SCHOOL FUNDING LAWSUIT ORAL ARGUMENT WEDNESDAY, MARCH 7, 2018, 9:30AM, PHILLY
Join us on Wednesday, March 7, 2018 for oral argument on remaining preliminary objections and a motion to dismiss for mootness in our School Funding Lawsuit. This case was filed on behalf of six school districts, seven parents, the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools (PARSS) and the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference against legislative leaders, state education officials, and the Governor. We are asking for a court order that will force the legislature to comply with the state constitution and ensure all students receive access to a high-quality public education. RSVP BY MARCH 5
Commonwealth Court Ninth Floor, Widener Building, 1339 Chestnut Street One South Penn Square, Philadelphia, PA 19107 Courtroom opens at 8:30 a.m.
Our argument is slated to be presented last on the list for the day. Estimated start time for our argument is 10:30 a.m., but it could be earlier or later. We will hold a press conference immediately after oral argument by the Octavius Catto statue on the south side of City Hall. Estimated start time between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
RSVP here or contact Tomea Sippio-Smith, Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY), 215-563-5848, ext. 36 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
RSVPing does not guarantee you a seat in the courtroom.
SB2 Voucher Bill: Hampton school board opposes Pennsylvania education savings account bill
Trib Live by NATALIE BENEVIAT | Monday, Feb. 26, 2018, 11:00 p.m.
The Hampton Township School Board is telling the state Legislature that a Senate bill that would give students in underperforming schools access to an education savings account would not benefit Pennsylvania public school districts. The legislation would provide state funding from “public schools to charter schools, licensed tutors and other private education programs,” and could take away funding from low-achieving schools, said Robert Shages, school board member, who informed fellow board members about the voucher program at a recent board meeting.
SB2 Voucher Bill: Easton Area School Board opposes Pa. voucher program
By Rudy Miller email@example.com, For lehighvalleylive.com Updated Feb 27, 12:08 PM; Posted Feb 27, 11:35 AM
The Easton Area School Board passed a resolution last week opposing a Pennsylvania Senate plan for school vouchers. The plan would allow parents to use their share of state education funding on the school of their choice rather than have that subsidy go directly to the public school district in which they live. The bill would "undermine Pennsylvania's responsibility to ensure every student in every community has equal access to public education," the resolution reads. A copy of the resolution was emailed out Tuesday by the school board secretary. The resolution notes that private schools can reject disabled students but public schools have a responsibility to educate every child in the community. Also, private schools aren't held accountable and subject to the same regulations as public schools, the resolution says. The Bethlehem Area School District passed a similar resolution Monday.
Pennsylvania Supreme Court denies bid to stop new congressional map
Tim Darragh Contact Reporter Of The Morning Call February 27, 2018
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court turned away a request to halt the implementation of the congressional district map it produced after declaring the previous map an unconstitutional gerrymander. The court issued the order Tuesday afternoon, simply stating that the request for a stay, led by House Speaker Mike Turzai and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, is denied. The decision was not unexpected. Following the same fault lines as in other rulings in the case, Democratic justices Debra Todd, Christine Donohue, Kevin Dougherty and David Wecht had the majority, while Democratic Justice Max Baer and Republicans Chief Justice Thomas Saylor and Sallie Mundy dissented. Legal challenges to the map remain a live issue in the federal 3rd Circuit in Harrisburg and in the U.S. Supreme Court, however.
“But Edward Stack, the 63-year-old chief executive of Dick’s whose father founded the store in 1948, is deliberately steering his company directly into the storm, making clear that the company’s new policy was a direct response to the Florida shooting. “When we saw what happened in Parkland, we were so disturbed and upset,” Mr. Stack said in an interview Tuesday evening. “We love these kids and their rallying cry, ‘enough is enough.’ It got to us.” He added, “We’re going to take a stand and step up and tell people our view and, hopefully, bring people along into the conversation.”
