Education

Final Push for State Budget Starts Next Week

Next week begins the final push in Harrisburg for a state budget. I put out a memo today to editors and reporters providing an overview of where things are at with the budget. Here's the overview:

Morning Must Reads: Special Needs Kids, Unemployment Insurance, Student Loan Debt and CEO Pay

Welcome back from the Memorial Day Weekend! The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette this morning explores the impact of charter schools on school districts.

The New York Times reports on declining aid to the unemployed.

Third and State This Week: An Education Priorities Problem, Payday Lending, and a Bait and Switch

All of us at Third and State hope you have a great Memorial Day Weekend. Before heading to your weekend barbecues, check out our blog wrap. We wrote this week about a statewide day of action for education, a new survey of school districts squeezed by budget cuts, and a bait and switch approach to tax credit programs for private school scholarships. We also had posts on payday lending, the prevailing wage and more. 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On education and the state budget, Mark Price summed up the news coverage from the statewide day of action to mark Education Advocacy Week and explained why the state's approach to school funding is more a priorities problem than a revenue problem. Chris Lilienthal blogged about a new survey of school districts indicating that more cuts to the classroom are on the way thanks in part to state funding cuts. And Stephen Herzenberg wrote that the political marketing of private school scholarship tax credits as alternatives for students in distressed communities is a bait and switch.
  • On federal tax policy and the economy, Chris Lilienthal shared a Marketplace interview with wealthy venture capitalist Nick Hanauer who said that investing in the middle class, rather than tax breaks for the wealthy, is the key to future and shared prosperity.
  • And in Morning Must Reads this week, Mark Price highlighted an editorial on why legalizing predatory payday loans would be bad for Pennsylvania, and passed on a letter to the editor showing that actual Pennsylvania job creators support the state's prevailing wage law.

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

Survey Shows More Cuts to Classrooms Are on the Way

As Mark Price blogged Tuesday, school districts across the commonwealth are feeling the pressure of state budget cuts and declining local revenues. Mark's post was based on a new survey of 281 of the state's 500 school districts conducted by the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA) and the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO).

The survey offers a glimpse into the tough decisions that many districts are being forced to make as funding disappears. It's not pretty.

Educational Tax Credits Are Often a Bait-and-Switch

A story in Monday's New York Times explores the use of state tax credit programs to pay for "scholarships" for students who attend private schools. The story suggests that many of the students who receive such scholarships already attend private school and are not low-income.

To the extent that this is true, the political marketing of these programs as alternatives (for a select few students) to public schools in distressed communities is a "bait and switch." Educational tax credits actually siphon taxpayer dollars to subsidize private schools, reducing state revenues available for public schools.

Third and State This Week: PA Jobs Report, Uncompensated Care Costs at Hospitals & Alcohol-Related Traffic Deaths

This week at Third and State, we blogged about Pennsylvania's April jobs numbers and state revenue report, a new report on uncompensated care costs at hospitals in the commonwealth, rates of alcohol-related traffic deaths in alcohol control states, and much more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price blogged about Pennsylvania’s April jobs report and an effort to undermine the state’s unemployment insurance system.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal wrote about a new report from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council finding that uncompensated care costs at hospitals rose 11% in 2010-11, the same year the state ended the adultBasic program.
  • On the privatization of alcohol distribution, Mark Price shared a new Keystone Research Center analysis finding that states with tighter control over the sale and distribution of alcohol have lower alcohol-related traffic deaths than states that take a more hands off approach.
  • On state taxes, Michael Wood wrote about the April state revenue report, which marked the third straight month of collections exceeding monthly estimates.
  • And in Morning Must Reads this week, Mark Price highlighted news coverage of an effort to legalize predatory payday lending in Pennsylvania and what that has to do with motor vehicle fatalities among oil and gas workers; stories on Governor Tom Corbett’s question-and-answer session at a Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce event; the Governor’s “Do as I say, not as I do” message to school districts; and the importance of training programs targeted to the needs of employers as the economy recovers.

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

Morning Must Reads: Governor to School Districts: Do As I Say Not As I Do

The Associated Press reports this morning that Governor Corbett believes reductions in access to kindergarten and music or arts programs could be avoided if more school districts would spend down their reserves. This is the same Governor Corbett who left nearly half a billion in revenue unspent in last year's budget and the same Governor arguing that the new budget should again leave unspent hundreds of millions in better-than-expected state tax revenues.

Morning Must Reads: The Pennsylvania Hunger Games Diet: Cash for Corporations, Cuts for Kids

On Tuesday Marty Moss-Coane, the host of WHYY's Radio Times, moderated a question-and-answer session with Governor Tom Corbett at an event sponsored by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. The Governor ran wild with analogies.

Morning Must Reads: Training and Education? Let Them Go To The Pittsburgh Opera

When workers lose their jobs in a recession, they have time that could be spent in training programs targeted to the needs of employers. Of course, there is a hitch: during a recession, employers are not hiring, so at the very time there are lots of people available to train, employers don't need new workers. As the economy improves (like it is now), it opens the door to training tied to the needs of businesses that are hiring. 

Third and State This Week: PA Senate Approves Budget, Payday Lending Advances & a Harrisburg Rally

This week at Third and State, we blogged about the Pennsylvania Senate's passage of a budget, movement on a bill to legalize predatory payday lending in the state, a big rally at the state Capitol, analysis of the April jobs report, and much more.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On the state budget, Sharon Ward wrote about the Senate's passage of a state budget bill this week that improves upon the Governor's budget but still makes deep cuts to education and health services. Earlier in the week, she had a blog post on the Senate budget when details first emerged. Chris Lilienthal highlighted a Monday rally at the Capitol that brought 700 Pennsylvanians to Harrisburg to call on lawmakers and the Governor to save the General Assistance program and restore cuts proposed to county services for children, the homeless and people with disabilities. Plus, Mark Price blogged about concerns that the state will not spend all the tax revenue it collects, creating a further drag on the economy.
  • On banking, Mark Price blogged about committee approval of a state House bill that would legalize predatory payday lending in Pennsylvania and what that would mean for the state's consumers and economy.
  • On jobs and the economy, Mark Price shared analysis of April's U.S. jobs report.
  • Finally, Mark Price had a roundup of news on the economic impact of state and federal budget cuts, the prospect of higher interest rates on student loans and the geography of manufacturing. 

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

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