Category Archives: Education

Comitta finds pipeline concerns trump all others

by Fran Maye, Daily Local News, 8/31/18

WEST CHESTER — Right now, pipeline safety is more important to residents in state Rep. Carolyn Comitta’s 156th Legislative District than any other issue.

In a telephone town hall Wednesday night, 57 percent of those polled cited the most pressing safety concern in the district to be Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 pipeline, with gun violence coming in at 27 percent, and crime at 12 percent.

“We have the Mariner East pipeline traversing our district, going through West Goshen, East Goshen and Westtown, and these are volatile liquid pipelines,” Comitta said. “They are in the most densely populated area than any liquid pipeline which traverses the county.”

Comitta told those who attended the meeting by phone that the pipeline is closely located to three schools in the district, along with the highly populated Wellington Nursing Home.

“I am not surprised that 57 percent said pipeline is the greatest concern for safety,” Comitta said. “I am working on doing everything I can to put public safety over corporate profits.”

Comitta said she has communicated her pipeline safety concerns with the Public Utility Commission, the Department of Environmental Protection and other appropriate agencies.

“Sunoco has a bad record for accidents and violations,” Comitta said. “This creates an even greater concern.”…

keep reading, including other issues, at Daily Local News. See also “Dinniman: Nearly a Dozen Chester County Schools Near Pipeline “Blast Zone,” Daily Local News, 8/22/18, and “Lack of Pipeline Safety Info Puts Schools, Students at Risk,” Daily Local News, 8/27/18 (download here: Guest-Column-Pipeline-School-FINAL-8-23-2018

How mandates raise your local school taxes

By Lisa Longo, President, Phoenixville Area School District Board of Education, The Times of Chester County, Jul 24th, 2018

Do you wonder sometimes why property taxes increase? I did and I decided to start attending school board meetings to understand. That was seven years ago. Now, as a member of our school board, I can share what I have learned.

I discovered a large part of a school district budget is mandated. Congressional and state legislators impose regulations that dictate many of the services school districts must provide. Sadly, many of these mandates are not funded, or are only partially funded. This is why they are known as “unfunded mandates”.

School districts are forced to raise taxes locally because by law they must balance their budget. So every time Congress or State legislatures mandate a service or test, or they cut education funds but not the mandate, they force a local tax increase. And while the claim is that testing is to ensure schools are meeting basic standards, or that charters and vouchers simply offer “choice” when public schools aren’t “performing’, the fact is, these cost taxpayers millions, stress our students and some say, waste both time and money. Certainly we need to question why funds are being diverted from public schools to for-profits, especially cyber charter for-profit entities which aren’t meeting even basic standards.

If the argument is that charters are needed because schools aren’t performing, why are we funding charters that aren’t performing? And tuition to charter schools is a very large unfunded mandate in many school districts, costing more than standardized testing in many cases….

keep reading at The Times of Chester County

March for our Lives Day, 2018: Proclamation by Gov. Wolf

Governor Tom Wolf, March 23, 2018

WHEREAS, the safety of all Pennsylvania school students is a concern of the highest consequence, and all citizens should unite in ensuring all schools throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are safe; and

WHEREAS, over 1.7 million students are enrolled in public schools and over 248,000 students are enrolled in private schools across the commonwealth; and,

WHEREAS, March For Our Lives is a movement dedicated to the student-led activism born out of the Parkland, Florida tragedy around putting an end to mass shootings in our schools; and,

WHEREAS, politicians, law enforcement, school officials, and citizens must come together to put an end to senseless violence in American; and

WHEREAS, we must honor the active and devoted citizens who have courageously given their time and efforts to demand the necessary steps to ensure the safety of our students and teachers; and,

WHEREAS, the proposed bill, STOP School Violence Act of 2018, is a step in the right direction by providing recourses to take the next steps in protecting our children; and,

WHEREAS, it is especially important that students and teachers across the nation be guaranteed a healthy, calm, and secure environment.

THEREFORE, I, Tom Wolf, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, do hereby proclaim March 24, 2018, to be MARCH FOR OUR LIVES DAY in recognition of the all those who have lost their lives to senseless gun violence. I encourage all citizens to continue their efforts to promote safety and awareness.

GIVEN under my hand and the Seal of the Governor, at the City of Harrisburg, this twenty-second day of March two thousand eighteen, the year of the commonwealth the two hundred forty-second.

TOM WOLF
Governor

see and download full facsimile of proclamation at Governor Tom Wolf

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