News & Brews January 17, 2024

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Longtime Philly teachers’ union president to retire

Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT), will retire after 37 years with the union and 17 at its helm. Under Jordan’s direction, the PFT has been dead set against empowering families to take their children out of failing, union-run city schools and move them into learning environments that meet their unique needs. The PFT has also regularly given money to candidates and lawmakers who, likewise, oppose expanding educational opportunity.

What a $6 billion tax hike looks like, by school district 

Democrats are pushing a $6 billion tax hike, or about $2,000 per family of four, supposedly to fund education. In truth, the tax hike would fund a broken bureaucratic system that’s already seen its total funding increase by nearly $12 billion in the past 10 years. PennLive gives a breakdown of spending increases by school district, should Democrats push the $6 billion hike through. Notably, this new spending is not tied to education results. Meanwhile, the added spending could require property tax increases as well as an increase in the state’s personal income tax. If Democrats want to help kids get a great education, they should allow funding to follow children to schools that meet their needs, instead of requiring kids to follow their zip codes to schools that hold them back.

HBG pastors’ group wins award for education innovation 

Harrisburg-based Black Pastors United for Education (BPUE) was recently awarded $500,000 as a finalist for the Yass Prize. PennLive explains that the prize, “known as the Pulitzer of Education Innovation, seeks, rewards, and celebrates innovative organizations trying to break the cycle of ineffective education that is failing students across the country.” According to Jeanne Allen of the Yass Prize, “The kind of disruption that the awardees are causing in American education is remarkable. Black Pastors United is among the very best of American endeavors in education.” Congratulations, BPUE!

Luzerne Co. GOP rep. will not seek re-election 

Republican state Rep. Aaron Kaufer (Luzerne County), who has served in the Pa. House since 2015, announced yesterday that he will not seek re-election in November. “My focus over the next year will remain on providing the best representation possible until my final day. I will continue to work hard advocating for my constituents and the communities I serve,” Kaufer said. “At this point of my life, I need to step away to focus on what’s most important in my life: my family. However, public service is my calling, so I’m not saying this is it for me forever, but this is all for now.”

Multiple candidates eyeing York County House seat

After GOP state Rep. Dawn Keefer announced she will run for the state Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Mike Regan, three candidates (so far) have announced their candidacies for her House seat. The most recent is Newberry Township Democrat Dan Almoney. Meanwhile, Republicans Matthew Davis and Holly Kelley are seeking the GOP nomination.

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