They’re Your Schools


Revitalizing our urban centers and sustaining vibrant communities where people want to live and work is not possible without strong schools that offer robust curricula and are safe for children. Last year, Pennsylvanians witnessed $900 million worth of cuts in public education. As a result, local school districts have been forced to cut kindergarten classes, after-school tutoring programs, the arts, and sports. In order to pay for what the public schools have left, boards must modestly raise taxes to fill the gaps caused by the budget cuts, but this isn’t even enough. Consequently, we are seeing reductions in programs offered to the students who attend the 500 school districts in Pennsylvania. 

Make no mistake about it… this is not a Republican or Democrat issue; this is your issue. While the schools have been given more state testing requirements (a way to hold them accountable to the taxpayers and to the state for money spent), there has not been any meaningful review of how the schools have been funded through all these changes. The state has ordered a “costing out” study and a “school consolidation study,” neither of which have led to more streamlined or efficient school governance. It is time that we get serious about a statewide funding formula that is “aligned to learning standards, fiscally responsible, fair, and both Constitutional and ethical” according to “Education Voters.”

You have that opportunity to be heard on Monday, December 5th. Education Voters is calling on you to speak up. Go to the website (http://www.educationvoterspa.org/) and follow the easy prompts that will get you to your legislator so you can voice your opinion on public education in Pennsylvania. We must let them know what is important. Get involved in your community. After all, it is YOUR community.

Posted on November 30, 2011, in Education. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. It doesn’t make sense to try to align a funding formula to ‘learning standards’.

    First of all, how do you relate performance to standards? — Standardized tests are easy to rank & compare, but do they actually measure anything useful? Most teachers say No.

    Second, if a school is not performing up to ‘standards’, should the formula reduce the amount of money to that school? — or increase funding since a school that is doing poorly needs more help, not less!

    Finally, nothing about statewide standards helps at all when we consider the disparities in the children’s lives. Children who aren’t getting enough to eat, whose parent(s) are working 2 jobs, or who have poor teachers [or who had poor teachers year after year] are likely to struggle in school.

    We need to stop making children and teachers the pawns in the highly-destructive efforts to reduce public spending.

  2. I couldn’t agree with you more Peter. As long as the state wants to mandate that every student must achieve at the same level, then it is time to level the playing field in what we spend on each student as well. I’m one of the 4,500 school board members in this state (which is probably too many but that’s a discussion for another post)and I believe the time is now to fix the funding problem.

  3. Thank you for sharing this, Pam.

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