LEWISTOWN - A general membership meeting for teachers, held Thursday at the Mifflin County High School auditorium had a special guest speaker.
Michael J. Crossey, president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, the union representing the district's teachers, spoke to an audience of approximately 100 people about education issues of today.
"Every single day you change lives," Crossey said, addressing the teachers.
Crossey spoke about how the privatization of public schools would hurt education in Pennsylvania and the current issues with the pension plan.
Crossey said that Gov. Tom Corbett proposed a $100 million cut on top of last year's $860 million cut from public schools. Crossey said PSEA successfully got the $100 million restored.
"It was a good first step," Crossey said. "Gov. Corbett just added an amendment to the budget that said any school board, with a vote of five school board members, could charterize a school district." Crossey said, "We know that that would end the collective bargaining agreement. We know that is not the right way to fix education."
Crossey said public education in Pennsylvania works. He said Pennsylvania is in the top five in the nation in reading at a fourth grade level. He said Pennsylvania is top 10 in the nation at reading and math at an eight grade level and math at a fourth grade level. he said Pennsylvania is seventh in the nation in the number of students that graduate high school and go on to graduate from college.
Crossey said it is a contracted right that pensions are untouchable. Crossey and his office investigated every pension type event in the U.S.
Crossey said there are those in the governor's office and legislature that think teachers are paid too much, have too rich a pension and don't deserve quality health care. He said everything about teacher's jobs is influenced by politics.
He said he was talking to a legislator and was asked, "When are you teachers going to get out of politics?"
Crossey said, to much applause, "When politicians get out of education!"