Tuesday, September 27, 2011

As the Governor’s privatization agenda ramps up, so does parent advocacy for public education. Voters are waking up to the fact that their good public schools will be gone if they don’t speak up.

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Capitol agenda slated to include Marcellus Shale fees and school vouchers

Published: Monday, September 26, 2011, 5:30
As both chambers of the General Assembly return to Harrisburg, there is no end of big issues on the agenda: education reform, privatizing liquor stores, Marcellus Shale impact fees, even how the state votes in presidential elections. Here's a primer on what to watch for as the fall debates heat up. As usual, there are no slam dunks.

Public Education Advocacy in Bucks and Montgomery Counties:
Save the date for a parent legislative meeting on Thursday October 27th.  More details as they become available.

Public Education Advocacy at Laurel Highlands: Local lawmakers urge residents to speak out about education cuts

Posted: Sunday, September 25, 2011 2:00 am .
By Carla DeStefano Uniontown HeraldStandard.com
Local legislators urged residents on Thursday to stand up and be heard against the deep cuts in education that resulted from the governor's budget this year.
"You've got to engage tactfully," said state Rep. Bill DeWeese, D-Waynesburg. "If we don't, we will be playing patty cake for the next three years."
DeWeese was joined by state Reps. Tim Mahoney, D-South Union Township; Deberah Kula, D-North Union Township; and Peter J. Daley, D-California; as well as state Sen. Rich Kasunic, D-Dunbar; and Norman Hasbrouck, special assistant to California University of Pennsylvania president Angelo Armenti Jr. and a school board director in the California Area School District; during a public meeting held at Laurel Highlands High School. The event was organized by Tom Landman, a teacher at the middle school in the district.

This is the national voucher agenda – get the camel's nose under the tent by using "poor kids trapped in failing schools" as the argument, then run the bait and switch to the real agenda – simply handing out tax dollars to unaccountable private and religious schools for any student.  This Ohio bill would raise the family income limit to $95K.

Ohio bill would expand voucher system

GOP-backed plan would let more students attend private schools with public funds

NEWARK -- A bill that would allow wider access to vouchers covering private school tuition is closer to becoming law, although many questions still need to be addressed, officials said.
Ohio House Bill 136 was approved by the House's Education Committee this week, Rep. Jay Hottinger, R-Newark, said. It would expand the state's private school voucher program to any student in any district whose family makes less than $95,000

Here's another one – Indiana's new voucher program has an income limit of $62K and has triggered a rush to Parochial schools.  If we can't support one school system adequately why would we take on funding for an entire additional school system with no fiscal or academic performance accountability?
Detractors: Indiana Voucher System Promotes Religion
Western Michigan University Public Radio September 23, 2011 
Indiana's new voucher program allows families with incomes up to $62,000 to take a portion of the funds that would have gone to a public school and convert it into a scholarship that can be used at a private school. The program has brought an enrollment rush at Catholic schools. Opponents fear the vouchers could siphon money away from public schools, and uses state funds to offer religious education.
© Copyright 2011, WMUK

Public Education Advocacy in Cumberland Valley: Education Matters in the Cumberland Valley Meeting Invitation and Update

From Susan Spicka, Community Liaison, Education Matters in the Cumberland Valley
Thank you to everyone who attended the civic dialogue in Shippensburg last week. Over 45 people came out to discuss issues in public education and to show their support for our public schools.  We would love to continue this conversation. Join us for a meeting of Education Matters in the Cumberland Valley on Wednesday, October 5th at 7:30 at Biscotti (300 N. Earl St. in Shippensburg). Everyone is welcome. Please let us know that you're coming so that we bring enough materials.
At the meeting we will:
·         give a brief overview of issues in Harrisburg that affect public education
·         discuss how we can take action to support our schools
If you're interested in receiving updates on Facebook Like our page at:https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Education-Matters-in-the-Cumberland-Valley/103956316362370
Here are two articles about the civic dialogue:
This is the News-Chronicle's article about the civic dialogue: http://shipnc.com/articles/2011/09/22/news/doc4e7b82f430c07677427582.txt
The Public Opinion's article about the civic dialogue on education in Ship on Sept. 20th:http://www.publicopiniononline.com/localnews/ci_18941804

PA PASS (Parent Advocates for Public Education to Achieve Student Success)
Public Education Advocacy in Delaware County: Legislative Forum in Delaware County Thursday October 13th at 7:00 pm
Upper Darby Performing Arts Center, 601 N. Lansdowne Ave. Drexel Hill
If you are in southeastern PA, please consider filling up a car with school parents and attending this meeting.  Those invited include Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, House Appropriations Chairman Bill Adolph and House Education Committee Chairman Paul Clymer. Please ask attendees to RSVP in advance at delcolegislativeforum.eventbrite.com    If you are not close by, consider joining with your neighboring school districts to hold a similar event.  If you are interested in helping out please contact Marian Rucci, Delco PA PASS County Coordinator at .rucci.papass@live.com

Minnesota State audit finds lower completion rates, more dropouts among full-time online students

by Tom Weber, Minnesota Public Radio, September 19, 2011
St. Paul, Minn. — A new audit released Monday from the Office of Legislative Auditor finds enrollment in online courses is booming. But it also raises concerns about how well those students perform in that setting, and also how the state regulates the entire venture……. Nobles focused a large part of his report on the roughly 8,000 students who are in an online school full time.  He found those students are less likely to complete courses they've started, and more likely to drop out of school altogether than students in traditional classroom settings. Two years ago, 25 percent of 12th graders in online schools dropped out, compared to just 3 percent in traditional schools.

Fox in the Schoolhouse: Rupert Murdoch Wants to Teach Your Kids!

News Corp.'s major move into the education business.
Fri Sep. 23, 2011 3:00 AM PDT
Rupert Murdoch's reputation precedes him—but one thing he's not well known for is his education reform advocacy. But that could soon change. Next month, Murdoch will make an unusual public appearance in San Francisco, delivering the keynote address at an education summit hosted by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has lately been crisscrossing the country promoting his own version of education reform.

Lawrence A. Feinberg
Keystone State Education Coalition

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