Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Working The Phones For Education's Sake in PA

Tom Joseph, Public News Service-PA
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The phones of Pennsylvania lawmakers and Gov. Tom Corbett may be ringing more frequently today, as residents dial them up to talk about education in the Commonwealth. The day has been deemed "A Call to Action," during which groups such as Education Voters of Pennsylvania hope people will speak up in support of public schools.

Susan Spicka with Education Voters says it is especially important, as budget negotiations heat up, that lawmakers have a clear understanding of what is going on in schools.

"A lot of kids today have fewer learning opportunities than their brothers and sisters had before them," Spicka says, "so this year, in an election year, it is vitally important for our children to get a fair budget out of Harrisburg."

Spicka says the true story of education in Pennsylvania can be brought to light when parents take the time to explain to lawmakers how their children are being affected by state laws and policies.

"When parents are saying, "My child lost music this year," or, "My child is sitting in a kindergarten class with 26 children," then they start to understand that what they're doing isn't working," she notes.

Callers are also being urged to point out to legislators the importance of making a $230 million increase proposed by the governor into permanent basic education funding and of restoring charter school reimbursement payments to local school districts, she adds.

Education Voters says among the major concerns facing education in the Commonwealth currently is the lack of a fair, transparent and accurate funding formula, one that provides funding to schools and their students based on current data and on the actual costs of educating students with different needs.

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