Funding Public Education

Education

One of my priorities is investing in public education.  Under the Rendell Administration, reading scores in every grade tested improved EVEN IN PHILADELPHIA, and we were the only state in the nation to have this achievement.  Educators from all over the country – and the world – flocked to our state to try to find out what we were doing right.  Part of that formula for success included an emphasis on early childhood development and education.  We went from zero state funding for early childhood education to becoming a national leader, providing more than $323 million in 2010-11 for pre-K education, full-day kindergarten and reduced class sizes in grades K-3.

The Corbett Administration doesn’t want you to know how well his predecessor did.  The present Governor keeps referring to public schools as “violent and failing,” but he is deliberately hiding the facts because he is committed to privatize public schooling through “vouchers.”  In addition, his budget cuts education funding nearly $1 billion this year, and next year School Districts will get $100 million less funding than in the current year under his plan.  But this Governor is not saving taxpayers a cent; children still have to be educated, but now cities and local communities are socking it to the real estate taxpayer.  Property taxes are among the most regressive and they hit older home owners the hardest.  But don’t blame the local officials for effectuating this raise – it comes directly from the Harrisburg Republicans and the Corbett Administration.

In 2008/09 a bi-partisan majority of legislators concluded that the state is underfunding public schools – there is less state funding for Pre-K to 12 Education now than there was BEFORE the federal stimulus.  I oppose Corbett’s Student Achievement Education Block Grant proposal – it has nothing to do with students or achievement, it’s about pushing more funding responsibility away from the state and onto local property owners.

House Democrats are the true champions of education funding, and I will work to restore the $1 billion Gov. Corbett and the GOP cut from the current Pre-K to 12 education system.