Education & Bullying

Education

“The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth.” – Article III, Section 14, of the Pennsylvania Constitution

The best foundation for the future of our children is a well-funded education. Our school systems are struggling and shouldn’t have to. The Pennsylvania’s Education Law Center says “For (each) dollar invested in early childhood education, seven dollars are returned to the economy.” [1] Our state’s Constitution places the responsibility for providing a quality public education at the feet of the Legislature, yet they have abandoned formula after formula for funding our schools at optimal levels and our kids hang in the balance. This cannot continue.

The problem seems to stem from Pennsylvania legislators adopting a “Hold Harmless” provision to public school funding. “Hold harmless” is sort of good for affluent suburban districts, which may not get a lot of state aid but are guaranteed by another state rule to always get some. “Hold harmless” guarantees that their allotment will never shrink, no matter how tough the overall state education budget gets and how far state aid falls short of what less affluent districts might need.” [2] When allocating its largest pot of education cash, our state distributes the most funding (per student) to districts where enrollment has sharply declined over the past twenty-five years. This rule should be amended.

Parents in this state have taken matters into their own hands and have sued in court (William Penn School District, et al. v. Pennsylvania Dept. of Education, et al. [3]), alleging that “the State’s General Assembly has violated the state’s Constitution by failing to adequately and equitably fund PA’s public schools and leaving children without the resources they need to succeed academically”. [4]

The incumbent sits on the Education committee in the House that’s being accused by taxpayers of failure to lead by not presenting long-term solutions to resolve this ongoing and decades-old problem. We deserve strong leadership that will stand up for all our children and work with both sides to end the funding formula fiasco in Harrisburg, making education for our children their top priority.

I’m answering that call.

If elected, I would work to create a fair and equitable formula for Pennsylvania that ensures every child in every district gets a fighting shot at a great education.

Resource Links

Fighting For Fair School Funding

Hold Harmless Funding Protection Or Red Herring

PA Commonwealth Court

Ed Funding Lawsuit


Bullying

Growing up in today’s world is difficult enough, and children have been given access to tools that provide them with a much larger voice. The fabled “neighborhood bully” has given way to children being attacked constantly by groups of kids who weaponize the internet to demean and belittle others.

This year, we learned that a beautiful young girl name of Sadie L. Riggs from Bedford, PA took her life at the tender age of fifteen due to bullying she experienced. My thoughts are with her family and countless others who have fallen victim to systematic taunts and maltreatment while simply trying to get an education.

A child’s home should be the place for them to feel safe and escape the daily drama experienced in school, but the rise of social media makes bullying virtually inescapable. Pennsylvania currently has laws on the books to properly define and penalize predatory bullying, but I believe they do not go far enough to protect our children.

If elected, I fully support an expansion of current Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes to provide for meaningful remedies and penalties that will ensure this destructive behavior does not go unpunished in our community.

Our children deserve to live with dignity and free from abuse at school, at home and at play.