Voting for Public Education

This is it. We’re down to the wire – elections are tomorrow and while education has been a back-burner issue this campaign season, suddenly it seems that everyone wants to talk about it. So with the polls opening in the morning, Yinzercation has done some digging and put together the following voting information for Southwest Pennsylvanians who care about where our candidates stand when it comes to our public schools.

President of the United States
OK. We know President Obama has angered lots of us with his Race to the Top program, hiring Arne Duncan to be Education Secretary, and his repetition of the failing-public-schools mantra. However, he has made some progress in higher education and early childhood education: Obama has capped repayment of federal students loans at 10% of income and doubled funding for college Pell Grants. And he has added another 64,000 children to Head Start and Early Head Start programs. That’s an important step in the right direction.

What President Obama has never done is to propose scrapping public education altogether, as Ann Romney suggested we ought to do. In an interview last week with Good Housekeeping, Ann responded to a question about what campaign issue is closest to her heart, saying, “I have seen what happens to people’s lives if they don’t get a proper education. And we know the answers to that. The charter schools have provided the answers. The teachers’ unions are preventing those things from happening, from bringing real change to our educational system. We need to throw out the system.” [Good Housekeeping, Oct. 2012] This is the thing closest to her heart? Throwing out our entire system of public education?

Charter schools have not provided the answers: here in Pennsylvania, the best charter schools are performing on par with traditional public schools, and most are performing well below. (See “Dueling Rallies.”) However, charter schools are definitely big business and proving to be fabulous investment opportunities for those looking to make a profit. (See “Charters are Cash Cows.”) We ought to be very, very scared about what a Romney win would mean for students in this country.

Ironically, in a piece in the Huffington Post yesterday, Romney accused Obama of taking orders from teachers unions – the very groups fighting school privatization efforts – demonstrating just how out of touch Romney is on this issue. But he amply demonstrated his support for privatization, saying, “I will give parents the information they need to know if their school is failing, and the choice they need to pick the school where their child can succeed.” [Huffington Post, 11-4-12] In his only major education speech back in May, Romney vowed to “push for school vouchers, deregulating and expanding charter and online schools and a lighter federal hand in education.” [Huffington Post, 5-23-12]

President Obama opposes vouchers. He needs to go back to school on a lot of education policy issues, but we have never heard him talking about ditching public education altogether.

State Races
Confused about who is running in your area and where they stand on education issues? Three different state education groups have issued endorsements: Education Voters PA; the state-level teacher’s union Pennsylvania State Education Association’s Political Action Committee for Education (PSEA PACE); and the higher-ed union, the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF). We have gathered their endorsements here in one convenient guide for the ten counties of Yinzer Nation. (For more endorsements outside of Southwest PA, see the Education Voters PA guide, and the Keystone Progress progressive voter’s guide.) Please note that we are only reporting these endorsements and have not vetted each candidate.

United States Senate
Bob Casey, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE

Attorney General
Kathleen Kane, (D) Endorsed by: APSCUF

Auditor General
Eugene DePasquale, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

Treasurer
Rob McCord, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

ALLEGHENY COUNTY

US Congress:
CD 14
Mike Doyle, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE

State Senate
District 37
Matt Smith, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF, Education Voters PA
** as a state Representative, Matt Smith has met with Yinzercation parents and been very good on public education issues

District 43
Jay Costa, Jr., (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

District 45
James Bewster, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

District 47
Kimberly Villella, (D) Endorsed by: Education Voters PA

State House
District 16
Robert Matzie, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

District 19
Jake Wheatley, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

District 20
Adam Ravenstahl, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE

District 21
Dom Costa, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE

District 22
Erin Molchany, (D) Endorsed by: Education Voters of PA,

District 23
Dan Frankel, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF
** Representative Frankel has met with Yinzercation parents numerous times and has been consistently good on public education issues.

