Governor Wolf Talks Education Funding, School Safety with Pennsylvania’s Students

This week, Governor Wolf answered hard hitting questions from fourth, fifth and sixth graders about education funding and school safety, among other issues, at the The Rendell Center’s Gubernatorial Forum – Capturing the Voice of the Student.

This week, Governor Wolf answered hard hitting questions from fourth, fifth and sixth graders about education funding and school safety, among other issues, at the The Rendell Center’s Gubernatorial Forum – Capturing the Voice of the Student.

Students from Philadelphia’s E.M. Stanton Elementary, Anne Frank Elementary, and Pollock Elementary, Lower Merion’s Cynwyd Elementary, and Pittsburgh’s Fox Chapel School District asked the governor questions that they had written about important issues affecting their lives. Governor Wolf emphasized that he has fully restored Harrisburg Republicans’ $1 billion cut to education, created a School Safety Task Force and secured $60 million for funding school safety initiatives, launched his PASmart initiative to ensure that students are trained for the 21st century workforce, and reduced testing time.

The issue of school safety came up repeatedly during the forum. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Wolf said he would continue to listen to teachers, to implement the suggestions he heard from them in forums around the state held on school safety, and to offer grants for schools to improve safety.

“The state needs to invest enough money into education, and it needs to do so fairly, so that every student, no matter what ZIP code that student is in, gets a good education,” said Governor Wolf, when asked about how he will ensure that school funding is distributed fairly. Governor Wolf has also implemented a fair funding formula to take the politics out of education funding once and for all.

While Governor Wolf enjoyed engaging with the students and finding out what matters most to them, the students got a kick out of meeting the governor. According to WHYY, one Anne Frank Elementary School student remarked after the forum, “When Tom Wolf was answering the questions it was really cool. And when he shook our hand, it was really cool, too.”

Governor Wolf Stands Up for Victims of Crime and Abuse

Yesterday, Governor Tom Wolf took a stand for victims of crime, abuse, and harassment in Pennsylvania. He called on the General Assembly to prioritize and deliver to his desk several bills that have been stalled in the legislature that would empower, protect, and support victims.

Yesterday, Governor Tom Wolf took a stand for victims of crime, abuse, and harassment in Pennsylvania. He called on the General Assembly to prioritize and deliver to his desk several bills that have been stalled in the legislature that would empower, protect, and support victims.

As the Morning Call reports:

“Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has joined a growing chorus of reformers calling on lawmakers to give victims of child sex assault greater legal protections as fallout continues over a month-old grand jury report that exposed decades of clergy sex abuse in Catholic dioceses.”

“We have seen too many pro-victim bills fall to the wayside in the past 18 months and I call on the General Assembly to put victims first and take action on these proposals this fall,” said Governor Wolf. “The grand jury report is a gut-wrenching reminder that our laws are failing too many victims of crime. There are too many issues, including domestic violence, child sexual abuse, gun violence and sexual assault, where bills that would help victims and protect families are stalled in the legislature and this is unacceptable.”

The proposals that the governor is urging the legislature to move quickly on include:

  • Child Sexual Abuse: Governor Wolf has urged action on the four recommendations of the statewide grand jury into clergy sexual abuse that would eliminate the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse and allow for survivors of child sexual abuse to file civil claims against their abusers and the institutions that enabled them.
  • Domestic Violence: Since 2017, Governor Wolf has pushed for a package of bipartisan Senate bills to combat domestic violence and protect survivors.
  • Sexual Assault: Governor Wolf unveiled a bipartisan “It’s On Us” legislative package in September 2017. These bills would focus on empowering and protecting victims of sexual assault, especially on college and high school campuses.
  • Gun Violence: Governor Wolf has supported many bills to reduce violence and protect individuals from becoming victims of gun crimes, including taking guns more swiftly from domestic abusers and creating a new red-flag emergency order to keep guns away from dangerous individuals.
  • Sexual Harassment: Governor Wolf and legislative Democrats introduced nearly two dozen bills to combat sexual harassment and improve treatment of victims.
  • Hate Crimes and Discrimination: Governor Wolf has long called for legislation providing protections for members of the LGBTQ community from discrimination and hate crimes.
  • Human Trafficking: Governor Wolf supports Senator Greenleaf’s SB 554, Safe Harbor legislation to protect the child victims of human trafficking from being prosecuted for crimes they were forced to commit.
  • Hazing: Governor Wolf has long-supported the Pennsylvania Timothy J. Piazza Law to give law enforcement the tools they need to hold people accountable and ensure schools have proper safeguards to protect students and curb these practices.

