OTL Campaign Newsletter 
June 15, 2011  
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cornerFEATURED VIDEOS


First Five Years Fund:
Early Learning Matters.Read more.


Alliance for Quailty Education:
A Call for Equity: A child's circumstances shouldn't determine what he or she can become. Read more. 

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UPCOMING EVENTS

July 28-31:
"Save Our Schools March & National Call to Action"

Thousands of people will gather at the White House in Washington, D.C., and at locations around the nation to express their desire to reclaim the right to determine the path of education reform in their own communities. A state-by-state list of contacts for the Save Our Schools March and related local events is available online here.

OTL HIGHLIGHTS
  • Courts Questioning Constitutionality of State Budget Cuts
    In states from California to New Jersey, courts are sending budget negotiators back to the table to reconsider cuts, and cases are pending in other states, according to a recent New York Times article. In North Carolina, where the court will decide if state education cuts violate previous court orders, Judge Howard E. Manning Jr. of Wake County Superior Court, said it best: “The current financial difficulties of the state do not relieve, justify or excuse the State of North Carolina from its constitutional obligation to provide each and every child in North Carolina an equal opportunity to obtain a sound basic education.” Read more>

  • Education Law Center: N.J. Court orders more money for poorest districts
    The Education Law Center has scored a partial victory on behalf of New Jersey students in low-income urban communities. In the most recent development of the long-running Abbott vs. Burke school funding lawsuit, courts ruled that N.J. Gov. Chris Christie's 2011 education budget cuts were unconstitutional and ordered him to restore $500 million in education funding. Learn more about the Center's efforts to bring educational opportunity to all New Jersey students through rigorous content and per-pupil funding that is equal to spending in successful suburban schools. Read more>

  • ACLU demands U.S. investigation of Wisconsin's school voucher program Charging that the state’s program “systematically excludes” students with disabilities. “Right now only about 1.6 percent of voucher students have disabilities, while 19.5 percent of Milwaukee Public School students do,” said Karyn Rotker, senior staff attorney with the ACLU of Wisconsin. “Increasing the size of the voucher program -- as the state intends to do -- will only lead to even more discrimination and more segregation of children with disabilities.” Read more>

  • Ben Jealous: Why the NAACP is suing New York
    We believe that if we make all our schools great places to learn, we will have more than better institutions and better-prepared students -- we will have a better country. Toward this end, we filed a lawsuit last month on behalf of New York City's public schoolchildren and their parents. Read more>

  • PEN national commission report: Increase investment in schools
    Recognizing the urgency to increase our nation’s commitment to civic investment and engagement in our public education systems to ensure all children have an opportunity to learn at a high level, a 15-member national commission of education and philanthropic leaders issued May 26 a landmark report, An Appeal to All Americans," that establishes standards and guidelines for the fast-growing field of public education assistance groups. Read more>

  • OTL Campaign Blog: Supporting Teachers in Montgomery County, MD
    Studies show that access to a highly effective can significantly improve student achievement. It's imperative that federal leaders be willing to watch, learn and support replication of programs that have proven sound and successful. Instead, the federal Race to the Top competitive funding program has forced state education leaders to reject millions of dollars in potential funding because they refuse to abandon programs that work. Read more>


  • SEF exposes GA's failed experiment with tax credit scholarships
    Created three years ago to help low-income children in poorly performing schools transfer to private schools, Georgia's tax credit scholarship program has largely benefited well-to-do children and diverted more than $72 million in precious state tax revenue at a time when the state's public education systems have experienced deep budget cuts. According to SEF's report, each of the private school scholarships has cost the state more than twice what it would cost to send a child to public school. Read more>
RESOURCES
  • Campaign for High School Equity: A Plan to Transform High Schools
    Each year, more than 1 million students drop of high school while still thousands more -- the majority of whom are students of color and low-income students -- graduate without the high-quality education they need to succeed in college, the workplace and in life. In a compelling new report, “The Plan for Success,” the Campaign for High School Equity has outlined the crisis and defined solutions that will require changes in policy and practice to help transform our high schools to ensure every student, regardless of race, ethnicity, ZIP code or socioeconomic status, has an opportunity to learn in a high-quality public school. Read more>

  • United for a Fair Economy: Flip It to Fix It
    The Great Recession left nearly all states with severe budget deficits as state tax revenues plummeted. Simultaneously, there has been a dramatic increase in demand for public services as families also struggle to stay afloat. These budget realities have forced at least 21 states to propose deep cuts in pre-kindergarten and K-12 spending. United for a Fair Economy recently published a report that takes a state's current distribution of state and local taxes by income quintile and flips the quintiles to make a regressive tax structure progressive. This model results in significant revenue for states that could be used to fully fund education, job growth and other economic stimulants. Read more>
IN THE NEWS
  • Arkansas educators push for more pre-K funding: To help educate disadvantaged children, Booneville school officials are seeking to add pre-kindergarten for 4-year-olds. They hope at least one of two potential funding sources comes through to help cover the cost of the program -- the state's Arkansas Better Chance program and federal money. The district is appealing an Arkansas Department of Human Services Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education decision not to add more slots for its Arkansas Better Chance preschool program for 3- and 4-year-olds. Read more>

  • NYC faith leaders urge Mayor Bloomberg to reverse education budget cuts: 60 city churches last Sunday implored Mayor Bloomberg to reverse his "immoral" cuts to schools. The mayor's budget cuts 6,100 teachers from New York City's public schools. Read more>

  • Edwin Darden: School Boards must prioritize equity:The American dream of upward mobility is projected as tantalizingly within reach -- the reward for hard work that children in poverty should strive to achieve. But as a society that reveres success, we should worry about dangling false hopes before students in high-poverty schools. Read more>

  • N.J. lawmakers want millionaires' tax to pump $600M into schools: Senate Democrats may introduce a budget that would increase school financing by as much as $1.1 billion, including about $600 million for non-Abbott districts. According to New Jersey Online, the money would come from "a combination of additional revenue, cuts in spending, and possibly a millionaires' tax. The plan would satisfy the recent state Supreme Court ruling that ordered the state to increase financing for poor school districts, known as Abbott districts, by $500 million. The plan would also provide money for up to 240 other districts -- many of which have high numbers of at-risk students that were not granted any financial relief by the court. Read more>

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National Opportunity to Learn Campaign
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