Monday, December 31, 2012

Special Wile E. Coyote Fiscal Cliff Event Horizon Edition

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 1750 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers, PTO/PTA officers, parent advocates, teacher leaders, education professors, members of the press and a broad array of P-16 education advocacy organizations via emails, website, Facebook and Twitter.

These daily emails are archived at
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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:

“Something has gone terribly wrong,” said Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, “when the biggest threat to our American economy is the American Congress.”

A Showdown Long Foreseen

New York Times By JENNIFER STEINHAUER Published: December 30, 2012
WASHINGTON — The titanic struggle over how to reach a broad Congressional tax agreement is not just the latest partisan showdown, but rather the culmination of two years of escalating fiscal confrontations, each building on the other in its gravity and consequences. On Sunday, lawmakers could not seem to find one final way out.
From the first fight over a short-term spending agreement to keep the government open in early 2011 to the later tangle over the debt ceiling to the failure of last year’s special budget committee and the resulting automatic spending cuts that now loom along with tax increases, the so-called fiscal cliff was built, slab by partisan slab, to where it now threatens the nation’s finances.

Like Wile E. Coyote, U.S. edges closer to 'fiscal cliff'

WILL BUNCH, Daily News Staff Writer, 215-854-2957
POSTED: Monday, December 31, 2012, 5:04 AM
AROUND dinnertime Sunday night, ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl reported on Twitter that he'd asked a source who is a Senate aide for an update on the last-minute talks to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff" of across-the-board tax hikes and deep spending cuts. What got emailed back was an iconic picture.
It showed Wile E. Coyote - the Roadrunner's not-so-wily cartoon nemesis - skidding off a steep cliff.
Indeed, the last day of 2012 may long be remembered as America's Wile E. Coyote moment - the day the nation's political system sprinted far out over the abyss of a dry desert canyon, pausing long enough to hold up a tiny sign reading "Help!" before taking a steep plunge into the unknown.

FISCAL CLIFF News, Analysis and Opinion from POLITICO

Wall Street Journal
Fiscal Cliff Countdown December 31, 2012

Hefty Cuts to K-12 Programs At Stake in Fiscal-Cliff Negotiations

 Alyson Klein  
School districts and states are bracing for the possibility of the biggest reduction in federal education aid in recent history, as Congress struggles to reach an agreement to head off across-the-board cuts and tax increases that make up the so-called fiscal cliff.
With much of the focus on the tax policies at issue in the fiscal-cliff negotiations, it's unclear whether any final deal—reportedly being hammered out in the waning hours of 2012 by Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the Senate minority leader, and Vice President Joe Biden—will include a stop to the automatic cuts set to hit just about every federal agency, including the U.S. Department of Education, on Jan. 2.
The cuts—whether and how to head them off—remained a sticking point in negotiations on Monday. And if Congress and the Obama administration are unable to reach agreement on the cuts by Jan. 2, they will go through as planned, at least temporarily.

today’s other education policy news…..

"But Philadelphia has been hit hard by state education financing that has been among the lowest per student of any major city"
Philadelphia School District Plans to Close Dozens of Schools
New York Times By JON HURDLE Published: December 30, 2012
…..the Philadelphia School District has proposed an unprecedented downsizing that would close 37 campuses by June — roughly one out of six public schools, including University City. If the sweeping plan is approved, the district says it will improve academic standards by diverting money used for maintaining crumbling buildings to hire teachers and improve classroom equipment.  The 237-school district faces a cumulative budget deficit of $1.1 billion over the next five years, after $419 million in state cuts to educational financing this year. The district’s problems are compounded by the end of federal stimulus money and rising pension costs.

Pittsburgh schools readying teacher evaluation plan

District's proposal gives weight to data focusing on teachers
By Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette December 31, 2012 12:13 am
Pittsburgh Public Schools is poised to become the first district to seek state approval for its teacher evaluation plan under a new state law.  City school board members are expected to review the plan at a committee meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday and then vote on it Jan. 23.

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