– Pennsylvania House Republican Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) said the report and recommendations approved by Democrat members of the Basic Education Funding Commission today continues the false choice that providing only more state funding will improve Pennsylvania’s public schools.
“Pennsylvania’s system of basic education is fundamentally broken, but it is a false choice to continually double down on a funding-only approach to improve the inadequacies of our system,” Cutler said.
“This Basic Education Funding Commission had the ability to forge a path for transformational change in our system of public education that created real choice through innovative approaches to education while also providing necessary resources to ensure proven models of development can be successful. Unfortunately, the one-sided, Democrat-created report continues to toe the line of special interest rhetoric and will leave too many Pennsylvania students on the same road to nowhere instead of on a new path to prosperity,” continued Cutler.
As a corollary to this report’s shortcomings, Cutler pointed to recent PSSA exam results that showed, despite year after year of historic increases to basic education funding—including even more money to the most underprivileged schools in rural and urban Pennsylvania—student achievement has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels.
“Despite years of bipartisan support for historic amounts of increased funding for public education, including schools in rural and urban Pennsylvania suffering from the deepest poverty, our testing metrics show Pennsylvania’s students are not climbing out of this learning deficit fast enough,” Cutler added. “It is clearer than ever that money alone is not the answer, and it is equally clear that the partisan report approved by Democrats on the Basic Education Funding Commission is endemic of a system captured in the sad cycle of its own failings.”
Cutler also thanked the Republican members on the commission, particularly House Republican Education Committee Chairman Jesse Topper (R-Bedford), Rep. Ryan Warner (R-Fayette), and Rep. Jason Ortitay (R-Washington) for their deliberate and innovative alternative report.
“I want to praise the Republican members of the commission for the thoughtful approach they took to their alternative report, which paid attention to the Commonwealth Court opinion that said alternatives to education improvement outside of funding-only solutions can also meet the mandate of creating a through and efficient system of public education,” Cutler said.
“Their innovative approach to transformational education change is the kind of thinking we need to truly find common ground and consensus in creating a success-minded, child-first and family-focused education experience here in Pennsylvania,” Cutler concluded.