Monday, February 15, 2021

PA Ed Policy Roundup for Feb. 15, 2021: Do charter schools really receive 25% less funding per student than school districts?

Started in November 2010, 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, 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.


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Keystone State Education Coalition

PA Ed Policy Roundup for Feb. 15, 2021

Do charter schools really receive 25% less funding per student than school districts?



All School Directors: PSBA Monthly Zoom Exchange Feb 18 12:30 - 1:30 PM

Join other PSBA-member school directors for cross-district networking and discussion on education hot topics, legislative updates and advocacy strategies. All School Directors: Monthly Exchange will be held via Zoom at 12:30 p.m. every third Thursday of the month, January through June. Geographic-based breakout rooms will be utilized to allow for discussion among school directors in the same regions of the state. Learn more or register:



Do charter schools really receive 25% less funding per student than school districts?


PSBA recently provided all members of the Senate and House of Representatives with its latest Closer Look publication that examines some of the myths, truths and concerns regarding charter school funding issues. PSBA also urged legislators to enact real charter funding reform that would save school districts and taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

Click here to read the Closer Look.


Hold cyber charter schools accountable

Doylestown Intelligencer By Debra Weiner February 14, 2021

The Pennsylvania Department of Education, or PDE, recently denied the revised application of the Virtual Preparatory Academy of Pennsylvania, or VPAP, a cyber charter school. This school would have been run by Accel Schools, a for-profit company in Ohio that runs a cyber school in Ohio that received an "F" grade for every measure of student achievement included in the Ohio Department of Education's school report card for 2018-2019.   PDE evaluated VPAP's application against five criteria in the charter school law and identified flagrant deficiencies related to all five, including an incomplete or totally absent curriculum, proposals for inadequate and inappropriate practices for vulnerable student populations and incomplete and contradictory financial information.  VPAP is not just a local charter serving a limited number of students. Like 13 of the 14 existing Pennsylvania cyber charter schools, it has unlimited enrollment capacity, which means that every school district in the commonwealth can be on the hook for paying for students to attend, even though the school was not approved by any school board or other local entity.  And, with every single cyber charter school in Pennsylvania having been designated as among the lowest-performing schools in the state, that blank check has proved educationally disastrous for both students and taxpayers.  Instead of having to waste valuable time evaluating applications for new, unnecessary cyber charter schools, PDE should focus its limited resources and energies on holding current existing cyber charter schools accountable for providing tens of thousands of Pennsylvania’s children with a quality education.   And the Pennsylvania legislature should adopt a moratorium on new cyber charter schools until the current abysmal performance of these schools is improved.


Loyalsock officials talk cyber charter school reform

Williamsport Sun Gazette by PAT CROSSLEY FEB 13, 2021

Noting that Gov. Tom Wolf”s recent budget proposal addresses the issue of cyber charter school reform, members of the Loyalsock Township School Board reaffirmed their support of the governor’s efforts at their meeting earlier this week. The board agreed to reaffirm a resolution, which had been approved last year, calling for the reform. Superintendent Gerald McLaughlin noted that the state’s school board association had called for boards to again acknowledge their support of the resolution. Wolf’s proposal, if approved, would establish cyber charter school tuition rates at $9,500 for basic education, which McLaughlin told the board, the district now pays around $11,500. McLaughlin also acknowledged that during the COVID-19 pandemic, more students have opted to attend cyber charter schools which he said has taken a “significant amount” of money out of the district’s budget.


Conewago Valley SD Takes Aim at Charter Schools

Gettysburg Connection February 14, 2021 by Imari Scarbrough

Following a report by Superintendent Christopher Rudisill saying supposedly “free” charter and cyber schools cost the district $4.2 million, Conewago Valley School District (CVSD) approved a resolution calling for changes to charter school funding. “While you may hear that these schools claim they are free; they really are not free at all,” said Rudisill. Rudisill said when the board releases its budget to the public in April, he wants the community to understand the challenges the district is facing. Rudisill said the district pays $10,960 for every regular education student that decides to attend a charter school or cyber charter school. “If that child is (in) special education, the cost to the district is $26,510. The money is taken from our school district to help fund the free cyber charter schools,” Rudisill said. Rudisill said that money shortage shows up in larger class sizes and fewer new equipment and material purchases within the district. “Currently, our state under-funds our district at a cost of $3,490 per student, That’s $12.6 million in opportunities for our students that are lost because of the state,” Rudisill said. Rudisill said CVSD was “fortunate to have received a federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund grant. We received $2 million to help one-time spending for the district, whether it be getting more livestream equipment, looking to make sure that we’re prepared for graduation this year and many years forward; whatever the case might be.”