Dick’s, Major Gun Retailer, Will Stop Selling Assault-Style Rifles
New York Times By JULIE CRESWELL FEB. 28, 2018
One of the nation’s largest sports retailers, Dick’s Sporting Goods, said Wednesday morning it was immediately ending sales of all assault-style rifles in its stores. The retailer also said that it would no longer sell high-capacity magazines and that it would not sell any gun to anyone under 21 years of age, regardless of local laws. The announcement, made two weeks after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17 students and staff members, is one of the strongest stances taken by corporate America in the national gun debate. It also carries symbolic weight, coming from a prominent national gunseller. Late last week, after coming under attack on social media for their ties to the National Rifle Association, a number of major companies, including Hertz car rental, MetLife insurance and Delta Air Lines, publicly ended those relationships, issuing brief, carefully phrased statements.
GOP leaders move slowly on tighter gun laws
Delco Times By Lisa Mascaro and Matthew Daly, The Associated Press POSTED: 02/28/18, 5:22 AM EST | UPDATED: 49 SECS AGO
WASHINGTON >> House Speaker Paul Ryan Tuesday showed little interest in stricter gun control proposals being floated in Congress, leaving the issue in the hands of wary Senate leaders and President Donald Trump, whose shifting views have left no clear strategy for legislative action. As student survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting lobbied lawmakers for tougher gun laws, Ryan acknowledged “system failures” in Florida that he said Congress should review. But GOP leaders did not promise votes on the matter and stopped short of offering solutions, beyond a pending bill aimed at increasing participation in the existing federal background check system. The bill uses new incentives and penalties to encourage better compliance with current law, but does not expand the pool of gun buyers required to undergo background checks before buying a gun. Even as he endorsed the measure, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell downplayed its significance, saying it would not be a “panacea” for the rash of gun violence.
Which Pa. congressmen took money from the NRA and how they voted on gun legislation
Penn Live By Jan Murphy | firstname.lastname@example.org | Posted February 27, 2018 at 11:20 AM | Updated February 27, 2018 at 12:53 PM
Readers have asked which of Pennsylvania's federal lawmakers accepted money from the National Rifle Association and how those lawmakers subsequently voted on gun legislation that came before them. We looked at Opensecrets.org's data on campaign contributions for 2016, the last time the congressmen stood for re-election, and found 10 of the state's 18 congressmen accepted NRA contributions. Then we looked at two NRA-backed gun bills that came up for a vote in 2017 to see how members of Pennsylvania's delegation voted. One bill would have allowed someone with a concealed carry permit to carry their weapon in other states. It passed the House but not the Senate. The other bill, which did become law, rolled back regulations that had yet to take effect that would have required the Social Security Administration to send records of beneficiaries with severe mental disabilities to the FBI's gun background check database.
The following is what we found.
Editorial: Arming teachers is a terrible and dangerous idea
Lancaster Online by THE LNP EDITORIAL BOARD February 28, 2018
THE ISSUE - President Donald Trump said last week that he would like to see “gun-adept” school teachers and other school personnel be armed to protect students from active shooters who enter schools. Trump tweeted Thursday that he wanted to “look at the possibility of giving concealed guns to gun adept teachers with military or special training experience — only the best. 20% of teachers, a lot, would now be able to immediately fire back if a savage sicko came to a school with bad intentions. Highly trained teachers would also serve as a deterrent to the cowards that do this. Far more assets at much less cost than guards. A ‘gun free’ school is a magnet for bad people. ATTACKS WOULD END!” To be fair to President Trump, arming teachers isn’t the only prescription he’s offered in the wake of the fatal shooting of 14 students and three staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. He’s indicated that he wants Congress to pass some gun regulation. He said he wants to see bump stocks — devices that turn a legal semi-automatic weapon into a fully automatic killing machine — banned. But it’s the National Rifle Association-backed plan of arming school personnel that has gotten the most attention, and no wonder.
It’s an absolutely terrible idea.
Lancaster County students offer their thoughts, concerns and suggestions surrounding school shootings [Part 3]
LANCASTERONLINE | Staff February 28, 2018
Last week, we invited students in Lancaster County to weigh in on school shootings and what might be done to prevent them. Their responses can be found below.
Read more student letters than ran Sunday and Monday.
