The Edward H. Arnold Institute for Policy Studies

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 […]

Redistricting Reform Should Establish Separate Commissions

In politics, reform is a magic word.  During campaign season, as voters know too well, it is tossed as freely as rice once was at weddings.  The concept of reform, wrapped in high principles and noble intentions, invariably draws wide public support.  But getting broad agreement on a practical, detailed plan, and then running the […]

A Letter to America about Immigration . . . from the United Kingdom

Happy New Year to you all and let’s hope that 2019 heralds some positive developments for the planet and for our respective economies and societies, although as we saw for the USA and the UK the numbers of ‘would be’ immigrants beating a path to both of our front doors is growing in intensity. The […]

A Letter to America about Brexit. . . . from the United Kingdom

In the West December normally heralds a wind down towards Christmas and the prospect of spending time with friends and family, eating chestnuts over open fires and cheering ourselves for a busy year of achievements with thoughts of the New Year to come. This December the families of the UK will find little to cheer […]