passed a bill that does not eliminate graduation requirements but rather provides alternatives to the Keystone Exams as a graduation requirement. The Keystone Exams are end-of-course assessments intended to assess proficiency in Algebra, literature and biology. In order to graduate under the new law, students must complete course requirements — established by their local schools — in addition to any of the following:
·         Show proficiency on the SAT, PSAT or ACT;
·         Pass an Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exam;
·         Complete a dual-enrollment program;
·         Complete an apprenticeship program;
·         Get accepted to an accredited four-year nonprofit institution of higher education;
·         Complete a service-learning project;
·         Secure a letter of full-time employment;
·         Achieve an acceptable score on a WorkKeys assessment, an exam administered by the ACT which assesses workplace skills including math, reading comprehension and applied technology.
A law signed by Wolf in 2016 delayed the use of Keystone Exams as a graduation requirement until the 2019-20 school year. Senate Bill 1095 delays the use of Keystone Exams until the 2021-22 school year. The tests have been administered each year in order to satisfy federal guidelines that require schools to submit data on students’ academic achievement.
https://triblive.com/state/pennsylvania/14182624-74/wolf-to-sign-law-delaying-keystones-changing-graduation-requirements

A Lancaster city school struggles mightily to overcome student poverty. It should get more funding.
Lancaster Online by THE LNP EDITORIAL BOARD October 18, 2018
THE ISSUE: Staff writer Jeff Hawkes took an in-depth look at George Washington Elementary School in Lancaster city in this week’s Sunday LNP. It is one of six community schools — a seventh is in development — in the School District of Lancaster, which serves 11,300 students in 21 schools. A community school enlists outside partners to help meet the needs of its disadvantaged students. “Washington Elementary — with 96.5 percent of students in or near poverty — began implementing community school strategies in 2008,” Hawkes reported.
The educators at Washington Elementary can’t simply show up and teach. In fact, few teachers in any school district have that luxury these days. But the needs that must be met at Washington Elementary are many and complex: The school’s staff members must work purposefully to build connections with parents, some of whom feared or disliked school as kids. They must connect students with the basic necessities — nutritious food, health care — that kids in suburban schools may take for granted. They must dismantle any possible barriers to academic achievement. So Washington Elementary’s lead partner has been, since 2011, the Boys & Girls Club; an employee of that nonprofit, Arelis Perez, works full time at the school as the point person for community school work. Because parents needing to get to work sometimes dropped off their kids to the school an hour before its doors opened — even in inclement weather — the Boys & Girls Club launched a free before-school program called Wake-Up Washington last year. Now, the 27 to 30 or so students who attend are not only supervised and therefore safer before school, but they also enjoy projects related to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Making STEM the morning program’s focus was an excellent decision.
https://lancasteronline.com/opinion/editorials/a-lancaster-city-school-struggles-mightily-to-overcome-student-poverty/article_940d1f3e-d258-11e8-ad1e-ffbcb22e446e.html

Two women battle for Scott Wagner's vacated 28th Senate seat in York County
Rick Lee, York Daily Record Published 11:22 a.m. ET Oct. 17, 2018 | Updated 11:35 a.m. ET Oct. 17, 2018
When Republican state Sen. Scott Wagner decided to challenge fellow York County resident Tom Wolf for the governor's office of Pennsylvania, he quit his day job -- being a senator -- to campaign full-time for governor. As he made that transition, he announced his support for a successor, state Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill. Now, Phillips-Hill, R-York Township, faces off with Democratic opponent Judith Higgins, of Lower Windsor Township, who bested West York Mayor Shawn Mauck in the primary. The winner of the Nov. 6 general election will become just the second female state senator to represent parts of York County. Republican Sen. Pat Vance represented the northern part of the county from 2005 to 2016. Here are the candidates for the 28th Senate seat, which includes the southern half of York County including the city of York, what they think are the most pressing issues for residents and why they each believe they are the best candidate to fill the seat.
https://www.ydr.com/story/news/2018/10/17/kristin-phillips-hill-judith-higgins-scott-wagner-state-senate-28th-senate-district/1617167002/

Haverford leaders defend township and schools against racism complaints
Inquirer by Kathy Boccella, Updated: October 17, 2018- 9:33 PM
Charges of racial incidences in Haverford Township and its schools – a topic that has roiled the Delaware County township since release of a controversial report on the subject in April – got strong pushback Wednesday night from the district superintendent and police chief at a crowded community forum. Maureen Reusche, superintendent of the Haverford School District, told the gathering of roughly 100 people that "it saddens me" to hear any complaints of racial bias, but she argued that the report from the Haverford-Area Community Action Network dealing with issues such as racial harassment and a lack of nonwhite teachers had mischaracterized the problem. Reusche said she was angry that "there seems to be broad, sweeping generalizations made of the district" in the H-CAN report in alleging discrimination and hate crimes within the Delaware County township. "I know that is not representative of the district as a whole." The schools chief was followed at the forum – sponsored by the Human Relations Commission of Haverford – by Police Chief John Viola, who vehemently disputed the report's contention that drivers in the township, which has a 3.3 percent black population, are racially profiled. Viola showed a slew of data to back his contention that black drivers are not stopped disproportionately more than others.
https://www2.philly.com/philly/education/haverford-leaders-defend-township-and-schools-against-racism-complaints-20181017.html

