Union Hates Charter Schools, Parents Love Them

Union Hates Charter Schools, Parents Love Them

By Leo Knepper

Public charter schools empower parents by giving them options for their children’s education. Because most charter school teachers decide against forming a union and provide competition for traditional public schools, teachers’ unions and their allies have made charter schools into a boogeyman. Since becoming Governor, Tom Wolf has been openly hostile to charter schools and attempted to reduce their funding at every turn.

Union Hates Charter Schools, Parents Love Them

On last week’s CAPitalist Cast, which you can find below, CAP CEO Leo Knepper had a chance to talk with Lenny McAllister about how charter schools are funded and how they’ve handled the challenges created by COVID 19. Mr. McAllister is the CEO of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools. It was a fantastic opportunity to explore the role these schools play in educating the next generation of Pennsylvanians.

Mr. McAllister has written several opinion columns recently. We found some of the information they included fascinating. Below are excerpts and links to the articles. 

The first article from Mr. McAllister, co-authored by Amber Northern and published by the Daily Signal, details the funding myths pedaled by teachers’ unions and their political allies (emphasis added):

“Contrary to charter critics’ preferred narrative, total revenues per pupil increased in most states as the percentage of local students who enrolled in charter schools rose…Simply put, charter schools in Pennsylvania receive less money than district schools. For example, a recent study estimated that Pennsylvania charter schools received $12,175 per pupil, while traditional public schools would have received $17,989 for those same students

“According to University of Arkansas researchers, “The state funding formula for charter schools begins with the same amount of funding as a charter school’s home district, but then subtracts up to 21 categories of prior-year district expenditures,” resulting in a funding disparity that favors districts.

“In other words, the host districts get to keep the subtracted funds…districts were actually being paid more to educate fewer students.” 

On the subject of cyber-charters from GoErie (emphasis added):

A report showed that roughly one-fourth of the third through eighth grade cohort, including a disproportionate number of socioeconomically challenged students, did not take specific annual academic assessments.

In Pennsylvania, these issues have cropped up for months in school districts despite district officials telling lawmakers for years that they could provide online academic instruction better and cheaper than public cyber charter schools. The pandemic has proven otherwise — here at home and around America.

“In contrast, public cyber charter families didn’t miss a beat.

Pennsylvania’s cyber charters have been teaching online for more than 20 years. These schools know how to use technology to educate large numbers of students at home. As a result, thousands of families exercised their right under Pennsylvania law to choose a public cyber charter school for their children...The “blame game” has ramped up from school district officials and education unions. They complain that their money is lost to public charter schools — especially cyber charter schools. However, it’s not their money. It’s state funding allocated for education in Pennsylvania, regardless of where a student attends a public school.

Public charter schools are public schools – just like those in local school districts, but simply operating at roughly three-fourths of the cost.

On the importance of school choice to ensuring racial equality, from USA Today:

“Families who have chosen to enroll their children in public charter schools deserve to know with certainty that the new [Biden] administration understands, values and supports their choice. These 7,500 unique public schools educate about 3.3 million children across the USA, mostly from Black and brown families.

“These children have the ability to thrive in innovative public schools that best suit their needs for life, with teachers who look more like them and curriculum that is malleable to fit diverse backgrounds and learning preferences. These schools are effective at teaching our nation’s nuanced history and developing students not only with strong academic foundations but also with self-esteem and civic awareness.”

The USA Today article also profiles three outstanding examples of Black educators working to improve educational opportunities in the communities.

The best way to counter Governor Wolf’s narrative about education funding is to be armed with the facts.

Mr. Knepper is executive director of Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania.

Union Hates Charter Schools, Parents Love Them

Government Is Greed, Public Works Are About The Benjamins

Government Is Greed, Public Works Are About The Benjamins

By Lowman S. Henry

It is a law of nature that bureaucracies and government agencies always crave a larger share of the public treasury. In Pennsylvania, the undisputed leader of the pack is the public education establishment which has a voracious and insatiable appetite for taxpayer dollars.

A close second is the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) which is always clamoring for more money – much more money. The public education and transportation behemoths have two traits in common: no matter how much their budgets are increased it is never enough, and neither shows any significant improvement in performance resulting from constant funding increases.

PennDOT kicked up the most recent funding controversy by floating a plan to place tolls on several major bridges in the commonwealth, supposedly to maintain and upgrade the structures. Predictably, the idea has been met with stiff opposition from commuters and the potentially affected industries.

Governor Tom Wolf has never met a tax he does not like – until now. He is empaneling a special commission to develop a plan to replace the state’s gasoline tax with a new funding scheme. The increased fuel efficiency of gas-powered vehicles coupled with the trendy push for electric cars threatens to drive gas tax revenue downward. The goal of the commission, of course, is to increase the flow of funding into PennDOT’s coffers.

