Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania's Opportunity Gap

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Thousands of students in Philadelphia staged a massive, city-wide walkout recently to protest the under-resourcing of their schools and school closures. A number of OTL allies participated in the event, including the Philadelphia Student Union and Youth United for Change, two of the largest student organizing groups in the city.
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Mass school closings have become a hallmark of today's dominant education policy agenda. But rather than helping students, these closures disrupt whole communities. And as U.S. Department of Education data suggests, the most recent rounds of mass closings in Chicago, New York City, and Philadelphia disproportionately hurt Black and low-income students.

Philadelphia's schools are under attack. Teachers and community members need your help. Take and share a "solidarity selfie" to show your support!

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Over 40 organizations helped launch The Campaign for Fair Education Funding, which is pushing for Pennsylvania to adopt a fair, sustainable funding system for the state's schools. Learn more about the campaign at www.fairfundingpa.org.

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After months of turmoil and uncertainty, Philadelphia's resource-starved schools finally caught a break: a new, stable source of funding. The Pennsylvania state senate authorized a city-level $2-per-pack cigarette tax that will raise $170 million for the city's schools each year.

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Because Pennsylvania still lacks a fair school funding formula (and because state policymakers won't prioritize funding for Philadelphia's schools), parents, students and teachers kicked off the school year in the most appropriate way possible: with a week of protests and a voter registration drive!

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State lawmakers in Pennsylvania failed to pass a cigarette tax that would have provided much needed funds for Philly's schools. Instead, the school year will begin with $32 million in budget cuts, leaving schools without janitors and 7,500 students without transportation to school.

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Data
Annie E. Casey Foundation, Jul 2013
The 2013 KIDS COUNT Data Book provides a detailed picture of how children are faring in the United States. In addition to ranking states on overall child well-being, the Data Book ranks states in four domains: Economic Well-Being, Education, Health, and Family and Community.
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Policy
National Education Policy Center, May 2013
The National Education Policy Center's new book "Closing the Opportunity Gap" offers a wide array of policy recommendations for closing the opportunity gap and ensuring all students have the resources they need to succeed. This policy guide distills the most important recommendations from the book at three different levels: at the level of students' individual needs, at the level of in-school opportunities and resources, and at the level of communities and neighborhoods.
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Graph/Visual
Opportunity to Learn Campaign , Apr 2013
Mass school closings have become a hallmark of today's dominant education policy agenda. But rather than helping students, these closures disrupt whole communities. And as U.S. Department of Education data suggests, the most recent rounds of mass closings in Chicago, New York City and Philadelphia disproportionately hurt Black and low-income students. Click here to learn about alternatives that support students rather than close school doors on them.
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