House Majority Leadership joins community to sound education SOS in Philadelphia
Philadelphia tour stop highlights need to Save Our Schools
PHILADELPHIA, July 31 – On the first stop of a statewide tour, educators, advocates, labor leaders and concerned parents joined members of the Pennsylvania House Majority Leadership team and the House Majority Policy Committee in seeking answers to repair and reform funding for public schools.
“This is not a Republican issue or a Democratic issue, and it is not a city issue or a rural issue – it’s a Pennsylvania issue,” Speaker of the House Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, said. “Equitably funding schools is about investing in Pennsylvania’s future and ensuring that every student regardless of the neighborhood they live in has the tools to thrive academically, socially, and civically. Our state’s future starts now, and it’s time to equitably and adequately fund our public schools.”
A Commonwealth Court judge ruled in February the state fell short of its constitutional obligation to students in the most underserved school districts, violating students’ rights to a “comprehensive, effective, and contemporary” education.
“In Pennsylvania, we have teachers being tasked with leading but lacking even the basic supplies needed to succeed,” Majority Leader Matt Bradford, D-Montgomery, said. “We have schools unable to hire enough counselors and nurses to serve the needs of its children. We have told generations you can achieve if you excel in school, but only if you live in certain school districts. Enough is enough. These school districts aren’t asking for unfair advantages, they're asking for a fair deal – and that means fair funding.”
The House Majority Policy Committee toured South Philadelphia High School in the afternoon, witnessing the needs in the school district – where six buildings closed for asbestos contamination during the 2022-23 school year.
“A generation of Harrisburg politicians starved our schools, the pillars that hold up our towns and cities,” Majority Policy Committee Chairman Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, said. “Toxic buildings, poor funding, charter schools siphoning off tax dollars and calling them ‘profits’ – it’s all part of an assault by special interests and the old Harrisburg establishment. It must change, because the future of our children – and our state – depends on us fixing our public schools.”
The February ruling noted, “educators credibly testified to lacking the very resources state officials have identified as essential to student achievement, some of which are as basic as safe and temperate facilities in which children can learn.”
The policy tour Monday, hosted by Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, D-Philadelphia, led off a day that closed with a rally with local school and labor leaders.The Majority Leadership team will also join the Policy Committee for tour stops in Berks County (Tuesday), Centre County (Wednesday) and Allegheny County (Thursday).