News & Brews September 7, 2022

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School choice-inspired competition improves public schools

It’s almost as if what school choice advocates have been saying for years is … wait for it … true! Expanding educational opportunity spurs competition that results in improved traditional public schools. The Times-Leader looked at the growth of enrollment at one cyber charter school during Covid, and then a reduction in that enrollment in the 2021-22 academic year. The piece notes that one factor is that “districts also improved their cyber offerings, becoming more competitive with places like Pa. Cyber by moving away from third party contractors and having more online interaction between district teachers and virtual learners.” And guess who wins? The students and families who have more quality options available to them.

In latest ads, Shapiro attacks Mastriano over abortion, LGBTQ issues

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the first two ads in Josh Shapiro’s recent $16.9 million ad buy seek to paint Republican Doug Mastriano as “too risky” for Pennsylvania. The ads, which launched Tuesday, reportedly focus on abortion and LGBTQ topics. Mastriano, meanwhile, has yet to make any significant TV ad buy. He did, however, announce the head of his transition team in a move one political analyst noted was unusual this far out from a hotly contested election.

AP: GOP ‘losing momentum’ for November elections

The Associated Press says that “as the 2022 midterm elections enter their final two-month sprint, leading Republicans concede that their party’s advantage may be slipping even as Democrats confront their president’s weak standing, deep voter pessimism and the weight of history this fall.” Front and center in the story is the race for governor between Josh Shapiro and Doug Mastriano. Read the piece here.

WSJ Editorial: ‘Will Pa. get a Fetterman-Oz debate’?

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board writes that if Democrat U.S. Senate nominee John Fetterman “can campaign around the state and speak at rallies, he can participate in a debate.” The observation comes as Fetterman has thus far declined to debate, “citing the lingering effects of a stroke he suffered in May.” The Ed Board acknowledges, “Stroke recoveries can take time, and voters understand that. Mr. Oz’s surrogates suggest Mr. Fetterman isn’t up to being a Senator,” but adds that Fetterman “could prove otherwise by agreeing to debate.” Meanwhile, at a press conference with Republican Mehmet Oz yesterday, Sen. Pat Toomey also suggested that Fetterman isn’t up to the job of being a Senator.

Op-Ed: Gov’t unions hold workers and taxpayers hostage

Commonwealth Foundation Senior Vice President Nathan Benefield writes in the Tribune-Review that as election season is underway, it’s time to “address the elephant in the room;” namely, government union executives who “hold the purse strings and the puppet strings behind the scenes” of Pennsylvania politics.” He notes that “[s]ince 2007, Pennsylvania government unions have spent $70 million in political action committee (PAC) expenditures and more than $96.5 million in membership dues on political activities and lobbying.” And taxpayers were forced to help pay for these unions’ political fundraising. Read Nate’s piece here.

Pa. education leaders reflect on influential teachers

I thought this was an interesting read. City & State PA asked several education leaders in Pa.—including lawmakers, a union leader, and an in-person education advocate—to reflect on “which teachers helped set them up for success.” Check out the piece here.

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