HARRISBURG, PA — On Friday, Children First and Education Voters of Pennsylvania led education advocates, students, and families from across Pennsylvania who rang the bells of justice in a rally on the steps of the Capitol. Amid chants for justice, hundreds marched to the PA Judicial Center to mark the start of Pennsylvania’s historic public school funding trial. After seven years of fighting for fair education funding, Pennsylvania’s students and families finally have their day in court.
Joining Children First and Education Voters of PA were representatives from more than a dozen organizations including, Norristown NAACP, PA Council of Churches, Urban League Philadelphia, CASA, ACLAMO, Bethlehem ASD Proud Parents, Pennsylvanians for Fair Funding, Chester Community Members, Make the Road, AFT, PFT, PSEA, League of Women’s Voters, PASBO, Philadelphia City Councilmember Helen Gym, and many students and families from a host of Pennsylvania school districts.
“Justice cannot be served until the poorest school district in Pennsylvania is funded at a level that supports the excellence delivered in the wealthiest district in Pennsylvania,” said Donna R. Cooper, Executive Director, Children First. “Until every Black and brown student has the same shot at life as their wealthier, white peers – justice will not be served.
“This is a monumental moment in the fight of a lifetime and if justice is served, it will have a positive ripple effect generations to come.”
“There is nothing thorough and efficient about a system where state funding is so grossly inadequate that communities increase their local taxes year after year and still cannot raise enough money to give their students what they need,” said Susan Spicka, Executive Director of Education Voters of Pennsylvania. “There is nothing thorough and efficient about a system where students of color are concentrated in low-wealth schools, where they receive dramatically fewer resources than their peers in other districts. And there is nothing through and efficient about a system that guarantees that the Commonwealth’s poorest, most vulnerable students will attend schools where they lack even most basic resources that they need to succeed.”
With Pennsylvania ranked 45th in the nation in its share of school funding, this trial challenges the state’s school funding system, and will prove that the Pennsylvania state legislature’s school funding system violates Pennsylvania’s constitutional right to a Thorough & Efficient public education.
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