Governor Wolf Commemorates Labor Day with Hardworking Pennsylvanians

Governor Wolf spent Labor Day with the hardworking people of Pennsylvania. He visited the Philadelphia AFL-CIO and then attended picnics with AFT Pennsylvania, IBEW 5, Steamfitters, Bricklayers, and SEIU in Pittsburgh.

Governor Wolf spent Labor Day with the hardworking people of Pennsylvania. He visited the Philadelphia AFL-CIO and then attended picnics with AFT Pennsylvania, IBEW 5, Steamfitters, Bricklayers, and SEIU in Pittsburgh.

In light of recent attacks on unions and workers’ rights from Republicans in Washington and Harrisburg, Governor Wolf took the opportunity to assure workers that he will not waver in his commitment to protecting their rights. The U.S. Supreme Court decision on Janus v. AFSCME was the latest effort to deny workers the dignity and respect they deserve and is a major step backward for working families and the middle class. Immediately following the Janus ruling, the Wolf Administration took steps to reinforce the commonwealth’s policy that allows employees the right to:

  • Organize through their chosen representative unions
  • Bargain with the commonwealth
  • Enter into collective bargaining agreements
  • Organize freely and without fear of reprisal

Governor Wolf reiterated his promise yesterday to do everything in his power to stand up against any attacks on unions and efforts to roll back their rights. By re-electing Governor Wolf, Pennsylvanians will have a leader who will continue to:

  • Fight against so-called right to work legislation
  • Stand in the way of attempts to weaken prevailing wage laws
  • Stop efforts to destroy project labor agreements
  • Oppose Harrisburg politicians who want to undermine local efforts to provide commonsense benefits like paid sick leave
  • Protect worker’s ability to fight for higher wages, good benefits, and worker protections
  • Veto paycheck deception and other efforts to weaken unions

Unions in our country have fought for and won protections that we all enjoy, including the 40-hour work week, weekends, paid time off, and improved conditions for those who are trying to make ends meet. Unions don’t just improve the lives of our workers– they improve the lives of everyone in our society. Governor Wolf will continue to stand for the working men and women of Pennsylvania and will be our last line of defense against anti-worker policies.

Governor Wolf Releases Full School Safety Task Force Report

Yesterday, Governor Tom Wolf and Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released the full report from the Pennsylvania School Safety Task Force.

Yesterday, Governor Tom Wolf and Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released the full report from the Pennsylvania School Safety Task Force.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer:

A Pennsylvania task force commissioned by Gov. Wolf in the aftermath of February’s mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school calls on school officials and students – and, when necessary, police – to better communicate with each other about potential threats, and urges schools to step up mental health services, including more psychologists and nurses.

The task force conducted several regional roundtable events where they received input from students, parents, school officials, school nurses and other health care professionals, law enforcement, education organizations and community members about how to improve safety and security. Feedback was also collected from hundreds of people via an online survey.

Ideas in the report for how to improve school safety include:

  • Improving communication and information sharing
  • Enhancing social and emotional learning
  • Increasing access to mental health services, including more health professionals in schools
  • Building community connections
  • Effectively integrating law enforcement and school resource officers
  • Providing guidance on establishing priorities for schools
  • Providing schools with more resources

The report includes detailed recommendations on how everyone involved can work together to prevent school-based violence from occurring.

“After reading the full report, I am impressed by the frank and honest discussions that the task force had with students, teachers, administrators and law enforcement and I commend them for the important and comprehensive recommendations to protect our students and schools,” said Governor Wolf. “It’s abundantly clear that by working together, schools, communities and the state can take a holistic approach to make our classrooms a safe place for students to learn.”

This report is part of Governor Wolf’s commitment to school safety. His 2018-19 budget includes an additional $60 million to help school districts address their individual needs for school safety.