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.

Research Items

MARCH 31, 2014 | Commentary by NATHAN BENEFIELD

Playing the Education Lottery

Last month, families from across Pennsylvania waited anxiously to hear if they had finally won the lottery. But these hopeful parents weren’t looking to win the MegaMillions—they were hoping for the chance at enrolling their children in a better and safer school.

MARCH 17, 2014 | Commentary by ELIZABETH STELLE

Time for Paycheck Protection in Pennsylvania

The government liquor monopoly, the pension time bomb, and Philadelphia’s public school crisis—what do they have in common? Each of these public policy disasters was supported by government unions. What’s more, taxpayers help collect the funds that union leaders use to stand in the way of commonsense reform—and union members themselves want it to end.

MARCH 14, 2014 | Testimony by NATHAN BENEFIELD

Charter School Reform

Testimony of Nathan Benefield

Charter Schools

The major problems we need to address with charter school funding aren’t specific to charter schools but are inherent in our system of education funding and spending. I suggest that instead of singling out charter schools we reexamine our entire system of funding public education.

JANUARY 15, 2014 | Commentary by MATTHEW BROUILLETTE

Paycheck Protection Benefits Teachers and Taxpayers

Pennsylvania’s AFL-CIO union boss Rick Bloomingdale is absolutely right that there is a “war on workers” here in Pennsylvania—he should know, because he is waging it. His recent opinion piece on PennLive tries, and fails, to defend the indefensible, getting the facts wrong in the process.


Union Dues Exploit Teachers, Taxpayers

What if I told you that regardless of your political beliefs, several hundred dollars will be deducted from your paycheck each year to support politicians whose views you may not support and political issues you oppose—and that there’s nothing you can do about it? You’d probably be pretty upset. But for many teachers, it’s just another day on the job.

JANUARY 2, 2014 | Commentary by PRIYA ABRAHAM

Keeping Teachers in the Classroom

Given our still-sputtering economy, Americans have grown used to their public schools facing tight budgets. This fiscal squeeze has drawn out a hidden crisis in public education: How do we keep our best teachers in the classroom? The short answer is, we don't.

DECEMBER 6, 2013 | Commentary by JOHN BOUDER

Cyber Schools Deserve Fair Treatment

Alyssa Weaver is a poster-child for the benefits of choice in public education. At the age of twelve, Alyssa was diagnosed with a crippling case of scoliosis which, in decades past, might have brought her education and career aspirations to a screeching halt. But, thanks to the marriage of online education and public charter school, Alyssa had a life-changing option—cyber school.


Get rich quick! Start your own union

Do I have a deal for you! For a small annual fee of $669, you can join a political organization I’m starting called the MEA—Matt’s Education Association.

NOVEMBER 5, 2013 | Commentary by NATHAN BENEFIELD

Dues Deduction For Public Sector Unions Is An Offense To Taxpayers

It was the last straw for teacher Steve Calabro. When the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) ran advertisements claiming any teacher who didn’t contribute to the union PAC was part of the “Gov. Tom Corbett fan club,” he had seen enough. Steve, a teacher from Lackawanna County in northeastern Pennsylvania wrote, “the PSEA’s political agenda has blinded them into complete disregard for their own membership … this kind of ad is one example of the

OCTOBER 14, 2013 | Commentary by NATHAN BENEFIELD

Unions' Taxpayer-Subsidized Politics

How would you feel if you were forced to pay for a political cause that worked against your own beliefs and values? Outraged? Victimized? Just plain angry? Many Pennsylvania teachers, including some in the Philadelphia area, are no different, and they've started speaking out about an injustice that should infuriate every taxpayer.

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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.

Should taxpayer resources be used to collect a private entities' dues and political money?

Government Unions' Political Power Grows

April 11

Despite claims that union dues aren't used for politics, the amount Pennsylvania’s five largest government unions reported spending from union dues on "political activities and lobbying" increased in 2013 to $5.5 million. This is in addition to the $4.7 million collected for government union ...