The latest from the Schott Foundation and our allies.
Pennsylvania policymakers are getting distracted by voucher programs and ignoring more effective strategies for education reform, says a new study from the Pennsylvania School Boards Association's Education Research and Policy Center. Noting the high number of "costly and nationally unprecedented voucher programs" under consideration in Pennsylvania, the study criticizes the weight policymakers give to voucher programs:
Occupy Wall Street!  Why has it captured America’s attention? Because there is a deep and fundamental anger about the inequity and greed that have hijacked our financial and political systems.  While the 99% have absorbed successive years of budget slashing for schools, colleges, health care services, and programs for the poor, the elderly and the disabled, the 1% are getting fat tax cuts.  While increasing numbers of Americans—from 20-somethings to 50-somethings—are facing the personal pain of job loss or drop in pay, benefits and opportunity, the income and wealth gap between the 1% and the rest of us is growing to a chasm.
The New York Council of School Superintendents’ recently released report, At the Edge, provides insights into the painful realities of continued education budget cuts, including: 75 percent of superintendents say their districts’ financial condition is worse or significantly worse than a year ago; 89 percent are concerned or very concerned by their districts’ reliance on using reserve funds to pay for recurring costs; and  63 percent increased class sizes this year, while 47 percent reduced or deferred purchases of instructional technology. It’s plain and simple: school cuts HURT. The hurt is even greater because New York students are being robbed of learning opportunities as part of a budget pushed by Gov. Cuomo that gives millionaires a $5 billion tax break. Read and share the report. Stay informed. We can’t allow New York's example to be repeated in other states.  
In a recent PBS NewsHour segment, education blogger John Merrow gives us a stark illustration of how budget cuts are having dire effects on schools by taking a closer look at Mifflin County, Pa. Because of budget cuts there, Superintendent James Estey had to close five of the county’s 13 schools, fire teachers, increase class sizes, and cut Advanced Placement course offerings. As bad as that sounds, Estey says matters are likely to only get worse next year, when he expects to have to do “the same with less or more with less.” Watch the video:
Talk about a pipeline to prison. In a new study released Wednesday, Daniel Losen, a senior education law and policy associate at UCLA's Civil Rights Project, traces the educational consequences of harsh disciplinary measures that are doled out unevenly to students of color.  


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