Education

Private Schools Able to Pick and Choose Students Getting Opportunity Scholarships

Advocates of Pennsylvania's new Opportunity Scholarship Program often say the goal is to give parents more choice in where their children go to school. An article this week in the Reading Eagle suggests it may be the other way around.

The Opportunity Scholarship Program was enacted along with the 2012-13 state budget. Modeled on the state's Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program, it provides tax credits to businesses that make donations to organizations providing scholarships to students in low-achieving districts. The program is funded at $50 million in 2012-13.

Midday Must Reads: Vouchers Advocate to Lead Chester Upland's Recovery and Mortgage Assistance Reborn

There is some dismay in the Chester Upland School District about the state's appointment of Joe Watkins, who heads a political action committee that supports school vouchers, to lead the school district's financial recovery process.

Insufficient Oversight of Charter Schools in Pennsylvania

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In preparation for the back-to-school craze that will soon hit all American school children, let's have some fun by talking about schools — specifically, public schools and charter schools! 

Third and State This Week: General Assistance Ends, Check In on Economy & Grads Face Global Competition for Jobs

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the end of General Assistance in Pennsylvania, the state of the economy, American college graduates facing overseas competition for jobs and much more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On poverty and the state budget, Sharon Ward shared a clip from her appearance on The War Room with Jennifer Granholm on Current TV discussing the impact of ending Pennsylvania's General Assistance Program. Mark Price also highlighted General Assistance's end, as did guest blogger Liz Schott of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
  • On higher education, Jamar Thrasher wrote about the increased competition faced by American graduates as companies outsource jobs for lower wages and higher revenues.
  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price shared a New York Times piece discussing the lack of good jobs and its relationship to poverty. Mark weighed in on the Federal Reserve's recent decision to take no steps to boost economic growth, despite high unemployment. And Mark delved deeper into Pennsylvania's jobs report for June.
  • And on fiscal policy, Mark Price blogged about a story on the radio program Marketplace revisiting some of the predictions made a year ago about what would happen as a result of Standard and Poor's downgrade of the U.S. credit rating.

Note: We will have more blog posts next week, but we will not have a weekly roundup on Friday, August 10. We will resume the weekly roundup blog post on Friday, August 17. In the meantime, keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

This Week at Third and State: PA Jobs Advantage Slipping, Outsourcing Hurts Low-wage Workers & Food Stamps Facts

This week at Third and State, we blogged about Pennsylvania’s job advantage over other states slipping in the wake of state budget cuts, how outsourcing jobs hits workers in the paycheck, the facts about food stamps, the state budget, and much more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On jobs and the economy, Stephen Herzenberg shared a new Keystone Research Center analysis finding that Pennsylvania’s strong economic growth coming out of the recession has slipped away in part because of state budget cuts, especially in education.
  • On wages and income inequality, intern Alan Bowie blogged about how the outsourcing of jobs is helping push down the incomes of the lowest-paid workers.
  • On the budget, Chris Lilienthal shared the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center’s analysis of the recently passed state budget.
  • And in Morning Must Reads this week, Mark Price highlighted a Philadelphia Daily News piece laying out the facts about food stamps and a story on layoffs at a Philadelphia unemployment call center, which comes at a time when the state is already lagging behind most other states in delivering initial jobless benefits in a timely manner.

More blog posts next week. Keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

Pink Slips for Teachers Not So Good for the Economy

Laying off thousands of teachers and other public servants doesn’t sound like a particularly good prescription for a stronger economy, but that is the impact of state policy in Pennsylvania these days. So at the Keystone Research Center we decided to take a look at how Pennsylvania’s job performance stacks up against other states in the age of budget-cutting austerity.

Failing to Invest in a Stronger Pa. Economy

Despite ending the 2011-12 fiscal year with a $649 million fund balance, Pennsylvania fails to make the investments essential to building a strong economy or to reverse a recent trend where job growth in the commonwealth has lagged behind other states.

So concludes the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center analysis of the enacted 2012-13 state budget, which was released Friday.

Third and State Recap: PA Budget, Human Cost of Ending General Assistance & Wall Street Execs on Honesty

Happy Friday the 13th! Over the past two weeks, we been busy blogging about the enacted state budget, the revenue outlook at the start of the new fiscal year, the human cost of eliminating General Assistance, recent news on the Marcellus Shale front and much more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On the state budget, intern Alan Bowie had this post and intern Jamar Thrasher had this post summing up the post-budget headlines. Michael Wood had an analysis of better-than-expected revenue collections in June, allowing the state to start the new fiscal year with a $400 million fund balance. And Mark Price blogged about the problems with budget austerity.
  • On jobs, Mark Price blogged about a New York Times editorial and research by the Economic Policy Institute on just how much state and local budget cuts have hurt job growth nationally.
  • On poverty and public welfare, Kate Atkins wrote about the human cost of eliminating General Assistance, which will come to an end on August 1 under the new budget.
  • On the financial sector, Mark Price blogged about a recent poll finding one in four Wall Street executives view wrongdoing as a key to success.
  • On the economy, Alan Bowie wrote about an effort to increase the federal minimum wage and the long-term impact of the housing crisis on African Americans.
  • And, on the Marcellus Shale, Jamar Thrasher blogged about legislation that enacted a moratorium on gas drilling in Bucks County and a new report showing how major oil companies use tax loopholes to avoid paying federal taxes. 

More blog posts next week. Keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

Midday Must Reads: The Post-Budget Edition

Just days after Governor Tom Corbett signed the Pennsylvania state budget a few minutes before midnight, the effects are transparent — even if the process was not. To start things off today, the Harrisburg Patriot-News takes a look at the newly passed state budget.

Go to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center Website for More Information on the Enacted Pennsylvania Budget

Click here for more details. More content will be added over the next couple of days as we sift through the details.

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