Podcast: Duty Free Lunch

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Duty Free Lunch

Welcome to Duty Free Lunch, the official podcast of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, where every PSEA member has a seat at the table.

Join us as we unpack the issues that matter most to you.

From cutting-edge classroom strategies to thought-provoking policy discussions, if it impacts Pennsylvania educators, it’s on the menu!


E13: The urgent need for more student teacher stipends

Run time: 23 min.

In December, the Pennsylvania House authorized $10 million in stipends for aspiring educators while they complete their student teaching. But much more is needed. How much more? This podcast was recorded before the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency determined that a $45 million state appropriation is necessary to fund student teacher stipends for all eligible student teachers. Aaron and Rachael discuss the issue with PSEA Assistant Director of Government Relations Kelli Thompson and Student-PSEA Vice President Amber Bloom, who is a student at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg.

E12: Talking COLA with PSEA-Retired members

Run time: 22 min.

Aaron, Jeff, and Rachael sit down with PSEA-Retired members Scott Brown and Jacqualyn James to talk about a much-needed cost-of-living-adjustment for our pre-Act 9 retirees. Nearly 43,000 public servants who retired before 2002 have not seen a COLA in their pension in more than 20 years. Here are two of their stories.

E11: PSEA leadership unfiltered: The officers interview each other

Run time: 23 min.

As state officers for PSEA, Aaron, Jeff, and Rachael have made it their mission to be accessible to as many PSEA members as possible. What better way to do that than to lay it all out there on a special, self-reflective episode of Duty Free Lunch?

E10: PSEA Board of Directors members Amy Lightner and Jimbo Lamb

Run time: 24 min.

Aaron, Jeff, and Rachael are joined by fellow teachers and current PSEA Board of Directors members Amy Lightner and Jimbo Lamb, who share some potent memories from their own school days, the radical changes they've seen in the education landscape over their careers, and their journeys into union leadership.

E9: PSEA local presidents roundtable

Run time: 25 min.

Peek behind the curtain of PSEA leadership with local presidents Dwayne McCarthur, Erin Huwalt, and Raquel Gray. They talk with Aaron and Jeff about the challenges and surprises of being a local president, the importance of teamwork, their strategies for maintaining a work-life balance, and how their union leadership roles have enhanced their work as educators.

E8: New PSEA members speak out

Run time: 22 min.

It's never easy being the new kid on the block. But new PSEA members Riley McGowan and Emily Goss have found a home in public education and in PSEA. Riley teaches music in the West Chester Area School District and Emily teaches special education in the Conestoga Valley School District, and they're both members of PSEA's New Member Task Force. Hear them get real about the struggles and triumphs of their teaching journey so far, and what they would have done different if they could start over.

E7: How to rescue a struggling local with North East ESP President Michael Spellman

Run time: 24 min.

Middle school instructional aide and North East ESP President Michael Spellman has only worked in his district for one year, and he's been president for almost as long. Hear how he turned his local association around and increased membership by more than 350% in that short time. Hosted by PSEA President Aaron Chapin and Vice President Jeff Ney.

E6: What does a PSEA UniServ do?

Run time: 20 min.

What is the role of a PSEA UniServ anyway? In this episode, UniServ for the Southern Region Stephanie Cramer joins PSEA President Aaron Chapin and Treasurer Rachael West to break it all down. From contract negotiations to advocating for individual members, find out how UniServs serve members and how you can make the most of this valuable resource.

E5: Student teaching in Pennsylvania

Run time: 24 min.

A conversation with Student PSEA members at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, Emily Jett and Amber Bloom. Emily is the Student PSEA president and Amber is vice president. They join PSEA President Aaron Chapin and Vice President Jeff Ney to discuss their experience as student teachers, their embrace of AI, and what impact they hope to make as educators.

E4: "What serves you serves your students" with PA Teacher of the Year

Run time: 22 min.

The team sits down with the 2024 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year Ashlie Crosson to discuss her award, her feelings on PSEA membership, and why she stands by the phrase, "what's good for teachers is good for students."

Hosted by PSEA President Aaron Chapin and Treasurer Rachael West.

E3: Response to Gov. Shapiro's budget address

Run time: 24 min.

The PSEA team discusses the high and low points of Gov. Josh Shapiro's Feb. 6 budget address for 2024-25. PSEA President Aaron Chapin, Vice President Jeff Ney, and Treasurer Rachael West are joined by PSEA Government Relations experts Dan Wiedemer and Kelli Thompson to hash through the details of what this budget means for PSEA members.

E2: Conversation with NEA President Becky Pringle

Run time: 22 min.

The PSEA officer team of President Aaron Chapin, Vice President Jeff Ney, and Treasurer Rachael West sits down with President of the National Education Association and proud PSEA member Becky Pringle to discuss her experience as the head of the largest public sector union in America, the importance of diversity in the educator workforce, and why Pennsylvania educators are some of the most powerful in the country.

E1: Inside state government and politics

Run time: 22 min.

The debut of “Duty Free Lunch” where we discuss the most relevant issues happening in the state Legislature and how they affect PSEA members. The hosts for this episode are PSEA President Aaron Chapin and PSEA Vice President Jeff Ney and our guest is PSEA Director of Government Relations Dan Wiedemer.

Listen to it here or wherever you get your podcasts

Have some feedback for us?

Send an email to podcast@psea.org