Pattye Benson

Community Matters

United We Stand, Underfunded We Fail . . . Sen. Andy Dinniman Joins the Student’s Voices

PA Students' VoiceUnited We Stand, Underfunded We Fail . . . they are the collective voice of the students of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

A firestorm is raging on college campuses across Pennsylvania. College students feel the pain as Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed budget calls for state funding to state-owned universities to be slashed nearly in half. The 14 colleges and universities in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education will see their funding reduced from $444 million to $232 million if Corbett’s proposed budget passes. If Pennsylvania cuts education funding, the students lose. With tuition hikes as high as $2,200 per year if Corbett’s cuts stand, plus cuts to financial aid, many students say they will not be able to attend school next fall.

Representing themselves as the ‘voices of the future’, the students are organizing protest rallies on college campuses across the state. Using social media tools, Twitter, Facebook, website, the students are hoping that their message reaches Corbett.

Locally, this past week, State Senator Andy Dinniman attended and spoke at PA Students Voice rally at West Chester University and made a commitment to stand with the students and professors, in opposition of the higher education budget cuts proposed by Corbett.

In his latest press release, Dinniman said, “Governor Corbett’s cuts mean increased tuition and fees, fewer classes, greater student borrowing and debt and more people on the unemployment rolls. By slashing support for higher education by more than 50 percent, we’re effectively undermining our potential for long-term growth in challenging economic times. Without a doubt, the governor’s proposed cuts would be devastating to West Chester University and the 13 other Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education colleges and universities,” Dinniman said. “For a West Chester student, tuition and fees could jump by $2,100 from around $7,600 to $9,700 a year.”

A former college professor, Dinniman believes in public education. Hosting a rally on the courthouse steps on Wednesday, April 20, at 7 PM, Sen. Dinniman encourages students and their families, professors, university employees and all who care about public education to join him and voice their opposition to the proposed funding cuts.

An elected official who is listening to the community and standing with them . . . how refreshing! United We Stand, Underfunded We Fail!

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  1. Penn State has received $3.5 billion in state money in the past 10 years. During the same period, tuition rates grew 110 percent.

    The academic elite who have been living in a dream world are finally getting a taste of reality. Just like the teachers union, they opt for changes that maximize negative effects for PR purposes, rather than trim back salaries, benefits or retirement packages.

    Makes you wonder, just like the housing market, is the higher education bubble finally going to burst?

    1. “…Republicans… seek to give tax breaks to the wealthy and seeks to fund those tax breaks by cutting essential services like education, medicare/caid, etc.”
      “it s Republican Gov. Tom Ridge who started the trend of giving the teachers union the sweetheart deals.”

      So you blame the Republicans for creating the sweetheart deals and then hound them for trying to take them away. Spoken like a true lawyer!

    2. Do you really think the point of posting here is to challenge you? Can you offer a constructive idea? What sweetheart deals is the GOP seeking to take away? What would you suggest to solve this budgetary crisis besides implementing a local EIT? That’s revenue, not cost management. I think I understand the issue, but not well.

  2. The state needs to find other ways to find education. Cuts need to be made until there is another solution, there is no way around that. Pennsylvania should use other revenue sources like the lottery system to pay for education. It’s sad to see cuts, but it’s something that needs to be made. Schools can not keep asking for more in funding and then build multi-million dollar buildings because they are planning on the state to give them that money. They need to be more responsible with the way they are running their respective universities and such. Mr. Peterson wants to argue with everyone yet shows no real solutions. That makes a whole lot of sense. Thanks for the help.

    1. “Mr. Peterson wants to argue with everyone yet shows no real solutions. That makes a whole lot of sense. Thanks for the help.”

      Per a previous thread, I’m still waiting for him to advance the names of two German, vegetarian, misunderstood artists not named “Hitler” as he clearly insinuated would be no difficult task for him, yet he has both failed and refused to so. It seems with Mr. Petersen that things are not as they are, nor are they otherwise,

  3. ;) Not to distract anyone from criticizing John Petersen but…

    I will be attending the rally at the Courthouse in West Chester Wednesday evening with my children, friends and neighbors. Not just to protest these specific budget cuts, but to support public education in Pennsylvania in general.

