In Support of Public Education

In Support of Public Education

We’re failing... I don’t want to admit it, but we’re failing.

Societies all over the world share a pretty clear vision of how life is supposed to progress. First we learn. Then we work. Then we rest. We are supposed to invest in our children so they can grow up happy and healthy, earn their keep, raise families, own  their own homes, and then as they look to the twilight of their days, they are able to reflect and pass along their hard-earned wisdom to the next generation. 

But what happens when we fail to adequately teach our young people?

We know the answer - we‘ve seen it. The child who falls through the cracks, the lost future, the untapped potential. Our democracy, our economy and the future of our community depends on a public school system where children can learn. It’s important to me, to you and to the future of Pennsylvania. 

However, when our public school system lacks a pipeline of young, trained educators, counselors, and nurses, we’re failing. When our school buildings are filled with mold and asbestos instead of technology and energy efficient fixtures, we’re failing. When our teachers spend their time proctoring high stakes tests and leading students through active shooter drills, we’re failing. When our students come to school hungry or homeless or struggling with trauma or presenting a need for specialized programming or even programming that they can relate to, and we do nothing only to watch them fall behind their peers, we’re failing. When funding our schools forces our seniors and businesses out of our community and invites private investors seeking a profit, we’re failing. 

My education platform includes four major focus areas: PreK-12, Career Tech & Higher Education, School Employees, and School Funding. 

PreK-12 Priorities

  • Advance universal access to quality Pre-K programs
  • Ensure school facilities meet the health and educational needs of students
  • Fund environmentally efficient building renovation
  • Promote learning spaces that are stimulative, engaging, and sensitive to student triggers
  • Make sure that all students have access to counseling, mental health, and nursing professionals
  • Ensure students with special needs are receiving the services they require
  • Fund remediation programming for students that fall behind
  • Require cyber, public, and other charter schools to be equally accountable and transparent 
  • Focus on the whole child rather than performance on high stakes testing
  • Declare equitable education as a right for all students
  • Ensure all students are safe from violence and sexual assault

Career, Technical and Higher Education Priorities

  • Ensure the cost of a degree does not exceed a student’s earning potential
  • Increase funding for vocational education and programming
  • Declare equitable education as a right for all students
  • Expand PA Loan Forgiveness programs for needed fields of study
  • Address the housing and food insecurities facing our students
  • Ensure all students are safe from violence and sexual assault

School Employee Priorities

  • Expand education certification requirements for all teachers in publicly funded schools
  • Promote adequate wages for full and part-time staff
  • Protect the rights of workers to unionize
  • Promote an accountability system that is both fair and rigorous
  • Ensure all staff are safe from violence and harassment
  • Build a pipeline of future teachers, counselors, mental health workers

School Funding Priorities

  • Reform our property tax system to provide significant relief to seniors and low-income residents
  • Close tax loopholes for businesses 
  • Provide adequate funding to schools based on their needs, not their existing share of a pie that is already too small
  • Provide funding for educational mandates to ensure legislative burdens are not passed along to local tax-payers

I want to go to Harrisburg to build a school system that our community needs. One that is equitable and accountable. When we get to Harrisburg, we will redefine what “fair and adequate” really means. It will be our children who will continue our efforts to reverse the damage we have done to our climate. It will be our children who will end hunger and homelessness. It will be our children who will end mass incarceration and institutionalized racism. It will be our children who will heal this world from corrupt dictators, fake news, and greedy corporations! 

While their time to lead is coming, I am so thankful that it is not here because we have not taught them what they will need to know... Yet.