Rally June 21 for PA education funding equality

Pennsylvania still has racial and income-based disparities in funding for school districts across the state. Join the Stand Against Education Apartheid Rally Wednesday, June 21, 12-2 PM, at the State Capitol in Harrisburg.

The Social Principles of The United Methodist Church states:
“We believe that every person has the right to education. We also believe that the responsibility for education of the young rests with the family, faith communities and the government. In society, this function can best be fulfilled through public policies that ensure access for all persons to free public elementary and secondary schools and to post-secondary schools of their choice.”

Pennsylvania continues to have serious and well-documented racial and income-based disparities in how funds are distributed to districts across the state.

Research conducted by the POWER Interfaith Network and the Education Law Center identified systemic, statewide patterns of racial inequality in how state basic education funding is distributed to PA’s 500 school districts. Those studies compared districts with similar levels of poverty and found that districts with more non-white students receive substantially lower per student funding, on average, than those with a higher percentage of white students.

Across all income levels, the higher the proportion of white students in a district, the more generous the funding compared to the fair share amount due via the formula. The POWER study found that 20 percent of students in the whitest districts receive $1934 per student more than their fair share of funding; and 20 percent of students in the least white districts receive $1912 less per student than their fair share.

Last year, a new formula to distribute the money fairly was adopted by the PA legislature with strong bi-partisan majorities. It is a good formula that would eliminate the inequities.

Unfortunately, the legislature decided to use the formula to distribute only new funding, which amounts to 6 percent of the total funding for basic education. By law, the rest of the money continues to be distributed in the old, unfair way that was in place before the new formula was passed.

In order for the state to distribute basic education funding in a fairer and more equitable way across all districts, more money has to go through the formula. If all of the money budgeted for state basic education funding was distributed using the formula, the racial inequities we currently have would be remedied.

Join POWER (Philadelphians Organized to Witness Empower and Rebuild) and our partners around the state on Wednesday, June 21 in our “Stand Against Education Apartheid” rally at the State Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg, from 12 to 2 PM.  There, we will encourage our legislators to put all new monies allotted for education through the formula. Thank You

—Wilhelmina Young and MFSA (Methodist Federation for Social Action)