Congratulations to #355 Pottsville Area School District for passing the charter funding reform resolution.

Thank you @HMathiasPSBA@SenatorArgall, Representative Tim Twardzik and Representative Joe Kerwin.


Avon Grove Charter School seeks $3.7 million from Coatesville over funding dispute

West Chester Daily Local Fran Maye February 15, 2021

AVON GROVE — Avon Grove Charter School has filed a lawsuit against the Coatesville Area School District and the Pennsylvania Department of Education, seeking $3.7 million the district claims it is owed in charter school funding. It is the second lawsuit filed against the Coatesville School District in the past three months over charter school funding. Collegium Charter School filed a similar claim on Nov. 24, 2020. Earlier this year, Coatesville school directors acknowledged its obligations under charter school law and concluded that "upon the District's review of Collegium's claims for payment from the District or from the Pennsylvania Department of Education for per-pupil charter school tuition, it appears to the school board that the District is obligated to pay the sum of at least $5.4 million to Collegiuim." More than any other school district in Chester County, the Coatesville School District has seen an exodus of students preferring to attend either Collegium Charter School in Exton, or Avon Grover Charter School in West Grove. Thus, under a school funding formula set up by the state, Coatesville School District is responsible for reimbursement to these charter schools. Coatesville pays $11,500 per pupil per year for students who opt to attend Collegium or Avon Grove Charter. More than 3,000 students from the Coatesville Area School District now attend charters, up from about 1,700 five years ago. In that time, Coatesvillle's payments to charters has expanded by $33 million, to about $54 million per year.


26 states have plans for teachers to get their COVID shots. Pa. isn’t one of them.

Sam Ruland York Daily Record February 14, 2021

There is still no timeline on when Pennsylvania's teachers will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, even as state officials push schools to offer more in-person instruction and surrounding states have begun vaccinating their own educator workforces.  The commonwealth is not among the 26 states that have publicly released plans to vaccinate teachers against COVID-19. In the state's vaccination plan, teachers are part of Phase 1B, with other essential workers.  And on Friday, Pennsylvania officials made it clear that they will not move teachers to the 1A vaccination group despite a request from Pennsylvania’s largest teachers’ union and one from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying it would "strongly encourage states to prioritize teachers and other school staff."


“The guidance outlines five strategies officials described as key for a safe reopening of school, in particular universal masking and social distancing. The agency recommended that schools in areas with high levels of community transmission maintain six feet of spacing between students, and opt for hybrid in-person and virtual instruction or reduced in-person attendance rather than full reopenings. A number of Philadelphia-area schools have been considering whether to reopen fully, in some cases by reducing spacing between students. The Radnor School District, for instance, announced Thursday that it would offer full-time in-person instruction to its youngest students later this month, a move that involves reducing its six-foot distance to four feet. “Those districts may have to think twice now about whether that is a safe thing to do,” said Chris Lilienthal, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania State Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union”

CDC gives new road map for schools without requiring schools to reopen

Inquirer by Maddie Hanna, Posted: February 12, 2021- 7:26 PM

President Biden’s administration on Friday weighed in for the first time with guidelines for reopening schools amid the pandemic, providing a road map for local officials navigating the fraught debate on how to return students to classrooms safely. Citing a growing body of science on the virus and data from schools in the U.S. and Europe that had reopened, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlined key strategies, in particular universal masking and adherence to social distancing. The guidance also ties reopening recommendations to the prevalence of the coronavirus in a school’s community. “The safest way to open schools is to ensure that there is as little disease as possible in the community,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. Even so, she said, schools can open for some in-person instruction at high levels of community transmission, provided they take necessary steps to mitigate spread of the virus. The guidance from the Democratic administration — which is not a mandate — appears unlikely to resolve the ongoing disagreement in many communities among school leaders, teachers’ unions, and different factions of parents.


