By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — US education secretary Arne Duncan came to Philadelphia today, to talk about raising standards in the nation’s schools.
And he got an education himself from some Philadelphia public school students.
“We feel there should be enough money to have the supplies that we need for our school,” said Seandra Berry, a seventh-grader at the EM Stanton School, in South Philadelphia.
Berry spoke for her classmates as she shared a litany of needs with the education secretary.
“We need art supplies, and current books, and textbooks,” Berry noted.
Duncan listened with interest but put the blame for Philadelphia’s dire financial situation squarely on the state.
“What the state is doing and has done for a while for kids is not fair, it’s not right, it’s not just,” Duncan said.
He cited a recent report from his office that Pennsylvania has the worst disparity in school funding between rich and poor districts of any state in the US.
But the state’s acting education secretary, Pedro Rivera (third from left in photo), who sat next to Duncan at today’s meeting, said the new governor — Tom Wolf — is hoping to do a lot better than his predecessor, “with the governor’s budget pushing a one-billion dollar investment in education.”
Duncan told the students he’s optimistic that fairer funding is on its way.