Critics Zing Corbett Over Voucher Speech Venue
By Natalka Karaman, Contributing Writer
Reforming Pennsylvania’s school system is one of Governor Corbett’s priorities this fall. He will unveil his long-awaited school reform package – which is widely expected to include a plan for vouchers, merit pay for teachers, and charter school reform – today at the Lincoln Charter School in York.
HypocrisyWatchPA, a liberal watchdog group, sent an email to reporters Monday mocking the Governor’s choice of venue for his announcement. The group points to Lincoln’s below-average average math and reading test scores, and argues that the school is far from a success story.
“When Gov. Corbett announces his education reform plan tomorrow, he’ll do it at a school that suffers from the very problems he’s trying to fix,” wrote spokesman Jordan Libowitz, a former staffer on the Sestak for Senate campaign. He pointed to an AP article which suggested that increased public school funding lead to higher test scores.
Each year, students in grades three through eight and 11 take the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests. The federal No Child Left Behind Act requires that schools and districts have 100 percent of students scoring proficient or better on the tests by 2014. For 2010-11, the goals to make “Adequate Yearly Progress” as required by law were and 67 percent proficient or better in math and 72 percent proficient or better in reading.
The state average scores were 77.1 percent proficient or better in math and 73.5 percent proficient or better in reading. Lincoln Charter scored 62 percent proficient or better in math and 51.6 percent proficient or better in reading – mostly in line with other schools in the district.
The venue carries special significance for Corbett: he announced his gubernatorial bid there. PA’s first public school converted to a charter school, Lincoln opened as part of an effort to improve public education in the city of York.
Corbett’s office did not offer a response to the criticism.