Student Activism and Gun Control
How school leaders can respond — by listening, helping to empower, and affirming students' rights
Harvard Graduate School of Education BY: Leah Shafer POSTED: February 25, 2018
Schools are experiencing a tidal wave of student activism in response to the shooting in Parkland, Florida. Practically overnight, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students have become the new face of gun control and school safety — challenging lawmakers, tweeting out their views, and organizing marches, boycotts, and walkouts for stricter gun laws. As young people across the country join in, it’s an inspiring moment for their educators — and a tricky one. Many feel powerless against state and federal laws, uncertain as to what their district leaders will endorse, unsure how to steer anger into action, or overwhelmed by a torrent of youthful voices. We spoke with Gretchen Brion-Meisels, an expert in youth development who studies ways to build a positive school climate. Here, she shares perspectives on how teachers and administrators can acknowledge their students' concerns and empower their insightful leadership.
Blogger note: Senator Alloway is the newest member of the Senate Education Committee, having recently replaced Senator Dan Laughlin (R-Erie)
Alloway proposes 'civilian protection force' in schools
Public Opinion by Jim Hook, email@example.com Published 3:40 p.m. ET Feb. 26, 2018 | Updated 8:37 p.m. ET Feb. 26, 2018
HARRISBURG -- State Sen. Richard Alloway II, R-Chambersburg, said he likes the idea of a “volunteer civilian protection force” in Pennsylvania schools. Alloway recently posted the suggestion on his Facebook page. It’s just one of many ideas that are being kicked around locally in the aftermath of a deadly school shooting on Feb. 14 in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen were killed and 14 taken to hospitals. Threats and incidents at the nation’s schools continue to roll in at a rate of 78 each day, according to the Educator’s School Safety Network. In 21 of the 38 verified incidents since the mass shooting, a gun was found. More than half the threats were made on social media, and more than half the threats mentioned guns.
Study: US inequality persists 50 years after landmark report
Ap State Wire by Russell Contreras February 26, 2018
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Barriers to equality pose threats to democracy in the U.S. as the country remains segregated along racial lines and child poverty worsens, according to study made public Tuesday that examines the nation 50 years after the release of the landmark 1968 Kerner Report. The new report blames U.S. policymakers and elected officials, saying they’re not doing enough to heed the warning on deepening poverty and inequality that was highlighted by the Kerner Commission five decades ago and it lists areas where the country has seen “a lack of or reversal of progress.” “Racial and ethnic inequality is growing worse. We’re resegregating our housing and schools again,” former Democratic U.S. Sen. Fred Harris of Oklahoma, a co-editor of the new report and the last surviving member of the original Kerner Commission created by President Lyndon Johnson in 1967. “There are far more people who are poor now than was true 50 years ago. Inequality of income is worse.” The new study titled “Healing Our Divided Society: Investing in America Fifty Years After the Kerner Report” says the percentage of people living in deep poverty — less than half of the federal poverty level — has increased since 1975. About 46 percent of people living in poverty in 2016 were classified as living in deep poverty — 16 percentage points higher than in 1975.
How '500 Men Reading' can make changes for thousands of young people | Anwar Curtis
Penn Live Guest Editorial by Anwar Curtis Updated Feb 27, 8:45 AM; Posted Feb 27, 8:45 AM
I don't think the importance of reading is stressed enough these days. If you take a look at the World Wide Web, which I call an "intangible library," visual content is at an all-time high and the excitement of picking up a book and using your imagination as a reader has almost completely dissipated. Many would say reading like everything else starts at home -- especially at a young age. And I agree. And our children should be exposed to written literature daily because reading strengthens a child's vocabulary and also develops confidence and strong comprehension skills over time. And thanks to programs such as The American Literacy Corporation and its initiative, The 500 Men Reading Week, men from all walks of life are leading by example, coming into schools throughout the Harrisburg, Steelton-Highspire, and Susquehanna school districts, showing our youth that reading is more than just fundamental, but also exhilarating.
