All Pa. students are entitled to a quality education
As a supporter of the public school system and an advocate for Pottstown students and teachers, I have been keeping a careful eye on the current case in state court that questions whether our current funding system in Pennsylvania is unconstitutional. , failing to provide a “thorough and effective education” for all children.
I was frankly shocked and insulted last week when John Krill, defense attorney for Senate Speaker Corman, who is named in the lawsuit, questioned a witness about the need to teach graduate-level courses (that’s i.e. biology or algebra) to students going to work in restaurants or retail. I don’t know what appalled me more about such an insensitive, classist, and downright aristocratic comment.
First, Krill should apologize to every cashier, worker, and food service provider across the state. His implication that you don’t need an education to fill such a role is a supreme insult to anyone who has rolled up their sleeves and done a necessary job. They are the backbone of our society and should not be dismissed as lacking intelligence or education.
Second, I wonder exactly how Mr. Krill acquired his level of omniscience, one that allows him to know exactly what careers students aspire to based simply on their school district or zip code. Can I go so far as to state that there is an ugly implication that, because many students trampled by the Pennsylvania education system are also minorities, the statement is not merely classist but outright racist?
In George Washington’s first annual address, he informed the citizens of this newly formed nation that “knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness.” You will notice that Washington did not stipulate that only rich children should have access to this knowledge. He was also not interested in career choices. It indicated that a well-educated person is happier and a better citizen, vital to the flourishing of our system of government.
To me, Pennsylvania has violated the fundamentals of this country in such a nasty way that I feel embarrassed for a state I should be proud to call home. Krill’s flippant assumption that some kids aren’t entitled to a quality education because they might work at a cash register or work in a fast food joint should be a red flag. The children of Pottstown, and all students in underfunded neighborhoods, deserve so much better.
— Candi Haas-Simmons