Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 4050 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers, Governor's staff, current/former PA Secretaries of Education, Wolf education transition team members, superintendents, school solicitors, principals, charter school leaders, PTO/PTA officers, parent advocates, teacher leaders, business leaders, faith-based organizations, labor organizations, education professors, members of the press and a broad array of P-16 regulatory agencies, professional associations and education advocacy organizations via emails, website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
These daily emails are archived and searchable at http://keystonestateeducationcoalition.org
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Despite 112 Cosponsors, Turzai, Metcalfe Stymie Redistricting Reform Legislation
Blogger comment: Senator Boscola’s bill, SB22, has 21 cosponsors.
Despite the fact that the House version of the bill, Rep. Samuelson’s HB722, has 112 cosponsors, (more than the104 needed to pass the bill). it is my understanding that House State Government Committee Chairman Metcalfe and Speaker Mike Turzai have shown no interest in moving the bill out of committee.
“But Folmer and Boscola question the appetite for reform in the House of Representatives, where State Government Committee Chairman Daryl Metcalfe has shown less interest in reform legislation, they said. Metcalfe did not return a call for comment. Carol Kuniholm, founder of the redistricting reform organization, Fair Districts PA, said the group will be calling out “the utter dysfunction in the House leadership” and pressing for Boscola’s bill at a rally at the Capitol April 16.”
Legislators racing clock to reform redistricting
Tim Darragh Contact Reporter Of The Morning Call March 30, 2018
Hoping to capitalize on weariness following a bruising redistricting battle that reached the U.S. Supreme Court, Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Pennsylvania are racing the clock to come up with a plan to reduce political influence over how legislative boundary lines are drawn. Legislators have to race because several proposals, including one sponsored by State Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-Lehigh/Northampton, require amending the state Constitution. That process requires passing the exact same bill in two consecutive Legislative sessions before it can be put before voters. State legislators would need to get a bill passed by July 6 to have any chance of amending the Constitution in time for the redistricting cycle that will follow the 2020 Census, State Sen. Jay Costa, D-Allegheny, said this week at a legislative hearing on redistricting reform. Boscola’s bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Mario Scavello, R-Monroe, would create a non-partisan commission to take over the once-a-decade job of redrawing state and congressional district maps.
Sentencing set for Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School founder Nick Trombetta
Trib Live MEGAN GUZA | Thursday, March 29, 2018, 12:06 p.m.
The long-delayed sentencing hearing of former Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School CEO Nick Trombetta on charges of tax fraud and conspiracy is set for July, according to information filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court. The July 10 sentencing will come nearly five years after Trombetta, 62, was indicted by a grand jury on 11 counts of tax fraud and conspiracy in August 2013. He pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the IRS in August 2016. He faces up to five years in federal prison. Trombetta siphoned $8 million from the Midland-based public school and used the money to stockpile retirement money and buy personal luxury goods for himself, his girlfriend and his family — including multiple homes and a twin-engine airplane. The conspiracy involved Trombetta and several others – including his accountant, Neal Prence - moving the money to other companies created or controlled by Trombetta and filing false tax returns.
Sentencing for PA Cyber founder Trombetta, convicted in tax scheme, set for summer
TORSTEN OVE Pittsburgh Post-Gazette email@example.com MAR 29, 2018 3:55 PM
More than four years after he was indicted, Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School founder Nick Trombetta still hasn't been sentenced because the parties have been haggling over restitution, tax liabilities and how much prison time he deserves. Now it looks like he and his accountant, Neal Prence, will finally be sentenced this summer. U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti, after yet another hours-long evidentiary hearing on Wednesday, said she'll sentence Prence on July 9 and Trombetta the next day. Trombetta, 62, is already a federal felon. He pled guilty in 2016 to tax conspiracy related to siphoning some $8 million from the school to a series of other corporate entities he created and secretly controlled through straw owners.