Pittsburgh Public Schools board rejects proposals for two new charter schools
ELIZABETH BEHRMAN Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Lbehrman@post-gazette.com FEB 21, 2018 9:31 PM
Pittsburgh Public Schools board members on Wednesday rejected the applications of two new charter schools. The board unanimously voted to deny the proposals of Catalyst Academy, a kindergarten through eighth grade school in East Liberty, and Career Tech Charter High School. Board members expressed concerns about the schools’ proposed disciplinary policies and curricula, arguing that schools within the Pittsburgh district are tasked with meeting the needs of all students, not just a few. “Anyone who wants to open up a school, first think about how you can come in and help all of the children, not just the parents who have the wherewithal to make the choice,” said board president Regina Holley.
Strike averted after Pittsburgh Public Schools and teachers union reach tentative deal
ELIZABETH BEHRMAN Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Lbehrman@post-gazette.com FEB 27, 2018
Pittsburgh teachers won't strike Friday, after the union and the school district successfully negotiated a tentative three-year contract in a marathon bargaining session with a state mediator. Representatives of Pittsburgh Public Schools and the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers negotiated for about 14 hours Tuesday, announcing that they reached a tentative agreement around 11:30 p.m. The teachers union said Monday it intended to strike Friday if an agreement wasn't reached, which would have forced more than 24,000 students to stay home from school. Details of the contract will be released after both sides ratify the agreement, said district solicitor Ira Weiss. Even though the contract hasn't been finalized, there will be no strike.
PA18: GOP super PACs balance out Conor Lamb's $3.2 million war chest
Trib Live by THE WASHINGTON POST | Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, 5:01 p.m. Updated 13 hours ago
Conor Lamb, the Democratic nominee in the year's first special election for Congress, raised $3.2 million in the first seven weeks of 2018 — the latest example of why a race in a traditionally conservative district has Republican super PACs conducting rescue missions. According to Lamb's latest Federal Election Commission report, the Democratic nominee in Pennsylvania's 18th District raised $3.2 million from Jan. 1 to Feb. 21. State Rep. Rick Saccone, the Republican nominee, has not released his latest fundraising report; as of Jan. 1, he had raised $214,675.46, a slow fundraising clip that led White House strategists and Republican-aligned groups to intervene in the campaign.
The STEAM-Powered Elementary School: Montour Opens World's First Lego-Themed Brick Makerspace
Montour Elementary School's latest makerspace, the first of its kind powered by Lego Education, wasn't the school's first advanced, hands-on learning lab, and it won't be its last.
The Journal By David Nagel 02/26/18
Montour Elementary students collaborate on designing and building cars, which they will then race down a custom track built by Montour High School students. That's just one set of hands-on activities in Montour Elementary's new Brick Makerspace, which formally opened Feb. 22. Pennsylvania's Montour Elementary School stands out even among schools that have embraced STEAM education, the maker movement, hands-on learning and augmented and virtual reality. So when the K–4 school opened the world's first "Brick Makerspace" — a Lego Education-powered STEAM lab developed and implemented in conjunction with Carnegie Mellon University, Lego Education, parents, students and a local Barnes and Noble — it wasn't just a one-off affair; rather, it was yet another advance in the school's efforts to integrate principles of STEAM education throughout the curriculum. "I believe makerspaces and STEAM education get students interested in learning at a very young age," Jason Burik, co-principal at Montour Elementary, told THE Journal. "STEAM education challenges students to learn and apply content and skills with fun, real-life projects. Skills learned can later then be applied to almost any job. We wanted to create a unique learning space that kids would love coming to, something that no one else had, a room that would inspire students to become architects, engineers, designers, makers, and use problem-solving and critical thinking skills. We wanted a room that made students curious to learn and discover amazing things along the way."
Ears on the SRC: February 15, 2018
Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools by Diane Payne February 26, 2018
All five commissioners were present for this action meeting. Eight members of APPS spoke on behalf of public education at this meeting; to view their testimony, go to APPSPhilly.net.
