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SOLIDARITY FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION AND BEYOND
(What is T.E.A.C.H.? Click here.)


**Rev. David Thornton** of Grace Memorial Presbyterian Church, reading the “State of Public Education” at the Pittsburgh Rally for Education Feb. 10.

Full Text of Rev. Thornton's speech



GOV. CORBETT, WE NEED FAIR FUNDING FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS NOW!

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Please sign this petition:



We demand adequate, equitable, and sustainable public education funding so that ALL the children of Pennsylvania, not just the rich or privileged, receive the same high-quality education. We demand our legislators restore equity to the state funding formula, restore and increase education funding to adequate levels, and put children first in budget priorities.



PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION HERE



Our public schools are staggering under massive state budget cuts. Students in Pennsylvania have lost almost 20,000 of their teachers in the past two years. Our kids have lost music, art, library, languages, tutoring programs, full-day kindergarten and more. Our children are sitting in classes with 35 and even 39 students. In 2007, the state Legislature's own study found it was underfunding pubic education (especially in poorer school districts) by more than $4 billion and committed Pennsylvania to a six-year plan to fix the problem. But in 2011, the Legislature shamefully betrayed that commitment and cut close to $1 billion from our schools. Then last year, the governor and Legislature locked in those cuts for a second year, compounding the damage. And this year, even with a small increase in funding, Gov. Corbett proposes to mostly continue the compounded cuts while threatening to tie any increase to the pension crisis and alcohol sales, rather than providing leadership to find real solutions to this issue. This cannot stand. Public education is a public good. We need adequate, equitable, and sustainable funding for public education now!



PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION HERE







EDUCATION RALLY SHOWED STATE OF SCHOOLS

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Yinzercation blogger Jessie Ramey displays a sign inviting all to the rally.

Our RALLY FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION on Sunday, February 10, 2013 at 3 p.m. at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in the East Liberty section of Pittsburgh was a huge success. More than 320 volunteer parents, students, teachers, and concerned community members came together to:



• celebrate what we've achieved this past year working together

• respond to Gov. Corbett's new budget proposal

• issue a Call to Action to support our public schools


Here are some of the highlights:



Dilworth Drummers raising the roof and getting everyone ready to Rally, Yinzercation activist and public school parent, Cassi Schaffer, as our M.C. leading the crowd in chanting “Cut Back? Fight Back!”, andPittsburgh’s own singer-songwriter extraordinaire Anne Feeney opening and closing the Rally with spot-on performances.




Rev. David Thornton of Grace Memorial Presbyterian Church, reading the “State of Public Education”



Pittsburgh CAPA senior Sheryl Sesay, with tears running down her cheeks, reading and singing about losing her music teacher to the budget cuts.



Aaliyah Chapman, a sophomore at Pittsburgh Perry and student with the Arts Greenhouse hip-hop program, telling it like it is.




A special guest appearance by the fast-rising rap star Jasiri X, himself a former public school teacher and now public school parent, performing his piece “America’s Most Livable City” with new lyrics about education.



Jamaka Scott, a Pittsburgh CAPA senior, bringing the audience to its feet to sing along on the black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”



With slides rolling showing the many actions we took this past year, Jessie Ramey celebrating Our Grassroots Movement and the wonderful Squirrel Hillbillies leading the crowd in singing “We Shall Not Be Moved.”




The absolutely show-stopping spoken word performance of Vanessa German, Pittsburgh’s emerging artist of the year, whose Love.Front.Porch project combines kids and art in Homewood.



Irene Habermann, chair of the PIIN education task force, and the Rev. John Welch, Dean of Students at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, issuing a Call to Action to support our public schools.



Dr. Tim Slekar, head of the division of education at Penn State Altoona, giving his moving statement about why he opted his child out of high-stakes-testing, and then went on to help found the national Opt Out movement.




More info on the rally and a slideshow



WE STOPPED PA VOTER ID LAW!

... FOR NOW!

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Pennsylvania's new voter I.D. law would have disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of registered voters - mostly minorities, the poor, elderly and women. While this Web site is usually concerned exclusively with education issues, we thought this unconstitutional law was actually more fundamental. If people are denied their right to vote, we lose our very Democracy.



TEMPORARY HALT IN PLACE

NOW REPEAL THE VOTER ID LAW PERMANENTLY!

