On Sept. 27, Sen. Ryan Aument (R-36) tweeted, “Every student deserves a quality teacher to help them reach their full potential. A new law championed by #PASenate Republicans will help recruit talented educators and get more great teachers in the classroom quickly.”
The essence of the Aument-approved law, adopted as part of the Education Code for the 2022-23 state budget, is that it is now easier for out-of-state teachers to teach in Pennsylvania. Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-46), the sponsor of the legislation, wrote on Aug. 25 that the legislation “simplifies the process for out-of-state teachers to obtain certification in Pennsylvania.” According to WITF, Eric Hagarty, the acting secretary of education, said Pennsylvania has also waived its “basic skills assessment,” which was a barrier to some teacher applicants.
Translation: Whoops, we made too many rules before.
Enter the vain uniparty practice of making a thousand regulations and then championing the removal of one as some sort of achievement.
Bartolotta continued: “Every student deserves the opportunity to achieve the greatest success possible. We cannot let government regulations that limit their potential hold them back.”
Newsflash Sen. Bartolotta: Every single government regulation regarding education limits the potential of Pennsylvania’s students.
(I contacted Sen. Bartolotta’s office to ask if she supports removing all the homeschool regulations in the state. At the time of publication, I have not heard back from her.)
Bartolotta, Aument, Mastriano, and the lot of them, approved a $45.2 billion budget for fiscal year 2022-23, including a $525 million increase for “basic education funding.” That brings the overall education funding to $15 billion.
The PA Senate GOP website states that the budget “represents a 2.9% increase over the previous year’s spending – and $500 million less than Gov. Tom Wolf’s original budget request.”
Way to go. Talk about low standards – a whopping 1.1% less than Wolf’s request. (But that’s probably fitting, the Republicans are a little bit better than the Democrats, maybe even 1.2% better, on a good day.)
The website also praises the fact that the “budget agreement does not include any broad-based tax increases” and “actually cuts the Corporate Net Income tax rate from 9.99% to 8.99% and creates a phased reduction to 4.99% by 2031, moves designed to attract employers and residents to Pennsylvania.”
(What’s that? The stated goal is to attract more taxpayers to fund the government? Sorry, I thought for a second they actually cared about current taxpayers.)
Thank you, benevolent legislators, for stealing from us via forced taxation at a lower rate than last year.
Some will dispute my criticism, saying that these politicians must play with the hands they are dealt. “At least we passed a budget and kept our state running,” they might say. But the very fact that we need over $40 billion in government funds to keep “our state running” is demonstrative of the problem. Both liberal and conservative politicians keep moving us further away from liberty. I don’t want to be involved in that demise. Therefore, I will only vote for and support civil leaders who won’t compromise and who will govern based on the Law-Word of King Jesus, no matter how much people try to influence me with the “lesser of two evils” rhetoric.
And, since I brought it up, let’s address this idea of compromising in order to stave off the liberal agenda.
The compromise looks like this: let’s keep aiming right below the Dems – in ten years we will be where they wanted us to be in five. Great work Republicans, thanks for taking us down the road of socialism and statism just a little bit slower than the liberals.
To be honest – and here is another reason I won’t vote for conservatives who are marginally better than the Left – I think it would be better if we fast-tracked our way to full-orbed socialism and statism, at least that way we would not be slowly numbed to the reality that big government is the conservative politician’s baby too.
Like those proverbial frogs in the pot of water, we seem to be unaware that the Republican statists are slowly turning up the heat. They have been doing so for quite some time.
At least we could attempt to rebuild our society after it collapses under its own weight of immorality and bureaucracy. But the slow burn of charred “conservatism” is tortuous because it neither deals with the problem nor allows us to clean up the mess.
The conservative movement’s approach is to make the compromise so that at least it’s not “as bad as it could be” this year. We will take the government school supporter, and the abortion exception, and the big spending guy (Trump, DeSantis, and all the rest) because this election is “more important” than all the others. In the meantime, we continue to lay the foundation for a horrible future for our descendants.
Well, at least there is (partial) peace in our days, right? King Hezekiah would fit right in with many in the conservative party, including the MAGA crowd.
Every political compromise to prevent the nation from slipping away has been heralded with the same force. “Do this or else we lose our future!” Well, it looks like those previous compromises didn’t turn out so well. Not only are we still fully on the road of socialism and statism – so far, in fact, that we’ve already made a few bathroom breaks along the way – but we do not even know what standing on principle even means anymore.
Back to School
The aforementioned WITF article, written by Aubri Juhasz, claims that “for more than a decade, Pennsylvania’s pool of new teachers has been shrinking, placing added pressure on those who go into teaching.” I don’t disagree with Juhasz on that point, but I do dispute her contention that claims that “teachers are radicalizing, and in some cases, grooming children” are “unfounded.” I have personally seen videos of teachers waxing poetic about how they want to affirm their students’ perception of their sexuality. It is certainly not all of them, but it is happening.
Juhasz also highlighted the low pay and challenging responsibilities of teaching. Again, I don’t disagree. However, the low pay and poor educational standards are a direct result of government subsidized education. In other words, if we want education to improve, get the government out of it.
The state of Pennsylvania “spends” about $18,000 per student, per year on education (almost half of that comes from state taxation, a large portion comes via local taxation, and a smaller amount comes from federal funding).
This amounts to one of the most wasteful uses of money in our commonwealth. (Probably in history.)
According to one estimate, the average private high school tuition in the state is $16,363 (the number is less for elementary school). In other words, based on the budget, every student in Pennsylvania should be receiving an education equivalent to an above average private school – after all, we have $18,000 to spend per student.
Of course, this will never happen when the government is in charge because the government is inept at providing or overseeing education. (I wonder why? Oh, that’s right – because that’s not its job. Its job is to punish evildoers and protect the innocent, not form massive bureaucracies to manage social and economic affairs.)
Unleash the free market and competition, and not only will education improve, but so will teachers’ salaries.
However, an even better vision would be to abandon the common school model of thirteen years of classroom instruction and adopt a more practical and biblical model of education. Homeschooling and/or some private methods, with a focus on practical internships and business knowledge would be far better for our state. (And in case you were wondering, such a model, though superior to common school methods, would cost far, far less than $18,000 per student. Just ask the Amish.)
Aument’s brilliant idea is to “establish a commission to redesign the state’s education system to better prepare students for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”
Thanks, but no thanks. All this should be done without government involvement.
But to abandon the government education scheme would make a lot of bureaucrats feel useless. After all, what is the acting secretary of education going to do if parents actually take responsibility for the education of their children? And how will Aument be able to send out tweets and e-mails about how he is making a difference, if the government no longer regulates education?
Here is my message for Senators Aument and Bartolotta, and all the rest: If every student truly deserves a quality education to help them reach their full potential, then please get out of the way and stop endorsing the absurd idea that the government can provide quality education and competent teachers.
And to everyone else: Politicians who continue to endorse the socialistic and statist practice of government education are part of the problem, not the solution, no matter how loudly they remonstrate against the current regime.