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Preserving Quality Higher Education in PA: Our story so far…

[A message from APSCUF-WCU President Lisa Millhous–I just posted it!]

Preserving Quality Public Higher Education in PA: Our story so far…

[Skip ahead to find out what you can do]

On February 7 Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett proposed his 2012-13 state budget that cuts PASSHE (including West Chester University) by $82.5 million, cuts grants and loans for students (PHEAA) by $27.2 million, and cuts many other educational programs from pre-kindergarten to Ph.D. candidates.
Email the Governor and let him know restoring the funding matters to your family.

On February 29 the PA Senate held a budget hearing for PA State System schools (PASSHE). Senate Appropriations Chair Jake Corman was supportive of restoring funding to the State System. He has said that the State-owned universities have already shouldered their share of the cuts.
Email Senator Cormanto thank him for his support of PASSHE.

On February 29 and March 1 WCU students rallied to show their concern about the budget cuts. Over 1000 post cards were sent to the Governor and more than 500 registered PA voters signed a petition asking their legislators not to approve a budget that cuts education.
Look up your legislators and email them to let them know how important state funding is for your family.

On March 5 the PA House of Representatives held a budget hearing for PASSHE. House Appropriations Chair Bill Adolph also was supportive of the State System and suggested the House would try and reduce the cuts that the Governor had proposed.
Email Representative Adolph and thank him for his support of PASSHE.

Although many have criticized the cuts to higher education, Governor Corbett continues to defend his position. Unfortunately, he regularly uses inaccurate information to support the arguments for cutting higher education. Email the Governor and let him know how restoring the funding would matter to your family.

What can you do?

On March 28th several busses of WCU students and faculty will join students and faculty from all 14 schools in Harrisburg to ask the PA Legislature to restore funding for education.
To see if there is room on the bus, email the WCU APSCUF Office.

On April 24 you can vote in the PA Primary Election (3/26 is the last day to register to vote). A strong student turn-out in the primary will send a message to Harrisburg that we will be out in force in November. And we will remember how the legislature handled the budget this year.

In May and early June we need to find ways to keep our issue alive for the Legislature even though our semester will be over and many students will be home.
You can register to receive text messages or email updates to join our student activities.

WCU Rally videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p86zJaSoKKU

http://westchester.patch.com/articles/video-west-chester-students-protest-budget-cuts#video-9228789

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Filed under Advocacy, APSCUF, Budget, Budget Cuts, lobbying, PASSHE, Program elimination, Rally, Tom Corbett, Uncategorized, West Chester University

WCU budget protests in the news

The Daily Local newspaper covered both of our rallies this week.

South campus:

http://www.dailylocal.com/article/20120229/NEWS01/120229563/wcu-students-faculty-members-protest-against-budget-cuts

North campus:

http://www.dailylocal.com/article/20120301/NEWS01/120309949/1006/hundreds-gather-at-wcu-to-protest-budget-cuts

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Budget protest rallies on campus Weds & Thurs

Please encourage your students to attend and be vocal – there will be student speakers and, at the north campus event, a raffle of crucial supplies for students left in financial straits by the proposed budget! Faculty should attend to show our support for our students and the continuing health of affordable, high-quality public college education.

South Campus Rally – Wednesday 2/29
Sturzebecker 116A
9:45 – 10:15

 

North Campus Rally – Thursday 3/1
Church St & University Ave
Near bus stop & Ehinger Gym
(Rain location: Sykes Ballroom C)
12:15 – 1:15

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Alum Jen James speaks out about Corbett budget

Jen James graduated from WCU in 2011. Here are her thoughts on
the recent budget proposals:

When I was a senior in high school, I had a difficult time deciding where I wanted to go to college. I was accepted and wait-listed at several larger, private colleges, but I was also accepted at West Chester University. My older siblings had both attended private colleges and fared well in the large-scale campus environment. However, I was immediately drawn to WCU because of its smaller size. I knew that I wanted to go to a college that valued student interaction with professors through smaller class sizes.

Although finding opportunities for individualized classroom experience was my priority in selecting a college, cost of attendance was also a major factor. I came from a single-parent home; I knew that I would need additional funding just to be able to attend college. After I was accepted at West Chester, I was also offered a full-tuition Board of Governor’s Scholarship based on my high school GPA and extracurricular leadership roles. My older sister encouraged me to take advantage of the school’s in-state tuition and my scholarship opportunity. She advised me to think about these factors based on her own experience with paying off student loan debt for both private college and medical school. Based on my sister’s insight and my primary goal of having an individualized learning experience, I chose to attend West Chester University.

