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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At this time, remaining House voting session days are: Oct. 1, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17; and Nov. 13. Senate voting session days are: Oct. 1, 2, 3, 15, 16, 17; and Nov. 14. The schedule is subject to change.
Tell your PA House member we need graduation reforms under SB 1095, which was unanimously passed by the Senate in June and unanimously voted out of the House Education Committee on Monday:
PSBA Legislative Alert August 27, 2018
Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek to test moderating skills at Pa. governor race debate
"Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek will moderate the only debate to be held between Democratic incumbent Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican challenger Scott Wagner on Monday at the 34th annual Chamber Dinner in Hershey.
Penn Live By Jan Murphy firstname.lastname@example.org Updated Sep 27, 3:46 PM; Posted Sep 27, 3:42 PM
Alex Trebek has proven himself adept at handling awkward moments on "Jeopardy!"
On Monday, the world's longest-running host of a game show will find out if that has prepped him to tread into the political minefields of Pennsylvania's gubernatorial contest. Trebek will moderate the one and only face-off in the fall campaign between Democratic incumbent Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican challenger Scott Wagner on Monday during the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry's annual dinner at the Hershey Lodge. In case you are wondering, Trebek won't require the candidates' answers to be given in the form of a question. The debate portion of the evening will be aired live to a statewide audience on PCN starting around 8:15. A short fireside chat with Trebek will precede it, starting at 7:45 p.m.
“Kindred was among the first graduates of Friends of the Children, a 25-year-old program that takes a long and deep view of mentorship. It recruits the neediest children and works with them for 12.5 years, from kindergarten until they graduate from high school, using data and metrics to track their progress, understand their needs, and help them find a path to their own success. So far, the group has 350 graduates, with thousands of more children still in the pipeline, and it’s expanding around the country.”
A 25-year-old Portland nonprofit has a proven method for ending the cycle of poverty for children | Ideas We Should Steal
Roxanne Patel Shepelavy, For The Philadelphia Citizen Posted: 20 hours ago
"Ideas We Should Steal" is a regular feature of the Philadelphia Citizen, which will be holding an Ideas We Should Steal Festival on Nov. 30.
When Patrick Kindred was 12 years old, an adult friend talked him into doing something pretty radical for a sixth grader: riding a bike 206 miles from Portland, Ore., to Seattle. It was …challenging, to be sure. But it also proved something to Kindred that his friend Carlos Baca already knew — that he could do whatever he set his mind to. This wasn’t something Kindred might otherwise have learned. Born into poverty to a drug-addicted mother (also born into poverty) and a father who left when he was young, he and his two siblings spent their lives neglected in foster care. But when Kindred was 5 years old, he met Baca through a then-nascent Portland organization called Friends of the Children, which has as its mission disrupting the cycle of poverty through consistent and positive adult interaction. At 26, Kindred is the first college grad in his family, works in the legislative office of the state’s Health and Human Services department, and helps shape state policies for children in foster care. He is on an upward trajectory, determined not only to shed his own personal history of poverty but also help change the course for others like him — because, he says, of Friends of the Children.
Philadelphia’s Poor: Experiences From Below the Poverty Line
How financial well-being affects everything from health and housing to education and employment
The Pew Charitable Trusts REPORTS September 26, 2018
Overview: By many measures, Philadelphia is on an upswing, with a growing population, an influx of new investment, and rising household incomes. Yet at the same time, a significant share of the city’s residents are struggling. More than a quarter—about 400,000 people—live below the poverty line, which is about $19,700 a year for an adult with two children at home. In this report, The Pew Charitable Trusts examines the attitudes and personal experiences of poor Philadelphians, exploring several key aspects of life that are affected by, and potentially helping to perpetuate, poverty— including health outcomes, employment prospects, exposure to crime, and access to quality schools. It expands on research from Pew’s 2017 study “Philadelphia’s Poor: Who They Are, Where They Live, and How That Has Changed,” which presented a detailed demographic and geographic view of poverty in the city. This new study is predominantly based on five sources: analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, administrative data from government agencies, focus groups of poor Philadelphians, interviews with experts who provide services for them, and results from Pew’s latest citywide public opinion poll.
‘No vacations from poverty’ for Philadelphia’s poor residents
WHYY By Alicia Victoria Lozano, NBC September 27, 2018
This story first appeared on NBCPhiladelphia.com.
Sherita Mouzon describes her younger self as suicidal, bitter and angry.
Like thousands of other Philadelphians, Mouzon lived in poverty for most of her life and attributes much of the trauma she experienced to her circumstances growing up. She can still remember the smell of mold and mildew in her mother’s house. She can still remember being molested as a child and her mother being physically abused. She still flinches when she hears loud noises or voices. “It doesn’t go away,” Mouzon said during a Facebook Live interview with NBC10. The trauma associated with poverty is not new. But a new report released Wednesday by The Pew Charitable Trusts shines a light on the experiences of Philadelphia’s lowest-income residents and shows how financial insecurity can affect everything from education to health. Researchers have studied this link for decades, determining that exposure to violent crime, inadequate schools and physical and emotional trauma make it difficult to climb the economic ladder.
