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AFT members are taking Navient to court

A class-action suit filed in federal court sets out serious allegations that student loan servicer Navient has misled borrowers in public service professions from accessing a loan forgiveness program to boost its own profits. The landmark complaint, which seeks millions in damages and class-wide injunctive relief, details a spate of systematic misrepresentations, untruths and misdirection pedaled by Navient to stop borrowers from enrolling in Public Service Loan Forgiveness, a 10-year payoff plan administered by rival servicer FedLoan.

A Decade of Neglect

“A Decade of Neglect: Public Education Funding in the Aftermath of the Great Recession” details for the first time the devastating impact on schools, classrooms and students when states choose to pursue an austerity agenda in the false belief that tax cuts will pay for themselves. The comprehensive report offers a deep dive into the long-term austerity agendas and historic disinvestment that sparked the wave of nationwide walkouts this spring.

Number of autistic children in Alabama's public schools growing rapidly; teachers lack training to deal with autism(November 30, 2008) B'ham News

Alabama's public schools have seen such an enormous increase in the number of autistic children in the last two decades that educators are struggling to find ways to train teachers to deal with these students.

In 1991, just three students in Alabama's public schools were diagnosed with autism. During the 2007-08 school year, the number was 2,737, and that number is expected to continue to climb.

The diagnosis of autism has expanded so rapidly over the past two decades that only a small percentage of Alabama schools have programs dedicated to it. And in those that do, the programs sometimes are run by teachers with no formal training in the subject.

Birmingham city schools lose more than 850 students and more than $5 million in state funding(October 18, 2008) B'ham News

Birmingham city schools' enrollment dropped by 868 students this year, and the system will lose more than $5.5 million in state funding next year as a result, new attendance reports show.
School systems submitted their 20-days-after-Labor-Day attendance reports and the state will certify them next week. That official enrollment number - called "average daily membership" - is what the state uses to fund schools. Growing schools receive more state money as a result, but schools with declining enrollment lose funding for teachers, principals, assistant principals, counselors and librarians.

Merit pay for teachers will be in proposed Alabama education budget next year, Gov. Riley says ( November 2, 2008) B'ham News

Gov. Bob Riley plans to put $6 million into the proposed education budget next year to fund a pilot program for teacher merit pay in the state's neediest school systems.
The governor said the idea is worth pushing even though a 2007 attempt to get legislative approval for such a program failed.
"There is not another segment of society that doesn't reward its workers for a job well done," Riley said in an interview last week. "I think merit pay works, and I think it's something teachers want."