Classroom realities

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I am appalled that the Pennsylvania Department of Education is still claiming that Gov. Tom Corbett increased funding for our schools ("PSSAs Are Valid," April 2 letters). The administration can repeat this tired old line until the cows come home, but it does not make it true.

When Gov. Corbett took office, he slashed nearly $1 billion from public education -- and then locked those cuts in again last year. He collapsed several budget line items into one, under "Basic Education," so he could claim that he had increased funding, when overall he has drastically decreased support for our schools.

Our kids know better: They are the ones sitting in larger classes, missing nearly 20,000 of their furloughed teachers, and without art, music, science, gym, full-day kindergarten, books, supplies and even tutoring. These cuts are real and cruel. (For a complete analysis of the budget, I invite readers to visit Yinzercation.wordpress.com.)

Now our children also face the consequences of high-stakes testing. These tests have taken away class time, decreased actual learning, drastically narrowed the curriculum and fostered a plague of cheating scandals because the stakes are so high.

Enough is enough. Parents are opting their children out as a brave act of civil disobedience. This is about equity and social justice for our poorest students.

My two Pittsburgh Public schoolchildren will not be taking the PSSAs because our family can no longer participate in a system that is hurting our kids, our schools, our teachers and the institution of public education.

JESSIE B. RAMEY
Point Breeze


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