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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pennsylvania Gubernatorial Debate 2010 Part 1

If it ain’t broke… don’t fix it.

Of course, the converse of that is also true, especially when we’re talking about public education in Pennsylvania.  As Education Voters, our mantra has always been, “If it’s broken, let’s fix it!” 
For too long, elected officials have acknowledged that public education – and in particular funding for public education – has needed to be fixed.  But the thoughtful and sometimes difficult conversations haven’t been happening.  Instead, we have seen too many instances of partisan bickering, finger pointing, passing the buck and stop-gap solutions that neither address the real issues nor solve any problems.

If we are serious about improving public education – AND WE ARE – we need to demand more from our elected officials.  We need to ensure that we support candidates that are committed to making sure that every Pennsylvania child has an opportunity for a top-quality education.  If candidates aren’t focused on education issues, we must make sure they know that we as voters ARE and we want to know their positions on this critical issue.  Finally, we need to put our money where our mouths are… get out and VOTE for candidates that support public education! 

To see our picks for Governor and the State House and Senate, click here. We’re pretty proud of this list and think we’ve selected the very best advocates for public education in the state.  Let us know what issues you will be making YOUR voting decisions based on.  And remember to let the candidates know too by attending public forums, writing a letter to the editor or contacting their campaign offices.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Let’s Get the “How to Fix Education” Conversation Going!

Waiting for Superman, a new documentary about the U.S. educational system, has generated a lot of media attention.  While we don’t necessarily agree with every opinion or solution offered in the film, it does contain some sobering truths.

For instance:
  • We spend more money to incarcerate someone for four years than it would cost to educate the same inmate in private school for 12 years
  • Great teachers make all the difference
  • Parental involvement is key to making sure your child receives the best possible education.
Waiting for Superman may not be the Citizen Kane of education- themed movies, but it is a great way to get a conversation about public education started!  And that is one of our goals as Education Voters of Pennsylvania.  Now how can we KEEP the conversation going?
How about hosting a “movie night” at your home and inviting your neighbors, colleagues, or other parents in your children’s class?  Some recommended flicks that are sure to get people talking:
The Lottery
I am a Promise (the children of Stanton Elementary School)
Paper Clips Project
Race to Nowhere

With some popcorn and other movie-themed snacks, this is a fun, informal way to encourage discussion about the schools in your community --  what’s working, and what needs to be improved?   In these tough economic times, how can we convince elected officials that investing in public education is the right thing to do?  How can we train and better support talented educators?  Does your school district offer enough early childhood education programs or special education programs?    

With the General Election less than 3 weeks away, this is also a good time to talk about what education issues Pennsylvania’s next Governor should focus on.  Ask your guests to sign a “Pledge to Vote” card (call 215-564-2299 to receive cards) and follow up with them on Election Day to make sure they kept their promise!

Better yet, a representative from Education Voters would be happy to attend your gathering and share specific information about the challenges facing schools in Pennsylvania – we’ll bring lots of hand-outs and even a cool PowerPoint presentation! 

Leave a comment here and let us know how your “movie night” went… or if we missed any great education-themed movies.  And keep talking about the importance of public education! 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

We Endorse Dan Onorato for Governor

We believe that Dan Onorato is the candidate who is best equipped to create a brighter future for the students, parents, educators and communities of Pennsylvania as our next governor.

Education Voters conducted a detailed analysis of the policy positions of both major-party candidates.  While Attorney General Tom Corbett’s campaign has taken promising positions on certain issues, we concluded that Onorato would do more as governor to provide all Pennsylvania children with the education needed for their own success, and for the success of the entire commonwealth.

We view Dan Onorato is the education candidate. We are dedicated to putting pro-public education candidates into office, and Dan is committed to promoting equity and improving achievement in Pennsylvania’s schools, while relieving the burden on local property taxpayers.

Onorato proposed a detailed policy agenda aimed at improving virtually all areas of public education, including funding, teacher quality, school safety and access to early childhood and post-secondary educational opportunities.  Onorato has also displayed a clear understanding of the positive economic effects of improving public education and supports the idea that targeted investments in our schools can create a smoother path to recovery from the recession.

Our next governor must understand that the best thing we can do for our state’s economy is to make sure that our kids get a quality education, This year’s graduates will be entering a rocky job market or going through a competitive college admission process.  The next governor has an obligation to those kids, and it’s clear that Dan Onorato can live up to that promise.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

First Round of Legislative Endorsements

As promised, here are the first round of our legislative endorsements.

We have seen many positive developments in educational funding over the past few years,  As a result, Pennsylvania achievement has been steadily rising, with more students achieving proficiency in core subjects.   Pennsylvania’s reformed funding formula and efforts to target resources in order to provide sufficient program support provide for all Pennsylvania’s school districts are important steps in the right direction.

Because of these successes, we want to honor those legislators that have been champions for public education.  These incumbent members have worked diligently by serving on important committees, sponsoring or co-sponsoring initiatives or championing education issues in their own caucuses.

Education Voters PA endorses the following members for re-election to the PA House:

We are also looking for the next generation of leadership on education issues. We are pleased to endorse Justin Yaich for the open House seat in district 122, which was recently vacated by former House Speaker Keith McCall. We are confident Mr. Yaich will continue to be a strong representative for his district and for the issues important to communities there.

Justin Yaich has a remarkable understanding of how important strong public education is to our economy and to our local communities which will pay significant and lasting dividends for generations of Pennsylvanians. We believe Mr. Yaich will be a tremendous voice for education in the next legislative session, and we enthusiastically support his candidacy.

We'd like to know what you think of our choices.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Who's Looking Out for Education? Look for Our Endorsements to See!

Pennsylvanians have some very serious decisions to make this November – decisions about not only who will govern their state, but about what they want those elected officials to focus on.  Investing in public education will pay dividends for generations of Pennsylvanians, but we must act NOW to continue the gains we’ve made and lay a solid foundation for a bright future.  For that reason, we are planning to endorse a number of candidates that share our commitment to ensuring that every child in Pennsylvania has the opportunity to receive a world class education.
Later this week we will announce our first round of endorsements in key legislative battles across the state.  We have been meeting with candidates for several weeks  to discuss the vital issues that will face the next Governor and State Legislature, and we have a real opportunity to strengthen the allies we’ve made in Harrisburg AND help create new ones with a fresh perspective on the importance of public education.
Watch the blog for our endorsements! And please visit our website at to sign up for email updates about ways you can help aid candidates in your area who are committed to excellence in public education.

Have you already spoken to your candidates about education? Let us know what they said.  And tell us YOUR priorities as we move into election season.