Laurels & lances: Soldiers, screens and schools
Laurel: To telling the stories of heroes. Sutersville fire Chief Mark Ghion conducted countless hours of research into the lives and deaths of 14 soldiers from that borough who were killed while serving their country in World Wars I and II and Korea. His work, “14 Sons of Sutersville,” has left a lasting legacy, long after anyone who knew these fallen heroes are gone. It is an ambitious project that would be worth duplicating by people in many small communities in the region.
Laurel: To really, really big screens. Western Pennsylvania loves its nostalgia, and there is no little slice of days gone by sweeter than a night at a drive-in movie. The old weekend tradition isn’t dead, but the open-air theaters are few and far between. There are just eight left in the nine-county region.
“I just think that’s keeping part of Americana alive, this type of experience for everyone,” said Joe Warren, who operates the Evergreen Drive-In in East Huntingdon.
On the watch list: To striving for financial fairness. Charter schools are a polarizing topic, and one that can make individuals question their own positions. Even people who fully support the idea of beefing up traditional public school funding can see the value in individual charter schools. Even people who are wholeheartedly behind school choice can see the bad positions that school districts can be put in by an outflow of money to charter or cyber charter schools.
So Gov. Tom Wolf’s announcement this week of a new “fee-for-service” model that would help the state Department of Education recoup the costs it incurs when charters ask for intervention in funding disputes with districts will have people for and against.
School districts shouldn’t shortchange lawfully operating charters. Charters, by the same token, shouldn’t loot the traditional schools’ coffers. And the state shouldn’t waste resources arbitrating the bickering when that money could be educating kids.
The question is how this and the governor’s charter school reform will really work out.