Governor Tom Corbett today called for action on his education reform plan during a rally at the First Philadelphia Preparatory Charter School attended by several hundred students, teachers and supporters.
"Ready or not, the future always arrives,'' Corbett said. "We want you students to be ready to meet it: ready to work in its jobs, ready to join our society. We need to base success on talent, not ZIP codes.''
Corbett reiterated his four-part theme for education reform, including:
* Opportunity scholarships, which would provide tuition assistance for eligible students to attend a public or non-public school of their choice.
* Educational improvement tax credits, providing tax credits to businesses that fund for scholarships and other educational improvement organizations.
* Educator evaluations, implementing a new and reliable rating system to focus on student performance as well as traditional observation of classroom practices.
* Charter schools, offering students and their families a choice for education. "You students know this: in a game or a race, when do you do your best? It's when you have competition," Corbett said. "Is this new system guaranteed to succeed?
We won't know for certain until we try. But we do know that after more than 30 years of trying, the old system has been a guaranteed failure. We need to begin now."
First Philadelphia Preparatory Charter School received its charter in 2002 and began operations in three Northeast synagogues with a focus on literacy. Today, the school still focuses on literacy but it is now housed in a state-of-the art building at Tacony and Church streets serving more than 700 children in kindergarten through eighth grade.
"School choice marks a big change, but it takes big changes to make big progress. We owe our young people a choice... because we owe them a chance,'' Corbett added.