Good Schools PA adopts new name and mission

Good Schools PA adopts new name and mission

It’s hard to believe that Good Schools Pennsylvania was formed in September 2001 as a three-year campaign to change the way Pennsylvania funds and supports public education.  Our accomplishments include raising awareness of the inequities in funding public education in Pennsylvania, working with the General Assembly to conduct a study to determine the real costs of providing a quality public education to all students, and seeing that data turned into a new school formula to distribute state aid.

Over these past 10 years, we have been changed by the people and communities we have encountered – in particular the local leaders of southeast Pennsylvania who, after watching their communities turn in a few short decades from thriving suburbs to places struggling to stay afloat, made the bold decision to start organizing the First Suburbs Project.

Through engaging with the First Suburbs Project and leaders in many other places in Pennsylvania, we came to understand that Pennsylvania isn’t just leaving kids behind; Pennsylvania has left whole towns behind to fend for themselves with deteriorating infrastructure, struggling public schools, and diminishing tax bases.

Last year we broke out of our education silo and partnered with 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Council of Churches, the Southeastern Pennsylvania First Suburbs Project and YorkCounts to convene the Building One Pennsylvania Summit.

Building One Pennsylvania Summit 2010
Building One Pennsylvania Summit 2010

It was a call to action, and Pennsylvania answered.  More than 600 local elected officials, faith and civic leaders broke out of their respective geographic, issue and sectoral silos to identify the shared challenges confronting their communities, and respond affirmatively to the call to “Build One Pennsylvania.”

In the follow up to the summit, Good Schools Pennsylvania has taken the significant step to begin doing business as Building One Pennsylvania. The mission of Building One Pennsylvania is to work with leaders from diverse sectors – including municipal, school, faith, business, labor and civic – to influence the state and federal policies that will stabilize and revitalize our communities, reinvigorate local economies, and promote regional opportunity and sustainability.

Since the summit, Building One Pennsylvania has:

  • Convened four regional Issues Assemblies in Pennsylvania to ratify a policy agenda for stabilizing our communities and our schools.
  • Helped launch a national conversation on our issues, sending 32 leaders from Pennsylvania to participate in a meeting at the White House organized by Building One America. That meeting, like last year’s Building One Pennsylvania summit, gave visibility to the challenges confronting older suburbs, towns and cities; began to propose a policy agenda; and catalyzed organizing in new states and metropolitan regions.

On October 27, 2011, we will unveil our agenda for regional change to the public, state and federal lawmakers, and the White House.  U.S. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan has already committed to attend, as have several hundred local leaders.

We thank you for all your years of support and invite you to mark Good Schools Pennsylvania’s 10 years of advocacy by registering to attend that meeting.

You can also support our transition to Building One Pennsylvania by making a tax-deductible contribution to Good Schools Pennsylvania.

While the name of the new organization will may be different, our core value remains the same: opportunity should be broadly shared, and not defined by zip code.