Statewide media campaign urges the General Assembly to invest in education
Pennsylvania taxpayers are not hearing the full story about the state budget and its impact on children, so the Pennsylvania State Education Association is launching a public outreach campaign to set the record straight.
PSEA and the National Education Association are sponsoring a television ad starting in markets across the state this week.
"The public is only hearing the message that we can’t raise taxes," said PSEA President Jim Testerman. "Real kids and their futures are at stake. The debate should be over how to spend tax dollars wisely and what children need to succeed. The debate should be over investing in the future and how to make our state better in the long term."
The television ad, available at www.savepaschools.org, reminds viewers that children are the future, and shortchanging public education turns back the clock on Pennsylvania schools.
The General Assembly’s own study in November 2007 found that Pennsylvania public schools were under funded by $4.3 billion. The State Senate version of the budget would abandon the efforts begun last year to provide our students with the resources they need to prepare students for college and the workforce.
"Legislators are on the verge of making painful cuts to public education and using false information to claim that schools will not be harmed," Testerman said. "This campaign is to show that the education of Pennsylvania’s children is not government waste. We are calling on the Legislature to do the right thing and fund public schools."
Testerman said Pennsylvania schools have been making significant progress and funding cuts will reverse that trend.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Pennsylvania is one of only six states to make significant gains in elementary school reading and math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress since 2005. NAEP is the most appropriate test for use in comparing performance among states.
The new school funding formula enacted last year combined with a state funding investment for basic education helped thousands of Pennsylvania students with programs aimed at student achievement. It resulted in:
- 46,000 students receiving tutoring or other programs to extend classroom time;
- 312,000 students in new courses such as foreign language and advanced math receiving the most up-to-date curriculum and hands-on learning tools for science and other classes;
- Nearly 2,000 additional children in pre-kindergarten or full-day kindergarten;
- 6,300 students in smaller classes;
- Nearly 300,000 students benefiting from the additional professional development for their teachers.
"Pennsylvania cannot afford to reverse the progress we are making for our children," Testerman said. "We are urging the Legislature to continue its commitment to fair funding for schools."
The ad and more information about the budget and public schools are available at www.savepaschools.org. The campaign also involves newspaper advertisements, social media, public events and electronic communications.