“Schools in areas with substantial transmission (orange, 50-99 new cases per 100,000) may still consider a limited reopening, as long as they can layer multiple safety strategies in the classroom. In hard-hit communities (red, more than 100 new cases per 100,000) elementary schools may consider limited reopening, with physical distancing required, but the CDC recommends middle and high schools be virtual-only unless mitigation strategies can be met.”

CDC offers clearest guidance yet for reopening schools

WHYY/NPR By Cory Turner Anya Kamenetz Tamara Keith February 12, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its much-anticipated, updated guidance Friday to help school leaders decide how to safely bring students back into classrooms and/or keep them there. Rather than a political push to reopen schools, the update is a measured, data-driven effort to expand on old recommendations and advise school leaders on how to “layer” the most effective safety precautions: masking, physical distancing, handwashing and respiratory etiquette, ventilation and building cleaning, and contact tracing. For politicians, parents and school leaders looking for a clear greenlight to reopen schools, this is not it. “CDC is not mandating that schools reopen,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Friday on a phone briefing with reporters. Instead, the CDC goes to great lengths to explain that proper mitigation can help keep kids and staff safe at school, even in hard-hit communities, though it also warns that schools lulled into a false sense of security because of low community transmission rates could still spread the virus if they don’t enforce mask-wearing and socially distanced classrooms.

The updated guidance comes as President Biden tries to make good on his promise to help more K-8 schools reopen within his first 100 days in office. School reopening has become a potent political battle between parents and educators. In Washington, Republicans have used it to criticize the Biden administration for bowing to pressure from a powerful interest group, teachers unions, rather than listening to scientists and the concerns of parents. The update offers a few key changes to earlier language, including a color-coded chart that divides schools’ reopening options into four zones: blue, yellow, orange and red. Districts with low community spread of the coronavirus (blue, 0-9 new cases per 100,000 in past 7 days) or moderate transmission (yellow, 10-49 new cases) are encouraged to consider reopening for full, in-person learning.


To play, or not to play: Schools wrestle with CDC’s athletics recommendations

WITF By Eda Uzunlar FEBRUARY 13, 2021 | 6:30 AM

(Washington)–High school senior Audrianna Hill has been playing basketball since she was five years old. But this winter, with Covid-19 cases rising, there was a chance she might not get to play. Her Detroit school has been virtual since the pandemic began, and the basketball season has been pushed back multiple times since September. Basketball is a big part of who she is, and she’s been banking on her last year of playing to help get her recruited. The suspensions haven’t helped. “It’s made it harder for me to go to college,” Hill, a varsity player, explains. “Schools can’t come and actually watch you. You have to rely on technology, and I don’t know if some [college] coaches feel like watching 50 [performance] videos of different kids.” Student athletes like Hill are still hoping for a full season this year, but recent findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be working against them. New CDC guidance released Friday cautions against resuming athletic activities – especially those that happen inside. The report says that for communities that have substantial rates of transmission, sports and other activities should only take place “if they can be held outdoors, with physical distancing of 6 feet or more.” Communities that have high transmission should stick to virtual activities. A previous CDC report singled out activities where athletes can’t social distance and wear masks — effectively ruling out sports like swimming, wrestling and, to Hill’s dismay, basketball.


VOICES OF INEQUITY: In Pottstown, lack of resources adds to COVID burden

Pottstown Mercury By Alex Wagoner February 12, 2021

Editor's Note: Journalism students at Ursinus College, supported by a grant from Project Pericles, dedicated a semester to interviewing students at Montgomery County public high schools to get their perspective on the impact Pennsylvania's inequitable school funding had on their education.

POTTSTOWN — Akira Love is a 16-year-old junior at Pottstown High School, and he’s busy. Aside from the standard fare of classes, he’s a musician in the marching band, he holds a job, and he helps out around the house, including with taking care of his special-needs brother. And Love's considerable responsibility in his household has only grown more substantial as his schooling moved online thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pottstown School District has conducted classes remotely for its students for the 2020-2021 school year. This was a profound challenge at first: the district initially fell behind other, better-funded nearby school districts in its efforts to weather the COVID-19 pandemic, when it could not offer computers to students who did not have access to them. It offered printed workbooks to students without computers or internet access. Meanwhile, during this period Spring-Ford middle school and high school students could request individual Chromebooks, including multiple devices per family. Last May, the district secured funding to provide Chromebooks to all students in the district without a computer. For Love, the Chromebook helped, but it was far from perfect. “Our Chromebooks are only built for so much,” he said. “Sometimes our connection would cut us out.” Students sometimes used phones as backups when necessary. Indeed, universal access to computers is only one part of the problem.


