Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Portland school board defers tough budget cuts, pins hopes on Congress saving educator jobs |

Portland school board defers tough budget cuts, pins hopes on Congress saving educator jobs |

Portland school board defers tough budget cuts, pins hopes on Congress saving educator jobs

Published: Wednesday, July 07, 2010, 9:15 PM Updated: Wednesday, July 07, 2010, 9:35 PM

A united Portland school board on Tuesday directed Superintendent Carole Smith to delay giving out layoff notice to scores of teachers and other school employees.

Smith and board members have said that cutting 180 teaching jobs and laying off teachers is probably necessary to balance the budget for next school year.

But doing so would also be ugly, painful and bad, in the words of various board members. So the board agreed Tuesday to delay its decision and hope that the U.S. Senate will save teaching jobs.

More specifically, Portland school board members are banking that the Senate will agree with a proposal passed by the House last week to award $10 billion of stimulus money to save educator jobs nationwide.

That would mean about $7 million for Portland Public Schools. The district could then balance its budget by cutting about 50 teaching positions from its 85 schools, not the 125 teaching jobs that Smith has proposed axing, given the recent $19 million cut in state funding.

Under either scenario, the board would cut about 25 central office jobs, 38 positions in special

O'Malley pledges $1 billion to build schools, echoing '06 race against Ehrlich

O'Malley pledges $1 billion to build schools, echoing '06 race against Ehrlich

O'Malley pledges $1 billion to build schools, echoing '06 race against Ehrlich

Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 8, 2010

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley pledged Wednesday to spend an additional $1 billion on public school construction if elected to a second term, returning to an issue he raised early in his 2006 campaign against then-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.
"We have made big investments, even in the toughest of times . . . but our work is far from over," said O'Malley (D), standing outside the same elementary school in Annapolis where he promised four years ago to spend significantly more on school construction than had Ehrlich (R).
Since O'Malley took office in 2007, the legislature has approved almost $1.3 billion in state spending on school construction, about $460 million more than it did under Ehrlich, who is trying to win the job back from O'Malley this fall.
Although O'Malley's new plan could result in less spending during a second term than during his first, he pledged to continue to meet a target of at least $250 million a year set in 2004 by a high-profile state commission.
O'Malley also offered several ideas to make schools more energy-efficient and less costly, including relying more on standardized designs.
After the event, Ehrlich spokesman Andy Barth knocked the Democratic incumbent for "once more promising to spend money he doesn't have and would have to borrow." Barth

AEA vs. Alabama GOP |

AEA vs. Alabama GOP |

AEA vs. Alabama GOP

Birmingham, Ala.(WVTM)—-GOP gubernatorial runoff candidate Bradley Byrne has been the target of negative ads.  Now he’s calling for an investigation into what he says are lies about him.
Both Byrne and the state Republican Party blame the Alabama Education Association and the state Democratic Party for the negative ads.  But the AEA said, it’s just protecting public education.
The state Republican Party has fired a Marengo county committee chairman for his part in a political action committee that funded attack ads against Bradley Byrne.  Now, Byrne believes that committee has changed it’s name and he’s calling for an investigation.
The ads connect GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Bradley Byrne to President Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama and liberal views.  The “True Republican PAC” - paid for them.  And now a new political action committee called “Conservative Coalition of Alabama” is following the same lead.  Both Byrne and the state Republican Party blame the Alabama Education Association and the state Democratic Party for the ads.
GOP Gubernatorial Candidate, Bradley Byrne said, “These people are hiding behind phoney pacs, telling lies about me and trying to swing this election to elect somebody who fits the profile of the democratic bosses.“
Republican Party spokesperson, Philip Bryan said, “It’s really being used as a political slush fund for heads of the democratic party and that’s the unfortunate thing.“
The AEA said it was protecting public education when it gave money to the “True Republican PAC”, but denies any connection with the democratic party.
AEA Public Relations Manager, David Stout said, “AEA staff has not had any operational duties with the PAC.  We contributed money which Dr. Hubbard told the press months ago that we gave money to the True Republican PAC.“
Two men said to be connected to the True Republican PAC ad are Dr.‘s Paul Hubbard and Joe Reed.  Both are employed by the AEA, but the Democratic Party denies it employs either of the men.  However, Reed is chairman of the state Democratic Caucus.
The AEA said it never paid the Marengo County Republican Chairman, who resigned, and the 

Congress gives and takes away for schools | The Connecticut Mirror

Congress gives and takes away for schools | The Connecticut Mirror

Congress gives and takes away for schools

By Deirdre Shesgreen

WASHINGTON -- Congress has created a conundrum for Connecticut educators. Should they lobby for money to minimize teacher layoffs if it means diminishing another badly needed education program?