Applying to a Philly charter school? This new website wants to make it easier
WHYY By Avi Wolfman-Arent September 28, 2018
For years, trying to get your kid into a Philly charter schools has been a byzantine hassle. Each school has its own application, own deadline, and own response window. Apply Philly Charter aims to fix that. Starting Friday, parents can apply to most of the city’s charters by going to the Apply Philly Charter website and filling out one basic form. With the click of a few digital boxes, a child can simultaneously enter dozens of charter-school lotteries. The initiative’s backers say they’re increasing access and helping parents. Given the dismal lottery odds at some city charter schools, they say, many families feel they have to apply to a bunch of charters to ensure they get in somewhere. Now more city parents can do that quickly, easily, and without the kind of extra legwork that can be difficult for working families to manage.
These seniors want to leave a parting gift for their school: A library | Ronnie Polaneczky
Inquirer by Ronnie Polaneczky | @RonniePhilly | email@example.com Posted: 20 hours ago
Graduation is nine months away. Seniors at Kensington High School hope that will give them enough time to finish creating their parting gift to students: A library. Like, a real one – the kind that smells of new books, varnished wood, and fresh paint. With overstuffed chairs and sprawl-worthy carpets. With posters whose wise sayings inspire eagerness about life beyond the walls they hang on. And with miles of fiction to get lost in while the radiators hiss and the clock ticks its way to the buzzer between classes. It's so retro. And, the kids say, so needed. Once upon a time, Kensington High had its own student library. For reasons no one can recall (and were doubtlessly financial), the space was long ago repurposed as a teachers' professional-development center. But Kensington's seniors know what was lost in the conversion: A quiet portal to worlds of their own discovery. A communal place loftier than the body-focused gym, belly-focused cafeteria, and sit-and-listen auditorium. "Not everybody learns and grows by looking at a computer. They want to read a book," says senior Britney Rivera, 17. "In a library, you get the isolation, mind-set, and focus you need to turn off all the noise and think your own thoughts."
Mighty Writers’ first MightyFest begins today
The notebook by Darryl C. Murphy September 27 — 1:00 pm, 2018
Today, the Mighty Writers kick off their first MightyFest, a four-day reading and writing festival. “The reason we’re having the festival is to celebrate Philly kids and to spread the word about the power of writing,” said Tim Whitaker, founder and executive director of the nonprofit Mighty Writers. Mighty Writers has been offering free writing programs to neighborhood children, from toddlers to teens, for nine years. The organization now has seven locations in the area — six in Philadelphia and one in Camden, N.J. And now, said Whitaker, it’s time to “spread the word in a bigger way, and attract more kids to all our different programs.” “We think that writing is a magical power,” he said. “When you think clearly and write with clarity, self-esteem soars, and good things happen.” MightyFest starts today with free comic-book writing workshops at South Philadelphia and Fumo Family Libraries. The event also will include a carnival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29, in front of the Franklin Institute, where 30 booths will offer writing and empowerment workshops.
Commentary: In KOZ vote, new Board of Ed ‘showed its potential’
In demanding more information and holding a public discussion, the board members engaged in open governance.
The notebook Commentary by Helen Gym September 27 — 4:40 pm, 2018
Last week, the Board of Education showed its potential by debating the boundaries of one of the most important powers it has – approving local tax subsidies that impact the School District’s financial future. Before them was a package of 68 properties seeking board approval for the Keystone Opportunity Zone (KOZ) program, the state’s most generous subsidy program for business and economic development. I’ve long been on record calling for the state to reform and improve this program, which cost the city and School District $119 million in forfeited taxes in 2017 alone. It’s a decades-old program that forgives most state and local taxes for businesses that enter into “underutilized” areas of the city and create new jobs. Over the years, the program has come under fire for failing to track job creation and for its approval in areas of the city whose underdeveloped status is questionable. To its credit, the program has evolved, including setting minimal protections for the District by ensuring a payment based on 110 percent of the initial assessed land value. In 2016, I sponsored and City Council passed a law requiring KOZs to self-report and evaluate their efforts at job creation. However, these advances don’t tell us nearly enough about the cost and benefits of this program to our city and our schools.
Penn-Trafford teachers say they won't strike as long as negotiations stay 'positive'
Trib Live by STEPHEN HUBA | Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, 2:36 p.m.
Penn-Trafford teachers say they will not go on strike as long as contract negotiations continue in a “positive manner,” according to a joint statement released Thursday. The statement by Superintendent Matthew Harris and Penn-Trafford Education Association President Shaun Rinier came a day after the union leadership said a strike was inevitable. “The PTEA will not call a strike on Friday … due to the progress made at Wednesday’s negotiating session,” the statement said. The statement noted that a strike next week would interfere with the school district’s annual field trip to the Deer Valley YMCA Family Camp in Somerset County and would be “extremely burdensome” to parents, students and teachers who planned for the trip.
