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Education Update

Below is the current Education Update.  Click here for a list of other recent updates.

Save the Date:
Happening this week! Aspiring to Leadership: PASA is proud to host a virtual workshop on Friday, February 3, 2023, from 10 a.m. – 2:15 p.m. focused on individuals who are “Aspiring to Leadership” specifically focusing on the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent positions. This program continues to be very timely and is much needed as we continue to see a tremendous amount of change over in key leadership positions across our state.
PA Summit for Educational Leaders: PASA and the Pennsylvania Principals Association will host the PA Summit for Educational Leaders August 6-8, 2023 at The Alloy King of Prussia and Upper Merion Area High School. Act 45 PIL Hours Available. Look for more information in the new year!
In Health, Safety, Equity & Learning News…
Districts Are Stocking Up on Naloxone But Often Ignoring Drug Prevention— Forty percent of schools nationwide stock the opioid-reversing drug naloxone to counter dangerous drug overdoses, according to a survey this fall by the EdWeek Research Center of more than 1,050 educators and school leaders.That number is likely to climb as adolescent drug overdoses continue to surge nationwide. From 2010 to 2021, overdoses among teens more than doubled, increasing from 518 to 1,146, according to data reported in the medical journal JAMA. Read the rest of the story:  “Districts Are Stocking Up on Naloxone But Often Ignoring Drug Prevention” (from EducationWeek, 1/23/23)
The Ongoing Challenges, and Possible Solutions, to Improving Education Equity— Schools across the country were already facing major equity challenges before the pandemic, but the disruptions it caused exacerbated them. After students came back to school buildings after more than a year of hybrid schooling, districts were dealing with discipline challenges and re-segregating schools. In a national EdWeek Research Center survey from October, 65 percent of the 824 teachers, and school and district leaders surveyed said they were more concerned now than before the pandemic about closing academic opportunity gaps that impact learning for students of different races, socioeconomic levels, disability categories, and English-learner statuses. But educators trying to prioritize equity have an uphill battle to overcome these challenges, especially in the face of legislation and school policies attempting to fight equity initiatives across the country. Read the rest of the story: “The Ongoing Challenges, and Possible Solutions, to Improving Educational Equity?” (from EducationWeek, 1/26/23)
In State News…
PIAA Holds Webinar on NIL — The PIAA recently held a webinar to highlight Name, Image, and Likeness information available to schools, parents and students. Click here to watch the webinar.
Experts, Advocates Focus on Expanding the Job Pipeline for Black Male Teachers — First-year teacher Tamir D. Harper wanted to be an educator so that he could help the community he grew up in and to give his students a chance of having a better education system than he had. Harper teaches eighth-grade students in English and social studies at the Henry C. Lea School in West Philadelphia… Very few of the nation’s K-12 classrooms today are helmed by Black men. Less than 7% percent of teachers are Black, and just 2% are Black men, according to the Department of Education.
Research shows that students who have at least one Black teacher will be 39% less likely to drop out of high school and 29% more likely to enroll in college. Read the rest of the story: “Experts, Advocates Focus on Expanding the Job Pipeline for Black Male Teachers” (from Pennsylvania Capital-Star, 1/30/23)
Auditor General Provides Update on Public School Financial Audit — Auditor General (AG) Tim DeFoor presented an update on the office’s audit of 12 public schools districts (SDs) and their usage of referendum exceptions this afternoon (January 25). Read the rest of the story: “Auditor General Provides Update on Public School Financial Audit” (from PA Legislative Services, 1/25/23)
Western PA School Staffing Shortages Leave Special Education Students Struggling, Families SayBefore bedtime last school year, Melissa Skiffen sat with her son and showed him a picture of the new teacher assistant in his classroom to make him more comfortable with the person who would help him throughout the next day. Her son, who has Down Syndrome and autism, often struggles to understand why the same people aren’t always in his classroom. So Ms. Skiffen takes extra steps like finding photographs and having conversations with her son to make changes easier… Pennsylvania school districts, including many in the Pittsburgh area, have not only been struggling with a shortage of support staff — with districts such as Sto-Rox reporting in December that 80% of vacancies were from paraprofessionals. They’re also confronting a rapidly declining number of special education teaching certifications being issued. Read the rest of the story: “Western PA School Staffing Shortages Leave Special Education Students Struggling, Families Say” (from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 1/29/23)
In National and International News…
The Push for School Choice is Accelerating Emboldened by frustrations with pandemic-era policies and battles over what schools are teaching, conservative parents and politicians have accelerated a push for school choice policies that would funnel public funds into private schools. Though school choice has been debated for decades, the movement is in a unique moment as advocates use parent concerns over COVID-era mask requirements; curriculum addressing race, gender, and sexuality; and library book content to bolster their argument that families should have more options outside of traditional public schools. And the school choice proposals states are considering—and, in some cases, have already passed—are more sweeping than previous iterations. Read the rest of the story: “The Push for School Choice is Accelerating” (from EducationWeek, 1/27/23)
6 Lawsuits That Could Shake Up How States Pay for Schools — Do states provide adequate funding to ensure all students can access a high-quality education? Do local taxpayers shoulder an unfair burden to provide money to schools? Are schools able to maintain operations as the cost of goods and services inevitably rises with inflation? These are among the key questions driving ongoing lawsuits that could reshape how schools are funded in the states where they’re playing out, and reverberate elsewhere. Read the rest of the story: “6 Lawsuits That Could Shake Up How States Pay for Schools” (from EducationWeek, 1/27/23)

Upcoming Legislative Schedule –
House of Representatives:
Next session: February 27 at noon
No committee meetings scheduled at this time.
Next session: February 27 at 1 p.m.
Education Committee: 11 a.m., Hearing Room 1 North Office Building
On the PASA Calendar…
January 31:               Developing and Maintaining a Balanced Budget at WEST PATTAN, 3190 William Pitt Way, Pittsburgh, PA)
February 3:               Aspiring to Leadership (Virtual workshop)
March 30-31:             PASA Leadership Forum - “A New Beginning: Advocating and Leading for a Positive Education System in Pennsylvania”
May 21-23:                PASA Women’s Conference – featuring Ruby Payne, Keynote Speaker on Emotional Poverty
October 16-18:          PASA/PSBA Fall Conference
August 6-8:               PA Summit for Educational Leaders (Held at The Allow King of Prussia and Upper Merion Area High School.) PIL Hours Available
Click here to view the full calendar of events.

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