“Stunning,” “shocking” statements show Corman’s stance on education is anti-worker, anti-parent, and anti-student.
PENNSYLVANIA — Every day Jake Corman shows Pennsylvanians just how out-of-touch he really is and, this time, he’s fighting against fair funding for Pennsylvania schools. At trial last week, his lawyer, John Krill, made a shockingly out-of-touch statement asking, “What use would someone on the McDonald’s career track have for Algebra 1?” and “What use would a carpenter have for biology?”
Corman’s lawyer made clear once again that Corman’s education policy is firmly anti-worker, anti-parent, and anti-student. In response to those demeaning comments, Pennsylvanians from across the Commonwealth have expressed outrage at Corman’s tone-deaf education policy.
“Even worse our Republican legislators aren’t in court denying that students in lower-income and rural districts are being shortchanged; instead, the defense council for President Pro Tempore Jake Corman questions whether students who will eventually be working at McDonald’s even need to learn Algebra 1,” said Linda Westrick from State College.
Margie Swoboda from Julian decried, “Is this the kind of educational system our Republican leaders stand for — watered down, inadequately funded and with allocations that fall short for rural and urban schools in poorer districts?”
While Corman continues to tear down Pennsylvania students and attack Pennsylvania teachers, Governor Wolf has increased funding for public schools by $1.8 billion, including an additional $300 million in the last budget alone. However, Pennsylvania still ranks 45th in the nation for the amount of money the state puts into public school state funding and schools across the Commonwealth still lack the basic resources needed to give Pennsylvania students more opportunities to succeed — making clear how devastating Corman’s agenda is for our state. Instead of investing in students’ success, Corman and his crew of lawyers have time and time again shown just out of touch they are with Pennsylvania workers, parents, and students — which is why Pennsylvanians know Corman can’t be allowed anywhere near the Governor’s Office.
In case you missed Corman’s team’s latest tone-deaf appearance in court, here are some of the reactions from Pennsylvanians across the Commonwealth:
By Laura Boyce, 1/10/22
A lawyer for Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman asked a rural superintendent, “What use would someone on the McDonald’s career track have for Algebra 1?” before concluding, “There’s a need for retail workers, for people who know how to flip a pizza crust.”
While the indifferent cruelty of such comments is stunning — would these lawmakers accept their own children being denied Algebra 1 and shuttled onto the pizza crust track? — we can’t ignore the racial and socioeconomic subtext, given the correlation between school funding and race and class.
As a former educator who taught in the underfunded Philadelphia public schools, I’ve taught — and loved — the students dismissed by lawmakers as less “industrious” and destined for the “McDonald’s track.” I’ve seen their curiosity, brilliance, ambition, and work ethic: Verónica, who dreamed of becoming a scientist and inventing new vaccines and miracle drugs; Bryan, who worked multiple jobs and still completed every homework assignment; Josh and Cashey, who started their own lunchtime book club to nerd out about their favorite pleasure reads.
By Karen Overly Smith, 01/14/22
I am confused with Jake Corman and John Krill’s comments regarding state public school academic standards for students entering certain professions. “Do education standards matter for workers in those “lesser” skilled trades job fields?”
They are suggesting that their own grandkids “on track to careers as McDonald’s burger flippers” would not even need to have education standards that include study of biology. How can they have such low knowledge expectations for the public education of their own family members?
By Margie Swoboda, 01/13/22
In shocking statements before the court recently, the attorney representing Senate President Jake Corman, a Centre County Republican who wants to be our next governor, argued against certain academic standards.
Is this the kind of educational system our Republican leaders stand for — watered down, inadequately funded and with allocations that fall short for rural and urban schools in poorer districts?
By Gretchen Stewart, 1/15/22
In shocking statements heard before the court recently, the attorney representing Senate President Jake Corman, who wants to be our next governor, argued against certain academic standards. “What use would a carpenter have for biology?” asked Corman’s lawyer, John Krill. “What use would someone on the McDonald’s career track have for Algebra 1?” he continued. He then went on to say that the commonwealth needs people who know how to flip a pizza crust.
What?! Is this the kind of educational system our Republican leaders stand for – watered down, inadequately funded, and with allocations that fall short for rural and urban schools in poorer districts?
By Andrew Bundy, 01/12/22
As you know, I’m an educator. My dad, sister, and brother are educators, so you might call it the family business. My grandfathers both instilled the importance of education in me. You might argue that I have a vested interest in the improvement of education in American, and you would be right.
So I was floored when a lawyer for State Senator Jake Corman said something about education that should make the average, hardworking Pennsylvanian angry.
Or, perhaps, they believe that some people aren’t worth educating into a better life.
While many in this area might ignore that sentiment when it is applied to urban school districts, Krill – and by extension Corman – was talking about rural kids.
By Linda Westrick, 01/12/22
Corman and his Republican legislature are essentially saying it’s OK for more than half of PA’s school districts — 277 districts in all — to be so underfunded that they can’t offer students a 21st century education.
By Rachel Ravina, 01/11/22
“So we learned that in this case the defense, which are the Republican leaders in Harrisburg, they’re not only arguing that they don’t have to provide a constitutional system of education for our students,” Spicka said. “They’re actually arguing that they have no obligation to ensure that students have access to any high quality education that prepares them for college or career because we have a need in the commonwealth for people to do jobs that are low wage jobs, and why should the state bother to pay to educate them? So this is what we are up against.”
“That’s why I was so angry and dismayed to hear the lawyer for Sen. (Jake) Corman argue that we shouldn’t be really concerned when students in under-resourced districts lack proficiency in core academic areas like biology and algebra 1,” said Pottstown School Board member Laura Johnson.
By Susan Spicka, 01/09/22
If you haven’t already read about recent comments made during PA’s school funding lawsuit, brace yourself.
He was actually making the case that some students do not deserve or need any level of quality education in their public schools because the state needs low-wage workers to fill positions.
The students on Krill’s imaginary “McDonald’s track” are our children. They are children who live in poor rural, urban, and suburban districts that lack the local wealth to adequately fund their schools. They are children that the Pennsylvania legislature has chosen to shortchange for decades.
The “voices of inequity” are speaking in a Harrisburg courtroom, and they have a lot to say.
Those attending the session joined a rallying cry to protest comments reportedly made at the trial by a lawyer for the legislators who are defendants in the lawsuit. The comments referenced by a speaker at the rally suggested students on a “McDonald’s career track” don’t need advanced biology or algebra courses.