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Thankfully, Pennsylvania's voter ID was not implemented during the Presidential election.

However, we need more than a temporary injunction. We need our legislature to repeal the law so it cannot suppress voters in years to come.

Please sign the following petition on signon.org:


Pennsylvania's Secretary of the Commonwealth Carole Aichele is in charge of the state's new Voter ID Law and she just admitted, "I don't know what the law says." Another local official testified in court that she was "anticipating a mess" on Election Day because of the new law.

So why would anyone enforce this outrageous new law that could prevent up to 758,000 registered Pennsylvanians from voting?

Already, some election officials have started to say they won't comply with these outlandish requirements. And we need election officials across Pennsylvania to join in, to the full extent of their legal authority, and Just Say No to enforcing this law.

That's why we're calling on Secretary of the Commonwealth Carole Aichele and Local County Elections Officials in Pennsylvania to join in, to the full extent of their legal authority, and Just Say No to enforcing the new Voter ID Law.


Now we need to repeal this anti-democracy bill for 2013 and beyond.

Send your message to Gov. Corbett and your state representative and senator urging repeal.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SIGN THIS PETITION


WE DID IT!

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State Rep. Bill Kortz (left) and Joe Kuenzig of Munhall carry a crate with more than 17,000 signed petitions opposing the new Pennsylvania voter ID law to the County Office Building as protesters of the law follow behind in downtown Pittsburgh on Thursday, September 13, 2012. The organizer of the event, Steven Singer (far left) an eighth-grade teacher at Steel Valley in Munhall, says the district he teaches in will be especially impacted by the voter ID law. "This is personal for me," he said. "We hope the State Supreme Court will either halt the law or throw it out." Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review



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Judge Simpson's injunction extends 'soft rollout' of Voter ID law

Judge blocks enforcement of portion of Pa. voter ID law

Reactions to Judge Simpson's voter ID ruling

Interactive map: Voter ID across the U.S.

Full ruling on Pennsylvania's voter ID law




PA VOTER ID LAW ARCHIVE

NIGHT TALK VOTER ID



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There are so many things going on right now!

We need your help to continue this fight.

Please click below and find out what's happening and how you can be a part of it.


Remember: if not you, then who?


Upcoming Events



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HOUSE REPUBLICANS WALK OUT TO PREVENT CORBETT-SANDUSKY INVESTIGATION

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Methinks they doth protest too much.

When Democrats in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives asked for a vote to begin a formal investigation into Gov. Corbett’s role in the Sandusky scandal, the Republicans called a halt to all House business and “fled the floor.”



Here’s how Rep. Jesse White put it:

“We just tried to force a vote on HR 520, which urges the US Attorney to investigate Attorney General Corbett's handling of the Sandusky case. The Republican majority immediately stopped proceedings, and nearly all Republican members have fled floor even though we're still in session. This is shocking and outrageous- what depths won't they go to in order to learn the truth?”



This is indeed “shocking and outrageous.” Even worse, the House GOP is now threatening to not do any more business this year so they won’t have to vote on the Corbett investigation.



Jobs. Education. Environment. They won’t work on any of this in order to hide Corbett’s role in the delayed Sandusky investigation.



And it begs the question: What are they hiding?



The major question that needs to be answered is why did Corbett wait years to get Sandusky off the street? Prosecutors across the state said they would have arrested him immediately after hearing the testimony of an eyewitness. The first priority should have been to stop the rape of children by getting him off the street. The investigation can continue after he’s locked up. None of them could understand why Corbett waited years to have Sandusky arrested.



There are the only two options. Either Corbett is simply a bumbling Governor and Attorney General, or Corbett intentionally kept a child rapist on the street to further his political career.



We are asking you to **tell your State Representative to Stop the Cover-up!** Tell them to support HR 520[ii], Rep. Brandon Neuman’s bill calling for the U.S. Attorney General to investigate Corbett’s role in the Sandusky scandal.



We need the truth, not more cover-ups.


Potential Vote on Corbett's Handling of Sandusky Investigation Brings House to a Halt



FUNDING CUTS DEVASTATE PA SCHOOLS

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(By Eleanor Chute, Published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/2/12)


In his 17 years as executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials, Jay Himes can't recall a time of bigger cuts in education than last year and the current year.

