Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Join Us for a Skype Session with Nebraska Parents

Parents, please join us for an opportunity to Skype with a parent group (Nebraska Parents for Public Education - NPPE) at 6:00 Oct 16th!  We'll host the session in a high school classroom prior to attending the 7:00 Talent Show in the Auditorium. Read the following note from Dr. Winchester for more information.
(From Dr. Winchester, Supt.)
Saturday I meet with three parents (NE Parents for Public Education-NPPE) from the Omaha area.  I felt it was a very productive meeting.  Please read the information below about their group.  Like us they feel they need to collaborate with others so their concern for state funding for public education is heard.  Their main thrust is to fully fund TEEOSA.  They also understand the need to revamp Nebraska’s tax structure.  In sharing over coffee, we found we have many similar issues in a number of areas even though we are at two ends of the state, with a rural district and an urban district.  In my opinion we are more alike than different.
Their group (NPPE) is also meeting October 16.  We agreed to meet each other via Skype at 6 PM MT.  Please let other parents know about this group and the Skype collaboration on October 16.
If you need further info about the meeting, please contact me.
Many thanks.
~Dr. Winchester
Nebraska Parents for Public Education (NPPE)
Mission:  Through state-wide advocacy we will ensure a brighter future for Nebraska children by promoting the highest quality education in our k-12 schools.

Immediate objective:  Hold our state government to their commitment to restore $100 million funding for k-12 public education.

Background:  We have reason to be proud of our public schools. Nebraska ranks in the Top 10 in the nation in student achievement. We want to keep it that way. Nebraska’s public schools are entrusted with educating almost 300,000 K-12 students, 1 of every 6 Nebraskans, every year. Despite increasing enrollment, state aid for public schools was cut by nearly $100 million from FY2011 to FY2013, a staggering cut of 10.3%. By contrast the legislature found enough revenue to cut income taxes. 
Since the end of the recession in June 2009, the economy lost over 300,000 local education jobs. The loss of education jobs stands in stark contrast to every other recovery in recent years, under Republican and Democratic Administrations.

The impact of these cuts can be felt across the state. Nebraska schools lost 300 teachers and staff in school year 2011-12 and another 300 are expected to be lost in 2012-13. Communities such as Columbus and North Platte are facing a significant loss of state funding.

The national student-teacher ratio increased by 4.6 percent from 2008 to 2010, rolling back all the gains made since 2000. Further layoffs in 2011 and 2012 mean that the student-teacher ratio will continue to increase as we enter the 2012-13 school years. From Florida to Ohio to California, districts have faced teacher shortages, have cut preschool and kindergarten programs, and have shortened the school week and school year.  While Omaha hasn't seen cuts in the school week, there are districts in outstate Nebraska who have gone to 4-day weeks to save money.

These cuts are occurring at a time when schools face demands from parents, employers and civic leaders to bring more and more students to higher levels of academic proficiency, in large part because workers will increasingly need higher levels of educational attainment to thrive in the workforce. We must support the creation of an educated populace that is a sustainable workforce for Nebraska employers.