Thursday, September 22, 2011

Public Education Advocacy: Don't wait for them to divert another billion dollars to vouchers and charter operators

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Southeastern PA Republican State Representatives Murt and DiGirolamo are seeking cosponsors for a drilling tax bill that would provide funding to address several statewide needs, including public education via the accountability block grant program.  View the cosponsorship memo and proposed schedule of program funding here.
New Drilling Tax Bill to Fund State Priorities
Republican state Representatives Thomas Murt and Gene DiGirolamo plan to introduce a natural gas drilling tax bill that will support shared statewide priorities as well as local impacts and environmental protection. Their announcement is part of the growing momentum in Harrisburg in support of placing a tax on drilling in the Marcellus Shale. Unlike narrow "impact fee" proposals favored by the Governor and some other lawmakers, the Murt/DiGirolamo plan would benefit both local communities and the entire Commonwealth.
The bill would dedicate 29% of revenue to local government impacts and 27% to statewide environmental programs. The remaining 44% would support shared statewide priorities, including Accountability Block Grants that support pre-kindergarten and early childhood education, human services such as support for people with disabilities and victims of domestic violence, and investments in work training. View more details here.
Show your support by calling your House Representative to ask them to cosponsor the Murt/DiGirolamo drilling tax bill. Then add your name to the Better Choices for Pennsylvania Coalition's sign-on letter
The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center is a non-partisan policy research project that provides independent, credible analysis on state tax, budget and related policy matters, with attention to the impact of current or proposed policies on working families.

The Governor and the General Assembly will soon be deliberating diverting another BILLION taxpayer dollars from public education to give to unaccountable private and religious schools and to fatten the coffers of private charter school management operators who have posted huge political contributions.  Here's another grass-roots public education advocacy group – where's your's?
Public Education Advocacy: Education Matters in Cumberland Valley
Education Matters in the Cumberland Valley has five main goals:
• To inform the public about issues in education that will affect our communities.
• To encourage individuals to become part of the conversation about what is happening in education.
• To encourage our elected officials to support public education.
• To hold our elected officials accountable if they do not support public education.
• To encourage greater access and public involvement in the running of schools.
The email address is

Public Education Advocacy: Forum in Shippensburg: Public education needs action

Chambersburg Public Opinion Online By BRIAN HALL Staff writer
SHIPPENSBURG -- Despite coming from different backgrounds and conferring in separate small groups, similar public education issues drove conversation at a Shippensburg community meeting on Tuesday night.
Common themes arose from a dialogue between parents, educators, students and members of the community at the Shippensburg Firefighters Activity Center.
The event was hosted by Education Voters of Pennsylvania and prompted by the local group Education Matters in Cumberland Valley

PA PASS (Parent Advocates for Public Education to Achieve Student Success)
Public Education Advocacy: 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    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

Obama prepares to revamp 'No Child Left Behind'

By Lyndsey Layton, Published: September 21

Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan are scheduled Friday to detail plans to waive some of the law's toughest requirements, including the goal that every student be proficient in math and reading by 2014 or else their schools could face escalating sanctions.
In exchange for relief, the administration will require a quid pro quo: States must adopt changes that could include the expansion of charter schools, linking teacher evaluation to student performance and upgrading academic standards. As many as 45 states are expected to seek waivers.

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 09/22/2011

Republican bills in Congress don't solve NCLB's main problems

This was written by Monty Neill,  executive director of FairTest, the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, a Boston-based non-profit dedicated to ending the misuse of tests . A different version was published on the National Journal Education blog.
By Monty Neill
If you're a parent or teacher fed up with the way high-stakes testing drives more and more of what happens in school, a new bill from Sen. Lamar Alexander and some Republican colleagues offers little hope of relief. Their package of five bills to change the federal No Child Left Behind law (NCLB) would help by getting rid of the disastrous Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) provisions which mandate all schools reach 100% proficiency by 2014. However, the bills keep too much testing in place and does nothing to address the way the current law increases educational inequity by turning schools for poor children into test prep centers and little else.

Wisconsin's Selling Of School Choice, Walmart Family Heirs And Others Changing Education

Huffignton Post: This piece comes to us courtesy of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.  This is the first of a three-part series by Bill Lueders examining the forces behind the tremendous success of the school choice movement in Wisconsin.
Part One explores the role of contributors such as the Walton family, heirs to the Walmart fortune, and others who support the use of public money for private schools. Part Two, to publish Wednesday, looks at the role of the Legislature and the array of well-connected individuals lobbying for changes in law and policy. Part Three, to publish Saturday, focuses on the expansion of the school choice voucher program to Racine and proposals to extend the program in other ways.
Selling out public schools: Millions of dollars are changing face of education
BILL LUEDERS | Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism
Posted: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 6:00 am
Critics see the school choice program as part of a larger strategy -- driven into high gear in Wisconsin by the fall election of Gov. Scott Walker and other Republicans -- to eviscerate, for ideological and religious reasons, public schools and the unions that represent

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