Yesterday Pennsylvania’s voters went to the polls in record numbers for an off year election and cast their vote for strong public schools. Tom Wolf, virtually unknown before this year, was able to capture the governor’s office by making this election about education. Tom Corbett, in spite of a strong national tide running in favor of the GOP, went down to defeat because of his cuts to education while he showered tax breaks on corporations.
One year ago at a forum here in Philadelphia Tom Wolf stated his agreement with our demands for a fair funding formula, new revenue for schools by taxing shale and closing corporate loopholes, charter school accountability, ending the school to prison pipeline and returning our schools to local control.
Since March we have knocked on thousands of doors getting voters to sign a pledge to vote for candidates who support this platform. Over the last month, in conjunction with others, we have worked to mobilize a huge education vote. That work paid off yesterday.
Tom Wolf has a mandate to be the education governor and to reverse the warped priorities of the Corbett administration. We urge him in the first hundred days to hit the ground running and take up the following challenges
• Get the legislature to pass a 5% extraction tax on Marcellus Shale, close corporate loopholes and scale back prison construction.
• Propose an equitable funding formula that insures funding for quality schools in all communities in our state.
• Declare his support for a moratorium on charter school expansion until legislation to check fraud and abuse in this sector is adopted and implemented.
• Introduce legislation to abolish the SRC and return Philadelphia schools to local control.
• Appoint a Secretary of Education who is committed to developing community schools that address the need for engaging parents and neighborhoods as partners.
Realizing these goals will require reaching out and mobilizing the education base around the state. We urge the Governor elect to go on a state wide education tour to hear from people about their schools and engage them in the work of genuine reform. We stand ready to join the new Governor in this effort and will continue to be a voice for pressing forward this agenda.