At 58.1 cents per gallon, Pennsylvania’s gas tax is the second-highest in the nation behind only California. Just a few years ago, in 2013, higher taxes were levied on producers, the practical impact of which was to add about 30 cents per gallon to the price of gasoline for a cumulative hit of over $2 billion per year to motorists. Now, the agency is claiming it needs an additional $7 billion per year to maintain the state’s roads and bridges.

For decades successive governors and legislatures have slapped band-aides on Pennsylvania’s transportation funding formula. That approach has had a particularly negative effect on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which is a separate state agency. In 2007 a law went into effect that has siphoned hundreds of millions of dollars from Turnpike coffers into PennDOT, some of which the commission has had to borrow. That in turn has triggered steep annual increases in turnpike tolls, more than doubling fares over that time frame.

The labyrinth that is state transportation funding is further complicated by the continued financial drain caused by public transportation. Both PennDOT and a portion of those turnpike dollars subsidize public transit systems. The biggest, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) in the Philadelphia region and Port Authority Transit (PAT) in Pittsburgh are bloated, inefficient, and inept bureaucracies that have been resistant to reform due to union-driven political pressures.

Against this backdrop, Governor Wolf has ordered the establishment of a special commission to develop recommendations for changes to the current system of transportation funding. In a departure from his usual go-it-alone approach to governing, Wolf seeks to include legislators and transportation industry representatives on the commission.

This, however, should be viewed with great suspicion. The commission’s charge is to find a way to eliminate the gas tax and find funding alternatives with the goal of adding billions of dollars to the transportation budget. It is indeed time for the development of a comprehensive restructuring of transportation funding. But just throwing more money into the pot will not solve the problem.

Also needed is a streamlining and restructuring of the entire array of transportation entities operating in the state beginning with the Department of Transportation and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and extending to the regional public transportation agencies. The system is beset with administrative bloat, funding inequities, and antiquated labor contracts.

There is universal agreement that roads and bridges, public transit, railroads, and airports are vitally important to the economic vibrancy of Penn’s Woods. Rather than take the politically difficult, but necessary step of developing the comprehensive plan needed to knit all the above together, state policymakers have taken the easy way out by just throwing money at whatever crisis happens to develop.

This is a unique opportunity to systematically address Pennsylvania’s transportation needs. Hopefully, the governor’s commission doesn’t turn into yet another way to simply suck more money out of taxpayers’ wallets but rather takes the first steps toward developing a sustainable transportation system.

Lowman Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal and American Radio Journal. Leo Knepper and Lowman Henry had a chance to talk about the Governor’s proposal. That video can be found below.

Government Is Greed, Public Works Are About The Benjamins
Government Is Greed, Public Works Are About The Benjamins

Superintendent Steinhoff Must Explain Himself

Superintendent Steinhoff Must Explain Himself –Penn Delco Superintendent George Steinhoff needs to answer directly to the parents and taxpayers of the district as to why he is on a local affiliate of a national news channel essentially saying pushing this agenda is more important than speaking truthfully about what they want implemented.

He states he was naive for thinking people were “past that” regarding the words diversity, equity and inclusion. Past critical thinking or past definitions and precedent? He admits being advised to call it anything else whenever possible hence the CARES committee.

Words mean things. What exactly aren’t we supposed to know about diversity, equity and inclusion that they won’t even say the words out loud.

You may email the superintendent gsteinhoff@pdsd.org with any questions or comments. Please be respectful in your words and consider attending the next school board meeting

Joseph Dychala

Aston

Superintendent Steinhoff Must Explain Himself
A book for Superintendent Steinhoff to read.

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Penn Delco Puts Propaganda Over Education

Penn Delco Puts Propaganda Over Education

An open letter to the PDSD school board

Board members, parents and students, teachers and administrators, residents and tax payers:

I’m writing to follow up on the establishment of the diversity, equity and inclusion committee now known as CARES.

While I was unable to join the very start of the meeting, parts of the presentation stood out. Instead of assuaging my concerns, I now have more questions than answers. I plan to view the archived meeting in it’s entirety as soon as it is posted online.

It was implied this committee should be adopted because other districts and corporations have DEI policies. Recent revelations about diversity training involving Coca Cola under the guise of equity show employees were told they need to be “less white.” In the United States there is no room for this type of discrimination and quite frankly this vile hatred. How can the board assure us this rhetoric will not be allowed to creep into the the policy setting process? What accountability will there be for an all volunteer committee? What is the criteria for selecting CARES members?

In addition, during the public comment section one of the speakers used “alt right” to describe those of us with concerns about the committee. This was in my opinion inflammatory, distracting from the substance of the issue. A prominent resident of Delaware County and well known blogger was castigated simply for publishing a letter I authored because they live in a neighboring district. This is the exact opposite of inclusivity. Part of the First Amendment guarantees our right to petition elected officials, of speaking freely and reporting events and opinions.

