Friday, December 28, 2012

Cliff Notes: Sequestration Status December 28, 2012

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Keystone State Education Coalition 10 Popular Posts 2012
A collection of our postings that garnered the most traffic and interest during 2012:

Sequestration: Cliff Talks Down to the Wire

Both Sides to Meet at White House; Any Deal Likely to Be Limited

Wall Street Journal By JANET HOOK and CAROL E. LEE

Congress and the White House took small steps toward breaking the budget impasse Thursday, but Democrats and Republicans grew increasingly fearful they won't be able to avert the tax increases and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff, a prospect that is unnerving consumers and investors.
President Barack Obama invited congressional leaders to the White House on Friday afternoon for a last-ditch effort to broker a deal, as the Senate returned to Washington on Thursday. House GOP leaders said in a Thursday conference call with Republicans, who are growing nervous about their party being blamed for the deadlock, that the House will reconvene Sunday evening.

“Lawmakers and aides from both parties cautioned that the burst of activity could be more about making sure the other side gets the blame than any real search for a resolution before the Jan. 1 deadline. Under Senate rules, no deal could run the gantlet of procedural hurdles in time for a final vote before the deadline without all the senators agreeing not to slow progress.”

Sequestration: In Flurry of Activity, Only Muted Hope for Fiscal Deal

New York Times By JONATHAN WEISMAN Published: December 27, 2012
WASHINGTON — President Obama will meet with Congressional leaders on Friday, and House Republicans summoned lawmakers back for a Sunday session, in a last-ditch effort to avert a fiscal crisis brought on by automatic tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to hit next week.
Republicans expressed a flicker of hope Thursday that a deal could still be reached to at least avert most of the tax increases on Jan. 1, to prevent a sudden cut in payments to medical providers treating Medicare patients and to extend expiring unemployment benefits. But both parties’ leaders said time is running out.
“Here we are, five days from the New Year, and we might finally start talking,” said Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate Republican leader.

Sequestration: The logic of House GOP intransigence

Politico By ALEX ISENSTADT | 12/28/12 4:43 AM EST
The unruly House Republicans who emasculated Speaker John Boehner as the country flirts with fiscal havoc might’ve seemed like they were doing their best “Lord of the Flies” rendition.
But last week’s mayhem had a certain logic — the logic of politicians wanting to keep their jobs.

Sequestration: Summoned Back to Work, Senators Chafe at Inaction

New York Times By JENNIFER STEINHAUER Published: December 27, 2012
WASHINGTON — Senators bid hasty goodbyes to families, donned ties and pantsuits in lieu of sweat pants and Christmas sweaters and one by one returned to the Capitol on Thursday to begin the business of doing nothing in particular.
But for once, those lawmakers were fully united, if only around their sadness and frustration at being stuck in Washington in a holiday week, peering over the edge of the fiscal abyss.

District recruits corps to lead way to reorganization

Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer December 28, 20123:01 AM
Today a third-grade teacher in a Philadelphia School District classroom, next month a teacher-training specialist with direct access to Superintendent William R. Hite Jr.?
District officials hope so.
They are recruiting a small group of people at every level of the organization, from teachers on up, to be part of a unique "Transformation Corps" - 15 or so employees who will work to solve the school system's most critical problems

Increasing number of students opting for charter schools

TribLive by By Daveen Rae Kurutz and Matt Defusco December 26, 2012, 8:56 p.m.
A growing number of Western Pennsylvania students attending taxpayer-funded charter schools is changing public education, as parents take advantage of school choice.
“We‘re competing with the cyber schools, and we think we can do it better,” Joseph Clapper said, superintendent at Quaker Valley School District, which draws students from the Sewickley valley. “These are interesting times. It is important for Quaker Valley and, I believe, all public schools, to be open-minded about the way we deliver curriculum to our 21st-century students.”
The number of students choosing a charter school in 23 western Pennsylvania districts has increased from 1,500 in 2008-09 to 2,300 this year — or by 52 percent, according to a survey in October. Trib Total Media conducted the survey to determine how many students are choosing charter schools, and why.

State School Funds On Trial, Again
Stateline, Daily News Service of The Pew Center on the States By Ben Wieder, Staff Writer
…..Texas isn’t the only state facing a legal challenge to its school-funding system. Next month, a three-judge panel in a Kansas District Court is expected to rule on a lawsuit arguing that that state isn’t spending enough on education. And next spring, the Colorado Supreme Court will review last year’s District Court ruling that the state’s funding system is “unconscionable” and does not meet the state constitution’s requirements for a “thorough and uniform” education system. If they lose in court, Colorado and Kansas might have to spend billions more on education.  Overall, ten states have school finance challenges working their way through the courts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Four other states recently wrapped up legal challenges.

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