Now that I’ve completed my education at WCU, I’m glad that I took the time to include factors such as class size and cost.  As an English major, I had the opportunity to get individual feedback on my work from my professors and classmates in small lecture classes and workshops. My writing improved significantly through this learning environment, and I now have skills that are immediately transferrable to the real world. Additionally, thanks to the Board of Governor’s Scholarship and my reduced tuition as an in-state student, my student loan debt is significantly lower than it would’ve been in other circumstances. I now have a better handle on my finances in terms of repaying my student loans while working than most recent college graduates thanks to West Chester University.

When I heard about Governor Corbett’s state budget cuts that would reduce funding to PASSHE colleges, I immediately thought of how that would affect students like me who relied on scholarships and affordable tuition just to be able to attend college. I also became concerned that current and future students at PASSHE schools like West Chester wouldn’t have the same advantages of a smaller classroom environment that I had. I took action in writing to my PA State Representative about my concerns over the education budget cuts, but I have yet to hear back from them. I will continue to take action and stay informed on the budget process, not just for my own benefit, but for the benefit of current and future PASSHE students who may not have the same advantages of a state college education that I had.

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Student speaks out about budget cuts

First-year student Johnny Frederick has posted a video to Youtube that explains how he and others will be affected by Corbett’s proposed budget cuts:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eCZ_4xyyd4&feature=g-hist&context=G2e3f2aeAHTzykBgAAAA

If there’s even one student who will suffer in this way, that is one too many.

Please share this link!

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Everybody’s singing it!

If you haven’t heard “Hey Mr. Corbett” by our own faculty member Mark Rimple and current student Hassan Estakhrian, here’s the link: http://www.senatordinniman.com/newsroom/audio

And here’s a great article about it in this week’s Philadelphia Weekly:

http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/news-and-opinion/news/139320523.html?printView=y

Time for a state-wide sing-along!

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Pennsylvania Senate college-funding hearings canceled

Why would Senate hearings for public universities be canceled right before the Governor announces his budget? Lots of focus (too much) on Penn State here. Wonder how PASSHE’s Chancellor responded?

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20120203_Pennsylvania_Senate_college-funding_hearings_canceled.html

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Meet with Senator Dinniman to support public education

Senator Dinniman has announced the following:

Public education has come under increasing attack in Harrisburg and it is time for the citizens of Chester and Montgomery counties to stand up and protect our schools both here and throughout Pennsylvania.

We are asking all those who value public education to come together for a meeting on Thursday, February 9, 2012, at 7 pm at Downingtown East High School, 50 Devon Drive (just off Route 113) in Exton.

Why February 9? Because the governor will be giving his annual budget address to the state legislature on February 7 and we need to respond. All indications are that this address will contain cuts that will be devastating to public education at all levels. We must come together to organize and to protect funding for early childhood education, basic education and public higher education. We can’t afford to wait until June and allow an anti-education budget and agenda to pass.

It is our hope to create an ongoing Coalition for Public Education that will stand strong as we face this year’s state budget and other challenges to public education to come.

We also plan to find ways to increase parental involvement in helping every child succeed. Parental involvement is the key to academic success in schools around the world. The future of our children and our nation depends on developing educational excellence in every school and at all levels of education.

Last year, more than a thousand people attended a rally in support of public education at the Chester County Courthouse and recently thousands of citizens joined in a write-in vote movement in the West Chester School Board election. Please join us to keep the momentum going forward as we face the upcoming state budget.

Our collective voice needs to be heard and your participation is crucial. Please let us know if you can attend the Feb 9 meeting by contacting Deb Woolson at my office at (610) 692-2112 or e-mailing dwoolson@pasenate.com. If you cannot attend but are interested in becoming involved in the planned Coalition for Public Education, also let us know.

Our children are depending on you!

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Statewide Call to Action for Public Education – January 25th!

Please join supporters of public education across Pennsylvania tomorrow in calling legislators tomorrow to let them know that you expect a state budget that reflects a commitment to the students and educators in our state. Many people will be calling in to advocate for K-12 funding, and we want to lend our voices in support of funding for public higher education. Information for the call to action can be found here: http://www.educationvoterspa.org/index.php/site/news/statewide-call-for-education-click-here/

Cheryl Wanko

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Say thank you to Ohio voters

I have to be quick about this and will have more to say later, but members of public sector unions, especially academic/teaching public sector unions, owe a gigantic show of gratitude to the overwhelming percentage of OH voters who voted yesterday to repeal SB5.

On today’s Washington Post “The Answer Sheet” blog, Valerie Strauss explains the implications of yesterday’s vote for teachers and teachers’ unions nationwide. Her point isn’t difficult to generalize to us.

Read it. Then raise a toast to every OH voter you know. This is what democracy looks like.

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