On the Hill - April 28, 2012
Elections have consequences
The fallout from the 2010 elections is evident across Pennsylvania. Teachers and education support professionals are being furloughed, class sizes are increasing, and some districts cannot meet payroll. This isn’t fair to our children, our communities, and our professions, but we have the ability to change what’s happening.
In the March 23 edition of On the Hill, PSEA shared with you how important the April 24 primary election was going to be and how to make your vote count. Thank you for voting on Tuesday and standing up for public education. Tuesday’s Primary was a successful day for public education and PSEA-PACE recommended candidates. Find election returns at www.psea.org/vote2012.
For example, in the race for the 188th House District in Philadelphia, Minority Chairman of the House Education Committee James Roebuck was challenged by a handpicked candidate of the pro-voucher movement. Groups such as Student’s First and other pro-voucher political action committees spent more than $100,000 against Jim Roebuck solely because he is not a supporter of taxpayer-funded school vouchers.
Our adversaries have the ability to spend millions of dollars fighting for candidates who will help move their agendas forward. Many of them are so wealthy that they can afford to write a single check for hundreds of thousands of dollars at one time. As public school employees, we do not have that luxury. We are unable to write checks that are equal to almost a decade’s worth of our salaries! However, we can still compete with some of the wealthiest individuals in the state and country. We have something that they do not and will never have: strength in numbers! Collectively we are an organization of more than 187,000 members. If we all participate, we can win - and that is exactly what happened on Tuesday.
Although the opposition distributed extremely negative mail pieces about Rep. Roebuck on nearly a daily basis coupled with other tactics, PSEA was able to work with like-minded organizations to help support Rep. Roebuck. Because of our collective support, Representative Roebuck won by more than 800 votes. Through the power of organizing and PACE fundraising public education scored a huge victory by saving our friend, Rep. Roebuck!
PSEA-PACE was successful in other areas of the state with our congressional and state legislative races. Now we set our sights to the November election – stay tuned for the information you need to know in future issues of OTH.
A look ahead
Now that the primary election is behind us, it is time for the state Legislature to return to legislative session. The next two months will be focused on negotiating the state budget and the ancillary legislation that is connected with it. It is possible that critical issues of importance to you - unaccountable expansion of charter schools, vouchers, teacher evaluation, and possible attacks on your collective bargaining rights - could all be debated or voted in the coming weeks.
Stay tuned to PSEA Critical Alerts and future issues of On the Hill for ongoing updates.