June 14, 2022
PHILADELPHIA—In response to the Republican controlled state legislature positioning a host of reprehensible bills for consideration instead of finding ways to fully fund public education and implement commonsense gun reform, PFT President Jerry Jordan issued the following statement:
"Shame on Pennsylvania Republicans who have introduced and promoted bigoted attacks on our LGBTQIA+ youth. These pieces of legislation include legislative book bans, a 'Don't Say Gay' bill, and bills that prohibit trans girls from participating in sports. Let's be very clear: these bills are dangerous. Lawmakers are seeking to send a very clear message to LGBTQIA+ young people that they are unwelcome in society. LGBTQIA+ youth need and deserve to be seen for who they are: human beings. This union will always stand up for our young people, and we will vigorously fight any and all anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation.
"Shame on Pennsylvania Republicans who have introduced a 'Parental Bill of Rights'. This bill is part of a national trend of disempowering educators and school communities and weakening public education. Furthermore, across the nation, these bills make teaching honest history and teaching facts prohibited. It serves as a way of reinforcing racist systems and systems of anti-LGBTQIA+ bigotry. Our young people are not political pawns and deserve to be educated with a full and robust education that unpacks the systems of oppression that have impacted far too many in this country for far too long.
"Shame on Pennsylvania Republicans who are pushing the expansion of voucher programs. Whether in the form of EITC (Educational Improvement Tax Credit) expansion, ESA (Education Savings Accounts) creation, or any other mechanism, vouchers siphon money from traditional public schools without any fiscal, operational, administrative, or academic performance accountability or transparency. Further, schools receiving EITC funding, despite being paid with taxpayer money, may (and do) refuse to enroll, or restrict enrollment of, students for virtually any reason, including religious affiliation, disability, discipline, or academic history. Instead of working to identify ways that the legislature can live up to its constitutional obligation to fully and fairly fund public education, EITC and any form of vouchers sets the stage for another corporate giveaway and an inequitable distribution of resources.
"Shame on Pennsylvania Republicans who have once again doubled down on their support of arming teachers. It is impossible to overstate just how catastrophically dangerous this proposal is. It flies in the face of commonsense and it serves to foment fear rather than actually enact commonsense gun reform.
"It must be noted that Pennsylvania Senator Doug Mastriano, now the PA GOP's candidate for governor, has sponsored and co-sponsored a majority of these bills. With every fiber of our beings, we will oppose these bills, and we will oppose everything that Doug Mastriano and his cronies stand for.
"We will continue to fight for true investments in public education. We will continue to fight for gun safety. We will continue to fight against bigotry in every form.
"Doug Mastriano and his Republican allies are toxic, they are dangerous, and they have no place in the state legislature and certainly no place in the governor's mansion."