Study: Philly’s community schools, a Kenney soda-tax priority, show mixed results
Inquirer by Kristen A. Graham, Posted: October 18, 2018- 5:00 AM
Mayor Kenney pitched community schools as a linchpin of his administration, a key reasonPhiladelphia needed the controversial soda tax. It would take a number of public schools and transform them with supports, resources, and a city-paid staffer to coordinate them, enabling school staff to focus more on improving academics. Two years into the initiative — which has a $3.25 million budget this fiscal year — the city's community schools are not yet transformed, and overall, the effort's results have been mixed, according to a study released Thursday by Research for Action, the nonpartisan Philadelphia nonprofit. While there have been some school-level victories, the community-schools model has been hampered by limited coordination between the school system and the Kenney administration and by a lack of standardized systems that could allow leaders to track individual students' progress, the report says. The program "could be improved with stronger leadership from the Mayor's Office of Education and more extensive cross-sector collaboration," it found. Situated around the city, the 12 community schools — Cramp, F.S. Edmonds, Gideon, Gompers, Locke, Logan, and Southwark elementary schools; Tilden Middle School; and Dobbins; Kensington Health Sciences; and South Philadelphia and George Washington high schools — each have a different focus, but the goal is the same: to remove barriers to learning by embedding select resources inside the schools.
https://www2.philly.com/philly/education/philadelphia-soda-tax-community-schools-kenney-20181018.html

National organization looking to offer LGBTQ support in every Philly school
WHYY By Jarrett Lyons October 18, 2018
Principals and school officials are partnering with LGBTQ community leaders to form a Philadelphia branch of the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network. The national organization provides tools and foundations for schools to to address needs of LGBTQ students. Ten years ago, Michael Farrell emailed GLSEN, introducing himself as an out teacher asking for resources for his school. He was surprised that Philadelphia didn’t have a chapter of the organization. Farrell came back to the idea after he worked his way up to principal at the Penn Alexander School, a public K-8 school in West Philadelphia. Now, he said, the time seems ripe. “We have many bright spots already in the city,” Farrell said. “I think the GLSEN chapter will bring a level of collaboration and coordination throughout the city with organizations that are doing great work too.” Farrell wasn’t alone in his thinking.
https://whyy.org/articles/national-organization-looking-to-offer-lgbtq-support-in-every-philly-school/

PA School Boards Association Honors Innovation in Public Education
PSBA Website Mechanicsburg, PA, October 17, 2018 –
The Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) honored outstanding recipients of the Pennsylvania Education Innovation Awards at a special awards dinner on Oct. 17 as part of the 2018 PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference at the Hershey Lodge & Convention Center. The award, in its second year, recognizes innovative leadership in public school board governance, administration and teaching and is sponsored by CM Regent and CM Cares.
This year's honorees include:
·         Innovative Teacher Award: Timothy Heffernan, High school gifted support teacher, Franklin Area High School, Venango County
·         Innovative School Leader Award: Khalid N. Mumin, Ed.D., Superintendent, Reading School District, Berks County
·         Innovative School Board Award: Cumberland Valley Board of School Directors, Cumberland County
“We are proud to sponsor the Public Education Innovation Awards,” said Rich Poirier, president and CEO of Church Mutual Insurance Company. “CM Regent and CM Cares, the Church Mutual Insurance Company foundation, believe strongly in the mission of our public schools, and we are excited to be part of highlighting innovation of school leaders.” “The Pennsylvania Education Innovation Awards are an opportunity for us to recognize the commitment to education excellence in public schools around the state,” said Nathan Mains, CEO, Pennsylvania School Boards Association. “There continues to be inventive and evolving approaches to the student experience and educational environments in our commonwealth, and we are pleased to create recognition for these individuals and groups responsible.”
https://www.psba.org/2018/10/pa-school-boards-association-honors-innovation-in-public-education/

