Schwartz Announces Education Reform Plan

Allyson-Schwartz-2013-lores1

Rep. Allyson Schwartz

This morning, Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz continued her “One Pennsylvania” policy rollouts by addressing the issue of education.

Speaking to reporters, Schwartz repeatedly emphasized that funding education would be her top priority as Governor, and that Corbett’s cuts have been devastating to the future of the commonwealth.

“We should have high expectations for our schools,” said Schwartz. “Governor Corbett has turned his back on Pennsylvania’s public schools. Pennsylvania needs a new governor who understands that strong schools are the foundation for building a better future for our children and a stronger economy.”

Update: Corbett’s campaign responded broadly to Schwartz’s announcement.

“Governor Tom Corbett, a former school teacher, is prioritizing education by increasing state funding for Pennsylvania schools to historic levels,” said Corbett campaign manager Mike Barley. “Congresswoman Schwartz’s plan recycles the same old tax-and-spend policies of failed administrations that led to a $4.2 billion deficit, high unemployment and kicks the can down the road for future generations.”

Components of the plan will seem familiar to public education supporters who have advocated related measures for years.

Schwartz outlined three initiatives that she thinks will help alleviate Pennsylvania of its structural educational concerns.

First, she would create a program called “Keystone Kids” aimed at providing universal pre-k for four year olds. This would not be a mandate for schools or families, but rather would provide voluntary access.

Second, Schwartz would reverse the nearly $1 billion in cuts to education she said Tom Corbett has made during his tenure as Governor. She admitted that, realistically, this would take all four years of a term to accomplish, but that it had to be a top priority.

Finally, the Congresswoman said she would instate a ‘fair funding formula’ that would allow for better allocation of funds across the state. This plan would establish a funding formula that is both transparent and attuned to the wide-ranging needs of the many diverse school districts in PA.

These three initiatives represent a concrete and comprehensive plan for the future that many Democrats will likely support. What is less concrete, however, is whether or not Schwartz would actually be able to secure the necessary resources to make these programs materialize.

The Congresswoman contends that much of the funding for these initiatives would come from the Marcellus Shale extraction tax she proposed earlier this month. Schwartz was evasive in explaining where the rest of the money would come from.

Tom Wolf, the former Pa. Secretary of Revenue and one of Schwartz’s primary opponents, sent out a release Thursday reiterating his plan for reforming education.

He argued that funding for schools should not be influenced by politics but by need. He also stated a hope to lessen the burden of local property taxpayers, and instead have more funding come from the state.

“I believe that all of us have a stake in the quality of the education our children receive because it’s the key to good jobs and a secure middle class,” said Wolf.

His plan and Schwartz’s are largely parallel.

Polls have shown Allyson Schwartz as the frontrunner in the Democratic primary. Also in the race are former DEP Secretaries John Hanger and Katie McGinty, State Treasurer Rob McCord, and Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski.

September 26th, 2013 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Governor, Top Stories | 10 Comments

10 thoughts on “Schwartz Announces Education Reform Plan”

  1. On bricks-and-mortar charter schools: “Charter schools … should not be a drain on existing school budgets, and poor-performing charter schools must be shut down” at http://allysonschwartz.com/education/.

    John Hanger, however, has been on the attack for months, e.g., “Any charter school that cannot establish basic financial accountability to protect against misuse of taxpayer dollars, including employee theft, will lose its charter” at http://www.hangerforgovernor.com/education_that_works/.

    Yes, double dip pension payments, the for-profit scam, and often not doing a good job educating children are big problems that all candidates should be talking about.

  2. Bob Howard says:

    It is pretty hard to take a candidate seriously who can’t (1) read a budget and (2) is less than honest with who reduced funds to PA schools. It is pretty hard to take a candidate seriously who wants to spent more money on failing and dangerous schools. It is pretty have to take a candidate seriously who throws money at institutions instead of funding the needs of students and parents. What is serious is that she expects the endorsement and money from the institutions and status quo education establishment that is failing students.

  3. PAINDY1 says:

    Dear Candidate Spicka: Certainly you don’t support K12 IMBEDS like Charles Zogby in the Corbett Adminstration? As you know Mr. Zogby acts as Budget Secretary and Shadow Ed Secretary. Have you taken donations too from the Cyber Charter School mafia? http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/cyber-schools-flunk-but-tax-money-ke
    eps-flowing-97375.html

  4. PAINDY1 says:

    From today’s POLTICO: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/china-chicago-k12-inc-virtual-school
    s-97414.html?hp=l5
    TOO BAD NO ONE IS PENNSYLVANIA IS PROFILING K12 INC. AND ITS CORBETT ADMINISTRATION IMBED, CHARLES ZOGBY! MR. ZOGBY PLEASE RESIGN.

