As the T/E School District begins the budget development process for 2011-2012, a budget balancing strategy from last year was to determine the effect an earned income tax (EIT) would have on the school district and its residents. Tonight (7:30 – 9:00 PM, Conestoga High School auditorium) is an informational presentation from a representative from the Pennsylvania Economy League.
The School Board will not make a decision tonight; in regards to an EIT; the session is strictly informational. Again, I applaud the efforts of the School Board in their willingness to disseminate the EIT information in a transparent, public manner. This public meeting tonight is a good first step — educating the School Board and the community on EIT so an informed decision can be made at a later date.
On the subject of the School Board, the following letter came across my desk today from the president-CEO of the nonprofit research and educational group, Commonwealth Foundation. There are some harsh words for the teacher unions. With many of the local teacher contracts up for negotiations, it is going to be interesting to see how wide-spread the negativity towards teacher unions is and how it will affect the process.
Dear Commonwealth Foundation Friends:
Support for school choice is becoming more and more bipartisan, as both sides of the ideological aisle begin to realize that maybe—just maybe—the teachers unions have their own agenda, and that ensuring the best possible education for our kids may not be their first priority.
In last Monday’s update, I mentioned that I was scheduled to testify that Wednesday before a Senate Education Committee hearing on the future of school choice and opportunity scholarships. It was quite an experience: an all-day free-for-all that included a remarkable exchange between Senator Andrew Dinniman, the Democratic Chairman of the committee, and a Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) representative, whom Sen. Dinniman sharply criticized for frustrating committee efforts to meet to discuss reform measures. Sen. Dinniman event went so as to wonder alond whether PSEA’s commitment to students is just “window dressing.”
We’ve known all along that teacher union bosses care first and foremost about one thing: preserving their own taxpayer-funded perks and cushy pensions, while at the same time making sure that they are never made to justify any of it. Meanwhile, the poorest and most vulnerable of our kids are being warehoused in failing schools, while these well-paid union reps stand at the schoolhouse door, blocking any reform that might make a real difference in the lives and futures of these kids. It’s outrageous.
We know that whoever wins next month’s gubernatorial campaign, our next governor will be sympathetic to the issue of choice in education. Though we may be getting a friendlier and more receptive set of ears in the Governor’s Mansion come January, this debate is by no means over. Any measures to reform our schools will be seen as a threat to the teachers unions and to the entrenched bureaucrats whose very careers and livelihoods depend on maintaining the status quo. We’re going to keep up the good fight. Together, we will work to ensure that every child in the Commonwealth has access to a safe, top-notch education, regardless of his or her family income, or the zip code in which he or she happens to live!
Fighting for Your Freedom,
Matthew J. Brouillette
President & CEO