PA Ed Policy Roundup July 3, 2018 It takes a long time to close a charter school in Philly
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Keystone State Education Coalition PA Ed Policy Roundup July 3, 201 8 It takes a long time to close a charter school in Philly
State to sort out charter school payments
Johnstown Tribune Democrat By John Finnerty Jun 29, 2018
HARRISBURG – Fallout from a Commonwealth Court ruling that changed how public school districts calculate tuition payments to charter schools is causing problems for both the charter schools and about 80 percent of Pennsylvania’s public school districts. Since the February ruling, the state Department of Education has stopped providing guidance to school districts about how to calculate charter school tuition, said Nicole Reigelman, an Education Department spokeswoman. Without state guidance, charters and school districts have been left to figure out for themselves how much should be paid. When the two sides can’t agree, state law allows charters to get the Department of Education to deduct the charter payments from state funding given to local school districts, Reigelman said. Under the old practice, school districts would base charter school tuition payments on their budgeted costs, then later submit a revision reflecting actual education costs, said Hannah Barrick, director of advocacy for the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials.
It takes a long time to close a charter school in Philly. Here’s why
Inquirer by Maddie Hanna, Staff Writer @maddiehanna | firstname.lastname@example.org Updated: JULY 3, 2018 — 6:00 AM EDT
Standardized test scores at the Charter High School for Architecture and Design dropped during the last four years. For the most part, it compared unfavorably to schools with similar student populations and the Philadelphia School District. Attendance declined. The School Reform Commission recently voted against a five-year renewal for the school’s charter. But that doesn’t mean it’s shutting down — or ever will. It can take years to close a charter school in Philadelphia, a decision drawn out by state law and local resistance. Three charter schools recommended for nonrenewal by the school district in 2016 and another three for nonrenewal or revocation in 2017 remain open, with no closing dates imminent. The charter for one of those schools, Aspira-run John B. Stetson, expired even earlier, in 2015. At the SRC’s final meeting on June 21, it renewed two charters that the district had previously advised it to close. The outgoing head of the district’s Charter Schools Office, DawnLynne Kacer, said both schools agreed to surrender their charters if they didn’t meet certain conditions at the end of their terms — three years away for one, and four years for the other. The end result could be the same, Kacer said, because “that’s probably the amount of time it would take” for them to close anyway.
Cash for Connections: How some school districts are cashing-in on their local lawmakers’ clout
Excellent School Website Posted 07.2.2018
Since the early enactment of the 2018-19 state budget on June 22, there has been plenty of news coverage on the big-ticket items secured for education – – $100 million more for basic education, $15 million more for special education and an additional $30 million for career and technical education. But what you may not know is that a handful of school districts will receive extra money from the state coffers this year…to the tune of $18 million (no strings attached). Let that sink in…the Legislature and the Governor allocated more money this year to an unrestricted account, only accessible to a select few school districts than they added to special education. And this is not the first year the state has given out bonuses to certain districts. So, who are the lucky recipients of these discretionary funds and what makes them more deserving of taxpayer resources than any other school district? It’s hard to say, because (unlike the transparency guaranteed when funding formulas or competitive grant programs are used to distribute subsidies) these additional funds are handed out at the discretion of the PA Department of Education, with no accountability measures attached.
“Asked if Gov. Tom Wolf would sign or veto the bill should it pass the House and Senate, his spokesperson said via email, “Governor Wolf has generally opposed preemption laws and he is a strong supporter of early childhood education. We do not believe Harrisburg politicians should override the legal activities of local municipalities, where those elected officials are directly accountable to their constituents.”
A bill to kill the soda tax could divide Philly’s state lawmakers
The split does not follow party lines.
Billy Penn by SARAH ANNE HUGHES JUN 28 2018 · 11:00 A.M.
