All good things must come to an end. Welcome to the final week of Broad + Liberty’s Candidate Spotlight Series!
Each week throughout the election season, we’ve reached out to candidates all across the Commonwealth up for election to public office — an equal number of Democrats and Republicans; incumbents and challengers. We’ve asked one question per week about public policy pressing to you. Those who chose to respond had their answers shared on our website. (Please see a special statement from the editors about unresponsive candidates.)
The twelfth and final installment of our series will focus on the strengths and weaknesses of our public education system. Let’s see what our candidates for Governor have to say.
This week’s question: What is the greatest strength and greatest weakness of our public education system, and what will you do when elected to address that weakness?
Josh Shapiro (D)
As Governor, my priority will be to ensure every child receives a quality education and has ample opportunity to succeed.
Unlike my opponent, who wants to strip approximately 33% of all public education funding from our public schools, leading to a loss of over $12.5 billion and resulting in over 110,000 fewer public school jobs, I believe every child deserves a quality education and the opportunity to shape their own future.
That’s why, as Governor, I will ensure our schools are fully funded and that our students have the tools they need to succeed. I will also ensure our children receive the resources they need to learn, end our reliance on standardized tests, put at least one mental health counselor in every school, and empower students with the skills necessary to succeed in whatever path they choose by ensuring they have access to vocational, technical, and computer training.
Come back later to read the response from Josh Shapiro’s running mate, Austin Davis.
Doug Mastriano (R)
Pennsylvania’s most recent test results found that only 22% of eighth grade students are proficient or above in mathematics. Our education testing results are embarrassingly low and we must do better for the children in our commonwealth. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
It’s time to rethink education in Pennsylvania.
Our current system allows only wealthy families to afford true educational choice. We must expand access to school choice opportunities to all families so each student can receive the education that best fits their needs regardless of their zip code. Woke ideologies like CRT, gender theory, and other divisive nonsense is becoming commonplace in classrooms across the nation. Classrooms should be a place of preparing students for success in the real world, not a place for indoctrination and divisive politics.
As Governor, I’ll continue historic education funding, but I’ll also fight expand school choice. I support establishing universal Education Opportunity Accounts (EOAs) that fund students directly and allows them to access the education of their choice. I’ll return normalcy to our schools by placing an immediate ban on Critical Race Theory and Gender Theory studies in K–12 schools.
I’ll also sign legislation that bans biological males from participating in female sports and support funding for school security grants to keep our kids safe. I’ll sign legislation that establishes a “parental rights statute” that will make it clear the state government or any of its political subdivisions may not infringe upon the fundamental rights of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, health care, and mental health of his or her minor child. I’ll also create the “Office of Parental Engagement” that will empower parents with information and prepare and train teachers to work with parents as partners in the shared effort to support student learning.
I’ll support increased funding for career and technical education opportunities (vo-tech) so more students have the opportunity to be hired for good paying skilled labor jobs upon graduation.
Lastly, I’ll improve transparency in schools by signing legislation that requires schools to post online a list of all textbooks, syllabi, and curricula used for each course. Parents have the right to know what their children are being taught.
Come back later to read the response from Doug Mastriano’s running mate, Carrie Lewis DelRosso.
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