Author Archives: ChescoD

Our Students and Teachers: The Best in the World!

By dianeravitch, February 23, 2018

I call a moratorium on bashing our students and our teachers. If I could manage it, I would make that moratorium a permanent ban.

If you have been watching the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on television, you have seen young people who are smart, eloquent, well-informed, and reasonable. They are so much smarter than so many of our elected officials. The elected officials who dare to debate them are quickly shown to be empty suits.

These students are the best in the world. They survived a horrific attack on their school, stepped over the bodies of their friends and teachers, and emerged to tell the world that this American carnage (as Trump put it in his inaugural address) must stop. Now. No more school shootings. They are old enough to vote; the others will be voters by 2020. They are angry and they are focused, and they know what the problem is: guns. Too many guns. Easy access to guns. NRA money buying politicians.

They will not be bought off by empty promises to increase background checks. To extend the waiting period for an assault weapon. To raise the eligibile age to 21 for buying a weapon of mass murder. They know that mass murderers can pass background checks, can wait three days, and may be older than 21, like the killers in Orlando and Las Vegas. They want a ban on selling military weapons to civilians. They want a ban on sales of military weapons at gun shows and online. They will not be hoaxed. They call BS on phonies.

As we saw in the Sandy Hook massacre, the teachers and principal of these students defended them with their own bodies. They took the bullets to shield their students. They didn’t sign up to be targets for a homicidal maniac, but when the time of reckoning came, they gave their lives to save their students.

Meanwhile, “the good guys with guns” heard the shooting but stayed out of the building. The deputy assigned to protect the students has resigned, and two other officers are being investigated….

keep reading at dianeravitch

CCDC nominating convention Tue. Feb. 20

The CCDC nominating convention is set for Tuesday February 20th at Stetson Middle School at 1060 Wilmington Pike, West Chester 19382.

Doors open at 5:30 pm for check-in, petition signing, etc. Allow at least 15 minutes, preferably 30, for checking in! The convention proper starts at 6:30 pm.

During this event, the County Committee will endorse candidates for these offices that will be on the ballot year:

US Senator
US House of Representatives (now 1 seat in Chester County)
PA Governor
PA Lt. Governor
PA Senate (SD 26, 44)
PA House (9 House districts)

See info on known Dem candidates here.

Candidates and their representatives will be present asking for signatures on their petitions and addressing the convention.

All Democratic committeepersons or their proxies are expected to attend.

State Dem Committee (8) and committeeperson seats (2 per precinct) will also be on the ballot but the convention does not endorse for them.

Stetson Middle School is about 0.5 miles south of where the Rt 202 bypass starts south of West Chester. It is about 2.5 miles south of West Chester, on the west side of route 202. a mile north of route 926. From the south you need to be in the right lane of 202 and take the Skiles Blvd exit to the right, then cross 202 to go west to the school parking lot. Entrance to parking is to the right.

Plenty of room to move up in voter turnout

Chart from “U.S. trails most developed countries in voter turnout” by Drew DeSilver, Pew Research Center, 5/15/17:

U.S. turnout in November 2016 was 56% of the voting age population (blue dots in the chart), 59% of citizens who could have registered and voted, but 87% of registered voters (yellow dots in the chart), a criterion that puts the US much higher in international standings. According to census data, only 70% of voting-age US citizens are registered to vote.

Can the remaining 30% be encouraged to register and vote? Certainly efforts in many states are going the other way, due to intimidating voter ID measures. We are fortunate in Pennsylvania that Governor Wolf established, three years ago, on-line voter registration (deadline to register for this spring’s primary election: 4/16/18).

According to Department of State data, the turnout in November 2016 was 78% of registered voters in Chester County, so unfortunately we were well behind the 87% national average. Clinton won by 25,000 votes, but her margin would likely have been higher if more people had voted, because turnout tends to favor Democrats.

US census data show Chesco has 367,554 US citizens age 18+, of whom 268,800 voted for president in 2016, thus 73% (compared to US 59%, so that looks better for us). Because Voter Services data include many voters who no longer live here, this 73% is probably the most significant figure.

Thus 27% of eligible Chesco voters either were not registered to vote or were registered and did not vote.Those 27% are the challenge for 2018.

If you know someone who needs to be convinced to register and/or vote, see the arguments here and then go to work.

These 8th graders solved gerrymandering

from Christina Hartman, a Dem candidate in CD-16, Feb 11, 2018

In West Chester, PA, teacher Jon Kimmel introduced his 8th-grade math students to the concept of gerrymandering. I want you to read their response:

“My students, getting their first taste (of the subject), were amazed at the audacity, flabbergasted at what this meant about democracy, and more than a little amused at the stupidity of adults,” Kimmel wrote in an essay recently.

“In a little over two weeks of class time,” the teacher wrote, “indeed, the group of eighth graders did do a better job than the Legislature.”

Now, compare that to the reaction of Republicans to our Supreme Court striking down their rigged maps:

— Republican members of Congress, including my opponent Lloyd Smucker, signed a letter saying the decision to draw fair maps was “unfortunate” and “misguided.”

— Smucker then went on TV and said the current rigged district maps are just “the process is essentially working as intended.”

— PA legislator Cris Dush accused Supreme Court members of “misbehavior” and called for their impeachment! (It’s like Tom Brady wanting the referee fired for calling the Super Bowl for the Eagles.)

Our campaign is about more than flipping one district or replacing one congressman. It’s about getting back to the kind of common sense that exists in that 8th-grade classroom — but not in Congress.

It’s about honestly making your case to voters instead of rigging the process in your favor. It’s about being 100% transparent, and meeting constituents face-to-face, even if they disagree with you.

I’m hopeful that the new maps will ensure a level playing field, and not favor either party. In the meantime, we need to prepare for every possibility.

[n.b. at this point in the election cycle we post occasional items by or from candidates that inform our readers about important issues; we will give space to all candidates from whom we receive such information, without intending to imply endorsement or favoritism.]