Politico By CAITLIN EMMA 02/21/17 12:18 PM EST
A Pennsylvania state senator's remarks at a recent town hall have prompted some calls for him to step down from the committee he chairs. Republican John Eichelberger of Blair County heads the Senate Education panel, and he's receiving harsh criticism from across the aisle after saying inner city students might benefit from less intensive academics. Eichelberger—who's an outspoken school choice advocate—told the crowd money was being wasted pushing unprepared inner city kids into college programs. He suggested it might be better-spent getting them into vocational programs. Democratic Senator Vince Hughes, who represents the Philadelphia area, took umbrage, saying Eichelberger's comments show a prejudice against inner-city kids and should disqualify him from running the Education Committee. "Should there be more vocational programs? Absolutely. Should there be more higher education programs? Absolutely. But don't perpetuate this myth, this stereotype, that we can't achieve," Hughes said. He added that lower scores only happen because inner city schools aren't equally funded. "If he [Eichelberger] is so damn caring, he should fund the schools the way they deserve to be funded," Hughes said.
By Molly Born / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette February 21, 2017 3:21 PM
Village Voice BY JON CAMPBELL SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2017 AT 5 P.M.
If Donald Trump really wants to “drain the swamp” in Washington, choosing billionaire Michigan GOP activist Betsy DeVos to be education secretary may not be such a bad idea after all; she’s a political operator who has made it her life’s mission to weaken public education, with a proven track record of undermining stable systems. If you want to drown government in the tub, first you need to get your assassin through the bathroom door.
For years DeVos been a high profile proponent of charter schools in her home state, and critics say Michigan’s education system hasn’t fared well for it, with many of the charter schools performing terribly even as they divert resources from the larger system. The only thing that has gotten more attention than her agenda is her tactics. A former head of the state Republican Party and a shrewd political operator, she’s been more than willing to use her vast family fortune, estimated at $5.1 billion, to achieve her ends, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to support pro-charter politicians — or punish those who oppose her. But shoveling money into a race — even if you’re using a backhoe — is of limited value. The effects may not last past the next election cycle. So for decades, DeVos and her family foundation have pursued far wider-reaching and longer-lasting changes by helping systematically weaken the barriers that keep money from flooding American politics. And they’ve been very successful.
The briefings are free and open to the public, but we ask that you please RSVP.
Forum #2 – Harrisburg Area (Enola, PA) Tuesday, February 28, 2017 – Capital Area Intermediate Unit – 55 Miller Street (Susquehanna Room), Enola, PA 17025
Forum #3 – Philadelphia Thursday, March 2, 2017 – Penn Center for Educational Leadership, University of Pennsylvania, 3440 Market Street (5th Floor), Philadelphia, PA 19104
Forum #4 – Indiana University of Pennsylvania Tuesday, March 14, 2017 – 1011 South Drive (Stouffer Hall), Indiana, PA 15705
Forum #5 – Lehigh Valley Tuesday, March 28, 2017 – Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit #21, 4210 Independence Drive, Schnecksville, PA 18078
Plan to join public education leaders for networking and learning at the 2017 NSBA Annual Conference, March 25-27 in Denver, CO. General registration is now open at https://www.nsba.org/conference/registration. A conference schedule, including pre-conference workshops, is available on the NSBA website.