HARRISBURG — Ah, summertime. When state legislators return to their home districts to engage in warm-weather traditions like eating hot dogs and sipping soda with constituents at block parties and Fourth of July parades. Lawmakers in Philly, of course, pay more for their pop and other sugary drinks, thanks to the city’s tax on sweetened beverages . But that may not be the case next summer if the Pa. legislature takes up a bill to kill the soda tax and preempt other municipalities from levying something similar. It’s a question that could divide members from Philadelphia. Pa. Rep. Jared Solomon, a Democrat who represents part of Northeast Philly, is adamantly opposed to the bill. He was prepared to offer several amendments before the House recessed for the summer. It’s “an issue of local control,” Solomon told Billy Penn. “Many people in Philadelphia and throughout the commonwealth don’t like the soda tax and that’s OK,” he said. But the city has “unique problems,” he added, and the mayor and council “came up with a unique answer to those problems.”
It’s time for Pa. to repeal its prevailing wage law | Colin McNickle
Penn Live Guest Editorial By Colin McNickle Updated Jul 2, 1:28 PM; Posted Jul 2, 9:47 AM
Colin McNickle is a senior fellow and media specialist at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy, a conservative think-tank in Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania’s union-kowtowing prevailing wage law is an albatross around the neck of not only Keystone State taxpayers but also good governance, free-market competition and economic growth, say scholars at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy. The original intent of the prevailing wage laws may have been to protect local laborers from cheap migrant labor, note Frank Gamrat, senior research associate at the Pittsburgh think tank, and Jake Haulk, the institute’s president. But these days the law simply shields union workers from having to compete with other qualified workers in their own community. And the resulting “lack of full-throttled competition for government contracts results in higher costs for taxpayers who ultimately pay for this excessive generosity to unions – and to companies that are union shops and get all the work,” the Ph.D. economists say in a new policy briefing .
Planning for the worst: Mt. Lebanon tries an app for school security
THE EDITORIAL BOARD Pittsburgh Post-Gazette JUL 3, 2018 12:00 AM
Mt. Lebanon School District’s new school security app, which will supposedly combat the possibility of a school shooting, is an innovative strategy that other schools would be wise to try as the nation pursues options to keep its children safe. The app, originally designed by the Florida-based security firm Shield Group Technologies, will allow students and residents to contact the authorities or submit anonymous tips if they suspect someone may be planning an act of violence, such as a school shooting. The app will also provide alerts to users in the event of a violent incident. The ability to make anonymous accusations against another student is cause for concern, and protocols will have to be developed by Mt. Lebanon to prevent abuses of the system. The app also cannot do anything once a shooting is actually occurring, so Mt. Lebanon will still be forced to confront other routes to school safety — the district is also looking to hire a full-time armed officer, for example.
“Over 90 percent of our students earn competent or advanced on their NOCTI exams,” says Brunken. “What other kind of school system can claim they have students passing their assessments at that level?” Gettle agrees and comments, “We’re fortunate that business and industry in Lancaster partners with us and allows our students to receive such great work opportunities. They see a return on investment here through the training they receive and the real world jobs they earn. They’re easily employed in their field of study.” “Our goal is to open students’ eyes to the fact that they can earn life sustaining incomes with advantages for future opportunities in the skill sets we teach,” remarks Brunken. “We teach tech and life lessons.”
My Two Johns
Lancaster Online by Karen Triano Golin Jun 29, 2018
Painter. Electrician. Plumber. Three of the skilled trades. Three growing occupations, and three professionals who may be hard to find when you’re in need of those services. Allow me to elaborate. While I never speak on a personal level about an employment topic an exception in this case should illustrate why these are occupations to consider. Early last year we decided to do a small update to our home. Minor, but then…what started as adding some kitchen lighting turned into painting the whole house (trust me it was long overdue). We contacted both the electrician and painter we’d used in the past, both named John. Both excellent at their craft and in high demand. It took some time just to get quotes. We signed on in March with work to start in April. Electrician John arrived, cut holes in the ceiling, ran the wires and junction boxes and departed to wait for Painter John to drywall around the cutouts and paint. April turned to May and then to June. We waited and waited with holes in our ceiling. It wasn’t until September that Painter John was free. And then not until October that Electrician John could return to hang the lights.
It wasn’t that they didn’t want to do the work. It was that they had too much work and were trying to juggle both major construction projects with homeowner work. Electrician John even commented that he had trouble finding someone to hire to work with him.
