Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment. Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.
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Host: Scott LaMar
It's an education two-fer on Smart Talk tonight at 8 on witf TV! Pennsylvania Budget Secretary Charles Zogby will stick around after the higher-ed segment to talk about Gov. Corbett's proposed cuts to K-12 education. He'll answer your questions...1-800-729-7532 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org,
Sec. Zogby will be joined by Northern Lebanon School District Superintendent Dr. Don Bell and Pennsylvania State Education Association Treasurer Jerry Oleksiak. Oleksiak has front line classroom experience: He's a special education teacher in the Upper Merion School District. PSEA, the state's largest teachers' union, recently asked its members to consider taking up the governor's call for a one-year wage freeze. Gov. Corbett said the move would save districts more than $400 million. His budget calls for more than $1 billion in cuts to basic education, including $500 million less for various grants programs. For instance, he would eliminate the Accountability Block Grant Program that enabled many schools to offer full-day kindergarten.
Dr. Bell has real concerns about the ability of school districts to continue the modest academic progress they had made over the last 8 years after huge investments in K-12 education under former Democratic Governor Ed Rendell. A number of teachers' unions around the state have voted to forgo negotiated salary increases to help ease their districts' spending woes. Still, many school administrators say the governor's cuts will necessitate local property tax increases to make up for the loss of state funding and will disproportionately hurt poorer districts. Corbett's pick for education secretary Ron Tomalis says their vision is to fundamentally transform public education in Pennsylvania.
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