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Greetings from ‘PSEA Antarctica’

Michael Penn, a teacher in the Shaler Area School District, Allegheny County, is currently one of five teachers from across the country who is spending six weeks in Antarctica as part of a research team selected by PolarTREC (Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating).

Watch PSEA's Learning Lessons

Through magazine stories and videos, see featured PSEA members doing great things in our public schools. 

Wolf Budget Address

In the proposed state budget Gov. Tom Wolf unveiled on Feb. 5, he continued to make public education a priority, encouraging lawmakers to pass a budget with more than $350 million in school funding increases and to set the state’s minimum teacher salary at $45,000.

PSEA President Rich Askey voiced his strong support for the governor’s investments in public education and his proposal to increase the state’s minimum teacher salary to $45,000 a year. The minimum teacher salary is set by state law at $18,500 and hasn’t changed since 1989.

 “As an organization that represents educators, we are deeply committed to the success of each and every student,” Askey said. “But to have great schools, we need to attract great teachers, and it is time to increase teacher salaries. Over the past 30 years, the teaching profession has gotten much more challenging, the student debt burden has exploded, and we’re facing a significant teacher shortage.

“We shouldn’t have experienced teachers who earn less than other professionals with bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and we shouldn’t have highly educated, dedicated people who teach our kids strapped with student loan debt and struggle to make ends meet.

PSEA supports Gov. Wolf’s minimum wage proposal

Gov. Tom Wolf unveiled a plan today to raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour on July 1 and $15 by 2025. The plan calls for annual cost-of-living increases after that.

PSEA President Rich Askey voiced support for the proposal, which would lift wages for thousands of PSEA members.

“More than 1 million Pennsylvania workers are not paid what they should be,” Askey said. “Their paychecks need to better reflect the many responsibilities they take on for their employers. We applaud Gov. Wolf for making those hardworking Pennsylvanians a priority.”

A decade without a raise
Pennsylvania’s minimum wage — at $7.25 per hour, the same as the federal rate — has not been increased since 2009. More than half of the states, including every one of Pennsylvania’s neighbors, have set higher minimum wages.

If enacted, the governor’s plan would lift the wages of thousands of school support professionals who work as classroom aides, custodians, maintenance staff, and office secretaries.

“The governor’s minimum wage plan will lift wages for the professionals who work with our students to improve their reading skills, cook and serve their lunches, greet them when they arrive at school each morning, and maintain safe, healthy, and clean buildings,” Askey said.

An economy that works for everyone
PSEA believes that Pennsylvanians who are responsible, work hard, and play by the rules should have every opportunity to succeed. This plan will help accomplish that while also boosting the economy by putting more money in the pockets of working families who will spend it at local businesses on the basics they need.

“By paying people fair wages for an honest day’s work, we can create an economy that works for everyone,” Askey said.

Learn more about the governor’s proposal, share your story, and urge your lawmakers to support a raise for working Pennsylvanians.

PSEA’s new vice president

Korri Brown, a high school emotional support teacher from the Kennett Consolidated School District, is PSEA’s new vice president. The Board of Directors elected Brown on Nov. 29 to fill the position left open when Rich Askey, who served as VP beginning Sept. 1, 2017, became president following the death of Dolores McCracken earlier this month.

PSEA President congratulates Tom Wolf as he begins second term

“From day one, Gov. Tom Wolf has partnered with educators from across Pennsylvania to make public education a top priority,” said PSEA President Rich Askey. “We look forward to continuing the work we started and ensuring every student in Pennsylvania gets a high-quality education."

In Memorium: Joe Standa

Joseph Standa, who served as PSEA president in 1968, passed away in January at the age of 94.

Standa was president during the historic March 4, 1968 rally in which more than 20,000 teachers from across the state ascended on the steps of the state Capitol in Harrisburg to seek the right to collectively bargain with school districts. Two years later, Act 195 of 1970, gave teachers those rights.

Veterans of the rally credit Standa with inspiring teachers to stage the rally. Ironically, Standa was a high school principal from Johnstown – it was a time in PSEA history when administrators were a major part of the Association.

“Joe Standa served only one year as PSEA president but the year, 1968, was one of the most influential and transformative years in Association history,’’ said PSEA President Rich Askey. “He wasn’t afraid to stick his neck out for what he believed was right and just. He was a key figure in what PSEA is today – educators who stand up for their profession and their students.’’

Prior to becoming an educator, which also included teaching and coaching, Standa was an Army drill sergeant and served in World War II.

 Statewide Events   Regional Events 

Pension review commission recommends no changes to PSERS board

A report issued on Dec. 20 by the commission reviewing pension fund investments does not recommend changes in the structure of the Public School Employees’ Retirement System’s Board of Trustees on which five active or retired PSEA members serve.

Former student of PSEA-Retired member passes on lessons she learned 53 years ago

Joan Lazar ("Joanie" to Piccone) reached out to talk to her former first-greade teacher from Sabold Elementary in the Springfield School District, Delaware County, to tell her about the mpact she had on her life and to share what she is doing to honor her. 

PSEA members’ advocacy secures more graduation options for students

Thanks in large part to PSEA members’ advocacy, a bill giving high school seniors more options to fulfill graduation requirements has become law.

New school safety law provides schools $60 million in grants

Schools are getting $60 million in school safety grants thanks to a new state law that includes suggestions from PSEA members. 

Based on PSEA member feedback and other roundtable commentary from across the Commonwealth, the PA School Safety Task Force has released their full report identifying, “multiple themes, barriers and opportunities." 

 

Show PSEA pride. Save money. Get the PSEA Visa card

PSEA members can now get cash back and earn rewards on every purchase with the PSEA Signature Visa card.

In Memory of Dolores McCracken

Dolores McCracken, president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, passed away on Nov. 13, following a brief battle with cancer.

Dolores McCracken was a local, region, and statewide PSEA leader for more than two decades, directing her talents and energy toward programs and initiatives that improved both public education and the lives and livelihoods of PSEA members.

In our Locals

Learning Lessons: Students mine history through song

Carlisle teacher receives Fulbright grant

Williamsport teacher helps save custodian’s life

Loyalsock Twp.'s Jennifer Wahl PA's 2018 Teacher of the Year

Adaptive music class gets students up and moving

York City students win top honors in youth leadership program

Meet PSEA's Celebrating Excellence winners

Central Valley nurses ask, ‘Did You Know?’

Issues & Action

Alternative graduation pathways

Senate Bill 1095 has now become law. This important legislation creates alternative pathways to graduation that remove the heavy focus on standardized testing. 

Tuition vouchers

A tuition voucher bill in the PA Senate would drain more than $500 million in state funding from PA public schools.