February 1, 2012

PSEA President supports bill to invest in struggling schools

PAGE Bill press conf Feb 1 2012At a February 1 news conference, PSEA President Mike Crossey stood with state Representative Eugene DePasquale (D-95) to support legislation he will introduce to invest in struggling school districts where students need proven, effective programs and the resources to fund them.

Crossey praised DePasquale and state Senator Judy Schwank (D-11), who plans to introduce the legislation in the Senate. Crossey emphasized that this is the kind of program struggling school districts need to ensure that their students have solutions that work.

“This legislation reflects the kind of courage and leadership that our public school students need from the people we elect to represent us,” Crossey said. “Representative DePasquale and Senator Schwank are committed to Pennsylvania’s students and public schools. The bills they are planning to introduce will make essential investments in schools that need them the most.”

The Priority Assistance Grant for Education (PAGE) program would direct a total of $30 million to 18 school districts that are in academic or financial distress. The eligible school districts would use those funds to pay for a range of proven, research-based programs such as full-day kindergarten, class size reductions, or tutoring initiatives. The impact of the funds would be monitored by a state commission.

“You can’t improve struggling school districts by cutting their funding,” Crossey said. “That is what Gov. Corbett’s budget cuts have done. These school districts need resources to pay for programs that work for their students. Without resources, they simply can’t afford them.”

Crossey pointed out that DePasquale and Schwank consulted with PSEA members about the kinds of programs that are proven to work in Pennsylvania classrooms. PSEA recommended that the legislators use elements of PSEA’s Solutions That Work package, which the association unveiled in June.

“We are very proud to be a part of this,” Crossey said. “Our Solutions That Work initiative includes programs that teachers know work in their classrooms and that research has proven to be effective at increasing student learning.”

Solutions That Work includes 12 initiatives that meet those criteria. Learn more at www.solutionsthatworkpa.org.

“Restoring funding to all of our public schools needs to be our first priority,” Crossey said. “But we need to start somewhere. This initiative targets state funds to schools and students who need effective programs the most. I’m proud to support it.”

Pictured: State Representative Eugene DePasquale and PSEA President Mike Crossey



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