Established in 2006, the Keystone State Education Coalition is a growing grass roots, non-partisan public education advocacy group of several hundred locally elected, volunteer school board members and administrators from school districts throughout Pennsylvania. Our mission is to evaluate, discuss and inform our boards, district constituents and legislators on legislative issues of common interest and to facilitate active engagement in public education advocacy.
BUDGET DEAL IN HOME STRETCH - NEED YOU TO MAKE 2 CALLS THIS AM
The Senate and House Leadership are in the final stretch of budget negotiations.If you have 2 minutes this morning please contact Senate Majority Leader Pileggi and House Majority Leader Turzai ASK THEM NOT TO INCLUDE CONTROVERSIAL VOUCHER OR CHARTER SCHOOL LEGISLATION IN THE BUDGET DEAL.If you 2 minutes more please contact the floor leaders also.If you are registered Republican please consider letting them know that.(The Democrats are not involved in the budget negotiations.)
During the past few months we have periodically faxed pertinent articles to all members of the General Assembly. Some of them actually get read. Midday Tuesday I got a call from House Ed Committee Majority Chairman Paul Clymer's office asking if I would be available to testify at a Wednesday morning hearing on school choice on behalf of the Keystone State Education Coalition. Tuesday evening at 6:00 pm I received 246 pages of proposed new voucher and charter school legislation via email. I cobbled together 20 pages of testimony, printed up 30 copies and hit the road early Wednesday morning looking forward to testifying………
Philadelphia Inquirer,WEDNESDAY, JUNE 22, 2011, By Amy Worden
Storm clouds swirled around a House committee room in the Capitol today after objections were raised about a "lack of sunshining" on a hearing to address the hot button issue of tuition vouchers. With a packed house looking on, education committee chairmanRep. Paul Clymer (R., Bucks)abruptly canceled the hearing after the ranking Democrat on the committee,Rep. James Roebuck (D., Phila.) said the public had not been given proper notice of the meeting.
House Ed Committee Abruptly Cancels Hearings on Vouchers, ChartersJune 22, 2011
It is unlikely that the hearings will be rescheduled since they are not required in order to consider any piece of legislation. However, the cancellation of the hearings does not impact the ability of the General Assembly to push voucher and charter school proposals through now, before the summer break.
The proposals that are expected to move are new plans that are just now being introduced or not yet introduced.This is happening in the face of massive amounts of pressure and dollars being spent by out-of-state interest groups to push vouchers through now while they believe they have the momentum to do so.That means legislators will be asked to approve bills that create a major shift in education policy without appropriate time to study and consider the language or seek constituent input.
AS THE LEGISLATURE focuses on creating a school-voucher law that is - depending on where you sit - either a cure or a Dr. Kevorkian for public education, there's an interesting political backdrop in the picture. Members of Philly's legislative delegation, a group historically Democratic, pro-public schools and generously underwritten by teachers unions, are taking money from both sides of the debate.