Pennsylvania Education and Politics Review – Week of 10/06/13

Education continues to simmer as a significant issue in the gubernatorial campaign.

Schwartz gets Pittsburgh teachers union endorsement: The Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers (AFT Local 400) endorsed U.S. Representative Allyson Schwartz for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, citing Schwartz’s plan to restore the education funds cut by Governor Corbett over four years and invest in a plan to expand universal pre-K over ten years.

Candidates comment on lack of nurses, student death in Philadelphia: The death of 12-year-old Laporshia Massey in September due to complications from asthma has gained national attention this week after the Philadelphia City Paper reported that there was no nurse on duty at her school when she reported difficulty breathing. Many Philadelphia schools do not have nurses on duty five days a week, and that situation has been exacerbated by this year’s budget cuts. Massey’s father believes that a trained nurse would have recognized the severity of the situation and worked to get proper medical attention earlier. State Treasurer Rob McCord and former Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger shared the story on their social media feeds and reiterated their opposition to the education funding cuts. Searches on Twitter, Google, and candidates’ web sites did not turn up comments by any other candidates.

Philadelphia symposium part of funding formula push: The Philadelphia Mayor’s Office and several other organizations partnered to hold a symposium to highlight the effect that Governor Corbett and the legislature’s decision to stop using the funding formula established in 2008 has had on Philadelphia education. Under the formula, experts said, the School District of Philadelphia would have received more than $300 million in additional funding this year, more than enough to eliminate the deficit that resulted in the “Doomsday budget.” Participants described the symposium as an early step in an ongoing campaign to reestablish a funding formula for Pennsylvania and reduce disparities between local districts.