Dear Editor:

The Corbett administration released student PSSA scores for the 2011-2012 school year on Sept. 24. The scores reflected a drop in student achievement, and the administration placed blame for the drop in scores on a small number of schools in which there have been ALLEGATIONS of cheating.

It's ironic that the administration should place blame for the drop in scores on anyone except those responsible for the billion dollars in cuts to school districts across the state. As a result of those cuts to funding for public education, school districts were forced to furlough teachers and support professionals, resulting in larger class sizes for students. Valuable programs such as art, music, family and consumer science, physical education, and foreign languages have been eliminated from many of our schools, denying students a rich, well-rounded education.

Tutoring programs for struggling students were also eliminated in many school districts, depriving the neediest students of an opportunity to meet academic goals.

Under the previous administration, Pennsylvania invested in its public schools, and students made steady gains in academic achievement on the state PSSA test and other indicators of student progress. The Corbett administration cut nearly $1 BILLION from public school funding and PSSA scores declined. The cause of the decline in test scores is quite apparent. Pennsylvania needs to invest in its children and provide them with quality education. It is their right are our responsibility.

Although the Corbett administration claims that the drop in test scores is because test security was tightened, only about three percent of school districts and charter schools are involved in the cheating investigation. Placing the blame on the small number of cheating investigations and not recognizing the real cause of the decline in scores is irresponsible and deceptive to parents, taxpayers and students.

It is imperative to restore adequate levels of funding to our public schools. We need to invest in our children's future, and without a quality education, their future is bleak.

Barbara M. Sipler

President PSEA

Eastern Region