I attended a forum on public education called "What's at Stake?" Here is a link to media coverage: http://www.wfmz.com/news/news-regional-lehighvalley/Forum-for-education-discusses-what-is-at-stake/-/132502/11921286/-/fr6ygt/-/index.html The purpose of this forum was to inform parents about how budget cuts, unfunded mandates, and high stakes testing have impacted our children's education, and what we can do about it. Unfortunately, the topic of high stakes testing was never addressed, but the organizers are planning to hold another forum to discuss this important issue. The panel included superintendents from local school districts, including Allentown, and Susan Gobreski, the Executive Director of Education Voters PA. She did a good job informing parents about flaws in the funding formula for education, and told us that $900 million was cut from this year's education budget, and there are plans for another $860 million to be cut.
Other than his opening statement, ASD Superintendent Dr. Russ Mayo did not contribute much of anything else to the 2 hour conversation, even when the panel was discussing how urban districts have been disproportionately hit by budget cuts. Concerned parents from Allentown who attended are wondering... why so quiet, Dr. Mayo? Even when the moderator asked him for his thoughts, he declined to speak. I wanted to jump in myself to help him out, but audience questions were only limited to 5 minutes at the end, and no "debate" allowed. If this is how Dr. Mayo fights for our kids, then he should be fired immediately. Not a very rigorous or resilient performance by our CEO. Maybe he was distracted by the recent shake up in ASD administration. There seems to be a lot of instability in our district right now. But I was surprised that in Mayo's opening statement he said that "it's a people business" and it's "not just about measuring test scores." This is the opposite of what he told me at the parent meeting at Muhlenberg, when he said "don't treasure what you can't measure." Is he just telling parents what they want to hear? His words don't jibe with his actions. If he really cared, he would find a way to restore our arts programs, and ditch the corporate reform model.