[letter to the editor, originally published in the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette, January 31, 2012]
The defunding of education that Gov. Tom Corbett has initiated is a travesty that will have negative repercussions for many years to come.
Without good public education, our children will have problems getting into good colleges, getting decent jobs and becoming productive members of society. They will have more physical health problems, more mental health problems and higher rates of crime. This is especially true for children of the poor and lower middle class.
Regarding private and charter schools, and cyber education: for many people, these are not options. There are not enough schools to take in all the children, the vouchers will not last forever and travel distance is a barrier in many cases. Cyber education requires that a parent stay home and supervise — a task for which not everyone is suited or able.
Having smaller public schools in neighborhoods helps build community, which helps local businesses to thrive, which allows the local residents to support those businesses. But you are taking money away from the schools so there will be fewer of them. This will lead to the breakdown of communities, less support of local businesses and loss of jobs.
Gov. Corbett, please stop this terrible downward slide that you have initiated and restore the money to public education so that we can have healthy communities and our children can grow into their greatest potential.