Monday, July 1, 2013

Dear ASD Board: Use $9.6 Million in State Aid to Reinstate Teachers

Student work ASD

 Dear Allentown School Board Director:

I am writing to you as a concerned parent. I am concerned about my child's future and the future of our school district. All ASD students must be provided with a quality public education, as mandated by the state constitution. Students must be your top priority, regardless of the dire financial situation of ASD. There should be no debate about priorities.

Please make sure the $9.6 million in state aid is used to reinstate teachers. My suggestion is to start at the elementary level to bring back librarians. Full restoration of related arts in middle school, and at all grade levels is of utmost importance as well. Middle school children should not be forced to sit for an additional period of reading and math test prep while parents are told this is "enrichment." I have had enough, and will not stand for the implementation of anymore schemes to improve test scores while the curriculum is narrowed.

Please end data driven instruction, high stakes testing, and other highly flawed methods that do not improve academic achievement, and diminish a child's joy for learning. The ASD administration's business model approach to education does not motivate or engage children. Children are not data points, they are human beings. ASD students need year round art, music, social studies, physical education, and library taught by certified teachers. ASD students deserve the same well rounded education as children from neighboring suburban districts. Anything less is an injustice and disservice to children and community.  Please do what is morally right by children and reinstate the teachers to our schools. Thank you for your service.

Angie Villa


Mrs. Dottie said...

"Given that grim future projection, Zimmerman said restoring positions would be his lowest priority for the additional $10 million, although he stressed he has not ruled it out and would listen to arguments from both sides." Parents must demand immediate removal of this clown from the school board. It is outrageous that he is allowed to serve on a school board. There should no debate here. Students are top priority. Allentown is a cruel, bizarro world town.

Mrs. Dottie said...

Not much action from parents. This is not encouraging. Children should never feel the pain of budget cuts. They must be protected, yet board members Armstrong and Zimmerman say "we all must share the pain" and "teachers are the lowest priority." Education is about students, and students need teachers. I heard back from board directors Jo Jackson and Julie Ambrose who both said they agree with me.

Mrs. Dottie said...

A comment at Diane Ravitch's blog regarding crisis in Philadelphia and a letter written by Diane and Randi Weingarten (union president) asking Arne Duncan to help save the schools :

Randal Hendee
July 1, 2013 at 2:47 pm
There are multiple federal cases waiting to be made with respect to inequitable school funding for minority children. Some state formulas for school funding inherently discriminate against urban school systems (systems already top-heavy with administrators and consultants, preventing funds from reaching classrooms and individual schools). It should be easy to prove that the bulk of minority children are being deprived of resources needed for even a minimal program of education.

It wouldn’t be a big leap to demonstrate systematic starvation of some urban public school systems for the purpose of establishing more privately run charter schools, resulting in substandard services for the kids that remain in the public system. Civil rights statutes and the equal protection clause could be brought to bear in this instance.

Either the federal government needs to bring suit against cities and states that allow a two-tier or even a three-tier system that’s unequally funded, or Congress needs to address these issues. (Democrats run the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, and they should be holding hearings, inviting Jonathan Kozol and other informed voices–instead, they’re tinkering with NCLB.) Alternatively, the Department of Education could withhold funds from states and school districts that don’t comply with the letter and spirit of existing anti-discrimination laws.

I’m not a fan of Randi Weingarten, but the letter makes sense, and the basic thrust of it could open a new front in the fight for public schools. Obviously, it isn’t just Philadelphia that needs help. So do Chicago and many other cities, along with much of rural America, including the tribal areas that tend to be overlooked:

The report cited above might be an eye opener for some. It’s just one more indicator that the main problem of American education is inequity, pure and simple.

Mrs. Dottie said...

"Board member Scott Armstrong said given rising pension and other employee costs, he does not support restoring any positions and would put the entire $9.6 million toward restoring reserves and reducing the tax hike."

Demand resignation of Armstrong and Zimmerman. This is outrageous and appalling. Only the cruelest of criminals would rob children in order to lower taxes. This is NOT fiscal responsibility, this is stupidity.

Mrs. Dottie said...

APPALLING, IMMORAL, AND CRUEL: ASD school board director David Zimmerman said that teachers are the "lowest priority" in our school district budget. Board member Scott Armstrong said that given rising pension and other employee costs, he does not support restoring any teaching positions and would put the entire $9.6 million in state aid toward restoring reserves and reducing the tax hike. They must immediately be removed from our school board. There should be NO debate-providing a quality education to our children, as mandated by the state's constitution, is top priority, and you cannot meet the state's obligation without teachers. Robbing children of their education in order to reduce taxes is criminal. And only the worst criminals rob children. There should NEVER be a two tiered public education system where some students sit in overcrowded test prep factories, while the rest enjoy the arts and a safe, rich learning environment. Armstrong and ZImmerman are promoting inequality!