Constitutionally Right

The only way to predict the future is to create it.

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Location: Yardley, PA (Bucks County), United States

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wake Up Everybody - Courier Times June 27, 2007

State Representative Todd Rock recently unveiled the "Strike Free Education Act" in Harrisburg, which provides all of the necessary tools for a strike free education that fairly serves our kids, parents and taxpayers. The origins of this Bill were born from the remarkable efforts of Simon Campbell, a parent in the Pennsbury School District, whose children were among the 11,500 who endured a month-long strike just last year.
I'd like to recognize the efforts of Mr. Campbell for standing up not only for his children, but for every public education student in Pennsylvania. He has endured smear campaigns to undermine him through attempted character assassinations and vile rumors (with more sure to come). All the while Simon has taken the high road, remained focused and has never backed down.
The "Strike Free Education Act" would put children's best interests above that of the teachers' unions who use them as negotiating pawns to extort money from taxpayers. It is our legislators' Constitutional responsibility to ensure a thorough and efficient system of public education. Government is meant to be of the people, by the people and for the people.
Unfortunately, many of our legislators prefer to pander to the teacher unions by accepting their campaign contributions and voting for their special interests while ignoring the rights of constituents. That is why http://www.stopteacherstrikes.org/ has listed the names of the true leaders who have co-sponsored the Bill.
A child's education is a one-time event and it's up to us to get it right. We never see the union strike over textbooks, safety or building maintenance; only over unrealistic benefits paid for by those who can no longer bear the burden of unlimited tax increases. What's most exciting about this Bill, though, is that it will be the first step in a long series of necessary reforms throughout Pennsylvania.
School choice, for example, will bring educational control where it belongs - in the hands of parents. Reform cannot occur with a teachers' union that does not act to substantially improve the quality of education without dramatically increasing the bureaucracy (and cost) and who oppose the needed measures to bring greater efficiency and performance. Union political activism and campaign contributions have a very corrupting effect on public education. Politicians who set public education policy have no business taking money from the teachers' union.
Also, education funding reform is past due. School property taxes need to be eliminated in favor of a sweeping sales tax (so that more than just property owners contribute), but it should remain at 6 percent. The burden can be eased for seniors on fixed incomes by providing a tax-exempt card (for those who qualify) for food and medication. Any lost sales to retailers due to the tax will be more than made up for by consumers who will have more money in their pockets to do with as they wish.
But again, the first step to a better Pennsylvania that we all deserve is the passage of the "Strike Free Education Act". This has nothing to do with the increasingly irrelevant labels of Democrat, Republican, liberal or conservative. We're all in it together and our teachers are much to valuable to strike. It's crucial to contact your legislators to get them involved or to thank them for already supporting the Bill.

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