Four additional community members spoke in opposition to resolutions A-7 and B-12. Resolution A-7 proposed a $9,549,665 contract with NCS Pearson for “integrated web access. Resolution B-12 spent a whopping $10 million for various vendors providing online courses and adaptive software. (This is in addition to the $10 million the SRC set aside for blended learning last year). There were two wonderful performances by students from Franklin Learning Center High School (FLC). Two students (piano and voice) beautifully performed the moving song, Strange Fruit, and another student gave a “Little Black Girl” spoken word performance.
Betsy DeVos Wants to Direct Federal Funds to School Choice, STEM, Workforce Readiness
Education Week Poliitics K12 Blog By Alyson Klein on February 28, 2018 7:15 AM
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will give applicants for federal grants a leg-up if they are planning to embrace things like school choice, STEM, literacy, school climate, effective instruction, career preparation, and serving military-connected children and students in special education. That's according to the final list of Education Department priorities slated for publication in the Federal Register on March 1. If the list looks familiar, it's because it hasn't gone through substantial changes since DeVos first outlined her proposed priorities back in October. DeVos made some tweaks based on more than 1,000 outside comments. The department gives away at least $500 million in competitive-grant money every year. Every administration sets "priorities" for that funding. These matter because applicants that include one or more of those priorities in a grant proposal are more likely to get money. The priorities are one of the few vehicles DeVos—or any secretary—has for pushing an agenda without new legislation from Congress.
Testing Resistance & Reform News: February 21 - 27, 2018
FairTest Submitted by fairtest on February 27, 2018 - 1:24pm
With state testing season beginning in some states as soon as next week, FairTest is pleased to offer freshly updated, free fact sheets on how to opt-out. Please circulate widely!
NPE: Join us in a Day of Action April 20th to Stop Gun Violence in our Schools
Network for Public Education February 16, 2018 by Darcie Cimarusti
After the slaughter of students and staff in Parkland, Florida, the time for action has never been more urgent. The politicians sit on their hands as our children and their teachers are murdered in their schools. We will be silent no more! The failure to enact rational laws that bar access to guns designed for mass shootings is inexcusable. It is past time to speak out and act. Pledge your support to stop gun violence here. We call for mass action on April 20, the anniversary of the horrific shootings at Columbine High School. We urge teachers, families, students, administrators and every member of the community to engage in acts of protest in and around their schools. Create actions that work best in your community. Organize sit-ins, teach-ins, walkouts, marches–whatever you decide will show your school and community’s determination to keep our students safe. One elementary teacher suggested that teachers and parents link arms around the school to show their determination to protect children.
Save the Date: PA School Funding Lawsuit Wed. March 7, 2018 9:30 A.M.
Commonwealth Court Hearing on Legislative leaders motions to Dismiss the Wm Penn SD challenge to state funding.
Before the Court en banc sitting in Court Room No. 1 Ninth Floor, Widener Building, 1339 Chestnut Street, One South Penn Square, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Learn the latest news, initiatives and upcoming events from your association.
Bring knowledge back to your district of how the commonwealth budget will fiscally impact it. Discuss the top legislative issues affecting public education. Learn how you can advocate for your school district taxpayers, students and public education success.
Enjoy productive conversation with your school leader colleagues. Boost your network, share your experiences and build a stronger voice for public education.
This focus group is your opportunity to share your input in drafting a blueprint for the future of public education. The Commonwealth Education Blueprint is a multiyear effort founded and managed by PSBA to develop and implement a statewide vision for the future of public education. Through this comprehensive project, education stakeholders from across the state and from many areas of expertise are coming together to proactively determine what education should look like in years to come. Having a clear and comprehensive statewide vision will ensure that we provide an increasingly excellent public education experience for children. This is your opportunity to get involved, share your feedback, and help draft the plan for the future of education!
Registration is now open for the 2018 PASA Education Congress! State College, PA, March 19-20, 2018
Don't miss this marquee event for Pennsylvania school leaders at the Nittany Lion Inn, State College, PA, March 19-20, 2018.
Learn more by visiting http://www.pasa-net.org/2018edcongress
Visits with legislators will be conducted earlier in the day. More information will be sent via email, shared in our publications and posted on our website closer to the event.