Center for Educational Excellence
The Center for Educational Excellence strives to implement reforms that create greater incentives for schools to respect parents and students as customers; encourage continuous quality improvement, parental involvement, and respect for teachers as professionals; and use taxpayers’ resources more efficiently.
August 1, 2014, PHILADELPHIA, Pa.—With a shocking 80 percent of students unable to read and do math at grade level, the School District of Philadelphia has a genuine crisis on its hands that must be addressed. But, over the past decade, trends in student achievement and school funding show that throwing more money at a failing system is not the answer.
The School District of Philadelphia is in desperate need of reform, but its many problems cannot be solved by simply raising taxes and increasing spending.
Paul Battista told a Congressional subcommittee last year: “We can now pay a higher family-sustaining wage! We have people working for us that are the primary breadwinners of their household.” But each year, Paul’s family business—and that of countless job creators—is threatened by efforts to bolster school funding by raising business taxes.
From my vantage point on the frontlines of Pennsylvania’s public schools, I see teachers’ unions with money to spend and power to wield who are unresponsive to the very people they’re supposed to represent. Giving them special treatment that boosts their political ambitions is not the way to make them pay more attention to local education problems.
Let teachers worry about teaching; let politicians worry about politics. That’s been my mantra throughout my career as an educator. But, sadly, most public school teachers in Pennsylvania don’t have that luxury.
I taught science full-time for more than two decades and enjoyed a rewarding career educating a generation of public school students in Westmoreland County. I retired from teaching earlier than I wanted, though, and I’d like to tell you why.
June 10, 2014, Harrisburg, PA – Although it doesn’t fit the popular narrative of cash-starved school districts, spending and revenues are at all-time highs, reserves have increased, and property tax growth has slowed. The real trouble lies in every-growing pension costs, according to a new analysis by the Commonwealth Foundation.
June 6, 2014, Philadelphia, Pa – While public school teachers, taxpayer advocates and business leaders supporting paycheck protection answered pointed questions yesterday from lawmakers, government union executives refused to attend the House Government Committee hearing. Instead, six of them signed written testimony only. In it, they make several deceptive arguments, which explains their hesitation to face tough questioning.
June 5, 2014, Harrisburg, Pa—Today, the House State Government Committee will hear testimony on paycheck protection, which would close a loophole in state law that permits government unions to use taxpayer resources for politics. This comes on the heels of a rally, yesterday, where hundreds of concerned citizens voiced their support for fairness for taxpayers and empowerment for public sector union members.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education recently released its annual summary of public school finances for the 2012-13 school year. Here are some basic facts about school finances and spending, that you might not be aware of.
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Who are We?
The Commonwealth Foundation is Pennsylvania's free-market think tank. The Commonwealth Foundation crafts free-market policies, convinces Pennsylvanians of their benefits, and counters attacks on liberty.