Gov. Rendell had the state’s PSSA scores released early as part of the budget battle in Harrisburg. Pennsylvania continues trying to operate without a budget which means state employees are working without pay. Aside from Senate Democrats the only exception to this are those staffers in the Capitol. Why should they get paid when no one else is? Maybe they’d be hungrier to get a budget passed if they were actually hungry. Oh wait, they can eat for free at the Capitol cafe on the taxpayer dime. Maybe it’s time to cut that off too. We do need to save money.
The primary issue in the budget battle is education funding. This has been the cornerstone of Ed Rendell’s two terms as Governor and he has raised funding for education by a billion dollars. Senate Republicans want to balance the budget by gutting education. This is the easy, coward’s way out because it passes the buck for tax increases to local school boards. The rigid ideology of these people will not allow them to vote for tax increases. Therefore our children will pay the price.
What these legislators need to consider when defending their business and corporate constituents is that an uneducated workforce costs far more than a poorly educated one. This costs more money in training, lost jobs because other businesses go elsewhere, and inefficient workers. It actually is better for business to have an educated workforce. Why are Republicans trying to screw their chief backers? This doesn’t make sense.
The PSSA scores show that significant progress has been made in Pennsylvania’s schools. In 2002 math proficiency was 50%, now it is 56%. Science sees improvement from 59% to 65%. Of course it helps that Dover prevailed in keeping evolution in its science curriculum. When we teach myths and fables instead of science our children suffer.
August is just around the corner and the impasse in Harrisburg is serious. Gov. Rendell is considering a stopgap budget so state services don’t cease and hard working people can be remunerated for their efforts. Vendors and contractor deserve to be paid for their goods and services too so their employees do not wind up on our already bloated unemployment rolls. Of course the Republicans keep voting against extensions of those benefits so they likely are not going to be swayed by economic arguments. Perhaps if they had been better educated they could comprehend that educational success benefits everyone. They needed Ed Rendell as Governor when they were in school.