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Op-ed: Education as a top priority is a recipe for success in Philly

A Julia R. Masterman senior discusses local policies.


By Lucy Lin

I’m a student from Julia R. Masterman and a constituent of state Rep. Jared Solomon.

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I would like to elaborate on his political stances and his opinions on certain issues, in particular on topics like environment and education. Solomon takes concern in the safety and stability of Northeast Philadelphia and believes that one component in reducing crime is to keep the environment in Northeast Philadelphia as clean and safe as possible.

The other key component is providing a quality education through increased funding. I am supportive of House Bill 1812 and 1813 he proposed that increases the penalty for littering, loitering and disorderly conduct when the offender commits an offense two or more times within a two-year period. This allows new offenders a second chance and gives a substantial retribution for repeat offenders while making civilians less likely to misuse the environment. Part of the fines collected are used for cleaning services.

Environmental protection is an important issue in our community and with continual abuse to the environment, firstly, the natural resources decreases and secondly, the crime rate increases due to the unseemly sight of the area. Jared Solomon is an avid supporter of education and believes that education reduces crime, so he introduced House Bill 453 to set a budget for the school year 2017–2018. He voted for a $32 billion state budget, which in turn provides new opportunities for children. This plan is a step in the right direction for education and childcare assistance. Not only is Philadelphia lacking funds for education, teachers are on a salary freeze.

Students are not receiving the quality education they deserve due to the lack of resources and teachers. Solomon voted nay on House Bill 97, which cuts funding for low-performing charter schools, and in the bill, it also states that it prohibits failing students from continuing in an online charter school.

There is a real problem with funding already and to cut funding from low-performing schools limits how much money each student will receive and how many students will receive it. The school might eventually close down, which leads to another dilemma: overcrowdedness.

Overcrowdedness in schools is an enormous problem because students do not receive the amount of attention they need and it is scientifically proven that a lower student-per-teacher ratio will benefit the children and allow them to learn to their fullest potential.

Schools that are overcrowded lead to less funding per student and this decreases the quality of education each child will receive. Children who attend overcrowded schools are the ones who don’t have the economic resources to attend private schools.

Thus, these students are more likely to turn to committing crimes because they have no other option. However, if they are given an excellent education, they would be taught how to be successful in life.

I agree with many of Solomon’s policies, but I would like to see some effort going into economics. I am in favor of his education and environment protections policies because they help the youth and their development. However, there hasn’t been a lot done to increase minimum wage, preserve workers compensation benefits and protect SSDI benefits. Solomon is a great representative, he voices the opinions of his constituents and does a fantastic job in maintaining our quality of life in the Northeast. ••

Lucy Lin is a senior at Julia R. Masterman High School. Members of the senior class have been assigned to write about their state representatives.

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