Monday, 9 April 2007

Education proposal draws unexpected fire

by Damon Boughamer
Public Radio Capitol News, serving Pennsylvania

Harrisburg, Penna. (PRCN, 6 April 2007) – Governor Rendell may have expected vigorous debate this spring on his complex proposals relating to health care, alternative energy and property taxes.

But he's also receiving push-back from the legislature on his plan to expand pre-kindergarten programs, and advocates of such programs are rallying in response.

House Minority Leader Sam Smith unveiled education counter-proposals this past week.

Joan Benso heads Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children as well as an ad hoc group called Pre-K Today. She says Smith has some good ideas.

"Some of the things that Representative Smith proposed, Pennsylvania Partnerships would be happy to support – particularly his proposals around career education and preparing kids for the workforce of the 21st century," Benso says.

But she says it's a mistake to think that pre-kindergarten has nothing to do with strengthening K-through-12 programming.

"Thinking about our K-12 system in the absence of thinking about a pre-K-post-secondary (education) system is not a way to think about preparing for the workers of the 21st century," Benso says.

Benso's groups' ideas are online at

Find Smith's by clicking "Education Alternatives" at


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