[From a Pittsburgh Colfax parent, published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: December 27, 2011]
I noted with interest the Post-Gazette’s recent poll about Americans’ beliefs, especially the fact that 66 percent of respondents believed we need to spend more on education, not less, to safeguard our future (“What Americans Believe,” Nov. 2-6 survey). That hit home in our house of three public school kids and leaves us just shaking our head at Gov. Tom Corbett’s decision last year to cut more than $1 billion from education. We had thought he was a moderate!
Almost $1 billion of the governor’s assault was approved, and now the impact on hundreds of thousands of our kids is hitting home. The PG documents that last year 70 percent of districts have increased class size, 44 percent have reduced electives, and 35 percent have reduced tutoring for kids who need help (“State Budget Had Big Impact in Classrooms,” Sept. 16).
My oldest daughter, 11, was so sad and angry at the impacts that she asked what she could do. We told her she could testify in front of the board of education, and she did! Proud as we are of her, we realize that the school boards are just dealing with the cuts handed down from the governor and Legislature. So that’s who we, our friends and acquaintances we talk to, from the cities to the suburbs, intend to hold accountable for stopping and reversing the cuts to education — the most important thing we can do for our communities’ economic strength!
We know the governor is preparing his next budget over the holidays. We hope he’ll stop and think about the real and potentially lifelong impact that his cuts have had on so many children. If he wants to preserve any remaining respect and support across the mainstream voters of Pennsylvania, he needs to produce a budget that enhances support for public education.