On Sunday, July 2, 2023, leadership elections for AFT Pennsylvania, the state federation of the American Federation of Teachers, were completed as part of the federation’s constitutionally required biennial reorganization. The senior leadership of President Arthur G. Steinberg, Executive Vice President Nina Esposito-Visgitis, and Treasurer LeShawna Coleman were reelected at their convention in Philadelphia, along with a diverse Executive Council slate comprising AFT Pennsylvania locals from across the Commonwealth.
The omnibus school code bill, Act 55 of 2017, became law on Nov. 5, 2017. Despite concerns about the furlough provisions, Governor Wolf allowed the bill to become law without his signature to ensure that state funds would be paid on time to public schools and to protect other provisions in the bill, including extending the moratorium on Keystone exams, requiring opioid abuse education and ending “lunch shaming” of students. AFTPA opposed the school code bill because it changes the way layoffs are conducted, places emphasis on a flawed evaluation system and interferes with collective bargaining rights.
The Janus case is a blatantly political and well-funded plot to use the highest court in the land to further rig the economic rules against everyday working people. The billionaire CEOs and corporate interests behind this case, and the politicians who do their bidding, have teamed up to deliver yet another attack on working people by striking at the freedom to come together in strong unions. The forces behind this case know that by joining together in strong unions, working people are able to win the power and voice they need to level the economic and political playing field.
AFT Pennsylvania President Ted Kirsch released the following statement about the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision to hear the school funding equity case. In a news release, Kirsch called it a win for students, parents and the commonwealth. A Commonwealth Court had rejected the case by six school districts, parents and organizations. Read Ted's comments.
A mid-state senator plans to push a bill authorizing education savings accounts, which are the latest iteration of school tuition vouchers. AFTPA President Ted Kirsch released a statement opposing this failed privatization strategy. “Let’s not waste time going down this road again – when 20-years of research has shown privatization schemes such as these fail to raise student achievement," Kirsch said. "All students and communities deserve good, neighborhood public schools with the resources to address children’s needs. That’s where we should focus our attention and invest our tax dollars.”
AFT Pennsylvania members provide their students with outstanding educational opportunities, and AFTPA helps by making sure you have the resources you need. AFTPA and Share My Lesson are bringing together vital educational resources:
Lesson plans and materials
Information on certification, professional development and evaluations
AFT Pennsylvania opposes taxpayer-funded school vouchers, education scholarship tax credits (Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) programs), which are back-door vouchers that use tax breaks to subsidize private and parochial schools. Vouchers represent a false hope for a few children, while most vouchers/scholarships are used by students already attending private schools. Vouchers do not deliver better outcomes for students and leave fewer resources for public school programs that are proven to work.