Tom Wolf has been a terrific governor for public education.
Just ask PSEA members.
“Gov. Wolf listens to educators and supports pro-public education policies,’’ said Bill Gerhauser, a psychology and history teacher in the Council Rock School District, Bucks County. “Gov. Wolf advocates for students and stands up for PSEA members.’’
By restoring nearly $1 billion in state public school funding cuts in his first term, Wolf has helped school districts restore key programs and bring back staff to help reduce class sizes.
But his list of accomplishments in his first term went well beyond restoring the funding cuts. He has:
• Increased school funding overall.
• Enacted a fair funding formula.
• Established a school safety task force.
• Fought subcontracting.
• Reduced standardized testing.
• Invested in career and technical education.
And along the way he has consistently sought input from PSEA members to help formulate policy.
He included 15 PSEA members and staff on statewide task forces to develop the state’s plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act. The plan that emerged and was given final federal approval includes less emphasis on standardized testing and more reliance on multiple measures to assess student achievement and school quality.
Following the horrific school shooting in Parkland, Florida, last February, the governor asked PSEA for suggestions, and PSEA asked members to offer their views on addressing school safety. Nearly 1,000 members responded.
Their input was included in a report PSEA President Dolores McCracken delivered to Wolf and lawmakers. Those ideas also became part of a comprehensive school safety bill the governor signed in June to provide $60 million in school safety grants for programs designed to meet specific, local needs, and to also set up a safe and anonymous network for educators, students, and community members to report threats of violence or instances of bullying.
“Tom Wolf is a great pro-public education governor, and a great friend of working families,’’ McCracken said. “Over the past four years, he has stood up for policies that help kids, and for good salaries, benefits, and protections on the job for working people.’’
The task at hand now is to make sure he is given another four years this November to build on the outstanding work he’s done for public education during his first term.
“Gov. Wolf has made public education his number one priority,’’ said Melanie Hudson, a personal care assistant in the Upper Darby School District, Delaware County. “We need to keep him in office.’’