NEPA educators, advocates call for fixing 'structurally unfair' school funding system

Times Tribune BY SARAH HOFIUS HALL STAFF WRITER Feb 14, 2021 Updated 1 hr ago

Fair funding in the Scranton School District could mean updating curriculum, creating a science and math academy and attracting and retaining a highly qualified staff. In Carbondale, the district could offer more electives, provide tutoring and restore cuts made to art and family and consumer sciences. At Riverside, libraries could become innovative labs and the district could find additional ways to help students prepare for life after graduation. The way Pennsylvania funds school districts, which Gov. Tom Wolf and public education advocates call one of the must unfair systems in the country, makes it difficult for districts to achieve those goals. The 2021-22 state budget proposed by the governor this month aims to fix that. Just the proposal and the debate surrounding it highlights and exposes the inequities in a way not done before on a statewide level, experts say. Wolf’s plan would provide an additional $159 million to school districts in Northeast Pennsylvania by putting all funding through a formula designed to increase equity and assist the students who need the most help.


Wolf budget aims to correct inequities in school funding

Wilkes Barre Citizens Voice BY MICHAEL P. BUFFER AND SARAH HOFIUS HALL STAFF WRITERS Feb 13, 2021 Updated Feb 13, 2021

The way Pennsylvania funds public schools and school districts “has really crushed our taxpayers, our students, our educators and our local economies,” Wilkes-Barre Area School District Superintendent Brian Costello said back in 2019. Costello estimated the state was underfunding Wilkes-Barre Area by $33 million in 2019. He has been trying to get more state funding for the district since. The 2021-22 state budget proposed by Gov. Tom Wolf this month aims to help. Just the proposal and the debate surrounding it highlights and exposes the inequities in a way not done before on a statewide level, experts say. Wolf’s plan would provide an additional $159 million to school districts in Northeast Pennsylvania by putting all funding through the state’s fair-funding formula to determine all basic education subsidy amounts. The 5-year-old school funding formula was designed to iron out inequities in how Pennsylvania funds the poorest public schools. But only 11% of state funds flow through the formula because it only applies to increased funding since 2016. While Republican legislators have called Wolf’s budget proposal, which relies on an increase in personal income taxes for some residents, “dead on arrival,” advocates say the proposal is a major step in solving the school funding crisis. Education organizations, including PA Schools Work and the Education Law Center, have found:

  • Pennsylvania has the widest funding gap between wealthy and poor school districts of any state in the country, with the wealthiest school districts spending 33% more on each student than the poorest districts.
  • The state’s share of total district spending is 38%, which ranks the state 44th in the country. The national median is 48%. As a result of the lower state contribution, Pennsylvania school districts rely more on local property taxes to fund budgets. That creates significant disparities between high wealth and low wealth districts.
  • Pennsylvania spends an average of $4,800 less per pupil in poor districts than on students in rich districts, and the average revenue gap between the poorest and richest districts has grown by $1,000 per student over the past decade.

“It’s not fair that poor children and children of color go to school where this is happening,” said Susan Spicka, executive director of Philadelphia-based Education Voters of Pennsylvania. “Lawmakers in Harrisburg are going to have to deal with looking at the school funding system for what it is: a system that guarantees that the most vulnerable children in Pennsylvania go to school without the resources they need.”


Gov. Wolf has proposed a bold plan to address unequal education funding in Pennsylvania schools | Opinion

Penn Live Guest Editorial By Roseann Liu Updated Feb 14, 2021; Posted Feb 14, 2021

Roseann Liu is a member of POWER, a parent in the School District of Philadelphia, and Visiting Assistant Professor at Swarthmore College who is writing a book about school funding.

