Education

State Journal

May 23, 2001 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Homeward Bound

The presidents of the teachers’ union and the school board in Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge’s hometown won’t be rolling out the red carpet when he speaks there at a charter school’s graduation ceremonies. In fact, they’d rather roll the carpet up, put it away, and rescind the invitation.

The Republican governor has agreed to speak at the June 12 commencement of the first graduating class of the Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy in Erie, Pa. The charter school, which has the support of local teachers and the school board, opened four years ago.

Gov. Tom Ridge

But in response to complaints from some of the school’s teachers, Joseph O’Hara, the president of the Erie Education Association, fired off a letter to the Erie school board contending that the governor’s presence sends “a message to our community that denigrates and cheapens the contribution of our members to our students’ achievements.”

The governor has often found himself on the outs with Pennsylvania teachers’ unions, which have clashed with him over such issues as public school financing, looser restrictions on hiring certified teachers, and private school vouchers.

Mr. O’Hara’s May 3 letter drew a sympathetic response from the Erie school board’s president, James R. Herdzik, a Democrat. “I could not agree with you more that this provides a high-profile forum for him ... that we should not be providing,” Mr. Herdzik wrote back. But he added that he was the only board member who voted against letting the invitation stand.

Tim Reeves, the governor’s spokesman, called it the “height of selfishness for [the two men] to turn their students’ graduation day into a union rally.” Noting that the governor hails from Erie, Mr. Reeves said that the governor’s popularity “is off the charts up there.”

—Bess Keller

A version of this article appeared in the May 23, 2001 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Leadership in Education: Building Collaborative Teams and Driving Innovation
Learn strategies to build strong teams, foster innovation, & drive student success.
Content provided by Follett Learning
School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Principals, Lead Stronger in the New School Year
Join this free virtual event for a deep dive on the skills and motivation you need to put your best foot forward in the new year.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Privacy & Security Webinar
Navigating Modern Data Protection & Privacy in Education
Explore the modern landscape of data loss prevention in education and learn actionable strategies to protect sensitive data.
Content provided by  Symantec & Carahsoft

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: June 12, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: May 29, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: May 8, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: April 17, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read