(Sept 23) Op-Ed: With lawmakers returning, it’s time to stand up for public education: As I See It

(September 23, 2013)

Pennsylvania’s public school children are paying a heavy price for the failure of Governor Corbett and our state legislature to perform the ONLY service mandated by the Pennsylvania Constitution, which clearly states, “The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth.”

In other words, every child, in every community across Pennsylvania, must receive a decent education – one that prepares them to be informed citizens, meet state standards, and graduate from high school ready for college or the workforce and self-sufficiency.

Pennsylvania’s current system for funding public education is neither thorough nor efficient. Even more troubling, it is most certainly not fair and it is very likely illegal.

ome school districts are unable to provide the programs and services students need to meet state standards, or in some cases, basic and essential learning opportunities; entire groups of students, rural, urban and suburban, are getting a lesser education than their peers in other parts of Pennsylvania. The quality of education our children receive should not be determined by their zip code.

This fall many children returned to classes of 35 or more students and schools that have closed libraries, cut counselors and tutoring and eliminated or cut back courses in foreign languages, music, the arts, technology, and physical education.

Since 2010, funding cuts to education have also cost the commonwealth 20,000 jobs in public schools – teachers, guidance counselors, librarians, aides, cafeteria workers, assistant principals, and other trained professionals who once worked with our children.

On Monday, the Legislature returns to work after break and it is not yet clear what their priorities are. On that day, Pennsylvanians from charter schools and from school districts large and small, wealthy and poor, rural, urban, and suburban, will also go to Harrisburg.

We will call on lawmakers to stand up for a “thorough and efficient system of education” in Pennsylvania at a press conference in the Capitol Rotunda.

We will demand that our state government fulfill its constitutional obligation to provide the resources our schools need and send them out in a rational and fair way so that every student has an opportunity to learn. This should be the top priority of the fall legislative session.

Our state legislators can fix the problems with our system of public education through two actions. …

Find the full article,  here: “With lawmakers returning, it’s time to stand up for public education: As I See It” Susan Gobreski, Lawrence A. Feinberg, and Susan Spicka, Patriot-News Op-Ed,  9/22/13

Susan Gobreski writes on behalf of Education Voters of PA. Lawrence A. Feinberg writes on behalf of the Keystone State Education Coalition. Susan Spicka writes on behalf of Education Matters in the Cumberland Valley.

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