The Edward H. Arnold Institute for Policy Studies

Thaddeus Stevens: A Champion of Inclusive Democracy, Past, Present, And Future

By David A. Atkinson In the midst of fierce arguments over how history should be taught, and what limitations should be placed on instruction and discussion in the classroom, Pennsylvania is fortunate to have to have numerous local historical societies working to delve into events and personages that shaped our development and trajectory. One of […]

Pennsylvania Has Room For More State Parks, But May Lack Will

By David A. Atkinson A recent survey commissioned by the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation found that two-thirds of the 701 respondents favor placing greater priority on funding state parks and forests. With more attention being given to protecting natural areas and more focus placed on the benefits of healthy recreation and leisure, this is […]

Awarding “No Stars” To Governor Tom Wolf’s Performance As Captain Veto

By David A. Atkinson In my experience, every governor dating back to Milton Shapp has had extended periods of rocky relationships with the General Assembly. Shapp’s is a special case, as legislative relations in his second term absolutely cratered, despite substantial Democratic legislative majorities. Through five decades, it did not matter whether the governor was […]

The Dispute That Never Dies: Do Charter Schools Earn An A+ Or F-?

By David A. Atkinson Because there are no higher stakes than the future of our children, education debates are traditionally fraught and furious affairs. There are more theories on how to fix problems than channels in the standard cable package. For those sitting in the stands, education is easy. You know, the everything I learned […]

Accurate American History Was Made In Many Hues: It Should Be Remembered, Debated, And Taught That Way

By David A. Atkinson The education calendar features Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and Hispanic Heritage Month. These designations have become more controversial and less placating during this time of rising contention over how history is taught. On disputatious issues ranging from community policing to health care access to wealth accumulation to education inequity, […]

Adding Jack Daniels And Old Grand-Dad To Our Constitutional Rights

By David A. Atkinson Every state legislator takes an oath of office to support and defend the Constitution. Presumably, that oath is meant to include ensuring the integrity and functionality of our state Constitution. There are not fine-print exceptions for when legislating becomes hard, or for when the governor is difficult to negotiate with, or […]

Shuffling Cards No Guarantee State Universities Hold A Better Hand In Enrollment Poker Game; Fresh Dice Do Not Mean A Fairer Funding Craps Shoot

By David A. Atkinson Fourteen state-owned universities are not out of proportion to Pennsylvania’s population, economic stature, or legacy of affordable higher education options. If anything, this may well constitute underrepresentation. For a parallel, look to when the community colleges were created during the 1960s. The prospective map called for twenty-eight. Yet only fourteen were […]

Pennsylvania Benefits When The Religious-Minded Participate in Policy Debates

The intersection of religion and politics is never clear of emotional disputes over lanes and right of way. Even at that, there is growing intensity to debates these days about the appropriateness of religious groups and individuals motivated by faith setting up shop in the public square. This question requires sorting through prominent misconceptions. To […]

Team Play Concept in Politics Far Removed From Sports

By David A. Atkinson A recent quote from Erie state Senator Dan Laughlin reveals more about the troubles in state politics than he perhaps intended. His statement is a refreshingly candid assertion: “One of the things that disappoints me the most about politics is that it’s a little bit too much of a team sport. […]