STATE COLLEGE — As President Barack Obama spoke Wednesday in Ohio against his opponent’s education policy, local Democrats did the same at the downtown Obama field office.
County Commissioner Michael Pipe and 5th District congressional candidate Charles Dumas criticized the potential impact of the Republican Mitt Romney- Paul Ryan budget plan on K-12 and college students.
The Ryan budget, calling for cuts in spending, could have a “devastating impact” on education, if applied there, they said.
According to statistics from Obama’s Pennsylvania campaign, cuts could deny Head Start to 12,000 children, cut K-12 and special education funding by $186 million and cut federal Pell Grant scholarships for 295,000 students.
Pipe said the county could see negative effects including students not getting opportunities at Penn State, the region’s largest employer.
“If we don’t get the same benefits from having jobs created here at Penn State, having students come here that then start businesses here in the county, that’s going to hurt us long-term,” Pipe said.
As a professor in Penn State’s School of Theatre, Dumas said he sees firsthand the “sacrifice students and parents make to pursue the opportunity of higher education.”
With cuts to college funding programs, Dumas said college would become “dramatically less affordable,” even “impossible, for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania students who deserve a fair shot.”
“And they are our future, folks,” he said.
On the question of K-12 funding, Dumas said both young students and college students need support, and the only way to do that is for everyone to pay their “fair share” of taxes that are used for those programs.
Pipe said hiring new teachers to create smaller class sizes is key to K-12 success.
“Smaller classes mean more attention can be paid from a teacher to a student,” he said.
Jessica VanderKolk can be reached at 235-3910. Follow her on Twitter @jVanReporter