One Pennsylvania: Quality Education for Every Pennsylvania Student
Allyson Schwartz’s Plan to Restore Our Commitment to Public Education
Allyson Schwartz is committed to building One Pennsylvania, where every child receives a great education, every adult can get a good paying job, and every senior can retire with security and dignity. To build this Pennsylvania, we must have high expectations of our elected officials and ourselves. We need bold, new ideas and a renewed commitment to the priorities of middle-class families. We must build on Pennsylvania’s tremendous assets and invest in our people.
We know that a quality education allows our children to fulfill their potential and prepares them to be citizens in our democracy. Our schools provide a bridge to the middle class and offer equal opportunity to all of our citizens. Our future depends upon our determination to recommit ourselves to public education.
Tom Corbett: A Record of Turning His Back on Public Education
Providing high-quality public education is the most fundamental responsibility of state government, the key to our children’s future and Pennsylvania’s economic prosperity. Yet Governor Tom Corbett has turned his back on the Commonwealth’s public schools. He chose schools to be his first and most significant cut, slashing nearly $1 billion in investments to school districts.
During Governor Corbett’s term in office, student test scores have fallen. Drastic cuts to basic education have unfairly shifted the burden to local communities, property-tax payers, and school districts across the state. Rural, suburban, and urban school districts have had to make devastating choices, including increases in class size, the elimination of full-day kindergarten, massive teacher layoffs, and cuts in science, technology, and other core curriculum areas.
Allyson Schwartz: A New Road Forward for Education in Pennsylvania
During her service in the Pennsylvania Senate, Schwartz served for a decade as the Democratic Chair of the Education Committee. She pushed for greater investment in education, including fair funding for public schools. A longtime champion of early education, she also introduced Senate legislation to provide state reimbursement for full-day kindergarten. In Congress, she is working closely with Pennsylvania’s senior senator, Bob Casey, on the Prepare All Kids Act. The bill creates a Prekindergarten Incentive Fund to award grants to states to establish, expand, or enhance voluntary high-quality pre-K programs.
As governor, Schwartz will end Corbett’s assault on our schools and recommit Pennsylvania to public education. She believes, as do Pennsylvania’s families, that there is no better investment for our children and our economic future.
A Strong Start
To ensure that students start school ready to learn, Allyson Schwartz will make a transformational commitment to early education by establishing universal, quality preschool for 4-year-olds, expanding access to full-day kindergarten, and reducing class sizes in kindergarten through third grade.
Keystone Kids. Allyson Schwartz believes that success in school begins with early education. Decades of research proves that quality preschool narrows the achievement gap, increases high school graduation rates, decreases the need for special education, helps prepare children to succeed in today’s competitive economy, and reduces health care and social welfare costs over time. Early education also provides one of the best returns on public investment. Studies have found that every dollar invested in early education generates a $7 to $8 return. As governor, Schwartz will launch Keystone Kids, a landmark initiative to provide universal access to voluntary prekindergarten to all 4-year-olds within a decade.
Full-Day Kindergarten. In the State Senate, Schwartz successfully fought to expand access to full-day kindergarten. As governor, Schwartz will make full-day kindergarten accessible to every child in Pennsylvania and ensure that school districts have the support that they need to achieve this goal.
Reversing Tom Corbett’s Education Cuts in The First Term
In her first term, Schwartz will reverse Governor Corbett’s nearly $1 billion of extreme cuts by growing the economy, re-prioritizing the existing budget, and drawing upon new resources from the natural gas tax.
Schwartz has already released a plan to enact a moderate, 5-percent severance tax on natural gas production that will raise billions of dollars to support transformational investments, especially in public education and early education.
Fair Support for All of Pennsylvania’s Schools
As part of his assault on public education, Corbett eliminated important reforms in how the state distributes support for education. As a result, investment in our schools is determined by political calculations in Harrisburg, and not by school or student need. Current funding is not adequate, predictable, or fair.
The quality of a student’s education should not depend on where the student lives in our state. As governor, Schwartz will partner with all stakeholders to determine the necessary level of state support, to ensure that all students receive a quality education. She will establish a transparent funding formula that recognizes student and school district characteristics, considers local effort, and provides sustained, adequate, and fair funding to every school in the Commonwealth.
Pennsylvania needs a governor who understands that economic success begins in the classroom. Allyson Schwartz knows that a well-educated workforce will attract world-class businesses to our Commonwealth, and that a robust economy is vital to keeping our young people living, working, and raising their families in Pennsylvania. As the mother of two sons who attended and graduated from Philadelphia’s public schools, Allyson Schwartz also knows personally how important good schools are to Pennsylvania’s families and to our children’s future.
One Pennsylvania: Building a 21st Century Workforce
Allyson Schwartz’s Plan to Make Quality Postsecondary Education More Affordable and Accessible
Allyson Schwartz is committed to building One Pennsylvania, where access to the education and training needed to compete in today’s economy is a priority. To build this Pennsylvania, we must expand on the state’s long tradition of quality higher education, while holding our students, teachers, elected officials, and schools to the highest expectations.
As governor, Schwartz will offer a renewed commitment to making first-rate postsecondary education affordable and accessible to Pennsylvania residents.
Obtaining higher education is not only part of the American Dream, it is critical in today’s economy. A skilled and well-trained workforce will attract world-class businesses and high paying jobs to the Commonwealth, ensuring a robust economy that keeps our students living, working, and able to stay and raise their families in Pennsylvania.
As governor, Allyson Schwartz will:
Restore State Support to Higher Education. Governor Tom Corbett’s irresponsible higher education cuts have severely harmed our state-owned universities, our state-related universities and our community colleges, and made college more expensive for thousands of Pennsylvanians. Schwartz will ensure that state support for higher education is appropriate and sustained.
Freeze Tuition at State Universities. In exchange for greater financial support for state universities, and while holding these schools accountable for their performance, Schwartz will demand a two-year tuition freeze at our state universities.
Relieve the Debt Burden on Middle-Class Families. To reduce the unmanageable college debt faced by too many students from middle-class families, Schwartz will strengthen the Pennsylvania State Grant program and raise its income-eligibility ceiling to expand access to college grants to more students.
Reward Achievement and Strengthen Community Colleges. Schwartz will launch PA Achieves to encourage community college students to complete their associate’s degree and to take the next step to earn a bachelor’s degree. PA Achieves will provide these students with a financial award that can be used at any Pennsylvania college or university. Schwartz will also strengthen Pennsylvania’s community colleges by creating a unified Pennsylvania State System of Community Colleges.
Make Applying to College Easier and College Financing More Understandable. Schwartz will put Pennsylvania students first by making the college search and application process simpler and by enabling families to make smart decisions on how they finance higher education.