In GOP governor's race, Laura Ellsworth seeks to strike a different tone
Inquirer by Liz Navratil Updated: MARCH 28, 2018 — 5:38 PM EDT
HARRISBURG — When Laura Ellsworth stepped to the microphone Wednesday at a Press Club luncheon here, she said she hoped to talk about policies, economic development and compromise in more detail than she could at recent Republican gubernatorial debates. In a race where her opponents — State Sen. Scott Wagner (R., York) and former healthcare consultant Paul Mango of Allegheny County — have drawn attention for their boisterous jabs at one another or at Democratic Gov. Wolf, Ellsworth has consciously decided to strike a different tone. “I don’t believe in it,” she said Wednesday, noting that she thinks voters want “decency, candor [and] honesty” rather than “30-second attack ads.” And Ellsworth thinks that’s one reason she’d have the best shot at winning the November general election, though even she acknowledges some don’t agree with that assessment. Recent polls have shown Ellsworth trailing the other candidates but also suggest a large number of Republican voters are still undecided ahead of the May 15 primary.
Reading School Board denies application for arts charter school
Vote was unanimous
WFMZ By: Megan Carpenter Posted: Mar 28, 2018 11:49 PM EDT
READING, Pa. - In a move many saw coming, the Reading School Board denied the application for Berks Arts Academy Charter Elementary and Middle School during Wednesday evening’s regular board meeting. Following a motion by board member Robin Costenbader-Jacobson, the board unanimously voted for the denial. The school, proposed by Dr. Thomas Lubben, was targeted for a location at the former Central Catholic High School. This is the third time a charter school proposed by Lubben has been voted down by the school board. The board followed that vote with another unanimous “yes” approving the adjudication in support of their denial. The document basically states their formal opinion on the matter and reasoning for the vote. They similarly released an adjudication after the most recent charter denial in 2017.
Two commissioners leave fading SRC to seek spots on new Philly school board
Estelle Richman will chair the body for the rest of its term.
The notebook/WHYY by Avi Wolfman-Arent and Dale Mezzacappa March 29, 2018 — 11:36am
As Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission limps toward its demise, two of the remaining four members resigned Thursday in order to seek positions on the incoming school board that will take over July 1. SRC Chair Joyce Wilkerson and Commissioner Christopher McGinley had to leave their posts before Mayor Kenney could appoint them to serve on the new, nine-member school board. Kenney has not yet made his final selections, but McGinley and Wilkerson are among 45 finalists. Kenney must make his choices by April 5, next Thursday. McGinley said in an interview that he is meeting with Kenney tomorrow, "but nothing was promised to me." He added, "I'm willing to do it." Because Kenney initially appointed Wilkerson and McGinley to the SRC, he also gets to name their replacements, and he did so Thursday. They will be replaced by former SRC Chair Marjorie Neff and former District Chief Operating Officer Fran Burns. In the same swoop, Pennsylvania's Gov. Wolf promoted one of his appointees, Estelle Richman, to chair the School Reform Commission. Absent an unexpected development, the SRC's main task before June 30 is to approve a final budget for the 2018-19 school year, and its members will be required to appear before City Council to defend the budget's priorities –although, presumably, newly appointed Board of Education members could also make their priorities known. The state-controlled SRC passed a lump sum budget at its last meeting.
Two resign from SRC as the shift to a Philly school board begins
Inquirer by Kristen A. Graham, Staff Writer @newskag | firstname.lastname@example.org Updated: MARCH 29, 2018 — 10:06 AM EDT
Two School Reform Commission members have resigned their seats, officials announced Thursday, a move signaling that the transition to local control of Philadelphia’s school district is well underway. Chair Joyce Wilkerson and Commissioner Christopher McGinley are both on the short list for seats on the new nine-member school board, and apparently will get them. They resigned, presumably to clear the way for board appointment; they could not simultaneously serve on the SRC and seek another office, such as on the new board. Gov. Wolf named Estelle Richman, a current commissioner, as SRC chair. Two familiar names are returning to fill the vacant seats. Mayor Kenney named Marjorie Neff, a former SRC chair, and Fran Burns, the district’s former chief operations officer, who recently left to teach at Villanova University. Burns and Neff will serve until June 30, when the commission ceases to exist. “In this time of transition from the SRC to the new Board of Education, it is important to have two voices on the SRC who are ready from day one,” Kenney said in a statement. “Marge Neff and Fran Burns need no introduction to the issues that face the School District of Philadelphia.”