  5. Susan Spicka says:

    Congresswoman Schwartz’s statement is disappointing and full of platitudes, which don’t tell anyone much about where she stands on the important issues in public education. Everyone loves the idea of more pre-K, so that sounds great.However, Pennsylvania’s public school children can’t wait 4 years to have Corbett’s funding cuts restored to public education. In addition, I’d like to hear more about Congresswoman Schwartz’s views on charter school funding and oversight. Cyber schools are an easy target with few defenders these days, but PA’s brick-and-mortar charter schools also receive double pension payments, are run by for-profit companies and many do not do a good job educating children.

    In addition, Congresswoman Schwartz has been strangely silent on the Philadelphia education crisis. Philadelphia is mandated to pay more than $700 million in charter school tuition each year. What would she propose to solve this problem that is bankrupting the school district? Mandating that Philly folks pay for 2 parallel systems of public education isn’t working. It pits children in traditional schools against children in charter schools and there are no winners when funding is taken from one group and given to another. What is her proposed solution? I look forward to hearing more.

  6. PAINDY1 says:

    Congresswoman Schwartz: I’m comparison shopping. What donation do I have to bundle to get a critical cabinet secretary (Like the budget secretary) + a shadow cabinet position as an added bonus for myself or my interest group? Be transparent: I can see what the Cyber Charter School Profiteers paid to IMBED Charles B Zogby in the BRABENDER/CORBETT ADMINISTRATION!

  7. PAINDY1 says:

    By diane ravitch

    November 20, 2012 //

    “Well, we are into big-time business talk about education.

    For-profit colleges are losing market share.

    K12 Inc.’s stock price drops after Wells Fargo downgraded its rating in response to the poor performance of K12′s Colorado Virtual Academy, where the graduation rate is 22 percent.

    Now a rating agency finds that despite the passage of an ALEC-style amendment in Georgia, allowing a gubernatorial commission to open charters over the objections of local school boards, and despite a likely charter victory in Washington State, the charter sector as a whole is a risky investment. Read the analysis here.

    Hey, is any of this about education or just about increasing market share and profits and return-on-investment?” IF THE EDUCATIONAL POLICY OF THE CORBETT/BRABENDER ADMINISTRATION IS TO PRIVATIZE PUBLIC EDUCATION TO K12 iNC. WHY CAN’T WE HAVE AN FAIR AUCTION? DOES ANYONE KNOW WHO DOES K12 INC.’S ADS IN PENNSYLVANIA. GROMIS-BAKER AND ZOGBY PLEASE RESIGN. TOM AND SUE CAN’T YOU FIND ANYONE THAT REALLY CARES ABOUT THE PUBLIC INTEREST TO WORK FOR YOU?

  8. PAINDY1 says:

    From Diana Ravitch blog:
    November 29, 2012 //
    “USA Today has done it again. Last year, an investigative team of reporters broke open the cheating scandal during Michelle Rhee’s tenure.

    Now, Greg Toppo reveals that the virtual charters are wasting millions of dollars on advertising to boost their enrollment and their coffers.

    He has identified about $100 million of lost taxpayer dollars.

    They recruit for two reasons: one, to add more dollars to their bank account. Two, because they have a high dropout rate and must keep replacing students.

    This is a huge waste of taxpayer dollars. Money spent by taxpayers to pay for art classes be reduce class size is instead being paid to ad rise the wares of shoddy online schools.

    This is money diverted from its intended purpose. This is money taken from schools across the state. It should be illegal.

    More proof that these schools, as presently constituted, are a fraud.” BRABENDER/CORBETT ADMINISTRATION CAN ANYONE FIND ME A GOOD ADVERTISING FIRM THAT IS NOT SUBJECT TO PUBLIC DISCLOSURES? GROMIS-BAKER AND CHARLES ZOGBY NEED TO RESIGN? GOVERNOR BRABENDER WHAT IS THE CURRENT DONATION THAT MUST BE BUNDLED TO GET A CABINET SECRETARY AND A SHADOW CABINENT SECRETARY LIKE MR. ZOGBY???

  9. JB says:

    Education is her number one priority but she’s been a candidate for all of 2013 without really talking about it? Her first priority was to tax marcellus. I agree with her that it should be taxed but today’s announcement feels more like a response to McCord than a position she actually holds. I received a four-page fundraising letter from her this week and it barely discussed education.

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