Finally, the committee was not even minutes old after being established when “cancel culture” surfaced. The lone dissenter on the school board was told in no uncertain terms to resign. So much for respecting other opinions. Is this how the committee will address issues they do not agree with? Will the person who made this comment be allowed to sit on the committee? How does this support an open and honest dialogue?

I intend to follow the development and staffing of this committee very closely. We must all continue to work together, as Americans, to continue to advance our cause to form a more perfect Union. As stated in my public comments, growing up in the City of Chester I grew up in diversity and never saw color or race until that was pointed out to me. I believe people, especially children, are inherently good and kind. I submit that if we continue to point out our physical and other differences, rather than celebrate our shared experiences of this unique melting pot that we are all truly blessed to be a part of, we will continue to drift further apart to our own detriment and to that of the young people we profess to be helping.

Sincerely,
Joseph B Dychala

Penn Delco Puts Propaganda Over Education
Penn Delco Puts Propaganda Over Education

Penn Delco Lacks Evidence On Need For Committee

Penn Delco Lacks Evidence On Need For Committee

An open letter to Penn Delco School Board

Board members, parents & students, teachers & administrators,
residents & taxpayers:

I’m writing to express concern for a proposal to create a steering
committee for diversity, equity and inclusion.

The board states they recognize several points while providing no
supporting evidence to show how the current academic environment has
not lived up to the standards of PDSD, “To enable all students to
achieve, succeed and excel.” This appears to be an exercise in
implementing a solution before addressing issues with existing policy.
What is the “clear priority” and what are the “compelling principals?”

My concern extends to incidents currently taking place. An example is
a poster in an elementary classroom in the district, “what is said
here (classroom), stays in here.” While that may be a fitting slogan
for a travel ad to Las Vegas this is completely unacceptable for a
public institution charged with educating young minds.

In addition there is evidence of at least one district employee during
working hours soliciting on social media, attempting to collect
“evidence” in the forms of “anecdotes shared with anonymity.” In
America we have the right to face our accuser. Using taxpayer funded
time to further a cause, political or otherwise, with the intention of
changing district policy using “anonymous evidence” is a violation of
and disregard for the Bill of Rights.

President Eisenhower helped integrate schools so our Nation could live
up to our founding values. It’s time to stop pointing out the myriad
differences that make us unique and promote the two things we all have
in common: We are all human beings and Americans. Do we heed the words
of Martin Luther King jr who had a shared dream that our nation’s
children would not be evaluated according to their color or creed but
simply on the content of their character. Perhaps what we need is a
steering committee on American History and Civics.

Proponents of this change make false claims of “systemic” failure to
justify upending existing policy. As a lifelong resident of Delaware
County, a graduate of Sun Valley High School and a resident of the
district for nearly four decades I do not see the need for such
drastic changes. This would only create another level of bureaucracy
between our students and the teachers and administrators who are
tasked with educating our children.

I reject the notion the voters didn’t elect the most qualified
candidates to the school board; that teachers and administrators are
not currently equipped to solve problems for students on a case by
case basis; that the school board is incapable or unwilling of
addressing issues that have been escalated to them. I most certainly
reject the vocal minority that attempts to say Penn Delco is not
living up to their own mission statement and policies to the students.

I ask this resolution be unanimously voted down. The school’s function
in a civil society is not to tell the students what to think but to
prepare them to be critical thinkers. Thank you for taking the time to
read this email.

Sincerely,
Joseph B Dychala

Penn Delco Lacks Evidence On Need For Committee
Penn Delco Lacks Evidence On Need For Committee

Petition Seeks To Save Penn Delco

Petition Seeks To Save Penn Delco — Please consider signing the petition for Penn Delco and share. The vote will be Wednesday, Feb. 24. It will be a zoom meeting 

The petition can be found at https://OurFight.online/f5267cfe-57b7-4032-a877-de60a4305536

As a school board director I feel a responsibility to make stakeholders aware of a resolution the board plans to vote on Wednesday.

The vote is on a Resolution that supports a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Steering Committee.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are a political narrative we have heard for the last eight months across our nation. Students should not be used as a political pawns in the narrative and pandering to a political agenda.

The goals of political activist/organizations pushing this agenda is to incorporate this into our policies, curriculum and in the hiring of staff. This is a slippery slope to introduce the agenda. This will include, beyond what is already being inappropriately identified and discussed in the classroom, Cultural Proficiency, Critical Race Theory, Social Justice, White Privilege, Systematic Racism among much more which does not belong in our schools. 

Don’t be fooled if anyone says “This is just a committee”. No matter how you spin it this is a slippery slope to introduce the agenda. We have policies and procedures and in place that well define our mission.
Activist pushing this agenda have a petition that they are circulating to get this resolution passed. 

