Pennsylvania's Opportunity Gap
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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Despite fair funding recommendations, parents speaking out, and even state-wide bus tours, Pennsylvania is still without a budget that guarantees fair funding for education—in fact, the entire state budget remains unresolved. Now districts, teachers, and students are beginning to feel the effects. In the Chester Upland School District, teachers have decided to work without pay to keep schools open, and recently received even more bad news. Because of their long-term lack of funding and continually worsening financial situation, they have now been placed under review for a possible debt rating downgrade.Read more >
Media Mobilizing Project has created an amazing new project to share the personal stories of parents, students and educators in Philadelphia's public schools. Their website, "Voices from our Public Schools" collects these stories to create a larger narrative around why people love their public schools and how they feel Pennsylvania's budget cuts to education have hurt them.Read more >
A new report from the Basic Education Funding Commission gives recommendations for developing a fair school funding formula in Pennsylvania, clarifying what factors must be considered in calculating students' diverse needs and highlighting the overall importance of a funding system that ensures schools can meet those needs.Read more >
As Pennsylvania's state budget deadline looms, organizers like the PA Alliance to Reclaim our Schools (PA AROS) and a coalition of faith and community leaders are ramping up pressure for a budget that fairly funds Pennsylvania schools. PA AROS organized a statewide bus tour this past month, which stopped at 13 cities to meet with parents, students, teachers, state senators and other local leaders. The tour finished on June 29 with a rally at the capitol.Read more >
As policymakers apply ever higher stakes to standardized tests, parents, educators, and students have been speaking out against the damage this causes to their education. In Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Student Union started a photo campaign with the hashtag #MoreThanATest to show just how and why these tests fail to measure their full potential.Read more >
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