New PSEA Head Wants to Improve PA Education—Really?

New PSEA Head Wants to Improve PA Education—Really?

Quoted in Monday’s Tribune Review, the new president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association-the teachers’ union-says he wants to work with the Governor and other state officials to make public schools the schools of choice. He also maintains that our schools are doing really well although there are still problems. Naturally, these are problems he believes could be solved with more resources, i.e., taxpayer dollars.

How sad that the teachers’ union has appropriated the title "education association" for itself rather calling themselves what they are-a union for teachers.

The new president says assessment test scores are improving in every grade. But that claim is dubious. SAT scores have not improved and that is the litmus test of how schools are doing. Moreover, as the Allegheny Institute has documented in its Policy Brief series, the big improvements in the 8th grade scores are questionable. Then too, 11th grade reading scores have not improved and the math scores remain dreadfully low. And, if we look beyond the reading and math tests, where so much time is spent preparing students for the tests, to the performance on science, we find abysmal results.

The teachers’ union president wants to make public schools the schools of choice which means he wants to protect public school employee jobs. If he truly cared about quality education for Pennsylvania’s students, he would be focused on helping create alternatives to the public school monopoly. But as is sadly the case for union leaders, he cannot square the circle. The union is about promoting the union members’ interests; the interest of students will always be secondary-if not even less important. The union’s interests include electing legislators who will serve them first and foremost. Students and taxpayers always receive short shrift from these elected officials. If they were honest and opened their eyes they would see the damage resulting from teacher strikes and the law disallowing layoffs for economic reasons. These union-coddling statutes represent massive assaults on the marketplace and unconscionable degradation of taxpayers. And so it goes in Pennsylvania.