[from a Pittsburgh Colfax parent in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 6, 2012]
With state revenue far less than expected ( “State Revenue Far Below Estimates,” Jan. 3), I am frightened for the future of our children.
Last year, Gov. Tom Corbett cut millions from state funding for public schools and I fear that now he will cut even more next year. As the parent of children who attend Pittsburgh Public Schools, I have seen firsthand the results of these budget cuts. At our school, those children most at risk of failing — children who are low income and/or in need of special education — no longer get the important educational services they did in 2010, such as after-school and Saturday math and literacy tutoring.
Although the $41.3 million in Race to the Top money recently awarded to Pennsylvania by the federal government (“Pa. in Line for Federal Race to Top Funding,” Dec. 24) will bring about much-needed changes in teacher and principal evaluation systems, such funds will not (and cannot) be used to make up for the teachers, librarians, tutors and essential programs that have been cut in the Pittsburgh Public Schools and other districts as a result of Mr. Corbett’s cuts.
When students are receiving fewer academic support services and class sizes are rising dramatically, I doubt that the new teacher evaluation system will have much of a positive effect on K-12 education in Pennsylvania.
And if the state cuts more funding for education, Pennsylvania children will find themselves in a race to the bottom of a world economy in which a strong educational foundation is the key to success.