District 25
Joe Markosek, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

District 27
Daniel Deasy, Jr., (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE

District 32
Anthony DeLuca, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

District 33
Frank Dermody, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

District 34
Paul Costa, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

District 35
Marc Gergely, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

District 36
Harry Readshaw, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

District 38
Bill Kortz, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

District 39
Dave Levdansky, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF, Education Voters PA

District 42
Matt Smith, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF, Education Voters PA
** as a state Representative, Matt Smith has met with Yinzercation parents and been very good on public education issues

District 44
Mark Scappe, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE

District 45
Nick Kotik, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

District 46
Jesse White, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

ARMSTRONG COUNTY

State Senate
District 41
Don White, (R) Endorsed by: APSCUF

State House
District 55
Joe Petrarca, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

District 63
Donna Oberlander, (R) Endorsed by: APSCUF

BEAVER COUNTY

State Senate
District 47
Kimberly Villella, (D) Endorsed by: Education Voters PA

State House
District 9
Chris Sainato, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

District 10
Jarrett Gibbons, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

District 14
Jim Marshall, (R) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE

District 16
Robert Matzie, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

District 46
Jesse White, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

BUTLER COUNTY

State Senate
District 41
Don White, (R) Endorsed by: APSCUF

State House
District 10
Jarrett Gibbons, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

FAYETTE COUNTY

State House
District 49
Peter Daley, II, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

District 51
Tim Mahoney, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

District 52
Deborah Kula, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

District 58
Ted Harhai, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

GREENE COUNTY

no endorsements

INDIANA COUNTY

State Senate
District 41
Don White, (R) Endorsed by: APSCUF

State House
District 62
Dave Reed, (R) Endorsed by: APSCUF

LAWRENCE COUNTY

State Senate
District 47
Kimberly Villella, (D) Endorsed by: Education Voters PA

State House
District 9
Chris Sainato, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

District 10
Jarrett Gibbons, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

WASHINGTON COUNTY

State Senate
District 37
Matt Smith, (D) Endorsed by: APSCUF, Education Voters PA
** as a state Representative, Matt Smith has met with Yinzercation parents and been very good on public education issues

State House
District 39
Dave Levdansky, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF, Education Voters PA,

District 46
Jesse White, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

District 48
Brandon Neuman, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

District 49
Peter Daley, II, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

WESTMORELAND COUNTY

State Senate
District 41
Don White, (R) Endorsed by: APSCUF

District 45
James Bewster, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

State House
District 25
Joe Markosek, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

District 52
Deborah Kula, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

District 55
Joe Petrarca, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

District 56
Raymond Geissler, (D) Endorsed by: APSCUF

District 58
Ted Harhai, (D) Endorsed by: PSEA PACE, APSCUF

District 59
Harriet Ellenberger, (D) Endorsed by: APSCUF

6 thoughts on “Voting for Public Education

    • Hi John-

      This is from the NHSA blog:

      One 2009 article by David Deming of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard has some very powerful data about the long-term outcomes of Head Start participation.(2) Comparing Head Start children to their siblings who did not attend the program or any preschool, Deming looked at how both groups did as adults. While he did find test score fade-out over time, in the long-term Deming showed Head Start participation closed the bottom to median income gap by a third and the racial achievement gap by three quarters. Those who had attended Head Start were more likely to graduate high school, attend some college, and lead healthy lifestyles.

      The research on the effect of good teachers and that of Head Start converge on one idea: regardless of test scores, good teaching in a nurturing environment changes children’s lifetime trajectories. Chuck Mills is a testament to this idea, and he is not alone. In the face of this truth, it is more important than ever that we offer quality learning experiences to all children, both in their early years of development and through their school careers.

      There is more data out there if you care to google it. It all comes down to the idea that there are other significant things to look at beyond test scores.

      Hope this helps! Holly

  1. Thanks for posting Jessie! Education Voters Action Fund has also endorsed Matt Smith. In addition, as the Director of EVAF, I would like to highlight Dan Frankel as a champion for public education. Since we are a grassroots non-profit (scrappy!) organization, we don’t take a position in every race and our endorsements focus mostly on competitive races, where education issues are playing a large role in the race, key committees etc. Dan Frankel is a good friend to public ed!!

Leave a Reply (posting policy: no name calling, keep it civil or we'll send in the Kindergarten teachers for a lesson in manners)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s