I don't usually do this, but it seems like a good moment to pause and gather up some of the more recent news from Pennsylvania, because it's becoming difficult to keep track of all the lousy ideas in Harrisburg right now. If you are in Pennsylvania, here's some food for thought for the next time you contact your elected representative (and that time should come early and often).
School Funding Emerges From Time Warp
Funding formula continues to be an issue. Last summer, we were starting to sort things out, but it remains to be seen if Governor Wolf and the GOP legislature can do a deal.
Testing Stutter Steps
The Keystones are currently paused, but that pause is just about done. Legislators need to be encouraged to push pause for, oh, forever in regards to using the lousy tests as graduation requirements. This should be an easy sell-- remember, the Keystones are norm-referenced ("graded on the curve" for civilians) which means that making them a graduation requirement absolutely guarantees that a bunch of Pennsylvanian students with passing report cards will be denied diplomas if Keystones are a grad requirement. Which legislators would like to have their names on that accomplishment?
We keep having stories like this, in which enterprising folks try to get schools taxes rolled back. Pay attention.
Erie May Close All High Schools
This piece is from a year ago, and things haven't gotten any better. Does your legislator really want to see public education ended? If not, what is he going to do about it?
Before you call your legislator to tell him to keep charters from bleeding districts dry, check and see just how bad it is in your district (and look at how heavily lobbied Harrisburg is).
Future Ready Schools
Pennsylvania's plan for getting in line with ESSA. Take a look. See if you have some thoughts about how this mess could be improved.
Let's Arm Teachers
Some guys in Harrisburg think that what's really missing from schools is guns. This is a dumb idea. Tell your legislator so.
Bad Charter Reform Bill
I wrote about the first version of this bad bill last year, and it is back and still bad. It doesn't fix cyber charter funding and doesn't stop charters from being an unregulated drain on public tax dollars. Tell them to do better.
Remember That You Are Dealing with Really Bad Legislators Like This Guy
Brad Roae is about as anti-public school teacher as you can get. I wrote this piece about him last fall-- before he was re-elected, again. If you have to call him, be prepared for a less-than-warm reception.
Who the Hell Is Scott Wagner
Finally, start reading up on this guy, who wants to be the Scott Walker of PA. He has declared candidacy for Governor, and he would like to see teachers unions shut down, poor people left to starve, and public education replaced with businesses. Wagner is rich and ready and has already been doing the groundwork to help his run at the governor's office. On first glance, you are going to be inclined to dismiss him as a ridiculous cartoon. Don't. Get ready for a fight this fall, and if you're a Republican, educate yourself before the primary in a few weeks.