Framing the Discussion
Guidelines Based on Experience:
Protecting First Amendment Rights of Students:
* An Agreement of Compliance
* Background Briefs
* School Prayer
Evolution vs Creationism
* Uphold Science Standards
Extremist Challenges to School Boards:
* Tools from Freedom to Learn Network
Talking points to frame the discussion:
(For explanation and tips, see Power of Language or Talking to the Media. These will open into a separate popup window, and will remain in the background until you close the popup.)
Standards & Accountability
- The state should budget for success in public education by identifying the practices and resources of the most successful schools and ensuring that all schools have the resources to succeed.
- Pennsylvania’s most successful schools spend $48,200 more per classroom each year than the least successful. We need to close this “opportunity gap”.
- Shrinking and uneven distribution of state education funds forces school boards to choose whom to hurt, taxpayers or students, rather than concentrate on whom to help.
Charter Schools and Vouchers
- Unless schools have what they need to succeed, accountability is a bully that serves no real purpose and diverts attention from the real needs of students and the schools who educate them.
- Improving assessment would mean eliminating the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment test until it tests the standards, and until it is evaluated for validity and reliability.
- The Empowerment Act uses the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, an invalid and unreliable test, to determine governance, money and other issues.
Teaching creationism as science
- Fairly funded public schools are doing a good job. Under-funded schools are hurt by vouchers and charter schools which reduce resources rather than help them serve all students.
- Charters should be granted only if the school offers students something different from what is available to them in mainstream public schools, not merely a similar curriculum without public accountability.
- Including religious doctrine in public school curriculum violates our Constitutional right to freedom of religion.
- Including non-scientific material in science will erode the quality of education our students receive and hamper their ability to pursue careers in science and technology.
- Religious ideas about how the world began are diverse and contradictory; public schools should not ask students to subject their religious beliefs to scientific scrutiny.