HARRISBURG, Pa. (Erie News Now) – Tuesday, Governor Tom Wolf said he remains committed to improving Pennsylvania’s education system during his final months in office.
Wolf visited with students and faculty at the Marshall Math Science Academy in Harrisburg to speak about how this year’s budget increase for education will pay off.
“This is a major investment in our kids. It’s a major investment in our schools, which to me is a major investment in our future,” said Gov. Wolf. “Pennsylvania students are my top priority. People who want to learn are my top priority because those students, those people who want to learn, are the key to our future,” Wolf added.
Wolf, like many others, are praising this year’s $1.8 billion investment in education. However, with an investment this large, Wolf says accountability and being able to measure success is paramount.
“We want to make sure there’s accountability here. You can’t throw money at any problem and automatically expect to get to a good place,” said Wolf. “But you can’t keep doing what Pennsylvania was doing for seven years, and that is take money away from something that’s as important as this, and expect to get to a good place either. That’s not going to happen,” Wolf added.
Wolf says there are tools to measure the success of schools and students. The Department of Education’s Future Ready PA Index is one of them.
The index is a collection of school progress measures related to school and student success. The database contains information like proficiency, based on state assessments, and whether a school meets academic growth expectations. College and career readiness is another component to the index and Wolf said today it’s important to hear feedback from colleges and employers about how well-prepared their students or employees are.
Over the past eight years, the Wolf Administration has invested over $3.7 billion in education. Despite the investments, including this year’s boost, Wolf said today a lot still needs to be done to level the playing field.
“We do have some of the best schools in the world in Pennsylvania. And on average, I think Pennsylvania does a fairly good job of funding public education, but average is not where everybody lives. And what we haven’t done is distributed those good dollars in an equitable manner,” said Wolf. “It’s not the end of the road. We still have work to do, we still have more we can do,” he added.
Wolf hopes the next governor will continue supporting the education system as he has, especially with the surplus he’ll be leaving for his successor.
“I will be the first governor since Dick Thornburgh in 1987 to turn over a surplus to my successor, and I’ve done it while investing more than $3.7 billion into education over the last eight budgets,” said Wolf.