    I’m a little concerned that this whole education budget crisis will be an excuse for private companies to jump in and offer to provide ” public” education to us at a lower cost. I, for one, value the principles behind
    our public school system . Especially the principle that our children’s education should be free from
    the direct profit-motive of private businesses.

    Also, it seems odd to me certain PA decision/policy makers, either own or sit on the board of so many for-profit education companies. Wouldn’t they have a lot to gain if we were forced to outsource our children’s education?

    1. Thanks for this Christine. I would appreciate more details, as I confess to being in the dark on this rally.

      I’m not as concerned about the profit motive as I am about skimming the cream….I worry that all that will be left for the good old public school system are kids whose parents are not savvy enough to know how to beat the system. (and I say that completely TIC) The claim I am familiar with is that the highest correlation to success in school is parent involvement …so people do need to invest in public educaiton if that’s what they want to survive.

      The upside of a profit motive is that if the school doesn’t do the job, people will leave. that’s not affordable in the public system right now, which is why people are turning (again — this was an uproar in the late 90s too) to charter and voucher options. If everyone who cares leaves….what do you have left?

      The reality is — we cannot sustain the system we have. I have said before that I think TESD is under-taxed compared to neighboring districts, but I’ll accept that the base line is established and no more increases will be tolerated, so regardless of any predictions or solutions relating to EITs or exceptions to the Act 1 limit, it’s got to be about costs to find solutions.

      Thanks for this input — can you share the link on the rally?

    2. “Especially the principle that our children’s education should be free from
      the direct profit-motive of private businesses”

      Do you prefer the direct profit-motive of public unions?

  4. I have asked Mr Petersen the same. Will have to assume he has no contructive answers.

    about college tuition… the reason it is so high and way out of sight is because the government pays for it. Limit aid to 15k per year per student and while some may have to find other things to do with their time, many schools will be forced to tighen their belts and run more efficiently. End the gravey train! College is just too expensive

  5. I find the silence defeaning from those who believe Senator Dinniman’s school choice legislation will result in lost funding for public schools (of which many who have posted agonize over) and the hypocrisy of his signing on with this organization.

    For nearly 25 years, Dinniman has done nothing more than seek headlines and play political games as a minority member of whatever government body he has held — first as County Commissioner and now as Senator.

    Have you all changed your mind and now think school choice won’t take funding from public schools? Or is it simply that Senator Dinniman is given a pass b/c “it’s just Andy being Andy?”

    If this latest action doesn’t prove that all the Senator does is try to look good at all times, than I don’t know what does.

    1. To FTW:

      Nasty little partisan —, aren’t you? Just warming up for next year when Senator Diniman runs for re-election, no doubt.

      To claim that Andy has done nothing of substance for Chester County and the 19th District in the last 21+ years is UNBELIEVABLE – because it’s a LIE by any measure. He is one of the most dedicated and productive elected officials this county has ever had.

      Personally, I don’t agree with Andy’s position on vouchers, but I respect his decades-long teaching experience and deep commitment to publc education. Helping students who are stuck in failing schools is a difficult challenge – especially when education budgets are being chopped with a hatchet. Experts can look at the research and disagree on the best solutions.

      …And the silence is hardly “defeaning” (sic). You’ve taken some cheap shots at a good man and admirable public servant..

  6. FTW — I think many (I did) read Dinniman’s grandstanding as being about colleges — PHEA — which is why I didn’t pick up on Christine’s rally reference as being the rally in this post from Pattye.

    I also think Andy is being Andy. Pay to play….

    And I guess I think that’s what politics is almost always about nowadays. Trying to look good and trying to get re-elected. Did you see Alan Simpson with Chris Matthews — they can only say things once they are out of office, because if they said them in office, they soon would not be in office.

  7. no one. But andy is being andy and given a pass. Warren never given a pass for anything on these boards.

    Sorry to bring warren into it, though. He deserves a break here and there has been no recent virtriol about him.

    agree there are bigger issues discussed here. So on we go,

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