Jonathan Cetel is the founding executive director of PennCAN. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In the past few weeks the School District of Philadelphia has been at the center of a statewide debate about how to address its budget crisis. And just yesterday, Governor Corbett came out and called for a two-part solution: more funding in exchange for more reform.

We wholeheartedly support this solution, and so does a majority of Pennsylvanians, according to our latest public opinion poll.

The poll shows that voters statewide overwhelmingly support more money for Philadelphia public schools as long as it’s paired with meaningful reform: 80 percent of respondents say principals should have more say in staffing decisions, including 77 percent of respondents from teachers union households.

Click here to read the statewide poll results.

PennCAN also commissioned a poll to gauge public opinion in the Philadelphia area. And guess what? The results were the same: strong support for more funding (88 percent) as well as reforms (56 percent).

Click here to read the Philadelphia-area poll results.

Echoing this support, a broad-based group of organizations formed the Coalition of Effective Teaching in April and endorsed giving principals more say in staffing decisions. And in May, the National Council on Teacher Quality issued a report on Philadelphia that included staffing flexibility in its policy recommendations.

PennCAN looks for practical solutions to challenging policy issues affecting our schools. For Philadelphia schools, we believe the winning compromise is significant financial investment coupled with meaningful reforms. 

Fortunately it looks like Governor Corbett, Mayor Nutter, Superintendent Dr. Hite and a majority of Pennsylvania voters agree with that approach. I look forward to working with all of them to resolve the budget crisis and foster the conditions necessary for great schools to thrive in Philadelphia.


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