There's a big court case currently unfolding in Pennsylvania court; several school districts and some parents are suing over the state's funding formula, arguably one of the worst in the nation. And one lawyer for the defense is saying the quiet parts out loud.
The central issue is the question of just how much responsibility the state has to provide a quality education for every child. Many state constitutions seem to suggest the answer is "a lot," but when dragged into court over the issue. states often make... other arguments. The Philadelphia Inquirer caught a fairly telling exchangeIn questioning the superintendent of a rural school district, a lawyer for Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman repeatedly asked why the state’s academic standards mattered for students entering certain professions.
“What use would a carpenter have for biology?” asked John Krill of Matthew Splain, superintendent of the Otto-Eldred School District in McKean County and president of the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools, one of the plaintiffs. Splain had said his district’s scores on state standardized tests in biology and other subjects were not acceptable.:
“What use would someone on the McDonald’s career track have for Algebra 1?” Krill continued.
As lawyers for the plaintiffs objected, asking what the relevance was, Krill said that the trial was about whether Pennsylvania was meeting its constitutional obligation to provide a “thorough and efficient” system of education.
“The question in my mind is, thorough and efficient to what end? To serve the needs of the Commonwealth,” Krill said. “Lest we forget, the Commonwealth has many needs. There’s a need for retail workers, for people who know how to flip a pizza crust.”