A push to raise the state's minimum teacher salary has become a bipartisan effort, but it appears to not be enough to ensure a key piece of Gov. Tom Wolf's budget proposal will make it into the final version of the spending document.
A Janus-related bill(House Bill 785) aimed at weakening public employees' voices and smothering unions in Pennsylvania was voted out of committee but blocked from a vote on the House floor. More post-Janus, anti-union bills possible this session.
The Pennsylvania House and Senate have named the following legislators as majority and minority chairs of their committees. The retirements and election losses brought major leadership changes to several committees.
The Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee is considering Senate Bill 2 establishing taxpayer-funded education savings accounts, which is another name for vouchers. AFT Pennsylvania opposes ESAs, vouchers, education tax credits and other gimmicks that divert taxpayer money from public schools that serve the majority of Pennsylvania's children to unaccountable private schools and service providers that serve a few students.
AFT Pennsylvania opposes any legislation that would permit school and college faculty and staff to be armed while in classrooms and on campuses. "If educators had wanted careers in law enforcement, we would have enrolled in the Police Academy, instead of a School of Education," said AFTPA President Ted Kirsch. "Our job is to educate children and make their lives better." AFTPA supports commonsense programs and resources to make sure that children are safe while at school and on college campuses. Download AFTPA's position.
The latest attempt by PA Republicans to pass an education savings account/voucher bill (Senate Bill 2) got a major boost this week when an anti-voucher senator on the Senate Education Committee left the committee and was replaced by an SB 2 sponsor. Sen. Dan Laughlin, R-Erie, who voted NO on the ESA/DeVos voucher bill in an unrecorded, tie committee vote, resigned as a member of the Senate Education Committee and is being replaced by Sen. Rich Alloway, R-Franklin, SB 2's sponsor.
Thanks to the advocacy by AFT Pennsylvania members and the entire labor movement in Pennsylvania, on Tuesday, Dec. 12, the House defeated Senate Bill 166, an anti-union bill that would have prohibited public employers from negotiating to deduct voluntary PAC contributions from public employees’ paychecks.
Changes to Pennsylvania's charter reform bill are long overdue, but House Bill 97 misses the mark by a long shot. The House approved the bill, which AFT Pennsylvania opposes, and sent it to the Senate.
AFT Pennsylvania opposes taxpayer-funded school vouchers, education scholarship tax credits (Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) programs), which are back-door vouchers that use tax breaks to subsidize private and parochial schools. Vouchers represent a false hope for a few children, while most vouchers/scholarships are used by students already attending private schools. Vouchers do not deliver better outcomes for students and leave fewer resources for public school programs that are proven to work.