What are the barriers that stand between you and the bright figure you imagined when you decided to build a life here in the Commonwealth? Gov. Wolf posed this question during his recent budget address. He said, “When I first got to Harrisburg, the answer was almost always the same: schools.” With a budget address that called to mind President Roosevelt’s fireside chats, Gov. Wolf spoke directly to everyday Pennsylvanians, still reeling from the social and economic devastation of the pandemic, to address our hopes and concerns for the future. As a parent of two children in Philadelphia public schools that have been closed for nearly a year now, the education of our children is foremost on the minds of Pennsylvanians. But let’s be clear: while all parents want the best for their children, some are better equipped to provide those opportunities because of the structural racism that exists in Pennsylvania’s school funding system. Gov. Wolf intends to do something about that through his “game-changing budget proposal,” as POWER, an interfaith grassroots organization whose full and fair funding campaign I have been a part of, referred to it.


Teaching civics isn’t enough. We need to teach information literacy. The Capitol riot proved it | Opinion

PA Capital Star By Timothy P. Williams  Capital-Star Op-Ed Contributor February 15, 2021

Timothy P. Williams is the superintendent of schools for the the York Suburban School District in York County. Readers may follow him on Twitter @DrWilliamsYSSD.

The political unrest on display in Washington, DC on Jan. 6 demonstrated that we are a democracy in turmoil —  a body-politic flirting with authoritarianism. We must do something. The atrocities at the Capitol that fateful day leave us wondering how such a thing could have happened and how we should address it. Recently, there have been calls for more patriotism, more civics instruction, and even proposed legislation to make sure our young people understand how to preserve our republic. A recent Bloomberg opinion piece, Democracy Needs to Be Taught in School: If ever there was a moment to revive civics instruction, isn’t this it? by Professor Andrea Gabor, who framed the insurrection bluntly: “The riot was just the latest and most appalling evidence that a wide swath of the American public doesn’t understand democratic norms. That’s why it should serve as a sputnik moment for an ambitious revival of civics instruction along with expanded training in news literacy.” Gabor correctly emphasizes the importance of civics education, which was – and still is – taught in schools. She appears to believe, though, that “news literacy” instruction is absent. Indeed it was prior to the Internet Age when the average insurrectionist attended school. Information literacy is now systemic throughout all disciplines. During their formal educations, the rioters received civics instruction. The real concern is that they may not have received formal information literacy instruction.


Blake to resign state Senate seat for post with Cartwright

Times Tribune BY BORYS KRAWCZENIUK STAFF WRITER Feb 14, 2021 Updated 27 min ago

Longtime state Sen. John Blake will resign his job March 8 for a new position with U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright. Blake, 60, confirmed only his resignation and its date, but multiple other sources confirmed he will work for Cartwright. Blake and Cartwright are scheduled to appear jointly at a news conference today at 11 a.m. in downtown Scranton. Repeated efforts to reach Cartwright were unsuccessful. “I’ve given my all to it (the Senate seat),” Blake said Sunday in a telephone interview with The Times-Tribune. “My passion and my joy in the job has ebbed over the past couple of years.” A special election will be scheduled to replace Blake. Democratic and Republican parties in Lackawanna, Luzerne and Monroe counties will choose nominees for the special election. The winner will serve only until Blake’s current term expires on Nov. 30, 2022, unless reelected earlier that month. With a stellar reputation as a dedicated public servant, Blake, D-22, Archbald, elected senator in November 2010, said he grew frustrated with Democrats always remaining in the Senate minority. He hoped the November election would change that, but Republicans maintained their majority.


Allentown School District prepares to offer hybrid learning in April


The Allentown School District, the last district in the Lehigh Valley to offer remote-only classes, is buying new computers and hiring a California consulting company to prepare to offer hybrid learning in mid-April. During a special meeting Thursday, the school board agreed to buy 1,210 Lenovo laptops, web cameras and other technology. The cost is $1.3 million, with the bulk being paid with general funds and $54,735 with a state health and safety grant. The school board also approved a $125,000 contract with Education Elements, a consulting company it has used in the past, to provide hybrid learning training, instructional guidance, professional development and project management support. The hybrid rollout includes a communications component to alert families about the option and to gauge whether they will send their children back to school or continue with remote learning. The district will advertise the choice on billboards, LANTA buses, radio, social media, voice mail, emails and a town hall. Superintendent Thomas Parker said the scale of a move toward hybrid learning, where students attend some days in school and the rest at home, required outside help for a seamless transition. The district has about 16,440 students and about 1,000 teachers.


Join Education Voters for "PA School Funding and Advocacy 101" for an overview of school funding issues, an update on the school funding lawsuit and more.