A church and school district's literacy program shows what cooperation can accomplish
Lancaster Online Editorial by The LNP Editorial Board March 30, 2018
THE ISSUE: Grace Point Church in Paradise has hired a literacy teacher instead of a second assistant pastor after learning about the Pequea Valley School District’s need to have children better prepared for school, LNP’s Jeff Hawkes reported Monday. Literacy coach Katie Beiler visits homes in the district to help children get ready for kindergarten. Beiler reports regularly to the school district but officially she’s on the staff of the 250-member church. Every once in a while, we’re reminded that there are people in our community responding to urgent needs. Often — too often — we write about elected officials who can’t agree on much of anything that benefits the people they represent. But not today. Today, we celebrate community and creativity, and we laud those who saw a void and developed a solution. Often, such innovators operate under the radar. If not for LNP and Jeff Hawkes, you might have never heard about what a relatively small church has done for the children of Pequea Valley and how a school district opened its mind to a unique partnership with a local church. “Our church doesn’t just exist for ourselves,” Tim Rogers, lead pastor, told Hawkes. “Our vision is being a transforming presence in the town square.” Amen. Other school districts have home visitors. What makes this particular arrangement unique is that the visiting teacher is employed by a church.
Community members feel left out as Philly’s Strawberry Mansion HS is phased out
The notebook by Darryl C. Murphy March 29, 2018 — 6:30pm
Tensions were high Wednesday night as the District unveiled for local residents its plan to phase out Strawberry Mansion as a comprehensive high school. Inside the auditorium of the 54-year-old complex, Eric Becoats, assistant superintendent of the Turnaround Network, stood before about 40 community members, many of whom were alumni, to discuss the future of the struggling school. To make better use of the building, which now serves fewer than 300 students, Mansion will host accelerated learning programs and an evening high school starting in September that could accommodate up to 500 students. Officials pointed out that the vast majority of students in the Mansion catchment area don’t attend there, choosing other options instead. The District is also considering a new skills-based high school in 2019-2020 similar to the Workshop School, and/or YouthBuild, a one-year program for 12th graders that focuses on academics and construction skills. In developing those long-term plans, Becoats said, the District will work with the community. There will also be space available in the building, which has a capacity of 1,800, for “expanded recreational” and other programs, he said. However, this was all decided with minimal community input.
Here's How Changes to the U.S. Census Could Impact Education Funding
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Andrew Ujifusa on March 28, 2018 3:45 PM
The Trump administration has decided to add a question to the 2020 U.S. Census about whether respondents are U.S. citizens, and it's causing quite a stir. But how exactly is census information used in education? And how could a question about citizenship impact schools? Let's tackle that first question. The decennial census results impact the two biggest pots of federal money for K-12 schools: Title I aid for disadvantaged students, which receives $15.8 billion in fiscal 2018, and special education grants to states, which receive $12.3 billion. For example, the decennial census data is used—along with other data collected by the Census Bureau—to produce "single-year estimates of income and poverty for all U.S. states and counties as well as estimates of school-age children in poverty" for the nation's school districts in the Small Area Income Poverty and Estimates Program (SAIPE). This program, in turn, impacts Title I. "The Title I and IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) formulas factor in Census data that is informed by the decennial census," said Sheara Krvaric, an attorney at the Federal Education Group, a legal and consulting firm in Washington. The decennial data collected by the Census Bureau are far from the only factor in determing these allocations, because that information is only collected once a decade. So there are other sources of information as well as projections that are used for funding decisions made by the U.S. Department of Education. But it's not just at the federal level where this type of data is used.
