Sunday, March 13, 2016



This week's update:
-- The panel that will negotiate proposed regulations to some sections of ESSA meets March 21-23 and will include two voting members nominated by NEA: Ryan Ruelas (far left), a social studies teacher at Anaheim High School and a member of the Anaheim City School Board in California, and Lynn Goss, a paraeducator in the Menomonie school district in Wisconsin. The panel will focus on “supplement, not supplant” funding issues and assessments.
-- Following a 16-6 vote by the Senate HELP Committee, the full Senate is set to vote Monday afternoon on the confirmation of Dr. John King as the next Secretary of Education. King has been Acting Secretary since Arne Duncan stepped down.  We are still encouraging you to send in letters and make calls to your Senate members telling them to say NO to King.

Check out our BAT Election Scorecard here for a rundown on where the primary candidates stand on education

Finally don't forget to share widely the BATS Candidate Position Paper - email, tweet, social media post to the primary candidates and demand an answer!

BATs Press Release - Please share with your local media outlets
BATs Thank the National Opt Out Movement

We have BATs running for office!!  Please support

Educator Larry Proffitt  running for Tennessee House from district 66!  If we want to BE the change we have to run for office.  Please support Larry with whatever you can donate.

Retired educator Janet Garrett is running for office in Ohio 4th Congressional District.  Please support Janet and learn about her here

Oregon BATs support staunch education and child advocate Lew Frederick.  Lew is running for  District 22 - North and Northeast Portland

If you know of a BAT running for state or federal office please email our Executive Directors Marla Kilfoyle and Melissa Tomlinson at

State News

The Colorado State Board of Education has passed legislation mandating that ESL students take mandatory reading tests in English.

NYSAPE (a parent/teacher group) is getting an educator to lead their  board of education

The full Senate has passed SB 2858, a tax cut bill that would reduce state revenue by hundreds of millions of dollars per year, phased in over 15 years. Estimates of the impact of the tax cut range from $575-million to $896-million. See your senator's vote on the tax cut bill: Please thank the senators who voted no on this bill. It now goes to the House.

The plan would reduce state revenue by $18-million in the first year. When fully implemented it would:
- Eliminate the 3% and 4% corporate and personal income tax brackets, costing the state budget $306-million annually
- Eliminate the corporate franchise tax, costing the state budget $260-million annually
- Provide for a state deduction for self-employment taxes, at a cost of $10-million annually

The totals above are based on today's dollars; with natural growth over time, the actual cost will be much higher. With the elimination of the franchise tax and the 3% and 4% corporate income tax brackets, 80% of corporations doing business in Mississippi would pay no corporate taxes at all.

- Mississippi ranks 13th in the nation in low business taxes (Tax Foundation) and 6th in the nation in most tax-friendly states for business (Kiplinger 2015)
- Mississippi ranks 47th in the nation in per pupil spending on public education (U.S. Census)
- Mississippi's public schools are under-funded this year by $201-million
- Mississippi is under a federal court order for failing to provide adequately for the protection of children in foster care
- Mississippi is short the additional $375-million needed to make roads and bridges safe
- Mississippi's revenue for the current year has fallen more than $40-million short of projections, already causing mid-year budget cuts
- Mississippi's current-year revenue was reduced by more than $124-million by corporate tax cuts passed in the last four years
- Of the 150 largest for-profit corporations in Mississippi, 100 of them pay no state income tax

The budget bills working their way through the legislative process include cuts to nearly every state agency, including cuts to overall K-12 education funding in the amount of $7.6-million, with funding for the MAEP remaining flat (underfunded by $172-million). House appropriations bills contain reverse repealers which ensure that they will go to conference where they will be adjusted to reflect updated revenue projections, including the impact of tax cut bills that have passed both chambers.

Please ask your representative to vote NO on any tax cut bills, including SB 2858. Find contact information for all of the legislators who represent your school district:

Mississippi parents are angry with legislators who consistently choose corporate cronies over our school children. Ridgeland mom Angelique Lee expresses the sentiment shared by thousands of Mississippi parents who want their schools fully funded:

Mississippi's children are worth our investment. Please make sure your legislators know that their excuses for underfunding schools fall flat when they vote to diminish state revenue.

Continues to fight charter expansion

...and continues to fight merit pay

The Philadelphia School District owes the U.S. Department of Education $7.2 million for federal grant funds misspent more than a decade ago, a federal appeals court ruled this week.

The Kansas State Board of Education would determine “that portion of the aggregate amount of unencumbered cash balances” held by each district on July 1, 2014 that is in excess of 15 percent of the “general operating expenditures of such school district for school year 2014-15.”

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