Education Voters PA February 2021

Click HERE to register for one of our webinars.

Fri, Feb 19, 12:00pm–1:00pm EST

Tue, Feb 23, 7:00pm–8:00pm EST

Questions we will answer include:

  • How are schools funded in PA?
  • Who decides how much funding my local schools get?
  • What is the Basic Education Funding Formula (fair funding formula)?
  • Why does Pennsylvania have the widest funding gap between wealthy and poor school districts of any state in the country?
  • How are charter schools funded and how can the current system be reformed?
  • How can I most effectively advocate for the school funding students in my district and throughout Pennsylvania's need and deserve?

We will also provide a brief update on Pennsylvania's school funding lawsuit, which is scheduled to go to trial this year. (Visit to learn more!) And we'll have plenty of time for Q&A. I hope that you'll join us and/or share this invitation with people in your network who are interested in learning more and getting involved.


Greater Latrobe, Deer Lakes among area schools lauded for computer science diversity

Trib Live by JEFF HIMLER   | Sunday, February 14, 2021 8:00 a.m.

Several area schools are among a little more than 1,100 nationwide being recognized for helping to promote interest in computer science among female students. Greater Latrobe, Deer Lakes and East Allegheny high schools and Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy are among 22 public schools in Pennsylvania that have received the 2020 College Board AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award. The schools qualified for the recognition by having female students represent 50% or more of those enrolled in one of two Advanced Placement courses — AP Computer Science Principles or AP Computer Science A. Schools also could receive the award based on female students who took a related AP exam that offers the opportunity for college credit.


SAT changes show declining impact exam has on college admissions

ANDREW GOLDSTEIN AND NICK TROMBOLA Pittsburgh Post-Gazette FEB 15, 2021 5:45 AM

The College Board recently announced that it was ending the optional essay-writing portion and subject tests of the SAT exams. But is what appears to be a significant change to an exam that for decades has been a rite of passage as part of the college application process really so consequential?     “The best way I can describe my reaction to this is, ‘If a tree falls in a woods, and there's no one there to hear it, did it really happen?’” said David Barkovich, a counselor at North Hills High School. “I don’t think most are even going to notice it’s gone.” While the inclusion of SAT scores remains a fixture in many college applications, admissions officers have put less weight on them in recent years. Some college admission leaders have even decided that SAT scores are not needed and that testing requirements might deter otherwise worthy applicants. And even fewer schools require potential students to complete the optional essay or subject tests.  The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to the number of schools ending or suspending their SAT requirements as many college-bound students have struggled since last spring to find testing centers available at the right time and place.


C.D.C. Draws Up a Blueprint for Reopening Schools

Amid an acrid national controversy, the agency proposed detailed criteria for returning students to classrooms.

New York Times By Apoorva MandavilliKate Taylor and Dana Goldstein Feb. 12, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday urged that K-12 schools be reopened as soon as possible, and it offered a step-by-step plan to get students back in classrooms and to resolve a debate dividing communities across the nation. The guidelines highlight growing evidence that schools can open safely if they use measures designed to slow the coronavirus’s spread. The agency said that even in communities with high transmission rates, elementary-school students may receive at least some in-person instruction safely. Middle and high school students, the agency said, may attend in-person classes safely when the virus is less prevalent, but may need to switch to hybrid or remote learning in communities experiencing intense outbreaks. “C.D.C.’s operational strategy is grounded in science and the best available evidence,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the C.D.C., said on Friday in a call with reporters. The guidelines arrive amid an intensifying debate. Even as parents in some districts grow frustrated with shuttered schools, some teachers and their unions refuse to return to classrooms they regard as unsafe. Public school enrollment has declined in many districts. Education and civil rights leaders are worried about the harm to children who have not been in classrooms for nearly a year.


CDC Releases New COVID-19 Guidance for Schools. Will It Help Them Reopen?

Education Week By Evie BladCatherine Gewertz & Sarah D. Sparks — February 12, 2021

With proper precautions, it will be possible for U.S. schools to conduct in-person learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in new, long-awaited recommendations released Friday that stressed the importance of getting schools reopened. But most schools are in areas with such significant community spread of the virus that they likely won’t be able to have all students on campus full-time, the recommendations  say. Instead, they may have to operate under hybrid arrangements of remote and in-person learning to allow for social distancing in classrooms and hallways. “I want to underscore that the safest way to open schools is to ensure that there is as little disease as possible in the community,” CDC Director Rochelle Walenksy said in a press call to announce the new guidance Friday. “Thus, enabling schools to open and remain open is a shared responsibility.”