Amid Concerns About School Security, Federal Data Show Schools Have Actually Gotten Safer
Education Week By Evie Blad on March 29, 2018 12:00 AM | No comments
U.S. schools have significantly increased security measures and preparation for events like school shootings in the last 20 years, the newest federal data show. Meanwhile, rates of student victimization at school have continued to decline, fewer students have brought weapons to school, and fewer students report fear of harm in school, according to a report released Thursday. Fewer students report having access to an unlocked gun in the most recent data, and, contrary to popular perception, rates of violent deaths at school have not trended significantly upward in recent years. "Our nation's schools should be safe havens for teaching and learning free of crime and violence," says Indicators of School Crime and Safety 2017, an annual report released by the National Center for Education Statistics and the Bureau of Justice Statistics. "Any instance of crime or violence at school not only aﬀects the individuals involved but also may disrupt the educational process and aﬀect bystanders, the school itself, and the surrounding community."
The newly released data take on particular relevance as local, state, and federal policymakers seek to improve school safety following the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Fla., in which 17 students and educators were killed. Since that shooting, newly passed state and federal bills have provided increased funding for violence prevention measures, like training teachers to idenitify threatening student behavior, and physical school security measures, like metal detectors.
Facing boycott, Laura Ingraham apologizes for taunting Parkland teen
Inquirer by Amy B Wang & Allyson Chiu, Washington Post Updated: MARCH 30, 2018 6:24 AM
When Fox News host Laura Ingraham taunted a Parkland shooting survivor in a Wednesday-morning tweet about his college applications being rejected, Twitter users hit back where it hurt most: among her advertisers. David Hogg, the 17-year-old high school senior turned gun control activist, mustered the collective power of social media – and his more than 630,000 Twitter followers – and urged them to “tweet away” at her top sponsors to call on them to boycott her TV show, “The Ingraham Angle.” Within 24 hours, several companies responded – among them the pet food brand Nutrish and the home goods retailer Wayfair – announcing on Twitter and in media interviews that they would pull their ads from the show. Stitch Fix and Hulu also announced via Twitter that they would no longer advertise on Ingraham’s show. The #GrabYourWallet campaign reported that Johnson & Johnson has also pulled its ads from the show. By Thursday afternoon, Ingraham apologized. “On reflection, in the spirit of Holy Week, I apologize for any upset or hurt my tweet caused him or any of the brave victims of Parkland,” she tweeted.
2018 PSBA Advocacy Day April 16, 2018 Harrisburg
Join PSBA and your fellow school directors for the annual Advocacy Day on Monday, April 16, 2018, at the State Capitol in Harrisburg. PSBA is partnering with Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units to have a stronger voice for public education. Hear how advocacy makes a difference in the legislative process and the importance of public education advocacy. Government Affairs will take a deeper dive into the legislative priorities and will provide tips on how to be an effective public education advocate. There will be dedicated time for you and your fellow advocates to hit the halls to meet with your legislators on public education. This is your chance to share the importance of policy supporting public education and make your voice heard on the Hill. This event is free for members; registration is required.
Register online here: http://www.mypls.com/Default.aspx?tabid=3753
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.
PASA Women's Caucus Annual Conference "Leaders Lifting Leaders"
May 6 - 8, 2018 Hotel Hershey
**REGISTRATION NOW OPEN**
*Dr. Helen Sobehart - Women Leading Education Across Continents: Lifting Leaders from Here to There
*Dr. Tracey Severns - Courageous Leadership
*Dr. Emilie Lonardi - Lead and Lift: A Call for Females to Aspire to the Superintendency
*Deputy Secretary Matt Stem - Update from the PDE
MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD! Join the PA Principals Association, the PA Association of School Administrators and the PA Association of Rural and Small Schools for PA Education Leaders Advocacy Day at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, June 19, 2018, at the Capitol in Harrisburg, PA.
A rally in support of public education and important education issues will be held on the Main Rotunda Steps from 1 p.m. - 2 p.m.
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.
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.
To register, send an email to Dr. Joseph Clapper at email@example.com before Friday, June 8, 2018.
Click here to view the PA Education Leaders Advocacy Day 2018 Save The Date Flyer (INCLUDES EVENT SCHEDULE AND IMPORTANT ISSUES.)
SAVE THE DATE for the 2018 PA Educational Leadership Summit - July 29-31 - State College, PA sponsored by the PA Principals Association, PASA, PAMLE and PASCD.
This year's Summit will be held from July 29-31, 2018 at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, State College, PA.
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.