Capitol Notes, 3/18/05STRANGE BEDFELLOWS. Who knew that a liberal Democrat like Rep. H. William DeWeese of Greene County had something in common with a conservative Republican like President Bush?
But the issue of improving public schools in Pennsylvania has brought them together.
DeWeese, the state House minority leader, this week introduced legislation to create something called the 'Commonwealth Commission on the Provision of Public Education.'
If approved by the Legislature, it would be a 31-member group that would, by Oct. 31, 2006, 'make recommendations on the current system for the delivery of public education and related services to children in pre-school through and including bachelor degree level instruction.'
'What we want to do is make education better,' DeWeese said. 'This is something to which we can all be agreeable.'
DeWeese said Bush has taken the lead in the matter by creating the federal No Child Left Behind law, which sets standards for schools, students and teachers to meet over the next 10 years.
'It has impacted nearly every aspect of public education throughout the United States,' DeWeese said. He is hoping this new panel will 'take a holistic look at the entire public education system' in the light of the new federal requirements.
The way to make education better, in the eyes of the one's who are in power, is to make a new commission.
The approach of making a new panel, such as the A+ Schools or the Mayor's Commission on Public Education, is no insurance for better schools. That approach is a joke, as are the two organizations mentioned.
Another harmful, failed approach that didn't help our schools but only caused harm was championed by Michael Diven and a couple of others who were elected to city office. Michael formed a PAC (Political Action Committee) with Gene R and Jim M to sway school board election results. A bull in a china shop could have done less harm.
The Pgh Public School Board soon spun into a national embarrassment.
We can all agree that public schools are in need of some serious help. President Bush, state lawmakers and I know that schools are not in great shape.
The best way to handle these issues is to electe people who care greatly about these matters and not allow the elected leaders to pass the responsibility and in turn the blame to some other authority or hatched 31 board as mentioned in the story from DeWeese.
I'm against the creation of more red tape. Let's not create more frustrations without accountability.