Joan L. Benso to Receive the William Howard Day Award Recognizing Outstanding Contributions to Public Education
PSBA Website Mechanicsburg, PA, October 17, 2018 –
The Pennsylvania Public Education Foundation (PaPEF) created the William Howard Day Award in 2015 to recognize outstanding contributions to public education by individuals, groups or organizations across the commonwealth. The PaPEF board of directors is pleased to award the 2018 William Howard Day Award to Joan L. Benso, President and CEO, PA Partnerships for Children. Benso will be presented the award at the Excellence in Public Education Leadership and Awards Dinner during the PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at the Hershey Lodge & Convention Center. Benso will join the company of past recipients Senator Patrick Browne and Auditor General Eugene DePasquale in receiving the award that was named in honor of the first African-American school board president in the United States. William Howard Day served the Harrisburg City School Board for six terms starting in 1878 and was a member of the Pennsylvania State Directors’ Association, the predecessor of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA).
https://www.psba.org/2018/10/joan-l-benso-to-receive-the-william-howard-day-award-recognizing-outstanding-contributions-to-public-education/

Miseducation: Is There Racial Inequality at Your School?
ProPublica By Lena V. GroegerAnnie Waldman and David Eads, October 16, 2018
Based on civil rights data released by the U.S. Department of Education, ProPublica has built an interactive database to examine racial disparities in educational opportunities and school discipline. Look up more than 96,000 individual public and charter schools and 17,000 districts to see how they compare with their counterparts.
Data Sources: Most of the data in our interactive comes from the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), which is administered by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. The department collects data every two years from all schools and districts across the country on a range of topics from Advanced Placement enrollment to suspension rates. The most recent data release, and the one displayed in our interactive, covers the 2015-16 school year. All public schools and districts are required to report data to the department. Many of the fields are broken down by race and ethnicity, providing a snapshot of inequities across the nation’s schools. The CRDC data was used as the master list for all schools and districts to be included in the interactive.  Our interactive also includes data from the department’s Common Core of Data (CCD) from the 2015-16 school year. The maps in our interactive include geographic information from the National Center for Education Statistics’ Education Demographic and Geographic Estimates (EDGE) dataset from the 2015-16 school year. For the homepage and district pages, we included data from the Stanford Education Data Archive (SEDA), which was compiled and analyzed by researchers from the Stanford Center for Education Policy Analysis, including Sean F. Reardon, Demetra Kalogrides, Andrew Ho, Ben Shear, Kenneth Shores and Erin Fahle. The SEDA dataset, which is comprised of pooled test score data from the 2008-09 to 2014-15 school years, reveals the average difference in grade-level equivalence of students from different racial groups.
https://projects.propublica.org/miseducation/

Groups To Sue Department Of Education For Information On Issue Of Arming Teachers
They want to know if the NRA had a hand in the agency’s decision to allow schools to use federal funds to buy guns.
Huffington Post By Rebecca Klein10/17/2018 05:00 am ET Updated 57 minutes ago
A coalition of advocacy and teacher groups will sue the Department of Education on Wednesday morning for information related to its decision to allow schools to purchase firearms using federal funds.  The American Federation of Teachers, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence say the Department of Education is violating federal law by not releasing records related to the decision in a timely manner.  In August and September, the groups filed two Freedom of Information Act requests for more information on the decision. The requests, filed on behalf of the groups by Democracy Forward, were designed to glean information on issues such as whether the Education Department was influenced by the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights groups. A request also sought information on which school districts were interested in arming teachers using federal funds.  The government is required to determine whether to comply with a FOIA request within 20 days. But according to the lawsuit, also filed by Democracy Forward, the government has fallen short of its statutory obligation. The plaintiffs are requesting expedited processing of their information request, which the government previously denied.
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/education-department-betsy-devos-guns-teachers-lawsuit_us_5bc63be1e4b0d38b58727f1d

Math Scores Slide to a 20-Year Low on ACT
Education Week By Catherine Gewertz October 17, 2018
The newest batch of ACT scores shows troubling long-term declines in performance, with students’ math achievement reaching a 20-year low, according to results released Wednesday. The average math score for the graduating class of 2018 was 20.5, marking a steady decline from 20.9 five years ago, and virtually no progress since 1998, when it was 20.6. Each of the four sections of the college-entrance exam is graded on a 36-point scale. “We’re at a very dangerous point. And if we do nothing, it will keep on declining,” ACT’s chief executive officer, Marten Roorda, said in an interview. The pattern in math scores is particularly worrisome at a time when strong math skills are important for the science, engineering, and technology jobs that play powerful roles in the U.S. economy, he said.
https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2018/10/17/math-scores-slide-to-a-20-year-low.html

Testing Resistance & Reform News: October 10 -16, 2018
FairTest Submitted by fairtest on October 16, 2018 - 1:55pm 
More assessment reform progress to report with Pennsylvania about to roll back its high school exit test and Indiana offering graduation pathways that do not rely on testing.  But, there are still many stories about the negative impacts of testing overkill, particularly the damage done to minority and low-income children.
http://www.fairtest.org/testing-resistance-reform-news-october-10-16-2018


“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.

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 federaladvocacy@nsba.org

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.
https://www.nsba.org/conference


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