For now, public officials and school advocates are refusing to choose, instead urging Congress to preserve both priorities, even as they acknowledge that is a tough sell.

The situation was unanticipated in May, when Gov. M. Jodi Rell signed a sweeping education reform package aimed at bolstering Connecticut's efforts to win $175 million in federal funding under President Obama's Race to the Top education initiative.

To make the state more competitive, the legislature passed a law creating a new teacher evaluation system, increasing high school graduation requirements, and strengthening charter schools, among other steps. That law gave the state a stronger hand as it applied for a share of $4.3 billion pot of federal Race to the Top funds.

On a parallel track, state Education Commissioner Mark McQuillan and other education leaders across the country launched lobbying campaign in early June aimed at getting Congress to approve a $23 billion education rescue package aimed avoiding what McQuillan said would be the "dire consequences" of possible teacher lay-offs and school closings.

The House of Representatives responded last week to the latter plea by adding $10 billion (pared

Schools Matter: Massive Rally Planned for Wake County on July 20

Schools Matter: Massive Rally Planned for Wake County on July 20

Massive Rally Planned for Wake County on July 20

Supporters from all faiths and political persuasions are joining the campaign to reinstate the successful socioeconomic diversity plan in Wake County, NC. From the News Observer:
RALEIGH Civil rights leaders are working with some of the state's largest and most influential church groups to bring thousands of people to Raleigh on July 20 to protest the end of Wake County's socioeconomic school diversity policy.

The Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP, has organized a wide range of church groups that have historically been involved in civil rights and social justice issues to oppose the move to neighborhood schools in Wake County. Using language heavy with religious overtones and accompanied by a comparison between ending the diversity policy and the old Jim Crow segregation laws, speakers at a news conference Tuesday at the state Capitol argued that they had the moral high ground in the fight.

"We're here today to fight against something that is extremely evil," said the Rev. John Mendez on

Portland's Roosevelt High gets $7.7 million to propel a turnaround Education -

Portland & Oregon Education -

Portland's Roosevelt High gets $7.7 million to propel a turnaround

Published: Wednesday, July 07, 2010, 6:38 PM Updated: Wednesday, July 07, 2010, 6:50 PM

roosevelt3.jpgView full sizeMany students at Portland’s Roosevelt High are working this summer to catch up on missing credits so they can earn diplomas. Raising the school’s chronically low graduation rate is one main aim of a large federal grant awarded Wednesday to help Roosevelt improve. Students (seated from left) sophomore Amanda Schulte; Tormie Gurule, a senior holding his 7-month-old daughter, Angel; and junior Lea Evans, get help from (standing from left) Melody Wymer and Samir Raad, academic support coordinators with the SUN Community Schools program.
Portland's long-struggling Roosevelt High School won $7.7 million in federal funds -- $2 million more than it requested -- to pay for what backers pledge will be a dramatic turnaround that will send its rock-bottom test scores and graduation rate soaring.

The award, announced Wednesday, is part of a $33 million Obama administration package to help 10 of Oregon's worst-performing schools in seven districts reverse chronic low achievement through federally mandated strategies.

Roosevelt High, Oregon City Service Learning Academy, Madras High and the other winning schools had to agree to hire new principals, begin evaluating teachers in part on their students' academic gains, extend the school day or school year, and revamp teaching techniques.

It's part of an aggressive national effort by the administration to target the bottom 5 percent of schools, particularly high schools with high dropout rates, and award them massive grants that force drastic changes. If it works -- and doubters abound -- by spring 2013, the Oregon schools will deliver markedly higher reading, math, writing and science scores and dramatically improved graduation rates.

Roosevelt High, where achievement problems date back at least three decades and where the on-time graduation rate was just 39 percent last year, will see big changes in the coming school year. Bigger changes will come in fall 2012, when the three small academies now on the campus will merge into a comprehensive high school.

"Seven point seven million dollars is an incredible investment in this school," Portland

Oregon gets $33 million from feds to turn around Roosevelt High, other chronically low-achieving schools

By Betsy Hammond, The Oregonian

July 07, 2010, 12:28PM
Federal millions will help Oregon schools improve their results, but they come with strings attached Full story »

Biologists at Evolution 2010 in the Oregon Convention Center tell us what's hip and hot

By Ben Pittman-Polletta, The Oregonian

July 07, 2010, 8:57AM
Forget apes -- the biggest topics in evolutionary biology include genomes, dueling sperm and nanny gerbils. Full story »
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Oregon universities and colleges brace for record fall enrollments

Portland State University Physics Class

By Bill Graves, The Oregonian

July 06, 2010, 9:07PM
Oregon public and private universities and community colleges are getting swamped with students because of a weak economy, an influx of students from Washington and California, a large class of high school graduates and a continuing increase in population. Full story »

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