Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Saving Art Programs: Emergency Education Funding Will Help Schools Soon

This article has some good news for school corporations who are considering eliminating their art programs due to state education funding deficiencies.

Monday, August 9, 2010

10 Billion to Provide Quality Public Education

Here is the table that shows how much Indiana will receive to soften the blow of education funding deficiencies.

Let's get one thing clear. These funds are deficit neutral. We are suffering through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and our children should not be made to suffer because of the abuses of adults who are responsible for this economic collapse.

The U.S. Congress has the ability to prevent crippling education funding deficiencies and I am very happy this legislation was passed. Not only will children have more opportunities to receive attention from their teachers during critical educational experiences, other important educational programs critical to children's intellectual development can be saved. Art and music programs are vital to providing children a well rounded education and have the capacity to strengthen neurological structures of the brain.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Like I said...Good News....

Check this article out!
Thanks to all of our hard working folks out there who called or contacted their congressman and women!
I think this bill will help provide millions of children with profound educational opportunities and critical learning experiences in art programs across the country.

My exchange with Dr. Bennett.....

I was at the information meeting for teachers yesterday evening at the CIESU multi purpose room, and after the presentation by DOE staff on Indiana’s Growth Model, Common Core Standards, A-F School Grading, Teacher Evaluations, Reading Framework, Curriculum Mapping, and Rules for Educator Preparation and Accountability (REPA), I asked Dr. Bennett this question: "Based on the data from the High School Survey on Student Engagement, significant numbers of students (67%) do not feel fully engaged under the existing educational paradigm. Students do report significant opportunities for engagement in subject areas like art and music. Last year, after the Governor cut education funding by 300,000,000 dollars we experienced significant program cuts to art and music programs across the state. My question to you is this: Does the Governor plan a new round of education budget cuts for next year?"

His answer was no, he did not foresee more budget cuts. However with the grim news that Indiana's revenue forecast were down again this past quarter, I have my doubts.

Dr. Bennett then took the first part of my question citing the HSSSE data on engagement, and the current educational paradigm and twisted my rationale. We must do things differently in order to re-engage our students was his reply. That provided him with an opening to support his initiative for more refined testing methods. My thoughts were, "no, we do not need more testing, but more refined methods and support for teachers to personalize and emotionally connect learning experiences to the heterogeneous populations of children who exist in our schools."

Dr. Bennett then listend to another teacher who stated that budget cuts were impeding her ability to provide individual attention to her students in her classroom because her school had not hired enough teachers and she was administering instruction to 29 students in her classroom. Dr. Bennett replied that class size does not matter. He knew of no research that supported the idea that class sizes impeded learning.

I disagree. The Project Star Research clearly demonstrated the optimum student teacher ratio is significantly lower than 29-1 and should be half of that number. Legislators and state education policy makers should be working toward ratios much lower than 29-1. Ratio's beyond that should be cause for concern.

Good News....

"This just in from ISTA's Nate Schnellenberger:

Thanks to the efforts of Association members and staff across the country, the U.S. Senate is in the final stages of passing the federal jobs bill that will provide much-needed fiscal aid to the states.

The Senate today voted for cloture to proceed to a vote on Sen. Harry Reid's education jobs legislation by a vote of 61-38. Senators Snowe and Collins, both Republicans from Maine, crossed party lines and voted to put students and local communities first. The Senate, by the same vote, beat back a procedural budget point of order raised by Senators Judd Gregg (R-NH) and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN). Despite the fact that the Congressional Budget Office determined that the legisation would actually REDUCE the federal deficit by $1.4 billion over ten years, these two Senators tried to further stall the legislation.

Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh supported teachers and public education by voting with the majority on these votes. If you have time, please call or email Sen. Bayh and thank him for his support.

A few steps remain -- this legislation still needs to pass the U.S. Senate and be passed by the House of Representatives before it goes to President Obama for his signature."

Monday, August 2, 2010

Education Jobs Bill Update

Here is the latest on the Senate's movement of this bill. If the Senate passes this bill, look for new money to be pumped into state coffers that will save teacher jobs nationwide, including thousands here in Indiana.

If you have not contacted your U.S. Senator yet, please consider doing so now:

Email Senator Richard Lugar

Email Senator Evan Bayh

Phone: 317-554-0750