Philadelphia – September 23, 2013 – State Senator Vincent Hughes released the following statement in response to U.S. Congressman Eric Cantor’s Monday visit to Freire Charter School in West Philadelphia:
“It’s outrageous that Congressman Cantor is coming to Philadelphia to sell so-called ‘school choice,’ which is really a smokescreen for dismantling traditional public education. The Philadelphia School District is in the middle of a financial crisis and trading public dollars for vouchers will simply make the problem worse. Our children need real solutions, not an ideologically driven snake oil medicine show.
If Congressman Cantor really wants to help the children of Philadelphia, he should work to reverse the massive budget cuts caused by the sequestration, which total $85.3 billion or 9 percent of all discretionary federal spending. It is estimated that sequestration will cause the Philadelphia School District to lose between $16 and $17 million in federal funds. This is a statewide issue, as Pennsylvania’s public schools will lose up to $29.5 million overall.
Congressman Cantor ought to take some time while he’s in Philadelphia to visit one of our public schools and see the real impact of massive budget cuts. Our children are dealing with overcrowded classrooms without art, music, or athletics. If Congressman Cantor understood what was happening in our schools, perhaps he would address the real issue—inadequate funding for public education.”
Senator Vincent Hughes represents the 7th Senatorial District, which includes parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery County. He is also Democratic Chairman of PA Senate Appropriations Committee.