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Local professor says proposed teaching cuts in Allentown will hurt students

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Apr 05 2013 07:33:38 PM CDT

Feeling the effects of school cuts

The Allentown School District has some tough decisions to make.

But if the district does cut 147 teaching positions, one professor says students will be the ones who pay the price down the line.

District cuts could eliminate art, music, and physical education.

While the Allentown district hopes to find other ways in teach these subjects.. one college professor says that is a huge workload for teachers.

Art, music, and physical education.

Subjects that educators say enrich the lives of students.

“What business do we know that could lose one third of their staff over a period of three years and be expected to maintain the same quality and the same output," said George White.

White is the director for the Center of Developing Urban Education Leaders at Lehigh University.

He says Allentown possibly cutting 147 teachers will be, “devastating to the children who go to school in the Allentown school district.”

White says the cuts could result in larger class sizes and points to research that classes with 30 or more student could impact students ability to learn.

“There is less time on task for kids," said White. "The teachers are having less time to report on and provide feedback to students in a meaningful way.”

White says this is a problem in urban districts across the nation.

Less funds mean fewer opportunities.

“You have children coming out of schools like Parkland and East Penn and Central Bucks who have had all these enriching experiences," added White.

"And students just because they've been born in the Allentown district being negatively impacted because their class sizes are going to be larger.”

He says the problem won't get fixed until all money is divided equally in each county, instead of keeping school taxes in their own districts.

“Until we begin to look at diversifying the tax base and expanding that so suburban and rural communities share the same resources," said White.

White says the only way to help Allentown this year is to get more funds from Harrisburg.

ASD board members have met with state leaders several times asking for additional funds.