Lauren Hertzler: Underprivileged cuts

Proposed budget cuts to the state’s K-12 educational system will fuel problems in future classrooms and the job market.

I am from Enola, Pa., a small town just outside of Harrisburg, Pa., and went to a somewhat small public school for my entire K-12 career. We did not have as many resources surrounding schools had such as up-to-date technology, new books and a strong college preparatory curriculum provided by the teaching staff.

When I first came to Main Campus last year, I quickly became overwhelmed with work and found myself struggling at times, while I watched three of my closest friends from home lose their passion for higher education and nearly drop out during their first semester.
lauren hertzler

Today, I still feel I have to work much harder than my fellow classmates who went to private, charter or well-established public schools. I know now that if I had been given an equal, or at least better, education from the beginning, I would have been more prepared for college.

Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed budget reduces state funding by nearly 10 percent. That’s more than $1 billion – and more than 25 percent of that brunt falls on the School District of Philadelphia.

K-12 education is a leading factor in shaping a person’s future. If funds need to be cut, they just can’t be for education.

If you take even more funding away from K-12 education than is already provided, students are not going to be prepared for higher education, and higher education will ultimately determine the future of the United States.

The potential budget cuts will affect K-12 education drastically, and many programs would have to “consolidate” or “collapse,” Philadelphia School District Communications Chief Jamilah Fraser said.

“When you don’t have a thriving educational system in a city, eventually, it will trickle out into how jobs are performed,” Fraser said.

In 10 years, Fraser added, if these K-12 budget cuts are implemented, one will be able to see the look of Philadelphia radically change because there won’t be anyone who will be able to compete technologically and educationally.

Underprivileged students are going to feel the effects of the K-12 budget cuts the most.

The funding for extracurricular activities, which will be cut first if this budget is passed, is so important for developing students in grades K-12. These are the years children grow and find their interests, and it is important to not take their options away because of a lack of funds.

Cuts as far as music, special arts, resource teachers, officers, after school programs, and much more will result if the proposed budget for fiscal year 2011-12 is passed. Some of the students involved in these extracurricular activities, like the orchestra at J.R. Masterman High School, have been attending rallies, similar to the one at City Hall on April 7.

The rally began at 8 a.m. at the School District of Philadelphia building, where students, faculty and parents walked to City Hall and asked for support for the educational system in Philadelphia.

There are many ways to get involved in campaigns around Pennsylvania to help stop Corbett’s proposed budget cuts for education from being passed. One of the best ways is to contact your legislators and thank them for their past support and let them know that it is greatly needed, again, this year.

“When you take away the money that will really be able to empower these schools,” Fraser said, “what you’re doing is, in essence, taking away a life of many of these students.”

Lauren Hertzler can be reached at


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