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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

When all else fails...Sue the State. Take Action Now.

Today American public school children are being used as dispensable pawns in the attempt to open the market and have schools compete for costumers. And Pennsylvania is hitting the bottom of the barrel.



Below is an excerpt from Reign of Error, By Diane Ravitch, posted here by veteran journalist, Bill Moyers:

"The “reform” movement is really a “corporate reform” movement, funded to a large degree by major foundations, Wall Street hedge fund managers, entrepreneurs and the US Department of Education. The movement is determined to cut costs and maximize competition among schools and among teachers. It seeks to eliminate the geographically based system of public education as we have known it for the past 150 years and replace it with a competitive market- based system of school choice — one that includes traditional public schools, privately managed charter schools, religious schools, voucher schools, for- profit schools, virtual schools and for- profit vendors of instruction. Lacking any geographic boundaries, these schools would compete for customers. The customers would choose to send their children and their public funding wherever they wish, based on personal preference or on information such as the schools’ test scores and a letter grade conferred by the state (based largely on test scores)."





Anyone who cares about children should be questioning this concept. While the children of many politicians go to private schools, our children are being fed a controversial and untested curriculum, are tested at an unprecedented level, and are financially abandoned by the very politicians who are charged to provide a, "... thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the commonwealth."

 

There are many who are more than aware that the state of Pennsylvania is breaking its own Constitution, and they are ready to sue. The Education Law Center, The Keystone Law Center and The Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia are asking you to contact them if you or someone you know has had a child who has been negatively impacted by inadequate state funding. They are doing this pro bono, that's right - for free, for the public good.

State dollars provide only 34.2% of the cost of K-12 education. Only three states are lower than Pennsylvania.

It is unethical and unconstitutional that some school districts spend $8,659 per student, while others spend $22,963 per student. ALL children deserve the best. In addition, the state has its beloved standards and requires ALL children to pass the SAME standardized tests.

By their own measure, the state is failing the children in the districts they are not properly funding. Test results reflect the difference in spending.

Because of underfunding, 49% of public schools are not meeting state proficiency goals for reading and math, and 55% of students did not pass the Keystone Biology graduation exam.



The state sets what they consider high bars, and then fails to fund the education of our children. "Our legislator should develop, implement, and adhere to an objective formula to distribute resources in a manner that is internally uniform and consistent for all school districts, rather than using selective political influences ad favors in some school districts..." (Education Law Center "10 Criteria for evaluating K - 12 Education in PA)

The state has cut over $850 million dollars in public education funding since 2008. About 30 other states have filed suits like this, and changes have ensued.

You may be able to take part in the suit if your child has experienced things like:

-Overcrowded classes
-Cuts in staff
-No remediation
-No summer school
-Lack of books
-Not being prepared for standardized testing
-IEP's not being followed
....and more.

Please contact The Education Law Center or The Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia with any questions. You can make a difference by participating or helping others who have suffered from public school budget cuts get involved.