"I can't think of anything even close," he said, commenting on a survey released Monday on the impact.

The electronic survey, done by PASBO and the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators in August, was answered by 264 of the state's 500 school districts.

More than $900 million in public school funding was reduced in 2011-12.

Extrapolating the results to cover the whole state, the survey estimates the second year of tight funding resulted in nearly 4,200 positions eliminated or left vacant in 2012-13, following the loss of 14,590 positions in 2011-12, for a total of 18,790.

"It's important to note the cumulative impact of these reductions," said Jim Buckheit, executive director of PASA.

About 30 percent furloughed employees this school year, with nearly half of the furloughs affecting teachers.

Nearly a quarter had a wage freeze in place this year, and 52 percent did so last year.

Other findings include:

Eight school districts reduced or eliminated pre-kindergarten, and six reduced or eliminated full-day kindergarten in 2012-13.

• 43 percent reduced elective course offerings.

• 40 percent delayed buying textbooks.

• 32 percent reduced or eliminated programs providing tutoring or extra help.

• 72 percent dipped into reserves to balance the 2012-13 budget. Combined with the prior year's survey, 52 percent responding to both used the reserves both years.

• 43 percent reduced or eliminated student field trips, and 30 percent reduced or eliminated extracurricular activities.

• 20 percent delayed building or renovating schools.

• 81 percent of those responding were able to keep a tax increase within the Act 1 limit or to hold taxes steady.

Mr. Himes and Mr. Buckheit believe the funding problems are affecting student achievement, including the lower results of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests given in the spring.

"We're concerned that the continued financial decline and the resulting program and personnel reductions has that impact on student achievement and PSSAs in particular," Mr. Himes said.

More details are available at www.pasbo.org or www.pasa-net.org.

Pennsylvania survey shows huge education cuts


PLAN TO REPLACE SCHOOL PROPERTY TAXES FALLS $1.5 BILLION SHORT

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Despite a discouraging financial report, the prime sponsor of a House bill to eliminate all school property taxes insisted Monday he will push forward with his plan aimed at helping home- and business owners.

Rep. Jim Cox, R-Berks, said he isn't discouraged by a new report from Pennsylvania's Independent Fiscal Office. It estimated that his bill would fall $1.5 billion short of generating enough money to replace the revenue that existing property taxes generate for public schools.

"This is far from over," said Mr. Cox, sponsor of House Bill 1776, the Property Tax Independence Act.

Rep. Tom Quigley, R-Montgomery, said he thinks a way could be found "to address public school needs that doesn't rely on property taxes," but the IFO report shows "how much more work needs to be done to ensure a proposal is fiscally sound."


The House Finance Committee almost voted on the Cox bill in June, but doubts among some legislators, including Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, led to it being tabled. Tabling the bill upset many people who want to get rid of property taxes. But critics feared the bill wouldn't raise the full $10.6 billion needed to fund all 500 Pennsylvania school districts.

The IFO report, released Monday, "has confirmed the views I held in June," Mr. Briggs said. "House Bill 1776 simply does not raise the revenue it claims to provide."

The IFO report projected that the Cox bill would generate only $9.1 billion, or $1.5 billion less than what is needed. Mr. Cox said he appreciated the great financial detail in the IFO report and will use it to tweak his bill, which is currently before the Appropriations Committee.

His bill has three main sources of replacement revenue: hiking the state's personal income tax rate to 4.1 percent from the current 3.04 percent; raising the state sales tax rate to 7 percent from 6 percent. Allegheny County's rate, already at 7 percent, would jump to 8 percent. Philadelphia's rate, now at 8 percent, would go to 9 percent. Also, a number of goods and services that are now exempt from the sales tax would be taxable under the Cox bill -- and this has many legislators worried.

Plan by Pa. legislators to replace property tax falls short, study claims


MORE MUST READS




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NEW & NOTEWORTHY:

Election Reform Act

NIGHT TALK VOTER ID

Vote Atticus Finch

Potential Vote on Corbett's Handling of Sandusky Investigation Brings House to a Halt

Judge Simpson's injunction extends 'soft rollout' of Voter ID law

Pennsylvania survey shows huge education cuts

Plan by Pa. legislators to replace property tax falls short, study claims

PA VOTER ID LAW ARCHIVE



MORE



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Check out these important initiatives from P.S.E.A.:



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Partners for Public Education members join more than 190,000 PSEA members and thousands of other Pennsylvanians who care about their public schools. PPE members acknowledge that they are partners in the success of our public schools. And they act to make sure that the public schools in every community provide the very best education to the students they serve.

