Joe Sestak to Congressman Toomey: Where’s Your Education Plan?

Joe Sestak to Congressman Toomey: Where’s Your Education Plan?

With school back in full swing throughout Pennsylvania, U.S. Senate candidate Joe Sestak wrote to his opponent, Congressman Toomey, about the conspicuous lack of information about his ideas about education. While Joe has made improving the quality of our education system a key part of his campaign and devoted a segment of his Plan for Pennsylvania Families to his views, Congressman Toomey seems to have forgotten all about it. The subject does not even have a section on his campaign website. In the interest of offering voters the opportunity to understand the candidates’ views, Joe’s letter proposes a web page for the Toomey campaign, based fully on the Congressman’s past positions and statements.

September 14, 2010

Congressman Patrick J. Toomey
3440 Hamilton Blvd
Allentown, PA 18103

Dear Congressman Toomey,

In the interest of running a Senate race founded on informed, substantive debate, I wanted to bring an issue to your attention. Nearly four months since our race began — and almost a year and a half after you announced your candidacy for Senate — I still cannot locate your education positions on your campaign website.

Like many Pennsylvanians, I consider education to be a top priority. Even if you prefer to hide from your record, as you have by trying to conceal your true beliefs about privatizing Social Security and eliminating corporate taxes, Pennsylvanians deserve to know where you stand.

Since you haven’t gotten around to explaining your position on education issues, I’ve asked my staff to put together an education plan, based on your past positions and statements, to give voters an idea of the approach you would take to preparing our next generation. I’ve included it below, for your convenience:

Education: Shortchanging Schools and Leaving Children Behind

As your United States Senator, Congressman Toomey will vote against schools, teachers and students at every opportunity. He believes students should focus their learning on a narrow set of tests required by a massive federal bureaucracy. Congressman Toomey will fight to make college less affordable and accessible for Pennsylvania students.

In Congress, Toomey voted to remove 112,000 students from work study programs, making the college dream just about impossible for them to achieve. [H Con Res 68, House Vote 85, 4/14/99; House Budget Committee Democratic Caucus, “Summary of the Conference Agreement on the Republican Budget Resolution for Fiscal Year 2000,” 4/15/99] 

Toomey voted to ensure that learning environments for students were as difficult as possible. He took a brave stand to increase class sizes and reduce teacher training. [HR 1995, House Vote 319, 7/20/99]

Toomey voted again to opposed funding to hire and train new teachers. [HR 1995, House Vote 320, 7/20/99]

Congressman Toomey also believes that aging schools are just fine for Pennsylvania students. He voted against construction and modernization funding for schools. [HR 2488, House Vote 331, 7/22/99]

Congressman Toomey took a strong stand against Head Start, which has served low-income children at the critical pre-K stage of development. He also voted against maintaining minimum funding levels for Head Start. [HR 4577, House Vote 415, 7/19/00]

Congressman Toomey believes that special education doesn’t really need funding. He voted against legislation that increased funding in the bill for special education programs by $10.4 million. [HR 4577, House Vote 262, 6/13/00]
 
Congressman Toomey believes that we shouldn’t make college more affordable for students. He voted against maintaining minimum funding levels for Pell Grants. Toomey also voted against financial aid for college students. [HR 4577, House Vote 415, 7/19/00; HR 2660, House Vote 651, 11/20/03]

Contrary to his stance of limited government, Congressman Toomey voted for President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind program, which established a massively unfunded bureaucracy and required teachers across the country to teach to tests while ignoring comprehensive education. [HR 1, House Vote 145, 5/23/01]

——

I hope you and your staff find this content useful, and would encourage you to include it on your website as soon as possible. Pennsylvania voters deserve to know where we stand, so they can make an informed choice in November. The stakes are too high for anything less.

Then again, maybe you intentionally failed to mention education on your website. If that’s the case, your silence on the issue is much more informative than any detailed policy brief could ever be.

September 14th, 2010 | Posted in Front Page Stories | No Comments