Pa. Law Banning Teachers From Wearing Religious Attire Moves Closer To Repeal
Author Dan Robrish/The Elizabethtown Advocate Posted on September 27, 2018
A state law dating back to the late 19th century that prohibits teachers from wearing anything on the job that indicates their religion is one step closer to being repealed. The House Education Committee voted unanimously on Monday, Sept. 24, to pass a bill to repeal what is known as the Garb Law. The law was first passed at a time of hostility toward religious minorities including Roman Catholics as well as Anabaptists whose denominations called for Plain dress, including the Amish. Plain dress aims to display humility and preserve a religious group’s separateness from the rest of the world. The current state law says “no teacher in any public school shall wear in said school or while engaged in the performance of his duty as such teacher any dress, mark, emblem or insignia indicating the fact that such teacher is a member or adherent of any religious order, sect or denomination.”It was first adopted in 1895 and was recodified as part of the School Code of 1949. The law calls for a one-year suspension from teaching for a first offense and a permanent disqualification from teaching for a second offense.
Blogger note: Back in 2010, David Shulick was named as a member of the Corbett administration’s education transition team: http://thenotebook.org/articles/2010/11/30/corbett-names-34-to-education-team
Businessman with ties to Fattah Jr. gets prison for stealing $800,000 from Philly school district
Inquirer by Robert Moran, September 27, 2018
The former president of a for-profit education firm linked to Chaka "Chip" Fattah Jr. was sentenced Thursday in federal court to more than six years in prison for embezzling $800,000 intended to help guide at-risk students in Philadelphia. David T. Shulick, head of the now-defunct Delaware Valley High School Management Corp. in Bala Cynwyd, was sentenced to 80 months and ordered by Senior U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III to pay $764,735 in restitution to the Philadelphia School District. He is to surrender to federal authorities on Oct. 24. Shulick, 48, of Gladwyne, was found guilty in May by a federal jury of conspiracy, embezzlement, fraud, and tax violations between 2010 and 2012. He used the embezzled funds, which were meant to help struggling teens, on his $1.1 million, 13-room Gladwyne home and his beach house in Margate, N.J., prosecutors said. He also lied about many of those expenses on his personal and corporate income taxes, and schemed to defraud PNC Bank.
Spending Bill Boosting Education Funding Clears Congress, Heads to Trump
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Andrew Ujifusa on September 26, 2018 5:23 PM
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is very close to knowing how much money her department has to spend in the next fiscal year. On Wednesday, the House approved a spending package that includes fiscal 2019 funding for the U.S. Department of Education. The legislation, which the Senate passed last week, includes several increases for programs such as Title I, special education, a big block grant that districts can use for creating safer schools and education technology, and charter schools grants, among others. The legislation now heads to President Donald Trump for his signature. The spending package largely ignores the push from Trump and DeVos to create new school choice programs, as well as their proposals to cut the Education Department's overall budget. In total, the deal sets the department's budget at $71.5 billion, an increase over fiscal 2018 of $581 million, although that figure doesn't include a rescission of $500 million from Pell Grant reserves. In general, the fiscal 2019 budget impacts education funding for the 2019-20 school year.
“Before joining the department, Botel, a registered Democrat, worked as the executive director of MarylandCAN, a state-level education advocacy organization. He previously served as a teacher and as the founding principal of a KIPP charter school in Baltimore.”
Jason Botel, One of Trump's Original Education Appointees, to Leave Dept.
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Alyson Klein on September 27, 2018 8:11 PM
Jason Botel, an assistant deputy assistant secretary for innovation and improvement at the U.S. Department of Education, and one of the Trump team's first education staffers, will leave the department next month. That's according to a goodbye email Botel sent to department employees Wednesday. Botel's departure was first reported by Politico. Botel was initially responsible for helping to oversee the department's implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act. The agency announced yesterday that it had now approved plans for all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Frank Brogan, the assistant secretary of elementary and secondary education, who was confirmed by the Senate earlier this year, is now the department's ESSA point man. Botel clashed with U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the chairman of the education committee, over implementation of the law, with Alexander going as far as to say publicly that Botel hadn't read ESSA carefully.
EdPAC reception helps support election of pro-public education leaders
Do you want to help strengthen public education in the commonwealth? Join with EdPAC, a political action committee that supports the election of pro-public education leaders to the General Assembly. EdPAC will hold a fundraising reception at the 2018 PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference on Wednesday, Oct. 17 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. in Cocoa 2-3. More details to come! Visit the conference website to register online.
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.
2nd Annual National Black Male Educators Convening, Oct. 12-14, Philly
Teacher diversity works. Increasing the number of Black male educators in our nation’s teacher corps will improve education for all our students, especially for African-American boys.Today Black men represent only two percent of teachers nationwide. This is a national problem that demands a national response. Come participate in the 2nd National Black Male Educators Convening to advance policy solutions, learn from one another, and fight for social justice. All are welcome. Register to attend. Nominate a speaker. Propose a workshop. Sponsor the event.
Save the Dates PASA/PSBA School Leadership Conference – Hershey, Oct. 17-19, 2018
Mark your calendar! The Delegate Assembly will take place Friday, Oct. 19, 2018, at 2:30 p.m.
Housing now open!
Housing now open!
“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.
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.