Covid: Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to be tested on children

BBC Published February 14, 2021

A new trial is to test how well the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine works in children.

Some 300 volunteers will take part, with the first vaccinations in the trial taking place later in February. Researchers will assess whether the jab produces a strong immune response in children aged between six and 17. The vaccine is one of two being used to protect against serious illness and death from Covid in the UK, along with the Pfizer-BioNTech jab. As many as 240 children will receive the vaccine - and the others a control meningitis jab - when the trial gets under way. Volunteers who live near one of the four study sites - the University of Oxford, St George's University Hospital, London, University Hospital Southampton and Bristol Royal Hospital for Children - are being asked to sign up.



On His 80th Birthday, Musician Tom Rush Reflects On A Career That's Been '99% Magic'

WBUR by Lauren Daley February 08, 2021


The 2021 PA Educational Leadership Summit, hosted by the PA Principals Association and the PA Association of School Administrators (PASA), is being held from August 1-3 at the Kalahari Resorts and Convention Center, Poconos

PA Principals Association Thursday, February 11, 2021 8:54 AM

PIL Hours Available! See links below to register and for further information.

Click here to register today!

Click here for the informational flyer and details.


Virtual Town Hall on education fair funding co- sponsored by Avon Grove Charter School and Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools set Feb. 24

West Chester Daily Local by MediaNews Group February 6, 2021

WEST GROVE—There will be a virtual Town Hall Meeting on Fair Funding in Education on Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 7 pm. The public is invited. The Town Hall is being co- sponsored by Avon Grove Charter School and Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools. Topics include: problem solve fair funding solutions; learn how public schools are funded in PA.;  learn about the differences between charter & district schools funding.

All are welcome. RSVP Link -


PSBA Spring Virtual Advocacy Day - MAR 22, 2021

PSBA Website January 2021

All public school leaders are invited to join us for our spring Virtual Advocacy Day on Monday, March 22, 2021, via Zoom. We need all of you to help strengthen our advocacy impact. The day will center around contacting legislators to discuss critical issues affecting public education. Registrants will receive the meeting invitation with a link to our spring Virtual Advocacy Day website that contains talking points, a link to locate contact information for your legislator and additional information to help you have a successful day.

Cost: Complimentary for members

Registration: Registration is available under Event Registration on


Attend the NSBA 2021 Online Experience April 8-10

NSBA is pleased to announce the transformation of its in-person NSBA 2021 Annual Conference & Exposition to the NSBA 2021 Online Experience. This experience will bring world-class programming, inspirational keynotes, top education solution providers, and plentiful networking opportunities. Join us on April 8-10, 2021, for a fully transformed and memorable event!


NPE/NPE Action Conference In Philly was rescheduled to October 23/24 due to concerns w/ COVID19.

Network for Public Education

NPE will be sending information to registrants very soon!


Adopt the 2020 PSBA resolution for charter school funding reform

In this legislative session, PSBA has been leading the charge with the Senate, House of Representatives and the Governor’s Administration to push for positive charter reform. We’re now asking you to join the campaign: Adopt the resolution: We’re asking all school boards to adopt the 2020 resolution for charter school funding reform at your next board meeting and submit it to your legislators and to PSBA.

Resolution for charter funding reform (pdf)

Link to submit your adopted resolution to PSBA


353 PA school boards have adopted charter reform resolutions

Charter school funding reform continues to be a concern as over 350 school boards across the state have adopted a resolution calling for legislators to enact significant reforms to the Charter School Law to provide funding relief and ensure all schools are held to the same quality and ethics standards. Now more than ever, there is a growing momentum from school officials across the state to call for charter school funding reform. Legislators are hearing loud and clear that school districts need relief from the unfair funding system that results in school districts overpaying millions of dollars to charter schools.

The school boards from the following districts have adopted resolutions calling for charter funding reform.


Know Your Facts on Funding and Charter Performance. Then Call for Charter Change!

PSBA Charter Change Website:


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