A recent series of articles describe how the board that administers the Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) has been responsible, through a series of poor investments and miscalculations, for an increase in their members’ contributions into the retirement fund. Five of those board representatives are also members of the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) - the largest teachers union in the state.
Unfortunately, this is not the only instance of the PSEA performing a disservice to its members. The union has been adamant in supporting candidates who have consistently voted against the interests of the union. PSEA’s parent union - the National Education Association (NEA) - for example, has opposed the type of school vouchers that currently exist in Pennsylvania. Such opposition did not stop the Republican controlled Pennsylvania House from voting for HB 1642 – which would funnel more money into a program that offers scholarships to private schools for students in low performing school districts.
Unfortunately, many of these private schools are themselves not just low performing. They are no performing. A high proportion of high school students at many of the schools currently receiving money from the state, for example, are not taught English, mathematics, social studies, or science; and, although private schools do not share performance data with the Commonwealth, there are strong indications that many of these schools are under-performing.
These scholarship programs obviously siphon money away from public school districts where certified, unionized educators are employed. Although HB1642 is the type of legislation that the PSEA should oppose, the PSEA spent $90,000 in our five county area alone in 2020 to fund Republican candidates who voted for the bill. Here is the breakdown:
If you are an educator, or know of educators represented by the PSEA, you can voice your dissatisfaction by contacting the union.
There is also some other good news, because a number of folks are laying the groundwork for 2022 now, by electing more Dems to local government offices in those districts. You can help to counter PSEA’s undeserved support of these Republican incumbents by coming out to campaign in these districts:
Wednesday, October 13 – Northampton Township, Bucks County: George Stern is leading a group to canvass in Northampton, Bucks County, on Wednesday (10/13). The group will leave from the High Point Café on Allen Lane at 3 PM, and canvass for about two hours for town supervisors, school board, Tax Collector, and Auditor. This area is in PA HD 178, Wendi Thomas’s district. If we can elect more Dems to local offices up there, we increase our chances of changing this flippable Republican district blue. If you are interested, contact George at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, October 14 – 7 – 8 PM. We will be phone banking for the local candidates running in Horsham (HD 151, Todd Stephens’s district). For more information, contact email@example.com.
Saturday, October 16 – North Penn, Montgomery County: A part of this school district also lies within Todd Stephens’s district (PA HD 151). This Saturday, October 16, starting at 10 AM, North Penn will host a canvass. The campaign needs English and Spanish speaking canvassers to knock on doors. Please contact Kim Grieser (627-621-9573) for walking details and hand-outs.