Readers write & readers right

Readers write & readers right

Four great letters from the Allegheny Institute email inbox to share today. Writes one reader:

“In regard to your article [Sunday] morning in the Tribune-Review (‘Effecting change in Pa’s failing high schools’), there is a reason Seneca [Valley] and Windber have higher scores.

“If you would check, I would imagine most students are not absent many days per school year. A student who is absent from school consistently will never succeed in the classroom.

“This is a major problem for Allegheny County and Philadelphia districts. Harrisburg needs to hold parents accountable for their children not attending school.

“A student who is up half the night on social media or out with friends late will never learn the next day in any school. That’s a parent’s responsibility to take ownership of the problem.

“If a student comes to school, every day and not half asleep, that student will learn.”

Writes another reader, on the same topic:

“The power of the unions is so detrimental to quality education. Tenure keeps bad teachers in the system.

“My daughter is a great teacher at … a failing school. She is so frustrated by ‘teachers’ who go through the motions, give very little effort and, quite frankly, don’t give a damn.  They are there solely for a paycheck, three months off in the summer and a lucrative pension.

“And it starts with the leadership. Principals and assistant principals who have political connections to get the jobs — but lack backbone to make the changes that are necessary.

“I am not sure the Pennsylvania Legislature has the backbone to make the changes that are necessary. Teacher unions spread so much money, mainly to the Democrats.”

Regarding the failure of Pittsburgh Regional Transit, the former Port Authority of Allegheny County, to right-size its operations in light of struggling ridership numbers, another reader notes thusly:

“I found it both amusing and depressing at the same time.  There may be no hope for any mass transit system run by human beings.

“I will add that I recall reading [comments about] a past audit performed on our old PATransit revealing that it had lost so much money, it would have been cheaper to buy everyone that used the system a new automobile instead.

“I also try to follow our Act 44 shenanigans.  Recall that this bizarre plan for funding PennDOT activities now seems to mostly fund PRT and SEPTA (in Philadelphia) budget shortfalls.

“The state Turnpike Commission now has more debt than our state.  Apparently, Harrisburg did this because the commission debt is not reflected in required state budget reporting, thereby giving cover to our state Legislature.  The annually compounded rate increases will soon approach 100 percent or more.

“It’s a no-win situation.  Any responsible cuts to mass transit service will be seen as racist, or at least mean-spirited to those who legitimately cannot afford other forms of transportation.”

And from Monday’s At Large column on the Westmoreland County Land Bank, this astute observation from another faithful reader:

“I would wager that Mr. Lawrence and the Westmoreland County Land Bank have in mind now what they want on that property.

“They will have to find the buyer who agrees with them and has the money to buy it. I also think that they even have favored potential buyers who may be bidding on it.

“Politicians like to present the correct spin for the citizen taxpayers.”

We thank our dedicated readers for reading and adding to the informed discourse. For when our readers write, our readers typically are right.

Colin McNickle is communications and marketing director at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (