Wednesday, April 13, 2011

You have to fight for your right to party!

That is an old Beastie Boys song mantra, but it is so true for those of us in Pennsylvania. We have to fight for our education rights. Governor Corbett’s budget currently chops $1.47 billion out of his proposed budget for next year. That’s right almost a billion and a half. Of that figure, over $813 million dollars is being axed from your local school districts in PA!

Education is a fundamental right, not a privilege. Without good education, we slip farther and farther down the list in competitive nations. Check these statistics from AFP:

The three-yearly OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) report, which compares the knowledge and skills of 15-year-olds in 70 countries around the world, ranked the United States 14th out of 34 OECD countries for reading skills, 17th for science and a below-average 25th for mathematics.
The United States has also fallen behind in the percentage of 15-year-olds who are enrolled in school, ranking third from bottom of the OECD countries, above only Mexico and Turkey.

Only eight OECD countries have a lower high school graduation rate than the United States, and in college education, the United States slipped from second to 13th between 1995 and 2008 -- not because US college graduation rates declined, but because they rose so much faster in other OECD countries.
The less educated we are as a society, the less relevant our global business acumen and competiveness will be. Stereotypes are correct for a reason. Asians and Europeans are eclipsing us in education and are making us less relevant. When was the last time you heard of a new industry building something new and innovative in the United States vs. other countries?

Corbett’s budget agenda will cause our state to further drop. One thing is for certain, our dropout rates will increase and crime will rise. That is a fact when education funding is cut. Then what will happen? We will have to support more people on our welfare system and lock more people up in jail. Being the previous Attorney General he knows all this so instead of cutting welfare and correction programs, they are increased over $858 million and $1,149 million, respectively for the coming budget.

Something is wrong here. We should be reversing this spending. We should be, especially in tough economic times, increase education. The better educated we are, the more competitive we become. Don’t stand by and let this happen. Call and write your Governor and State Representatives. Tell them “No” to Corbett’s budget.

That way when your kids are at Penn State or Lehigh University partying, you know your tax dollars are well spent! Not that you will be able to afford to send them there either! The Higher Education funding has been cut dramatically as well. This past year state funding was at $1.49 billion and this year’s proposal is cut down to 835 million. That is a dramatic cut as well.

Rise up and let your voices be heard. Education is in dire jeopardy. The silence by the public is deafening!


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