News & Brews June 12, 2024

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Black pastors call on Shapiro to back school choice

Black Pastors United for Education (BPUE) held a news conference in the Capitol yesterday, at which they released an open letter calling on Gov. Josh Shapiro “to act—to make education a non-partisan issue, boldly dismiss the politics that prevent progress, and comprehensively fund and secure educational freedom and opportunity.” BPUE Founder Rev. Josh Robertson said, “When I explain what Lifeline Scholarships are or explain alternatives, I haven’t met one parent — not one — who is in any opposition ever. If adding educational choices negatively impacts our public schools, then I think we have a larger conversation about a broken system.” More than 50 pastors and religious leaders have signed onto the letter.

Dem-led bill ‘hits’ charter school funding ‘hard’

The Center Square takes a look at education funding cuts to charter schools in the massive spending bill Democrats ushered through the state House on Monday. “While supporters call the plan a victory for students held back by economic disparities, critics point out that 64 of the bill’s 87 pages focus on cutting financial support and tightening regulations for charter schools….” The legislation would cap payments made to cyber charter schools at $8,000 per student. Compare this to the average per-student spending for traditional public schools in Pa., which is well over $20,000.

Dem lawmaker says school choice backers driven by religious racism

Filed under: “Things that make you go hmmmm.” Democrat state Sen. Lindsey Williams (Allegheny County)—who, incidentally, is white—went on an anti-school choice tirade this week, saying that those who support rescuing kids from failing schools want to “drive straight, white, able-bodied kids into private religious schools.” Oh, Senator. She must have missed the fact that the majority of children benefitting from school choice programs are actually not white. What’s more, a study by GLSEN (an LGBTQ group), found that “public school students experience higher levels of bullying than private school students.”

Natural gas is good for environment and economy

Marcellus Shale Coalition President David Callahan dives into the data showing that not only is “Pennsylvania’s air … cleaner than ever before,” but also “increased use of natural gas for power generation has delivered $450 billion to $1.04 trillion in public health benefit.” Callahan notes, “Natural gas is the cleanest and most affordable electric power generation source available today. It addresses the most critical pillars of a strong, reliable power grid, and its steady growth over the last two decades has resulted in a significant reduction in harmful air pollutants.”

A picture is worth 1,000 words

And finally, as Black Pastors United for Education and entertainment mogul Jay-Z fight for educational opportunity that would free children—many of whom are minority or immigrant children—from low-performing schools, our friend Michael Torres of RealClear Pennsylvania points out the irony of many Democrats opposed to this effort, including state Sen. Lindsey Williams (Allegheny County), mentioned in the story above and pictured below.

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