AFT Pennsylvania President Ted Kirsch released the following statement about the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision to hear the school funding equity case.
“The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s 5-2 decision today to hear arguments in the long-standing controversy over the adequacy and fairness of the state’s public school funding is welcome news to 1.7 million public and charter schools students in 500 school districts.
“For more than a decade, the commonwealth has shortchanged its children and jeopardized its own economic future by slashing state education funding from 54 percent in the 1970s to 38 percent in 2012. What’s more appalling is that the extent to which students in wealthy communities receive significantly more educational opportunities that black and Latino children living in high-poverty school districts. The gap in educational spending between wealthy, predominantly white Pennsylvania districts and poorer districts with a majority of children of color is the largest in the nation.
“Thanks to the state Supreme Court, school districts and parents will have an opportunity to argue that the state’s funding system is fundamentally flawed and violates the equal-protection provision of the state Constitution, which guarantees a “thorough and efficient system” of education.
“Pennsylvania will never truly be able to give every child a high-quality education unless it closes the widening gap between wealthy and poor districts and makes significant, new and sustainable investments in our students.”
AFT Pennsylvania represents 30,000 teachers and support staff in public, charter and private schools, faculty and support staff at community colleges and Temple University and state employees.