The Edward H. Arnold Institute for Policy Studies

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 […]

Book ‘Em Dano, For Felonious Neglect Of Libraries

While we frequently and justifiably pay tribute to the wisdom of the Founding Fathers and the great leaders who followed, we do not faithfully heed their admonitions. Thomas Jefferson said: “I cannot live without books.”  Abraham Lincoln said: “All I have learned, I learned from books.”  Looking for something of more recent vintage?  Prize-winning author […]

A Letter to America for March 2019

March has arrived, after what seems like an astonishingly fast February!  We are still having to witness frenetic visits from London to Brussels by Brexit “split” politicians, in a tail chasing exercise which has left the public, politicians and the world at large mesmerised at the theatrics and bewildered by the lack of progress two […]

Shippensburg University: Making Public Higher Education Sustainable

  A classic quote from Henry Kissinger has it that “The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously.”  This admonition well applies to Pennsylvania’s fourteen state universities, whose operating model is being buffeted by declining enrollment, rising costs, and a shrinking percentage of state support.  Time has passed for denial, or for burning incense and […]

Step Up Or Stop Complaining!

During this year’s municipal elections, voters will see familiar names when they stand in front of their voting machines…not the names from the nightly news, but rather the names of friends and neighbors who want to serve their community.   In a robust democracy, this is clearly what the Founding Fathers envisioned for what would […]

Taxpayers Deserve Timely, Effective Solution on Contract Posting

Pennsylvania’s updated open records law was a monumental upgrade and a major win for advocates of more accessible and accountable state government.  At ten years of age and counting, the law occupies a high position on the list of certifiable legislative accomplishments.  The reform measure was spearheaded by then Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, and […]

Keeping The Lights On For Pennsylvania History

In 1960, a popular Sam Cooke song began with the lyric: “Don’t know much about history…” Sadly, nearly sixty years later, that could be our alternative national anthem.  Successive studies show yawning deficiencies in history and civics knowledge across age classes, but especially among younger people.  The problem has many parts.  Manifold choices of entertainment […]