Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Voucher Roundup/Budget/Pensions

Rural lawmakers should oppose school voucher bill
New Bethlehem Leader Vindicator Editorial Wednesday, April 20, 2011
As this was written, lawmakers in Harrisburg late last week continued to wring their hands over the passage of Senate Bill 1, which if approved, would establish a school voucher system in the state for children of low- and middle-income families.
The bill was expected to fly through the state Senate last week, but a lot of second-guessing apparently took hold as senators wisely slowed down the process to give some thought to what is a major and expensive overhaul to education as we know it in Pennsylvania.
And we think they should not only continue to research the matter, but ultimately scrap plans to siphon funding away from our public school system and to give taxpayer money to private schools that are not held accountable to state standards.

Here's the latest in focused PR efforts against lawmakers opposing SB1, funded by the deep pockets of the StudentsFirst PAC.  They are an American Federation of Children partner organization; follow that thread in the two articles below this one….
John Braebender, Gov. Corbett's chief campaign strategist; working hard for StudentsFirst PAC against SB1 opponents

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett to Keynote National School Choice Summit, May 9, 2011

Corbett to Speak at Event of American Federation for Children (AFC)

WASHINGTON, April 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett will deliver a major policy address on school choice at the second annual National Policy Summit of the American Federation for Children on Monday, May 9, 2011, in Washington, D.C., the organization announced today. (www.FederationForChildren.org)
Corbett, who made education reform one of the hallmarks of his 2010 campaign for governor, is a supporter of school choice, charter schools, scholarship tax credits, and school vouchers for disadvantaged children.  "We are honored that Governor Corbett will join us to discuss the future of education reform in Pennsylvania and the need for enhanced school choice across America," said Betsy DeVos, chairman of the American Federation for Children. "

Voucher Advocate Betsy DeVos, Right-Wing Think Tanks Behind Koch-Style Attack on PA Public Schools
Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 11:28:44 PM EST
The DeVos family crusade to eradicate public education has targeted Pennsylvania, and a voucher bill may come to a vote in the PA Senate as early as Tuesday.  It's being marketed as a solution to save public schools, but the big donors are tied to right-wing think tanks that openly advocate, and strategize, the end of public education.  How can vouchers improve public schools if the people mobilizing the movement intend to eradicate public education?  Regardless of your personal stance on "school choice," it's important to know who is behind the voucher movement and the agenda they don't share with the public or advertise in their media campaigns.

The Heron's Nest: Schools of hard knocks

By Phil Heron, editor@delcotimes.com
The beat goes on.  Or maybe that would be better stated the "beat-down" goes on.
Another Delaware County school district is trying to figure out how to make ends meet. Last week it was Chichester; this week it's William Penn.
School directors there find themselves staring at a $9 million budget gap.

http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2011/04/27/opinion/doc4db6a166bdd1d475703588.txt

Pennsylvania undercut pensions, study finds

By Debra Erdley, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Pennsylvania shortchanged its state and school pension systems more than any other state in 2009, according to a study released on Tuesday.
The state paid only 31 percent of the $2.4 billion needed to keep the funds healthy, the study by the Pew Center for the States found.

Public Pensions, Once Off Limits, Face Budget Cuts

New York Times, By MICHAEL COOPER and MARY WILLIAMS WALSH, Published: April 25, 2011
When an arbitrator ruled this month that Detroit could reduce the pensions being earned by its police sergeants and lieutenants, it put the struggling city at the forefront of a growing national debate over whether the pensions of current public workers can or should be reduced.

Concerned about the Education Budget? Let Governor Corbett Know
Governor Tom Corbett Phone: 717-787-2500, Fax: 717-772-8284, Email: governor@state.pa.us




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