These are your children and your tax dollars and the board needs to here from you if you share my concerns. 

Your feedback is important. I am asking you to please comment below and let us know you are a Penn Delco resident.

Please SHARE this petition as the board will be voting on the resolution this  Wednesday, Feb. 24.

Time is of the essence.

Your email to the board would also be helpful. 

Doing what is right is more important than what is politically expedient

Thank you in advance,
Lisa Esler

Petition Seeks To Save Penn Delco
Petition Seeks To Save Penn Delco

Penn Delco Falling For Marxist Con Job?

Penn Delco Falling For Marxist Con Job? — The Penn Delco School Board will vote on a resolution, Feb. 24, to created a “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” steering committee which is obviously a gateway to propagandize your children to hate themselves, their country and you.

“The greatest threat to American society today . . .is coming from the diversity, equity, inclusion industry,” warns retired Princeton University and Vanderbilt University Professor and author Carol Swain. “It is steeped in critical race theory which is Marxist. It divides people. When you think about what is taking place on college campuses and also now in K-12, children are being bullied, they’re being shamed. Teachers are being encouraged to teach nonsense, and they may justify it by saying it is fighting racism, it’s helping racial and ethnic minorities; it’s really harming everyone’s child.”

Why would a school district need to a committee to study “diversity, equity and inclusion” anyway? If it was doing its job of creating literate, numerate citizens who knew what their rights and obligations were under the law the words would be moot.

On the other hand, if it wasn’t doing its job maybe they would have to insincerely mouth politically fashionable phrases to signal virtue and cover up its failure. The salaries and pensions can be a nice racket after all.

You make the call. Here’s the resolution.

Penn Delco Falling For Marxist Con Job?

This video of school director Lisa Esler is being circulated in attempt to shame her for her opposition to this twisted resolution.

Bad news for them. She is not shamed. And we are proud of her.

Don’t buy the claim that this is “just a committee”. If the resolution passes the goals will be realized.

Penn Delco Falling For Marxist Con Job?

Follow The Science Phonies Called Out By Cole

Follow The Science Phonies Called Out By Cole — The always controversial David Cole of the always controversial TakiMag.com has maybe the best column of the last 14 months regarding Covid19 and the “follow the science” phonies.

Especially those in the public teacher unions.

Check it out here.

Follow The Science Phonies Called Out By Cole
Follow The Science Phonies Called Out By Cole

Designed to Debunk Lies About America

Bob Small of Swarthmore has forwarded this information about a free online-class at Hillsdale College that many of our readers might find of interest. The class is designed to debunk the premeditated lies about our nation being promoted by what has become the establishment.

It is widely claimed today that our nation is irredeemably flawed—that America has been fundamentally unjust from the beginning due to the “systemic racism.”

The purpose of promoting this falsehood is to sever Americans’ patriotic attachment to our country and its founding principles in order to replace our limited government Constitution with radically different form of government.

The only way to confront this false and dangerous narrative—and preserve free government—is to counter it with the true and honest story of America’s quest to achieve justice.

Next month, Hillsdale College will be releasing its latest free online course: “Civil Rights in American History.” I invite you to pre-register for this free online course by visiting this secure link:

https://lp.hillsdale.edu/civil-rights-in-american-history-course-pre-registration

Topics covered by this nine-lecture course include:

  • The American Founders’ understanding of equality and natural rights
  • The arguments over slavery from the founding period through the Civil War
  • The true history of Reconstruction
  • The importance of civil rights leaders from Booker T. Washington to Martin Luther King, Jr. in the quest for justice
  • The impact and legacy of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • The danger posed to civil rights by identity politics today

Given the divisions in our country and the violence in our cities, this new course on “Civil Rights in American History” could not be more timely.

To guarantee the impact of this timely and important new course, we have set a goal to raise $350,000 by midnight on November 21.

You can pre-register now for this important free online course at this secure page.

https://lp.hillsdale.edu/civil-rights-in-american-history-course-pre-registration

And after you pre-register, please consider how you can help promote Hillsdale’s free online courses and other educational outreach efforts in this critical time for America by giving your best gift today.

Designed to Debunk Lies About America
Designed to Debunk Lies About America

New York Times Opposes Free Speech

New York Times Opposes Free Speech— Swarthmore’s Bob Small has sent us this link from an Oct. 11 Glen Greenwald article that appeared in The Intercept, describing how the union representing the dead trees inksters — no, they are not journalists –of The New York Times has taken a bold stand against dissent and free speech.

What has invoked the ire of The New York Times Newspaper Guild is an column by Bret Stephens taking to task the discredited 1619 Project promoted by the greedy tree killing corporation.

We have written about the 1619 Project before. It’s garbage befitting The New York Times.

New York Times Opposes Free Speech
New York Times Opposes Free Speech