GOOD


Closing schools has become an almost reflexive, corporate solution to a complex fiscal and social problema problem to which no one has found a satisfying answer.

Districts shutter, sell, or destroy physical properties typically for fiscal reasons. Districts also terminate contracts of poor-performing service providers to make way for new leaders who most often radically rearrange the organs of a schoolmaking it in essence a new school. In either case for students, alumni, and family members, closing a school can feel like excommunicating a grandfather to the wilderness to save money.

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Go Public: Film Project Gives 'Day in the Life' Perspective to Public Schools

Go Public tells the stories of 50 students, parents, volunteers, teachers, and district staff for an entire day.


Think you know what it's like to learn and work in a public school in the United States? Spend a little time watching Go Public, a film project that followed students, parents, volunteers, teachers, and school district staff in a suburban Los Angeles school district for one day last spring, and you'll see public education with fresh eyes.

The project followed 50 individuals from sunup to sundown and filmed at 28 different campuses and reveals the nuances of "what goes on during a typical day in a public school setting" in the racially, ethnically, and economically diverse Pasadena Unified School District. Entertainment industry vets James and Dawn O'Keefe, whose own kids attend public school in PUSD, came up with the concept after a local parcel tax measure that would've generated $7 million a year for the cash strapped district failed with voters. They set out to tell the real story of what goes on in the district—"what works and what doesn’t"—so that Pasadena residents, many of whom hadn't been on a school campus in years, have a better "understanding of the strengths, weaknesses and needs of public education as a whole."

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What Do Americans Say Is the Biggest Problem Facing Public Schools?

Hint: it's not ineffective teachers or campus violence.


Is the biggest problem facing public schools ineffective teachers? The media's fascination with tales of failing schools, rubber rooms, and kids waiting for 'Superman', would certainly have you think that's the case. According to the 44th annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools, Americans actually see a lack of financial support as the biggest problem facing their community schools.

Indeed, for a third year in a row, 71% of poll respondents say they have trust and confidence in the nation's teachers. But 43% of parents and 35% of Americans in general say money is the biggest issue. A decade ago in 2002, just 17% of poll respondents cited a lack of funds for schools as a problem. Back then Americans felt the biggest problems facing schools were overcrowding and discipline issues like fighting, gangs, and drugs. Now only 14% of Americans think those things are big problems.

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Teachers in Bankrupt Pennsylvania School District Pledge to Work for Free

Chester Upland School District runs out of money today, but teachers have pledged to keep working.


Would you still go to work every day if your boss couldn't pay you? That's what 200 teachers and 65 other employees of Pennsylvania's Chester Upland School District have pledged to do after district officials told them that a $19 million budget shortfall meant they wouldn't be receiving salaries.

Sara Ferguson, who's been a teacher in Chester Upland—a 3,700-student school system just south of Philadelphia—calls the situation "alarming," but she told the The Philadelphia Inquirer that she and her colleagues have committed to staying on the job because "the students don't have any contingency plan. They need to be educated."

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Two Rapping Teachers Take on Plan to Slash L.A. Busing

$38 million in cuts will take away school bus transportation in Los Angeles starting January 1.


School may be out for winter vacation, but it's not "happy holidays" for public schools in Los Angeles. Thanks to California's dire budget crisis, massive mid-year education cuts are set to take effect statewide on January 1. The Los Angeles Unified School District could see $150 million slashed from the budget, including more than $38 million for school transportation. Now the dynamic rapping duo Two Teachers and a Microphone is using their rhyming skills in a parody of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" to protest the potentially devastating impact of these cuts.

Eliminating transportation funding would not only put the neediest students at a disadvantagetheir families often have no other way to get kids to school—but may also place the school district in hot water legally. LAUSD is legally required to provide bus service for students with special needs, as well as for those attending one of the city's magnet schools, which are created by a court desegregation order.

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Hundreds of Teachers Agree: Budget Cuts Are Gutting American Education

At a town hall event, teachers were honest about how budget cuts make it harder to close the achievement gap.


Put 350 Los Angeles teachers in one room and the conversation is guaranteed to get heated. It certainly did at Sunday's taping of Education Nation, the four-part NBC news special focused on figuring out how to improve schools in America. Veteran NBC reporter Raheema Ellis moderated, and although she did her best to steer three sets of panelists and the audience toward hot-button ed reform issues—teacher tenure, using test scores to evaluate educators, training students for the jobs of the future, and closing the achievement gap—it was clear that the crowd was fired up about the implications of making long-term policy decisions about those issues at a time when education budgets are being gutted.

Ellis set the tone by sharing dismal statistics about how California has defunded education—$20 billion slashed from schools and 30,000 educators laid off over the past three years. Ninety-six percent of the teachers in the audience said more cuts will have have a "huge" impact on their ability to succeed with their students and will keep America from being globally competitive.

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