Priya Brannick

Senior Fellow

Priya Brannick is a Senior Fellow with the Commonwealth Foundation.

Priya has a Master of Arts in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University and graduated magna cum laude in 2002 with a degree in journalism from Texas Christian University. Before joining the Commonwealth Foundation, she was an international affairs journalist for WORLD Magazine and the Communications Director for the Institute on Religion and Public Policy.

Priya’s primary research areas include education reform and labor policy. Her expertise has been featured in various media outlets including: KDKA, WITF, WHYY, the Patriot News, and the Philadelphia Inquirer, amongst others.

A native of Zambia, Africa, Priya has lived, worked, and traveled across the United States (and still admits to a strong fondness for soccer). She is deeply passionate about America’s founding principles, crafting sound public policy to better people’s lives, and ballroom dance.

Education

Keeping Teachers in the Classroom

  • Priya Brannick
  • January 2, 2014

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…

Commentary

Read More: Keeping Teachers in the Classroom

Education

Outdated Seniority Rules Harm Pittsburgh Students

  • Priya Brannick
  • December 12, 2013

Yesterday, we reported that the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers is trying to lower evaluation standards for teachers it had previously helped craft. Under Pittsburgh’s new system, which goes into…

Media

Read More: Outdated Seniority Rules Harm Pittsburgh Students

Education

Teachers’ Union Wants Lower Teacher Standards

  • Priya Brannick
  • December 11, 2013

Four years ago, Pittsburgh School District, the second-largest in Pennsylvania, embarked on an innovative effort to evaluate teachers. Administrators and the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers (PFT) collaborated to create…

Media

Read More: Teachers’ Union Wants Lower Teacher Standards

Public Union Democracy

PSEA Pours $3.8 Million Into Politics

  • Priya Brannick
  • December 9, 2013

In the last year, the Pennsylvania State Education Association poured $3.8 million of its members’ dues into “political activities and lobbying,” according to its 2013 financial disclosure report. That’s an…

Media

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Public Union Democracy

Union Gave $650,000 from Teachers’ Dues to Anti-Republican Group

  • Priya Brannick
  • December 5, 2013

Remember the shadowy group, Pennsylvanians for Accountability, which ran “shell game” prime time attack ads on Gov. Tom Corbett for “bankrolling big tax cuts for his corporate backers”?  The…

Media

Read More: Union Gave $650,000 from Teachers’ Dues to Anti-Republican Group

Public Union Democracy

What Teachers Are Saying About Union Reform

  • Priya Brannick
  • December 2, 2013

One teacher called it “a kick in the teeth.” Another used the word “extortion.” What are these teachers talking about? The practice in Pennsylvania of teachers’ union dues…

Media

Read More: What Teachers Are Saying About Union Reform

Public Union Democracy

Teachers Decry Unions’ “Unfair” Privilege

  • Priya Brannick
  • November 27, 2013

Ellwood City public school teacher John Cress is speaking up against the forced political speech he had to pay for via his union dues to the Pennsylvania State Education Association:…

Media

Read More: Teachers Decry Unions’ “Unfair” Privilege

Public Union Democracy

Union Dues Pay for PSEA Politics (Again)

  • Priya Brannick
  • November 26, 2013

Last week we highlighted a number of election-related ads the Pennsylvania State Education Association paid for using its members’ dues money—without their permission or knowledge. The state’s largest teachers…

Media

Read More: Union Dues Pay for PSEA Politics (Again)

Public Union Democracy

Union Dues Pay for PSEA Politics

  • Priya Brannick
  • November 21, 2013

“If you DON’T care about funds for your school…then by all means throw this away,” reads a June 2011 insert in PSEA Voice, the magazine of the 185,000-strong Pennsylvania…

Media

Read More: Union Dues Pay for PSEA Politics

Public Union Democracy

How Taxpayers Subsidize Union Politics

  • Priya Brannick
  • November 14, 2013

Last year, Pennsylvania’s main government unions spent nearly $5 million of their members’ union dues on political activities that workers don’t get to approve. In 2011-12, these unions also…

Media

Read More: How Taxpayers Subsidize Union Politics

Education

The Lost Year: How Seniority Harms Teachers and Kids

  • Priya Brannick
  • October 29, 2013

Rep. Vanessa Brown (D-Phila.) knows what it’s like to lose a good school teacher. For her son, it was nearly a matter of life and death. For years, Brown has…

Media

Read More: The Lost Year: How Seniority Harms Teachers and Kids

Public Union Democracy

Time to End Union Violence

  • Priya Brannick
  • October 21, 2013

Did you know that it’s illegal to stalk, harass, or threaten to use violence (and yes, weapons of mass destruction) in Pennsylvania…except if you’re a labor union (or management) in…

Media

Read More: Time to End Union Violence

Education

Podcast: Teachers on Union Exploitation – Part 1

  • Priya Brannick
  • October 14, 2013

Julie Raab and Keith Williams are speaking out about how union influence affects their teaching jobs.  They, and many teachers across the state, are fed up with Pennsylvania's unfair…

Media

Read More: Podcast: Teachers on Union Exploitation – Part 1

Education

Saving Pennsylvania’s Best Teachers

  • Priya Brannick
  • October 11, 2013

This week, Commonwealth Foundation placed billboards in Philadelphia subway stations to highlight the problem of seniority rules in our public schools. Currently, Section 1125…

Media

Read More: Saving Pennsylvania’s Best Teachers

Public Union Democracy

Is Paying Only $2.50 for Health Care Unreasonable?

  • Priya Brannick
  • September 10, 2013

If you’ve been watching back-to-school news, you’ve probably heard that teachers unions in three Pennsylvania school districts—Shaler Area, Wyoming Area and Old Forge—have gone on strike. Like…

Media

Read More: Is Paying Only $2.50 for Health Care Unreasonable?

Education

Five Facts on the Philadelphia Schools Crisis

  • Priya Brannick
  • August 22, 2013

Things have reached a fever pitch in Philadelphia as the city’s school district—the eighth-largest in America—is scrambling to close its $300 million deficit and open schools on time. As protestors…

Media

Read More: Five Facts on the Philadelphia Schools Crisis

Regulation

Copycat Union Letters Repeat Pension Myths

  • Priya Brannick
  • August 5, 2013

In July, a commentary by Matt Brouillette on why pension reform failed in our state legislature ran in several newspapers across Pennsylvania. Now response letters from teachers have been…

Media

Read More: Copycat Union Letters Repeat Pension Myths

Education

School Districts’ Fund Balances Grow Despite Budget Squeeze

  • Priya Brannick
  • June 28, 2013

Despite claims of severe budget cuts, school districts’ fund balances—their rainy day funds—grew last year.  School districts increased their fund balances in 2011-12 by more than $200 million.  As of…

Media

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Education

The Truth on Cyber School Performance

  • Priya Brannick
  • June 28, 2013

Here is a letter to the editor I submitted to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Pennsylvania cyber school performance: Mary Niederberger reports on a new, largely positive charter school study…

Media

Read More: The Truth on Cyber School Performance

Education

Public School Staffing Up, Enrollment Down

  • Priya Brannick
  • June 27, 2013

In the last two years, schools have reduced their total staffing.  Yet despite this short-term decline, public school staff has increased by more than 17,000 since 2000.  Over the…

Media

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Education

The Canard of Corbett’s Education Cuts

  • Priya Brannick
  • June 26, 2013

Despite the popular claim that Gov. Corbett “cut $1 billion” in education spending in the state budget, state funding for public schools is at an all-time high.  In 2011-12, federal…

Media

Read More: The Canard of Corbett’s Education Cuts