More on Partners for Public Education

Join Partners for Public Education



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Governor Corbett is making a last ditch attempt to pass his education "reform" plan before the Legislature recesses for the holidays. The Governor cut $860 million from our public schools. Now, we need every concerned citizen to say NO to:

  • Tuition Vouchers

  • Unaccountable Charter School Expansion

  • Teacher Evaluations Based on a Single Standardized Test

Click here to find out how


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Teachers, taxpayers and parents want real education reforms that are proven to work for all of Pennsylvania’s students, not initiatives to drain more tax dollars from public schools.

More info on Save Pa Schools


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Since taking office in January, Gov. Corbett has attacked public education at every opportunity.

The Governor says he wants "reform," but he is pushing school vouchers and other privatization programs for our schools. He also discussed expanding teacher evaluation as a basis for merit pay, tenure, retention, and dismissal of staff.


Speak up for Pennsylvania's public schools.

Click here to find out how to Act Now


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Solutions That Work is a blueprint for change that is grounded in firsthand knowledge, supported by research, and tested in practice.

Learn how districts and individuals throughout Pennsylvania are making a difference. And discover some of the newest and most exciting findings in education research.

You can download and print an overview of Solutions That Work.

More info on Solutions That Work


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PSEA's Political Action Committee for Education (PSEA-PACE) supports pro-public education candidates in state and local elections. No PSEA member dues dollars support PACE. PACE is a nonpartisan organization, funded by voluntary member contributions. PACE-recommended candidates are chosen by PSEA/PACE members, based on their positions and records on education, labor, and health care issues.

More info on P.A.C.E.

Contribute to P.A.C.E.




More from the P.S.E.A





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Gov. Tom Corbett addresses questions from Jill Fleming-Salopek, chair of the English department at Steel Valley High School in Allegheny County. (Daily American Staff photo by Roger Vogel)

Jill Fleming-Salopek is the Chairperson of the T.E.A.C.H. Committee

MORE ON THIS STORY

EVEN MORE





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Steel Valley teachers distributed yard signs to all staff on 4/7/11. Do you want a sign? Click on "YARD SIGNS" below to order.

Yard Signs




TABLE OF CONTENTS


Upcoming Events

Yard Signs

T-Shirts

Members

News

road trips

School Funding Loss for 2011-12

T.E.A.C.H. Archive

Videos

Make Your Own Video

Notes from Local Legislators

Letters to the Editor

A Message to Parents

Message to Other Teachers' Unions

WHAT YOU CAN DO

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The Damage Done

What Now?

school lawsuit update

Special Messages

MISC

savepaschools.org



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"This is a Pro-privitization propaganda film. Its statistics are wrong, its charges are wrong, it makes claims that are unsustainable. One of the charter schools it features as being a miracle school has an attrition rate of 75 percent. And it makes the claim that 70 percent of American eighth-graders read below grade level and that's simply false. ... And the producers of the film are very supportive of vouchers and free-market strategies and everything else. So I think that film has to be taken not just with a grain of salt, but understood to be a pro-privatization film."

-Diane Ravitch



Get the real story. Send this link to anyone you know who's been convinced by this hatchet job.

To Read Diane Ravitch's Review of "Waiting for Superman" click HERE.






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T.E.A.C.H. Video Contest Entry=

Education Voters Institute of Pennsylvania is holding a video contest to highlight both the impact of cuts to critical programs that serve kids, and the importance of education to our communities and our economy. Winning videos will be shared with legislators, our members, the online community and more. This is the entry made by the T.E.A.C.H. group.


The video features and was made completely by furloughed Steel Valley teachers including the project director - Middle School Language Arts teacher Jonathan Edwards.

Trying times force Steel Valley board to furlough 40 teachers

Steel Valley votes to furlough 41 school workers

Steel Valley Students, Parents React to Cutbacks

School Funding Loss for 2011-12

More Information on the Contest







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DISCLAIMER: This Website is paid for entirely by the Website Organizer.


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Website Organizer: Steven Singer


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