News & Brews June 8, 2023

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Study: Charter students outperform peers at traditional public schools

A new study from Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes shows students at charter schools “make more average progress in math and English than their counterparts in traditional public schools.” The study paired more than 1.8 million charter students with a “virtual twin”—”(i.e. a nearby pupil possessing similar demographic traits and prior test scores) enrolled at the district school that the charter student otherwise would have attended.” The study also showed that special ed students at charters lag behind their traditional public school counterparts.

Lawmakers tackling ed funding that court ruled unconstitutional

CNHI reports, “A reorganized Basic Education Funding Commission met Wednesday for an informational hearing as the bipartisan, bicameral legislative group works to develop and recommend a new formula for allocating state funding to Pennsylvania’s public schools.” Earlier this year, the Commonwealth Court ruled that Pa.’s system of funding education is unconstitutional. The ruling came short of prescribing a remedy, saying the “options for reform are virtually limitless.”

Op-Ed: End prohibition-era law on canned cocktails

Pa. Senate Law & Justice Committee Chair Mike Regan (Cumberland and York counties) urges lawmakers to pass legislation allowing ‘ready-to-drink’ cocktails to be sold in the same stores that sell beer and wine. The current ban “goes back nearly 100 years – when most of Pennsylvania’s laws regarding the sale of alcohol were passed, just as Prohibition was sweeping the nation. At the time, the Governor and General Assembly wanted to make it as inconvenient and expensive as possible to buy alcohol.” Now, “it’s long past time to modernize these rules so they make more sense.”

Op-Ed: Hospital costs should be transparent

GOP Rep. David Rowe (Union, Juniata, Mifflin, and Snyder counties) has an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer on the high—and opaque—costs of hospital care. “Health care is the only service in the economy where prices aren’t known up-front,” Rowe writes. Lawmakers can help remedy the problem by enforcing federal transparency requirements as well as “ensur[ing] patients can access standardized, all-in prices.”

A DEP by any other name?

According to Juliet, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. But can a name change improve the reputation of the Department of Environmental Protection? Yesterday, the Pa. Senate voted along party lines to change DEP’s name to the Department of Environmental Services. GOP senators say the change will help prompt a culture change, as “protection” implies law enforcement, while “services” implies more of a partnership. Democrat senators opposed the change, arguing that the DEP doesn’t simply provide a service but rather protects a constitutional right.

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