Bill Gates spent hundreds of millions of dollars to improve teaching. New report says it was a bust.
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss June 29 Email the author
A major new report concludes that a $575 million project partly underwritten by the Gates Foundation that used student test scores to evaluate teachers failed to achieve its goals of improving student achievement — as in, it didn’t work. Put this in the “they-were-warned-but-didn’t-listen” category. The six-year project began in 2009 when the foundation gave millions of dollars to three public school districts — Hillsborough County in Florida (the first to start the work), Memphis and Pittsburgh. The districts supplied matching funds. Four charter management organizations also were involved: Alliance College-Ready Public Schools; Aspire Public Schools; Green Dot Public Schools; and Partnerships to Uplift Communities Schools. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pumped nearly $215 million into the project while the partnering school organizations supplied their own money, for a total cost of $575 million. The aim was to create teacher evaluation systems that depended on student standardized test scores and observations by “peer evaluators.” These systems, it was conjectured, could identify the teachers who were most effective in improving student academic performance.
Lawmakers Demand Answers From DeVos About Unaccompanied Migrant Children‘s Education
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Andrew Ujifusa on June 29, 2018 11:37 AM
Democrats on the House education committee want to know how the Trump administration is ensuring that migrant children separated from their families, as well as other unaccompanied minor children in federal custody, are receiving the education services they’re entitled to. In a Thursday letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and three other cabinet secretaries, the 17 Democratic lawmakers asked about oversight ensuring that required education services are being provided, the curriculum and other content being provided by the federal government for these children, and the qualifications of those providing instruction. Although the Trump administration recently reversed its policy of separating minors from their families as part of a “zero tolerance” approach to crossing at the U.S.-Mexico border, there are still roughly 2,000 children who remain separated from their parents or guardians as a result of the policy.
Apply Now for EPLC’s 2018-2019 PA Education Policy Fellowship Program!
Applications are available now for the 2018-2019 Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP) . The Education Policy Fellowship Program is sponsored in Pennsylvania by The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC).
With more than 500 graduates in its first eighteen years, this Program is a premier professional development opportunity for educators, state and local policymakers, advocates, and community leaders. State Board of Accountancy (SBA) credits are available to certified public accountants.
Past participants include state policymakers, district superintendents and principals, school business officers, school board members, education deans/chairs, statewide association leaders, parent leaders, education advocates, and other education and community leaders. Fellows are typically sponsored by their employer or another organization. The Fellowship Program begins with a two-day retreat on September 13-14, 2018 and continues to graduation in June 2019.
Applications are being accepted now .
Click here to read more about the Education Policy Fellowship Program.
The application may be copied from the EPLC web site, but must be submitted by mail or scanned and e-mailed, with the necessary signatures of applicant and sponsor.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of the Fellowship Program and its requirements, please contact EPLC Executive Director Ron Cowell at 717-260-9900 or email@example.com .
Gerrymandering: Fair Districts PA Statewide Calendar of Events https://www.fairdistrictspa.com/events
Nominations for PSBA’s Allwein Advocacy Award due by July 16
PSBA Website May 14, 2018
The Timothy M. Allwein Advocacy Award was established in 2011 by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association and may be presented annually to the individual school director or entire school board to recognize outstanding leadership in legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of public education and students that are consistent with the positions in PSBA’s Legislative Platform. In addition to being a highly respected lobbyist, Timothy Allwein served to help our members be effective advocates in their own right. Many have said that Tim inspired them to become active in our Legislative Action Program and to develop personal working relationships with their legislators. The 2018 Allwein Award nomination process will begin on Monday, May 14, 2018. The application due date is July 16, 2018 in the honor of Tim’s birth date of July 16.
Download the Application
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 . http://dlvr.it/Q5d0c8
2nd Annual National Black Male Educators Convening, Oct. 12-14, Philly by The Fellowship: Black Male Educators for Social Justice 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. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2nd-annual-national-black-male-educators-convening-tickets-46322952197
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.
H ousing now open!
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.