In yesterday's City Paper, Daniel Denvir dug into
the secret poll (PDF version here
) leaked regarding a variety of issues in the state of Pennsylvania, including the current education budget crisis. This poll was paid for by PennCAN
, an organization that ostensibly advocates for reforms in education that would "benefit" children across the Pennsylvania. In my experience thus far, I have seen them advocate quite heavily for increases in charter school enrollment and most recently creating an unfortunate (and I would argue inaccurate) system of grading schools across the state as well - just look at what happened in New York City in 2012
The major concern I have regarding the report from this secret poll is the question regarding from where the funding to support schools in Philadelphia should come. The word choice and presentation would lead anyone to choose the last option. Who would want schools to close (option 1) or to borrow money on top of what was already borred (option 2)? Of course the vast majority of people are going to choose money coming from the city, the state, and the Union (option 3). In this context it is the perfectly logical conclusion.
And yet, there is a lot
of information lost in this simplification of the problem. Aside from the fact that the state already took over the school system in 2001
, people forget that two years ago, Governor Corbett reduced the state's contribution to the education budget by over $1 billion
! The Education Law Center was kind enough to put together a report explaining the details of this cut and how it would affect the thousands of kids in low income areas (like Philadelphia)
Perhaps if there was a fourth option presented, there would be more even-handedness in the answers. I'm thinking something like:
Reinstate the Accountability Block Grant to its 2010-2011 levels in order to provide the needed funding to fill the budget gap in Philadelphia, Chester-Upland, and other school districts.