Here’s a comparison of what the two candidates say they plan to do.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro wants to keep increasing Pennsylvania’s public education budget, but his opponent, Republican Doug Mastriano, wants to cut it dramatically. There is
State Senator Mastriano moved the funds to a separate account so parents could use them to send their children to the schools they wanted, including charter schools and religious schools.
In addition to the overall increase, Attorney General Shapiro said he wanted to make funding more equitable across the district.
Here’s a comparison of what the two candidates say they plan to do.
Shapiro on school funding
Shapiro said he wants to keep Democratic Gov. Tom Wolfe’s education spending plan.
Wolfe took over the federation at a time when state education funding was at a historic low, with education budget cuts in the wake of the 2008 housing market crash. Since then, Wolff has made school funding a central part of his budget, adding about $3.7 billion to the overall budget, according to government calculations.
Specifically, Shapiro has helped the Wolfe administration seek to channel more state funding for education through a funding scheme adopted by the state legislature in 2016. It aims to better reflect the needs of students and to make funding more equitable across the Commonwealth. That is, a small portion of education funding runs through it.
The Republican-controlled Congress is opposed to full use of the scheme, and parents, school districts and advocacy groups are suing the state for unconstitutional and unfair funding of public schools. As attorney general, Shapiro filed an amicus brief in the lawsuit in support of plaintiffs’ claims that Congress’ funding arrangements were unconstitutional.
Mastriano on school funding
The most high-profile parts of Mastriano’s education plan were revealed in radio interviews the candidate gave during the primary election. He said Pennsylvania should cut funding to schools per student from $19,000 to about $9,000, an unprecedented cut, and that students and parents would then have to pay public, private, charter, Or you have to decide if you want to be homeschooled.
On the campaign website, Mastriano offers some specific education funding proposals.
He hopes to “shift funds to the student rather than the system” by opening an “educational opportunity account” for parents.
These accounts are controversial, but have become a popular model among proponents of wanting to make private or charter education more popular. A limited-use account, such as an account where the average amount of state funds per student that would otherwise go to a public school district is withdrawn from the school district, and put into a personal account.
In addition, Mastriano wants to expand an existing program that gives tax breaks to companies that provide scholarships to private schools. As Mastriano’s website says, these programs are often portrayed as a way for poor children to get out of public schools. But WHYY also found that these programs had little oversight and could offer scholarships to wealthy families with better quality school options.
Mastriano also wants to get rid of property taxes, a major source of funding for public schools.
Candidates for Parental Input at School
In his official campaign, Mastriano leans into the current of parental emotion that erupted during last year’s school board election. Frustrated by lockdowns, some parents are demanding more say in their children’s public schooling.
These concerns trickle down to unrelated political areas, such as concerns about the books children are reading and what they are learning about race.
Clearly in response to this wave of parental emotion, Mastriano proposes a series of far-reaching changes that dramatically increase teacher oversight. He wants a “thorough review of the district’s ‘diversity, equity and inclusion’ plan” and “implementation of universal ‘custody’ provisions in the law.”
He also called for an “immediate ban on the study of material race and gender theories.”
Critical Race Theory is an academic framework confined primarily to higher education that examines the impact of structural racism on American institutions. “Gender Theory” refers to the guidance given to teachers by the Pennsylvania Department of Education on accepting transgender and gender nonconforming students and staff, as well as resources and potential lesson plans on gender.
In his own plans, Shapiro also acknowledges a wave of parents seeking more input at their children’s schools.
In an op-ed, he promised to appoint at least two parents to the state school board. State boards of education review and adopt educational rules and standards. need to change that. “
In general, Shapiro said the disruption caused by COVID-19 over the past two years “has been a reminder of the critical role parents play in our education system. It was before the pandemic and it is now.” So does: Parents deserve to have a true voice in their children’s education.”
Educational bodies react to candidate’s plans
The Pennsylvania Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers’ union, said Mastriano’s plan would be devastating for teachers, students and school districts.
According to spokesman David Broderick, a rough analysis of Mastriano’s sketched plan “represented $12.75 billion in school funding cuts, creating more than 118,000 jobs in Pennsylvania public schools. may be lost,” he concluded.
Broderick compared the cut to the roughly $1 billion reduction in education funding Pennsylvania public schools saw under former Republican Governor Tom Corbett.
These cuts came at a time when federal stimulus funds that the former governor used to patch up and increase education spending ran out. Corbett always claimed that he actually increased the underlying state funds after stimulus funds dried up, but the overall loss of funds was due to his unpopularity and general election loss. contributed to
“The cut at the time was incredibly dramatic,” said Broderick. “They pale in comparison to what Doug Mastriano is proposing.”
The cuts affected districts across the state, and the criticism wasn’t just from the PSEA. Ed Albert, who heads the Pennsylvania Rural and Small Schools Association, told the Pennsylvania Capital Star. [Mastriano is] Recruitment. “
The Pennsylvania Association of Public Charter Schools, which often clashes with public school interests over education funding and regulation, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the election. I have not approved it.
The Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs, Pennsylvania’s most vocal proponent of using public funds to pay for private and charter schools, has also not voiced its support in the campaign. It calls Shapiro “dangerous” and funds billboards and other messages that criticize him, particularly for his ties to the teachers’ union. However, the group is not complicit in Mastriano’s candidacy. He vehemently opposed Mastriano in the primary.