On School Voucher Question, State Rep Kampf offers a ‘Wait and See Approach’

On Thursday, March 3, I emailed State Rep. Warren Kampf in regards to the proposed school voucher legislation. I followed up my email with a telephone call to his Paoli office on March 7.  At that time, his chief of staff, Sean Dempsy spoke with Rep. Kampf re my email and offered that Rep. Kampf would have a response to me by the end of the week.  Here is an excerpt from my email to our State Representative, which I posted on Community Matters last week:

“ . . . There has been much discussion about the proposed school voucher bill S.B.1. which would help the state’s poorest children from the lowest-performing schools by providing options of attending public, private or parochial school. This week the Senate Education Committee voted 8-2 in favor of the bill and the proposed legislation will move forward in the process.

It is important for constituents to know where our elected officials stand on all important issues, including the school voucher program. State Senator Andy Dinniman (D-Chester) serves on the Senate Education Committee and voted in favor of the proposed school voucher legislation.  As our State Representative, could you please offer your thoughts on the proposed ‘opportunity scholarship’ legislation?  In your response, please address specific issues including the plan’s estimated price tag of $860 million, the constitutionality of the proposed legislation and the issue of funding parochial schools with taxpayer money.”

Rep. Kampf did not respond to my email.  At 5 PM today, I received an email from Dempsey referring me to the State Rep’s website to read his position on school choice . . .  Rep. Kampf’s “wait and see approach” (see below).

Kampf Praises Creative Solutions, Cautious on ‘School Choice’

3/11/2011
By Rep. Warren Kampf, 157th District 

Competition is critical to the efficiency of any enterprise, whether it is businesses competing for consumers by becoming more cost-effective or schools improving their teaching methods to lure students.  There is a place for competition in our education system. 

But before we adopt any so-called “school choice” proposal, we must examine whether the new system costs the state and school districts more money or subsidizes inefficient private schools.   

At this stage, I am taking a wait and see approach.  As for Senate Bill 1, it is difficult to comment on a bill that will be significantly transformed by the time it reaches the House.  As is the case with another “school choice” bill, House Bill 240, I expect the legislature to pass numerous amendments to alter its rules and scope, though in what way I cannot yet predict.

I will just restate my position that whatever new system is tried, it should be done in a way that improves the overall quality of our state education system, and does not drive up costs for taxpayers and already cash-strapped schools without some very clear, tangible benefits to all of our children. 

I remain open to creative ideas for improving Pennsylvania’s public school system.  I am aware that the system works well in some districts, and is more troubled in others.  It is my goal to embrace what works and fix what needs improvement.

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12 Comments

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  1. Again you make this personal….

    I think we all need to come to terms with the fact that there is no government anymore — just politics.

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  2. And Kampf does knows how to play the politics.

    You are right ‘that there is no governmnet anymore’!

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    Andrea Reply:

    John
    Again, libel of sorts. I can assure you that Mike Heaberg is not “status quo” and I’m just a bit tired of your need to tarnish people with nothing but your speculation — not fact, not knowledge, not history — SPECULATION. Your treatment of Mike (a neighbor who has raised 3 kids through our schools and has lived in this community all his life) is why no one wants to run for anything around here. He steps up and without any reason but personal disagreements with him (online?) you attempt to make supporting him a lazy decision. He is an independent thinker — and any suggestion otherwise is flat out wrong.

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    flyersfan Reply:

    andrea, your point was proved by John’s response. Kind of childish. But I would bet that any person running for BOS or school board is not going to be intimidated by John’s churlish behavior. It is really irrelevant. I mean, do you think Mike Heaberg or anyone else really cares about this? I don’t.

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  3. I do find this answer to seem very vague. It’s really as if he has done no research on the matter and doesn’t know where he stands.

    My assumption is he will vote how his closest party-line buddies will vote, and let them come up with an answer for ‘why’. You will then see an identical answer from Kampf.

    Good try Pattye, but you question is pre-mature and will not be answered until after the vote!

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    Pattye Benson Reply:

    Thanks. Because the school voucher is such an important issues to Pennsylvanians (cost, competition, accountability, etc.) and because so many other elected officials have weighed in (including Dinniman), I thought it important to know where our state representative stood on the issue.

    We need people in elected office willing to have independent thought and then be willing to share them. Regardless of one’s personal views on this issue, the proposed school voucher legislation is important for many reasons. I had hoped for more than a ‘wait & see’ attitude from our state rep. — I guess I will have to be satisfied that I tried.

