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OP/ED

THE SPOKE

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2009

Did Rendell drop Gov. School for good reasons? Yes, put money elsewhere Guest Commentary by Yinjie Xiong

“Considering all the homeless people and the elderly that don’t have healthcare, it’s not really beneficial to the economy right now.”

Freshman Sierra Hendricks

“What they’re taking away is kids’ opportunities to learn more and do better.”

Sophomore Jennifer Lee

Pennsylvania is in peril, and so are countless other states across the country. State officials have already made tough decision to cut spending on many public services such as Philadelphia libraries. Still, it is not enough. What else must be done to save our state? I propose cutting the Pennsylvania Governor’s School, that five-week summer excursion that the most “driven” of us have undoubtedly filled out applications for already. I know that most of these readers will be outraged at the mere suggestion of this; what blasphemy it is to think that thought, much less commit it to paper. However, I implore you to listen to reason. The Governor’s School is essentially useless. The state has more pressing and immediate concerns than this multimillion dollar burden. It is true that Governor’s School offers a great resource for students, but it is not an essential resource. It selects the brightest students from all of Pennsylvania and gives them five weeks of advanced education, but to even qualify, those students have to

Junior David Hopper

“Only the top students [qualify to participate], so it should be funded by a private organization.”

Senior Wallace Chambers

Reasons to say No:

“I think the Governor’s School should be kept in the budget because it’s an outlet for students to gain an upper-edge in their studies.”

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fill out a seven-part application: two teacher recommendations, a counselor recommendation, two essays, a resume and your high school transcript. The students that ultimately make it pass this rigorous application process are not the students that need the Governor’s School; these students are the people that can, and will get ahead in life either by their own talent or by pure hard work. Governor’s School will not tip the scale one way or the other for them. For the rest of the Pennsylvania’s population, though, Governor’s School serves as another tax burden, public money wasted. In our current situation, education is the least of our worries, especially when this kind of education benefits only a very small minority. The financial crisis in America has robbed scores of people out of jobs and homes and an aging population compounds the state’s duties to health care and retirement funds. Pennsylvania’s budget has grown out of hand and will only continue to grow, with Social Security, Medicaid, and other welfare payments making up a large part of that growth. In the face of this emergency, Harrisburg needs to raise revenue and not frivolously spend money on nonessential programs like the Governor’s Schools. To keep Pennsylvania running efficiently and safely is our government’s first duty, not to make sure that overrated summer camp stays open.

Many of the 19,000 alumni of the Pennsylvania Governor’s School of Excellence (PGSE) realize their dreams, including actor Kevin Bacon, author Alice Sebold and Pulitzer Prizewinning composer Aaron J. Kernis Giving 752 students a free hands-on experience in their chosen field costs the state $3.2 million, a price which translates into just 25 cents for each Pennsylvanian Many alumni go on to attend Pennsylvania universities and then stay to work, essentially paying the state back for their initial investment Pennsylvania should make education a top priority, especially as the current brain drain pushes college graduates to opportunities outside the state

Artwork by Kiley Bense for The SPOKE

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Even though the students who attend the Governor’s Schools already have a leg up in terms of their intelligence, they still deserve the opportunity to realize their full potential and challenge themselves The “Save the Govies” Facebook group has more than 3,500 members, all of whom attest to the irreplaceable impact that the program had on their lives The Pennsylvania Governor’s Schools of Excellence offer an excellent career-preparatory summer program to students who otherwise would lack the financial means to attend a similar program Pennsylvania offers no other such summer opportunities completely free of charge to students


THE SPOKE