Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Budget, Vouchers, Testing, Billionaires

GOP eyes restoring some education funding

Social welfare would bear the brunt, however, and minority Democrats warn of damage.

By John L. Micek, Allentown Morning Call Harrisburg Bureau
9:20 p.m. EDT, May 23, 2011
The Republican-controlled state House advanced its version of Gov. Tom Corbett's $27.3 billion budget on Monday night, positioning a spending plan that partially restores the administration's deep cuts to public and higher education by carving funding out of social welfare programs.
A vote on the budget could come as soon as Tuesday. But agreement between House GOP leaders and the majority-Republican Senate on a host of issues, from whether to spend an anticipated $500 million surplus to whether to approve a proposed impact fee on Marcellus Shale natural gas drillers, remain unresolved

Posted on Mon, May. 23, 2011
Pennsylvania: Voucher Ground Zero
By WILL BUNCH, Philadelphia Daily News
bunchw@phillynews.com 215-854-2957
FOR WEEKS, deep-pocketed advocates for school vouchers - tax dollars to help students attend private or religious schools - in Pennsylvania sold their scheme as the only way for poor children to escape failing urban public schools.
Then some leading tea-party groups objected to the legislation slowly snaking its way through Harrisburg.  Their objection: The plan was too generous to poor children.


Senator Williams and Senator Leach on Bar Association Panel June 1st
The Pennsylvania Bar Institute, the continuing education arm of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, will be offering a program entitled "The Future of School Voucher Programs in PA" on Wednesday June 1st from 12:00 noon to 3:15 p.m.  It will be simulcast in several locations around the state and is also being offered as a webcast.

Tests for Pupils, But the Grades Go to Teachers

New York Times By SHARON OTTERMAN Published: May 23, 2011
New York City education officials are developing more than a dozen new standardized tests, but in a sign of the times, their main purpose will be to grade teachers, not the students who take them.


The following article about education reforms in Wisconsin sounds very familiar, including some of the players and the funding:

How to destroy a school system
The public needs to wise up to the GOP's true agenda
Madison Wisconsin Isthmus; Opinion  

There is something horribly fascinating about watching Wisconsin Republicans discuss their plans for our state's school system.
First, they swing the bloody ax:
·         The biggest budget cuts to our public schools in state history, nearly $900 million. Kerchunk.
·         A bill to create a statewide system of charter schools whose authorizing board is appointed by Scott Walker and the Fitzgeralds, and which will funnel resources out of local schools and into cheapo online academies. Kerchunk.
·         Lifting income caps on private-school vouchers so taxpayers foot the bill to send middle- and upper-income families' kids to private school. Kerchunk.
Then comes the really sick part. They candy-coat all this with banal statements about "reforms" that will "empower" parents and students and improve education.

REPORT: Meet The Billionaires Who Are Trying To Privatize Our Schools And Kill Public Education

Think Progress By Zaid Jilani on May 21st, 2011
Two weeks ago, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) marked "a new era for education in Indiana" when he signed into law one of the most expansive school voucher laws in the country, opening up a huge fund of tax dollars for private schools. A few days later, the Wisconsin state Assembly vastly expanded school vouchers, freeing up tax dollarseven for private religious schools. GOP legislators in the Pennsylvania Senate say they have the votes to pass a sweeping voucher bill of their own. And on Capitol Hill, House Republicanssuccessfully revived Washington, D.C.'s voucher system after it was killed off two years ago.


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