What Democratic Candidates for PA Governor Should be Saying about Public Education

by Jon Geeting, Keystone Politics, November 20, 2013

(This guest post comes to us from Helen Gym, Rebecca Poyourow, Jessie B. Ramey, and Susan Spicka – four public education advocates we respect immensely for their vigilance on behalf of high quality public schools in the Commonwealth. The following represents their ideal public education platform for the Democratic candidates for Pennsylvania Governor.)

Public Education Funding

• I believe that public education is a public good. Public education is an investment that we as taxpayers make together to benefit students, parents, and communities. Public schools play a vital role in building strong communities throughout the Commonwealth.

• Adequate, equitable, and sustainable funding of public education will be a top priority of my administration.

• I will reverse the more than $1 billion in state funding cuts to public K-12 schools and public higher education.

• I will enact a fair, accurate and transparent formula to allocate state tax dollars to school districts. This formula will take into account the actual number of students living in poverty, students learning English, and students with a disability. It will also take into account the fact that some school districts lack the overall economic ability to raise adequate revenue to fund their schools. State dollars will be allocated based on those differences.

• I will close tax loopholes that harm our public schools, such as the “89-11” real estate transfer mechanism that diverts desperately needed funds from school districts.

Keeping Public Education Public

• I oppose vouchers.

• I oppose parent trigger laws and other efforts to privatize public education.

• I oppose any expansion of Pennsylvania’s current controversial education tax credit programs (Education Income Tax Credit-EITC and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit-OSTC) and will work with PDE to address serious deficiencies within the programs to bring them more in line with norms in other states.

• I oppose school closures on the basis of test scores and mass school closings, which have been shown to be enormously disruptive to students’ academic and personal lives. School closings should be approached with prudence and with the end result being an improved academic and quality of life and public options for children. …

read more at Keystone Politics

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