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  4. “At this stage, I am taking a wait and see approach. As for Senate Bill 1, it is difficult to comment on a bill that will be significantly transformed by the time it reaches the House.”

    ********************

    Pattye asked Rep. Kampf to comment on the proposed legislation. He says the above in his answer, which actually seems fair: there really is no proposed legislation for him to vote on at the House level yet b/c they have not debated it yet. I think a Representative NOT willing to just say “yea” or “nay” without investigating the facts is better than one willing to jump into line with either party’s leadership. This sounds more lawerly (which he is) than charged-partisan or political.

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  5. “The rest of your post is dismissed on principle.”

    Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others. ….Groucho Marx (1890 – 1977)

    Thanks again, John. I won’t use my own words…

    “Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain – and most fools do.”
    Dale Carnegie

    “A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past, he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future.”
    Sidney J. Harris

    Check it out:
    http://www.despair.com/

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    From the West Reply:

    “Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain – and most fools do.”
    Dale Carnegie

    ————————–

    Thanks, Andrea. I think you just put into perspective most of Mr. Petersen’s fits against Rep. Kampf.

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  6. Ahh, predictably Petersen. Your Kampf bashing is clearly stuck on auto pilot and you don’t what to do because Warren is approaching this issue in a manner that you would normally find praiseworthy.

    John Petersen says of Warren: “When the bill does come up for a vote, I’ll vote as leadership will have me vote.”

    But John Petersen: The GOP leadership has supported the School Voucher program for more than a decade now. Yet, Warren has not climbed on board the School Voucher Program bandwagon. What can this mean?

    This can only mean that Warren is not in lockstep with the Party leadership. This streak of independence kind of contradicts John Petersen’s repeated claims that Warren is a Party hack doesn’t it?

    John Petersen says: “What’s even more interesting is that vouchers are something the Tea Party believes in strongly. This is especially ironic because Kampf courted the Tea Party to get elected. And now, Kampf has turned his back on them.”

    But John Petersen: This again proves that Warren Kampf is the sort of independent free thinking politician that you normally support (i.e. someone who is not beholden to special interests).

    John Petersen says: “It’s not difficult to comment.”

    Obviously not for you John Petersen. You certainly have demonstrated a nauseating habit of flying off at the mouth without giving much thought to the issue at hand.

    As for Warren Kampf. . .he is prudently weighing the pros and cons of an important issue that will have a tremendous impact on the state of education in this Commonwealth.

    Most voters don’t want to elect a person who instantly has a position on everything without giving a thought to anything. If they did, they would have elected John Petersen to one of the many offices he sought in 2005.

    Instead, the voters have repeatedly voted Warren Kampf into Office for every position he has sought, and have decisively done so.

    Why? Because they know that Warren Kampf is a thoughtful leader who will carefully consider the second and third order affects of an issue before making a decision that will have lasting consequences.

    I recall about a year and half ago that President Obama took his time, and considered all sides, before developing his policy on Afghanistan. Some (like John Petersen) no doubt condemned President Obama for not having a “shoot from the hip” attitude. Now John Petersen is condemning Warren Kampf for the same thoughtfulness. Too funny.

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  7. “A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past, he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future.”
    Sidney J. Harris

    There is no reference to you or your opinions. Perhaps you recognized your shoe size.

    Requirements for libel met previously — and you knew it. I didn’t say you libeled MH, I just suggested you were getting close again.

    As for your clever nickname for me – Ms. GOP Kool-Aid Drinker == I think it’s interesting (and hopefully amusing) for readers to know that you and I have never met nor had a conversation, yet you have googled me in an attempt to learn more about me and have periodically tried to out pseudonyms I used to write under. Now THAT’s clever. I’ve never understood why you did that.

    FACTS:
    1.Except by registration (which is required to vote in primaries in PA), I have no party affiliation and have never served on any party committee. I was endorsed as a Republican but cross-filed each election.

    2. I ran in 3 primaries and 3 generation elections successfully and served 3 terms on the TE Board of School Directors. That’s the basis of my contributions typically.

    Here’s my take on elections: you have choices. You pick a candidate. You don’t get to manufacture a candidate. So you review the participants and make a choice. It appears to me that if people do not mirror your choice, you consider them lazy or misinformed. Perhaps you should find someone to TALK to. Arguments and debates work so much better when they are done in real time — not every few hours when someone sits at the computer. I confess that there is something oddly addictive about this public forum — but I’m going to take the advice of many and stop using my real name so that the attacks at least don’t feel so personal.

    Here’s some wisdom from Plato that might be inspiring:

    Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.
    (Mark Twain said the rest)

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