Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Why We Still Need Public Schools - Public Education for the Common Good

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Public Education for the Common Good
Center on Education Policy

School budget crunch: How bad can it get?

By Pocono Record Writer, October 02, 2011
Early forecasts paint a bleak 2012-13 budget year for Pennsylvania school districts.
Federal grant money that's filled the state's education budget is about to run out, and it seems increasingly unlikely additional state aid will be forthcoming to ailing districts.
In an address to state agencies last month, Gov. Tom Corbett's office said the 2012-13 budget year may be less draconian than its predecessor, but will offer its own set of challenges that will require "strong management and creativity."
The address also hinted that the state's financial obligations to its public employees will impact state aid to local districts.

Celebrating Successful Charters

Posted: 10/2/11 07:04 PM ET
Huffington Post by John Thompson
The slander that "hundreds" of charter schools have produced dramatic gains while keeping "the same students" has long played a destructive role. There seems to be evidence, however, that tens of charters have shown real improvements without weeding out the most difficult-to-educate students.

Bills dilute prevailing wage law for publicly funded jobs
Tuesday, October 04, 2011
By Tom Barnes, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
HARRISBURG -- Republican legislators scored significant victories Monday in bids to water down one of their most-criticized targets, the state's 50-year-old "prevailing wage" law.
The bills now go to the Republican-controlled House, where approval is expected. Since the Senate and governor's office are also Republican-controlled, their passage this fall has a good chance.  The GOP bills are House Bills 1271, 1685, 1329, 1541, 709 and 1191. They can be found at www.legis.state.pa.us .
Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11277/1179611-454.stm#ixzz1ZnzZMT8e

Lawmakers plan would tax natural gas drilling

Posted: Tuesday, October 4, 2011 12:00 am
Bucks County Courier Times By Gary Weckselblatt 
Two Republican state representatives from Bucks and Montgomery counties will introduce a plan Tuesday for a Marcellus Shale drilling tax, a day after Gov. Tom Corbett went public with his plan to allow counties to impose an impact fee for up to 10 years to help pay for the regulation of drilling and fixing damage to the environment.

Incentives for Advanced Work Let Pupils and Teachers Cash In

New York Times By SAM DILLON, Published: October 2, 2011
But two years ago, spurred by a national program that offered cash incentives and other support for students and teachers, Mr. Nystrom's school, South High Community School, adopted a come one, come all policy for Advanced Placement courses. Today Mr. Nystrom teaches A.P. statistics to eight times as many students as he used to, and this year 70 percent of them scored high enough to qualify for college credit, compared with 50 percent before. One in four earned the top score possible, far outpacing their counterparts worldwide.
South High students said Mr. Nystrom and his colleagues had transformed the culture of a tough urban school, making it cool for boys with low-slung jeans who idolize rappers like Lil Wayne to take the hardest classes.

A State Grooms Its Best Students to Be Good Teachers
New York Times By MICHAEL WINERIP, Published: October 2, 2011
In 1993, when Mr. Williams graduated from high school in Goldsboro, N.C., with an A average and a 1,320 on his SATs, he had many options, but he chose the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program. The idea is simple: the state pays top academic students to attend a public college, and in return they spend at least four years teaching in a public school.
In the 20 years since the first fellows began teaching, the program has flourished. High school seniors selected for the program average about 1,200 on the SATs compared with a state average of 1,000. Of the 500 fellows chosen each year, about a quarter are black or Hispanic.

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 10/04/2011

Why public education must be preserved

Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss
This was written by Peggy Zugibe, a member of the Haverstraw-Stony Point (N.Y.) Board of Education. She is also a member of the Rockland Board of Cooperative Educational Services and a member of the board of directors of the New York State School Boards Association.
By Peggy Zugibe
People often ask me why I'm a school board member. To be sure, it is an unpaid and largely thankless job. You make decisions that affect people's wallets and their children, and emotions can run high. No matter what forms of academic progress our students achieve, some will say our schools are failing and call for radical changes.

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