This week the Pennsylvania State Senate may vote on SB 383, legislation that would allow teachers and other staff to carry guns in schools. But we know that arming teachers and other school personnel will not make schools safer–while dramatically raising the odds that students will be injured or killed because of a fatal mistake.
The vehicle of “choice” being proposed to destroy public education? The innocuously named “Education Savings Account.”
Hear directly from groups like EdChoice, a pro voucher/school choice group fighting for this type of detrimental legislation:
“Education savings accounts (ESAs) allow parents to withdraw their children from public district or charter schools and receive a deposit of public funds into government-authorized savings accounts with restricted, but multiple, uses.”
Simply put, this is a way to circumvent our constitutional requirement to fund our schools, and it will destroy public education.
It’s PA Budget Season. Here’s what we’re watching.
As the budget season in Harrisburg continues to unfold, we are monitoring legislation and communicating with our elected officials about our concerns.
PFT President Jordan has has issued a memo to State Senators highlighting a number of pieces of legislation and outlining our opposition:
- SB 168: Interference with Collective Bargaining [OPPOSED]
This bill is attempt at destroying the Public Policy of the Commonwealth, a policy that favors the resolution of labor management relations by way of Collective Bargaining, under the guise of “sunshine.”
- SB 494: Professional Educator Leave of Absence [OPPOSED]
In any form it takes, this nonsensical legislation is based on the false premise that educators on collectively bargained and agreed upon union leave are out of the classroom at the expense of children and taxpayers.
- HB 857: Amends Private Academic Schools Act [OPPOSED]
Further deregulating private schools is an alarming proposition, and will not benefit students and families across the Commonwealth.
- HB 97: Charter School Reform
We continue to oppose this bill. Click here to read Jerry’s letter to the PA House of Representatives.
How to advocate for public schools
Public schools are the backbone of our community and the key to developing a vibrant local economy, an educated and skilled workforce and civic-minded citizens.
The School District of Philadelphia was taken over under Act 46 of 2001 by the state, which now appoints 3 of 5 School Reform Commissioners who select a superintendent and oversee the district. The mayor of Philadelphia appoints the remaining two commissioners. The state and city are primarily responsible for allocated tax money to fund school district programs, with the state contributing more than half of the district’s operating budget, the city contributing a third of the budget and the remainder coming through federal government programs (Title I, for example).
As a result, taxpayers, voters and other education advocates must lobby on several levels simultaneously – at the city – the mayor and with City Council members; at the state – the governor and State Senators and Representatives; and at the federal level: the White House, U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
Pennsylvania State Government
Pennsylvania General Assembly provides between half and two thirds of the School District’s funding each year as part of the statewide budget process. The governor proposes a budget in February and must pass a balanced budget by June 30 each year. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Senate meet from mid-September through June. It’s important for PFT members to keep in touch with their state Senators and Representatives, to let them know where their constituents stand on isses and proposed legislation.
Call Gov. Tom Wolf’s Office: 717-787-2500
Register to Vote
Polls show that many Americans aren’t satisfied with their elected representatives, yet the percentage of eligible voters who cast ballots in elections has been declining since the 1960s. That isn’t the case for PFT members!
Over 95% of PFT members vote in local, state and national elections. Although many voters wonder whether their vote counts, the PFT has shown that, in local and state elections, getting our members, families and friends to the polls has a huge impact on the elected leaders who represent our interests.
The PFT encourages every member to register and to vote in every election. High schools may also hold voter registration drives to encourage new 18-year-olds to register to vote as well.
Click below to register to vote in the state where you reside. Contact your PFT staff representative for voter registration forms for your co-workers, parents and students.