When Warren County Schools Superintendent Brandon Hufnagel expressed dismay Monday night at the state Department of Education's theory about the reduction of math and reading scores last year on standardized tests, we felt some affinity with his discontent.
Just as your mother told you when you did something bad, there are consequences to your actions, there are consequences for the actions of government.
While we won't pretend that Gov. Corbett's slashing of the state's basic education subsidy to school districts was the sole cause of the decline in scores, we don't believe the cuts did anything to enhance education in Pennsylvania.
As a result of those cuts, the Warren County School District over the past two years has eliminated more than 100 faculty members, resulting in larger class sizes and a reduction in programs and student services. This district is not alone. Districts all across Pennsylvania have been laying off teachers and cutting programs.
No, we don't believe that simply throwing money at a problem always fixes it, but we do believe the broad cuts to education in Pennsylvania under this administration haven't done anything to improve education either.
Then, for the Secretary of Education to make a statement that wide-spread cheating by teachers and administrators has contributed to the problem is at least a far-fetched attempt to divert attention from the gorilla in the room.
It is understandable that the scores of small schools may sometimes vary widely and slip downward because of the anomalies attributable to small statistical samples. But, the same isn't true of the state-wide average, where a huge sample provides a much more telling portrait of trends.
This one is troubling, and the state Department of Education should turn its attention to reversing the trend, rather than looking for scapegoats.