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If you think the Pennsylvania Legislature has an enviable record of support for public education, think again: We rank 45th in state support for our public schools. You might be surprised to know that Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi are among states that provide more support.

Moreover, there are significant discrepancies across the commonwealth in the operating funds available for each school district.

Such imbalances are being tested in a landmark trial currently underway before the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court.

In shocking statements heard before the court recently, the attorney representing Senate President Jake Corman, who wants to be our next governor, argued against certain academic standards. "What use would a carpenter have for biology?” asked Corman’s lawyer, John Krill. “What use would someone on the McDonald’s career track have for Algebra 1?” he continued. He then went on to say that the commonwealth needs people who know how to flip a pizza crust.

What?! Is this the kind of educational system our Republican leaders stand for – watered down, inadequately funded, and with allocations that fall short for rural and urban schools in poorer districts?

Education to promote workforce development is important, but a broadly-educated population is equally important, and we must not pigeonhole children into career paths by underfunding our public school systems. We must adequately support all of our public schools, especially those that are underfunded.

An education is as much a public good as it is a private good. Pennsylvania cannot afford to elect a governor who doesn't understand that.

Gretchen Stewart

McMurray