Press Releases

Wednesday, June 3, 2015 1:30 PM

A day after House Republicans sent a message to Gov. Tom Wolf that they are not on board with his $29.9 billion spending plan or the tax package he proposed to support it, GOP leaders from both legislative chambers met behind closed doors at the budget table with the governor.

Click here for full article

Sources: Pennlive.com, June 2, 2015; PSBA Daily EDition, June 3, 2015.

 
Wednesday, June 3, 2015 9:45 AM

PA Principals Association recently participated, along with several other education groups, in a meeting with the LNP Editorial Board (Lancaster newspaper) regarding the Pennsylvania pension crisis. The article (link) appears below.

THE ISSUE

 Pennsylvania’s two large pension funds — for teachers and state employees (the latter including state lawmakers, on the theory that they work) — are significantly underfunded. According to their own reports, they have a combined $53 billion in unfunded liabilities. In a March report, the National Association of State Retirement Administrators put the two funds at only 41 percent of annual required contribution, second-worst in the nation.

Five representatives of groups that speak for public school administrators and school board members told the LNP Editorial Board on Monday that Pennsylvania’s pension crisis must be addressed as part of this year’s budget.

“If you increase basic education (funding from the state to Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed 50 percent), in the absence of solving the pension crisis, it’s going to be gobbled up by pension costs,” said Joseph Clapper, assistant executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals. Clapper, who retired after eight years as superintendent of the Quaker Valley School District about a year ago, said he understands this, having worked on his final budget just 10 months ago.

Click here for the full article.

Source: LancasterOnline, Posted Wednesday, June 3, 2015 6:00 a.m., The LNP Editorial Board.

 
Wednesday, June 3, 2015 8:46 AM

Beginning with the graduating class of 2017, Pennsylvania’s Chapter 4 regulations require that students demonstrate proficiency in Algebra I, Biology and Literature. For students who are unable to demonstrate proficiency via the Keystone Exams, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has developed a project-based assessment system (PBA) that is aligned with the modules for each Algebra I, Biology and Literature Keystone Exam. Successful completion of a PBA aligned to the Keystone Exam or Keystone Exam module on which a student did not demonstrate proficiency shall satisfy the state graduation requirement.

Midwestern Intermediate Unit (MIU) will host the Project-Based Assessment Tutoring this summer at its central office in Grove City, PA. Program features include:

  • Cohorts for all modules of Algebra, Biology and Literature will run concurrently.
  • On-site tutors support learners throughout each module to maximize the learning experience.
  • A repository of support materials available on site.
  • Four day sessions held in MIU IV’s conference rooms.
  • Students complete PBA requirement under the supervision of MIU IV’s certified, highly qualified PBA tutors.
  • MIU IV provides materials, technology and staff support.

Three on-site summer cohorts are available as folllows:

  1. Summer Session #1 cohort is June 22-25, 2015   
    (enrollment window May 4 - June 12)
  2. Summer Session #2 cohort is  July 13-16, 2015
    (enrollment window July 1 - July 10)
  3. Summer Session #3 cohort is August 10-13, 2015
    (enrollment window is July 27 - August 5).  

Online registration is available at:  www.miu4.org/keystone.pba.

The cost of Keystone Project-Based Assessment Service is as follows: $150 per student/per module.

Please contact Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV if you need additional information to register students: Dr. Cathleen J. Cubelic at 724-458-6700, x 1227; or cathleen.cubelic@miu4.org.

 

 
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 9:59 AM

Pennsylvania school students are wrapping up a month of standardized testing, and one local district superintendent is now advocating an end to at least one of those tests.

Click here for article.

Source: CBS Philly, June 1, 2015; PSBA Daily EDition, June 1, 2015.


 
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 9:56 AM

Join PA Principals Association on June 23, 2015 for its first annual Principals’ Lobby Day. Meet with legislators at the Capitol and make your voice heard on important issues! Click here to view the Lobby Day flyer (includes important issues to discuss with your legislators).

To register for Principals' Lobby Day, please contact Stephanie Kinner at kinner@paprincipals.org by Tuesday, June 16, 2015. Upon registration, you will be sent further details regarding the event.

Also, June 23rd is All for Education Day in Harrisburg. PA Principals Association will join with parent, education advocacy, faith and labor organizations as well as school, municipal and community officials at the Capitol to hold a press conference and rally at 12:00 p.m. in the Main Rotunda. We must speak up for the importance of funding our schools, fairly and at sufficient levels so all students have an opportunity to learn.   

