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Covid-19 Coronavirus

Our schools and communities are all focused on preventing the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.

Federal and state officials have created a number of resources aimed at educating the public about the virus and advising Pennsylvanians about how we can prevent it from spreading.

PSEA is focusing its work in 2020 on policy priorities intended to tackle Pennsylvania’s educator shortage, attract more people of color to teaching, and ensure that all students have access to caring educators, teaching assistants, nurses, counselors, school psychologists, and social workers.

“Students benefit from having talented professionals at school who know them and their communities well. We want to work collaboratively with policymakers from both parties to ensure the next generation of Pennsylvanians are successful. That means tackling the educator shortage head-on so that more school districts are able to attract and retain high-quality professionals to work with students at all levels.” - Rich Askey


Every election is inevitably billed as “the most important election in ... (years/a generation/a lifetime, etc.).” Depending on the issues at stake, the candidates, or your point of view, you may or may not agree. But the truth is, every election is the most important election simply because it’s the next one in which you get to cast your vote. It’s your one (and possibly only) chance to actually do something about the issues that affect your daily life, instead of just arguing about them on social media.

COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic

Our schools and communities are all focused on preventing the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus. 

PSEA, federal, and state officials have created a number of resources aimed at educating members and the public about the virus and advising Pennsylvanians about how we can prevent it from spreading.

Stay Connected

Keeping Connected is an e-newsletter for PSEA members to stay informed during the COVID-19 coronavirus school closures. In each issue, you'll receive the latest legislative and policy updates from your association, helpful links, and inspiring stories of educators going above and beyond to make the best of an extraordinarily difficult time.

Current Issue: Week of 10-26-2020

Rich's Notebook is a blog intended to periodically update PSEA members on what is on the PSEA President's mind. In each post, you'll read about Rich's priorities, his thoughts on important topics, or inspiring stories of educators going above and beyond.

Latest post: Concerns about the mounting number of COVID-19 cases and school districts following state guidelines

Heidi Moll, the 2020 ESP of the Year!

There’s no better time than American Education Week to celebrate our hardworking ESP members. And none more deserving of recognition than Heidi Moll, the 2020 Dolores McCracken PSEA Education Support Professional of the Year.

“I am honored to receive this recognition on Education Support Professionals Day,” Moll said. “Every day, I feel fortunate to work with support professionals and see the direct impact that they have on the lives of our students. Dolores McCracken would be proud of all of our education support professional locals and what they have accomplished this year. I feel privileged to be recognized for this award during a year that was especially tough. My members have made all of the hard work worthwhile.”

As an instructional assistant, Moll works alongside teachers at Berks Career and Tech to provide hands-on assistance to students. Her colleagues say she is known for encouraging students’ creativity and innovation and helping them develop important problem-solving skills.

Delegates to the National Education Association Representative Assembly (NEA RA) have elected Becky Pringle of PA as the association’s president.

Originally from Philadelphia, Pringle is a middle school science teacher on leave from the Susquehanna School District in Dauphin County. She currently serves as vice president of NEA and previously served as secretary treasurer.

“Becky has long been a force for positive change here in Pennsylvania and on the national stage,” PSEA President Rich Askey said. “She is a devoted advocate for social and racial justice, a powerful voice for American educators and support professionals and the students we serve, and a valued friend and respected colleague."

“On behalf of PSEA’s 180,000 members, I congratulate Becky and look forward to continuing to work with her to transform the education professions and improve student learning.”

PA STEM teacher eager to share her experience

Debbie Reynolds, a STEM teacher from Baldwin-Whitehall School District and one of just nine educators nationwide to receive the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship for 2019-20, is not the kind of person to let a global pandemic get in the way of a mission.

#ICYMI: Remote Instruction

Did you miss the terrific webinars we offered through PSEA’s Summer Learning Series?

If you did, you can still check them out. We recorded all our remote instruction webinars, and you can view them at your convenience and receive Act 48 or Chapter 14 credit at the link below.

ESP and PSEA celebrate 25 years together

Twenty-five years ago, ESP members merged with PSEA, creating a united front in the fight for a stronger public education system.

For the last quarter-century, we’ve worked side-by-side to increase salaries and benefits, improve working conditions, and raise public awareness about the unique and critical role our cafeteria workers, bus drivers, maintenance workers, paraprofessionals, and other support staff play in our public schools.

Gov. Wolf's Budget Proposal FY 2020-21

Gov. Tom Wolf unveiled his proposed FY 2020-21 state budget before a joint session of the Pennsylvania General Assembly on Feb. 4.

Gov. Wolf’s proposed budget makes investments in public education, takes a significant step in the right direction on charter reform, addresses health and safety issues in public school buildings, allocates funding for a new college scholarship program, and proposes a long overdue raise in the minimum educator salary.

“Gov. Wolf’s budget plan continues to make public education a top priority,” PSEA President Rich Askey said. “There is nothing more important than investing in public schools and the students who learn there. Gov. Wolf has been a leader on these issues, and PSEA looks forward to partnering with him and lawmakers to ensure our students are successful.”

Some of the governor’s proposed funding increases for public education include:

Basic education funding: $114 million increase
Special education funding:  $25 million increase
Head Start: $5 million increase
Pre-K Counts: $25 million increase
Charter school reform: $280 million in school district savings
Lead, asbestos, mold removal: $1 billion in capital funding

PSEA 2020 Priorities

PSEA’s 2020 policy priorities reflect the feedback of members who work directly with students in our public schools every day. 

