The Edward H. Arnold Institute for Policy Studies

Recognizing A Standout Public Servant

  One of our family’s favorite children’s books across two generations is A Regular Flood Of Mishap,by Tom Birdseye.  It is an entertaining and clever tale of compounding catastrophes, which are not enough to undo the love and forgiveness of her family. That book title came to mind the other day when the headline appeared […]

Trying To Find The Ever More Elusive Middle Ground

  Sitting up in the Bob Uecker seats, looking at the political process from a distance, affords a reflective view of the daily games.  Unfortunately, there is not much to cheer for lately. The only thing that seems to be melting away faster than glaciers and polar icecaps is the middle ground of American politics.  […]

Good News: Voters Get Their Say On A Major Constitutional Revision

  No matter how much is accomplished during any two-year legislative session, the menu of reforms and systemic changes sought by taxpayers, commentators, and interest groups never seems to diminish.  There are multiple avenues for changing state government – through laws, regulations, executive actions, court decisions, and federal dictates. The kingmaker of change is an […]

A Positive Reaction From Reality Colliding With Misconception

This title may have a “Say What?” nature, but it squares with the impressions that follow.  People of a certain age remember Art Linkletter achieving television immortality through a popular segment titled “Kids Say The Darnedest Things.”  A modern variation is: “Surprising Things You Learn By Quizzing College Students.”  They too give delightfully candid answers […]

Faulting Teachers Is Not Fixing Education

During the four decades I have been around state politics, arguments over the quality, cost, and access to education have dominated the agenda.  Education funding and performance constitute the highest intensity controversy zone in Pennsylvania politics, apart from abortion.  This is partly explained by each of us holding views and perceptions shaped by our experience […]

Charity May Begin At Home, But Good Works Reach Beyond Our Borders

In a recent issue of TIME magazine, Queen Rania of Jordan provided a piece advocating empowering girls with education, citing the value and virtue derived from such efforts.  Both the message and the messenger have significance.  As we know, arguments over the place of women in Islam are escalating.  Even so, it is not just […]

Getting The Best Of Both Worlds: Splitting Pennsylvania’s Primary Election

As voters and pundits begin focusing on the closer than it seems 2020 presidential campaign, calls for Pennsylvania to move the primary election date earlier on the election calendar are starting to be heard.  Those of strong political bent want to make our state more relevant in choosing the two major party candidates.  There are […]

Flunk The Adults Who Repeatedly Fail Harrisburg Schools And Students

Read the probing coverage The Patriot-News has given to the foibles and follies that taint and tatter the Harrisburg School Board, and the way the schools have been run reminds of Einstein’s definition of insanity.  Review the history of various operating approaches, and it resembles a familiar set of instructions – local control, state takeover, […]

Righting A Notable Wrong In History Instruction

  Women’s History Month was officially designated thirty-plus years ago, extending and elevating the observance above preceding weeks and days.  There is likely no tabulation of how many Pennsylvanians attended an event, celebration, or commemoration during March.  As for progress in the history books, it turns out an assessment was recently conducted. A single page […]

Should Competency In Civics Be A Graduation Requirement?

Gee, Ollie, nothing hard about that one.  Surely it should, in the name of sustaining a healthy and vibrant democracy.  Of course, how to achieve the desired level of overall competency and certify its validity conjures up that old bugaboo, the devil in the details. To test, or not to test, has become one of […]