Foster Quality Pre-K and Afterschool Programming
Every dollar used in the education of our youngest residents saves taxpayers an estimated ten-fold in social services as these children move into adulthood. From a financial – and a moral standpoint - we must start investing in quality pre-k.
- Involve educators and administration in effective planning.
- Frame early childhood and after-school program in economic development terms.
- Frame early childhood and after-school program in social justice terms that can help address the “school to prison pipeline.”
- Work to create attractive, public space for four-season activities to engage our youth.
- Minimize digital interactions in favor of reading.
Address Inequitable State Funding for Public Schools
As mayor I will partner with our Superintendent to remedy the “hold harmless” financing for Pennsylvania schools that has robbed Erie for twenty-five years.
- Encourage state funding reform.
- Encourage reinvestment in the city by tax-paying entities and new residents.
- Frame inequitable school funding as the regional issue it is.
Improve Public Schools
Community Schools have been transforming schools around the country by offering wrap-around social services for the student and his/her family. Brought to Erie in 2016 by United Way, this program offers significant benefits. We must leverage our existing assets in manufacturing, technology, medicine, maritime industry, arts and crafts and performing arts to create several magnet school programs. In addition, we must investigate residential programs like the Washington, DC SEED Academy, where over 90% of students graduate high school. Lastly, we must attract, empower and support school principals and teachers.
- Involve educators, youth and New Americans in planning.
- Work with students, parents, teachers, principals, Superintendent, the School Board and other organizations to strengthen city schools.
- Incentivize public education by lobbying for a reduced college tuition program for graduates of City Public High Schools.
Partner to Create a Training Academy / Community College
Despite the defeat of the community college proposal by County Council several years ago, more residents are aware that, in order to best utilize local talent, affordable, urban educational options must be established. There are several proposals being considered. I will advocate for an affordable, downtown education center – perhaps using closed schools, qualified volunteer faculty, and expanding and utilizing the public library to meet accreditation mandates.
Cultivate an educated workforce; embrace Community Schools; and informal adult learning.
- Support United Way as they continue efforts to create Community Schools across the City.
- Support the creation of an affordable degree or certificate granting work-force development institution.
- Foster project-based curriculums allowing students to be engaged in solving real-world (real-Erie) problems – “discovery-based education” by connecting with Carnegie Mellon University’s innovative leaders who’ve created a Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) and also studying the Chicago Library’s YOUmedia, NYC’s Quest to Learn and the Dream Factor located south of Pittsburgh at Elizabeth Forward Middle School (we could create projects at public schools, Children’s Museum, the Erie Art Museum, the History Museum, the Maritime Museum, the YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, Community Centers, etc.
- Encourage vo-tech programs to offer evening and weekend programs (the Community College of Allegheny offers midnight welding courses).
- Investigate the SEED School of Washington, D.C., the nation’s first public, college-preparatory boarding school with a strong graduation and college entry rate.
Expand Maker Opportunities – Schools / Library / Maker Space / Idea Labs
To make the best use of Erie’s extensive manufacturing industries, its planned Innovation District, and the potential for regional tourism, Erie must support more opportunities for K-12 teachers, students, and Erie residents to exercise and develop their skills as designers and makers of traditional products, digital products as well as arts and culture “products” from poetry to dance.
I will encourage our teachers, librarians and program leaders to identify young people of great promise and offer them supportive experiences.
- Encourage “making” internships and apprenticeships like those at Shinola in Detroit and YouthMade in San Francisco.
- Create a summer city internship for a few college and high school students to work with the Mayor’s Maker Liaison.
- Investigate the multiple proposals for a community college and propose the idea of a new model – one that utilizes the Erie County Library and vacant, existing property along with primarily volunteer faculty who teach one class a year to cut costs; students would pay a minimal per-credit cost, and, if they leave the city after graduating, will repay the costs back into the system.
- Embrace and expand vo-tech at the Maritime Museum, the Public High Schools, and other locations.