“No one knows the challenges in public education better than the educators and support professionals who work with students every day. We listened to what they had to say, and now we want to engage with lawmakers to find solutions to these challenges.”
- Rich Askey

2020 Education Policy Priorities

    • Reduce student loan debt
    • Hire more educators who are people of color
    • Fund more teaching assistants
    • Invest in more school nurses and counselors
    • Raise the minimum educator salary
    • Raise the minimum wage.

Educator Evaluation Reform Plan Makes Important Strides

Legislation to overhaul the current evaluation system was approved by the General Assembly on March 25, along with legislative language aimed at addressing the COVID-19 emergency in public schools.

The bill will overhaul the current educator evaluation system, significantly reducing the impact of student performance, including standardized tests, in favor of classroom observation and practice. 

It will:

  • Reduce the impact of standardized tests and student performance components
  • Increase the focus on classroom observation and practice
  • Recognize the impact of student poverty on student performance
  • Encourage greater collaboration

PSEA Vice President Aaron Chapin Rallies to Raise the Minimum Wage

PSEA Vice President Aaron Chapin joined a host of lawmakers, community members, and activists from across the state at a capitol rally on September 17 to demand an increase in the state's minimum wage, which has been stuck at $7.25 since 2009.  The event, hosted by We The People Campaign, was an opportunity to emphasize the importance of this initiative to PSEA members, their families, and to all of Pennsylvania.
PSEA continues to work closely with Gov. Wolf and other lawmakers on this important issue, which directly affects a number of support professionals in our public schools. It remains a top priority for our organization going into this new legislative session.

Public Education: State Budget Scorecard

A bi-partisan state budget plan that includes major funding increases for basic education as well as other key education bills made their way through the House and Senate this week to land on Gov. Wolf’s desk.

PSEA members played a key role in getting many of these proposals approved by the General Assembly. When PSEA members speak out, our elected officials listen.

Budget Plan Update

Rich Askey, president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, commended Gov. Tom Wolf and lawmakers for continuing to make public education a top priority in the 2019-20 state budget and for addressing key education policies, including important school safety measures.

“Investing in our public schools is a top priority for all Pennsylvanians, and this budget reflects that,” Askey said. “The budget includes bigger increases for basic and special education than we saw in the previous two budgets. This demonstrates that lawmakers and the governor want public schools to remain a strong foundation of our commonwealth.”

Budget Breakdown

Basic education. 

$160 million increase.

Special education.                

$50 million increase.

School Safety grants.

$60 million (Level funded).

Pre-K Counts.

$25 million increase.

Head Start

$5 million increase.
Early intervention.   $15 million increase.
Career and technical education. 

$7 million increase.

Career and Tech equipment grants.

$3 million increase.

Community Colleges.

$4.7 million increase.


$9 million increase.

School Safety

In addition to providing continued school safety grant funding in the budget, policymakers adopted two important school safety initiatives in a separate school code bill.

  • Threat assessment teams
  • Trauma-informed learning

In new poll, large majorities of PA voters view public schools, teachers favorably

Nearly two-thirds of registered Pennsylvania voters expressed satisfaction with the public schools in their communities, and more than 7 in 10 have positive impressions of teachers, according to a poll conducted by Terry Madonna Opinion Research for PSEA and other organizations.

Poll respondents were also more likely to support raising the state’s minimum teacher salary after hearing that Pennsylvania has licensed far fewer new teachers annually in recent years and that raising the minimum salary will allow public schools to recruit and retain the teachers Pennsylvania needs.

Aaron Chapin elected PSEA vice president

PSEA's Board of Directors elected Aaron Chapin as the Association’s new vice president at a board meeting in June.

Chapin, a fifth-grade teacher in the Stroudsburg Area School District, Monroe County, succeeds Korri Brown, who passed away suddenly during the PSEA House of Delegates in May in Philadelphia. Brown was elected vice president at the House.

“Aaron is a committed PSEA leader and tireless advocate for public education and educators and support professionals across Pennsylvania,’’ said PSEA President Rich Askey. “He will be an excellent addition to our officer team.’’

Threat Assessment Legislation

In addition to providing continued school safety grant funding in the state budget, policymakers adopted some important school safety initiatives in a separate school code bill. One of these intiatives requires public schools to establish threat assessment teams to assess and prevent violence before it starts.

Establishing threat assessment teams was among the recommendations included in PSEA’s 2018 report “Safe Havens of Learning: PSEA policy recommendations to enhance safety in PA schools.” Read the full report at

“These measures will definitely make a difference in our schools,” said PSEA President Rich Askey. “We encourage lawmakers to continue the good work they’ve done on school safety initiatives and send these bills to the governor’s desk.”

Two-thirds of Pennsylvanians favor raising minimum teacher salary, poll finds

Raising the minimum teacher salary will help Pennsylvania school districts attract and retain the best and brightest to teach in our schools and change the lives of students. Pennsylvanians understand that and support a proposal to raise the minimum teacher salary in Pennsylvania from $18,500 to $45,000 per year.

Two-thirds of likely voters in Pennsylvania favor the minimum salary raise and nearly half of respondents “strongly favor” the measure, according to a poll conducted by Harper Polling for PSEA.

View the Feb. 21 memo from Harper Polling.

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.

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