Our state legislators recently took action designed to help school districts with their budgeting issues.
Rather than providing adequate funding (Pennsylvania ranks 46th in state government education funding), they simply made it easier to fire teachers to reduce salary costs.
School districts have long advocated for options to reduce staff during tough economic times but this proposal would use an unproven, complicated teacher evaluation system that includes standardized test scores. Ironically, the new system placed 98.2 percent of teachers in the highest two categories, rendering it virtually useless. Smoke and mirrors instead of adequate funding.
Good teachers remain the key element in providing a meaningful education to our kids and we are already facing a nationwide teacher shortage. This bill would continue to widen the disparity between the well-to-do and the less-fortunate districts.
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Who would go to work in a struggling district where the kids lack the resources available in the more fortunate schools, especially knowing their job security now depended on the high stakes test scores of the kids who need the help the most?
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.” Their own costing out study proved they were woefully underfunding education.
Instead of passing legislation that continues to demonize those in education and sets people up for the chopping block, let’s provide the necessary funding so all our kids have a chance to be successful.
Robert Lumley-Sapanski, Bellefonte