Our education system is the way that we collectively pitch in to prepare of our children and young people for a productive work life and to contribute to society. We prepare them, so that we can all benefit from their creativity, productivity, and maximized potential. But educating children takes a well-trained and committed workforce, financial resources, parental and community engagement, and children that are ready for schooling.

Additionally, our higher education system, including universities, community colleges, and technical schools prepare or retrain individuals for the next stage in their lives. We must make higher education accessible, affordable, and useful for people that want to take advantage of the great resources that the Commonwealth has to offer.

To achieve this, we must:

Make a Commitment to Fund Schools at the State Level

Pennsylvania’s constitution requires that, “The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth.” This this is not a requirement that the Legislature is fulfilling. While the Senate Democrats have prioritized education funding and made great strides at increases, we still have not achieved the goal of funding public education by 50% at the state level. We must do more.

Ensure that Children are Prepared for School

Early childhood education and pre-K, after school and tutoring programs, nutrition and health supports, among other social services provide an important source of assistance to make sure that children are not just in the classroom, but ready to learn.

Make Higher Ed Accessible

Higher Education has become integral in today’s high-tech, internationally competitive workplace. However, Pennsylvania now has the 2nd highest student tuition debt among the states, indicating a system that is costly and prohibitive to enter. We must to more to make our community colleges and state system of higher education more affordable so that everyone that wants to continue their education past high school has an opportunity to do so.

Prevent High-stakes Graduation Assessments and Reform our Testing System

Assessments are a necessary part of the education system to track proficiency and growth of students, teachers, and schools. But testing has taken on a life of its own and become a source of distraction and stress for students and teachers and syphoning off valuable time in the classroom. We must come up with a system of testing that captures the information necessary to provide the data we need while not undermining the quality of education our children receive.

Reform Charter Schools

Charter and cyber charter schools are now an integral and embedded part of our state and local education system. However, we can improve their performance, hold them more accountable educationally and financially, and prevent them from undermining our traditional public schools. We must address comprehensive charter school reform to address all three of these goals.

Provide Assistance to Struggling Schools

Pennsylvania has school districts and buildings that are in trouble and the only source of immediate assistance has to come from the State. Whether it’s financial, educational, or both, we must create diagnostic programs to identity problems within schools and customize solutions to improve administrative, instructional, and learning performance.

Retain Highly Skilled and Experienced Educators

Teachers are the backbone of our education system. For children, teachers are their earliest mentors, provide essential life tools throughout the education experience, and prepare them for the next stages in life. We must protect their profession from vicious and unfair ideological attacks and provide them with safe working conditions, reasonable compensation and benefits, and ongoing professional development opportunities so that they remain on the cutting edge of their practice.

Expand Career and Technical Training

Our Members at Work

Blake Announces $175K in PAsmart Grants for 5 Area Schools

SCRANTON, January 17, 2019 – State Senator John Blake (D- Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) today announced that four school districts and one charter school in the 22nd Senatorial District have received $175,000 in targeted grants through the PAsmart Initiative. The grant...

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Boscola Announces Local School Safety Grants

BETHLEHEM, October 5, 2018 – State Sen. Lisa Boscola today announced a total of $130,902 in state grants to improve safety and security in area schools. “These grant dollars will enable schools to fund safety programs, hire security personnel and purchase...

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Schwank Announces Kutztown School District Grant

HARRISBURG, October 5, 2018- The Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Office for Safe Schools has selected Kutztown Area School District to receive $10,190 for programming to address school violence, State Sen. Judy Schwank (D-Berks) announced. Specifically,...

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Sen. Brewster Announces Area School Safety Grants

MCKEESPORT, October 4, 2018 – State Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) today announced a total of $154,000 in state grants to improve safety and security in local schools. “This funding will help establish safety programs, hire additional security personnel...

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Blake Announces Over $150K in Safe Schools Targeted Grants

SCRANTON, October 4, 2018 – State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) today announced that five school districts in the 22nd Senatorial District have been awarded over $150,000 in Safe Schools Targeted Grants. The local grant funding is part of an $8.4...

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Dinniman Announces $140K in Safe Schools Funding

WEST CHESTER, October 4, 2018 – State Senator Andy Dinniman announced today that several Chester County school districts will receive nearly $140,000 in state funding to prevent violence in schools and support school resource officers (SROs) and school police officers...

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Brewster Appointed to New School Safety and Security Committee

Harrisburg – July 23, 2018 – A longtime advocate of school safety upgrades, state Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) said today that he was appointed to the new School Safety and Security Committee. The 17-member commission was created in late June with the...

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