Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Host: Scott LaMar

Education Savings Accounts / 10 Digit Dialing / Petroglyphs

Written by Rich Copeland - Producer, WITF's Smart Talk | Aug 24, 2017 8:00 PM
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State Senator John DiSanto (R-Perry and parts of Dauphin Counties) proposed a bill that would, according to DiSanto, establish "state-funded, flexible spending accounts that parents can use to pay for Department of Education-approved educational expenses such as private school tuition, higher education tuition, textbooks and curriculum, testing and industry certifications."

The accounts would provide between $5000 and $6000 for educational needs and the unused money would roll over annually.  The bill has the support of educators in the region, including the REACH Foundation - a school choice advocacy group in Pennsylvania. 

Aaron Anderson, Head of School at Logos Academy in York, lauded the bill, saying "Educational Savings Accounts are a way of recognizing that parents are the best arbiters of what is best for their children."

Critics contend educational savings accounts like these are little more than voucher programs.  Nina Esposito-Visgitis, president of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "Senator DiSanto's plan to establish so-called 'education savings accounts' is yet another attempt to divert attention from the real issues that plague our public schools every day and prevent us from working on the things that would make our public schools better for all students."

On the Friday edition of WITF's Smart Talk, we will discuss his Education Savings Account legislation with Senator DiSanto.

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Pennsylvania State Senator John DiSanto (R-15th)

Also, Central Pennsylvanians will transition to a ten-digit telephone dialing code; we'll discuss the changes and answer your questions with Nils Hagen-Frederiksen of the Pennsylvania Public Utilities commission.

Finally, petroglyphs are a form of art carved into rocks by native-Americans centuries ago.  One of the greatest concentration of petroglyphs in the northeastern part of the country is located in the lower Susquehanna River Valley that runs between Lancaster and York Counties.

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The Jennings Petroglyph is a large rock containing more than 30 carvings that was found on the New Jersey side of the river across from Dingmans Ferry, Pike County. (PHOTO: PHMC)

Kurt Carr, Sr. Curator of Archaeology, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission talks petroglyphs on Thursday's program.

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- It is all well and good that parents want to get their children out of so-called failing schools. What about the children left behind? The children of very poor families who can't afford an education account? Who will ensure that they too have an opportunity for a quality education? Or are they just a causality of a poor educational system?                   - Tom, Carlisle

- It has been my professional experience as a former classroom educator in public school system, and plenty of supporting studies, that students with disabilities are not admitted into the private or charter schools. 

There can be exceptions, of course, but a a general rule students with IDP's are not accepted into charter schools.

In addition, a good pension plan is a foundation to retain qualified educators        - Mark

- Will parochial/private schools start accepting special needs students using vouchers.  Or will they be left to the public schools and all the expense that goes with it.    - Karen

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