If you do not know your legislator/s, click here.

 

 
Monday, June 1, 2015 2:48 PM

What began as a conversation between two local children’s advocates recently made its way to the state House of Representatives in the form of a bill to address truancy in charter and cyber charter schools. The legislation, introduced last month by state Rep. Dom Costa, D-Stanton Heights, would require such institutions to enforce compulsory attendance laws for their students.

Click here for article.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 1, 2015.

 
Monday, June 1, 2015 2:44 PM

The Quakertown Community School Board (Bucks Co.) recently called for all school boards to participate in an act of civil disobedience by violating state law and withholding their September pension payment to the Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) as a way to highlight the pension issue. The Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) understands the frustration Quakertown Community and all other school entities are experiencing with the gridlock in solving the pension crisis. Below is a link to a letter from PSBA President William LaCoff and Executive Director Nathan Mains explaining why PSBA cannot support such actions and outlining the ramifications of doing so. 

  • Letter to Quakertown Community School Board and legal opinion for Michael I. Levin, PSBA legal counsel

Source: PSBA Daily Edition, June 1, 2015.

 
Monday, June 1, 2015 1:35 PM

As you know, the Career and Technical Education System (CATS), serves as the official record of a school entity’s approved career and technical education program and is used to verify the data which forms the basis for the Secondary Career and Technical Education Subsidy calculation. As the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) reviews the information submitted in CATS, there are noticeable inconsistencies between the information in CATS and the information found in the Pennsylvania Information Management System (PIMS).

Over-reporting students - One example/possible scenario:

In some instances, schools hold approval to operate a two-year program or programs, but are delivering programs to three grade levels and are seeking the Secondary Career and Technical Education Subsidy for each of those grade levels. If, for example, schools are actually operating a three-year program when the school only holds approval to operate a two-year program, the school must either seek approval for a three-year program or change its delivery practices.  This holds true for all delivery models: one-year, two-year, three-year and four-year. Simply stated, the information in CATS must reflect the actual delivery at the school level. 

Under-reporting students - One example/possible scenario:

In some instances, schools who hold approval to operate a four-year program are delivering the program to only three grade levels. Again, this holds true for all delivery models: one-year, two-year, three-year and four-year. The information in CATS must reflect the actual delivery at the school level. 

Please review the information submitted into the CATS system and, based on your review, make any revision or seek new program approvals, as appropriate. For funding purposes, ensure that the number of years noted in the CATS system is equal to the number of years the program is being delivered at the school. 

Please direct any questions about the above information to Lee Burket, PDE’s bureau director for Career and Technical Education, at lburket@pa.gov or 717-787-5530.

 
Friday, May 29, 2015 10:08 AM

State Rep. Mike Carroll, D-Luzerne/Lackawanna, will introduce an omnibus Public School Code bill that would establish a moratorium on Keystone Exams being used as a requirement for graduation. Carroll said this suspension would benefit students and their families, while offering much-needed relief to school districts that face significant financial and educational obstacles to fully implement the graduation requirement. "It has become ever more apparent to me that the linkage of Keystone exam passage to graduation is riddled with problems and that more thought is required to assess students with a wide range of abilities," said Carroll, a member of the House Education Committee. "A one-size-fits-all approach seldom works in the real word and the Keystone exam requirement is no exception."

Click here for article.

Source: http://www.pahouse.com, Press Release, May 28, 2015.

 
Friday, May 29, 2015 10:05 AM

Pennsylvania's school funding system is broken, and students in classrooms across the state are paying the consequences. Recent cuts in state funding, combined with the fact that the state does not have a predictable, sustainable and fair basic education funding system to distribute dollars where they are needed, have put our students at a disadvantage. There should be no question that money matters. Data shows that student performance in our state has tracked with state funding levels. A study comparing changes in state test scores with changes in state funding between 2003 and 2011 found that performance in the 50 lowest-achieving districts increased by 50 percent, on average, as basic education funding to those districts increased by about 40 percent. By contrast, as state school funding levels fell between 2011 and 2014, leading many schools to cut programs, lay off teachers and increase class sizes, student performance lagged among all students, but particularly for those facing additional challenges.

Click here for the article.

Source: Erie Times-News, By Frederick C. Johnson Contributing writer, May 28, 2015.

 

 
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